The Judah-Edom Combo in Prophecy
Jun 23, 2008
By the time Jesus was born, Judaism had long lapsed into a religion of legalistic form and ritual which had become more important than the spirit of the law. They did not seem to understand that forms and rituals are only outer containers like pitchers that are supposed to hold water. The water is the Word, but they begin to think that God valued the the pitcher more than the water.
In Jesus' words (Matt. 23:25), "you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess."
So when the time came to put the water of the word (the law) into a new and greater pitcher, Judaism resisted strongly, thinking that this was a violation of God's will. The Old Covenant had written the law on tables of stone. The New Covenant would write the same law on the tables of our hearts. It was the same law in a new and better form. The form ("pitcher") changed from an external law imposed upon the carnal mind (essentially against its will) to the law written upon the heart (to change one's will from within).
The imposition of the law by external means had translated into the idea of forcible conversions a century earlier. Hence, the Idumeans (Edomites) had been conquered and forcibly converted in 126 B.C. This made them religionists, as they conformed to the outward forms of Judaism and submitted to the priests in Jerusalem. But it did not make them believers in the sight of God, regardless of how zealous they became.
Jesus put it this way in Matt. 23:15, "You compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell [son of gehenna] than yourselves."
A "son of gehenna" is a figurative way of saying that those converts will be judged in gehenna along with the rest of the people when God destroys Jerusalem according to Jeremiah's prophecy in Jer. 19. In that prophecy, the prophet was to smash an old earthen jar in the valley of the son of Hinnom [Greek: gehenna] and prophesy that in this way the city and those people would be broken "as one breaks a potter's vessel that cannot be made whole again" (Jer. 19:11).
This prophecy was partially fulfilled in Jeremiah's day when the Babylonians destroyed the city and temple. I say "partially," because the city was rebuilt and "made whole again" in later years. It was partially fulfilled a second time in 70 A.D. by the Romans. The city was rebuilt and "made whole again" afterward. It has been destroyed a number of times over the centuries, but each time it was repaired. Hence, there remains a final fulfillment to Jeremiah's prophecy in our time.
Jeremiah's prophecy was directed against "this people and this city." In other words, the gehenna prophecy could not be fulfilled at a time when other people were in control of Jerusalem. It is for this reason that God is steadily removing the Palestinian people from Jerusalem and turning control of that city to the modern Israeli state. While the Israeli motive is a religious land grab, God's motive is to have mercy upon the Palestinians in the day of judgment.
Yet this prophecy also shows how two sets of prophecies interrelate. The prophecies about Edom show that the land had to go back to Esau-Edom to give him time to prove himself a "stubborn and rebellious son." But at the same time, there are prophecies of the unbelieving remnant of the people of Judah, with whom the Edomites were united by forcible conversion.
Since Edom's incorporation into Judah, that nation had a dual set of prophecies to fulfill. That is essentially what is happening today, though most are blind to it, including most Christians.
In Matt. 21:13 Jesus passed judgment upon Jerusalem and the temple itself, quoting from Jeremiah 7:11. He said, "My house shall be called the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves."
These words were part of God's indictment in Jeremiah's day, by which it was established in the divine court that Judah and Jerusalem would certainly be judged. The prophet was even told not to pray for the city any more (Jer. 7:16). Prayer could be made for individuals, of course, but the city and nation itself was beyond prayer at that point.
Even so, when Jesus gave the same indictment upon the temple in Matt. 21:15, it put the city on notice that the final judgment was set and could not be reversed. The next morning, he cursed the fig tree for having no fruit on it (Matt. 21:19). The fig tree was a well-established symbol of the Judean nation. Jesus words were: "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever."
He did not merely say, "You wicked tree, I'm going to cut you down." No, He prophesied that the fig tree would NEVER AGAIN BEAR FRUIT UNTO GOD.
This is something that Christian Zionists are desperately trying to ignore or reverse. Their entire belief system is based upon the conviction that in the end the Jews of the Israeli state will recognize Jesus as the Christ and, in essence, "bear fruit." They obviously do not believe Jesus' words. Nonetheless, God has allowed them to make the attempt to convert them to Christ, so that they cannot say later that they had no opportunity.
Jesus later commented upon this fig-tree prophecy in Matt. 24:32, 33, "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender and puts forth LEAVES, you know that summer is near. So likewise, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors."
I have heard it preached many times in the Church that this refers to the cursed fig tree, and it is applied to the present Israeli state. I agree. But I also cannot help but notice that there is no mention of this fig tree bearing FRUIT. Jesus merely prophesied that this fig tree would come back to life after being withered up in Matt. 21:20. The Israeli state certainly fulfills this prophecy, for it has come to life and is again bringing forth LEAVES.
May I point out that leaves without fruit was the original problem? How say the Christian Zionists that the tree is soon to bear fruit?
So we see that Jeremiah's prophecy will come true. The temple was made into a den of robbers, a hideout where robbers are safe to violate the law at will. The fruit of that city, people, and temple is either non-existent or not worth eating--from the divine perspective. Although they may dress it up to look like a beautiful healthy tree (full of leaves), it will always remain a fruitless tree.
This, then, is how the two prophecies interrelate. Esau-Edom is a rebellious son who will be stripped of the birthright and will not inherit the Kingdom. His life does not manifest the fruit of the Spirit. Secondly, Jerusalem, Judah, and the temple was likewise fruitless, and so Jesus commanded that it would NEVER AGAIN bear fruit. Thus, the city would be judged not only for the sins of Esau-Edom, but also for the sins of Judah-Jerusalem. Both were guilty of the same thing, and so God has merged the two into a single prophetic event.
I write this, not to gloat or rejoice over anyone's destruction, but rather to set forth the plain word of God so that perhaps some might believe and be able to avoid the serious consequences of unbelief. Though Jerusalem will be destroyed, we are not forbidden from interceding for individuals who may be in danger.
Dr. Stephen Jones