We now turn our attention to Obadiah and God’s dealings with the Edomites, descendants of Esau, bitter enemies of God’s people Israel. This enmity was particularly against Judah: see verse 12. Their attitude is described in Psalm 137:7 by the captives in Babylon, giving a possible hint as to the time of writing! Herod, from Edomite stock, manifested this continual hatred against the Christ of God! As God deals with the enemies of His people, we too can rejoice that soon the Church of Christ will be triumphant over all her enemies, which like Edom, will be no longer as will be seen at the conclusion of this article.
Some background details for the setting and study of Obadiah:
With just about one page in most Bibles, one chapter, 21 verses, Obadiah is an interesting story of:
Two Cities, Jerusalem and Petra (Edomite capital 50 miles south of the Dead Sea)
Two Nations, Israel and Edom.
Two Brothers (twins), Esau and Jacob… birth order! Jacob and Esau… Divine order!
There are four chapters concerning Esau that must be reconciled in their context in order to understand the ways of God and for us to correctly represent the Divine Mind! 1. Genesis 25:23. In the historical book we have the prophetic utterance… “Two nations are in thy womb… and the elder shall serve the younger”. Why all this animosity between Esau and Jacob? Because God said, “the elder shall serve the younger”. That’s it! 2. Malachi 1:2-3. Now in the prophetical book we have the historical observation, “I loved Jacob… and I hated Esau”. Remember in Genesis 25, Esau and Jacob are two nations! These are now representative names! So, we have the love of God for Jacob, which is Israel, despite their failings. We also have God’s hatred of Esau, which is Edom! This hatred is not personal to Esau, but to Edom as a nation for their wicked ways against Israel. 3. Romans 9:11-14. In Romans Paul introduces the vexed question of Election, which should be for Christians to rejoice in, and reminds us of two very important matters:
What was said (Rom 9:12) … prophetic utterance! (Gen 25)
What was written (Rom 9:13) … historical observation! (Malachi 1)
Paul clearly states there is no unrighteousness with God, and we conclude no inconsistency in his own writings. 4. Hebrews 12:16-17. “Esau… found no place of repentance though he sought it carefully with tears”. Here Esau is not portrayed as seeking salvation, with God as a teaser withholding it from him. In the historical narrative in Genesis… repentance… to change! What was it that Esau sought to change? His own heart? No! He sought to change his father's mind as to the birthright, particularly with the blessing of the double portion in mind. The subsequent years and his actions proved what was really in his heart, and that he had no intention of repenting in the sense of being justified or being right with God.
Notes: It is interesting to look up the details on the time of writing, which vary from the reign of Jehoram King of Israel (2 Kings 1:17), to the Babylonian Captivity. Obadiah is not directly quoted in the New Testament.
OBADIAH-the doom of Edom!
Verses 1-9… Edom’s Utter Ruin!God says… “I will” (v 4). V 1. The vision of Obadiah. God has spoken. V 2. Edom to be made small… seen here as already done. V 3. Pride was the dominant feature of the Edomites, which thing God hates (Pro 6:17). Dwelling in the cleft of the rock is a description of Petra, a city hewn out of the rock. And they say… “Who shall bring me down to the ground”. V 4. God says... “I will bring thee down”. High up in the rocks… Eagle like… nest among the stars… God will do it. V 5. Thieves take the best and run. Grape gatherers take the best and leave some. Nothing to be left of Edom. V 6. Even the hidden things searched out. V 7. Confederacy… her allies against her. The men that were at peace… her neighbours against her. They that eat thy bread… her friends… beneficiaries of her hospitality against her. Vs 8-9. The wise men and the mighty men of the nation are cut off.
Verses 10-14… Edom’s Unrighteousness Actions!God says… “Thou shouldest not” (v 12). Are we uncomfortable with the Judgment of God? Is it too severe? V 10. For… one reason… God has many! V 10. Their violence against thy brother Jacob. The blood relation! V 11. Stood on the other side… was as one of them, became like the enemy. Jerusalem, the Holy City. V 12. Looked… rejoiced… spoke proudly… notice Judah, the southern remaining kingdom. V 13. Entered… looked… laid hands on. V 14. Prevented escape. Note. Thou shouldest not 7 times! The day that strangers… 7 descriptions of the day!
Verses 15-16… God’s Righteous Retribution! Vs 15-16. Day of the Lord… God will judge all Nations. The principal of sowing and reaping is clearly illustrated here.
Verses 17-21… God’s Restoration and Unification of Israel!God says… “There shall be” (v 17). One of the great but’s of the Bible… V 17. But upon Mount Zion, deliverance, holiness. V 18. House of Jacob (ref here to Judah). House of Joseph (ref to Israel). The Nation united in a coming day? I rather think that the reference could have a double meaning, in relation to the Messiah. This would be in keeping with the context of the book and representative names… hence… Jacob… the man with the birthright… Christ the Messiah. Matt 1 & Luke 3. Joseph… the man rejected now exalted… Christ the Messiah in a coming day. Millennial Glory! Esau… stubble… none remaining. V 19. Not fulfilled in 1948 or even today. Awaits the day of Messiah’s Millennial Glory! Note. South… West… North… East, expansion of territory. Greater than the days of David or Solomon. V 20. Interesting link to Zarephath… days of Elijah (1 Kings 17), which is in Zidon. Where did Jezebel come from? V 21. And saviours… Mount Zion… The Kingdom shall be Jehovah’s.
Look what will happen to our enemies! (The fulfilment of 1 Cor 15:24-28). The Flesh. That which we have within, a traitor. In resurrection we will have a body “fashioned like unto His glorious body” (Phil 3:21). The Devil. The Devil that deceived them will be bound 1000 years (Rev 20:2), and then loosed (Rev 20:7). Finally, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire… the Beast and the False Prophet are already there (Rev 20:10). The World. The world comes in three basic forms. Sodom… the world of gross evil. Egypt… the world of pleasure and treasure. Babylon… the world of religious confusion. All are now gone from the scene as eternity unfolds a new Heaven and a new Earth (Rev 21:1), “wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). Death itself. “And there shall be no more death” (Rev 21:4). “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26).