Introduction to the Prophecy
Jacob and Esau
Jacob and Esau were brothers who even from the womb were jostling against each other. Rebekah their mother was the wife of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the father of faith and of the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:1-3) (Romans 4:3, 11). Rebekah asked God why the babies jostled with each other in her womb and God told her that these two represented two nations and that contrary to the normal culture of the time the older would serve the younger (Genesis 25: 21-23). God had promised Abraham that his descendants through Isaac would inherit the whole land of Israel which at that time was called Canaan from the River Euphrates all the way down to the Wadi of Egypt to be for them “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 12:7, 14-17; 15:17-21).
Isaac and Ishmael
Abraham’s two main sons were Isaac and Ishmael. God clearly told Abraham that the land of Canaan, now called the Land of Israel, would be the inheritance of Isaac and his descendants and not the inheritance of Ishmael and his descendants (Genesis 17:15-22). While Ishmael was the first born to Abraham and his concubine Hagar, Isaac was born to Sarah, Abraham’s wife, and she had been barren and had conceived Isaac only through a supernatural work of God. God always considers the spiritual before the natural. What counts is the second spiritual rebirth by the Spirit and not the natural birth by the flesh (John 3:3) Isaac had been a man of faith as was his father Abraham but Ishmael was not a man of faith and God also saw that Ishmael would be a wild donkey of a man and that he would live in hostility towards all his brothers, a characteristic we see in the Arab world today (Genesis 16:12).
Now Isaac’s sons Jacob and Esau were at odds with each other even after they were born into this world. Years later God would change Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28) Esau had been named Edom from which came the Edomite nation (Genesis 25:30). The nation of Edom lived in the mountains of Seir south of the Dead Sea down to the Gulf of Akaba (Genesis 36:8-9). When the Israelites were on their journey from Egypt to Canaan the Edomites would not let them pass through their territory (Numbers 20:14-21). Then 400 years later the Edomites became David’s servants (2 Samuel 8:13-14). During Jehoram’s reign however the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah (2 Kings 8:20). There were further fights between Edom and Judah under the reigns of Jehoshaphat, Amaziah and Ahaz (2 Chronicles 20:10) (2 Chronicles 25:11) (2 Chronicles 28:17).
Edom appears again
Edom rejoiced over Jerusalem’s destruction in 586 BC (Psalms 137:7) (Lamentations 4:21). Only the Babylonians devastated a few years later Edom itself. This is when the Nabathean Empire arose in Edom. During the time of the Maccabees Edom was annexed with the Jewish state by John Hyrcanus. When the Romans conquered Judea the Idumeans (Edomites) family of Herod reached the royal dignity. Since Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD the Edomites disappeared from history. In a future day however Edom would appear again.
The ‘Palestinian’ Arabs
Today we have the Arabs living in Southern Jordan which sweeps down into Saudi Arabia as well as the Arabs living in Central and Northern Jordan. The secular world calls them the Palestinians but in reality they are displaced Arabs living in the land of Israel. They are Edomites. These Arabs, characterized by un-judged brotherly hatred for God-given blessings, will flee from the coming king of the north and also the Arabs of Central and Northern Jordan with them (Daniel 11:41). These fleeing Arabs will not stand with Israel when the Turkish King of the North invades Israel and captures Jerusalem. But God Himself will punish these ‘Edomites’ afterwards (Isaiah 34:5-8) (Jeremiah 49:7-22). The means of God’s punishment will be His people Israel (Isaiah 11:13-14) (Ezekiel 25:12-14). This will happen at the beginning of the millennium when the Lord Jesus will have appeared as the conquering Messiah already (Isaiah 63:1-5) (Ezekiel 35).
