“…who are Israelites….” (Romans 9:4).
This is the name of honour given by God to Jacob; it is the ideal and prophetic name that will one day apply to the Jews, once they enter into its full meaning after they will have passed through the same experience as Jacob., Then, and only then, will they be able to call themselves Israelites in the sense that God said to Jacob;
“Your name shall be called Jacob no more, but Israel” (Genesis 32:28).
This mysterious transaction is recorded in Genesis 32:22-32. During that fateful night, when his heart was full of anxiety and fear as he awaited the meeting with his brother Esau, Jacob took his family and all that he had over the brook Jabbok; thus he “was left alone, and there a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day”. We know this man was Christ, and Jacob wouldn’t let Him go “until you bless me”.
This is a parable on God’s future dealings with His people Israel, who are not yet Israel; they are still in the “Jacob” period, the long dark “night” period of their history. Not yet do they “have power with God and men and are prevailing” (Genesis 32:28). They are still stubbornly locked in their rejection of the One sent to save them. But yet there is a Man wrestling with them, the same Man who wrestled with their father Jacob; but His name has not yet been revealed to them; the Man Christ Jesus, the angel of the covenant, their Messiah.
Hosea adds some colour to Jacob’s long night of struggle;
“In the womb he took his brother by the heel; and in his manhood he grew in strength towards God: yea, he had power with the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him at Beth-el, and there He spoke with us, even Jehovah, the God of hosts; his memorial will be Jehovah, The Lord God Almighty” (Hosea 12:3-5).
“He wept and made supplication to Him”; that is how Jacob became Israel, “a prince having power with God and men”; this is how he “prevailed”. Jacob’s people at present are in their “long night”, but the morning is not far off when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise upon His people, as they finally “look upon Him whom they have pierced” (John 19:37). Then they, too, like Jacob, will weep, as the prophet says;
“In that day, there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:11).