Can Jesus Christ be found in the books of Amos and Obadiah? Find out with guest Dr. David Bowen and hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!
Air Date: August 28, 2022
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Key Verse Commentary
Amos and Obadiah – “Short but Stout”
“Short but stout” is a phrase that does not just apply to teapots. Gimli in Lord of the Rings was a dwarf known for his boldness and valor. Even Merriam-Webster defines “stout” with words such as strong, brave, bold, substantial, uncompromising, and enduring.
Many Christians pay little attention to the books of the Bible known as the Minor Prophets. Although they earned that designation because of their relative shortness, the Minor Prophets contain “stout” prophetic gems that simply should not be missed. Anyone who aspires to understand the New Testament must read and study the Scriptures Jesus frequently cited—including the Law and the Prophets. In short (no pun intended), the importance of a prophet’s message cannot be judged by the length of their book. They all served the LORD faithfully and pointed toward the coming Messiah.
Amos and Obadiah are no exceptions. Amos’ immediate message was for nations around the Promised Land—as well for Israel and Judah themselves. This sheepherder from Tekoa described the LORD’s voice roaring from Zion. Had the Jewish people—or the people of the surrounding pagan lands—had ears to hear and hearts inclined to repent, God would have relented of His judgment.
Obadiah’s short-term message focused on Edom—Israel’s gloating foe—and ironically predates Amos. But Obadiah’s warning to Edom also foretold the coming day of the LORD and the justice He will pour out on all the nations.
With the end drawing near, time is short, and the message of impending doom is stout. But those who heed the Word of the Lord can still turn to Him and live.
Key Verse: Amos 5:6 “Seek the LORD that you may live.…”
Explanation:Through Jeremiah, the LORD said, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Jesus said it this way, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
With this assurance, how do we balance the truth shared by Paul in Romans 3:11 (and echoing David’s insight from Psalm 14:1-4): “There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one”?
First, we recognize that unless drawn by the Holy Spirit, all of us would be completely depraved. Even when drawn by the Spirit and responsive to the voice of the Lord, all of us, like sheep, tend to go astray (Isaiah 53:6). But drawn by the Spirit, we are attuned to the Shepherd’s voice and able to respond with believing faith.
Even more profound, God loved us while we were still sinners. Before we put our trust in Him, God the Father sent Jesus Christ the Son to die for us (Romans 5:8). Jesus’ obedience to the point of death on a cross is what opened a way for us to be reconciled with Almighty God. And since God does not wish any to perish, His prevenient grace washes over us even while we are lost in our sin. That fancy theological word simply means that like rainfall God’s kindness is showered upon the unrepentant and repentant alike.
Jesus made this point in Matthew 5:45 and Luke 6:35, pointing out that the Father “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” and, “He Himself is kind to ungrateful and grateful alike.” But there will come a time when God’s patience is exhausted, and every person not covered by the blood of Christ will answer for their sins.
With God’s wrath hanging over the entire world and time running out, Amos’ admonition still applies today. We cannot reject the love of God as manifest in the person of Jesus Christ. Doing so is the ultimate blasphemy, because it denies the testimony of God and refuses His saving grace.
Those who seek the LORD with all their heart will discover that He was already pursuing them—ready to receive them. And the cry of rejoicing that is sounded when one sinner is saved makes the prodigal son’s welcome home pale in comparison.
Key Verse: Amos 5:24 “…let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Explanation:Having been saved—what do we do next? Well, both individuals and nations alike should choose wisely and adhere to the Word of the LORD.
The Bible says that God is omniscient (He knows everything), omnipotent (He is all powerful), and omnipresent (He is everywhere). He is also merciful, just, holy, righteous, full of glory, and beautiful. In a powerful sermon entitled, “That’s My King,” Dr. S.M. Lockridge demonstrates that words are inadequate to describe our indescribable God.
Yet God has told us what is expected and demanded of us. About Jesus Christ, the Father testifies, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him” (Luke 9:35). Beyond listening to, embracing, and obeying His Son, He has revealed how we should live. Micah recorded, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly before your God?” (Micah 6:8).
The most common charge leveled against Judah and Israel was unfaithfulness to God. Ignoring their covenant with Him, they repeatedly strayed into galling and infuriating idolatry. Another common accusation was their oppressive and unloving attitude toward their fellow creatures. Contrasted against God’s faithfulness and love, Amos’ rebuke strikes at the heart of man’s shortcoming.
Only God can fulfill the very call for justice and righteousness Amos uttered. The justice of God was meted out upon Jesus Christ for every sinner who trusts in Him—and His eternal righteousness is credited to all who come to Him in faith.
Building on the vision described in Zechariah 14:8, the Apostle John describes in Revelation 22:1-2 a “river of the water of life…coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Ezekiel tells how that life-giving stream will cause even the Dead Sea to teem with life.
The blood that flowed from Jesus’ side at Calvary offers life to all who will put their faith in Him. Jesus bore the rightful punishment for our sins, satisfying the justice of God. So now, we can be credited with His righteousness that washes over all who trust in Him like an ever-flowing stream.
Key Verse: Amos 8:11-12 “Behold, days are coming…when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.”
Explanation:Two of the most heartbreaking verses of Scripture are found in Jeremiah. His patience exhausted, the LORD God told the prophet not to pray for the people of Judah (Jeremiah 7:16 and 11:14). In the same vein, the prophecy declared through Amos is also void of hope. Because people neglect the Word of the LORD long enough and refuse to obey what is clearly understood (as explained in Romans 1:18-20), God foretells a time when He will be silent even when people grow desperate to hear from Him.
Clearly, there was a span of time after the canon of the Old Testament was closed when the LORD was silent. Then suddenly the Word of God burst forth in new glory. Isaiah prophesied the advent of Jesus this way: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them” (Isaiah 9:2). Matthew took up this refrain when describing the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 4:16).
We might be tempted to envy the eyewitness experience of Jesus’ disciples. How thrilling it would have been to see events like the transfiguration with our own eyes. But Peter, who was an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry and the manifestation of His glory at the transfiguration, says that we have something even more affirming: the prophetic Word of God (2 Peter 1:16-21). With understated emphasis, he says, “to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” What a beautiful affirmation of the relevance God’s prophetic Word.
Today, the human condition described by the prophecy in Amos 8:11-12 is evident all around us. People have eyes and ears but are spiritually blind and deaf. They run from one thing to another but are never satisfied. As U2’s Bono sang, they still haven’t found what they’re looking for. And, unlike Jacob, they do not realize that God is close at hand the whole time—ready to forgive and embrace them (Genesis 29:16).
Our first Key Verse from Amos offers the admonishment, “Seek the LORD that you may live….” Our closing Key Verse identifies the tragic outcome of Israel’s straying from the LORD. Weary of their unfaithfulness and disobedience, He said, “The end has come for My people Israel. I will spare them no longer” (Amos 8:2).
But even as God pronounced an outpouring of His wrath, He still remembered mercy. In the closing verses of his book, Amos foresaw the reestablishment of the nation of Israel. God did not forget His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He remembered His promises to David. And so, before our modern eyes He has restored the captivity of His people Israel (Amos 9:14). We can rest assured that He will be faithful to His final promise given through Amos as well: ” ‘I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them,’ says the LORD your God” (Amos 9:15).
Key Verse: Obadiah v. 15 “For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.”
Explanation:Obadiah is known as the shortest book of the Old Testament. Even in the New Testament, only 2nd and 3rd John are shorter. Still, this “servant of the Lord” (as his name means) was faithful to proclaim a message that applied in the near term and the distant future.
The prophet’s message was ostensibly for the nation of Edom. The people who descended from Esau had long held the children of Israel in contempt. Proving that time does not heal all wounds, the Edomites may have resented the Jews because their forefather had sold his birthright to Jacob. They may have convinced themselves that Jacob’s deception negated Esau’s callous regard toward his own inheritance. But in the end they rejected the Word of the Lord that was revealed to Rebekah, Esau and Jacob’s mother. God told her that two nations would spring from her womb, with the older serving the younger (Genesis 25:23). That prophetic word came true when Isaac’s blessing was passed on to Jacob instead of Esau.
Scripture tells us that Esau bore a grudge against his brother Jacob. Despite treating his first-born birthright callously and willingly trading his birthright for a bowl of stew, Esau perceived that his brother had robbed him of his father’s blessing (Genesis 27:41-42). Jacob heeded his mother’s warning and fled to Haran—only to be deceived in turn by his uncle Laban. Jacob returned to Canaan many years later with his wives and children, but he still feared Esau.
Genesis 33 describes the reunion between Jacob (just renamed Israel by God) and Esau. By all appearances, Esau’s anger had subsided. But Jacob was clearly still wary of his older brother. The two sons of Isaac ended up living apart—coming together again only to bury their father Isaac (Genesis 35:29). Eventually, Esau moved away from Jacob altogether. He settled in the hill country of Seir—southeast of the land of Canaan. Thus, as Genesis 36:8 says, “Esau is Edom.” Perhaps acting on a generational grudge, Esau’s descendants acted contemptuously toward the children of Israel.
Edom’s callous treatment of their Jewish kin eventually provoked God’s anger. 2 Chronicles 28:17 tells that the Edomites “had come and attacked Judah and carried away captives.” Jeremiah 49:7-22 decries the arrogance of Edom’s heart, with its people living high in the clefts of the rock. And the Lord revealed to Ezekiel that “Edom has acted against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt” (Ezekiel 25:12). Obadiah’s indictment was that Edom rejoiced over the sons of Judah in the day of their destruction and boasted in the day of their distress (Obadiah 1:12). All those reasons justify God’s anger toward Edom. But there is another reality with which we must grapple.
Before Esau and Jacob were born—before either of them had embraced or rejected the LORD, He had chosen Jacob to receive His blessing. That is why He revealed His plan to Rebekah. His word to Malachi offers a shocking contrast between the two brothers and the nations that descended from them. Speaking of Israel, He said, ” ‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have You loved us?’ ‘Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ declares the LORD. ‘Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau…’ “ (Malachi 1:2-3).
Such a sentiment runs against the grain of our understanding of God. So, lest such a statement be dismissed as off-putting, we must properly understand its context and meaning. God declares His love for Israel but compels His chosen people to realize that the choosing was by the grace of God—not by any inherent worth or merit in them. And His attitude toward Esau is stated in a way that accentuates the stark contrast. Obadiah captures the same distinction: salvation is offered to the house of Jacob to all who escape to Mount Zion; but the house of Esau will be consumed like stubble, “so that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau” (Obadiah 1:17-18).
Commenting on this very verse, Paul asked rhetorically, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there?” Then he answers his own question by stating, “May it never be! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:14-15). Paul goes on to describe the mercy of God that extended salvation to the Gentiles even as the Jews “stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Romans 9:32).
So, individuals and nations alike stand condemned before the LORD. The “day of the LORD draws near,” and He will pour out His wrath. Anyone who mistakenly hopes to merely get what they deserve will learn that their sin has invoked God’s holy anger—and their supposed righteous deeds are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Jesus said, “everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
In the end, the question of what the Father will do with you is determined by your decision regarding the question that plagued Pontius Pilate: “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22).
For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head. Without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, sinners who fall into the hands of a righteously angry God will experience horror beyond description.
Anyone who wishes to avoid that terrible fate should heed the counsel of Amos in our first Key Verse from this Amos: “Seek the LORD that you may live…” (Amos 5:6).
Tim Moore: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our soon returning King. Our Jesus in the Old Testament series is nearing the end, and we’ve arrived at the Minor Prophets. These are shorter books written by prophets, anointed by God to forthtell and foretell.
Nathan Jones: That’s right. The brevity of the writing does not take away from the significance of their messages, both to their contemporary listeners and to those who still have ears to hear the prophetic word of the Lord.
Tim Moore: Nathan and I are joined today by our good friend, Dr. David Bowen, who is the pastor of Standing Stones Community Church in Phenix, Arizona, and he is also an avid student of Bible prophecy. As a matter of fact, he’s written volumes on Bible prophecy, and we’ll tell you more about that later. But now, David, we are delighted that you could be here with us today.
David Bowen: Oh, it’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you.
Nathan Jones: Dr. Dave, so good man, I won’t reach across the table, but good to have you here. Now, you and I both have a passion for the Minor Prophets. I wrote a book on the Minor Prophets because I found that their messages were so compelling. And so, let’s get into Amos. Can you give us a little information about his background, and how he became minister? We know he ministered in 763 BC, exactly, because it gives an eclipse and an earthquake. So, one of the few Minor Prophets that give us a time. But can you just give us some background?
David Bowen: Yeah, verse one of Amos tells us about who he is, what his name is, what his trait is, where he’s from. We get a lot of personal information, which we don’t always get with prophets, but we do with Amos. So, we’re told that he’s a rancher, he’s a farmer. We know that he’s from a small little town about ten miles south of Jerusalem, just down—
Nathan Jones: Tekoa.
David Bowen: Yes. So, we kind of get a feel for his background, where he’s coming from, what he’s like. I just see him as being kind of a good old boy a little bit, you know, and he’s from the south. What is unique about him is he’s not a professional in the religious status. He just a farmer, a rancher. But God uses him. But he sends him to the north. He goes to the northern tribes to bring a message. And it’s not a pleasant message that he’s bringing, but that’s where he’s called to go. So, he’s just a rancher, a farmer, kind of a shepherd and just a common man. Which makes it even more interesting for me, because that’s how you and I can relate to him.
Tim Moore: Exactly right. And the other thing that’s interesting is because he’s just a normal guy. He’s not some high and lifted up person of status, or power, or prestige, or necessarily prosperity. He is focused and the Lord calls him, to focus on a call to righteousness and justice.
David Bowen: That’s correct. And his terminology, the way he speaks, he speaks in a very common language. And he uses a lot of word pictures to describe things which is a great tool of communication. But you can kind of see where he’s at because he talks about the lions and the jackals, and it’s his life. It’s what he goes out the front yard and he sees and he lives. He uses that to express the message that God’s given him to the people, especially the northern tribes.
Nathan Jones: Well, you’ll have to explain to us what a fig pricker is, because that was his day job. Right. Other than taking care of the sheep and make it this noked wool. He was a fig pricker.
David Bowen: Yeah, he was a rancher. He grew. He had crops. Yeah, it’s his crops. And he was a farmer, you know. So, he’s a farmer, rancher, shepherd, he was a jack of all trades. And again, you can see him being laid back and living there and just being obedient to God, so much so that God reaches down and says, I’m going to give you a vision. Actually, gives him five visions. And what do you do with the visions? You know when God speaks to you that way, and you and love the Lord, and you’re obedient to the Lord, what do you do? You go where He tells you to go. So, it was interesting he didn’t go to the hometown, he went to the northern tribes to bring this message.