Israel not Palestine
When you look at the Arabs living in Southern Jordan today and the trouble they are causing for the Jewish people living in Israel the same principality that filled Esau’s heart with hate for his brother Jacob is now at work in his direct descendants stirring up the Arabs, not only in Southern Jordan, but also those in Central and Northern Jordan. These are the so called ‘Palestinian’ Arabs. Of course the land of Israel is never called Palestine in the Bible. God calls the Land Israel as do the prophets, the Lord Jesus and the writers of the New Testament. The name Palestine given to the nation of Israel by the Romans derived its name from the word Philistine. Today the same principality that was behind the ancient Philistines in their attacks on Israel is behind Hamas in Gaza. Having said this, the Arab nations today have expanded into the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. Even though we have seen the Abraham Accords established in the Middle-east we can see the Arabs shifting their allegiance as the Biden Administration reverses the policies of the Trump Administration. The time will come when the Saudis will just look on when Israel is attacked by the Antichrist and his armies (Ezekiel 38:13).
A continuing grudge
Today Edom encompasses Southern Jordan but also sweeps down into the Saudi Arabian Peninsula because we are also told that the geographical region from Teman to Dedan located in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula was also part of Edom (Ezekiel 25:12-14). Esau was the father of the Arab nations we see today and, like Ishmael, Esau would live by the sword and like Ishmael be at odds with his brother Jacob as Ishmael had been at odds with his brother Isaac. In fact Esau held such a grudge that he wanted to kill Jacob (Genesis 27: 40-41). This grudge continues in the Arab world today towards the Jewish people.
Now Esau did not care for his birthright and through dishonest means at that time Jacob received the birthright even though he was not the firstborn. In fact Esau despised his birthright because he did not have a care for spiritual matters. The birthright was more important to Jacob than it was to Esau who sold it to Jacob so that Esau could fill his belly with food (Genesis 25:29-34). God had seen what was happening between the two brothers and discerned that even though Jacob was a grasper and God would have to deal with this character trait, God also saw that Jacob had faith in Him and eventually would become a man of faith and walk with God all through his life.
Who owns the land?
At the end of his life which was full of trouble Jacob turned out to be a man blessed by God and one who would be a blessing to others (Genesis 48:15-16; 49:1-28). This pattern of Jacob’s life would be the pattern of life for the nation of Israel down through its long and troubled history even to the present day. The grudge of Esau has been passed on down through his descendants being the Arab nations and we see this continuing hostility by the Arabs towards Israel today and the matter of contention is who owns the land of Israel? Of course God owns the land but has given it to the descendants through Isaac and Jacob and not through Ishmael and Esau, the fathers of the Arab nations (Genesis 17:21).
Israel and islam
Today the conflict we see in the Middle-East between the Jewish and the Arab people is a war between Israel and Islam. The conflict over the temple mount and the status of Jerusalem has its roots in the conflict between Esau with Jacob. Esau was the aggressor, not Jacob. Esau was a man of the sword (Genesis 28:40). This is a distinct characteristic of Islam today which is the religion of the sword which we see depicted by the emblem of the upraised crossed swords denoting conquest by the sword, on Islamic banners and flags.
Israel will survive!
The same principality in the fallen unseen spiritual realm that was at work in Esau has been at work down through the centuries in all of those nations that have tried to annihilate Israel as a nation, but to this day Israel has survived and will continue to survive as a nation in their own land of Israel because of God’s covenant with Abraham cut with the blood of an animal guaranteeing the land of Israel for the Jews (Genesis 15:17-21). This irrevocable blood covenant God cut with Abraham was also pointing to the nations ultimate spiritual restoration through the New Covenant made with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah through the blood of the Messiah (Jeremiah 31:31-37) (Matthew 26:28). God’s covenants, His gifts and His call are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). While Israel as a nation is yet to pass through the time of Jacob’s Trouble it will be saved out of this time of the Big Trouble that will happen during the last three and a half years of this present age (Daniel 12:1, 7). A spiritually reborn remnant will come forth who will co-reign with the Messiah our Lord Jesus after He has come back (Zechariah 12:10-14) (Zechariah 13:8-9) (Jeremiah 30:1-10).
The theme of Obadiah
Now the Book of Obadiah not only tells us about what happened historically between Jacob and Esau’s descendants but also telescopes to the end of the age. The hostile attitude of Esau towards Jacob clearly comes through this Book and today we see this conflict perpetuated in the Arab Israeli conflict. When the nations attacked Israel in history the Arabs for the most part sided with the invading armies and when they could took part in the looting of the Israelite cities and towns. In the Book of Obadiah the prophecy firstly focuses on the Arab nations’ evil intent against the Jewish people and then focuses on the nations that attacked Jerusalem. Prophetically it is not just a judgement on the Islamic Arab world but also on the nations of the world which will come against Israel in the last days and Israel will be left alone (Ezekiel 38:1-6).
