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The Visions and Oracles of the Prophet Ezekiel (23)

Biblical Research Monthly, January 1947 thru September 1950 — by Dr. David L. Cooper

Installments:

      1. Some Preliminary Observations
      2. The Call and Commission of Ezekiel
      3. The Beginnings of Ezekiel's Ministry
      4. The Final Collapse of Judah Under the Babylonian Siege
      5. Jehovah's Withdrawal from the City and it's Downfall
      6. The Flight and Capture of the King Symbolically Represented and Warning Against a Wrong Attitude Concerning Prophecy
      7. Prophecy and Idolatry
      8. Israel, the Burnt Vine and the Unfaithful Wife
      9. The Riddle of the Two Great Eagles and the Messianic Reign of Christ
      10. God's Reply to the Proverb, “The Fathers have Eaten Sour Grapes, and the Children's Teeth are Set on Edge”
      11. The Young Lions and the Rods of Judah
      12. Israel's Past and Future Experiences
      13. The Sword of Jehovah
      14. Sinful Jerusalem and Her Punishment
      15. The Lewdness of Oholah and Oholibah
      16. The Boiling Caldron
      17. Oracles Concerning Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia
      18. The Oracle Concerning Tyre
      19. The Oracles Concerning Egypt
      20. The Watchman on the Wall (Chapter 33)
      21. The Untrue Shepherds of Israel
      22. The Flock of Jehovah and its Shepherd
      23. The Judgment upon Edom
      24. The Curse Removed from the Land of Israel
      25. Israel's Restoration to the Land of the Fathers and Her Conversion
      26. The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones
      27. The Scattered Nation of Israel Reunited under King Messiah
      28. The Overthrow of the Russian Forces that Invade Palestine (Chapter 38)
      29. The Overthrow of the Antichrist's Forces Invade Palestine (Chapter 39)
      30. The Millennial Jerusalem
      31. The Millennial Temple
      32. The Prince and the Glorified Millennial Temple
      33. The Land of Israel in the Millennium

The Judgment upon Edom

The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. From the earliest childhood of these two brothers there seems to have been on the part of Esau a spirit of jealousy and envy against Jacob. Because of this fact Jacob was sent by his mother to his uncle Laban, who lived in Syria. This feeling appears never to have died out during the personal lifetime of these two patriarchs. At times it seems to have disappeared, but it was simply smoldering underneath some seeming tranquil situation. It flared up from time to time and burst into raring warfare at different stages of the history of the descendants of these two brothers.

The country and people of Edom came in for consideration on the part of various prophets. For instance, Jeremiah issued an oracle against these people, as seen in Jeremiah 49:7-22. Ezekiel, in chapter 35, which is the subject of our lesson, and also in chapter 36, dealt with the relationship between the Edomites and the Israelites. Amos likewise in 1:11,12 issued an oracle against Edom. Obadiah devoted his entire book (one chapter) to a discussion of Edom and the hurling of a philippic against that inveterate enemy of the Jews. All of these passages should be read in order that one might appreciate the message of this study.

The Oracle Directed Against Edom

God instructed Ezekiel to set his face toward Mount Seir and to prophesy against it. The wording of this command shows that this was indeed a real burden in the true sense of the term which the prophet was delivering against the Edomites. It is a fearful thing to have God issue such a declaration against anyone.

God Threatens to Lay Waste the Country of Edom

In verses 3 and 4 of this oracle God tells the nature and the extent of the judgment that He threatens. He warned the Edomites that He would reduce the country to a state of desolation and waste, and that its condition would be an astonishment to the people who would witness it. Though they had strong cities and fortifications, yet God would make all of them heaps of ruins. They would feel His might and recognize the power of Omnipotence in His thus destroying their country and overthrowing their civilization.

