Book of Obadiah
The reason I wanted to study Obadiah is twofold. First, it was the name the Holy Spirit kept repeating in my spirit. I could not consider doing another Book at this time. If you had not all voted to go with it, I would have done it as a personal study. I’m glad you are joining me in the search through the 21 verses of Obadiah.
Second, I have never heard a word spoken from Obadiah as a sermon or teaching in all the years I spent in church. There must be something good in it for us or why would God have preserved this Book for all generations. Some would say God didn’t save it man added it to the Bible by choice. I ask, “Oh really?” I believe the Bible is compiled according to the will of God as much as the Bible Books were written by His direction.
The name Obadiah means “Worshipper of Yahweh.” Obadiah is the shortest Book in the Old Testament of the Bible having just one chapter. There is no certainty about which Obadiah God used here to record this vision, only conjecture. Some think he was the Obadiah that served in Ahab’s house and who hid the prophets to protect them (I Kings 18:3), but there is no proof of that. Some Bible scholars believe he lived at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. Personally, I don’t think it’s important when he lived, but that he lived and spoke for God.
This Book we will study is titled The Vision of Obadiah. It’s divided into two major parts. Part one is in verse 1-14 where Obadiah announces the destruction of Edom because of its participation in the destruction of Jerusalem. The animosity between Israel (Jacob) and Edom (Esau) began in Rebekah’s womb. She had a difficult pregnancy which led her to ask God what was going on inside her. She received the prophecy that twins, Esau and Jacob, were fighting within her womb for position. She was told this animosity would go on throughout their lifetimes. He told her that when the boys were born, and they became two separate nations, the nations would always be at odds with each other. Eventually Rebekah’s time came, and Esau (red; or hairy one) was born into the world first, but Jacob (supplanter) had a firm grip on his heel.
Edom, the descendants of Jacob’s brother, Esau, was always ready to help Israel’s enemies bring harm against her. When Jerusalem was plundered by the Babylonians, the Edomites joined right in and helped defeat the people. It was the Edomites that prevented the Jews who tried to escape allowing them to be captured by the invading army of Nebuchadnezzar. Edom not only helped capture the Jews. Once the captivity was successful, they celebrated the destruction of their “enemy” Jerusalem. “Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished” (Proverbs 17:5).
Part two anticipates the Day of the Lord when His righteous vengeance will come upon Edom. It will be a time of major destruction to the land of Esau. Their continued hostility toward Israel will come to a screeching halt. Even as the Jews could not escape the invading army, neither will Edomites be able to run or hide from the wrath of God.
Verse 17 is a promise of restoration for Jacob (Israel). It says, “But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” In the Day of the Lord, Edom will suffer her greatest loss as Israel is restored to her former greatness in God. Mount Zion, or Jesus the Christ, will rule the mountains of Esau (Edom).
In the New King James Spirit Filled Life Bible, it divides the “Day of the Lord” into four parts. They are:
1.The time of the prophets in the Old Testament. 2.The first coming of Jesus the Christ to earth.
(Rapture will occur during the time between the first and second coming of Jesus.)
3.The second coming of Jesus the Christ to earth when He will restore God’s order to earth. 4.The world to come, after the Millennium, where there will be no sin, no war, no pain, no sickness or disease, no hostility toward others.
Edom should have defended her relatives against Babylon. Instead, she dug right in beside these wicked people and brought destruction to Jerusalem and death and captivity to her people. Yes, the captivity was God’s doing, but Edom should have fought with Jerusalem, not against her. We can learn a valuable lesson from this very short Book. So many families nowadays are at odds with each other over insignificant foolishness, but pride prevents us from seeking to make amends. Our health, and peace, and joy are results of reconciliation. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
Reconciliation begins with forgiveness. “Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]” (Colossians 3:13 AMP). One of the definitions of the word “forgive” is “to grant relief from payment of.” When we have our feelings hurt, we want the person to pay a price. That price is often rejection. “You hurt my feelings, so I’m not ever talking to you again,” sort of thing. But true forgiveness takes no notice of any harm done. Forgiveness is an expression of the love of God. That’s why Christians are admonished so often to forgive. We always want forgiveness, but when the role is reversed, we don’t want to extend it to others. That’s pride.
There is a perfect example of this in Matthew 18:23-35 where it tells about the servant who owed a lot of money, but could not pay his bill, was forgiven, but turned around and would not forgive the man who owed him a little. Greed, pride, control all appear in this parable of the Unforgiving Servant. It would be a good thing for you all to study on your own.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask God to, "Forgive us our debts even as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12). Debt here is not about money, although it can be. It refers to personal sin that was committed against us by family, friends, workmates, etc… This also includes physical harm that is done to us. Example: When Charles Carl Roberts IV shot ten girls, killing five, while holding them hostage in their school, the Amish emphasis was not on punishing the man’s family, but on forgiveness and reconciliation. They knew to harbor hate or bitterness would harm them.