The Lord will fight for Israel
However, they will not be alone because the Lord will fight for His people. As Isaiah the prophet writes; “So the LORD of Hosts will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and its heights. Like birds hovering overhead, so the LORD of Hosts will protect Jerusalem. He will shield it and deliver it; He will pass over it and preserve it” (Isaiah 31:4b-5a). At the end of this present age Israel as a nation will be fully restored nationally and spiritually as we see summed up at the very end of this prophecy; “The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion To judge the mountain of Esau, And the kingdom will be the Lord’s” (Obadiah 1:21).
Now let’s look at the text…
(Vs.1) “The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom—We have heard a report from the Lord, And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying, “Arise and let us go against her for battle”
Obadiah whose name means the servant of the Lord heard from Him that He was about to go to war with Edom and that because of their continuing hatred for the Jewish people. Obadiah says “we have heard a report from the Lord.” Possibly Obadiah is here quoting an earlier prophetic oracle which he believes has come nearer to fulfilment. Most of this section of Obadiah related to Edom appears almost word for word in the prophet Jeremiah but not in the same order (Jeremiah 49:7ff). Possibly Obadiah had heard Jeremiah prophesying in Jerusalem or both he and Jeremiah were quoting from other prophecies in scripture related to Edom.
The same spirit that drove Esau to sell his birthright, to hate his brother Jacob and to show an utter contempt for the Lord, brought down upon him God’s judgement. We are told in scripture that God said; “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated” (Malachi 1:1-3). We know that God loves all men but hates what they do. Jacob had the right attitude towards his spiritual inheritance, whereas Esau had a wrong attitude and an almost cavalier attitude towards even bothering to care about the birthright. Afterwards of course he hated Jacob because of how he had been deceived by Jacob but had no spiritual insight or recognition of how important the birthright was before the Lord. As we are told in the Book of Hebrews that Esau was a godless person who sold his own birthright for a single meal and that afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears (Hebrews 12:17).
Having said this, there is no indication that Esau’s attitude towards the birthright had changed. When you look at the Arab nations today they have a superior attitude to the Jewish people. The whole militancy of the majority of Arabs living in Israel and in Israel’s immediate neighbours is targeted against the right of Israelis to even live in Israel. Even the nations in the EU and the UN do not for the most part believe in Israel being for the Jewish people. The two-state solution from hell is still in play right now. In many halls of political power in Europe the Jews in Israel are seen as usurpers and illegal occupiers of the land.
There is a terrible divine judgement coming upon the Arab world, not because God hates Arabs as such, but because of their hostility towards Israel and the attitude of superiority they exhibit over the Jews. Added to this the whole Arab world is now under the power of Islam, “the ideology and religion of the sword.” This too has its roots in Esau of whom it was prophesied, “You will live by the sword” (Genesis 27:40a). Esau’s hate for his brother is still alive in the Arab world. Politics may mask this but the reality is there. Only when an Arab comes to faith in the Messiah do they in turn love their Jewish brothers and sisters.
It also needs to be said that many secular Arabs in Israel work and study side by side with Israelis if for no other reason other than Israel is the best place to live throughout the whole Middle-eastern Region. The prophet Obadiah also tells us that the nations who outwardly seem to support the Arab nations will turn on them. Already we see the militancy of the Iranian regime against the Saudis who control Mecca and Medina the two holiest cities in Islam. The Saudis are seen by many diehard fundamental Muslims such as we see in Iran, as the harlot of Islam because of its compromise and economic relationship with the western nations. When the armies of the Turkish Antichrist invade Israel the Arabs of southern, Central and Northern Jordan will flee. Many will even join the invading armies but many will flee leaving Israel to stand alone (Daniel 11:41).
(Vs.2-4) “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You are greatly despised. “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, You who live in the clefts of the rock, In the loftiness of your dwelling place, Who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’ “Though you build high like the eagle, Though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord.”
