Antitypical, Modern-Day Edom to Be Cleared Away
1, 2. How does the Creator view the mightily armed nations, and what is Jehovah’s determination, according to Isaiah’s prophecy?
TODAY the world is more mightily armed than ever before. The nuclear weapons of the nations are a real threat to the very existence of mankind. How, then, does the Creator of the human family, Jehovah God, view the situation? This is plainly stated in chapter 34 of Isaiah’s prophecy, which opens up with the words:
2 “Come up close, you nations, to hear; and you national groups, pay attention. Let the earth and that which fills it listen, the productive land and all its produce. For Jehovah has indignation against all the nations, and rage against all their army. He must devote them to destruction; he must give them to the slaughter. And their slain ones will be thrown out; and as for their carcasses, their stink will ascend; and the mountains must melt because of their blood. And all those of the army of the heavens must rot away. And the heavens [ineffectual human governments] must be rolled up, just like a book scroll; and their army will all shrivel away, just as the leafage shrivels off the vine and like a shriveled fig off the fig tree.” (Isaiah 34:1-4) A dire prophecy indeed!
3. (a) To what are the nations called upon to listen, and why can Jehovah thus rightly command them? (b) What shows that the nations have not listened?
3 The Creator of the universe has a controversy with the nations today. That is why the nations are called upon to listen to the Bible-based message that he has caused to be proclaimed worldwide since 1919. They should listen to what he has to say by means of his Witnesses. But the trend of world events proves that they have not done so, and his Witnesses have not been taken seriously by the nations, who opted for the United Nations and not for the heavenly Kingdom in the hands of his enthroned Son, the “Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah’s Prophecy Against Edom
4, 5. (a) Who were the Edomites, and what attitude did they take toward their twin-brother nation, Israel? (b) What did Jehovah therefore decree concerning Edom?
4 Operating among today’s national groups is a particularly responsible element. That element was typified by the nation of Edom, which is specifically named in this prophecy. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, who sold his birthright to his twin brother, Jacob, for “bread and lentil stew.” It was on that occasion that Esau came to be called Edom, meaning “Red.” (Genesis 25:24-34) Because Jacob supplanted him in the precious birthright, Esau became filled with hate toward his twin brother. Edom became the implacable enemy of the ancient nation of Israel, or Jacob, even though they were twin-brother nations. For this hostility against God’s people, Edom incurred the deserved wrath of Jehovah, the God of Israel, and He decreed the eternal annihilation of Edom. This divine determination is set forth in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
5 “For in the heavens my sword will certainly be drenched. Look! Upon Edom it will descend, and upon the people devoted by me to destruction in justice. Jehovah has a sword; it must be filled with blood; it must be made greasy with the fat, with the blood of young rams and he-goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For Jehovah has a sacrifice in Bozrah [Edom’s most prominent city], and a great slaughtering in the land of Edom.”—Isaiah 34:5, 6.
6. (a) Why could Jehovah speak of wielding his “sword” against Edom “in the heavens”? (b) When the kingdom of Judah was attacked by Babylon, what unbrotherly attitude did Edom display toward Jehovah’s people?
6 The land of the murder-minded nation of Edom must be drenched with their own blood by means of the “sword” of Jehovah. Edom occupied a high, mountainous region. (Jeremiah 49:16) So in causing a slaughter to take place in that land, Jehovah could pictorially say that he was wielding his sword of judgment “in the heavens.” Edom was strongly militarized, and its armed forces roved through heaven-high mountain ranges to safeguard the country against invaders. So the army of Edom could fittingly be called “the army of the heavens.” But powerful Edom furnished no aid to its twin-brother nation, Israel, when it was attacked by the armies of Babylon. Rather, Edom rejoiced to see the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah and even urged on her devastators. (Psalm 137:7) Edom’s treachery went to the point of chasing down individuals running for their lives and handing them over to the enemy. (Obadiah 10-14) The Edomites planned to take over the abandoned country of the Israelites, speaking boastfully against Jehovah.—Ezekiel 35:10-15.
7. How did the God of Israel view the treacherous conduct of the nation of Edom?
7 Did Jehovah, the God of ancient Israel, overlook this unbrotherly conduct on the part of the Edomites toward his chosen people? No. That is why God’s heart entertained the purpose of “a day of vengeance” and “a year of retributions” in repayment for what had maliciously been done to his earthly organization, called Zion. Said the prophecy: “For Jehovah has a day of vengeance, a year of retributions for the legal case [before the Court of the Universe] over Zion.”—Isaiah 34:8; Ezekiel 25:12-14.
8. (a) Whom did Jehovah use to bring punishment upon Edom? (b) What did the prophet Obadiah foretell regarding Edom?
