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Jacob’s Adversaries

An ancient curse, sibling rivalry and prophecies uttered thousands of years ago!  What have they to do with us today?  Have the prophesies been fulfilled?  Does the rivalry still exist?  Will the ancient curse still apply?

You may be surprised to learn that an ancient curse and an equally ancient rivalry between two brothers have provided a basis for many prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled and will most certainly impact on your future!  It is important to understand the implications of these prophecies and to whom they apply in this day and age. 

Jacob and Esau, twin brothers from whom two rival nations emerged, were born nearly four thousand years ago.  Jacob was also called Israel and Esau was known as Edom and the animosity between these two nations extended for many centuries.  Israel was the nation through whom God chose to reveal His plan of salvation to the world.  Jacob (Israel) prospered under God’s protection but later went into captivity when that protection was removed.  The people of Israel were warned of the consequences of their actions, as were their enemies who took advantage of Israel's demise.    Neither Jacob nor Edom heeded their respective warnings and suffered the consequences.

Warning for Our Time

The warnings were not only for those ancient nations at that time, they were also intended as a warning for ‘latter day’ nations and are relevant to our times now! 

A great deal of effort has been expended in trying to identify the modern day descendants of Jacob and Edom to ascertain the fate of certain nations in the end time.  This approach has led to conclusions that tend to obscure the true intention of the prophecies and limits their scope to these specific nations.  

Although names like Jacob and Edom referred to specific nations in ancient times, their use in prophecy is often representative rather than specific.  The name Jacob for example was used to represent Israel who were God’s people in ancient times, but in prophetic literature regarding the end time the name Jacob has been used to represent those who are God’s people in the future.  Since the time of Christ God’s people are identified as those who have been sealed with His Holy Spirit, not by nationality, And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30).  Also, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).

Similarly the name Edom in end time prophecy represents those who do not have God’s Spirit rather than a specific nation.  The Book of Revelation clearly indicates that there will be two types of people in the end time, those who are God’s and those who are not.  Those who are not God’s people are their adversaries (enemies). 

Interpreting end-time prophecy on a nationalistic basis by trying to identify modern day descendants of ancient nations is misleading.  The ancient configuration of Israel and its enemy Edom has been used to foreshadow the end time scenario in a representative sense only.  The names Jacob and Israel were used to represent God’s people in the future who since Christ's time are identified by God’s Spirit.  And the names Esau and Edom were used to represent the rest of the world who are the adversaries or enemies of God’s people.  

In the end time it is God’s intention to rescue His people and confront their adversaries who have been persecuting them.  Those who are God’s will be blessed and their adversaries will be cursed. 

The Curse

Over four thousand years ago God chose to bless the children of Abraham and He put a curse on anyone who opposed His people, … I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3). 

He made it clear that He would deal with any who opposed what He intended to accomplish through His people by reiterating the point at Mount Sinai, “But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.” (Exodus 23:22). 

God warned the king of Moab shortly before the children of Israel entered the promised land when he attempt to curse Israel through Balaam, “God brought him (Jacob) forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.  He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.”(Numbers 24:8-9).  Those words implied an immediate application for those who became Jacob’s adversaries and went on to reveal a latter day fulfilment of this curse, And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.” (verse 14).  In the latter days, “...there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.”(Numbers 24:17-18).  Clearly the ‘Star out of Jacob’ is none other than Christ who at his second coming will subdue all his adversaries (Revelation 19:11-16). 

Bullinger interprets Numbers 24:15-19 as referring to the Messiah.  In the New Testament he is referred to as the ‘day spring’ (Luke 1:78), ‘day star’ (II Peter 1:19), ‘morning star’ (Revelation 2:28 and 22:16) and there is reference to ‘His star in the East’ in Matthew 2:2.  This part of Balaam’s prophecy will occur in the ‘latter days’ (Numbers 24:14), a term which is elsewhere translated ‘in the last days’ (Genesis 49:1), a period of time, Bullinger says in his note on this verse, which encompasses the first and second advents of the Messiah.  The Jewish view understandably differs because they deny that Christ is the Messiah.  According to the Jewish Study Bible JPS Tanakh Translation, either David or Omri qualify as the ‘Star out of Jacob’ and some even make a connection with Bar Kasha who led a failed revolt against Rome, but these conclusions are erroneous.