The Edomites in the time of Obadiah put their trust in a rocky city that was a fortress. The rock mentioned in Obadiah was the City of Sela the capital of Edom at that time. Today it is known as Petra. Edom was also known in its history for its wisdom and we know today that the Arab nations are also gifted with wisdom especially when it comes to dealing economically with other non-Arab nations. When you look at the wealth and opulence of the city of Mecca and the other Arab cities located on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula it is clear that they are very wealthy and especially Mecca as the Saudis primarily trade with other nations via the Sea Lanes.
Mecca is a city in a desert by the Red Sea that will ultimately burn at the hands of the Islamic Beast Empire that will see the oil reserves under the Saudi desert burn out of control making the land uninhabitable by humans. The merchants who have traded with Mecca by the sea will stand afar off watching the city burn and weep and lament that they have lost their means of trade with the Arabs of Mecca (Revelation 17:3, 15-18; 18:9-17). As Isaiah writes; “For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion. Edom’s streams will be turned to tar, and her soil to sulphur; her land will become a blazing pitch. It will not be quenched—day or night. Its smoke will ascend forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever again pass through it” (Isaiah 34:8-10). This judgement of God upon the Arab Muslim world is also described elsewhere in the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 34:5-17). It is also interesting to note in this Isaiah passage that God’s judgement of the nations is also mentioned as it is mentioned here in the prophet Obadiah as we will see later in the text.
At present there is a sense of superiority over other nations in the Arab world especially in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, but their pride will be completely demolished no matter how prominent they are among the other nations. No one doubts the reliance of many nations upon the oil supplies in Saudi Arabia. Iran of course hates the Saudis and sees them as directly in competition with them over oil. This is one of the reasons that the Iranians want to nuke Mecca if they can and the Saudis know this. Already Iran is fighting a proxy war with Saudi Arabia and targeting the Saudis through the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The pride of the Saudis may rise even as high as the stars but they will be brought down into the lowest depths of the pit of hell itself (Ezekiel 32:29).
(Vs.5-9) “If thieves came to you, If robbers by night— O how you will be ruined!— Would they not steal only until they had enough? If grape gatherers came to you, Would they not leave some gleanings? “O how Esau will be ransacked, And his hidden treasures searched out! “All the men allied with you Will send you forth to the border, And the men at peace with you Will deceive you and overpower you. They who eat your bread Will set an ambush for you. (There is no understanding in him.) “Will I not on that day,” declares the Lord, “Destroy wise men from Edom And understanding from the mountain of Esau? “Then your mighty men will be dismayed, O Teman, So that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter.
Edom’s coming destruction will be complete. The whole Arab Muslim world will be completely destroyed. If it was a matter of an ordinary raid by a band of robbers there would have been plenty left over to salvage. Plunderers by night would depend on speed and surprise and they would only be able to take a limited amount of booty and so steal only enough for themselves much like grape gatherers who leave the gleanings behind them. By contrast, Edom’s judgement will see them “completely cleaned out” as it were, bringing upon them utter destruction.
We also see in this total destruction that their treasures will all be exposed and decimated by the judgement of God. The Other nations that Edom thought were on side will plunder them and all of Edom’s treasures laid bare for all to see. We see Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman all situated next door to Iran. When the Saudi Arabian peninsula is turned into a burning desert as the underground oil reserves burn out of control having been ignited by missiles or even a nuclear detonation, these Arab cities will be decimated. No wonder the merchants that have traded with the Arabs economically stand afar off out at sea lamenting the destruction of the City of Babylon, the City in a desert by the Red Sea would have to be Mecca, that’s destruction is heard at the Red Sea.
As the prophet Jeremiah writes; “Therefore hear the plans that the LORD has drawn up against Edom and the strategies He has devised against the people of Teman: Surely the little ones of the flock will be dragged away; certainly their pasture will be made desolate because of them. At the sound of their fall the earth will quake; their cry will resound to the Red Sea. Look! An eagle will soar and swoop down, spreading its wings over Bozrah. In that day the hearts of Edom’s mighty men will be like the heart of a woman in labour” (Jeremiah 49:20-22).