8 Not long after the destruction of Jerusalem, Jehovah began expressing his righteous vengeance upon the Edomites by means of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. (Jeremiah 25:8, 15, 17, 21) When Babylon’s armies moved against Edom, nothing could save the Edomites! Babylon’s armies tumbled the Edomites from their rocky heights. It was “a year of retributions” upon Edom. As Jehovah foretold through another prophet: “Because of the violence to your brother Jacob, shame will cover you, and you will have to be cut off to time indefinite. . . . In the way that you have done, it will be done to you. Your sort of treatment will return upon your own head.”—Obadiah 10, 15.
9. Who is antitypical modern-day Edom, and why?
9 This also reflects Jehovah’s attitude toward the antitypical modern-day Edom. Who is that? Well, in the 20th century, who has taken the lead in reviling and persecuting Jehovah’s servants? Has it not been apostate Christendom through its proud clergy class? Yes! Christendom, the realm of false Christianity, has elevated herself to mountain heights in the affairs of this world. She is a lofty part of the organization of mankind’s system of things, and her religions form the dominant part of Babylon the Great. But Jehovah has decreed “a year of retributions” against antitypical, modern-day Edom for outrageous misconduct toward his people, his Witnesses.
A Fate Like That of Edom
10. How does Isaiah 34:9, 10 describe the fate of Edom, but to whom does the prophecy apply today?
10 As we consider the further part of this prophecy of Isaiah, we can have Christendom of today in mind: “Her torrents must be changed into pitch, and her dust into sulphur; and her land must become as burning pitch. By night or by day it will not be extinguished; to time indefinite its smoke will keep ascending.” (Isaiah 34:9, 10) The land of Edom is thus portrayed as becoming so parched that it was as if its torrent valleys were running with pitch and as if its dust were sulphur, and then these combustible substances were set afire.—Compare Revelation 17:16.
11, 12. From the prophetic description given at Isaiah 34:10-15, what would become of the land of Edom, and how long would such state of the land continue?
11 Isaiah’s prophecy continues: “From generation to generation she will be parched; forever and ever no one will be passing across her. And the pelican and the porcupine must take possession of her, and long-eared owls and ravens themselves will reside in her; and he must stretch out over her the measuring line of emptiness and the stones of wasteness. Her nobles—there are none there whom they will call to the kingship itself, and her very princes will all become nothing. On her dwelling towers thorns must come up, nettles and thorny weeds in her fortified places; and she must become an abiding place of jackals, the courtyard for the ostriches. And haunters of waterless regions must meet up with howling animals, and even the goat-shaped demon will call to its companion. Yes, there the nightjar will certainly take its ease and find for itself a resting-place. There the arrow snake has made its nest and lays eggs.”—Isaiah 34:10-15.
12 Edom would become a land of “emptiness” as far as humans were concerned. It was to become a wasteland with only wild beasts, birds, and snakes in it. This parched state of the land was to continue, as Isa 34 verse 10 says, “forever and ever.” There was to be no restoration of its former residents.—Obadiah 18.
13. What is foretold for Christendom in “the book of Jehovah,” and what, specifically, is this book?
13 What a terrible plight this foreshadowed for the modern-day counterpart of Edom—Christendom! She has proved herself to be the bitter enemy of Jehovah God, whose Witnesses she has viciously persecuted. So this impending destruction of her prior to Armageddon has been foretold in “the book of Jehovah.” (Isaiah 34:16) Specifically, this “book of Jehovah” is his book of accounts, detailing the accounts that he has to settle with those who are his enemies and the oppressors of his people. What was written in “the book of Jehovah” concerning ancient Edom came true, and this guarantees that the prophecy as applying to Christendom, the modern-day Edom, will likewise come true.
14. What have the antitypical Edomites of today not accepted, and what example of Jehovah’s people have they failed to follow?
14 The antitypical Edomites of today have not accepted Jehovah God as King during this “conclusion of the system of things.” Moreover, since Christendom is such an outstanding part of Babylon the Great, she is doomed to partake of her plagues. She has not complied with Jehovah’s command to “get out of” Babylon the Great. (Revelation 18:4) She has not copied the example of the remnant of spiritual Israelites or that of the “great crowd” of “other sheep.”
15 Christendom’s immediate future is bleak indeed. She is doing all she can to pacify her political friends and to keep them from massing together in aggressive action against her, to her utter destruction, but to no avail!
16 According to Revelation chapters 17 and 18, the Almighty God, Jehovah, will put it into their hearts to give their political and military strength to beastly action against Babylon the Great in all her religious components, including Christendom. This will rid the whole earth of fake Christianity. Christendom’s situation will become like that of the bleak condition described in Isaiah 34. She will not be on hand to experience the all-decisive “war of the great day of God the Almighty” against the nations, who will have despoiled Babylon the Great. Antitypical Edom, Christendom, will be totally cleared off the surface of the earth, “forever and ever.”
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Christendom will receive a judgment similar to that of the Edomites, descendants of Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal