"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"
Obadiah - The Judgment Of Edom (1:1-21) INTRODUCTION 1. The first of the "The Minor Prophets" we shall consider is Obadiah, whose book is the shortest of all books in the Old Testament 2. His name means "Servant of Yahweh (Jehovah)", and was quite common... a. Thirteen different people are called by this name in the Old Testament b. One Jewish tradition identifies him as the one who was Ahab's steward 1) Who hid 100 prophets from Jezebel, Ahab's wife - 1Ki 18:3-4 2) Who feared the Lord from his youth - 1Ki 18:12 c. He may have also been... 1) The Obadiah sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the law in Judah - 2Ch 17:7 2) The Obadiah who was one of the overseers in repairing the temple under Josiah - 2Ch 34:12 -- Whoever this Obadiah was, his message contains valuable lessons for us today [Before looking at the book itself, let's consider some...] I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION A. THE DATE... 1. Two dates are often proposed: 845 B.C. and 586 B.C. 2. The prophet refers to an attack on Jerusalem; commentators offer these two possibilities: a. The days of Jehoram (848-844 B.C.), when Philistines and Arabians attacked the city - 2Ch 21:8-10,16-17 b. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (586 B.C.) 3. The internal evidence appears to support the early date of 845 B.C. (Keil, Hailey) a. The language of Obadiah is much different from Jeremiah b. There is no mention of the destruction of the temple, the deportation to Babylon, the remnant who went to Egypt -- I accept the early date, that it was around 845 B.C. B. THE MESSAGE... 1. The fall of Edom a. Because of its pride b. And its cruelty against Israel, their cousins 2. The exaltation of Zion a. When Seir, the Edomite counterpart of Zion, will be cast down b. The rescued of Israel will be in Zion, for in it the redeemed shall be found -- For this reason I have subtitled this lesson as "The Judgment Of Edom" C. THE HISTORY OF EDOM... 1. The people of Edom descended from Esau, Jacob's twin brother 2. There was sibling rivalry between Edom and Israel, found first in Esau and Jacob a. The twins struggled in their mother's womb - Gen 25:22-26 b. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob - Gen 25:27-34 c. Jacob stole Esau's blessing as the firstborn - Gen 27 3. While Jacob and Esau eventually reconciled (Gen 32-33), their descendants were often at odds with one another a. In the Exodus, Edom refused Israel passage through their land - Num 20:14-21 b. Edom was finally subjected by David - 2Sa 8:13-14 c. During the reign of Jehoram, Edom revolted - 2Ki 8:20-22 4. Located south of the Dead Sea, they built their cities in the cliffs and thought themselves impregnable 5. After the prophecy of Obadiah... a. The Edomites were overcome by the Nabataeans, forced to settle south of Judah b. Around 100 B.C., they were conquered by John Hyrcanus of the Maccabees 1) Who forced many of them to be circumcised and accept the Law 2) As such, many became nominal Jewish proselytes
(Herod the Great was one) c. By 100 A.D., Edom as a race and nation had become lost to history [With this background, let's now read through the prophecy of Obadiah, with the aid of the following...] II. OUTLINE OF THE BOOK A. THE COMING JUDGMENT ON EDOM (1-9) 1. The decree has gone forth to the nations (1) 2. Deceived by pride in her location, Edom will be brought down (2-4) 3. Destruction will be complete (5-6) 4. Edom will be betrayed by allies (7) 5. Not even wisdom and might can save them (8-9) B. THE REASON FOR JUDGMENT ON EDOM (10-16) 1. For violence and unbrotherly conduct toward Jacob (10-11) 2. A rebuke against such conduct (12-14) 3. Therefore the "Day of the Lord" for them will mean receiving the same sort of treatment! (15-16) C. THE EXALTATION OF ISRAEL OVER EDOM (17-21) 1. Deliverance and holiness will be found on Mt. Zion, not Mt. Seir (the prominent mountain in Edom)! (17a) 2. The house of Jacob shall consume the house of Esau (17b-18) 3. The children of Israel will possess Edom and surrounding nations (19-20) 4. The ultimate rule will be that of the Lord's (21) [With this brief perusal of Obadiah's "vision" concerning Edom (1), here are some thoughts regarding...] III. THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PROPHECY A. ITS IMMEDIATE FULFILLMENT... 