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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Obadiah 21

21. And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.

21. Et ascendent servatores in montem Sion, ad judicandum montem Esau; et erit Jehovae regnum.

Here the Prophet says, that there are in God's hand ministers, the labor of whom he employs to preserve his own people. He alludes here, I have no doubt, to the history of the judges. We indeed know that the people of Israel were often so distressed, that their deliverance was almost incredible; and that yet they were also delivered in such a way as to have made it evident that the hand of God had appeared from heaven. Since this then was well known to the Jews, the Prophet here reminds them that God had still in his hand redeemers, whenever it might please him to gather his people. God then shall send preservers, even as he did send them formerly to your fathers. They had indeed found true by experience what the Prophet says here, not only once, but more than ten times. This then ought to have served much to confirm this prophecy.

Ascend then shall they who will judge the mount of Esau, -- who, being endued with the power of God and his authority, will execute judgment on mount Seir and on the whole nation, and will avenge the cruelty which Edom had exercised towards the children of Abraham.

But this passage shows, that Christ came not to be the minister of our deliverance and salvation in an ordinary way, but that he became our savior in a special manner; so that he stands alone in that capacity: and this is a very strong argument against the Jews. They confess that the Messiah would be the Redeemer of his people, but they ascribe this office to him in a general way, as they do to David and other kings. But it certainly appears from this passage, that the Messiah would not be of the common class, for saviors would be under him as his ministers. This the Jews dare not to deny, though they grumble: for it would be absurd that he should be one of their number. Since then he was sent to be a Redeemer and Savior in a way different from others, it follows that he is not man only, but that he is the Author of salvation. It would indeed be easy to reply, |Why do you speak to us of many redeemers? Do you not hope for one Savior? If God will commit this office to many in an equal degree, why are there so many glorious promises respecting the Messiah? Why are we ever reminded of him alone? Why is he alone set forth to us as the ground of our salvation?| It hence certainly appears that Christ is to be distinguished from all others, and that others are saviors under his authority; and such were the apostles, and such are all at this day, the labor and ministry of whom God employs to defend and support his Church.

Now he adds, Jehovah's shall be the kingdom. But as it is certain, that it was God's purpose to rule among his people after having restored them, in no other way than by the power of Christ, the Prophet, by saying that the kingdom of Christ would be Jehovah's, means, that it would be really divine, and more illustrious than if he had employed the labor of men. But two things must be here observed by us, -- that God himself really rules in the person of Christ, -- and that it is the legitimate mode of ruling the Church, that God alone should preside, and hold alone the chief power. Hence it follows, that when God does not appear as the only King, all things are in confusion, without any order. Now God is not called a King by way of an empty distinction: but then only is he regarded a King in reality, when all submit themselves to him, when they are ruled by his word; in short, when all creatures become silent in his presence. To God then belongs the kingdom. We hence see that the Church has no existence, where the word of God does not so prevail in its authority, as to keep down whatever height there is in men, and to bring them under the yoke, so that all may depend on God alone, that all may look up to him, and that he may have all in subjection to himself.

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