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Obadiah 16-17

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Obadiah 16-17, ‘…all the nations shall drink continually; they shall drink and swallow, and shall be as though they had never been. But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy…’

It seems like a strange metaphor to modern ears, but Scripture occasionally presents God’s judgment as a strong wine that those under His judgment must drink (Ps.75:8, Jer. 25:15, etc.). Jesus operates from this metaphorical tradition when He speaks of His crucifixion as the ‘cup’ that the Father has given Him which He must drink (Jn 18:11). Christ’s Passion is the cup of humanity’s judgment, that the Son of Man—the representative of humanity, who is also their Lord and God—will drink down to its last damning drop.

Here in Obadiah, YHWH promises the outpouring of this cup on the nations, which is to say, He promises the final and full judgment of all people. No one escapes this reckoning…the Cup will not pass them by. However, even in the face of this certainty of judgment, the Lord gives a refuge of hope: in Mount Zion there will be a way of escape…And what is this way? Obadiah does not tell us. However—reading the Scriptures as they are opened in Christ—we can now give an answer.

Mount Zion becomes a refuge from the eschatological judgment of God because it is on Mount Zion that this same God of Judgment takes on flesh and hangs as one of the judged on the tree of humanity’s curse…because on Mount Zion True Israel and True Humanity—Jesus Christ, the Son of Abraham and Son of Man—truly IS judged for their rebellion, truly DOES drink the cup of judgment to the dregs. And with Jesus’ resurrection from this place of judgment, He carves a path through judgment in His own flesh—not by dismissing judgment, but by enduring it—for any and all who will trust in Him. The Cup passes no one by, either we receive it into our own flesh, or Christ receives it into His in our place.

And for those who place their trust in—and so are united to—the Judged and Vindicated One, the Wine that pours from the hand of the Lord (Ps.75:8) is no longer a cup of judgment, rather, it has become for them the Wine of Blessedness and the Cup of Nuptial Joy.