At His Second Coming, when the Messiah comes back, one of the places He will be seen fighting the armies of Islam will be at Bozrah, located in the region of Ancient Edom, with His robes stained with the blood of His enemies (Isaiah 63:1-6) (Revelation 19:13). It will see the complete annihilation of Islam!
Edom gloried in her wisdom, might and riches (Jeremiah 9:23ff). But her hidden treasures will be sought out, her wise men destroyed and her mighty men dismayed and everyone cut off from the Mountain of Esau by slaughter. Why then does the Lord severely judge the Arab Muslim world? Well the prophet Obadiah tells us why this will happen.
(Vs.10-11) “Because of violence to your brother Jacob, You will be covered with shame, And you will be cut off forever. “On the day that you stood aloof, On the day that strangers carried off his wealth, And foreigners entered his gate And cast lots for Jerusalem—You too were as one of them.”
This age long antagonism that had its roots in Esau’s hate for his brother Jacob was seen in the time when Israel was wandering in the wilderness when Edom refused to give Israel passage through their border. True to form at that time the Edomites actually threatened Israel with the sword (Numbers 20:14-20). We see the same thing happening today in Islam’s militancy against Israel. This animosity and militancy of Edom reached a head in the sack of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586BC. The participation of Edom in the sacking of Jerusalem on this occasion was long and bitterly remembered by the Jews. In exile by the Rivers of Babylon they cried; “Remember O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Raise it, raise it! Down to its foundations!” ‘(Psalm 137:7).
When the Babylonians entered Jerusalem the Edomites stood aloof at first and looked on for a start and did not go to the aid of their brothers the Israelites. Even though they did not participate in the looting initially they gave tacit approval to what the Babylonians were doing and were as guilty as if they had participated in the initial occupation and looting of Jerusalem. In the future when the armies of the Antichrist invade Jerusalem the Arab nations will look on and not take part in the invasion neither will they go to the support of Israel (Ezekiel 38:13). Now let’s read on…
(Vs.12-14) “Do not gloat over your brother’s day, The day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah In the day of their destruction; Yes, do not boast In the day of their distress. “Do not enter the gate of My people In the day of their disaster. Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity In the day of their disaster. And do not loot their wealth In the day of their disaster. “Do not stand at the fork of the road To cut down their fugitives; And do not imprison their survivors In the day of their distress.”
This description in the Hebrew text in these verses actually is rendered in the past tense. The things mentioned is what the Edomites actually said and did when Jerusalem was being sacked by the Romans. Firstly, they gloated insolently and that without pity over the fall of Jerusalem (Vs.12). Then they actually entered the gate of the city and joined in the looting (Vs.13). Finally, they took up positions where they prevented fugitive Jews from escaping and even rounded up any they found un-apprehended (Vs.14). In the future when Jerusalem is once again besieged and captured the Arabs looking on will join in the plundering as they did in past history because of the vehement militancy they have towards the Jewish people.
It is in fact a demonic principality that drove them in the past and will drive them again to ultimately join in the invasion. At first they will stand aloof and look on but then join in the looting. For this the Arab nations whose armies have attacked Jerusalem will be destroyed along with all of the Islamic armies of the Muslim Antichrist that have also attacked Jerusalem. God’s judgement on the Arab Islamic world for their militancy towards Israel and by extension and inclusion the engrafted faithful Church, will also be metered out on all of the nations and their armies that have attacked Jerusalem and persecuted faithful believers in the Messiah, our Lord Jesus.
The Judgement of the Nations
Now the prophet Obadiah focuses on the nations. The destruction of the Arab Islamic nations and the judgement on the nations will be part of the Day of the Lord which will see the rescues of Israel, the rapture and resurrection of the faithful Body of the Messiah and the wrath of God poured out upon a Messiah hating, Messiah rejecting world that has rejected the salvation of God found only in our Lord Jesus (Acts 4:12). We are told that outside of the city of Jerusalem the blood of the slain armies of the Antichrist will flow for about 180 miles and as high as the horses bridles (Revelation 14:17-20). It is the harvest of judgement in the wine-press of the wrath of God (Isaiah 63:3) (Joel 3:13) (Revelation 19:15). The winepress of the wrath of God is mentioned in all four passages of scripture describing the one and the same event. It is much like four video cameras focusing on the one event but looking at it from different angles. Together they give us a comprehensive and complete picture of that event. And so we read…
(Vs.15) “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.”