Nathan Jones: Particularly Bethel, right, which was their capital center for worship, and idolatry.
David Bowen: Yeah, it is about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. That was where the golden calf was. That’s where if you go back to the prophets, you know, when you look at Jonah, everybody said, well, Jonah, you know, the fish and the whale and everything else. But to me, Jonah was still a man of God because God called him, but yet imagine how he lived. Everything going around him, the lifestyle, the hate against God, the disobedience against God. And He had to live there and stay there. Everybody else who loved the Lord went down to Jerusalem. They said, “We’re out of here.” But Jonah stayed, yeah, he was disobedient, but he had to be a righteous man of God. So, Bethel, Bethal, Dan, those are the areas, the north and south areas in Israel, Israel being the northern part, Judah being the southern part, where God says we need to go and get them straight.
Tim Moore: I think that fig picker or pricker, as you said, has to do with almost like dates and fig sometimes getting the honey, the sweetness that would come out. And so, by scratching, by creating a prick within those fruits, you would get some of that honey. But I also think it’s instructive that he did live amongst the people. He was not in some elevated place. He was out among the people. Yes, he was sent to deliver a message. But being a normal, everyday kind of person I think is very powerful. I would also point out that Israel even then was quick to recognize the sinfulness of all the other nations. Oh, look at them. They’re all wicked. It’s kind of like seeing the plank in our neighbor’s eye or the splinter in our neighbor’s eye and not recognizing our own shortcoming. And so, Israel demonstrated that. But Amos was able to say, no, you, too, I mean, he called out those neighboring nations, but he said also in Israel and Judah, you are straying from the Lord.
David Bowen: And how often do we still do the same thing?
Tim Moore: Yes.
David Bowen: And I know we both enjoy the minor prophets, and what I really enjoy about it, it speaks to today. Because we can look back and say, well, what were they thinking? Why were they doing that? You know, we can point the finger, but then we go, wait a minute, are we any different?
Tim Moore: No.
David Bowen: How do we live? And it’s just, you know, being a being a farmer, and being a rancher, and picking figs, what kind of image do you get when God brings the vision of the locust? That’s his life. He knows the damage a locust can do to his crops. And what vision does God give him? And again, it’s a combination vision and word pictures, which he has to bring to another group, another community.
Nathan Jones: It’s interesting. He goes up to the north. He goes to the town of worship, which is pagan, Bethel, Israel wanted to worship away from Jerusalem, bring the tourism to their selves, so to speak. And then Amos lists every country that’s around Israel, and he starts laying it on them. And the people are excited up in Israel that God’s going to bring judgment. But then he gets to two countries that should really concern them. All of a sudden he names Judah. They’re like, okay, and Israel themselves. Why did God do this? Why to God get them all excited that He was going to bring judgment against the enemies around them, but then target them? What was their sins?
David Bowen: Well, that goes back to the very beginning, anybody who was Jewish, all the way back to the time of Abraham would say, I’m okay, I’m going to heaven because I’m Jewish. That’s all I going to be is Jewish. So, if you’re not a Jew, if you’re a Gentile, then if you become a Jewish person, then you might have a chance to be with God. So, it’s been that, we’re separate, we’re different than everybody else, and that’s been the prophets. The Old Testament, when you look at it, most of the Old Testament is written because God was disciplining Israel.
Tim Moore: You know, it’s funny, Jesus, I think, was most offensive to his Jewish listeners when he called them out, because when He highlighted their sinfulness and said, look at the Good Samaritan is actually a Samaritan, and it wasn’t the Jewish officials and all the other muckety-mucks, it was this man from Samaria. And that was what galled those Jewish leaders.
David Bowen: Yes.
Tim Moore: You know, the two key verses that we pulled out, the first two are from Amos 5:6, “Seek the Lord that you may live.” And 5:24 which says, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” But I want to pull one other quote from this book that I think is a conundrum for us, even as Christians. In chapter seven Amos describes this vision of a great locust swarm, you just mentioned, which would have been horrible to people who were an agrarian society, relying on agricultural and productivity that way. And then twice, Amos describes the Lord’s answer to his prayer as having relented of judgment for a season. But he says it in a very challenging way. What does Amos say that kind of presents us with a challenge?
David Bowen: Well, I think what Amos does is he kind of copies what Abraham did, what Moses did, he interceded for the people.
Tim Moore: Yes.
David Bowen: So, when he interceded because you say, okay, did God change his mind?
Tim Moore: Well, that’s what he says, “The Lord changed his mind.”