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
In Galatians 6:7, Paul paraphrased what Obadiah said in verse 15 of his vision. Let’s look at it.
Obadiah 1:15, “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.”
Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived (fooled; misled); God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If you plant hate, you will reap hate. If you plant love, you will reap love. In other words, you get back what you give out. If Edom could have learned this concept, they would not have been so far out of God’s will. If they had blessed Israel rather than curse her, God’s judgment would be no issue. But, as Scripture says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
Esau forgave Jacob, and they were reconciled, but his descendants did not, nor will they ever forgive Jacob for his deception. The Palestinians and Iranians have vowed to destroy Israel and drive her people into the sea. The war where they will attempt that is not Armageddon nor the Battle of Gog and Magog. It is a battle that is on the front page of the newspapers every night. It’s a battle what will soon be fought. Why? Pride. Little tiny Israel is more powerful in all ways than any other Middle Eastern country, and they don’t like it. The devil is now trying to turn Israel’s last allies against her. When she goes into this battle, it will be with no help from anyone, and that’s when GOD’S power will be seen as He fights the battle for Israel.
Another thing they should have recalled is found in Genesis 12:1-3. God promised two things, blessings to those who bless Israel and curses to those who curse Israel. Since other countries choose to curse Israel, they are mocking God, and it will not last. God’s patience will break, His judgments will fall, and vengeance will be His.
Verses 15 and 21 Obadiah anticipates the coming of the Lord Jesus for the second time at the end of the Tribulation. When He does come, the final battle that will ever be fought on earth will take place, and the kingdom of earth will be His. He will sit on the mountain in Israel and He will judge the nations. Israel will finally be free of all opposition.
Blood is mentioned 427 times in the Bible. Someone once said, “Cut the Bible anywhere and it will bleed.” To me, the Blood of Jesus is the most precious. It is true that “much is made of the Blood of Jesus” as Billye Brim says: And rightly so. The Blood of Jesus cleanses us and makes us righteous before God. Let me tell you that the fact of life being in the blood is no more so than the life we acquire by washing in the Blood of Jesus. When Jesus gave His body a living sacrifice for us, it was with pure, unconditional love. Although true, He did not accuse us of our sin. He did not judge us from the cross. He did not call on the Father, to annihilate us. He took our punishment without one bitter thought or word against us. His Blood flowed like a river through all who would accept Him: It still does.
The Blood is the substance God uses to separate us from the world. It covers our sin so thoroughly that God no longer remembers our sin. When God looks at you from heaven, does He see the Blood of Jesus or the blackness of sin covering you? If you are not born-again, Blood washed, and Spirit-filled, you are a sinner not yet saved. Search your heart tonight and see which category you fall into. The body and blood of Jesus are our eternal future. If you want an eternity of peace and harmony settle the issue of salvation tonight.
Father, we take up the bread of life that is in remembrance of the body of Jesus. Sanctify it to us now, Lord. Make us holy as Jesus is holy. Help us to live our lives for You.
“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24). Take the bread now.
Father, we now drink from the cup of the Blood of righteousness. Search our hearts, Lord, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Cover us in the Blood so that it’s what You see on us and in us when You look down from Your throne.
“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:25). Drink of the cup now.
Book of Obadiah
“The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle” (Obadiah 1:1). A vision is not a dream. It is a supernatural mental and spiritual appearance that conveys a revelation. God showed Obadiah what was to come as He told him what to speak. We have seen this in Revelation where John had visions and Jesus spoke with him. Obadiah makes it clear that the information he has to share is not his own desire but came through the word and vision God gave him. He takes no credit for the knowledge, but points to God as the creator of the vision and the One who will make it come to pass.
This vision is against the nation of Esau called Edom. Esau, we remember was the twin brother of Jacob. When Jacob stole Esau’s blessing, and after Isaac died, Esau moved to the mountains of Seir. There he and his men married into the Horite nation and the Horites became part of Esau’s lineage. Edom’s territory was not for Israel. It was set apart for Esau’s descendants. We know this by what God spoke through Moses, “Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession” (Deuteronomy 2:5)
It is a fact that although the brothers made up, the nations remained at odds with each other and still do. When Israel was up, Edom was in bad shape. When Israel was under judgment, Edom was on top. It was the men of Edom who helped Babylon in taking the Jews captive when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. It was also Edom that would not allow the Israelites to cross their land on their way to Canaan. For the evil they perpetrated against Israel, God would punish them. Amos 1:11 states it well. “Thus says the Lord: ‘For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever.”
Let’s read Ezekiel 25:12-14. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.”
