And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day (Genesis 32:24 KJV)
Genesis 32:24 recounts a mysterious story of a man wrestling all night with Jacob. Who was this man? Why did he wrestle with Jacob? Was he God? And if so, how did Jacob physically prevail in battle with Him? While the Bible does not answer all these questions, it identifies the mysterious man wrestling with Jacob.
Interestingly, the scripture is clear who this man was — He was God Himself. In verse 30, Jacob says, “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Therefore, the difficulty with this text is not the identity of this man but conceiving the mystery of the whole story — God appears as a man, fights with Jacob all night without winning the physical battle, and had to leave urgently at daybreak while Jacob held tight to Him.
Despite the unanswered questions, God appearing as a man (called theophanies in theology) is not unusual in the Old Testament. He had appeared as a man accompanied by two angels to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham in Genesis 18:1-2. Since the birth of Jesus, there is no record of further theophanies; they are no longer needed! These theophanies in the Old Testament were only a shadow of the incarnation in which God became a human being permanently (John 1:14).
The Father desires to dwell and live with us on the earth!
Read more: What are Spiritual Eyes?
Who was the man wrestling nightlong with Jacob in Gen. 32: 24? What is the difference between these theophanies and the incarnation?
Apply the Word
God is not a man(Hosea 11:9), but man is what God looks like when He reveals Himself fully in the flesh. He made us in His image and likeness! Jesus is God in the flesh with us, and His Holy Spirit is God in us. Let this consciousness of His presence always fill your mind.
Thank the Father for coming to be with us permanently in Jesus.