Obadiah and Jonah
We’re rushing a little. Need to finish by end of year, and got behind a bit.
One of the most common stories in the Old Testament is Jonah, so I’m not going to talk about that much. I’ll just mention that Jesus saw Jonah’s trip to the fish belly to be a type for His going to hell and being resurrected. (Matthew 12:40)
Obadiah isn’t spoken of very much, but there is an important lesson here if we look at it. Throughout the prophetic books, we see contrast between Esau and Jacob. Remember, these were two sons of Isaac. Esau was the first-born, but Jacob was the one who inherited the blessing from his father.
Of course, these were two sons and this story actually happened. However, their story was also a type for something more important. It was a type for the natural flesh man and the spirit man.
Your natural birth comes first, of course, and that one is like Esau – the child of the flesh. Then as you have your “born again” experience, your spirit-man is born and this one is like Jacob.
So what is the difference between these two natures of man? The first is arrogant, self-serving, and can be very evil in its desires. This natural man, if gone unchecked, even thinks that it doesn’t need God . “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you.” (Obadiah 3)
The spirit man is much different. This man is born of God, and honors God in everything. This second man is humble and obedient – loving others as himself. In many ways the very opposite of the first man.
So the day is coming, says the Lord, when the house of Jacob will be a flame and the house of Esau will be stubble. Then the house of Jacob will possess their possessions. (V.17). But Esau will be no more. There will be no survivor of the house of Esau. Flesh will no longer prevail.
Now this speaks of a day when the Lord brings us to our final times. Yet in each of our lives, we can see this experience coming to pass as we walk with the Lord.
Our personal house of Esau – that self-centered individual we once were, can be burned up by the fire of God’s Spirit within us changing us into His likeness. (Our Jacob). As we die to self and live to Him, we see ourselves being changed from glory to glory day by day.
Let your mountain of Jacob burn up your mountain of Esau, and possess your possessions. The wonderful covenant you have with the Lord through the blood of Jesus comes into fruition as we do just that.
Within these chapters we see lots of imagery. First there is a woman who gives birth to a Son. Who is that woman? Israel, the descendants of Abraham, who had been called as God’s people for that very purpose. The birth of God’s Son came just as it had been foretold.
Yet there was also a dragon. The dragon had been Lucifer, one of God’s greatest archangels, but because of his pride, he rebelled against God and tricked a third of the angels into following him. So Lucifer became Satan, seen here as the dragon, and when he fell he carried a third of the angels (stars) with him.
This dragon, however, went to war with God’s people. (Today in the world, the dragon is at war with Israel and with Christians. That’s why all of the persecution).
So how do we overcome? By the “blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.”(12:11) The blood of Jesus, which we have received, has given us authority, and the words we speak cause us to overcome the power of Satan. The words of our testimony agree with God and not with the devil. We speak the Word of God with lips which have been cleansed by His blood, and we in effect prophesy our own deliverance.
Chapter 13 gets into some interesting territory. Personally I think that people often miss it when they try to be so specific about the anti-christ who is revealed here. I believe that the anti-christ is a spirit, which is manifested in a religion which attacks and threatens Christians and Jews. It’s like a false Christ. (And I think that we can see him at work right now in the world).
There is a false religion which tries to force all people to worship this false god. The threat of death and persecution ensues. Violence and evil against Christians and Jews. (If you will notice, other religions are not threatened in the same way as Christians and Jews. That’s one way you can tell when the dragon is at work).
One interesting fact in all of this is that the number 666 comes into the forefront . It is the number which will be the “mark of the beast” and it is described as the “number of a man.” The number which stands for man in the Bible is 6.
God created man to be three parts: spirit, soul, and body. And His desire is for all three parts to be subject to Him by the power of His Holy Spirit. Yet often man tries to live his life without God, and he worships himself, and not God. His number is 666, signifying that all parts of his being belong to man – and not God.
There is a time – and I think we are seeing it now – when man wants to worship himself and not God. He yields to the flattery of the devil and the deception of false religions. All of the world is threatened with this type of allegiance.
Yet God wins, and so do we. The day will come when the Lamb and His cohorts will arise and the whole earth will see His glory. No longer will the false religions reign, but God Himself will reign forever.
There will be a great harvest and a great judgment.
It’s important for us to stay on the right side!