Study of the Prophets #11 Obadiah (cont.)
Although this is the shortest of the prophetic books, there is much to be said with significant ramifications for our time and the future within the prophecy for the time of Obadiah.
I want to continue in the context of discussing the similarities of the United States and Edom (the Roman Empire) to which I believe Obadiah’s prophecies apply. Understanding that Biblical prophecy often has more than one dimension, I maintain that the prophecy directed at Edom applies to the United States, although the “how” destruction will occur may vary. I share this information not as a hostile American, but as one who loves G-d and His ways and is lamenting how America has and is turning completely away from the G-d if Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in favor of humanism that is completely anti-Torah. Let us pick up at verse 3 in Chapter 1 through verse 4:
“Behold, I have made you inferior among the nations; you are very despised. The wickedness of your heart has misled you, [you] who dwells in the clefts of the rocks [in] his lofty abode, who says in his heart, ‘Who can bring me down to earth?’ Even if you raise [your nest] like an eagle or if you place your nest among the starts, I will bring you down from there- the word of HaShem.”
We may analyze the preceding as follows:
Now that you have developed into a mighty empire, you allow yourself to be seduced by the haughty feelings in your heart. Thus you view yourself as if you dwelled in the impregnable clefts of the rocks where no one could approach you, and you exult in your heart, saying, “Who could possibly bring me down to a lower station on earth?” (Abarbanel; Metzudos). This description fits our nation perfectly. During the 1940s the country was united with everyone sacrificing for the war effort. After the war, G-d granted victory on a world scale. Prosperity was given to America and the people lived with a unified system of values until the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Humanistic philosophy became dominant with continued degradation of society as it turns further and further away from G-d’s instructions for living, His Torah.
It is no secret that we force our will as a nation upon other nations to insure our global policies. We resort to attempting to buy loyalty with money and material goods to no avail. Our enemies take our money that only sharpens their hate toward us as they plan for our destruction. We export our brand of licentiousness throughout the world, emphasizing it at home by teaching our children according to the humanistic philosophy that there is no fundamental truth, no Divine Creator who will hold us accountable for our actions, and that this life is it; eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die attitude. Have you ever wondered why the people of countries like Africa, remain destitute and poor even though that continent produces more gold, diamonds, uranium, and chromium than any other world economy? We must examine who owns the mines. The population of the destitute countries are a well-planned out operation between the owners and the nation’s leaders. It could not remain as it does if national policy forbade it and enforced ethical laws.
America has done much good in the world, but the national character of the United States today, examined by any truth, is deserving of G-dly judgment. WE must also admit that America is not mentioned by name in the Bible. However, the description of commercial Babylon describes the United States perfectly. Furthermore, G-d could not have ignored such a mighty world power that has been so prominent on the world stage throughout its history. G-d promises that He will make His plan for His people known throughout the nations, including the United States, where many from the 10 lost tribes migrated over the years. If America is indeed the nation spoken of in Obadiah along with Edom, we need to examine verses 15-17. I submit that it applies to Rome and the United States:
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. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.”
Obadiah described the final war of judgment in the Tribulation Period. I maintain that the United States has faded from international power due to her rebelliousness against G-d. G-d is causing and allowing all that has and is happening to America just as He described and warned in this book and throughout the entire Bible, even unto the book of Revelation. Here, the land of ancient Edom will become the possession of the House of Israel. This takes place after the anti-messiah commits the “Abomination of Desolation” spoken of by Yahshua and Daniel. The Jews rebel against the anti-messiah because of his act of idolatry. As a result, Judea is invaded and those living in the land of Israel must flee to a place of safety where YHVH will protect a remnant until Yahshua’s second coming. This place will most likely be Petra, the land of Edom; ergo this prophecy. Petra is now in the land of Jordan, ancient Ammon. It is inaccessible except on foot or horseback. Nevertheless, G-d will protect His remnant using whatever means He chooses to use. During that time, the anti-messiah will possess Jerusalem and the children of Judah/Israel will possess Petra; Edom.
Examining verse 5-7 we can easily answer the question “How were you silent until the thieves stole all they desired?” In the context of the United States, many ask how we ever got to be in the shape we are in now. How could the greatest superpower in the world become a nation in which the pledge of allegiance no longer applies? We are not one nation under G-d. We have kicked G-d out of every possible place, including the hearts of our children because of our silence when humanists were elected to office. We want to “fit in” and not to make any waves lest we be shunned from our social circles.
