The Book of Obadiah
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Introduction to The Book of Obadiah
Obadiah gave his messages sometime between the completion of the Temple and the coming of Ezra to Jerusalem. They consist of denunciations of Edom and predictions of her doom. Edom was the country to the south of Judah and had been the Jews’ enemy for centuries. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the one who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, while the Jews were the descendants of Jacob, the one who received the name Israel. The former were wholly materialistic in their outlook and, jealous of the Jews, rejoiced when their country fell in 586 B.C. Edom took every advantage of Judah’s misfortune and for this gained the hatred of the Jews.
The Book of Obadiah is the shortest in the Old Testament, consisting of only one chapter. Charles Fillmore states that Obadiah represents:
The higher thoughts in man that serve and worship God through the I AM, Jehovah, indwelling Christ. They are faithful and true. They are thoughts that are obedient to spiritual ideals, that hear and heed the voice of Spirit (MBD/Obadiah).
There are two passages in The Book of Obadiah that are especially worthy of remembering. The first is a prediction of Edom’s downfall:
Though thou mount on high as the eagle, and though thy nest be set among the stars, I will bring thee down from thence, saith Jehovah (Obadiah 1:4).
When the higher thoughts become active in consciousness, we realize that no matter how mighty we become when dominated by Edom (sense consciousness), the law of the Lord shall bring us down. This is ever the fate of man functioning apart from God.
The second outstanding passage in Obadiah’s book relates the inevitable reward of a spiritual attitude:
But in Mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions (Obadiah 1:17).
As we learn to harmonize ourselves with our indwelling Lord, we escape the evils that attend persons who live in sense consciousness; we experience holiness or wholeness. In the house of Jacob (spiritual consciousness) we shall possess our possessions instead of our possessions possessing us.
Introduction to The Book of Obadiah by Elizabeth Sand Turner, Let There Be Light pp.215-216.
Proud Edom Will Be Brought Low
1 The vision of Obadiah.1 This is what the Lord* Yahweh† says about Edom.2 We have heard news from Yahweh, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, saying, “Arise, and let’s rise up against her in battle. 2 Behold,‡ I have made you small among the nations. You are greatly despised. 3 The pride of your heart3 has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high,4 who says in his heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’
- Obadiah. The higher thoughts in man that serve and worship God through the I AM, Jehovah, indwelling Christ. They are faithful and true. They are thoughts that are obedient to spiritual ideals, that hear and heed the voice of Spirit.
- Edom. A nation descended from Esau, Jacob's brother. As Jacob and Esau had a contentious relationship, so did Edom and Israel. When Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, Edomites took advantage and earned the ire of the Jews. Metaphysically represents the outer man, the body, or the carnal, physical phase of man's consciousness and organism; sense consciousness.
- The pride of your heart. Edom was located on higher elevations in the mountains of Seir; Edomites thought very highly of themselves and superior to the Israelites. Metaphysically, sense thoughts seem more important than spiritual ones and thus can be easily prioritized.
- whose habitation is high. When operating apart from God, pridefully, and dominated by sense consciousness, man will be brought down, humbled.
Pillage and Slaughter Will Repay Edom's Cruelty
4 Though you mount on high as the eagle, and though your nest is set among the stars, I will bring you down from there,” says Yahweh. 5“If thieves came to you, if robbers by night—oh, what disaster awaits you—wouldn’t they only steal until they had enough? If grape pickers came to you, wouldn’t they leave some gleaning grapes? 6 How Esau will be ransacked! How his hidden treasures are sought out! 7 All the men of your alliance have brought you on your way, even to the border. The men who were at peace with you have deceived you, and prevailed against you. Friends who eat your bread lay a snare under you. There is no understanding in him.”
8“Won’t I in that day”, says Yahweh, “destroy the wise men out of Edom,1 and understanding out of the mountain of Esau? 9 Your mighty men, Teman,2 will be dismayed, to the end that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter.
- Destroy the wise men out of Edom. As Edom has done to the Israelites, so it will be done to them.
- Teman. Refers to the realm of the subconsciousness with its inherently rich stores of substance and good. Here this realm is under the influence of the Edom phase of mind in the individual; under material thought.
Edom Mistreated His Brother
10 For the violence done to your brother1 Jacob, shame will cover you, and you will be cut off forever. 11 In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away his substance and foreigners entered into his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, even you were like one of them. 12 But don’t look down on your brother in the day of his disaster, and don’t rejoice over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction. Don’t speak proudly in the day of distress. 13 Don’t enter into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity. Don’t look down on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither seize their wealth on the day of their calamity. 14 Don’t stand in the crossroads to cut off those of his who escape. Don’t deliver up those of his who remain in the day of distress. 15 For the day of Yahweh is near all the nations! As you have done, it will be done to you.2 Your deeds will return upon your own head. 16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so all the nations will drink continually. Yes, they will drink, swallow down, and will be as though they had not been.
- For the violence done to your brother. Referencing the violence Edomites committed against the descendants of Jacob, the Israelites. The atrocities are detailed here.
- as you have done, it will be done to you. Obadiah's message is now applied to all nations and peoples. Those who act pridefully, and harm others, will one day receive what they've given. Prideful nations will be judged.
Israel’s Final Triumph
17 But in Mount Zion,1 there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. The house of Jacob will possess their possessions. 18 The house of Jacob will be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble.2 They will burn among them and devour them. There will not be any remaining to the house of Esau.” Indeed, Yahweh has spoken.
19 Those of the South will possess3 the mountain of Esau, and those of the lowland, the Philistines. They will possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria. Benjamin will possess Gilead. 20 The captives of this army of the children of Israel, who are among the Canaanites, will possess even to Zarephath; and the captives of Jerusalem, who are in Sepharad, will possess the cities of the Negev. 21Saviors will go up on Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom will be Yahweh’s.
- Mount Zion. Dwelling place of high, holy thoughts and ideals; love's abode. As we learn to harmonize ourselves with God, we escape the harms that come with living in sense consciousness; we experience holiness or wholeness [Turner, Let There Be Light].
- stubble. Cut stalks of grain plants left sticking out of the ground after the grain is harvested. Joseph is Jacob's son. Metaphysically, spiritual or I AM consciousness (Jacob) and imagination (Joseph) will overcome the animal mind (Esau).
- will possess. Metaphysically, a description of change in consciousness culminating in higher forms of thought overcoming those of sense conscioussness.
Fillmore Study Bible annotations by Mark Hicks.
World English Bible Footnotes:
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