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Saturday, January 14, 2017
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.
In our extended reading today we will actually be reading prophecy that was written around 300 years before it would be fulfilled. The portion we have read is actually pre-written history or Bible prophecy fulfilled.
My statements need to be explained with some historic background. The judgment pronounced in this the littlest book in the Old Testament is against Edom. You might remember that God changed the names of twin brothers, Jacob and Esau. God changed Jacob's name to Israel, Genesis 32:28, and Esau's name to Edom, Genesis 36:1. Thus the judgment of God will be on Esau and his descendants.
In the 36th chapter of Genesis, God had Esau and his family leave Canaan, modern-day Israel, and move to Mt. Seir, Genesis 36:8, which is today the lower third of Jordan. Mt. Seir was changed to "Edom" as it became known in Biblical times. We have Esau who is Edom and the place where he would live out his life called Edom also.
In Obadiah we have God's dealings with the Edomites, descendants of Esau, and the return of Edomites back to Israel. As verse 3 tells us, the Edomites were a proud people - one of the reasons for God's judgment. Their pride was due to their home base, which was the city of Petra, the "impregnable" city in southern Jordan.
The city had one entrance, a high narrow gorge that extended for about a mile into the city. At some points, it was 8 feet wide, at others, up to 30 feet wide. The walls of this gorge were between 500 and 600 feet high.
The "King's Highway", the route of the merchants who traveled from Africa to Arabia, passed by the entrance to Petra. The Edomites would rob the merchants and run back through the gorge into Petra, which is about 25 square miles in size. Inside, the cliff walls are as high as 2000 feet and there are all kinds of man-made and God-made caves where the Edomites could hide like "eagles in their nests among the stars".
They thought no one could bring them down which led to their "pride". God would use the "stone carvers" from Arabia, the Nabataeans, who while at a banquet with the Edomites, would rise up and kill their hosts, verse 7, the Edomites.
The Edomites, those who could escape, would run out of the gorge, turn west, and flee into southern Judah. There they would change their name to the Idumeans. Herod the Great was an Idumean and thus a descendant of Esau.
Obadiah's prophecy, the first of his total prophecy against Esau, verses 1-7 would be fulfilled about 500 years before Christ. Obadiah's first prophecy fulfilled, gives us assurance that his last prophecies, the total demise of the Edomites in the "last days" as we will discuss in a later devotional in Obadiah, will be fulfilled as well.
The Edomites, are the modern-day Palestinians (see my series, "Esau and the Palestinians"). My study will give you better understanding of this conclusion; however, the Palestinian people of today say that Herod the Great was one of their forefathers and he was an Edomite.
For the first time in history the Edomites, today’s Palestinian people, are in a position to fulfill the prophecy of Obadiah, and also the prophecies of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Malachi. This is evidence that we are quickly approaching the time of the Lord’s return. Keep looking up.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank You Lord for giving me the scenario for the "end times" that I can recognize. Please help me to live with the realization that Your return is close at hand.