God would not allow Edom to go unpunished. He called the nations around her to rise up and come to battle. In the 5th century BC, the Edomites were forced out of Seir by the Nabateans. They then settled south of Palestine in Idumea where they were called Idumeans. Watch this, now! It was a man of the Idumeans, Herod the Great, king of Judah that tried to kill Jesus by having all the infant boys 2 years old and under murdered. History shows that it was also an Idumean who killed John the Baptist.
“Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised” (verse 2). The words “small” and “despised” are used forcefully here. God brought the Edomites down to the lowest degree a population can reach. If we were to phrase it in today’s vernacular, we might say, “Edom, you are scum floating on the pond of life.” They were not just despised by the nations around them. They were utterly hated! Their neighbors would not be friends and they would not come out to help them in any way.
“The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, ‘Who shall bring me down to the ground?’” (Verse 3) In his commentary, Albert Barnes said, “Pride was the root of Edom’s sin, then envy; then followed exultation at his brother’s fall, hard-heartedness and bloodshed.” Their pride was also based on the fact they considered themselves undefeatable as they were living in a rugged mountain terrain that was difficult to access, had a great and mighty army protecting them, and had great wealth accumulated by trading, looting and mining of iron and copper.
We are told in Proverbs 16:18 that “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” The Edomites suffered both conditions. You see, pride causes people to become arrogant, conceited, puffed up. They put their trust in what they have rather than in Who provided it to them. That’s why Jesus said it’s difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. (Mark 10:25)
“Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD” (verse 4). The Edomites lived high up in the clefts and caves of mountain Seir. They felt safe as the eagles in their nests. In their arrogance, they made a fatal mistake. They asked of God, “Who shall bring me down to the ground?” God answered them without hesitation, “I WILL!” What seemed impossible for man was definitely possible for God. Yes, they were high among the craggy cliffs, but their pride deceived them into thinking they were untouchable. We have learned from the studies through Joel and Amos, that there is no place that people can hide where God can’t root them out.
“Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?” (Job 20:4-7) That’s what happened to the Edomites.
Look at what Malachi tells us about Edom, “Even though Edom has said, “We have been impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places,” Thus says the LORD of hosts:
“They may build, but I will throw down; They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness,
And the people against whom the LORD will have indignation forever” (Malachi 1:4 NKJV). “Indignation” is resentment, outrage, or anger.
There will come a day when the people of this world will be so overcome by the calamity loosed on the world when Jesus opens the Sixth Seal that they will hide in caves and beg the mountains to fall on them, as though that would thwart God’s plans to punish them. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17) The answer to that question is; no one. Everyone in that day will see, hear, and taste the judgment of God. It won’t be the end yet, but people will wish it was.
“If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes?” (Verse 5) These are rhetorical questions Obadiah is asking for the Lord. Let me paraphrase for you. “If thieves came to your house by day, or robbers came to your house by night, wouldn’t they just take as much as they could carry and leave the rest? If the grape harvesters came to glean the vines, wouldn’t they leave some grapes on the vine for the poor to come and glean behind them?” (Deuteronomy 24:21) Under normal conditions, the answer to both would be, “Yes, they would.” This time, the answer is from God, and He says, “No!” Not one thing will be left to the Edomites, including their mountain, their wealth, their children, their flocks and herds, their freedom, not even their lives. Their gods could not save them from the hand of GOD!
God is a just God. He doesn’t kill those who are faithful to Him. A perfect example of that is Rahab who hid the spies in Joshua. When the priests and men of war marched around Jericho, and on the seventh day they and the entire congregation of Israel shouted as the priests blew sustained notes on the ram’s horn so that the wall fell down flat, all the people in Jericho were plundered and killed, except Rahab and her family and their possessions. (Joshua 6) Sadly, in Mount Seir there were none faithful whom God would save out. They would all be killed or taken captive. A good Scripture to remember is, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). If you plant wheat seeds, you will not harvest watermelons. In other words, the Edomites sewed to their own destruction with pride and idol worship.
“How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!” (Verse 6) The Edomites were wealthy. They had many valuable possessions which they hid within the caves. The Assyrians even searched those out and took them. This brings to mind the admonition Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:19-21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
God is our most valued inheritance and we gain Him through Jesus. When Jesus died, and you accepted Him as your personal Savior, the sacrifice that saves, the will was read. That’s why you now are able to share in all that Jesus is and does. We have the right to come to the Father for anything in Jesus’ name. We can ask whatever we will and, if it’s determined by God to be good for us and everyone else, He will do it for us, IN JESUS” NAME. This is why we have the authority to stomp on demons and heal the sick. Never should we use this authority in pride because it will backfire on us. We must use the Word of God as it was written, nothing added to it. We must believe and receive both the authority and the results of using it.
