One biblical theme,

often overlooked, is the battle between Flesh and Spirit, which is present on all pages of the Bible. This battle is between individuals, tribes, countries and even most importantly within individuals. We see that the Flesh and everything that represents Flesh (or Carnality) in the form of persons are born before the Spiritual persons. But we also, as we are born of flesh, we have to become born from above before in the Spirit before we can live an eternal live.

This leads to the first premise: when the Bible speaks about the birth right to belongs to the second child we can make a prophetic connection to the eternal inheritance we will receive as born again children of God.

Most people think of Christianity as peaceful endeavor, but on the contrary we will see that it is a matter between life and death.

We aim to present a couple of examples which will show it's importance.


Cain and Abel (and Seth)

Cain (representing  the flesh) was born before Abel (representing  the spirit), but God blesses Seth who also represents the spirit.

In Genesis 4:3, Cain brought a sacrifice of the things he thought were good and pleasant consisting of fruits and vegetables. He was the first person to bring a sacrifice to the Lord and had worked very hard for these crops. God however, never requested a sacrifice done by his own works. In this way Cain represents the fleshly life.

In Genesis 4:4, Abel was the second person to ever bring a sacrifice to the Lord and it pleased the Lord, because he brought the same type of sacrifice that God presented to Adam and Eve after sinning (Genesis 3:21). It was a blood offer of the firstlings of his flock, which brought atonement for his sin. In this way Abel represents the spiritual life.

As Cain had labored so hard for these crops and God didn’t accept his offer, he became jealous with his brother. Hatred forms the basis for murder, so eventually Cain kills Abel – Flesh kills Spirit.

But God has His mysterious ways and replaces Abel with Seth, who lead a spiritual life as well. Seth is the father of all people that represent a spiritual life in the Bible, although the battle of flesh and spirit is visible in those lives as well.


Ismael and Isaac

Ismael (representing the flesh) was born before Isaac (representing the spirit), but God blesses Isaac.

Abraham was given a promise of God that he would have descendants as many as there is sand at the sea shore. But at a certain point being old he decides that it is time to have a child with his Egyptian handmaid Hagar. Ismael is born out of this relationship and for 13 years he is the only child in the household. No spiritual activities have been registered in those years. After 12 years, the youth and strength of both Abraham and Sarai gets restored and Sarai gets a son called Isaac. From that point forward a lot of strife was entering in the household, which eventually led to the sending away of Ismael and his mother. Isaac inherited the spiritual blessings, while Ismael did not. Out of Isaac came the descendants of Israel, which led to the birth of Jesus Christ.


Esau and Jacob

Esau (representing the flesh) was born before Jacob (representing the spirit), but God blesses Jacob.

God promises Rebekkah, the mother of Esau and Jacob, that Esau would serve Jacob (Genesis 25:23).

In Malachi 1:2-3 we read that God had loved Jacob and hated Esau.

In the story of Esau and Jacob we see clear sign that flesh and spirit can both be apparent in ones life: while Jacob could have trusted the promise God gave to his mother about Esau serving him, he thought to put the right in his own hand by deceiving his father Isaac as to make him believe that Isaac was blessing Esau instead of Jacob. This eventually led to much distress in his life: he lived 20 years away from his parents with his uncle Laban. And as a side note another spiritual concept is worked out in his life: “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”: what you do to others will happen to you as well. He was betrayed by Laban in the same way that he betrayed his father. We think we can see the same principle at work in the lives of many people around us.


Adam and Jesus

While Adam is our first ancestor, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus is the second Adam, meaning that Jesus is the first ancestor of all who have a living or born from above spirit. Here we see that Adam is born before Jesus.

Adam sinned and sin leads to death. Genesis 2:1 - “… for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”

Jesus never sinned, had to suffer an unlawful death to the flesh and was raised up in His new resurrected body. 1 Corinth 15:45-50 states that He is a He is a spirit that makes alive (quickening spirit): "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."


The battle between flesh and spirit in our own lives

While more interesting examples can be given, we now have enough spiritual understanding to apply these lessons to our personal lives. We all are born as fleshly children into this word, but in order to have gain the (spiritual) birthright, we need to be born again, or born from above. Up to the moment that leads to this new birth, there is no battle between the two. But once the spirit is born in our personal lives, the strife begins.

This doesn’t only stay within the boundary of our personal lives, but our actions do have an effect on the people around us and vice versa. So the battle between Flesh and Spirit is also taking place on all levels of society. It greatly matters which actions we are confronted with and how we react. We can only become spiritual people to daily meet Jesus and listen to his voice.