The Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
By: Darrell G. Young
A few years ago I had the opportunity to participate on a local television program with a Jewish scholar and a Palestinian Imam to discuss the Israeli-Arab Conflict. The 2000 Al Aqsa Intifada had just erupted in Israel, and with the horrendous suicide bus bombings in Israel becoming a daily diet of news, the local news media was engulfed with questions as to why there was so much turmoil and hatred in that region. Thus (as the Christian representative) I was asked to discuss the Israeli-Arab Conflict with a representative from both the Jewish and Islamic sides of the controversy. Needless to say, it was one hot debate, and I found myself not being able to involve myself in the discussion much, because the Jewish man and the Muslim man nearly came to blows. During the course of the debate, the program moderator queried all three of us with the following statement: “Doesn’t the Israeli-Arab conflict go all the way back to Abraham?” It was one of the few things that we all three readily agreed upon.
The deeply-embedded seeds of the modern Israeli-Arab conflict indeed has roots dating back to the man Abram. Abram of course was later renamed Abraham by God, (Genesis 17:5) and is a man greatly revered by both Jew and Arab, and Christians as well. (this fact may someday prove itself to be of significance in the designs of the Antichrist)
To ever begin to understand the present Middle East conflict, we need to understand the history of those in conflict—the Jews and the Arabs. Historians often note the "family" relationship between these two peoples; some even call them "cousins" because both trace their roots to the great patriarch Abraham. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all honor Abraham as one of their patriarchs. Calling him "Religion’s Superstar," a Time magazine feature article recently stated this fact of Abraham: "He changed history by espousing just one God, and thus became sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians. Many theologists theorize that since Abraham is lionized by all three monotheistic religions, perhaps that common thread can be utilized to bring peace and harmony to the world. But a major part of this conflict has to do with the different teachings about Abraham and his sons, and therein lies the roots of this dynamic conflict. In essence, it is a conflict between the teachings of the Holy Bible and the Koran. Thus it is necessary to determine which written record is the record of truth, and which God is the one true God. Unfortunately, many people today think that the Allah and Jehovah are one and the same.
Abraham is indispensable to Christianity, but for a far different reason than he is to Judaism or Islam. Christians hold to the same historical account as the Jews; but Christianity makes a further-reaching conclusion. Christians view God’s interaction and covenant with Abraham as a Divine plan leading up to the first coming of Jesus Christ, an appearance that would see him becoming the sacrificial Lamb of God to cover the sins of mankind. God’s love for his creation was so infinite that he determined to somehow bridge the immeasurable gap that man had made when he sinned. To this end God made the first covenant with Abraham which included the promise of a future savior, Jesus, who would come through Abraham’s descendants, in the land of promise.
Abraham’s role in Islam is different from that which he plays in either Christianity or Judaism. Arab Muslims trace their lineage back to Abraham through Ishmael. The Koran teaches that Ishmael was the one through whom God’s covenant would be fulfilled. Abraham’s story in the Koran is not as extensive as that of the Hebrew account. The Koranic account of Abraham dwells mostly on a struggle going on between Abraham and his father over Abraham’s father’s idol worship. The Koranic Abraham tries to convince his father not to worship these things that cannot see, hear, feel, taste, or smell, so he leaves his father to become a true Allah worshipper and in return for his faithfulness Allah gives Abraham two sons Jacob and Ishmael, with Ishmael being the one that Abraham offered on the altar to Allah.
The Commentaries on the Koran indicate that before Ishmael was weaned, Abraham took the child and his mother to Mecca and left them there assuming that Allah would take care of them. Abraham then has a dream that tells him to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael, but before he can do so, God stops him. Later Abraham takes various trips back to Mecca to find out how Ishmael is doing and he builds, with Ishmael's help, a "House a pilgrimage for men" devoted to Allah.
The Islamic holiday, Qurbani Id (or Id Al-Adha), is known as the “Sacrifice Festival.” Muslims celebrate this “great feast of sacrifice” on the tenth day of the last month of the Muslim year. According to their doctrinal scheme, this day celebrates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son by Hagar, Ishmael, and not Isaac as the Holy Bible records.