When I was a child, I was terrified to take communion. We were taught that if you sinned before taking the host, you would go to hell. As a child I spent a lot of time fighting with my brothers, especially the younger one who annoyed me frequently. My parents wouldn’t make him stop, so I just bopped him. I knew hitting him was wrong and was scared God would zap me on the spot when the bread hit my tongue.
Praise God we know that we can go directly to the Lord for forgiveness before we take communion together. No longer do I fear the torment of hell for taking the bread and wine unworthily. If I have a problem with someone, I can go to the person, or call, and get things right before eating and drinking. But know this: We have Jesus standing as Mediator for us with God, and forgiveness is ours if we ask, but if we have some unresolved issues, or a grudge against someone, if we are walking in sin, we must not take the elements as communion. Get right with God and with man first. It’s so easy to do. Swallow your pride which, as we saw in the study, only brings death, and apologize. Yes, apologize even if you were not “wrong.” Reconciliation is the thing we must seek before we eat of the bread and drink the wine.
“And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24). Please eat the bread.
“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:25). Please drink the cup.
Book of Obadiah
I thought the following information I found about Obadiah 6 was interesting enough to share. In an article by Richard T. Ritenbaugh it said that the Bible lost the severity of the Hebrew words spoken to Edom during translation. He said, "Oh, how Esau shall be searched out!" should be, "Oh, how Esau shall be ransacked!" a much more aggressive and violent expression.” He went on to say, “His hidden treasures shall be sought after" suggests a functionary making a thorough search for valuables. The Hebrew, however, describes a pillaging army invading and taking everything of value and destroying the rest. Edom will be completely sacked.”
“All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?” (Verses 7, 8). Have you ever trusted someone only to have them betray you? We probably all have, and we still can feel the sting of it if we think about it. Edom was about to be stung most severely.
A “confederacy” is an alliance of people, states, or parties united for a common purpose. For Edom this was an alliance, a friendship with her neighbors, the Moabites, Ammonites and others which gave them confidence that Edom could never be taken down by an invading army. They were among friendly armies with whom they ate and fellowshipped. Yet these nations are the very ones God used to betray her. Albert Barnes said, “Destruction is more bitter, when friends aid in it.”
What makes this deception worse is that Edom was known for raising wise men. One of the more notable wise ones being Job from Uz, which commentators connect to Edom. In Jeremiah 49:7, we see this question asked, “Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?” The answer to these questions was a resounding, “Yes!”
The leadership and the people placed their trust in the confederacy which would ultimately be used of God to cause a wound that could never heal when their friends walked with the Edomite army, and the ambassadors of Edom, to the borders of their territory straight into an ambush. The Edomites were used to traveling to and from these borders with their neighbors. On this particular day God put it in the hearts of the “friendlies” to deceive Edom. Rather than fight with her, the confederate nations turned and fled, leaving Edom to defend herself. “The men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee,” is an understatement.
“And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter” (verse 9). Teman originally came from the name of Esau’s first grandson born to his first son, Eliphaz. Just as Jacob was called Israel, so Teman is also used when referring to Edom because of his powerful position in the nation of Edom.
All the mighty men of Edom lost their courage for the fight when they saw their allies running and leaving them to be slaughtered. When their courage failed them, it left the people undefended and unprotected. From the oldest to the youngest would be slaughtered. In the next section of Obadiah, we will understand that Edom was reaping what she had sewn against Israel.
“For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever” (verse 10). What do you supposed is the basis for God’s burning anger against Edom? It is the fact that Israel is God’s chosen nation and people, the “apple of His eye.” Look with me at Deuteronomy 32:9, 10, “For the LORD's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” (See Zechariah 2:8) Also, let’s look at Exodus 19:3-6, “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”
The people of Edom forgot the Law of God that commands, ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:17, 18 NKJV). Oh, you thought that “love your neighbor” was a New Testament concept? It’s a God concept. It permeates the Bible and is one He takes very seriously. Edom’s (Esau’s) arrogant disregard of this law led to their pride and their hatred of Israel (Jacob) and would lead to their own shame.
Hatred leads people to do terrible things. Edom was no exception. Because of this hatred and pride, they jeered at Israel and rejoiced at every difficulty that came to Israel. That’s why, when Babylon captured Jerusalem, the Edomites helped round up the Jews who were trying to escape. They sold their Jewish brethren into slavery and stole their land when they were weak and unable to defend themselves. They were, and still are hate-filled hateful people who sought only to destroy Israel at any price.
