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Obadiah 17 gives us the outcome of this controversy of Zion.
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.
This “Mount Zion” stands in contrast to Edom and its perverted version of Zionism. Mount Zion in those days represented the seat of government, dating back to the time of King David. The fact that “it will be holy” sets it apart from Esau-Edom and identifies it with “the house of Jacob.” In the end, Edom will be disinherited and will lose his possessions.
Who precisely is part of this “house of Jacob” remains obscure here, but we know that Jacob himself represented the overcomers. In fact, the main lesson in the life of Jacob was his journey from low-level faith to a higher level of faith. It was his journey from a believer who was a deceiver to an overcomer called Israel. Those who follow his example “will possess their possessions.”
The three steps toward being an overcomer are also seen in the progression of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-Israel. To be of Abraham is to share his New Covenant faith. To be of Isaac is to learn obedience as the servant of God. To be of Jacob is to overcome self-deception, to cast off one’s reliance upon the flesh, and to know the sovereignty of God. By following this path, we are able to express the heart of God and to implement His plan to be a blessing to all families of the earth.
All of the characteristics of Esau-Edom that are portrayed throughout Scripture show that the Edomites are entirely consumed with self-interest and are focused upon acquiring the land for themselves with no regard to the interests of other people.
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.
Such language is metaphorical, of course. Just as stubble is consumed by fire, so also will the house of Jacob and the house of Joseph consume, as it were, the house of Esau. This is not to say that every individual Edomite will be killed. Instead, it is the “house” that will be consumed and destroyed. In my view, there will be many individuals who will be set free from the spirit of Edomite Zionism and will repudiate the house of Esau. In other words, they will convert voluntarily to Christ and join His household of faith.
This is similar to the fate of Babylon. Jeremiah 51:2 KJV says that God will “empty her land” and “to make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant” (Jeremiah 51:29). Most of these citizens of Babylon will become citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and will no longer be known as Babylonians. Only the entity known as Babylon will cease to exist.
So also is it with Edom. In 126 B.C. Edom (or Idumea) ceased to exist when the people all became Jews. Something like this may occur again, this time without force or coercion.
Obadiah 19 continues,
19 Then those of the Negev [“south”] will possess the mountain of Esau, and those of the Shephelah [“lowlands”] the Philistine plain; also possess the territory of Ephraim and the territory of Samaria, and Benjamin will possess Gilead.
This is set forth in literal terms, but it is doubtful that the fulfillment will be literal. The point is that Jacob and Joseph will possess (own) the assets of Edom and Philistia (Palestine), so that they may impart to the people the blessings of Abraham.
Obadiah 20 says,
20 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.
Who are these “exiles” living among the Canaanites? In Obadiah’s day there were people still known as Canaanites, but in today’s world, no one goes by that name anymore. Zarephath was a city to the north, where Elijah lived in the house of the widow. Most notable, we see that there were to be “exiles of Jerusalem.” Was Obadiah referring to the Babylonian captivity? Or was he referring to the Roman expulsion from Jerusalem in 70 A.D.? Because this is an end-time prophecy, it is most likely a reference to a future exile after the destruction of Jerusalem.
Obadiah 21 concludes,
21 The deliverers [“saviors,” KJV] will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the Kingdom will be the Lord’s.
Once again, the prophecy is given in Old Testament terms which must be interpreted through the eyes of New Testament revelation. The old Mount Zion in Jerusalem was identified with the earthly city that Paul called Hagar. The city under the Old Covenant was governed by Mount Sinai in Arabia (Galatians 4:25). We, however, no longer gather at Mount Zion but at Mount Sion, which is Mount Hermon—the place where Jesus was transfigured and where the voice of God pronounced Him to be “My beloved Son” (Matthew 17:5). So says Hebrews 12:18-22 KJV.
In other words, the government of God has shifted from the earthly Jerusalem to the heavenly city, the city which Abraham sought (Hebrews 11:14, 15, 16). The three disciples that accompanied Jesus up Mount Sion represented these “deliverers” who were to “judge the mountain of Esau.”
Obadiah ends with the final outcome of the divine plan: “the Kingdom will be the Lord’s.” It implies that the Kingdom, prior to this outcome, was occupied and ruled by Esau and by others who failed to be proper stewards of the Kingdom.