Day 352: God’s judgment on the Nations

Obadiah 1Revelation 9

Obadiah is a judgment prophesy against the nation of Edom – which lay to the Southeast of Judah. Edom sat idly as Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians and then gloated over Judah’s demise. God warned that their evil treatment of His people would be returned to them on the Day when all the nations will be judged…

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
your deeds shall return on your own head (Obadiah 15).

Revelation 9 describes the precursor judgments leading to the terrible final judgment which will come on “the day of the Lord.”

In verses 9:1-2, Jesus gives the key to one of Satan’s angels to open the abyss, the place where God confines all that is evil and demonic. The Beast comes out of the abyss later in Revelation and ultimately, the abyss is the place where Satan is permanently confined (20:3). The abyss is so horrible that even demons beg Jesus not to send them there (Luke 8:31)!

As the abyss is opened, demons are released to torment the unbelievers on the earth. In many ways, these judgments are the fulfillment of many of the prophesies (including Obadiah) describing God judgment of “the nations.” For in the Old Testament, “the nations” was sometimes used as a collective symbol for all of those outside God’s Covenant love. “This judgment upon [the unbelievers] will work as the plagues worked in Egypt. On the one hand they call out for people to repent, for they have nowhere else to turn. Yet on the other hand, when they have nowhere else to turn they would still rather choose death than repent […] Only those who are sealed by Christ will not be affected” (P. Gardner, Revelation, pg. 136).

When the sixth trumpet is heralded, 1/3 of mankind is killed, and those who are left, refuse to repent. “The irony is that they continue to worship the very beings whom God has released to bring judgment upon them. In their lack of repentance, they confirm the justice of God’s judgment” (P. Gardner, Revelation, pg 138-139).

These passages reveal that God has granted Satan great power, but God’s sovereignty overrules as Satan only manages to torment his own followers! Those who belong to Christ are protected and sealed by God’s greater power, so Christians have nothing to fear from Satan – even in death!

We are reminded of God’s sovereignty and rule at the end of Obadiah when we read the promise that God will restore the land, and redeem His people. He will rule “and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s” (Obadiah 21)!!

God has always ruled, but His redemptive reign will be consummated at the heralding of the 7th trumpet when Christ will come again in glory!

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book, Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.
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