In his study about Edom, Richard T. Ritenbaugh wrote, ”God encapsulates the reason for His terrible judgment against Edom into a single word: "violence." In Hebrew, this word (violence) is chamas, believe it or not, so strikingly similar to the name of the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas. In actuality, Hamas is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawima al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Resistance Movement. Along with Hezbollah, it has been Israel's chief enemy for many years. It is difficult to see this as a mere coincidence.” What fuels their bitter hatred? Jealousy
Mr. Ritenbaugh went on to say, “Could this be a scriptural clue as to the modern-day identity of Edom or perhaps Amalek? The details revealed in Obadiah support such a conclusion. A survey of recent Middle East history shows how Hamas has set itself against the Jews; no other group bears such vehement hatred for them. Even though it has secured political power in Palestine, it will not renounce its perpetual hatred against the state of Israel—not even to become a viable player on the world stage. Members of Hamas simply want to annihilate Israel.”
“In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them” (verse 11). The Edomites stood there watching the carnage taking place in Jerusalem and gloated over it when the Babylonians came against Judah destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple. When they saw the war had a sure conclusion, and that Judah would be defeated, the Edomites became “as one of them.” In other words, they came against their own flesh and blood. There is no closer blood than that of twins, and yet, Esau, or rather his descendants, helped the Babylonians defeat Judah and carry away captive 10,000 of Judah’s choice men, including Daniel whose name was changed to Belteshazzar, Hananiah renamed Shadrach, Mishael renamed Meshach, and Azariah renamed Abednego. (The Book of Daniel is a fabulous book to read and study through.)
Please don’t let anyone fool you about the Palestinians. They have no desire for peace with Israel. Their focus is only on destroying Israel and driving the Jews, the Israelites into the sea. Peace talks are unprofitable when one side has no real interest in resolving the problems. Most of the people living in the Middle East still gloat over any hardships Israel suffers. They still hiss at her.
We are commanded in Scripture to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), but this is not only peace as we usually understand it. It is shalom, which does include freedom from war, but also, as Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines "shalom" as, "to be well, happy, complete, in good health, prosperous, to be whole, and wholly.” In other words, Shalom means nothing missing, nothing broken. This Shalom is Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord Our Peace. By His stripes we are healed, by His blood we are washed clean, by God’s riches in Christ Jesus our needs are met. Shalom will come to Israel and to the world at Jehovah-Shalom’s second coming, when He finally defeats Israel’s foes for the last time. There will be one day (1,000 years) that the devil will be bound in the pit. After that day, he will be free to roam the earth again for a short time. He will then be cast into the Lake of Fire eternally. Peace in spirit, soul, and body will belong to all who belong to Shalom, Jesus. Pray for Jerusalem, for Israel as the Lord commands, and leave the rest to the Lord.
As we take the Lord’s Supper tonight, I’d like us to remember the first supper that God commanded His children to take. It too was taken on Passover, it was the Passover. It was the meal taken standing up. It was a meal of unleavened bread, no time for the yeast to work, a perfect lamb, and bitter herbs washed down with a glass of wine. This meal was eaten before God freed Israel from slavery to Egypt.
The second meal God commanded we take is the Lord’s Supper. This was the meal eaten with the same elements of bitter herbs, flat bread, lamb and wine. This meal was eaten just before Jesus went out and set us free from slavery to sin and death. Both meals paid our ransom, the price God required for our cleansing and freedom. Communion should never be taken by anyone who is not in Christ, saved, born-again. It is a special meal that commemorates what Jesus did for us and how thankful we are to Him for it.
Father, as we lift the bread tonight that symbolizes Your body broken for us for the remission of sin, we pray for the Shalom of Israel. We ask that You will protect the Your people, the Jews, no matter where they live in this world. We ask also that You will make a way for them to go home. Bring them to the Shalom of Jesus the Christ as their Messiah.
Jesus broke the bread in sight of His apostles, even the one who would betray Him, and said, “This is my body. Eat it in remembrance of Me.” Please eat the bread.
Father, as we drink the wine that represents Your shed Blood, we ask that you will bless the people of Israel, their land, water, vineyards, groves, flocks, and herds.
Jesus took the cup of wine and said, “For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Please drink the cup.
Book of Obadiah
Last week we looked at verse 11, but I wanted to take a moment here to stress the phrase, “In that day.”
The hatred between the brothers (nations) began “in that day” when Jacob, at the prodding of his mother, stole Esau blessing from Isaac. When Esau discovered the deception and his ultimate loss, he made a vow to kill Jacob. “And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob” (Genesis 27:41). The tension and war in the Middle East were started that day through sibling rivalry and a deep yearning in Esau to “get even.” Yes, God understood Esau’s disappointment, however, He tells us in the Bible to forgive one another. “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love” (Proverbs 17:9a).
Let’s take a moment to see how Edom could have benefitted from Solomon’s wisdom in Proverbs 17:9, which states, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” To cover a sin that one commits against you is to forget it, never mention it again, and never use it to accuse the sinner again. One of the most destructive forces against any relationship is digging up the past and using it as a club on the offender. This is what Esau and his nation did. They practiced, or rehearsed the wrong Jacob did. They did, and still do repeat it over and over again as they rail in anger at Israel. The sin of lying, cheating and stealing egged on by a mother thousands of years ago is the center of the hatred the Palestinians and all the Middle Eastern nations have against Israel. If Esau had “covered” Jacob’s sin and never repeated it, there would be peace between those nations now. Because they didn’t cover and forget, we read the following.
