November 2, 2021
“But there will be a deliverance on Mount Zion, and it will be holy; the house of Jacob will dispossess those who dispossessed them. Then the house of Jacob will be a blazing fire...”
“But there will be a deliverance on Mount Zion, and it will be holy; the house of Jacob will dispossess those who dispossessed them. Then the house of Jacob will be a blazing fire, and the house of Joseph a burning flame, but the house of Esau will be stubble; they will set them on fire and consume them. Therefore no survivor will remain, of the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken.” Obadiah:17-18
Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of the patriarch, Isaac. Their sibling rivalry was far beyond normal. From the outset, the older was to serve the younger. We see a pattern elsewhere in Scripture: Cain & Abel, Ishmael & Isaac; Reuben & Joseph, and Ephraim & Manasseh.
“Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was barren. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. But the children inside her struggled with each other, and she said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb; two people will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.’” Genesis 25:21-23
As the boys grew up, Esau sold his birthright (the right to lead the family spiritually) to Jacob for a bowl of soup. Then, Jacob tricked his blind father, Isaac, into giving him the family blessing instead of Esau. Alongside their notorious personal relationship, “Jacob” and “Esau” are also synonymous with the nations that descended from them: Israel and Edom.
When Israel came out of Egypt, headed toward Canaan, Edom refused to let them pass through their land. When Babylon fought against Israel, Edom stood quietly by; and when Jerusalem was destroyed, Edom cast lots with Babylon to divide the spoils.
But beyond the familial and national relationships, there is a more profound symbolism at play with Jacob and Esau. The brothers are also symbolic of the inner struggle of every believer between our old “fleshly” self-serving nature and the “new creation,” learning to overcome the flesh by discipline and submission to God’s Word. The Lord declares at the beginning of the book of Malachi, “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I hated,” and Obadiah’s prophecy clarifies the depth of that hatred. Where Scripture says that believers from foreign nations are restored and brought into blessing in the millennial kingdom, Edom will fall and rise no more: total destruction.
Therefore, even though our flesh may rise up, strut, intimidate and surge within us at times, threatening our spiritual wellbeing, we know the flesh has a certain, hell-bound end. So, we believers await, with joy and confidence, the day when all flesh and everything that presently disturbs and distresses us will be overthrown forever - when Messiah Jesus, alone, will be exalted. Even so, come Lord Jesus!