It is also interesting to note that after these enemies have been defeated in the latter days, “Israel shall do valiantly.” This is a very early reference to the restoration of Israel in the future.  In ancient times Israel foreshadowed God’s Kingdom to come. (See articles 'Shadow of Things to Come' and Substance of the Shadows'). When Christ returns the Kingdom that Israel portrayed will be manifested and the relationship with God that will enable mankind to become part of that Kingdom will be restored.  God’s Kingdom will do valiantly as those who are resurrected to eternal life enter into it.  By the time the Millennium and Great White Throne Judgment period have been completed no other kingdom or nation will exist.  The prophesied destruction of the adversaries signifies an end to all opposition to this outcome.

Although posed as a warning to the king of Moab for that time, Balaam’s prophecy is incredibly revealing in terms of how God’s plan is to be accomplished and what the outcome will be.  The format of this prophecy also sets a pattern that recurs throughout the writings of various other prophets when talking about Jacob and his adversaries.  We will be looking at some of those prophecies.

Who is Jacob?

Jacob was the grandson of Abraham through whom the nation Israel was established.  According to the Jewish Study Bible featuring the JPS Tanakh Translation (2004), the name Jacob means “may God protect”.  Later Jacob’s name was changed to Israel which means “God prevails”.   These names are very significant in view of what God has planned. 

In some prophetic literature the names ‘Jacob’ and ‘Israel’ are synonymous.  The children of Israel were God’s people in Old Testament times.  They were the chosen nation through whom He revealed His plan of salvation for all mankind.  

After Israel reached its peak in the time of King David and his son Solomon, the kingdom was split into two separate nations, Israel and Judah.  Israel turned its back on God and was eventually conquered and taken into captivity by the Assyrians.  Judah, the remnant, maintained a relationship with God for a number of centuries but also turned their back on God and eventually fell to the Babylonians.  Even after Israel was conquered and taken into captivity by the Assyrians, the people of Judah were still regarded as the remnant of the Kingdom of Israel and were often referred to by the name Israel (see Ezra 2:2,70, 3:1 also Acts 2:22, 5:21,35).  The name Israel is often used in a geographic or political sense to specify an area or nation.  But, it can also be used to define a people with a special relationship with God and in this manner it is used by the prophets to refer to God’s people at the end of the age regardless of their geographic or national affiliations.

Since the time of Jesus Christ in New Testament times, God’s people have been redefined as those who are Christ’s and have God’s Spirit.  They come from all nations.  In prophetic literature the names Jacob and Israel can apply to God’s people in both eras.  For the sake of clarity we prefer to use the term ‘physical Israel’ to distinguish ancient Israel and ‘spiritual Israel’ for those who are Christ’s today. 

Much of the prophetic literature in the Bible addressed to physical Israel also included messages for spiritual Israel.  Some of the events involving physical Israel and their adversaries foreshadowed what is to be ultimately fulfilled in later times by spiritual Israel.  

Who is Edom?

Esau was Jacob’s twin brother.  The name Esau was synonymous with Seir and he was also known as Edom, which comes from the word ‘edomi’, meaning ‘red’.  In prophetic literature the names Esau, Edom and Teman are synonymous.  Teman was Esau’s grandson and his name meant ‘south’.  Edom was located south of Israel in the vicinity of Mt Seir “Thus dwelt Esau in Mount Seir.  Esau is Edom.” (Genesis 36:8).

According to the story in Genesis 25, Esau and Jacob strove together in the womb of their mother (verse 22).  Later there was contention over birthright matters that most likely caused Esau’s descendants to become adversaries of Jacob’s descendants (Genesis 25:27-34)

Esau’s apparent disregard for his right to be heir of the promises of salvation that God made to Abraham, is most likely a contributing factor to the use of the name Edom in prophetic literature to represent those who are not God’s people.  Because of Edom’s long history of animosity toward God’s chosen nation they are used as a ‘type’ for all adversaries of God’s people. 

