Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The Book Of Isaiah. Day 149, The Land Of Edom As A Symbol Of The Judgment Of The Nations, Part Two

The Lord has been speaking about His intention to judge the nation of Edom---the descendants of Esau---for its cruelty toward the descendants of Jacob. He means this literally but He also means this figuratively; He appears to be using Edom as a symbol for the judgment that will fall upon every nation that ever has or ever will persecute the descendants of Jacob, as we noted in our last session.

About literal Edom the Lord said that its palaces and citadels and strongholds would be deserted by humans and taken over by the wild animals and by briers. He listed several of the types of animals that would make these empty dwellings their abode and He picks up on that same theme today, saying: "The owl will nest there and lay eggs, she will hatch them and care for her young under the shadow of her wings; there also the falcons will gather, each with its mate." (Isaiah 34:15)

In the original language some of the terms used for the animals listed in Chapter 34 can also be used as terms for mythical or demonic creatures. I don't know whether the Lord literally means that evil spirits will indwell the ruins of the cities of the Edomites or whether He uses these terms to indicate the uncleanness of the cities of Edom where so much idolatry took place. I have often thought that it's highly likely that evil spirits (fallen angels) enjoy hanging around areas where a great deal of idolatry has taken place. After all, in the New Testament we are told that although idols don't represent real gods, there is a demonic influence behind idolatry. 

The Apostle Paul speaks on this subject in 1 Corinthians 10 where he states that although food that has been sacrificed to idols is edible because the deities represented by the idols do not exist, the Christian should not partake of food at any table where the Christian has been informed the food was first offered to idols. Paul referred to this as "the demon's table". It makes sense that demons would hang around an area where idolatry took place, where much sin and debauchery took place, where human sacrifice took place (as it did in several ancient cultures), and where other types of murders took place.

The Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, instructs us never to attempt to contact the dead and I believe that is because it is not departed humans who will answer us---if indeed anything answers us. We must not attempt to contact the spirit world because demons may masquerade as the departed spirits of our loved ones. Once a person dies and his or her spirit leaves their body, they move on to the destination they are assigned according to whether they believed in and belonged to the Lord or not. I do not think they are hanging around on earth rattling chains, opening squeaky doors, or communicating by means of a medium or a Ouija board or anything else. The Bible does not provide any evidence that such a thing happens but it does strictly warn us many times not to attempt to contact the dead. This warning is for our own good. At best, it's simply a waste of our time and it will affect our inability to move on from our loss and to craft a productive life. At worst, it will pull us into the occult and draw us away from the Lord.

The Lord concludes Chapter 34 by speaking again of the animals and by using them as a sign that He predicted the destruction of Edom long before it occurred. This is also to be taken as a sign that everything else He has predicted will occur: the destruction of all the enemies of the descendants of Jacob will happen just as He said. "Look in the scroll of the Lord and read: None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is His mouth that has given the order, and His spirit will gather them together. He allots their portions; His hand distributes them by measure. They will possess it forever and dwell there from generation to generation." (Isaiah 34:16-17)

When Edom has been destroyed and when the wild animals take over its ruins, people will be able to look back at the scroll of the book of Isaiah and see that the Lord told them this would come to pass. The wild animals will mate and bear young and increase in number in the ruins of the once-prosperous kingdom. They will "possess it forever", meaning Edom will never rise from the ashes. It was not rebuilt, in contrast to Israel. There is no nation of Edom on the earth today but there is a nation of Israel on the earth today. Because the things Isaiah predicted for his general era came to pass, anyone who reads his scroll can rest assured that everything else the prophet predicted will come to pass. The Lord said He would never allow the tribes of Israel to be wiped from the earth and He promised an everlasting kingdom to be made of Israel. This promise will come true. It already has, in part, but will find its complete fulfillment when the Messiah comes and reigns from Jerusalem over all the earth.

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