The Sin of Edom

As stated in the first paragraph of this study, the outstanding sin of the Edomites was that of enmity against the Israelites, which feeling of animosity dated back to the days of Jacob and Esau. In various oracles that God uttered against the Edomites, He calls attention to that fact Isaiah in foretelling the judgments of the great Tribulation concluded by saying that the Lord Jesus, when He comes to earth, will strike at Edom and assigns as the reason: “For Jehovah hath a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion” (Isaiah 34:8). In Ezekiel 35:5 God emphasizes the thought that Edom's outstanding sin was perpetual enmity against the children of Israel. They at different times have done all that they could against the Israelites; but from this verse we see that they will in some way deliver over “the children of Israel to the power of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time of the iniquity of the end.” This statement shows that this oracle finds its complete fulfillment in the time of the Tribulation. It is most important to note this fact. By all prophetic students the time of Israel's calamity is the time of Jacob's trouble, or the Tribulation, which is, according to this verse, to be in the time of the iniquity of the end — the end of this age, namely, the Tribulation Period.

Edom Reaps what She has Sowed

One of the unchangeable laws of God is that a person or nation reaps what he or it sows. The Edomites have in the past and will yet in the future give the children of Israel over to the power of the sword. To this same fate, though in a more thoroughgoing and far-reaching manner, will God give the Edomites over to the power of the sword in the end time. She will have shed blood, and her blood shall be shed.

Edom's Desolations Perpetual

According to verses 7-9 the wreckage and the ruin, of the land of Edom will continue and remain in this condition perpetually. Her feeling of hatred against Israel has run through the centuries; her desolations will run throughout the centuries of the Millennial Age, since it will be perpetual, that is, continuing from the time of its being reduced to that condition onward as long as the earth stands. At the end of the Millennium, however, the entire physical universe passes out of existence, as we learn in Revelation 20, verse 11.

Edom's False Claims to the Land of Palestine

In verses 10-12 we have this language:

Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas Jehovah was there; 11 therefore, as I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I will do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast showed out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I shall judge thee. 12 And thou shall know that I, Jehovah, have heard all thy revilings which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to devour.” (Ezekiel 35:10-12)

So far as the records go, there is no account of the Edomites' ever laying claim to the land of Israel, which was, upon the death of Solomon, divided into two countries: the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel. Ezekiel thus speaks of the land of Palestine and the people of Israel in terms of the conditions which resulted after the division of the kingdom in the days of Rehoboam, king of Judah.

Since this oracle, as we see from verse 5, will find its full and complete fulfillment in the time of the iniquity of the end, we may be certain that yet in the future the Edomites will lay claim to all the land of Palestine west of the Jordan River. They will declare that they have a right to this land, and that they are going to have it in possession. As to how far they will press their claims, the Scriptures are silent. We therefore must stop there and await the time when this claim is put forward by the people of Edom. It is true that the Arabs — without any definitely defined actual racial and national lines — have laid claim to the land of Palestine. Thus the descendants of the various Arabic nations have indiscriminately made the claim that Palestine belongs to the Arabs; but here is a definite prediction that the descendants of Esau, who have been amalgamated with the Arabic tribes, at the present, will make these claims before the world; but, of course, God will not honor them.

Edom's Magnifying Himself Against God

“And ye have magnified yourselves against me with your mouth, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard it” (vs. 13). The Edomites had every opportunity of knowing that Jehovah the God of the universe was the God of the Israelites. Nevertheless, they thought and spoke of Him as if He were simply a tribal god like the gods of the various nations around them. In their laying claims to the land of Palestine and in their open hostility against the Jews, they magnify themselves against God and speak against Him.

Whoever takes a stand against God in any such manner and spirit as this will suffer the horrible consequences. Note that the Antichrist of the end time does this very thing and comes to his miserable and horrible end at the second coming of our Lord.

Edom the Land of the Curse During the Millennium

“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate” (vs. 14). The curse will be lifted, at the second coming of Christ, from the entire earth with the exception of the lands of Babylon and Edom. That Babylon will remain under the curse is quite clear from the latter part of Isaiah, chapter 13, and from Isaiah 34:8 to the close. From this thirty-fifth chapter of Ezekiel it is clear that the land of Edom will not be delivered, but that a special curse will rest upon it. This condemned condition will be a living testimony against all anti-Semitism throughout the Millennial Age — and should be a warning to all at the present time to watch their step and not to take an adverse attitude against the Jew.

Survival After Death

According to verse 15 after the land of Edom has been destroyed and the people wiped from the face of the globe, “they shall know that I am Jehovah.” This obviously refers to the people of Edom who have gone on to their eternal destiny, and who will be conscious and know the actual conditions that obtain in the land where they lived during their lifetime.

Next: The Curse Removed from the Land of Israel

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