The Adversary

An adversary is an opponent or enemy.  Our greatest enemy is of course Satan.  His name means ‘adversary’ and his purpose is to destroy God’s people, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (I Peter 5:8).  He is the god of this world and has influence over all who are not God’s, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Corinthians 4:4).  Satan the Devil is the power behind the adversaries and it is his attitude that is manifested in them.  Hence the name ‘adversary’ which is applied to all those who are not God’s people both in ancient and modern times. 

Prophecies

Joel, who is believed to be one of the earliest prophets from around 790 BC, warned Edom about violence toward their neighbour, Judah, “…Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.” (Joel 3:19). 

Amos from around 750 BC refers to Edom’s perpetual animosity and says that God will not let it go unpunished, “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever: But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.” (Amos 1:11-12).   God’s curse on those that curse His people still applies today.  

Edom’s attitude toward Jacob is emphasized in one of the post-exilic Psalms, “Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.” (Psalm 137:7).

Isaiah

While some scholars dispute the authorship of Isaiah 34 and 35 there is no doubt that it is talking about the end time.  The author refers to the day of God’s vengeance against all the nations of the world.  He makes it clear in the opening verses of Isaiah 34 that his prophecy concerned all nations of the world specifically represented by Edom (Idumea). God’s promise of vengeance, which will fall during the Day of the Lord, is related back to the curse mentioned in Genesis 12:3.  Isaiah says, “For my sword in heaven is full of wrath: see, it is coming down on Edom, in punishment on the people of my curse be judgement".  "For it is the day of the Lord’s punishment, when he gives payment for the wrongs done to Zion.” (Isaiah 34:5 and 8).  According to Isaiah this will result in permanent and everlasting destruction of the adversaries of God’s people, (verses 9-17).  

In the following chapter (35) Edom representing the adversaries, becomes a wasteland in contrast with the kingdom prepared for those who are redeemed by Christ to salvation.  Those redeemed will have their eyes opened to truth, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” (Isaiah 35:5). And no evil will enter, “And an highway shall be there; and a way, and it shall called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” (Isaiah 35:8).  Sorrow and grief will be banished forever, “Even those whom he has made free, will come back again; they will come with songs to Zion; on their heads will be eternal joy; delight and joy will be theirs, and sorrow and sounds of grief will be gone for ever.” (Isaiah 34:10, see also Isaiah 63:1-4).  Isaiah is not talking about the restoration of physical Israel.  He is referring the restoration of mankind to God’s everlasting spiritual Kingdom.  The prophecy is about the ultimate outcome of God’s plan of salvation – eternal life in His Kingdom.  

Jeremiah

Jeremiah was commissioned to go to the nations and make them drink of the cup of God’s wrath including Judah the remnant of Jacob (Jeremiah 1:5-7, 2:4, 25:15-28). 

Although Jeremiah declared that Edom was to drink of the cup of God’s wrath and be destroyed he focuses on Babylon (Jeremiah 25:26-27).  Babylon is reputed to have overrun and incorporated most of the nations listed as Jacob’s adversaries into its empire.  Babylon, like Edom, is used to represent all of the adversaries, i.e. the rest of the world, in the end-time who oppose God’s people.  And Babylon will suffer a similar fate of utter and permanent destruction when Christ returns (Jeremiah 25:30-33, 51:7-9 and also described in Revelation 18). 

This alternate representation introduces a certain flexibility of the theme, but at the same time establishes the importance of the message rather than the example used to portray the message.  Regardless of who is used to represent Jacob’s adversaries in prophecy the clear and certain message reiterated by the prophets is that those who oppose God, His plan or His people will be destroyed forever at the end of this age.  Although he uses Babylon to symbolize the adversaries Jeremiah still follows the pattern used by other prophets of condemning Jacob’s adversaries with destruction on one hand and prophesying about the restoration of Jacob on the other.  Jeremiah elaborated on the restoration of Israel in chapters 30, 31 and 33. 