David Bowen: Well, what did God do there? What did he allow Amos to do? And again, it’s a lesson for us, we need to be praying for our nation, we need to be praying for our people, and just not just ourselves and what we need. Because when Amos went before the Lord and prayed, he said, you know, have mercy. That whole section to me is about God’s grace, not so much about the sins of the people. The sin of the people it’s pretty obvious. When you’re putting golden calves and doing everything in worship and being disobedient to God. To have a man of God come up and rebuke you on that, but then to pray for you is a wonderful message.
Tim Moore: I think it is a Christophany picture because none other than Jesus Christ demonstrates that He offers grace.
David Bowen: Absolutely.
Tim Moore: And it was the plan of God. I think the wording here can be confusing if we think, well, did God really change His mind? Because it says in other places God never changes His mind. But God had a plan. He wanted to engage Amos in this plan. And when he interceded for his people, the Lord relented for a season of the judgment that he had pronounced.
David Bowen: Yes.
Tim Moore: But it was always part of His plan.
Nathan Jones: And that was of the five visions, he relented, what two of them, right? He still went through with the other three. So, what was the punishment?
David Bowen: But look how impactful God was when he when he spoke about this. In chapter five, He said, he goes up and God says, “I don’t want anything to do with you assemblies. I don’t want anything to do with your festivals. I don’t want anything to do with your music, and your prayers. I don’t want to hear them. Could you imagine walking into a church today an Evangelical Christian Church and having God say your assemblies, they rebuke, they’re terrible. You know, your music, I don’t want to hear your music and I want to hear your prayers. I don’t want to hear your worship. I don’t want to see your festivals and your gatherings. What would an Evangelical Christian Church today feel if a prophet walked in, or if someone came in and said, “I’m speaking on God’s behalf because you guys are just missing it. It’s all about you. It’s about greed and materialism, the American way.”
Tim Moore: Yeah.
David Bowen: And where’s the church? So, I think when God relented, He did to a certain point, because there’s got to be redemption. You know, there’s going to be a remnant. There’s got to be redemption. There’s got to be a picture of hope in there. So, we can bring rebuke. If you’re going to rebuke somebody, the purpose of that is to restore them.
Tim Moore: Well, before we get to the hope, there’s one more word of almost despair that Amos shares with the people.
He talks about famine caused by the locust. But there’s another famine that he warns about.
David Bowen: Oh, my goodness. My goodness. That’s the worst famine of all.
Tim Moore: Yeah. Which is?
David Bowen: Is the Word of God.
Tim Moore: The famine for the hearing of the Word of God.
David Bowen: I mean, you can take yeah, you can take anything away from you. Just don’t take away God’s Word.
Tim Moore: And yet, how many people today, Dave, live, practically speaking with a self-imposed famine? They don’t study, they don’t meditate. They don’t go to the Word of God on a regular basis. And so, they’re anorexic because they will not take and eat what has been given to them.
David Bowen: Oh, but if I had more time, I would definitely do that. If I have more time. When I retire. When I do this, I’ll do that. I’ll be serving more in the church. I’ll be praying more. I’ll be studying. It doesn’t change. People haven’t changed.
Tim Moore: No.
David Bowen: And I think the word that Amos was told to bring to the people in the North is the same word that we need to hear in America today.
Nathan Jones: Right. I mean, a lot of the sins that he listed for Israel were what we call social justice today. They were sins of oppression of the poor, of the rich getting richer, so to speak, as we’d say today. But basically, it was the people were treating the gospel as if it was garbage. They were treating God as if, well, you’re right, we’re Jewish, He can’t harm us, basically. And I think as a church, we’re like that. We think that the church is going to go on and on forever and ever. There’s a point where God will hold us accountable if we’re not true to the Gospel and the Word of God and presenting it as He gave us in the Great Commission.
David Bowen: And our role is, what do we do in this? Do we turn the other eye? Do we say, good job. You know, what do we do? I always have two statements that I make. My kids been raised on this one statement, it’s always God first. In our house, it’s God first.
Tim Moore: Amen.
David Bowen: So, if we’re going to go do something, if we’ve got to do a chore at the church or go out for dinner, what do you do? We do the chore at the church. We get the work done, and then we go enjoy ourselves. So, it’s God first. And especially with teenagers these days talking to younger people, I ask one question, they’re going to do something, they’re going to think something, you know, and I don’t need to rebuke them or take them to God’s Word, I asked one question: Does that honor God? And when I ask that question, I usually get, oh, just the head goes that they don’t answer. I don’t push it, but I know I hit a home run with them because they know what they’re thinking, what they want, what they’re going to do is not honoring God. I’ll follow up with then, then you’re not getting God’s best. You know, God’s blessing is there and you’re missing out on God’s blessing just because what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, what you want to do does not honor God. That’s the Minor Prophets. That’s the message of the prophets.
