Since Saturday, October 7, 2023, the eyes of the world have been on Israel and the war against Hamas. The world wonders is Israel going to have to defend itself on three different fronts? Is Hezbollah going to attack from Lebanon? Is Iran going to engage fully? What role does Russia play in all of this? No one knows the answers to these questions. All one can do is turn to God’s Word.
I have been studying the book of Obadiah. Obadiah’s name means “servant of the Lord”. This is the shortest book in the Old Testament and is not quoted in the New Testament. Why do we have this minor prophet’s book? We know very little about Obadiah as a person. Background on who he was and where he was from is missing. So, what does that tell us? The importance of this book is not the human author but the words the author received from the Lord. What’s important about this book is its message — “The Day of the Lord.”
The prophet Obadiah received a vision from the Lord. Fulfilling his calling as a prophet, he recorded and shared the vision God gave him. It was given not for the benefit of the prophet but for the benefit of the people. One must understand that Obadiah would have had no way of knowing what the intentions of the kings of the world were unless God revealed that knowledge to His servant.
Prophecy Against Edom
This small Old Testament book begins with a prophecy against Edom. Verses ten to fourteen list the charges against Edom.
- You stood aside on the day that strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem; you, too, were like one of them.
- You should not have gloated over your brother on the day of his misfortune.
- You should not have rejoiced over the people of Judah on the day of their ruin.
- You should not have boasted on the day of distress.
- You should not have entered the gate of my people on the day of their calamity.
- You should not have joined in the gloating over Judah’s disaster on the day of his calamity.
- You should not have looted his goods on the day of his calamity.
- You should not have stood at the crossings to cut off his fugitives.
- You should not have handed over his survivors on the day of distress.
Second Chronicles 21 gives the background when the Edomites assisted the enemy in attacking Israel and when they rejoiced over Israel’s distress.
- When Israel came out of Egypt and wanted to pass through the land of the Edomites to enter into the Promised Land, the Edomites wouldn’t let them (Numbers 20:14-21).
- The Edomites opposed Saul and were conquered by David and Solomon (1 Samuel 14:47, 2 Samuel 8:14, 1 Kings 9:26).
- In the days of King Jehoshaphat, Edom joined with Moab and Ammon to attack Judah, but the Lord fought for Judah and defeated them (2 Chronicles 20:1-27).
- The Edomites successfully rebelled against King Jehoram (2 Kings 8:16-22).
- The Edomites attacked Judah in the days of King Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:17).
Israel and Its Future
The vision Obadiah received was twofold. The first part of it dealt with God’s dealing with Edom. The second part deals directly with Israel and its future. Some believe the future the prophet sees is the millennial time when Jesus the Messiah establishes His millennial kingdom. However, could what this prophet saw be the events leading up to the coming millennium?
Verse fifteen prophesies: “For the day of the Lord is near against all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.”
The House of Jacob, Joseph, and Esau
Verses seventeen to twenty list nations and territories by name:
“But on Mount Zion, there will be those who escape, And it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions. Then the house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame, but the house of Esau will be as stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them so that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,” For the Lord has spoken. “Then those of the Negev will possess the mountain of Esau, and those of the Shephelah the Philistine plain; also, possess the territory of Ephraim and the territory of Samaria, and Benjamin will possess Gilead. And the exiles of this host of the sons of Israel, who are among the Canaanites as far as Zarephath, and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the cities of the Negev.”
- The house of Jacob is the Jews.
- The house of Esau is the Arabs.
- There will be no survivors from the house of Esau which is modern-day Hamas and Hezbollah.
- The people from the Negev is Israel.
- The mountains of Esau is modern-day Jordan.
- The land of the Philistines is modern-day Gaza.
- The fields of Ephraim and Samaria is the modern-day West Bank.
- Gilead is the modern-day East bank of the Jordan River.
According to Scripture, there is a day coming when modern-day Israel will possess the land of the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan.
Adding this prophecy to Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, Isaiah, Joel, and Zechariah, one gets a picture of Israel prospering and once again being victorious — a time the world has not seen since King David and Solomon (1,000 B.C.).
Verse 18 paints a vivid picture:
“The house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; the house of Esau will be stubble, and they will set it on fire and consume it. There will be no survivors from the house of Esau.”
The house of Jacob and the house of Joseph are Jews, which is modern-day Israel. It seems there will be an attack on Israel (a fire, a flame), however, Israel (God’s chosen) will prevail to the point that “There will be no survivors from the house of Esau.” The house of Esau are modern-day Arabs such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
As the prophet said, the day of the LORD is near!
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!