This issue is fundamental in understanding the Middle East Conflict and in rightfully examining the story of Abraham. The question is really this: Which book (Bible or Koran) is the revelation of God? Both volumes claim inspiration, but obviously both cannot be inspired. The difference of “Isaac versus Ishmael” is just one of hundreds of discrepancies between the Bible and the Koran. And many of these differences concern crucial themes (the nature of God, the identity of Christ, and God’s plan of salvation). Before one commits to a system of religion, it is necessary to inquire into the source of that religion. If the Bible is from heaven, then Christianity is the true religion. If the Koran is from God, then Islam is the genuine system. Unlike the Koran, the Holy Bible, is made up of a sort of “DNA code,” a set of traits that identifies it as being from God, through self-revelation, from the great I AM himself. There are a number of identifying characteristics that reveal the Bible’s divine origin. The Scriptures, although recorded by approximately forty human writers, over a period of some 1500 years, contain an amazing unity of purpose and doctrine. This includes many prophecies, and detailed predictions, that are later fulfilled perfectly. Although challenged by the most renowned skeptics, the Bible has been found to be without error, and it keeps proving its own credibility over and over as time passes. Men are ever trying to “catch up" with the Scriptures, as we turn to it for archeological expeditions, and we turn to it to find out what is going to happen in the future.
In studying the story of Abraham and his descendants, we are availed two books. One is flawless and divine. It is the Bible. The other, the Koran, is error-ridden, the product of a self-styled prophet, who was no prophet at all. One encourages us to love our enemies; the other promotes conversion by force and Jihad – “holy war.” The Bible records that Abraham was willing to offer Isaac. The Koran implies that Abraham was willing to offer Ishmael. The issue is: Which volume is God’s? God’s book is perfect, with a high moral tone. It is filled with marks of divine inspiration that are beyond the possibility of human production. That book is the Holy Bible.
· The fanatical cry of the Islamic Jihadists today is, “Ala hu Akbar,” which is not a reference to the greatness of god, but is a direct challenge to the God of Scripture, claiming that the god of Islam (Ilyah or Allah) is greater than Jehovah. The Jihadists believe that by annihilating the descendants of Jacob, (and Christians) that they are hastening the day of the Allah, and the return of the Mahdi.
· While the Bible confirms the blessing of Abraham through his son Isaac, and Jacob, the Bible also offers a promise to the descendents of Ishmael. Jehovah has promised to bless Ishmael’s descendants and make them a great nation too. Ironically, true to the nature of Allah, the Koran offers no such promises to the descendants of Isaac and Jacob. To the contrary, Allah requires that the seed of Abraham descended from Isaac and Jacob be killed.
Genesis 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I (Jehovah) have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I (Jehovah---not Allah) will make him a great nation. (this is a pledge from the Lord, Jehovah God)
God has faithfully kept His promise to the descendants of Ishmael. Today there are 21 Arab states with a combined population of 175 million Arabs. The Arab states contain 5.3 million square miles of oil rich land. Sadly, because of their perpetual hatred for Israel, the Arabs have greatly squandered their blessing. But Bible Prophecy conveys that the day will come when Jehovah will turn the hearts of Ishmael’s descendants toward receiving their brother Jacob, and find eternal blessing in the King of Israel. But, before that day comes, Ishmael’s descendants will need to put away their false god Allah. And only Jesus Christ can accomplish such a startling miracle between the Arab and the Jew!
Zechariah 8:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
Understanding Bible prophecy about the Middle East can bring us hope and comfort even as we watch the crisis over the Promised Land escalate, and its underlying geo-political and religious tentacles spread around the whole world. The Bible is full of information that can help us see the current Middle East conflict in the light of God’s plan for end-time world events. It explains many details unknown to the world’s politicians and policymakers. As we will see, it reveals what the ancient rivalry between Abraham’s sons, Isaac and Ishmael, and his grandsons Jacob and Esau means for the Middle East conflict today.