“In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them” (Obadiah 11). “Stoodest on the other side” means they stood there aloof. So, “In that day” was when they watched their blood family being decimated by the Babylonians they watched with cold indifference. “In that day” was when they made a lethal decision not to help Judah against the enemy; they did so out of pride. It was “In that day” when Edom saw the temple desecrated and did nothing to stop it that the coldness of their hearts was evident. “In that day” when they came alongside of their family’s enemies to help destroy Jerusalem was “the day” they acted superior to their brothers, and “the day” when their future was sealed.
“That day” was their last chance to make things right, and they refused to turn to God and honor Israel, just as now. God would now outline their sin and reveal His judgment against Edom.
“But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress” (Obadiah 12). They should not have watched with satisfaction and delight as Judah was destroyed. Rather, they should have wept and mourned for their brothers and at least made an attempt to help them. Instead, they were happy to see the Jews slaughtered. They rejoiced that a nation could defeat the bane of their existence. They couldn’t do it themselves.
The Edomites “rejoiced” at seeing the Jews removed from their homes, taken captive and led to a foreign land. I’m sure they felt that their nemesis was finally gone out of their lives forever. They spoke proudly against their brothers believing justice had finally been done. Psalm 137:7 records their harsh words. “Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.” They should have known better as the Jews are God’s chosen race, and they should have feared for their own demise instead.
To raze something is to demolish it completely. They were calling on the invading army to knock Israel apart so that it became a heap of rubble.
Although one reason the Jews were taken from Judah was because they failed to observe the Sabbath of the land (work a plot of land 6 years, allow it to rest the seventh), the temple was a focal point of their lives. They still made daily sacrifices and met there for worship. Now the temple was destroyed and the Jews were hundreds of miles from home in a land that served idols and false gods. Many Jews would bow the knee to Baal and Molech and offer their children as sacrifices in that strange land. But God promised Daniel, through a letter from Jeremiah, that the captivity would only last 70 years after which a remnant would come out of Babylon and they would return to Judah to rebuild the temple and the wall. This was done when Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and released the Jews to return to their homeland.
“Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;” (verse 13). Notice this: “in the day of their calamity” is mentioned three times in verse 13. We know that something is mentioned several times for emphasis. It is God’s will here that Obadiah stress exactly when and how the Edomites had offended Him. It was when they entered the gates of Jerusalem, when they rejoiced in the downfall of Jerusalem, and when they put their hands on the valuables of their brothers to steal them. Although Obadiah spoke a prophecy yet to take place in the future, God wanted Edom to comprehend what they would do that offended Him. Even though so warned, they eventually did it all.
God is still warning this world about what offends Him and brings destruction. As with the Edomites, the people of the nations, including this country, are ignoring His counsel. How does He warn us? It is through the Scriptures, through the prophets of God, and through our own understanding of right and wrong.
“Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress” (verse 14). The “crossway” was what we refer to as the crossroads where two or more roads intersect. The Edomites in their bitter hatred stood at these points to block the escape routes the Jews might use to flee to safety. Having escaped the sword of the invading army, they were either killed by the Edomites on the spot, or were “delivered up” to captivity of the army. What a harsh cruelty that was. They showed no mercy to their own flesh and blood whom they could have saved. In the concept of sewing and reaping, God’s mercy would be withheld from them one day as they withheld it from their brothers now.
It isn’t difficult for anyone who watches the news nowadays to believe these things. Through the reports of people on the scene or in contact with survivors by phone, we can see how evil the people in the Middle East are. They not only torture and kill people of other nations, they kill their own without hesitation. They have no qualms about killing anyone that offends them. They can decapitate their wives in public for imagined or real offense. They can stone their children for not obeying. They can beat their children to death if they suspect disrespect or that they might become too westernize. Look at what the Syrians are doing now. They are targeting and killing the children! That is, their own children who were born to their nation. The most recent report I read says that 400 children have been killed in 2012. Here’s how they see the children. “A defector described the shooting of a two-year-old girl by an officer who said he did not want her to grow up to be a demonstrator.” This moron could look at a two-year old child and foresee her as a demonstrator and be so frightened by the idea that he killed her? If you ask me, those people are off tilt.
