Intro: Our lesson tonight returns to Obadiah, the last verses. One of the real lessons contained in Obadiah’s prophecy about Edom is the ultimate fate of a society without God. I am convinced, as Homer Hailey suggests in his comments on Obadiah, that “throughout the writings of the prophets, Edom stands as a symbol of the earthly, nonspiritual people of the world.” Obadiah words are for our time as well, as we live in an earthly, nonspiritual culture. What Obadiah tells us about the fate of Edom translates to the fate of all those who oppose God and His people.
I. “ The Day of the Lord”- vs. 15 – “For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.” Obadiah simply states that the fate of Edom is tied to the fate of all the “nations” (heathen –KJV), or those that are not God’s people. What does that fate look like?
Note: In the language of the prophets the “nations” stood in contrast to God’s nation, Israel. So the term nations was used to refer to those who did belong to or serve God. As we make application of these words to today we must recognize that God does not designate His people through nationalistic lines or boundaries. The people of God come from all nations, and are designated by righteousness, not genealogy.
A. “The day of the Lord …is near” – The expression “day of Jehovah” is used by the prophets to designate a judgment from God. We might be tempted to only think of Jesus’ second coming, but the term is used to describe other judgments of God. If the Book of Obadiah is early, as we have assumed, then Obadiah is the first to use it, and others follow. Joel 1:15 – 15 Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty. (Isa. 13, etc.) It is a day in which God overthrows His enemies. In that is si both a day of terror to the enemies of God, and a day of deliverance for the people of God. In describing “the day of the Lord” in the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus said, “But when these things begin to come to pass, look up … because your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21 :28). What Obadiah is telling Edom is that their judgment is certain. “There will be no survivors from the house of Esau.” (v. 18).
B. “As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” God judgment upon the “nations” will be a judgment of reaping what they have already sowed. In this statement God proclaims the justice of his actions, and declares that those whom He is judging have in essence already judged themselves.
1. Reaping what you sow: Prov 22:8 – He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. Hosea 8:7 – “They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind.” The principle that a person reaps just what he sows runs throughout the scriptures. This principle does not contradict the presence and effects of God’s mercy (where we do not get what we deserve) but rather give it more clarity and emphasis. God’s mercy is the exception to the rule. We will see that in just a few verses. Edom could expect nothing less than justice. Galatians 6:7-8 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
II. Deliverance in Mt Zion: In the context of such a certain and final judgment, Obadiah sees hope from God. Obadiah 17-18 But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance. 18 The house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; the house of Esau will be stubble, and they will set it on fire and consume it. The Lord has spoken.
The second section of Obadiah’s prophecy reveals the future exaltation and glory of Israel and the defeat of all her enemies. The kingdom of Jehovah would be established on Mount Zion and Mount Seir (Edom) would be abased. In contrast to the judgment on Edom and all the heathen nations (vv. 15-16) In Mount Zion there shall be those that escape. How is this fulfilled?
A. Mt. Zion, represents the stronghold of God. It is synonymous with Jerusalem in the OT scriptures, and depicts the presence of God and His rule. The write of Hebrews uses this term to describe the church in its final state. Hebrews 12:22-23 – 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, – Mt. Zion is seen as a spiritual “place”, not physical only.
1. It will be holy… This holiness contrasts the profaneness of Esau and his descendants. Holiness is that characteristic that defines the transcendent difference between God and others. God is Holy Holy Holy. Those who serve him are holy as well. Holiness is the pathway to deliverance. In Isaiah’s picture of the time of the Messiah he described a “highway of holiness: where no unclean thing could enter.
- Isa 35:8 – 8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray…10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
- Rom 6:22 – But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
- 1 Thess. 4:7 – For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
- Heb 12:14 – Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
B. The house of Jacob will possess its inheritance. The house of Jacob” refers not to the physical descendants only, but to the future house of the redeemed – the Kingdom of God. It had been predicted at His birth that Jesus would “reign over the house of Jacob for ever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33).
1. Possess their possessions – the picture of God’s people possessing the possessions of their enemies (or their inheritance) rests upon the promise given the Abraham and his seed that they would inherit a land that belonged to others. In providing for Israel’s inheritance there had to be a defeat of their enemies and a securing of what was theirs. This is then an image of God keeping His promises through the defeat of Israel’s enemy (Edom) and is further represented by the image of Israel possessing the lands belonging to others. (v. 19-20)
2. “The house of Jacob” and “the house of Joseph” ( v. 18) indicate the uniting of Judah and Israel who had been separated and enemies since the death of Solomon. These, brought back together in holiness would be a devouring flame and wholly consume the house of Edom. Jehovah had spoken it. It was a proclaimed certainty.
3. The reunion of Israel and its regaining of land lost was first fulfilled in the return of the remnant from Babylonian exile in the days of Ezra, Zerubabbel, and Nehemiah. But there is more to this prophecy than that.
III. The Possession of Edom: The prophecy of Obadiah concerning the possession of Edom by the people of God looks to the time of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We do not have to guess about this. The NT writers give us the sense. Consider first two other prophecies that connect.
A. Prophecy of Balaam – Numbers 24:15-19 15 So he took up his oracle and said:”The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, And the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened; 16 The utterance of him who hears the words of God, And has the knowledge of the Most High, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Who falls down, with eyes wide open: 17 “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult. 18 “And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, While Israel does valiantly. 19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, And destroy the remains of the city.”
1. There is little doubt that this Star and scepter is Jesus and His kingly authority. Balaam was certainly looking forward to the time of the Messiah. In this time he says “”And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, While Israel does valiantly.”
B. Amos 9:11-12– 11 “On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” Says the Lord who does this thing.”
1. Amos says that the tabernacle of David would be rebuilt from its ruins “that they may possess the remnant of Edom.” all which are called by the Lord’s name. When were these prophecies fulfilled?
C. In Acts 15 James applied this latter prophecy to the time of the conversion of Gentiles into the church. It is related in the prophecy as a conquest of the nations by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. Acts 15:13-18 – 13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: 16 ‘After! this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; 17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.’ 18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.
a. The bringing in of the Gentiles into the spiritual kingdom of God through the preaching of the gospel as the hope of Obadiah. The book of Acts records the spiritual conquest of all of the territories mentioned by Obadiah v. 17-20. Phillistia, Samaria, Phoenicia (Zarepath), into Asia Minor. God’s people conquered their enemies through the power of the Messiah and the Word of God.
b. Thus, by recognizing the authority of Christ as sovereign Lord and King, Christians enjoy victory and triumph over all enemies – not politically and militarily, but through truth leading to eternal life.
c. Who are the “saviors” of v. 21 who come to Mt. Zion to judge the mountains of Edom? If we recognize Edom as representing the lost of the world, could it be the apostles of Christ, coming to Jerusalem through the power of the Spirit to preach the gospel?
d. Whoever these may be the truth revealed is certain: Salvation for Gentiles is found on Mt. Zion, the church or Kingdom of God. It is here that God has placed His name and protection.
Conclusion: We live in a world of Edomites, the earthly nonspiritual are all around us. Because of this, there is suffering and godlessness. What is God’s answer to this? What is His judgment?
- It is not social revolution or political change. The deliverance is in Mt. Zion.
- We may take refuge on Mount Zion and put our trust in King Jesus. He will deliver us and give eternal victory.
- Consider again the words of the Hebrew writer: Turn and read these with me: Hebrews 12:22-28 – 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
We are marching to Zion.