Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.
Jacob had sent his family ahead of him and was left alone as he prepared to meet Esau. That evening, a Man appeared (seemingly out of nowhere) and wrestled with Jacob. Through the description of this wrestling match, we see that it is no ordinary human being struggling with Jacob.
After seeing Jacob’s continued struggling and determination to fight, the Man touched Jacob’s hip and moved the hip bone out of the socket (verse 25). No ordinary human being could accomplish this by a mere touch. Amazingly, even after having his hip dislocated, Jacob refused to let the Man go until a blessing was given to him!
The Man then gave Jacob a new name. No longer would his name be Jacob, meaning “supplanter.” It would now be Israel, meaning “prevailer” or “overcomer with God.” He then told Jacob that his name was being changed because “you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” (verse 28).
Who was this Man who wrestled with Jacob and changed his name?
The biblical evidence is overwhelmingly clear that this was the Word, the being who later became Jesus the Christ (John 1:1-3). In this supernatural wrestling match, Jacob saw God “face to face” (verse 30). We know this couldn’t be God the Father since Christ taught that no man has seen or heard the Father (John 5:37). Hosea 12:3-4 states that Jacob struggled with God and prevailed. The Word (Jesus Christ) appeared in human form at other times before He was born as the Savior of the world—such as appearing as the Commander of the army of the Lord (Joshua 5:13-15) and Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20).
To learn more about the preexistence of Jesus Christ, read “Jesus, the Son of God.”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Knowledge and Humility.”