Jeremiah said that Edom’s destruction was to be complete and permanent (Jeremiah 25:21, 49:7-22 especially verses 12 and 17).  He said that other nations like Moab, Ammon and Elam will be restored (Jeremiah 48:47, 49:6, 39 JPS, RSV NKJV, and Young’s Literal Translation) but there is no specific mention of Edom being restored.  While the name Edom is used in a national sense to represent the adversaries and will be utterly destroyed, the people of Edom along with the people of all other nations will be restored on an individual basis to the process that leads to God’s Kingdom. 

Ezekiel

Ezekiel also condemns Edom (Mt Seir).  Because of their perpetual hatred of the children of Israel (Jacob) and says that God will in turn make them a perpetual desolation “Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.” (Ezekiel 35:5-6).  And, “I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” (verse 9). 

Edom’s desire was to dispossess God’s people of their inheritance, “Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it;whereas the LORD was there:” (Ezekiel 35:10, 36:2).  The inheritance of God’s people often expressed in the Old Testament in physical terms is ultimately a spiritual inheritance in God’s Kingdom.

Although Israel had defiled their inheritance and profaned God’s name among the heathen Ezekiel says that Israel will eventually be restored.  They will be given the opportunity to receive God’s Spirit and live His way, “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23).  And, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

In Chapter 37 he also makes it clear that the people he is addressing will need to be resurrected back to physical life necessary for them to repent and receive God’s Spirit in order to prepare them for a permanent spiritual resurrection into God’s Kingdom. Other nations will receive the same opportunity at the same time, "I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in the midst of them,” (Ezekiel 16:53 RSV)

They will all be resurrected to physical life and restored to a relationship with God so they can become part of that spiritual Kingdom that physical Israel represented - God’s Kingdom.  When Israel turned their back on God they were rejected as His people and relegated back into the world to be scattered among the heathen until the time of their resurrection. Along with everyone else they will be raised during the Great White Throne Judgment period. Then they will be given the opportunity to accept Christ, repent, be baptized and receive God’s Spirit so they can overcome sin and eventually be given eternal life in God’s spiritual Kingdom.  

Obadiah

Obadiah, a contemporary of both Jeremiah and Ezekiel neatly summarizes the prophecies concerning the destruction of Edom and restoration of Jacob devoting his whole book to the subject.  His mention of an envoy sent to the nations could possibly have been a reference to Jeremiah who was commissioned to go to the nations (Obadiah 1, and Jeremiah 25:15,17).

Obadiah declares that because Edom rejoiced over the downfall of Judah, the remnant of Jacob, they would be destroyed, “Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?  And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever." (Obadiah 8-10).  "Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;  Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.  For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.   For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obadiah 13-16). 

Notice that the prophet relates the incident to the Day of the Lord when all the heathen (i.e. those who oppose God) will be made to drink of the cup of God’s wrath as Edom was required to in Jeremiah 25:21 and the outcome will be their total destruction.  The Day of the Lord is the day of God’s wrath, when He executes judgment on those who persecuted His people.  

The final part of the book of Obadiah indicates that Jacob (God’s people) will be delivered and those of the heathen nations who turn to God will become incorporated into Jacob, “But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” (Obadiah 17).  They will be taught God’s ways under Jesus Christ’s rulership so that they too can be given the opportunity for eternal life in God’s Kingdom , “And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.” (Obadiah 21).

Malachi

The opening verses of the Book of Malachi show a divine preference for Jacob who had a special relationship with God over Esau.  Esau represents the adversaries who oppose God.  Although they will try to prevail against God they will not succeed.  God prevails as the name Israel implies and His Kingdom, which was represented by the earthly Israel will be magnified, “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,  And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.” (Malachi 1:2-5). Ultimately all opposition will be vanquished and only God’s Kingdom will exist.