This will happen when our Lord Jesus comes back. Just before His Second Coming to earth His wrath will be poured out. This wrath will not be experienced by faithful New Covenant believers who by faith in the blood of the Messiah have been justified before God and preserved from this wrath (Romans 5:9) (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5: 9). God will have a faithful remnant in Israel and within wider Christendom and they are destined to co-reign with the Messiah in his Messianic Kingdom on earth in the age to come following this present age (Revelation 5:10). This final judgement on the will be a day of retribution on all the nations and their leaders that have forgotten God (Psalm 9:17).
At present we see many wicked and unprincipled man and women in the corridors of political power wielding that power in an affront to God but they will have to give an account to Him “who has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Every human being will have to stands before the resurrected and exulted Son of the Living God our Lord Jesus the Messiah to give an account of how they have lived down here. What they have done to others will be done to them and Edom, being today the Islamic Arab world, will be there before the bar in God’s Law Court. But let’s continue…
(Vs.16) “Because just as you drank on My holy mountain, All the nations will drink continually. They will drink and swallow And become as if they had never existed.”
After the city of Jerusalem had been plundered by the Babylonians the Edomites caroused and drank wine in Jerusalem. The pagan nations that have also drank their fill of plunder at the expense of the Jewish people will drink in the wrath of God and swallowing it in such a way as shall make them as though they had not existed at all. They will drink from the wine-press of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:10).
(Vs.17) “But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, And it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions.”
On that day when the wrath of God falls on the nations there will only be one safe place of refuge for all of the redeemed. That place will be on the original site of Mt Zion in the City of David. There will be a faithful remnant of New Covenant believers who have escaped the wrath and co-reign with the Messiah. On Mt Zion He will establish the Millennial Temple from which He will rule the surviving nations. Jerusalem will be holy, set apart to the Lord and spiritually undefiled and protected from any assaults by the pagan nations. As the prophet Joel writes; “Then you will know that I the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her” (Joel 3:17). The saved remnant in Israel will be resettled in and re-instated to their allotted territories from the Wadi of Egypt to the River Euphrates to be for them “an everlasting possession!” (Genesis 15:17-19; 17:8). God always remembers his covenants! And then we read…
(Vs.18) “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.”
The House of Jacob is mentioned alongside with the House of Joseph. This signifies that there will be a union once again between the Northern and Southern kingdom. Ezekiel the prophet also spoke about this union (Ezekiel 37: 15-28). At present Israel’s national restoration is still a partial one as they do not have all of the land given to them by the Lord. Many Jews living in Exile in the nations are yet to return, but the time is coming when they will be forced to return and that in wholesale lots because of rising anti-Semitism in the nations where they have been living. In the Millennial Kingdom after the Messiah has come back they will “possess their possession” and “possess the gates of their enemies.” Added to this when the Messiah comes back to fight Israel’s enemies the Jewish people will fight alongside their Messiah, the Lion from the Tribe of Judah (Zechariah 14:14) (Isaiah 11:10-16).
As for the house of Esau, the Arab Islamic nations, they will be consumed by the firepower of the redeemed Israeli forces under their Commander in Chief the Messiah our Lord Jesus. The Arab nations as such will no longer exist. The only survivors from the Arab nations will be the New Covenant believers in the Messiah who by faith in Him have been spiritually engrafted into the Commonwealth of Israel and made one new man in the Messiah along with the Gentile New Covenant believers (Ephesians 2:11-22). There will be one flock and one shepherd in the Messianic Kingdom which will see Biblical Messianic Judaism expand around the globe (John 10:16).
(Vs.19-20) “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.”