Tim Moore: That is the Minor Prophets. And thankfully at the end of his prophecy here, Amos shares a vision of the restoration of Israel. And what a glorious vision it is. We can almost see it being fulfilled before our very eyes, just in these last few generations, things that Christians throughout the last 2,000 years thought can it ever be that Israel will come back around? They certainly have. And in the final verse of the book, it says, God speaking, “I will also plant them, the Jewish people on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land, which I have given them,” says the Lord, your God. God is true to every promise, which is why we as Christians, we as Gentile believers in the Lord God Almighty, can know that all the promises He made to us will also be yes, and amen. They will come to pass.
David Bowen: Amen. The promises that God made in Genesis, going back to Genesis, that what was going to happen with Israel will be fulfilled. And being a student of Bible prophecy, you know, when you mention the word Israel, people kind of want to get upset about that. And a lot of doctrine, even teachings in seminaries and schools, a lot of doctrine that we believe that we hold dear to comes out of the Reformation Period. While the Reformation Period, the 1500s, Israel didn’t exist. There was no history. They couldn’t imagine it coming together. You look at John Calvin, Martin Luther, they couldn’t imagine Israel being a nation again. So, when the prophets spoke about that, that wasn’t part of our doctrine, part of our teaching. And a lot of that’s embraced in church today for those students, they don’t bring Israel back up. But you go back to Genesis, God made promises and they will be fulfilled, and that’s the restoration period that we have.
Tim Moore: Well, we’re going to take a brief break, and when we come back, we’re going to talk about one of the shortest books in all of Scripture with a very powerful message. Stay tuned.
Nathan Jones: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy. We’re here with the other Dr. Dave, Dr. Dave Bowen. Well, Dave, we’re going to dive into the Minor Prophet Obadiah. Can you tell us what Obadiah’s claim to fame was?
David Bowen: Oh, it’s the smallest book in the Old Testament, just 21 verses.
Tim Moore: You know, I’ve got to tell you a story about that, because obviously Second and Third John, are shorter in the New Testament, but Obadiah is sometimes on a single page in our Bible. And there was a fellow named Grady Nutt, many of our viewers will remember him if they ever watched Hee Haw, he was known as a Christian humorist. And he said when he was a child growing up in his father’s Baptist church in rural Texas, he said they like to have Bible quizzes where they would find a particular verse in the Bible. And he and his brother like to sneak in and fold over Obadiah. And then the old folks would be looking, and looking, and looking, they could never find Obadiah, and they lost it because it’s only a single page. But yet it has so much impact. So, what are the some of the things that jump out to us even today from the impact Obadiah had? Short but stout.
David Bowen: Oh, my goodness, it is. He comes out and he names names. When you name names like that, and then you said, this is what’s going to happen to these people, and you look at where the world is today and what those names represent today. It’s an amazing book. Again, the prophets, an Old Testament prophet, would do one of two things, he would speak to his people, but he’d also speak about the future. That’s what prophecy really was. It was it’s going to be for you now, you can get something from this word, but also people in the future will be able to get something from this, too. Meaning that you and I can look at this and this speaks to us as much as it did to people 2,800 years ago.
Tim Moore: So, what does it have to say to us?
David Bowen: Oh, it looks about, when you look at Obadiah, you talk about what’s going to happen in the future. Now, it is twofold, we have to say it is twofold. First of all, he starts out talking about Edom and what’s going to happen, the judgment of Edom.
Tim Moore: And just to refresh. Who are the Edomites? What is that nation all about?
David Bowen: Well, that’s an interesting question because who are they?
Tim Moore: They’re the descendants of?
David Bowen: Esau.
Tim Moore: Who was the brother of Jacob.
David Bowen: But what happened to them? See people look at this and say, well, they don’t they don’t exist anymore, so this must not be anything about modern day. This must not be anything. But when you go back, when you look at the Old Testament and the New Testament, and you turn that one page, that’s 400 years. And in that 400 years, that’s the Maccabean period. Well, in that time, the Edomites, most of them had to become Jewish. Most of them actually had to transition to become Jewish. Because of what was happening with the wars and the battles, that were happening in the land.
Nathan Jones: The Maccabees forced them into it didn’t they.
David Bowen: They did. They did. King Herod, who couldn’t be forced into it, was really one of the last of the Edomites. And you see what he did with Jesus and tried to stop the Jewish Messiah.
Tim Moore: And Herod of course by that time was not referred to as an Edomite, he was called the Idumean.
David Bowen: Instead of Edomite, correct.
Nathan Jones: And weren’t they wiped out when the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 AD? Idumea just was vanished, right?
David Bowen: Yeah. Which goes back to the prophecy of Jacob and Esau, because even going back to the very beginning, what did God say? That the older would serve the younger, that the younger would be the one that would be the one that would be blessed.
Tim Moore: So why were they cursed, even in a prophecy, like Obadiah? What was God’s anger against the Edomites? What were they doing that was transgressing what, His plan for the Jewish people was?
David Bowen: Well, the template set with Esau against Jacob just continued on, because the Edomites as a people, as a nation, went against Israel as a nation. When Israel is in distress, they rejoiced over it. When Israel was down and out, they added to that. If they could loot, go over and take things away from Israel, they did. When Israel was traveling and needed to go through some territory down by Petra, and they needed to get through, just a little area of area of land, they said no.
Tim Moore: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I love the fact you mentioned Petra. A lot of our viewers will like to hear about Petra, and that is in the area where the Edomites lived. So, this anger, this this grudge, if you will, went all the way back to Esau. And yet we know Jacob, when he was returning and going to encounter, Esau was a little bit worried that Esau would react and be very violent. And it seemed that their relationship was healed for a time. And yet this grudge lingered on for years and years, generations, because the Edomites felt they had been deprived of their own birthright, having been technically the firstborn.
David Bowen: But even when there was restoration there, when Jacob thought Esau was going to kill him, or who knew what he was going to do after all these years, they embraced. There was a restoration there. And then Esau said, “I’m going to go back over here. Why don’t you come with me?” And Jacob said, “Okay, but I’m going to stay behind and make sure everybody is okay and healthy and can travel, and I’ll meet you there.” He had no intention to go in that direction.
Nathan Jones: Because I always wondered that, because it seemed like they reconciled, but then their descendants became bitter enemies. And it’s interesting that the Edomites went, moved up into the mountains in the clefts of the rocks, matter on fact Edom is accused of being soaring with the eagles. If anyone wants to know who the Edomites where, they have to just watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Tim Moore: There you go.
Nathan Jones: Because Petra was an Edomite fortress at the time. But so that hostility remained throughout the generations then?
David Bowen: Oh, it did. Again, when Jacob said, “Yeah, I go there, I’ll meet you there.” So, Esau goes, but he never had any intention of going there because it would have been going against God. And what Esau did, I mean, the woman he married, how he lived his life, he was always against God.
Tim Moore: He was. And we can tell that Esau despised his own birthright because he sold it for a bowl of porridge, a bowl of soup. And so, you know, how much value did he place even on his own birthright?
David Bowen: But did he really even have the birthright?
Tim Moore: Well, we can argue that because obviously God said the older will serve the younger. So, the Lord already had a plan. It was already in His design. But Esau did manifest by his own choice, just a callousness toward what would have been his claim. You know, I think there’s a great lesson to us, even for modern application. The Lord held the Edomites responsible because they were callous toward the Jews. They resented them. They said, “Ah ha.” You can go back to Ezekiel and over and over again the Lord held other nations accountable because they said, “Ah ha,” because they clapped their hands and stamped their feet regarding Ammon, and rejoice with scorn over the land of Israel. Because Moab and Seir said, “See, behold Israel and Judah is like all the other nations.” On and on. Edom, Philistines, Tyre, any of them, they said, “Aha,” and rejoiced when Israel was being disciplined. The Lord said, ah, you do not have a right heart attitude toward my Chosen People. How many nations today would He say the same thing? You do not have a right attitude, your resentful of and despising of my Chosen People.
David Bowen: We’re living in one.
Tim Moore: We’re living in one. Yes, sir, brother we are.
David Bowen: We are living in one. And how many pastors, how many churches would say, stop, we need to really look at what Israel is, who they are, what they need. Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” It’s not a suggestion, it’s a command. And then with that command, God gives a blessing, if you do this, if you’re obedient to this, there be peace and security in your house. Everybody wants peace and security in their house. So how do you get that? You pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The truth is Jerusalem won’t have the kind of peace.
Tim Moore: Amen.
David Bowen: Until the Lord Jesus returned.
Tim Moore: Yes.
David Bowen: So really, we’re praying for the return of Christ. Yes, we are.
Nathan Jones: Amen, brother. Concerning Edom’s, what God’s punishment was for Edom, that they would be destroyed. And we can look and say 553 BC the Assyrians destroyed them, and then again later the Romans in 70 AD, and we didn’t hear about them again. But there are prophecies like Psalm 83, and all which say that, at least the lands of Edom will be punished by God in the end times. How do you interpret that?
David Bowen: Well, every nation, that’s how God judges every nation. Again, how do you treat Israel? Egypt at one point actually came alongside and helped Israel. They went against Israel many times, but so God didn’t completely wipe them out, like He did other nations. They didn’t have the world power that they kept at one point, but they still existed because they did have favor towards Israel for a brief period of time.
Nathan Jones: So, you think the Jordanians then might be, because they’re the ones who have the land of Edom, Ammon and Moab right now, right, so there’s a lot of judgments again, say the Psalm 83 War happens, Israel will then defeat the nations that surround it, including Jordan. Is that a prophecy against Edom or is that just a prophecy against a neighbor?
David Bowen: Well, this is one of the joys I have of Obadiah.
Nathan Jones: I saw you get excited about that in beginning, and I just want to give you an opportunity here.
David Bowen: Well, I think if you fold the page over, I’m still going to find him because it’s so exciting.
Tim Moore: There you go. Exactly.
David Bowen: When you look at Obadiah, I mean, again, he mentions names. It’s two fold. The first part is Edom and what’s going to happen there. And then the second part, verse 15 is key.
Tim Moore: It is a key verse for us.
David Bowen: Yeah.
Tim Moore: So, what does it say?
David Bowen: Well, it says in the day of the Lord. And when you have that terminology, whether it be Joel or Zechariah, any of the prophets who say, in the day of the Lord, what are they talking about?
Nathan Jones: So, it’s a shift from Old Testament.
David Bowen: Yeah.
Tim Moore: You’re talking about foretelling of the Lord of the end times.
David Bowen: So, it’s still, it’s still in the future.
Tim Moore: Yes.
David Bowen: So, if this is from verse 15 on all the way to 21, it’s still in the future. Then you look at the names that he’s mentioning and you do bring in Psalm 83. I know when people look at wars, they want to go to Gog and Magog, but I think Psalm 83 happens first. But you look at these nations, when God gave Israel the land, they only got about 30% of what God gave them. There’s so much land yet have to be taken.
Nathan Jones: Jordan is supposed to be Israel’s land.
David Bowen: Absolutely. Well, all the way almost to, yeah, all the way to—
Nathan Jones: The Euphrates River, right?
David Bowen: Exactly. Exactly. But when you look at this, what does it say about the land? The land, the Philistines will be occupied. The fields of Samaria will be possessed. I mean, they’re going to own it. It’s going to be ownership of them. They’re going to take control of it. The House of Jacob is the Jewish people. The house of Esau are the Arabs. You know, so when you look at how today, modern day the Edomites were, again they either became converted to Judaism or they were wiped out. But what about today? Who lives in those lands today? So, when you look at the Arabs living mostly in the lands mentioned here, what’s going to happen to Hamas? What’s going to happen to Hezbollah?
Tim Moore: They will be destroyed. I agree with you. And not to spiritualized, I think there is a spiritual application, all who come against Israel will be opposed. That verse that you just mentioned says, “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nation.”
David Bowen: Yes.
Tim Moore: “As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.” What dealings is he talking about? Their interaction with Israel, with His Chosen People. And that’s all the nations. People say, well, that doesn’t include the United States, does it? All means all. And so all of us as nations who have been opposed to Israel or have even said “aha,” when it feels like, oh, they’re getting their comeuppance, we will be judged for that faithlessness to that those whom God has said you should bless the descendants of Abraham.
David Bowen: The United Nations is located in New York, in America. How many resolutions has the United Nations passed against Israel?
Tim Moore: Exactly.
David Bowen: Other things have happened, other countries that you think they should slap their hands on them and they don’t. Israel does nothing and they get resolutions against them. God sees that. You’ve got to look at this through the eyes of God, through His perspective, not through man’s. Because you look at the territory, I mean, Gaza, they’re going to possess Gaza. They’re going to occupy Gaza. Again, this is all West Bank territory. Father Abraham, he built three altars. And the places he built the altars and worship God. Where are they now? They’re all West Bank.
Tim Moore: They’re all in the West Bank.
David Bowen: They are trying to take away the history of Israel. The world is. And when God looks at that, He says, you will pay a price for that.
Tim Moore: I also love the fact that Obadiah, dealing with peoples in that day and age, having a message that is applicable to the whole world, still has a Messianic reference. In verse 21, he says, “The Delivers will send to Mt. Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the kingdom will be the Lord’s.” The Lord is coming to reign even over His land.
David Bowen: Amen.
Tim Moore: David, I tell you what, we were excited to get you here, excited to get your insights. There’s much more we could dig in. You have some materials available online. Tell us where we can find some of the materials you have made available for all of your study guides.
David Bowen: We have a ministry called Interpreting the Times. It’s all one word if you want to go online with that. And we have a book on Revelation. To me, the Book of Revelation is an amazing book, but people say it’s too hard to understand it or it’s too scary. Well, you’ve got to understand the Old Testament, because I can’t wait for the Jews to read the Book of Revelation, because it’s going to open up the Old Testament to them. So, I have a book on that that really takes people through that. And then I have a book called “The Colored Coded Gospels.” When you look at the four gospels, which stories are told which, they’re color coded to kind of help you with that. And then we get some videos too. Interpretingthetimes.com is the website.
Tim Moore: Well, I hope you all will go to that website. David, again, thank you, brother for being here.
David Bowen: Thank you.
Tim Moore: We’ll have you back again if you’ll come.
David Bowen: I’ll be blessed to be here.
Tim Moore: We’ll have you.
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Tim Moore: Prayerfully consider supporting the outreach of Lamb and Lion Ministries. As a partner, you’ll receive regular reports and special gifts from us, and you’ll make an eternal impact. Just visit our website or call the number on the screen. Well, that’s all the time we have for today until next week. I’m Tim Moore.
Nathan Jones: And I’m Nathan Jones saying look up and be watchful for our Lord, who is coming again to rain down justice like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream, is drawing near.
End of Program