The embattled Promised Land was formerly once known as Canaan’s Land. It is centered in a narrow strip of land that links together three continents. (Asia, Europe, and Africa) It has been the world’s battle zone between competing empires for centuries with historians telling us more blood has been in this land than upon any other place on the face of the earth. At the heart of its conflicts is the struggle of three monotheistic religions that today claim holy places within its narrow borders. It is also the focal point of the supernatural battle between the forces of good and evil, and that fact is the essence of its true significance today. Yet, to ever understand the nature of this conflict one must focus upon both the biblical roots of the conflict and also upon the prophetic setting of today’s conflict. The biblical roots of the conflict center around the promises God made concerning the land, and that story begins with a man called Abraham.
The Story of Abraham
Genesis 11:27-32 Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
The Times of Abraham
Interestingly, the traditional tower of Babel and the story relative to it occurred only about 100 years after the flood and only about 326 years before God called Abram to depart from the land of Ur, which was located only about 150 miles south of where Babel would have been located.
Nimrod, the founder of the Babel Empire, built cities in Accad, (Sippar) Calneh, and Erech, besides the infamous Babel center. Erech was located only 30 miles from Abram’s hometown. This ancient post flood city-states gave rise later to the great Sumerian, Assyrian, and Accadian Empires. Thus it is quite likely that Abraham was quite familiar with the religious hierarchy and practices of Babel.
It is often generally assumed that once the confusion of the languages occurred, the building of the tower of Babel was discontinued, but in fact, the remaining Babylonians continued construction on the tower and erected a temple to Marduk on top and gradually established the great Babylonia Empire that stretched north to Nineveh. Babylonia, or the land of the city-states along the Euphrates Valley was long known as the land of Nimrod, and he became deified as Merodach and Marduk. In reality, Nimrod was the original architect of nationalistic imperialism, and his enterprising defense alliances served to unite the world system of his era.
The Confusion of Tongues and the spreading of the nations therefore also occurred during the lifetime of Abraham, and thus the call of God leading Abraham to a Promised Land is shown to be in conjunction with God’s demand to subdue the whole earth, (Genesis 9:1 and Genesis 11:8) and to scatter out to the vast breadth of its land surface, rather than come together in one grand civilization such as was the philosophy of Babel. In essence the call of Abraham to depart from Chaldees was a direct opposite philosophy of that promulgated by Nimrod, and the priests of Babel.
Even more interesting is the fact that God would ultimately lead Abraham to the land of Canaan. Canaan was in fact the uncle of Nimrod, the son of Ham, and grandson of Noah. Canaan occupied the land between Sidon and Gaza eastward to the Jordan River. Canaan and his descendants established a religion in their land that featured many gods. These gods were worshiped with elaborate ritual. Baal was foremost among the Canaanite gods. Various kinds of cultic personnel and priests officiated at these pagan ceremonies. Their religious system also featured many different places of worship, varying from simple outdoor hilltop altars to massive stone temples.
Abraham grew up in the city of Ur. In Abraham’s day, Ur was a seaport city on the coast of the Persian Gulf. Ur was probably the leading city of the world until ideology and the quest for religious unity made it possible for Babylon to become the leading cultural center of the world. The ziggurat, or temple-tower of Ur was the predominant building in Ur in Abram’s day, and stood as the embodiment of moon-god (Nannar and Ningal) worship, until it was superseded by the super tower in Babel. The ruins of the ziggurat at Ur can still be seen today.
From Ur to Haran
Like the inhabitants of Ur of the Chaldees, Haran's inhabitants worshiped Sin, the moon-god. The moon-god Sin’s wife was Ningal, or the moon-goddess. These two deities were worshipped in every city up and down the Euphrates Trade route, all the way into Egypt. She was known far and wide as the Mother-Goddess, and held varying names from one region to the next. Ningal’s common name in Babylonia was Ishtar. Thus the entire cradle of civilization in which Abraham lived was given wholly over to pagan idolatry. It is astounding to realize that so much of the known world had fallen into such idolatrous depravity in such a short time after the flood of Noah.
Perhaps because Noah’s life extended down to Abraham, and he in turn had lived during the days of Methuselah, who in turn had lived 243 years as a contemporary with Adam, Abraham might have had direct access to firsthand knowledge of the one true God. (Abraham, according to Genesis five lived approximately 2083 after Adam’s sojourn in the Garden of Eden) In fact, Shem was still alive 75 years beyond the time that Abraham finally entered the land of Canaan. So, it is quite conceivable that Shem and his descendants kept alive the Divine account of the knowledge of God from Adam, and passed it on to Abraham. Whatever the truth, Abraham must have had a special zeal for seeking the primeval truth in worship, for Joshua 24:2 indicates that Abraham’s Father and brothers blindly worshipped the gods established by Nimrod and the Chaldean priests.
Thus, the pagan worship of Ur and the Babylonia region did not appeal to Abraham, and eventually because Mesopotamia was wholly given over to Moon-god idolatry, God compelled upon Abraham to leave his native land, and go to a new land that could be structured on the basis of God’s law, and the worship of the one true God.
Therefore, Abraham’s journey to Canaan’s Land took him northwestwardly up the Euphrates River (avoiding the overland desert) valley to the city of Haran. From Haran, Abraham would eventually make his way southward towards Canaan land.
Genesis 11:27-28, 31-32; 12:1, 4-5 "Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee...So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan ; and into the land of Canaan they came."
Such is often the case with many people today who are searching for something better; and have become disillusioned with the circumstances in life, and have been caught up in following false religions and false gods. At any rate, Terah never reached Canaan's land. In a sense, Terah’s death in Haran, and his never reaching Canaan symbolizes the failure of many people who miss out on the truth of God because they become so blinded by the deceptive snares of the Devil. What can possibly be worse than traveling in the right direction, but yet not reaching the goal? Many people, foolishly settle down and take root somewhere else other than where God would lead them, because they keep looking back at the world’s enticements. That’s the great thing about Abraham, even while bogged down in Haran, instead of looking back to Ur, he kept his focus on the land of Canaan.
Abraham moved south along the trade routes from Haran, through Shechem and Bethel to the land of Canaan. At the time, Canaan was a populated area, inhabited by the war-like Canaanite tribes; so Abraham's belief that God would ultimately give this land to him and his descendants was certainly an act of immense faith.
Genesis 17:7-8 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
With all the scripture supporting Jehovah’s land covenant with Abraham, there are many principles that we can deduce from them? First, Canaan’s land was a gift from God to Israel. This conveys to us that the land belonged to God, for someone can only give a gift if that gift belonged to him in the first place. The Bible explicitly states in no less than eight different places that the “land of Canaan” belongs to God. (check II Chronicles 7:20, Isaiah 14:25, Jeremiah 2:7, 16:18, Ezekiel 36:5, 38:16, Joel 1:6, and 3:2) In fact, the whole world belongs to Jehovah God, and He will soon stake his rights to this world when he sends his Son, Jesus Christ back to the world. Furthermore, God I granting the land unto the descendants of Jacob commanded them that they were sojourners with God in his land, and that they could not sell, trade, or barter the land away. (Leviticus 25:23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.)
Many eschatologists claim that Satan has engineered a theft of the deed to the earth by means of the world’s rejection of Christ, but my position is that God remains is the owner. Also, the Canaanites and the others that held this land held it as an act of conquest, but only to Israel was it given as a gift. Second, the land was a gift by the eternal covenant of God. Men and nations may break their covenants made with God, but God never breaks His covenant made with men, and nothing has happened that has caused God to break His promise of the land.
God Calls Abram
Hitherto only hinted at in ancient scripture and prophesied of the Lord in the Garden of Eden, (Genesis 3:15) God began his providential plan of the Ages to send a deliverer (2nd Adam) to mankind. God’s call unto Abraham, coming some 400 years after the flood set in motion the foreordained plan of God to establish a vehicle through which He could send his own Son to enact His reclamation and redemption plan for the whole world.
In a world given that was completely given over to the evil intrigues of Nimrod, the mighty hunter, (before the Lord) God selected to issue a call to a stalwart young god-fearing man, named Abram. In this prehistoric post-flood era, while nations were still not much advanced beyond tribal communities that practiced polytheism, God chose Abraham to become the Father of a new nation, a nation that would be established on the concept that there is but One God, who was also the Creator God that had fellowshipped with Adam in the Garden before the Fall.
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Genesis 12:1-4 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
Isaiah 41:2 Who (God) raised up (called) the righteous man (Abraham) from the east, (Babylonia-or other side of the flood) called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. Isaiah 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. (God’s friend)
§ It is clearly evident from scripture and history that God’s call of Abraham to leave the land of the Chaldeans, (Mesopotamia) or the “Land of Nimrod” was a providential plan to leave the Euphrates Valley peoples to their select pagan gods, foremost among them being Marduk, the god of war (god of the sword, or, god of the moon--Sin-Nimrod) and use Abram to establish a nation founded solely on the teachings of Jehovah God.
§ It is also clear from history that the god of the moon and the god of the sword became the basis (later in history) for the foundation of the religion of Islam, as both the moon, and the sword are the epic symbols of the Islamic faith.
§ Allah is the name that has been derived from the ancient Babylonian moon-god Il-yah, or Sin, and the teachings of this infamous god are diametrically opposed to the teachings of the God that called Abraham to the Promised Land.
§ Hence the supernatural struggle between the God of the moon and the God of Jacob (Israel) has (as prophesied) in the Final Days come down to a struggle over the “specified land” that God gave to Abraham and his descendants. Allah requires Jihad to expel Jacob’s descendants from the land promised to Abraham, so that he (Allah) can claim supremacy over the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
A Promise From Before the Conflict
When we review Abram's calling and review God's promise to him and his descendants, it reveals an amazing prophecy: "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great...and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" [the goal of his calling] (verses 2-3). The promise of the land was to Abram's "seed"(verse 7).
As Christians, we know that all these Divine promises pointed eventually to Abraham's descendant, Jesus Christ: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.” (see Galatians 3:16 and Genesis 22:18 below)
Genesis 22:18 And in thy seed (Jesus) shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou (Abraham) hast obeyed my voice.
Galations 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Jesus Christ was the ultimate personal manifestation of God’s promise to Abraham for a seed that would be implanted within the national vehicle that Abraham fathered, and that seed would ultimately bless all nations. Jesus is also the thread that binds believers to all the promises of God. We have and can find everything that God would give us and portrays for us in His entire eternal glory in heaven, only in Jesus Christ. Jesus is and was the literal fulfillment of the ancient prophecy of Genesis 3:15 that the Lord God originally conveyed to Adam. Undoubtedly, Abraham was at least parenthetically informed of this pre-flood seed prophecy by his Sethite forefathers.
The Root of the Conflict
Often, in our fallen world, great blessings are unfortunately followed by affliction; victories are followed by temptation; and promises are followed by vicious battles. Satan, the enemy, because his fate is sealed, will not give up any territory without a fight. And thus it was in the case with Abraham.
In dealing with the root of the Arab conflict, we are concerned with two key individuals in Genesis, Ishmael and Esau. In Genesis 12:1-3, we have the origin of the Jewish people. The origin of the Arab peoples is found in Genesis 12:10-20, which might also be called "Abraham’s folly." Knowing that the Egyptian Pharaoh would likely kill him to gain his wife, Sarah, Abraham passed her off as his sister. His wife was taken from him and placed into the Pharaoh’s harem. Dealing with Abraham as Sarah’s brother and, thus, her official guardian, Pharaoh gave to Abraham the bride price. Among the things Abraham gained in Egypt, in exchange for Sarah, were a number of maid-servants. Although Egypt and the Pharaoh had to give Sarah back to Abraham, he was allowed to keep all the gifts of the bride price. Thus, we have the origin of the Arab peoples through the Egyptian maid-servants, Hagar. Hagar joined with Abraham to parent a majority of the Arab states as we have them today.
In Genesis 16:1-6, we are introduced to "Sarah’s mischief." Though God had promised that she and Abraham would have a son, Sarah essentially gave up on this promise after waiting for ten years. As custom with the laws of that day, Sarah (believing herself to be barren) provided her husband with a hand-maid with whom Abraham could produce children. Sarah and Abraham each demonstrated a lack of faith in this scheme because, as recorded in Genesis 12, God had already promised that Abraham was going to have a son and that his son would come by means of his actual wife, Sarah.
Nevertheless, Hagar was the hand-maid chosen by Sarah and she eventually conceived and bore the boy Ishmael. In the ancient world, few women were more despised than those who were barren. Hagar, rather than remaining in submission to her mistress, began to clearly display her contempt for Sarah. In time, Sarah responded in kind and treated Hagar harshly, so much so that the pregnant maid-servant fled the house of Abraham. She then encountered the Angel of the Lord, who gave four prophecies about Ishmael.
Genesis 16:10-12 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
As he displayed aggression, Ishmael, in turn would bring upon himself retaliation from those he assaulted. We have certainly seen this characteristic principle to be especially true in the History of Israel since its rebirth in 1948. On various occasions the Arab states have been aggressors against Israel, either by means of military conflict or terrorist action. This always nearly elicited some kind of Israeli response and/or retaliation in fulfillment of this prophecy. Fourthly, "he shall dwell over against his brother." The expression "dwell over against" is a Hebrew idiom meaning to dwell in a state of hostility. He would live side by side with his brother, but side by side in a state of hostility, as is the state of the Arab/Jewish situation today. Ironically, the media is constantly referring to the modern Israeli-Arab Conflict as a “cycle of violence.”
With these four statements, the Angel of the Lord instructed Hagar to return to Abraham’s household and remain there. In the course of time she gave birth to Abraham’s first-born son, named Ishmael as God commanded. Eventually, Isaac was also born.
The Lord God Jehovah (God of the Bible) clarified beyond any doubt that the Son born of Abraham through his wife Sarah was to be the lineage through which the Divine plan of blessing would be produced.
Genesis 17:15-21 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee,
God reiterated His promises concerning the land to Isaac (Genesis 26:3-5) and to Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). In Genesis 35:12, God makes this promise to Jacob: The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you. So we can see how God has narrowed His definition of descendants, from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and finally to Jacob’s family which would become the nation of Israel. Jacob and his family temporarily moved to Egypt because of a famine in Canaan, but remained there 400 years and became the slaves of the Egyptians, then were brought back to conquer Canaan as God had foretold, establishing them as the heirs of God's promises to Abraham (Gen 15:13-14). Thereafter Canaan Land became known as the land of Israel, and Scripture infers that title upon Jacob’s descendants 31 times.
The Genesis account shows that God insisted that He would provide Abraham a son through his wife, Sarah, and that his name would be Isaac, and that he would be God’s heir to the promises and to the land (Genesis 17:19-21 above). Furthermore, God said the true heirs to the promises would be slaves in a foreign land for 400 years (Gen 15:13). This never happened to the Arabs, but only to the Jews, who, during this isolation, did not intermarry with non-Jews but became an identifiable ethnic group, were led en masse into the Promised Land. In sharp contrast, Ishmael's descendants intermarried at least with the Midianites (Jdg 8:1, 12, 22, 24) and with those of Esau (Gen. 28:9) who, in turn, intermarried with Hittites (26:34).
In Genesis 21:8-9, we read that Ishmael soon began mocking his half-brother. The animosity that Hagar felt for Sarah was instilled in Ishmael. As a result, Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, were expelled from the house of Abraham in accordance with God’s command.
Five Prophecies Regarding Ishmael and his Descendants (the Arabs)
1. He would have a great multitude of descendants, producing 12 princes and a great nation. (Genesis 17:20 as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.)
2. He would be a wild man; (Genesis 16:12 And he (Ishmael) will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.)
3. He would be extremely aggressive ("...his hand will be against every man...");
4. Ishmael’s aggressiveness and wild behavior would not remain without consequences in the course of his and his descendents lives. (...and every man's hand against him..."). All that has taken place in Israel and against the Jewish people, and especially so since 1948 is predicted in this prophecy. The offensives by the Arabs on Israel never go unanswered, as these two nations practice an eye-for-an-eye strategy. Aggression and reprisals reflect the seemingly constant situation in the Middle East. Palestinians terrorize Israel with suicide attacks and Israel reacts in retaliation.
5. Ishmael would always be at enmity with his brothers, even while being his neighbor. (Ishmael lived in perpetual hostility towards his brothers). God foretold that although Ishmael would be an immediate neighbor of Israel, and be a relative, yet he will always feel an enmity with his brother. (Genesis 25:17-18 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.) Today the Arab states, with their oil reserves, are hostile toward many nations, and use their wealth to advance hostilities towards their brethren, the Jews.
These five prophecies give a preview of Ishmael's descendants and the ensuing conflict with Israel. Later, the hatred of Esau against Jacob would give further rise to the complexity of the roots of this ancient conflict.
After Sarah died, Abraham took another wife. Her name was Keturah. Sarah died at the age of 127, or 28 years after giving birth to Isaac. The prophet Isaiah declared Abraham and Sarah to be the father and mother of the Hebrew people: "Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you. (Isaiah 51:2) Keturah bore Abraham more sons, and as with Ishmael, these sons became fathers of the vast peoples of the Arabia-Mesopotamia region. Bu there is one particular that Abraham took, when he himself came nigh unto his own death. On his death, Isaac and Ishmael came together and buried their grand old father in a cave near Hebron.
Genesis 25:1-9 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country. And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah,
The most significant data to be gleamed from Abraham’s division of his estate is the fact that, in accordance with Jehovah’s instruction, He gave all that he had (land) to his son Isaac, and gave gifts to the rest of his family, and sent them “away from Isaac and Canaan’s Land, toward the east. The prophet Jeremiah expounded upon this estate division, by adding that the eastern desert of Arabia became the domain of Abraham’s descendants not produced from Sarah. These include Dedan, Midian, Joksham, Sheba, Kedar, and a host of others.
The second father of the Arab states is Esau, and the beginning of his hostility is found in Genesis 25:27-34. Unlike half-brothers Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob were full brothers—twins, in fact. Nevertheless, as the first-born, Esau was entitled to inherit the double portion of his father’s inheritance. More importantly, his birth position meant that through him God would fulfill his divine program of the Abrahamic Covenant. We learn, however, that Esau did not want to be used of God to enact His program (verse 34). Jacob, on the other hand, wanted very much to be in the center of God’s plan. Thus, the birthright changes hands when Esau sells his status to Jacob for a bowl of soup. Then, of course, Jacob receives the patriarchal blessing in Genesis 27. The end product is in Genesis 27:41: And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him. And Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand. Then will I slay my brother Jacob. Not only is there Ishmael’s hatred toward Isaac, but now there came also to be Esau’s hatred toward Jacob. The Arab states of today are all descendants of either Esau or Ishmael, and the root of the present-day conflict begins here with these two individuals, and the 20th century reemergence of Jacob’s descendants in the Promised Land signals that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is set to the undertaking of his providential plan to settle this infamous family squabble once and for all.
The Perpetuity of the Conflict
The hatred and animosities of Ishmael and Esau toward the Jews was instilled in their descendants. There has been a continuous, perpetual hatred of the descendants of Esau and Ishmael against the Jews characterized especially by the Ishmaelites, descendants of Ishmael and the Edomites, descendants of Esau.
Ezekiel 35:5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:
A further example of this perpetual enmity shows how early the descendants of Esau held this animosity is found in Numbers 20:14-21:
And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us: how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and our fathers: and when we cried unto Jehovah, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border. Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy land: we will not pass through field or through vineyard, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go along the king’s highway; we will not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy border. And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass through me, lest I come out with the sword against thee. And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go up by the highway; and if we drink of thy water, I and my cattle, then will I give the price thereof: let me only, without doing anything else, pass through on my feet. And he said, Thou shalt not pass through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.
