Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
Twins. The subject of twins fascinates most people — at least it fascinates those of us who are not twins. In my teen years I became friends with identical twin brothers who I still consider friends today. Each was unique, of course, but their bond was very close. They rarely fought, so far as I knew. More than once at their house I personally observed one of them go to the phone, pick it up without it ringing, and the other twin would be on the line at the other end, calling from across town. It was remarkable. Yet they made no show or demonstration about their closeness either in emotions and probity. Such things just happened to them in their experience of life. Both were (and are) remarkable artists, each expressing their abilities as adults in totally different ways. Both married well and are happy every time I see them.
My wife is also an identical twin. (She also married well, by the way.) She is also close with her sister, yet they are very different and not close in either their emotions or probity. Their mother was also a twin. So, to a certain extent, although an outsider, since I was young I have been an interested observer of the interactions of twins.
Research indicates that twins raised together have the closest relationship that any two human beings can possibly have, even closer than couples married a long, long time. The loneliness of being an individual is somewhat lessened in twins. They are “part” of something and someone, and subsequently twins feel less “alone” in life. This understanding must be considered whenever one reads about individuals who were raised as twins. It does not make twins strange or any less individuals, by no means, but it does make them different in wonderful ways. 1
Two sets of twins are mentioned in the Bible, so far as we can tell from the genealogies. Although Cain and Abel are believed by some to have been twins, this cannot be demonstrated. We know that twin sons named Pharez and Zerah (Genesis chapter 38) were born from the unfortunate incestuous union between Tamar and her father-in-law, Judah. The genealogical line through David to Christ came through the twin Pharez from Judah and Tamar.
The earlier and more famous set of twins in the Bible is that of Esau and Jacob. Esau was the firstborn (by minutes), yet Jacob overcame that “deficit” through several events in his life, often through underhanded acts. Esau and Jacob were raised together to adulthood by Isaac and Rebecca. The twins lived with their parents until they were middle age, yet the close bond that often occurs between twins is missing from their relationship, even after their reconciliation in Genesis chapter 33. During that period of time Jacob stole Esau’s birthright (which Esau despised, then was angry!), and Jacob fled to escape Esau’s wrath.
This month’s article concerns the past and future of the people of Jacob’s twin, Esau, whose descendants comprise “The Most Significant Gentile Nation in the Bible.” This article was transcribed from an audiotape presentation in 1977, almost 30 years ago, yet the information is highly relevant to our near-future. In footnotes I drew upon other biblical information that Dr. Martin mentions in other places. While the actions of individuals in the Bible do not necessarily cause actions by their descendants, biblically such actions help explain the background of some of the behavior predicted in the Bible. The Scriptures are clear that the people of Esau will do great harm to their twin-brother people of Jacob during a period just prior to the Second Coming of Christ.
The potential closeness and connection with another person is something we all strive to have, consciously or unconsciously. Some twins experience a measure of that closeness now, the sense of having someone to connect to, someone to communicate with closely on several levels, spoken and unspoken. We all seek that closeness, and when we cannot find it we indulge in some form of escapism to help us forget, even for a little while, our seeming loneliness in an uncaring universe.
The closeness that we all seek is what we will experience fully in the resurrection. We will experience that closeness to God primarily, but we will also experience that closeness to one another. We will all be twins, one of another, in the Family of God. Those in the first resurrection will all experience the “putting on” of immortality at the same time. That important shared experience of the resurrection, the subsequent shared learning, the shared joy, the shared love, all will instantly give us a bond, a link of being a part of — finally — a community, all while retaining our uniqueness, our individuality.
In the resurrection we will never feel alone. In human terms when Jesus Christ returns God will bring us to term, as in a mass multiple birth. However, that will only be from our point of view, because even now, at this moment, we are “born of God” (John 3:3–8; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 3:9, 4:7, 5:1, 4, 18) and we are now children of God (Luke 20:35–36; Romans 8:16, 21, 9:8; Galatians 3:21; 1 John 3:9–10; 5:1–2). 2 However, birth for the baby is a process not a singular event. We are now children of God waiting completion of our birth process. Although we will not be twins in a traditional sense, those who experience the first resurrection will have much more in common than any twins today can possibly have, while being closer than any twins (or triplets or more) ever can be.
We hope you appreciate the new homepage of the ASK Website. We like it and we hope you like it also. The homepage change took many hours of research and implementation. The purpose for the change was much more than just a desire to change the appearance of the website! First, an analysis was made regarding the ease-of-use of our website. While it was good, it was discovered the ASK website could be improved and much easier to use. We think we have accomplished this goal, and we will continue to improve the website, without hesitation, whenever we see the need. Second, the changes were made with a view of readers staying at our site longer and getting information faster and with more precision. As always the purpose is to lead people to read and understand their Bible through the research of Dr. Ernest Martin. The focus will always be to the Bible and to little else. Kudos to Charlie and Chip for their good work in this matter!
Thank you for your prayers and thoughts and concerns for us, and for the financial assistance you provide to us so we can continue to publish and produce excellent biblical study materials. We know that many of you are undergoing difficult times, illness, and even approaching death. But keep in mind that each day that passes brings us all closer to that moment of resurrection when we believers in Christ (the dead and those few living) will all suddenly hear a shout and our next conscious moment we will be rising in the air. That will be just the beginning of the good things in store for us. Thank you for allowing us to spread the hope of the Gospel of Christ. Thank you for allowing us to bring some truth to your lives.
David W. Sielaff
1 See the interesting short internet article by Lynn Perlmann, Ph.D., a psychologist and psychiatrist who is herself a twin. It is titled, “Am I an I or a We: Helping Twins to be Individuals” at http://www.twinsmagazine.com/sample2.html. DWS
2 This sense of being alien to the world (which we are commanded not to be “of” even while we are “in” the world), creates within us a longing. This is the longing I try to describe in my article, “Are You a Misfit?” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d020501.htm. DWS
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