What Happened to the Edomites?

Who is the nation of Edom today? Because it’s prophesied in Isaiah 63:1-4 and Isaiah 34:5-8 that’s Jesus will come back to a kingdom ruled by Edom. So they still have to be on earth today.

I would disagree. It’s true that Edom is mentioned in both Isaiah 63 and Isaiah 34 in connection to God’s ultimate judgment. But this is because the Edomites were prominent among the nations around Israel that hated Israel.

Their hatred of Israel was kind of ironic, because the Edomites were descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob, who later became Israel. They settled on the eastern side of the Jordan River, essentially on the eastern side of the Dead Sea.

In his comments on Isaiah, Bultema gives a good sense of this:

“Edom was a sister nation to Israel, but it hated Israel more than any other nation. Throughout all of history we see a burning hatred of Edom against Israel. It is for this reason that Edom is frequently presented as a representation of all the nations that hated the Jews.” (Bultema, Isaiah)

Therefore, we see in both Isaiah 63 and Isaiah 34 that Edom is a representative of the nations who are against God and His people. Isaiah is connecting the judgment against the Edomites (who were known as those who hated God and His people) with the ultimate judgment at the return of Jesus Christ.

So, what happened to the Edomites? They were judged by God, as the prophets said would happen (such as Obadiah and Jeremiah). The Edomites were conquered by the Nabatean Arabs, perhaps as early as 500 b.c.

Nelson Glueck, The Other Side of the Jordan explains that not all the Edomites left the region of Edom when the Nabataean Arabs took control of the area. Those who did leave the land of Edom and went to the area of southern Judea (the land on the western side of the Dead Sea) these became known as Idumeans, also mixed the with people already living in that that area.

When the Idumeans continued conflict with the Jewish people in the time of the Maccabees, the Jewish people conquered them and assimilated them by force.

FF Bruce writes in his book Israel and the Nations about how there was conflict and war between the Jewish people and the Idumeans in the time of the Maccabees, the period between the end of the Old Testament and the start of the New Testament.

Bruce, regarding the Jewish leader John Hyrcanus, around 100 years before the birth of Jesus: “To the south he warred against the Idumeans, who had been such a thorn in the side of the Judeans since the dark days at the end of the southern monarchy. He subjugated them, and compelled them to accept circumcision and this be formally incorporated as members of the Jewish nation.” [171]

By the end of spring, AD 68, the Romans had laid waste to Idumaea.

This was effectively the end of the Edomite people, who had been in decline and mixing with neighboring peoples for a long time.

There were still people who lived in the area of Edom (on the east side of the Dead Sea) but they were not Edomites in any real sense.

There were still people who lived in the area of Idumaea on west side of the Dead Sea, but they were not Edomites in any real sense. The identification had more to do with geography than with genetics.

So, what happened happed to the Edomites? As a genetic people, the descendants of Esau are lost to history. Of course, their DNA lives on in some sense, but they are so intermixed with other peoples that there is no definable genetic group of “Edomites” today.

When Isaiah or other prophets mention Edom in connection with future judgment (as in Isaiah 34 or 63), they are mentioned because they represent the nations that hate Israel and hate Israel’s God. Because the Edomites were famous as being those who were close to Israel but who hated them and rejoiced in Israel’s calamity, they became representatives of those who hate the people of God.

John 18 says that Jesus identified Himself to those who arrested Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, but other gospels say that Judas identified Jesus. Which is it?

In John 18:4-8, it is not written that Judas kissed Jesus to identify him, but Jesus identified himself. Can you please share your thoughts?

I think that this is a situation we would find in many biblical accounts. Accounts having to do with the crucifixion and the resurrection, and that the two don’t contradict each other but complement one another.

We can see Judas as mentioned in the other gospels, identifying Jesus with a kiss because it was night, and Jesus wasn’t far taller than any of his other disciples. Judas ironically chose to identify Jesus with a kiss.

We can also see, as part of the account, the captain of the guard wanting to confirm and maybe even get a confession from the person who had been identified as Jesus. This is where the record in the Gospel of John tells us that Jesus identified himself in that way. One of the things that I think is fascinating about the way that the gospel of John presents Jesus’s arrest in Gethsemane, is that John is very conscious to let us know that Jesus was protecting his disciples. As Jesus stepped forth in front of that arresting detachment of soldiers and was asked to reveal Himself, He reveals Himself. Then he says, “You have me, let these ones go.” I find it very precious the way that Jesus protected his disciples. Even in the garden of Gethsemane he was giving himself up for the sake of His disciples.

