Study of the Prophets #10: Obadiah
Now that we have been introduced to the book of Obadiah, let’s begin dissecting his prophecies at verse 1:
“The vision of Obadiah; thus said the L-rd HaShem/Elohim concerning Edom: We have heard tidings from HaShem and a messenger has been sent among the nations [saying], ‘Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle.”
“The vision of Obadiah”-according to the Sages, Obadiah was an Edomite proselyte who was the administrator of Ahab’s estates. Recall that Ahab was the king of Israel at the time, When Ahab’s queen, Jezebel, planned to kill all of HaShem’s prophets, Obadiah hid 100 of them in two caves and sustained them throughout the course of the edict. (1 Kings: 18). According to Rashi and Radak, (from Sanhedrin 39b) he was rewarded with the gift of prophecy. We don’t know this rationale to be certain, but it is a possibility. For whatever reason, HaShem chose Obadiah for this task. Recall that we spoke about several possibilities of who Obadiah was and this is just one of many interpretations.
“Thus said the L-rd HaShem/Elohim concerning Edom”- Why did Obadiah direct his prophecies to Edom? According to R’Yitzchak: “Said the Almighty, Let Obadiah, who dwelt among two evildoers[Ahab and Jezebel] and did not emulate their deeds, exact retribution from the wicked Esau, who dwelt among the righteous people, Isaac and Rebecca, and did not emulate their deeds.” Again, this is the interpretation of one Rabbi which may have some truth to it as Obadiah did not emulate their deeds. However, for whatever reason HaShem chose, Obadiah was the one HaShem chose to address Edom specifically. Perhaps by using Obadiah, who may have been an Edomite, he would have been able to appreciate how HaShem may choose to use those who turn from their old nature; the ways of their people; and choose the road less traveled; lovers of G-d and His ways. Regardless of which person Obadiah was, he was a lover of G-d. His book is the shortest of the prophetical books. Although Edom is specifically mentioned, we may also consider that he may be speaking of the United States. Let’s look at chapter 4: “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence I will bring thee down, saith YHVH.” Last week we identified Edom as the Roman Empire, descendants of Ishmael and Esau. However, we also know by now that the prophets spoke of things that would happen in more than one era. In the context of the United States, let us reflect on the fact that the United States was the first nation to set its nest among the starts. No other nation has duplicated the feat of the Apollo 11 astronauts who made the first landing on the moon on July 20, 1969. Recall that Neil Armstrong said “The eagle has landed.” This was also the name of the spacecraft. The eagle is our national emblem. The name borrowed for this mission is the ancient Greek god, Apollo, the pagan god who was able to transform himself into an eagle.
Of course, we have strong reason to believe Obadiah was also speaking about Edom as previously mentioned. In this book, Obadiah spoke primarily of Israel’s ancient enemies that have certainly remained to this day. The rabbis and sages linked the peoples of these nations who hate Israel with the progeny of Esau. Interestingly, many believe that the United States is an offspring of the Roman Empire. We can safely say that Obadiah’s prophecies are not one dimensional. Further similarities between Rome and the United states may be seen in the structure of the government and the architecture to be sure. We have a Senate elected to represent the people. Although we also have a House of Representatives, look at the dominate body in this 21st century. The architecture of the buildings and monuments are fashioned after Rome with the columns and Greek key motif. Since the Jewish sages consider Obadiah to be employing a cryptograph predicting the downfall of the Roman Empire, then without violating the conditions of biblical interpretation, we can say this prophecy may also refer to the United States as a future end-time nation, which, according to Obadiah will see its downfall during the prophetic “Day of the L-rd.” We must also consider that the Book of Revelation refers not only to “spiritual” Babylon, but to a “commercial” Babylon, that is destroyed in the end time. A great commercial power that sits between the waters is a description of a large nation located between two great oceans. Does this not describe the United States sitting between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; once the greatest world power but now being neutralized by Humanist leaders with a unified One World agenda?
The term “Day of the L-rd” used by other of the prophets is to be differentiated between the “end of days” and “latter times.” This term is special because it focuses on the special generation of history that will see the return of the Messiah Yahshua to Jerusalem and the land of Israel, Who will then establish YHVH’s kingdom. We read in Obadiah 1:17-21:
But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; 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, 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 YHVH hath spoken it. 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. 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. And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be YHVH’s.”
Look closely at verse 18. This is a theme resonated throughout the Minor Prophets. It mentions the house of Jacob, but in particular, identifies the house of Joseph: Manasseh and Ephraim. These two half-tribes figure prominently in Scripture and have been identified by biblical researchers here, elsewhere, and in Israel as two nations; Britain and the United States which contain the largest concentration of the progeny of the lost ten tribes that YHVH will regather and unite with the stick of Judah.
We have seen the first verse (17), partially fulfilled in the years following 1948 when Jews were back in the land of Israel and a nation was reborn. IN 1967, the Temple Mount was recaptured, but as of yet the gentile presence in the form of the Temple Mosque been eliminated. That is yet to occur in the not too distant future as this era nears an end. This leaves us somewhere between verse 17 and 21 on the prophetic timeline in Obadiah’s prophecies.
We can be certain beyond speculation that Obadiah had more than just ancient Edom on his mind when he included the phrase “Day of the L-rd” in his predictions. Obadiah 1:15 tells us: For the day of the L-rd is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee; thy reward shall return upon thine own head.”
There is little dispute amongst biblical scholars that Obadiah’s prophecy includes the Roman Empire, but if it does in fact include the United States, let us take another look:
“…We have heard a rumour from YHVH, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou are greatly despised.”
Obadiah is reporting that YHVH Elohim shall disparage and submit some nation to derision before the world. Unfortunately, America with hardly a exception is greatly despised by most of the other nations in the evolving global community, which is a primary agenda of our humanistic-driven government.
Next week we will conclude with the study of Obadiah. I will also address secular humanism embraced by the majority of our nation’s leaders. I expect most who attend this class or read this study will be amazed at how humanism has infiltrated our country just as HIV invades healthy cells and transforms them into destructive cells that spread the virus and kill the host. In this case, the healthy cells are our children’s minds and the host is a society that once followed the ways of a Supreme Being; and Intelligent Designer; the Uncaused Cause; YHVH Elohim.
Rabbi Tamah Davis
Study of the Prophets #10: Obadiah