The key to understanding prophesy is not in knowing who the descendants of Jacob and Esau are, but in understanding who they represent in modern times.  Jacob represented God’s people and God’s people today are not the natural descendants of Jacob.  They are those from all nations who have God’s Spirit.  And the modern day counterpart of Edom is not a specific nation but all who do not know the true God.  Israel of old was an earthly representation of God’s Heavenly Kingdom which will prevail and do valiantly.  

Reconciliation

When Adam and Eve sinned they destroyed their relationship with God, cut off access to eternal life in His Kingdom and condemned the whole of humanity to death. Later God promised Abraham that a saviour would arise from his descendants who comprised the nation Israel (Jacob), which He had chosen to become an earthly representation of His Heavenly Kingdom.  That saviour will reconcile mankind to God the Father and restore the opportunity of eternal life in God’s Kingdom for all. 

Although the Israelites turned their back on God and failed in their role, they were replaced in New Testament times by a group of people individually called from all nations and given God’s Holy Spirit.  They are God’s people today.  

Eventually after Christ returns and the adversaries are vanquished that reconciliation will begin with those who survive the end-time events culminating in the Great White Throne Judgment period when all who have ever lived and died will be resurrected to be given the opportunity to be reconciled to God, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12).  And, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27).  Also, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10).

This is the salvation that God promised through Abraham and expounded by the prophets

What Happens to Edom?

According to the New Bible Dictionary (Second Edition), after Judah went into captivity, “Edom proper fell into Arab hands during the 5th Century BC, and in the 3rd Century BC was over run by the Nabataeans.  Through these centuries yet other Edomites fled to Judah”.  They were able to flee to Judah when it was rebuilt in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.  They were later forced to be circumcised and were incorporated into the Jewish society and according to the Jewish Study Bible featuring the JPS Tanakh Translation (2004), were among the most zealous Jews during the conflict with Rome in the 1st Century CE.

Jeremiah’s prophecies concerning Edom have in a sense been fulfilled, but by no means have they been fulfilled to the degree predicted and indeed will not be fulfilled in their entirety until Christ returns.  At that time we will see the full meaning of the utter destruction predicted for Edom and the magnificent restoration of Jacob over which Christ is to rule.

These early events were only a shadow for the sequel that is to occur in the end time involving the modern day counterparts of both Jacob and Edom when all of the adversaries will be dealt with and the Kingdom restored forever.

Restoration

Jeremiah said that Jacob will be released from captivity and redeemed from among his enemies, "Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be.” (Jeremiah 30:18 RSV). And, “For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.” (Jeremiah 31:11).  “…and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” (verse16).  This means that those whom God calls are released from their spiritual captivity (see II Corinthians 4:4 and Revelation 12:9).

There will be a new covenant and a change of behaviour, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

These events have not yet occurred.  They have a wider application than the mere restoration of a single nation.  In the above prophecy Jacob represents the people who will, from all nations, be released from spiritual captivity and reconciled to God.   They will have the opportunity to enter the spiritual Kingdom that the ancient earthly kingdom of Israel represented.

The temple is already being restored in a spiritual sense, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16).  Jerusalem will be restored in a spiritual sense.  Compare, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.” (Jeremiah 31:38) with, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1-2).

The permanent destruction of Edom does not mean that Edomites, or their modern day counterparts, will never receive the opportunity of eternal life in God’s Kingdom.  They will be resurrected as individuals in the Great White Throne Judgment and given the opportunity.  The permanent destruction of Edom simply symbolizes the vanquishing of all opposition to God forever.

Jeremiah’s prophecies about the fall and restoration of Judah, the remnant of Jacob, had an immediate application.  Their kingdom was restored in a sense in Ezra and Nehemiah’s time but it was not restored to the degree and permanence that the prophecy mentioned, nor did Christ rule over it as predicted, “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:15).  This will occur at his second coming.

God’s people are represented by Israel and their adversaries are represented by Edom. God’s people are not the direct descendants of ancient Israel.  They are those whom God has called and to whom He has given His Holy Spirit and who, through Christ, become spiritual Israel.  Edom is representative of those who persecute God’s people in the end time and will drink of the cup of God’s wrath. 

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