Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, March 30, 2014

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Throughout the Bible we see the theme of the great controversy between God and Satan, between light and darkness, between good and evil, between flesh and spirit played out again and again in the lives of God’s people. Thus, to understand the significance of Isaiah 34, let’s review some history.

In Genesis 25, we find the story of Isaac (Abraham’s son) and his wife Rebekah giving birth to two sons: Esau and Jacob. Although twins by birth and born from the same honored royal line, these two boys represented two distinct nations and two people (see Gen. 25:23); one that honored and esteemed the royal birthright, and one that did not.

Jacob (although he wasn’t always noble in how he went about it) was in earnest to obtain the birthright and God’s blessing. At all cost (and it did cost him dearly), he worked to achieve this esteemed gift. On the other hand, Esau despised the birthright. In fact, he sold his birthright for nothing more than a bowl of red pottage, and as a result, he and his descendants earned the name “Edom” – which literally means red (see Gen. 25:30). Throughout the years and generations that followed, we find the battle that began between these two brothers in Rebekah’s womb did continue.

Looking ahead in history we find that Jacob had become the father of the nations of Israel (God’s chosen people) while Esau had become the father of  the Edomites and many of the pagan nations that tried to destroy Israel. At the time of the Exodus, Israel asked the King of Edom for permission to pass through his land. This permission was refused (see Num. 20:14-21). Not long after the Amalekites (also descendants of Esau – see Gen 36:12) were the first that went to make war against the Israelites on their journey toward Canaan (Ex. 17:8).

The Edomites were for a time conquered by David (2 Sam. 8:14) and again later by Amaziah (2 Chron. 25:11,12). But they regained their independence, and in later years, during the decline of the Jewish kingdom (2 Kings 16:16; R.V. marg., "Edomites"), made war against Israel. They even took part with the Chaldeans when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, and afterwards they invaded and held possession of the south of Palestine as far as Hebron.

However, while Edom/Idumea prospered for a time, because of their continued battle against God’s people throughout history, their doom as a nation was sealed. Sadly they had rejected their birthright in Christ’s atoning blood, were at last to meet a terrible end. In Isaiah 34 we find the stark prophecy of their coming destruction (see Ezek. 25:12,13).

This prophecy was fulfilled. However, it’s not just fulfilled against the house of Edom, but will be fulfilled in the future at the end of the world, when all those who have chosen to despise their spiritual birthright and to walk contrary to God’s laws will be destroyed. At that time, there will be no more mercy and no more second chances.

While the wicked and those that have chosen to yield to the flesh rather than to God’s Holy Spirit will at last have their blood spilled out in the final day of judgment, we can rejoice that Christ has already spilled His blood for us that choose to walk by the Spirit.  Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Let’s choose to embrace this gift, our spiritual birthright today, that one day soon we can enjoy the new heaven and the new earth where no more blood will ever be shed and where God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

Melodious Echo Mason
ARME Bible Camp Ministries