Old Testament reading: Obadiah
When I read this powerful little book, I am reminded of Cain’s response to God after killing his brother, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). The answer was, Yes, he should have been his brother’s keeper! Instead, Abel’s blood cried to the Lord from the ground. “What does this have to do with Obadiah?” you ask? Obadiah is a message of God’s judgment upon Edom. Edom is Esau (Gen 36:1), and Israel (Jacob) was his younger brother (Obad 1:10, cf Gen 25:21ff). When Jerusalem was being destroyed, Edom did not help his brother. Rather, he stood afar off from his lofty habitation (v 3) and gazed down (i.e., gloated) on his brother’s calamity and destruction (vv 12-13). Worse still, he stood in the crossroads to cut of those who were trying to escape, going so far as to capture those who were trying to escape and handing them over to the Babylonians (v 14). Israel’s blood shed by Edom cried out to the Lord from the ground. In response, God declares the complete destruction of Edom. In verse 5, the prophet says, “even a thief doesn’t take everything and grape gatherers leave a few grapes behind, but there will be nothing left of you when I am finished.’ Yes, friend, we are our brother’s keeper!
New Testament reading: 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy 1-3
Who is the “man of sin” in 2 Thessalonians 2? I, along with many more studied men than myself, cannot help but conclude this “son of perdition” is not a reference to a specific man, but rather to an office, specifically, the Roman Catholic papacy. Consider the text — The man of sin could not be revealed before the great falling away (apostasy – v 3). The papacy was not formalized until the early 7th century, well after the apostasy of the Lord’s church was well developed. The man of sin exalts himself as God and presumes to sit in the temple (church) as God (v 4). Catholicism calls the pope the Vicar of Christ, claiming he sits as Christ Himself on an earthly throne over the church. He accepts man’s worship as God, though the apostle Peter, whom Catholics claim was the first pope, rejected man’s worship (Acts 10:25-26). The man of sin was being restrained (vv 6-7), in this case by the Roman government. Rome fell in A.D. 476 and Boniface III claimed the papacy in A.D. 606. Is this all nothing but coincidence? (see www.christiancourier.com – A Study of Paul’s Man of Sin)