1. Edom's destruction began with the Babylonian invasion under Nebuchadnezzar (ca. 600 B.C.) 2. It continued into the fourth century B.C. with the invasion of the Arabs known as the Nabataeans, forcing them to a region south of Judah 3. In the second century B.C., the Maccabees brought them under subjection when Judas Maccabeus slew twenty thousand of them 4. John Hyrcanus (134-104 B.C.) forced the remnant to accept circumcision and the Law B. ITS ULTIMATE FULFILLMENT... 1. May likely have been with the coming of the Messiah (Jesus Christ)! 2. For with His coming, and the establishment of the spiritual kingdom beginning in Jerusalem... a. Deliverance and holiness did come from Mt. Zion
(i.e. Jerusalem)! - Lk 24:47 b. The kingdom (rule) is the Lord's! - cf. Lk 1:31-34; Mt 28:18; 1Pe 3:22; Re 1:5 c. The house of Jacob (i.e., the true spiritual Israel) did possess Edom as the Gentiles among them became Christians! - cf. Ro 11:13-18 (where faithful Gentiles are spoken as being grafted into the stock of Israel) 3. As support for this interpretation, consider: a. The prophecy of Balaam - Num 24:15-19 1) Which foretells how "A Star shall come out of Jacob, A Scepter shall rise out of Israel" (the Messiah?) 2) And how Edom will be come a possession b. The prophecy of Amos - Am 9:11-12 c. The application by James at the council in Jerusalem - Ac 15:13-17 1) Who understood the conversion of the Gentiles to be a fulfillment of Amos 2) Therefore the fulfillment is figurative, not literal, as Gentiles become Christians [Finally, a few thoughts about some...] IV. LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF OBADIAH A. "PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTION..." - Pr 16:18 1. Pride leads to vanity and a sense of independence from God 2. Just as Edom took pride in their geographical location, allies, wisdom and might 3. Such arrogance God will punish - cf. Isa 13:9-11 -- Are we on guard against such pride? B. DO NOT MISTREAT YOUR BRETHREN... 1. This was Edom's guilt also (10) 2. How we treat our brethren affects our relationship with the Lord - cf. 1Co 8:12 -- Are we careful about our dealings with our brethren? C. "DO NOT REJOICE WHEN YOUR ENEMY FALLS..." - Pr 24:17-18 1. This Edom did when Judah was plundered (12) 2. This sort of gloating is displeasing to God! -- Do we rejoice when our enemy falls? D. IN TIME OF DIVINE JUDGMENT, GOD PROVIDES A MEANS AND PLACE OF ESCAPE FOR THOSE WHO TURN TO HIM... 1. Note again verse 17, where Mount Zion would become a place of deliverance 2. Today, spiritual Mount Zion is a place to which we can turn - cf. He 12:22-24 3. It is a place where we can find: a. "the city of the living God" b. "the heavenly Jerusalem" c. "an innumerable company of angels" d. "the firstborn registered in heaven" e. "God the Judge of all" f. "the spirits of just men made perfect" g. "Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant" h. "the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel" -- Of course, this is what we come to as we obey the gospel of Christ! CONCLUSION 1. With this brief look at "The Book Of Obadiah", we have seen that... a. The prophets were not limited in their prophecies to just the nation of Israel b. God held the heathen nations accountable for their actions c. While it was written primarily to comfort the Israelites in Obadiah's day, there are lessons to be gleaned for us as well d. The message of hope may have had its ultimate fulfillment in what we can enjoy ourselves today, in the person and work of Jesus! 2. In verse 15, we find the expression "the day of the Lord"... a. An expression often used by the prophets referring to God's judgment upon the nations b. The particular "day of the Lord" of which Obadiah wrote was "near", and was fulfilled with the destruction of Edom c. But there is another "day of the Lord" yet to come...! 1) Of which God's judgments upon the nations were only a shadow, a type 2) Peter writes of that day, in which the whole world will be judged - 2Pe 3:7-13 Are we ready for that "day of the Lord"? Or do we in our arrogance take pride in our wisdom, might, or position in life? If so, "the pride of your heart has deceived you" (3). How much better to humbly recognize that... "...on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness;" (Ob 1:17) Have you come to Mount Zion, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant?