The Berean Expositor
Volume 40 - Page 201 of 254
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"The House of Jacob shall Possess their Possessions"
The significance of
the word "possess".
pp. 222 - 226
It seems strange to some believers that there are still those who, while affirming that
they believe the Scriptures, nevertheless deny the possibility of a literal restoration of
Israel. Some take this attitude because they have already accepted as a principle of
interpretation, that the promises made to Israel in the O.T. must be spiritualized and apply
now only to the Church. Others reject the idea on moral grounds, "How could God", say
they, "invest such a disobedient and rebellious people with such a title as Kings and
Priests?" in apparent ignorance that this very objection is met in such a passage as
Rom. 11: 28 where it is plainly stated that the very people who are at present `enemies'
concerning the Gospel `for our sakes', are nevertheless "beloved for the father's sakes"
adding as the one grand reason `For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance'.
It is good to know that the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. The text of our
meditation is found in the prophet Obadiah, and it is utterly beyond the range of
legitimate exposition to read Edom, Esau, Teman and Jacob in such a prophecy and then
to read into it references to a church unknown and unborn. However, we are not turning
to this utterance of Obadiah in order to deal with Israel and their failure, but to use these
prophetic words as a text covering a series of studies relative to ourselves.
The believer in Christ already possesses all things if he has Christ (I Cor. 3: 23), yet
how poor is our experimental acquaintance with this treasure. The church of the Mystery
is blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, yet who among us can claim to
any present approximation of such an inheritance? It is plainly revealed in the epistle to
the Corinthians and in that to the Hebrews, that the history of Israel, especially from the
Exodus to the crossing of Jordan, sets forth in type the general principles which will be
found in the church. While we must avoid reading into this history teaching that is
foreign to it, members of the One Body will gather much help and guidance as they
ponder Israel's pathway through those `forty years'.
The hindrances that prevented Israel from taking immediate possession of their
inheritance are many and by no means simple. We shall have to examine the record of
Israel's attempts to enter their inheritance, but before doing so, it will be as well for us to
examine the word translated `possess'.
The English word `possess' is derived from the Latin possidre, which in turn is
composed of pot, the word giving us `potent', and sedere `to sit', the original sense being
`to remain master'. By other avenues this word is allied to the Greek `despot' which in
its turn goes back to the Sanscrit and means `the master of the house'.
Possessions can be of two kinds according to the Hebrew Scriptures. There are those
that are such by inheritance, Hebrew nachal (Numb. 34: 13) inherited by lot, in which