Skip to comments.Woe Unto Edom
Posted on 12/08/2018 5:34:38 PM PST by pcottraux
Woe Unto Edom
By Philip Cottraux
When it comes to Bible prophecy, end-times study is the most popular subject among Christians. However, we miss out by not looking more at prophecy thats already been fulfilled. If you want to see Gods fingerprints in history, its worth examining predictions from the Old Testament that were fulfilled within ancient times, in some cases even before the New Testament age.
Daniel is the best example. This prophet lived during the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar all the way through the occupation of Babylon by the Medo-Persians, in the time span of 620-538 BC. But his book accurately predicts the rise and fall of Alexander the Great (323 BC) in chapter 8, the Six Syrian wars (275-168 BC) in chapter 11, and the destruction of the second temple by the Roman emperor Titus (70 AD) in chapter 9.
But there are also examples in the lesser-known books of prophecy. In Bible categorization, we call these the minor prophets. There were only four major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. But there are 12 minor prophets, including figures like Micah, Zephaniah, and Amos.
Whats the difference? Honestly, the major or minor designation is a bit arbitrary. With some exceptions, the major prophets tended to be well-educated with respected positions as advisers to government officials or kings. Plus their books are substantially longer. The minor prophets tended to be less-educated men with smaller vocabularies who lived in remote areas. Isaiah and Amos are a perfect juxtaposition. The two were contemporaries; but Isaiah had an unparalleled mastery of the Hebrew language and is sometimes referred to as the Shakespeare of Jerusalem. Amos, on the other hand, was a poor farmer with limited writing skills. But both were operating under the influence of the same Spirit, showing that God can use anyone to get His message across.
In 586 BC, Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzars Babylonian armies. Years of ignoring Jeremiahs warnings to turn from idolatry led to Gods protection being removed from the city. The temple was razed to the ground, the city was burned, and the ark of the covenant disappeared, never to be seen again. Most of the Jews were taken captive and marched across the desert as captives. Some managed to escape and hid in the desert.
Much of the Old Testament deals with this pivotal event. But lets look at a lesser-known incident from the immediate aftermath. Jerusalem was now just ruins. The Jews that had escaped were now just dwellers hiding in caves trying to rebuild their lives from scratch. But then, in an act of shocking cruelty, they were viciously attacked by the Edomites. The merciless attackers then plundered what was left of the city, taking all as spoils of war and leaving Gods people with literally nothing.
The Edomites were descendants of Esau. While Jacob and Esau had made peace by the end of their lives, their descendants did not honor it. When Joshua was conquering the Promised Land, God gave him strict instructions not to attack Edom because of their kinship with the Israelites. But what was their reward? Edom proved to be a thorn in Israels side; Esaus descendants were a violent, war-like people who treated Gods nation as sworn enemies.
While the Lord had used the Babylonians as instruments of His wrath for the Jewss disobedience, He was equally furious at the Edomites for their treatment of a helpless people at their lowest point. He moved on a little-known prophet to pronounce judgment. 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).
Obadiah (Obadyah is Hebrew for Worshiper of Yahweh) is the shortest book in the Old Testament, at only 21 verses. Verse 3: 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? Edom was a mountainous village located in a high rocky elevation.
By attacking and plundering the helpless Jews, the Edomites might have thought they were aiding God in judgment. But those are the kinds of forces you never want to involve yourself in. Verse 4 shows us exactly why: 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. Perched high on their cliff, watching the carnage below, waiting to scavenge the remains like vultures, they reminded God of Lucifer. Pride is the origin of all sin.
As is often the case with prophetic books of judgment, Obadiah carries out his pronouncement like a trial, with God serving as judge, jury, and executioner. Their crimes are laid out in verses 12-14. They stood by and watched while Jerusalem was attacked. They raided the ruins of the city once the Babylonians were gone. They attacked the helpless Jews fleeing for their lives. Their army even captured some trying to escape (this isnt specifically stated, but in the context of the ancient world it wouldnt be surprising if women and children were taken as sex slaves).
They are found guilty and sentenced. But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possession (verse 17). This would have been inconceivable at the time. While Edom acted strong and mighty, there was virtually nothing left of Judah. But the Spirit prophesied through Obadiah that one day the tables would turn: Verse 18: 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.
This prophecy came true before the Bible was even complete. Seventy years after Obadiah, the Jews would be released from captivity by the Medo-Persians, and under Ezra and Nehemiah, the long process of rebuilding their city and temple began. Judah grew in power while the Edom started to fade after being attacked by the Nabatean Arabs in 325 BC. Then in 104 BC, the prophecy in Obadiah 18 came true as Edom was conquered by the Maccabean army (under Hyrcanus I) and made subservient to Judah.
The remnants of the Edomites would still cling to their existence until the siege of Jerusalem by the emperor Titus in 70 AD, which would see destruction of the second temple. The final descendants of Esau were believed to be among the Jews making their defiant last stand at the Masada plateau, the Roman armies closing in. After that, Edom disappeared from history, lost in the sands of time.
Survival is the most important thing to every living creature, reproduction the second. This is the powerful driving force of life. Its why all living things are so afraid not just of death, but extinction. The thought of our descendants being wiped out is unbearable. Compare and contrast the Jews and Edomites from the time of Obadiah to today. There are far more Jews now than there were then, their descendants spread all over the world. Edom, on the other hand, has been a distant memory for almost 2,000 years.
Dont be like the Edomites. Dont let arrogance and pride cause you to be forgotten by God. Were only given so much time on this earth, and if we havent repented, hell is our destination. Right now, God loves you and is doing everything He can to reach you. But it will be too late once youve taken your final breath. All who are cast into the lake of fire will be shut out of the mind of God forever. To be forgotten by God and all our loved ones would be a fate worse than all the fire, brimstone, and burning. It wont be the darkness and flames that will be so terrible, but being cut off from the presence of God without ever being able to feel it again.
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