Obadiah 1:17

But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall, possess their possessions. What a burst of heavenly sunshine! What an effusion of joyous light! What music from the throne of God! What an evangel at the fourth watch of the night! What a smile of Divine love for the cast down and sorely afflicted captive! Safety, sanctity, sufficiency. The inspired prophet here sets forth some of the richest treasures of the grace of God. They tell of deliverance from Babylon and restoration by Cyrus; they expand to the later deliverance from the Idumeans by the Maccabees; and, what especially applies to us, they stretch to the glorious salvation wrought for captive sinners by the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Safety, sanctity, and sufficiency, - these are fully set before us in the gospel. They are the heritage of those who have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God. Let us prayerfully study them.

I. SAFETY. "Upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance."

1. This is deliverance from the Law. "There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death." The ten thousand condemning voices of the Law are silenced by the Deliverer. Christ has met the Law's requirements. His people are free. They are free indeed. The old handwriting against them was cancelled by the cross. The debt is paid. We are not under Law, but under grace.

2. This is deliverance from sin. "He shall be called Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." Yes, from the penalty, from the power, and from the presence of their sins. What a glorious deliverance!

3. This is deliverance from Satan. "The Seed of the woman has bruised the serpent's head." Christ has vanquished our deadly foe. Now, if we resist the devil, he will flee from us.

"Captivity is captive led,
Since Jesus liveth who was dead."

4. This is deliverance from the world. He who said, "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world," prayed that his people might be kept from the evil in the world. Through him we are more than conquerors. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

5. This is deliverance from death. "O death, where is thy sting?" He that trusteth in Christ shall never die. That which we call death is to the servant of God the gate of life. The Christian is promised that he shall not taste of death. The death he undergoes is only the death of pain, of sickness, of sorrow, of sin, of death. To depart is to be with Christ, which is far better than remaining here - far better.

"Forever with the Lord:
Amen, so let it be.
Life from the dead is in that word,
'Tis immortality." Upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance.

II. In the next place, WE FIND SANCTITY PROMISED. "It shall be holy." In its present day application this promise sets forth the sanctification of God's Israel. It is not sufficient to realize deliverance; we are to seek holiness. Joshua's captains were not only to put their feet upon the necks of the five king of the enemy, but they were to go forward and possess the whole of Canaan. Deliverance from foes in the cave of the heart is only preparatory to further conquests and higher attainments. We are delivered from our enemies that we may serve God without fear, "in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life." "It shall be holy." The Christian's sanctification is twofold.

1. He is sanctified as set apart for God. Like the vessels of the sanctuary, he is consecrated to holy uses. It was Belshazzar's great sin that he took the vessels of the temple and put them to a profane use. God's people are to be vessels unto honour, meet for the Master's service, resting on the heavenly Eliakim. Not their own; a separate people; sanctified or set apart by God the Father.

2. The other view of the Christian's sanctification is the blessed hallowing of the Holy Spirit. This is a progressive work. We are to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. We are to add to our faith. We are to be going from strength to strength. We are to press towards the mark. We are to be changed from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. "Upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and it shall be holy." May we now seek to be filled with the Spirit of holiness!

III. The third great promise of my text is SUFFICIENCY. "The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions." Here is all-sufficiency in all things. It is as the heir entering upon his inheritance. "My beloved is mine, and I am his;" "All things are ours, the world, life, death, things present, things to come, - all are ours." In possessing our possessions we enter upon the unsearchable riches of Christ. His salvation ours; his pardon ours; his joy ours; his rest ours; his kingdom ours; his angels ours; his home ours; his glory ours. Christ himself ours; Christ in us the Hope of glory; Christ for us the Pledge of glory; crucified together with him; raised together with him; seated together with him; glorified together. Oh, the unsearchable riches of the Christian! May we learn to possess our possessions, to use our talents, to enjoy our privileges, to rise to our dignity, to realize our standing, to pass through the length and breadth of our Canaan! Ours a righteousness which is Divine; a peace which surpasseth understanding; a joy which is unspeakable; a love which passeth knowledge; a kingdom which cannot be moved; a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Oh, let us go up and possess! Safety, sanctity, sufficiency. Eternal safety, Divine sanctity, all-sufficiency in all things. Upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions." - A.C.T.

But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness.
The imagery of Scripture poetry often presents instructive truths, referring to more general subjects than those on which the sacred writer might, at the particular time, be called to dwell.

I. Regard the text as respects MOUNT ZION. A grand Scripture type. Not only there God was worshipped, but there God Himself, as the object of worship, dwelt. Conceive of God, accepting Christ's atonement, — Christ standing as Mediatorial King on the holy hill, — the redeemed from earth actually worshipping there — and, in spirit, all true worshippers coming to God by Christ. You have thus that state of things of which Mount Zion, with its temples, its glory, its services, its worshippers, was a type.


1. The text says, "deliverance"; marg. reads, "They that escape." Two aspects of the same subject. Where do they come that flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them? To Christ on this Mount Zion. They escape for their lives, — come to Him, and He casts them not out. They have "deliverance" therefore. Pardon, spiritual freedom, and blessedness.

2. Then "there shall be holiness." An undoubted truth, the penitent sinner, coming to God in truth, by faith, for pardon, is made holy, becomes a new creature. Justification and sanctification thus connected; the favour, and the image of God. Real holiness; — holiness of life, as well as of heart; — growing holiness. Nor is it anywhere else. They who will not come to Christ may sometimes have human virtue; they cannot have Divine holiness. Look at this mount. Oh, the blessedness of dwelling there. Well fortified, well supplied. God is there. You live in peace. He is preparing you for the higher blessings. There is the heavenly Zion. Only they pass to it who on earth dwelt on the spiritual Zion.

(G. Cubitt.)

I. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. Mount Zion signifies the Church, the entire mass of those who are given to the Lord Jesus Christ, and whom He has ransomed by His blood. It is remarkable that what is exhibited as the liberation of the Church is always conjoined with the destruction of some opposing power. The fact is, that the destruction of the opposing power is the means used for the liberating of the Church. Conquest in the world is triumph in the Church. Consolation is combined with liberation. Deliverance is the first and principal object which presented itself to the mind of the Lord Jesus. His death was a necessary step to His resurrection, His resurrection to His exaltation, His exaltation to the assumption of His mediatorial power. We see that Jesus Christ first fought and conquered, and then He became the liberator of the world. In the world He works liberation by instrumentality, and the great agency employed in carrying it on is the Holy Spirit. Liberation begins with Christ, but it does not end with Him; for, as He Himself obtained resurrection by the power of God, so there is another resurrection which takes place in the breast of every man who is the subject of His kingdom.

II. THE GRAND EFFECT WHICH THE TEXT SETS FORTH. "There shall be holiness." The mount of deliverance is always the mount of holiness. Another name for holiness is spiritual health. Bring the whole to this one point, that the test of state is character; that wherever this holiness is met with, there the deliverance that has been effected on Mount Zion by the Lord Jesus is applied, and there the liberation that the Spirit of God works in the souls of His people is likewise brought to pass.

III. THE PRIVILEGES TO WHICH THIS EFFECT LEADS, AND FOR WHICH IT PREPARES. "Shall possess their possessions." Canaan for the earlier saints. For us "the inheritance of the saints."

(John Campbell.)

The coming of the Lord in glorious majesty to judge the earth is the burden of the Church's message to-day. Throughout the writings of the prophets the choicest and most consoling promises concerning the Christian Church follow close upon God's terrible threatenings against His enemies. The main scope of Obadiah's prophecy was to warn the Edomites of the destruction which awaited them. The true Mount Zion is the Christian Church, typified by Mount Zion in Jerusalem. The prophet in the text points us to Mount Zion as the place where we may look for deliverance. From what? From a mere local religion with its centre at Jerusalem. The Kingdom of God's dear Son is for the whole world. From the blackness and condemnation of Sinai and the violated law. With this "deliverance" will be seen its never-failing attendant — "holiness." It was the great design of our Divine Redeemer to produce the fruits of holiness in His Church. The kingdom of God is not only the manifestation and free offer of Christ's pardon to penitent sinners, but it is holiness of heart and life. When the tree is made good, the fruit will be good also.

(John N. Norton.)


1. It is connected with deliverance.

2. With purity.

3. With enjoyment. Possess here means, enjoy their possessions.

II. A CONSUMING POWER. There is a fire in the true Church (ver. 18).

1. The characteristics this fire displays. What is the fire? The fire of truth, that burns up error; the fire of right, that burns up wickedness; the fire of love, that burns up selfishness. It is a strong fire; an extending fire; a steady fire; an unquenchable fire.

2. The materials this fire consumes. "Stubble." What is moral depravity in all its forms, theoretical and practical, religious, social, and political? "Stubble." Error to truth, wrong to right, malice to love, is but stubble to fire.

III. AN AGGRESSIVE POWER. The Gospel is at once the inspiration, the life, and the instrument of the true Church.

1. The elements of which the Gospel is composed. "Grace and truth," or eternal reality and Divine benevolence. To show the aggressiveness of these principles, state three facts.

(1)The human soul is made to feel their imperial force.

(2)The human soul is bound to yearn after these elements as its highest good.

(3)The human soul is everywhere restless without these elements.

2. The proselytising spirit which the Gospel engenders. Every genuine recipient of the Gospel becomes a missionary.

3. The triumphs which the Gospel has already achieved. Such thoughts as these tend to demonstrate the essential aggressiveness of the true Church.


Benjamin, Canaanites, Esau, Jacob, Joseph, Obadiah, Teman
Edom, Esau, Gilead, Jerusalem, Mount Esau, Mount Zion, Negeb, Samaria, Sepharad, Shephelah, Teman, Zarephath
Deliverance, Escape, Heritage, Holiness, Holy, Inheritance, Jacob, Kept, Mount, Possess, Possessed, Possessions, Safe, Zion
1. The destruction of Edom,
3. for their pride,
10. and for their wrong unto Jacob.
17. The salvation and victory of Jacob.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Obadiah 1:17

     6634   deliverance
     9220   day of the LORD

Obadiah 1:1-21

     5263   communication

Obadiah 1:16-17

     1065   God, holiness of

Obadiah 1:17-21

     9145   Messianic age

The book of Obadiah--shortest of all the prophetic books--is occupied, in the main, as the superscription suggests, with the fate of Edom. Her people have been humbled, the high and rocky fastnesses in which they trusted have not been able to save them. Neighbouring Arab tribes have successfully attacked them and driven them from their home (vv, 1-7).[1] This is the divine penalty for their cruel and unbrotherly treatment of the Jews after the siege of Jerusalem, vv. 10-14, 15b. Nay, a day
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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