We are not indivisible with liberty and justice for all. This country could not be more divided than it is now. There is neither liberty nor justice for everyone. Someone may call me a Florida cracker (although I am from California), but if I were to call a person of a different ethnic group an equally derogatory name, I would be prosecuted for discrimination. How does that constitute justice for all? Why is it that some ethnic groups are subsidized by the government for tuition, yet I must pay full price? I could go on, but I think these two examples are enough to make the reader realize that America is no longer the nation described in the national pledge of allegiance. These changes in the American attitude and policy did not happen overnight as eluded to in Obadiah. The damage starts from the inside, just as does many human diseases. Indeed, deception and rebellion against G-d starts from the inside also; from our very spirits that determine where the soul will reside when all is said and done. Simply look at the history of American foreign policy, trade, and immigration law, and politics and you will easily recognize how we have transitioned from a true land of the free and home of the brave to a divided “empire” much like Rome was before its demise. The process is similar to putting a frog in a pot of tepid water, in which it does not try to jump out of until the heat increases to the point where it is too late. The frog tolerates the ever increasing heat for a time before it tries to change the situation by vacating the premises! So it is with America, One by one our liberties have been taken away either with our permission or by executive order. The laws of G-d have been mistranslated by those who have a humanistic agenda that is consistent with our leaders. The Bible reads so much differently than originally written under the guise of making it “more readable,” “more palatable,” and “less judgmental!” Our leaders have made treaties with the enemy under the guise of promoting peace and equality for all. Yet, G-d said from the beginning that Easu[and his descendants] will be “ as a wild-ass among men] Lit. “a wild-ass of a man.” This description of Ishmael vividly portrays the characteristics of his descendants. The wild ass, for which see Job 39:5-8, Hosea 8:9, is the typically untamable, strong, free, roaming, suspicious, and untrustworthy animal, living wild in the desert, far from the haunts of men. His hand will be against every man. .·.—The Bedouin can be bound by no treaties, submit to no law, and count plunder as legitimate gain. Yet, the American President is adamant that peace can be obtained through sanctions and giving up American products and money while condemning its greatest friend and ally, Israel. Yes, G-d’s judgement is warranted and will happen, just as He and His prophets foretold in His Torah. This leads us to verse 6-7 that describes the aforementioned process perfectly:
How has Esau been searched, his hoards revealed? All the men of your covenant escorted you until the border; the men at peace with you misled you [and] prevailed over you; [those who eat] your bread made a wound in your place. There is no understanding in him.
This is to say that the very people with whom who we mistakenly believe we can make peace with, are in actuality eating our bread, taking our money, and planning to destroy us all at the same time. One of the sad realities is that this is not even secret!
Verse 8-9 reminds us that Rome, and the United States seems to have no comprehension of what is about to happen. Military prowess depends upon at least two factors; the quality of the strategic and tactical planning, and the valor and strength of the armies. Accordingly, Obadiah foretells in the next two verses how both of these qualities will be withheld from the forces of Edom, and I maintain the United States, precipitating their total annihilation (Abarbanel). Need more proof? Look at the lack of strategic and tactical planning of the American military. There is no strategy and there is no tactical plan. Our supreme leader has no military experience whatsoever, and is not aware of the basic tenants of war. America’s armed forces are being sent piecemeal to various parts of the world with no defined objective. Strength is no longer in them because they have no mission; no cohesiveness; no objective that would unite them. They no longer have confidence that the very government that deploys them will support them in the midst of a crisis. This is the prophecy of Obadiah in verses 7-8.
Now we move into another area that will exact G-d’s retribution on Edom (Rome) and I believe the United States. Let’s move on to verse 11:
On that day you stood from afar, on the day that strangers captured his wealth. And foreigners came to his gates and cast lottery on Jerusalem, you too were like one of them.
On the day that Nebuchadnezzar conquered and plundered Jerusalem, you stood from afar and offered no assistance to your brother Jacob (Rashi). For this, I consider it as if you had actually participated in the destruction (Rashi; Abarbanel; Metzudos). Does this not sound similar to the deteriorating relationship between the United States and Israel? It is not so much the people of the United States that has and is fostering a growing sense of animosity, but the President. I submit Prime Minister Netanyahu is fully aware of the American agenda and will continue to prepare his people and country for the impending battle between Israel and her enemies. I do not believe that the Israeli government expects anyone but G-d to come to her aid and protect her as G-d promised He will. Perhaps Obadiah’s prophecy is warning the United States and Rome that their destruction will be in part because of their animosity toward G-d and His people Israel. Time will tell.
I previously planned to conclude our examination of Obadiah this week, but because of the recent current events and their application to Obadiah’s prophecy, I expect we will have 1-2 more classes before moving on to the next book.
Rabbi Tamah Davis
Study of the Prophets #11 Obadiah (cont.)