Another Divine Antagonist (Edom)

October 13, 2012

In a series of articles, we are answering the question, “What could cause an entire generation of both atheistic and religious Jews to finally believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and their promised Messiah?” (Romans 11:26-27)

God is the great genius. Centuries ago He amazingly brought into existence a group of divine antagonists to pressure His chosen people to come to grips with the truth of their Messiah and to cry out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  In the last blog, we discovered that the Ishmaelite Arabs are such a group.

The Edomite Arabs became another group of antagonists. You remember the story of Isaac and Rebekah’s twin sons, Jacob and Esau. These sons are said to have struggled in Rebekah’s womb. God explained this phenomenon, saying that two nations were in her womb. As the boys were removed from the womb, Jacob was observed gripping Esau’s heel.  They were struggling in the womb, and the struggle continued after birth. Jacob became a nation called Israel, and Esau became the nation of Edom (Genesis 25:21-23).

No two sons could have been more different. Jacob was somewhat of a momma’s boy, and Esau was the macho outdoors type. More importantly Jacob, though deceitful, was sensitive to spiritual things (the family blessing) while Esau could care less. This became glaringly evident when Esau sold his spiritual heritage to Jacob for a bowl of soup.

This ongoing Jewish-Edomite conflict ribbons its way throughout the Old Testament:

  • Esau married into the Canaanite line and had many children (Genesis 36:1-5).
  • The marriages were not with the blessing of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:35).
  • The Edomite Arabs refused to allow the Jews to pass through their land during the Exodus (Numbers 20:8-21).
  • King Saul fought against the Edomites (1 Samuel 14:7).
  • David defeated Edom and annihilated most of their male population (1 Kings 11:15-17).
  • Edom constantly took revenge against the Jews (Ezekiel 25:12-14; 1 Kings 11:17-25; 2 Chronicle 21:8-10).
  • Amaziah, king of Judah, was successful in battle against the Edomites (2 Kings 14:7).
  • The Jews were never able to successfully subjugate the Edomite Arabs (2 Chronicles 28:16-17).

A pivotal time in Jewish history was when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 586 b.c. and carried Judah into the Babylonian captivity.  The Edomite Arabs joined Nebuchnezzar in the slaughter of the Jews. They cried out to this Babylonian king to destroy completely the city of Jerusalem. The Psalmist reminds us that God does not forget.

“Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom, the day of Jerusalem, who said, “Raze it, (destroy it) raze it, to its very foundation!”  (Psalms 137:7).

Because of this hatred of Israel, the Edomites are prophesied against throughout Old Testament history (Jeremiah 49:17-18; Lamentations 4:21; Ezekiel 25:13-14; Amos 1:11-12; Obadiah 1:8-21).

The conflict continued in New Testament times. As a reward for helping him, King Nebuchadnezzar gave the Edomite Arabs all the land of Judah from Egypt to the Northern part of the land. Esau’s children at one time had all the land. For 400 years, the Edomite Arabs continued to possess the land until a Jewish family by the name of Macabees subdued them and forced them into Judaism. The Edomites changed their name to Idumeans.  However, this was conversion by coercion, and that has never worked. The Edomite Arabs have never forgotten.

Two Arabs who marked the time of Jesus Christ were Herod the Great (an Edomite) and Antipas.  Herod became third in command in the Roman Empire behind Augustus and Agrippa. It was Herod who slaughtered all the male children just prior to the birth of the Lord Jesus.

Just before the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 a.d., twenty thousand Edomite Arabs appeared to ally themselves with the Jews.  But just as the earlier siege by Nebuchadnezzar, as soon as they got inside the walls of the city they began to rape and pillage, rob and murder. They killed thousands of Jews before Titus destroyed the city. This antagonism remains and it will peak just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Notice carefully these words that mark the return of Jesus Christ.

“Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?— “I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come” (Isaiah 63:1-4).

Who is this One coming from Edom? He is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. His white robes are stained red, saturated with blood. Bozrah is the capital of Edom. This great Battle of Armageddon marks the final judgmental battle of the ages.

So what’s the big idea? Jacob and Esau’s prenatal struggle will continue generation after generation and only intensify until Jesus Christ returns to rescue His people. Both the Palestinians and the Edomites will continue to antagonize the Jews until the Jews, in utter desperation, cry out for their Messiah to come. And come He will, and that tiny nation will be born again in a single day.