How can we be filled more and more with the Holy Spirit?

How can we be filled with more and more of the Holy Spirit?

First, ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit. Make that a conscious prayer every day. Now, when we ask God, as believers, to fill us with His Holy Spirit, we are not denying that we have been filled before. The idea is that we need to continually be filled with the Holy Spirit.

According to the Greek grammar, this is what the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5. In our English versions, it simply says, Be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Greek grammar and verb tenses gives the sense that it could be more fully expressed as continually being filled with the Holy Spirit.

We’re not trying to deny that we have the spirit, or that we have been filled with the Holy Spirit before. We just recognize that we need a constant supply of God’s Spirit, and it’s not wrong to expect and believe that God would continually fill us with His Holy Spirit.

Second, look for things in your life that may grieve the Holy Spirit. Surely, when we grieve the Spirit of God, we hinder the operation of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, God is going to accomplish His will, and nothing can hinder what God wants to do.

There is the sense, on an individual level, where Christians need to say, I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to hinder what God might do through me. So, we ask in faith. We look to our lives to see if there’s anything we might be doing that would grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Then, we just simply go forth, confident and relying on Jesus, asking his spirit to fill us.

The New Testament speaks of the Holy Spirit filling people and God giving gifts to people. It is also sometimes found in the Old Testament through what we might call the laying on of hands. Nothing is wrong with asking other believers, perhaps pastors or elders, to lay hands upon you and to pray that you would be filled. We shouldn’t think that we can’t be filled with the Holy Spirit unless people lay their hands upon us. The Bible just gives us this as another way that God works in and through His people.

What is David’s opinion on the many different denominations of Christianity, such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches?

It’s very important to recognize that someone is not saved by belonging to a particular group, nor are they damned, necessarily, because they belong to a particular group. There can be Individuals who belong to a group, and do not share all the beliefs of that group.

It comes down to each individual soul doing its dealings before God. We shouldn’t look at salvation or damnation as a matter of belonging or not belonging to a particular group.

Rather, the individual soul must deal with God.

As for other denominations, I would say that there are official doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church that, I think, are wrong and sometimes harmful. There are certain philosophies and approaches in the Orthodox Church that I don’t find helpful, and I think it may be a detriment to people in their Christian life.

However, I praise God for the variety of believers in the Christian family. I praise God that believers have so many different ways and expressions of their true belief, as long as it is a true belief in Jesus Christ and God’s word. I praise God for my Pentecostal brothers. I praise God for my reformed or Calvinistic brothers. I praise God for Roman Catholics, who truly put their faith in Jesus Christ and not fundamentally in the church or in their own works for their salvation. I praise God for Orthodox brothers and sisters, who really love Jesus and pursue him, even though there are aspects of their life with God that don’t resonate with me particularly at all.

Why did God choose the nation of Israel to bring forth the Messiah? Was it because of Abraham’s obedience?

Why did God choose the nation Israel for the Messiah to be brought forth? Was it because of Abraham’s obedience to God that resulted in all the families of the earth being blessed through him because of Jesus?

God freely chose Abraham and the Israelite people. The book of Jeremiah explains God speaking to Israel through Abraham. Now, Abraham was an idol worshipping Babylonian who lived among the Chaldeans. Abraham’s faith is not noted before God chose him to be the father of this Jewish people; To be the first in the line of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He plainly says that He did not choose Israel because they were the greatest, most numerous, or holiest nation. He chose them for His own glory, and I believe He is not finished with them. They still have a remaining role in God’s unfolding plan of the ages.

Now, God did not choose them all to be saved. They were chosen to have a special place in God’s plan. In being God’s chosen people, it has at times been a tremendous blessing for the Jews but has also been a tremendous burden for them.

What is the cup described in Jeremiah 25:15-17? Is it a cup of judgment?

In Jeremiah 25:17, what is the cup? Jeremiah telling them of God’s anger

In Jeremiah 25:15-17 we read:

 For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me: “Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send you, to drink it. And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.”

Then I took the cup from the LORD’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the LORD had sent me.

