Esau was the twin brother of Jacob; when Jacob was given the name Israel, Esau was called Edom (Genesis 25:30). Remarkably both Jacob and Esau had 12 sons (see Genesis 36:9-43); Esau’s spread out, at least as far as the Euphrates (verse 37).

Obadiah reminds us of this remarkable situation and of a future parallel. We could wish the prophecy was more explicit, which is often the case with all prophecy. What we are told challenges our thinking. In v.8 we read, “Will I not on that day, declares the LORD, destroy the wise men out of Edom?” What day? Why? “Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob” (verse 10).

Is this the answer as to why? “For the day of the LORD is near upon all nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you …” (verse 15), Edom is told. For the Lord, for whom time is irrelevant, everything is “near”.

Verses 17,18 reveal “… In Mount Zion shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions (again). The house of Jacob shall be a fire … and the house of Esau stubble …” The return of the exiles is indicated. “The exiles of the host of the people of Israel shall possess the land …” (verse 20).

The final verse of the prophecy tells us, “Saviours shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s”. And when the kingdom is the Lord’s, God’s plan and purpose will have brought into being one of its major objectives. The king of the kingdom will be Jesus Christ.

Will you be there? Two verses out of many interesting ones in Hebrews stand out. “Take care brothers, lest there be in any of you and evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’. That none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (3:12,13). There are lots of factors causing hardening today, but our reading and meditation on God’s word every day provides the cure.