“For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head” (verse 15). “The day of the Lord” was done many times in the Bible against nations that offended God, especially where Israel was concerned. But this day is also a time future that God has set as his final judgment of the nations. It will be at the end of the Tribulation when God will call the nations to war against Israel. It will be the day that Israel will watch as her enemies are totally and finally defeated. Syria, Egypt, Iran, Russia, to name a few, will see annihilation, obliteration, and Israel will finally be at peace.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21, 22). The Tribulation will last 7 years. The first 3 ½ years, Israel will seem to live in peace with the nations. But their hatred runs deep and the second 3 ½ years will be the Great Tribulation when Jews will be hunted down like mad dogs and killed in the worst holocaust ever. It will open season on them, and that’s when God will protect them. After those days when the vial judgments are complete, Jesus will come back to Mount Zion and He will judge the nations. None will survive the judgment. They will be destroyed and the people eternally damned to hell.
“For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been” (verse 16). Albert Barnes said, “God's "holy mountain is the hill of Zion," including mount Moriah on which the temple stood.” The temple mount is a sacred place to the Lord and His people. The pagans drank in celebration there when they saw Israel/Judah being overcome by their enemies. The Edomites drank and caroused on that mountain when Nebuchadnezzar, then Rome carried away Judah’s sacred temple vessels. It is suspected that they celebrated Judah’s defeat because it proved their god, Coze, was stronger than Israel’s God.
Because the Edomites commemorated Judah’s fall with drink and revelry, God said He would make them drink, swallow, and keep on drinking unto their own demise. Richard T. Ritenbaugh "Yes, they [Edom and its confederates] shall drink and drink and drink until they drink themselves right out of existence."
About “…and they shall be as though they had not been”, John Gill said, “as now are the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and so the Edomites; their names are not heard of in the world, only as they are read in the Bible...” This is a good lesson for us all to learn. These nations were destroyed for coming against Israel. As the United States continues to coerce Israel to relinquish more of her covenant land, we open ourselves up to God’s judgment. 9/11 is called a harbinger, a warning to the US to stop doing this and return to being Israel’s ally. God was telling Edom, ”Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). In other words, “"Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (II Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 6:7-8).
We take communion here each Sunday night to remember Jesus. We must be careful that it doesn’t become a hollow observation. As we eat the bread and drink the cup, it should remind us of God’s great love for each one of us that led Him to give us Jesus as the perfect Lamb to be slain.
God sent Jesus because He “so loved the world.” God’s love for His people creation was so deep it moved His heart to make a way out for us so that we will never face hell and death (meaning spiritual, not physical death); and Jesus is the Way. God’s gift of Jesus was offered and we grasped at it. Praise God we listened to the Holy Spirit’s calling and got saved. That salvation is what qualifies us to take the communion elements, if we are clear in our conscience.
Knowing He was eating His last meal as a man among His apostles, Jesus broke the bread, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matthew 25:26). Please take the bread.
“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new] covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 25:27, 28). Please take the cup now.
Book of Obadiah
We will begin with a prophecy from Ezekiel that illustrates why God uttered this prophecy in Obadiah. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 25:12-14).
“But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions” (Obadiah 17). Oh hallelujah, glory to God. Let’s praise the Lord for a moment for this promise! Praise you, Father, that no matter which enemy aligns itself with satan against Your chosen people, You will deliver Israel! Praise You, that, no matter what, You have never forsaken Your children. Praise You that You are the same God today for those who are of the Bride of Christ. The promises for Israel are Ye and Amen, just as they are for us. BLESS THE LORD!
Understand this: For there to be holiness on Mount Zion, the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock placed there by Muslims will have to be removed and the mountain purified by God. The Dome of the Rock is purported to be one of Islam’s most holy places, yet, this is not taught in their Koran. They use this lie to keep the people stirred up against Israel.
This prophecy of redemption was partially fulfilled several times in Israel’s history when they were released from captivity and allowed to go home. But the true, total fulfillment will take place when Jesus comes the second and final time to earth. When His feet touch down on Zion will be the beginning of eternal restoration for Israel. Understand this. Obadiah is not giving this prophecy to the church. It is a promise from God for Israel. The church has NOT replaced Israel as the apple of God’s eye. We are the in-grafted branch, or the adopted son, that benefits from the blessings of the true vine (John 15:1). Look with me at Ephesians 1:3-6 for this. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” “Before the foundation of the earth” we were Christ’s and as such, adopted sons of the Most High God.
Yes, as the church we have a particular place in God’s plan for the eternal kingdom. Yes, as the church, we are blessed. No, we are not the main focus of God’s love and mercy, Israel is, always has been, always will be since the day He called Abram (Abraham).
We remember that the House of Jacob and Israel are synonymous. Unless one is speaking of the man, Jacob, the country, Israel, is meant. When Jesus comes to Mount Zion, Israel will be made righteous. She will finally have accepted Jesus as Messiah. As God’s peculiar (uncharacteristic) people, she will be given possession forever of the covenanted lands they lost to their enemies. One commentator says, “They will inherit their inheritance.” In other words, all they lost by their stubborn pride will be returned to them.