Here, the cup is a very vivid expression of the judgment of God. He holds out a cup to his enemies and says to them, “You must drink it. This is the cup of my judgment and anger, and I will make sure that you drink it.”

This picture of the cup of God’s judgment is used many times in the Bible. One of the most powerful places it’s used is when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed to God, let this cup pass from me. Jesus had in his mind the cup that represented God’s wrath and judgment. Essentially what Jesus asked was if there were any other way to accomplish the salvation of humanity apart from becoming a sacrifice and drinking the cup of wrath and judgment. There was no other way, so Jesus took that cup and drank it at the cross.

To sum up, the cup used in Jeremiah 25 and a few other times in the old and new testament is, in fact, imagery expressing the judgment of God.

In Ephesians 5:22, the word for the English word “submit” does not mean “to come under” – is that true?

I saw a post that stated that in Ephesians 5:22, the English word does not mean “to come under.” Paul was not telling wives to come under the leadership or covering of their husbands. What do you say about this?

I would suggest you refer to my commentary on Ephesians 5 at enduringword.com for a more in depth explanation.

From memory, I can tell you that the word used for “submit” in Ephesians 5 is the word that comes from the military. It means to “order under”, as in a military arrangement or ranking. It basically means to “come under rank.”

The phrase “to come under” doesn’t capture the entirety of the word, but it’s not a bad start. The word is specifically tied to the military, and it’s in that sense that it should be used.

What are David’s thoughts about generational curses?

Pastor David, what are your thoughts about generational curses? There are young men who have never met their fathers, yet have the same challenges as them.

There is this idea of generational influence, and this influence can be good or bad or both. It is tied to genetics and should not surprise us that sometimes there are similarities between a son or daughter and the father, even if they’ve never met formally or had one another in their lives.

I would separate this from what most people describe as a generational curse. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen or remember seeing a good, concrete definition of what a generational curse is. Generally, the idea is that it is some kind of spiritual bondage or curse that extends across generations, mainly because of some kind of satanic work.

I believe, when we take it out of the realm of generational influence, and make it generational curses, we put people under a lot of needless fear and apprehension.

Here’s the confidence that we have. Galatians tells us that the curse is broken in Jesus Christ. Believe his promise and live in His promise that the curse was placed on Jesus Christ at the cross. He bore the curse for us.

Now, if somebody has a very nuanced understanding of a generational curse, I would, then, agree with what that person has to say about a generational curse. In the way that I’ve mostly heard the term used, I don’t think much of the idea of a generational curse.

Why is baptism in the Bible?

Why is baptism in the Bible?

Here’s the most fundamental answer I can give you. Baptism is a material, or a physical, demonstration of what happens to a person spiritually when they are born again. When a person is born again, they are cleansed from their sins. They have a ceremonial washing. It’s as if they have been crucified with Jesus Christ and risen to new life.

What I would regard as proper baptism, baptism by immersion, is when a person is buried under the water and rises, according to the picture that Paul gave in Romans 6. They rise to new life.

God is so gracious and loving to us to give us material connections with spiritual works. The cleansing of sin that happened when I was born again was spiritual. Dying with Jesus and raising to new life when I was born again was spiritual. Then God says, “David, I want you to have a material connection with those things. Let’s get baptized to show that.”

If a person has not been born again, their sins are not cleansed. They have not died with Christ, spiritually, and been risen with him, spiritually. You could dunk them underwater 100 times and it wouldn’t do any good.

Here’s the thing, baptism has more than one meaning in the New Testament. It is also connected to someone joining the community of believers. It is connected with a person’s decision to trust in Christ and become part of that community. I think that people who favor the baptism of babies and infants, which is a practice that I disagree with, emphasize too much this lesser meaning of baptism connecting somebody with the christian community. That meaning is there in the New Testament. I’m not trying to deny that it is, but I don’t think it’s the primary meaning. It is a secondary, or even tertiary meaning.

The primary expression of baptism in the New Testament is cleansing of sin and new life in Jesus Christ. Unless someone would say that those things are real in the life of a baby who’s being baptized, I don’t think they should baptize them.

Is it ok for a Christian woman to be artificially inseminated to bear a child if they are not married?

What are your thoughts on intrauterine insemination, pregnancy without sex, before marriage and church? Should the church discipline such?

