The Apocalypse in Obadiah
Edom, in the prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel's kingdom in "the latter days," is representative of the enemies of Jacob, banded together under the guardianship of Gog, who is then the Chief of the House of Esau. OBADIAH had a vision of this Confederacy, occupying a similar relationship to Israel hereafter, that Edom did in the typical times of the prophet.
Obadiah has placed on record the sentence that
"Every one of the Mount of Esau shall be cut off by slaughter for ever, and shame shall cover them, because of their violence against Jacob;"
that as Edom has drunk upon Yahweh's holy mountain,
(where also they revel to this day),
so shall all the nations drink, and they shall be as though they had not been: for that upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions; and the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame,
(or as Paul styles it "a fire of flame" in 2 Thess. 1:8,)
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; and that at the time appointed for this, deliverers shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau; and the kingdom thus obtained shall be Yahweh's (verses 9,10,16-18,21).
1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith Adonai Yahweh concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.
2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.
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?
Sela, the stronghold which was captured by Ahaziah, is thought to have been the city more generally known as Petra. It lay high above the sea level, yet in a hollow shut in by mountain cliffs, and was approached by a narrow ravine, through which a river wound its way, and which would necessarily present grave dangers to an invading army. Such a configuration of the country generally, and of Sela in particular, lent itself to defence, and would make the place almost impregnable. A mere handful of men might hold a host at bay in such a position.
...Pride was to have its proverbial fall. Retribution was announced, based upon Edom's violence and malignity against Judah. They were to be slain, cut off, completely destroyed. The warning involved in the prophet's words was unheeded. The unrelenting hostility was not softened. In the days of Ahaz they smote Judah and carried away captives, and the 137th Psalm records their attitude towards the chosen people when Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem.
"Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof" (verse 7).
In due time the retribution came. They were driven from their land by the Nabatheans, an Arabian tribe. In the days of the Maccabees they were subdued and compelled to conform to Jewish customs, including circumcision. They became generally known as Idumeans, and were more or less mingled with the Jews, until after the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans they pass away from the historic page.
WH Boulton - TC 11/1906
4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith Yahweh.
5 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?
6 How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!
7 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.
8 Shall I not in that day, saith Yahweh, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?
9 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.
10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
11 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.
12 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.
13 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;
14 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.
15 For the day of Yahweh is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
16 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.
17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
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 Yahweh hath spoken it.
19 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.
20 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.
21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be Yahweh's.
This saviour is YAHWEH Elohim Tz'vaoth, He who shall be the mighty ones of hosts, the Rainbowed Angel, "and he shall deliver them..."
The kingdom shall be Yahweh's
No direct quotation from Obadiah is found in the New Testament, but his closing verse finds a very clear echo in the last message from God to man, wherein it is declared that ... in due time...
"the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11:15).
W. H. Boulton.
The Christadelphian, Nov 1906