Let’s look at how Zechariah 12:6 says it. “In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.”
God said, “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.” This is not to say that God hated the man Esau. What this actually means is that God chose Jacob over Esau. He chose Abraham out of all the man of the earth. He chose Abraham’s son Isaac over his son Ishmael. And from Isaac, He chose Jacob over Esau. In His infinite wisdom, God knew which man would rise above the rest to accomplish His will on earth. God is like the boss in any Christian company. He wants only the best workers who will do whatever it takes, legally and morally, to get a job done at the top of the company.
“And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it” (verse 18). The “house of Jacob” and the “house of Joseph” encompasses all of Israel, north and south, east and west. It encompasses the descendants of Jews that have lived outside their homeland. It means everyone with even the tiniest drop of Hebrew blood. The two houses divided will once again be united under the mighty hand of God. I like how John Gill explains this. He said, “The meaning is, that the people of Judah and Israel shall have strength and power to conquer and destroy their enemies, with as much ease, as flames of fire consume chaff or stubble, or any such combustible matter they light upon.”
"For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God" (Deuteronomy 4:24). There are those in the church that use only the New Testament for studying, so in His wisdom, the Holy Spirit repeated this message in Hebrews 11:28, 29, where it says, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” On the last day of time as we know it, Esau and the nations of the world, will come for a final meeting at Megiddo where they will attempt to defeat God and destroy Israel for the last time. They will see their numbers and smile in sure knowledge of their victory. What they are not counting on is the direct intervention of Jesus, the consuming fire, who will come and fight this battle. Tiny little Israel will not be destroyed. She will be released to live the life God always planned for her to have. Oh this could preach!
Do we have Scripture to back up the idea of God as a consuming fire? You better believe we do! Remember what happened when Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a fire battle? The prophets called On Baal to devour the sacrifice. They spun around in a dance as they cut themselves and blood flew everywhere. But Baal never answered, so Elijah teased them saying perhaps Baal was in conversation, or away, or perhaps sleeping, so did not answer their call for fire. Watch this: “And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench” (I Kings 18:36-38). Now that’s power!
“And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south” (verses 19, 20). In these two verses, Obadiah is telling Israel how God will reset her land borders, which is the possession from verse 17. I don’t want to get into a long geography lesson here so will simply write what I found to be the new borders. Judah in the south will take possession of Edom and all the land that once belonged to Esau. Those living in the western foothills will move south to the Plains of the Philistines will possess the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. The tribe of Benjamin will become so large it will possess Gilead. Israel’s borders will include portions of Gaza, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
“And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's” (verse 21). The “saviors” spoken of here is not our Savior. Some of the “saviors” of Israel and Judah were Zerubbabel who led the captive Jews back to Judah from Babylon: Ezra who came back with the Jews and reestablished the preaching of the Torah, and Nehemiah who rebuilt Jerusalem and purified the Jewish community. There is coming a day when the ultimate Savior will appear in Zion. When He takes His place in Zion, no enemy will ever again get an upper hand against Israel and Judah. The Israelites and the Christians will live in harmony under the one Prince, the One King, the Lamb of God, Jesus. “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).
Blood is a substance that is important in the entire Bible. Blood was shed in the Garden of Eden when the Lord killed the first animal to make clothes for Adam and Eve after their sin that set humanity on the course toward salvation through of Jesus. Blood was shed outside the Garden of Eden when Cain slew Able. Blood was shed in the sacrifices the priests offered daily at the altar to cover the sins of Israel. The last Blood that needed to be sacrifice for the remission of sin came from Jesus. Someone once said, “Cut the Bible anywhere, and it will bleed.” Blood is spoken of 427 times in the Bible. If it were not for the Blood of Jesus, there would be no eternal life. We would all be heading for hell.
Jesus said, “For this is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
“We are not redeemed with silver and gold, and precious stones, but with the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:18).
After this final Passover Lamb was offered, Jesus covered us in His Blood. Now, when God looks down on us, He sees the right-ness of Jesus on us, not our sin. We have a relationship with God through Christ as it was always meant to be. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1), “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
By the Blood of Jesus we were acquitted. When we are acquitted, through accepting Jesus as Savior, it means we are forgiven, our sins absolved, paid off, we will never face the consequence of our sin. By God’s mercy, we are free.
Jesus knew there was only one way to make this happen; His death on the cross. The night He was arrested and tried, falsely through lies; He gave His disciples a last commandment. After He broke the bread, He handed it to His disciples, and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me" (I Corinthians 11:24). Please take the bread.
Jesus then took the cup, and said, “"This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me" (I Corinthians 11:25). Please take the cup.
Next week we will begin to dig out some meat from the Book of Esther. Esther is one of Israel’s heroes. Through her bravery and selflessness, she saved her people from extinction. I can’t wait to start working on those studies.