The biblical pattern is that children should come up in families, and be brought up in families. When I say families, I mean a husband and a wife, maybe even some brothers and sisters.

If someone is becoming pregnant, deliberately, as in the case here with intrauterine insemination, or if they become pregnant by accident due to sinful conduct outside of marriage, it doesn’t seem to fit God’s pattern.

Now, could there ever be exceptions to this? We don’t have a specific command in the scriptures that say only married people can have children. There’s never the command in scripture that says a husband or wife should die and give up the children for adoption. I don’t think that we have a command saying to absolutely prohibit it, but neither do we have a pattern that reinforces it.

I would leave this up to the judgment and the discretion of the local church leadership. One aspect of this are the reasons for the person doing this, and that would be something that would be known much better by the local church leadership. I don’t think we can make a universal law or rule for this, but we can leave it up to the Holy Spirit. The local church should seek the Lord, and seek the most information that they can about the situation so that they can give guidance to fellow believers in this.

How would we know if a pastor backslid, and if so how do we follow him?

Pastor David, how would you know if a pastor backslid? How do you follow him?

Well, let’s face it, sin can remain hidden and sometimes for a long time. Backsliding is a condition where a person really isn’t in close fellowship with God. There is, in some sense, a regression, a decline in their spiritual life, commitment and vitality. This can happen in ways that are not obvious to people who look from the outside, so I don’t know if there is a specific way.

I have known of pastors who seemed to have thriving successful ministries, and then it is exposed that they were involved in a significant sin and had been for a long time.

However, if you know that there is significant compromise or sin in a pastor’s life, you need to carefully judge whether or not that person is qualified to be in spiritual leadership over you. Now, nobody is spiritually perfect. None of us fall into that category. Of course, every person will fail, and every pastor has his weaknesses and failings. I know that people can sometimes, knowingly or unknowingly, exaggerate and overemphasize the weaknesses that a pastor has.

At the same time, there are some things that damage the reputation of a pastor that would mean they should not be in spiritual leadership any longer.

I would say that if you suspect, perhaps, that a pastor is backsliding but don’t have evidence of it, pray that God would reveal the truth about their life. This is always a good prayer to pray.

We should live and serve in a way that if the truth of our life is exposed, we would not be greatly ashamed.

If a man with several wives (polygamy) becomes a Christian, what should he do?

Do you believe God would allow a polygamous relationship to continue after salvation if we had a modern day Solomon who got saved?

First of all, I can give you the wisdom that I have received from pastors, missionaries and christian workers whom I know have served the Lord in Africa and have dealt with tribal peoples among whom polygamy was common.

Let’s say that a husband who had several wives, came to Christ. They would be faced with the question, what do we do? This is the approach that mostly all of them have taken, and it’s not an easy course.

This is what the pastors, missionaries, and christian workers would say to them: First of all, you would do more harm than good to your wives and to the children of those wives if you were to divorce them. Nevertheless, the situation that you’re in is not good, so what you must do is treat all your wives fairly and equally. You must not add any additional wives to your family, and you can never be in church leadership, because you do not fit the qualification spoken of In the pastoral epistles. You are not the husband of one wife but of several.

Let me say, there isn’t a specific command in the old or new testament that says if someone has more than one wife, they need to divorce their wives when they come to Christ. If there was such a command, then we would do it no matter the outcome. Because there is not such a command, we see that more harm than good would come from doing this. Therefore, they would say to not add any more wives, to treat your wives equally and fairly, and understand that you’re not qualified for church leadership.

Polygamy, having more than one wife, goes outside of God’s plan. Ultimately, it’s never for good.

Is it a sin to drink alcohol?

Do you believe it is a sin to drink alcohol?

The most straightforward answer I could give you to that is, no with reservations. The Bible does not condemn all consumption of alcohol. It absolutely condemns drunkenness. If you drink to the point where you are impaired or drunk, that’s a sin.

However, there are many people who can drink without becoming impaired or drunk, and there are two important exceptions to this. Number one, the case of those who would stumble the weakness of another brother should not do it. It would be a torturous temptation for their brother. The other exception is this. There is wisdom for Christian leaders to abstain from alcohol. I’m not going to say that it is an absolute law. I’m saying from my observation that there is wisdom for Christian leaders to abstain from alcohol, either mostly or entirely, and that has been the pattern of my own life.