This tells us that God is still interested in the Land of Israel so that His people can re-settle and take back the land given to them by the Lord and guaranteed by the blood covenant He cut with Abraham concerning the land of Israel. This is why the United Nations, the European Union and all of the nations are so against the settlers. Of course the devil is in the details of this militant attitude towards Israel. The settlers are being obedient to the purposes of God even if many do not as yet know the Messiah our Lord Jesus. God has placed upon the heart of His people the call to return to the Land. It is in the land that the Messiah is going to reveal Himself to His brethren in the flesh, the Israelites, as I prefer to call them, because it is Biblical to do so. We see this reunion depicted in the Biblical account of Joseph being reconciled with His brothers in Egypt even after they had betrayed Him. The people are settling in the very heartland of Judea and Samaria today.
And so we read that; “those of the Negev will possess the mountain of Esau.” Israel is going to expand from its current borders and it is going to move into Southern Jordan. And then we read; “And those of the Shephelah the Philistine plain.” This is the area in Israel along the Mediterranean Coastline. They are going “to take possession of the Philistine Plain” namely Gaza, the haven of Hamas and many militant Arabs who hate the Jews. And then we read that the Israelites (Israelis) will “Also, possess the territory of Ephraim.” This is the area today near the city of Ramallah a city in the central West Bank located 10 km north of Jerusalem. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority. It is one of the key areas where they want a Palestinian State for the Arabs. Those Arabs are not going to have a state eternally. The Arabs in Israel today are displaced Arabs and not descendants of Isaac and Jacob to whom God promised the Land of Israel as their eternal inheritance (Genesis 17:8).
We are also told that the Israelites (Israelis) will “possess the territory of Samaria” being further north which today is the West Bank and that “Benjamin will possess Gilead.” This is Northern Jordan today. So Southern Jordan and Northern Jordan are going to be made part of Israel before the Messianic Kingdom of God is established on earth. God’s timing is different from our timing. We are told in the New Testament that “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). What takes man a thousand years to do God can do in a day. Nothing is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14) (Jeremiah 32:17) (Jeremiah 32:27) (Luke 18:27). After almost 2,000 years of exile Israel was reborn in a day in 1948 (Isaiah 66:7-9). As God also says; “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.” As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
And then we read “And the exiles of this host of the sons of Israel, Who are among the Canaanites as far as Zarephath.” This would be the Israeli army expanding Israel’s territory into Northern Lebanon. And then we read “And the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad Will possess the cities of the Negev.” Sepharad today would be located in Spain. The Jews in Spain are going to come back to Israel as will many Jews from Europe in these last of the last days. They are going to possess the cities of the Negev. At present in Israel you have the head of Ra’am Party Mansour Abbas and members of the Arab Joint List supporting him. Naftali Bennet and Yair Lapid have given Abbas oversight of the cities in the Negev. Mansour Abbas is no friend of Israel and has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood which they publically deny but which there is evidence to the contrary. Well he is in for a surprise as it will be the Jewish exiles from Spain who will come home and take possession of the Negev much to the chagrin of the Arabs in Israel. The fact remains that Israel will expand its borders under the hand of the Messiah and inherit all of the land promised by Covenant to them as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and no one will be able to stop this from happening! And finally we read…
(Vs.21) “The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion To judge the mountain of Esau, And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.”
The deliverers or saviours go up to the Temple on the original sight of Mt Zion where the millennial temple will stand. It is a reference to worship in the Millennial Messianic Kingdom. Those who have been saved by the blood of the Messiah and through faith in Him as New Covenant believers will judge the Arab nations for what they have done to God’s people down through the long centuries. Not only will it be a judgement on the Muslim Arab world but all of the nations that have attacked Jerusalem in the last days. Those nations that survive the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus will be forced to worship the Lord Jesus headquartered in Jerusalem and reigning from the Millennial temple on the original sight of Mt Zion in the City of David (Zechariah 14:16-19).
Isaiah the prophet writes about this. “This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it” (Isaiah 2:1-3). In that day Israel will be the head and not the tail! Let Hezbollah in Gaza and let the Arabs in Southern Jordan and Saudi Arabia and in Northern and Central Jordan rave and rant against Israel, let Hezbollah in Lebanon threaten Israel and all the nations rage and gang up on Israel, it will all come to nothing because the Lord is going to clean house with the lot of them and that big time! Israel will be secure and in the day of their complete national and spiritual restoration no one will ever make them afraid ever again. In that day, as Obadiah prophesied several thousand years ago, we read, “And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.”