Sunday, March 12, 2023

Who Shall Bring Them Down

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Last week we looked at the prophecy of Joel 2 in our end-times series. We will take a detour for a week and come back to Joel chapter 3 next week. This detour will help provide context and history about the enemies of God and Israel who will be aligned with all the other enemies of God and Jesus Christ in the end-times and last days.

Today, we will be looking at Obadiah, the shortest Book of the Bible. Along with the other “Minor Prophets,” there is nothing minor about their content, nor their message. We find that Obadiah’s words provide evidence for a date some 90 years before Joel, or about 900 B.C.!

Internal evidence seems to indicate that Obadiah’s ministry was during the reign of Atheliah’s son Ahaziah. The northern tribes had set up their own King, Joram, who was the son of Ahab, who married Jezebel! (Ref. 2 Kings 8:16-26). Ahaziah was King over Judah (the southern tribes.) Turmoil followed, as Ahaziah was also the son-in-law of Ahab, and Ahaziah “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

Obadiah’s prophecy denounces the Edomites, descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau. The region in which they lived was south of the Dead Sea, east of the Jordan River rift. The area includes the cities of Petra and Bozrah, built up by the nomadic tribe of the Nabateans, who used the region to tax the trade routes through the Middle East. Petra is a notable city and is described by Obadiah. Though the Edomites inhabited the area, it was the Nabateans who drove them out, westward into the Negev Desert of southern Israel, and the region known as “Idumea.”

The core problem of world politics is revealed in Obadiah’s 10th verse, 1:10. This single chapter book provides reasons for God’s displeasure and gives us insights into the continuous upheaval in World politics, particularly in the Middle East.

The Bible contains the written record of the land purchase where Jerusalem sits; the ascension of David to his throne; and the written record of Jesus as a descendent of King David.

Upon Jesus return to Earth, He will rightly take the throne of His Royal Ancestor, David, and reign over the whole Earth.

“The heavens are Yours, the Earth also is Yours, the world and all of its fullness” (lyrics from a worship song).

Today's Audio Message
Obadiah 1:1-21 - "Who Shall Bring Them Down"


In last week’s message, Pastor Bob taught the prophecy of Joel from chapter 2 in our end-times series. Today, we are taking a little bit of a detour to shortest book of the Old Testament, Obadiah, but what a brilliant prophetic gem. Next week we will come back to Joel chapter 3.

By studying Obadiah, Pastor Bob will help provide the context and the history about the enemies of God and Israel, and according to scripture these will be the same enemy nations who will be aligned against Israel and God in the end-times and the last days.

Here we read a harsh declaration by a prophet named Obadiah against someone named Edom (means red). But just who is Obadiah and who is Edom whom he preaches against?

The name “Obadiah” means “servant of God.”

The Edomites were the descendents of Esau (who is Edom), a proud, bitter, and resentful people, ever seeking an opportunity to harm Jacob’s  (who is Israel) descendents.  We could say the antagonism between the two nations began when “the children struggled within her,” Gen. 25:22. 

Israel, the offspring of Jacob, who stood in the line of God’s blessing, was opposed by the offspring of Jacob’s brother Esau—the Edomites.  The interrelationship between Esau and Jacob, that is, between Edom and Israel, serves as an illustration on at least two levels.
  • First: the persecution and hatred of the descendents of Jacob by the descendants of Esau resulting in the downfall of Edom in history past.
  • Second: the persecution and hatred of Israel by the Gentile nations of the world in their ongoing opposition to God’s will resulting in the judgment of the Gentile nations at the time of the end.
Through the combing of sin by Esau, Jacob, and their mother Rebecca, the line of promise from Isaac fell to Jacob. Esau’s sin was that he lightly esteemed his birthright and sold it to his brother for some lentil stew (Gen. 25:34). Rebecca’s and Jacob’s sin was the deception of Isaac which resulted in him giving his blessing to Jacob, the younger, rather than Esau, the elder (Gen. 27).

When Esau discovered that the blessing had gone to Jacob, he urged his father Isaac to rectify the situation. Yet Isaac-recognizing the hand of God in all that had transpired-said:  "Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?" He went on to say, “By thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” - Genesis 27:37-40

From that point on, Esau hated His brother. After Isaac dies, Esau threatens to kill Jacob.  Esau turns from God and his family and goes to Mt. Seir.  Jacob flees to his uncle Laban in Haran. It is there that Jacob marries Leah and Rachel who, along with their maids, give birth to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Obadiah’s words go out against Edom. The Edomites were a force to be reckoned with as they were rugged, fierce warriors who made their home in the cleft of the rocks. Spiritually, they were indifferent to God, full of pride because of their earthly wisdom, political alliances and even how their city was made of rock. All of these things were called out where judgment was promised to come.

God influences the nations to rise up against Edom (vs 2), and in consequence the nations despise Edom's military strength.  Edom is deserted by friends and allies, neither wisdom, nor courage of soldiers will save them.   Edom will be humiliated in spite of her seeming impregnable position “in the clefts of the rock,” a stronghold called “Petra,” (a rock) and easily defended through the protection of high cliffs. 
Israel will take flight to Petra during the second half of the tribulation period.

Edom's downfall is their pride, similar to that of Lucifer (Isaiah 14). God hates a prideful heart, especially one that thinks they are untouchable, divine and all powerful. Pride, arrogance and vindictiveness (never missed an opportunity to torment Israel when they were unable to defend themselves), these were Edom's sins.

Edom is judged for her opposition to God’s chosen nation: Israel.  She, of all nations, should have known better-being the descendent of Esau the twin brother of Jacob and who had first-hand knowledge of the promises bestowed upon Jacob-who is Israel-by God.

God rules in this world and He turns the course of nations and history as he pleases. If this were not so, he could not promise Judah that he would cut off Edom and establish Jacob.

The coming judgment of the nations of the world in relation to their rejection of God and their treatment of God’s chosen nation Israel. The mistake which Edom made in refusing to acknowledge God’s choosing of Israel is to be repeated on the stage of world history, but ultimately by the Gentile nations of the end time.

As we continue to move forward in history toward the Second Coming of Christ, it is critical for Christians to understand this issue concerning the treatment of the nation of Israel in God’s eyes.

Obadiah 1:15-18 speaks to Edom – both in the time of Obadiah and in the future Day of the Lord.  It speaks to all the Nations – in the future Day of the Lord, and to the House of Jacob, house of Joseph = the descendents of the man Jacob, Israel, the Jewish nation. Obadiah compares Edom’s interaction with Israel with the interaction of the Gentile nations in their treatment of Israel prior to the Day of the Lord.

Israel will be vindicated (vs. 17-18).  Edom, "your deeds shall return on your own head." Edom and the nations of the world will drink the cup of God's wrath.

Finally, Obadiah reveals the sequence of events associated with the arrival of God's Kingdom on earth.
  • a) Day of the Lord? Gentile nations judged as Edom.
  • b) Triumph of the Jews over their enemies.
  • c) Final restoration of Israel to her land.
  • d) Establishment of God's Kingdom on Earth.
Who shall bring them down?  God will.

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