In the book of Judges we often read of the Ishmaelites, the Edomites, and other descendants of Ishmael and Esau inflicting damage upon Israel. In Psalm 83:1-8, the psalmist describes the situation in the Middle East in this time, as well as prophetically in the Last Days. He describes a united conspiracy and confederacy whose aim is to destroy the nation of Israel. It is no accident that various modern Arab leaders have virtually paraphrased these verses in their campaign to annihilate the state of Israel.
Psalms 83:1-18 Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah. Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
It should be highlighted here that the Lord God specifically declares through the psalmist that his name alone is Jehovah. This would indicate that any other name for God other than Jehovah, (Yaweh) unless translated from the Hebrew introduction is the name of an imposter. The prophet Isaiah further clarifies this claim.
Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
The word or title of Lord, means, specifically, “Yehovah.” Jehovah Yahweh means simply but profoundly, "I am who I am," and "I will be who I will be." The four-letter Hebrew word YHWH was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush, and delivered his law to Israel. Another important root name for God in the Old Testament is El. By itself it refers to a god in the most general sense. It was widely used in ancient eastern cultures whose languages are similar to Hebrew and therefore may refer either to the true God or to false gods. The highest Canaanite god was El whose son was Baal. In the Bible the word is often defined properly by a qualifier like Jehovah: "I, the LORD (Jehovah) your God (Elohim), am a jealous God.
Jehovah God is the author of life and of salvation. His "I am" expresses the fact that He is the infinite and original personal God who is behind everything and to whom everything must finally be traced. This name, "I am who I am," signals the truth that nothing else defines who God is but God Himself. Only the inspired Scriptures are the infallible guide to understanding who God truly is by what He says about Himself and what his name actually is.
The God of the Bible is called "the God of Israel" 203 times. Never a single time is He called the God of any other people or nation-and certainly never does He refer to himself as the God of Ishmael, or of the Arabs. When introducing himself to Moses, He further declares, "I AM the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations" (Ex 3:13-16).
In verses 6-8 the psalmist lists the various nations that will come together against Israel. While the listing contains the various ancient names of the modern states, the list is easily indicative of the states that comprise the modern Arab League that is confederated against Israel. For instance, in verse 6, , , , , Edom refers to southern Jordan; Ishmael, the father of the Ishmaelites refers to one segment of the Arab world; Moab refers to central Jordan; the Hagarenes refers to Egypt. From verse 7, Gebal refers to Lebanon; Ammon to northern Jordan; Amalek refers to the Sinai Peninsula; Philistia refers to the modern Gaza Strip; Tyre is a reference to Lebanon. From verse 8, we get Assyria, that comprises all of what is today modern Iraq and much of Syria. (Today, at least until the Iraq war, comprised the Baathist political region, which is totally anti-Israel)
But, it has only been since the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948 that all of these nations have combined their forces against Israel, and most of that confederation has come about through the solidarity of Islamic teaching. Such a total Arab alignment against Israel never occurred in ancient times. After the Six Day War of 1967, one Arab leader after another has clearly stated that the only way of gaining peace in the Middle East is by the total annihilation of Israel as a nation. This remains the crux of the Arabic-Muslim position, in so much that most of the Arab nations refuse to recognize Israel’s right to even exist.
Psalms 83 ends its charge against the Arab confederation of nations by insisting that they will be confounded and brought to trouble because they have served false gods. God declares that they will be tossed about with a demonic tempest because they have pursued the nation God chose to declare his glory through,….Israel. The One true alone God, Jehovah, is the god over all the earth, and he is jealous for his Holy name, and will not share his glory with Allah, or any other so-called gods.
There are several other passages in the Bible which describe this ancient, yet perpetual hatred of the Arab nations against Israel, such as Ezekiel 35:1-5 and Obadiah 10-14.
The Conflict Is Compounded
With the covenant blessing residing with Isaac after the death of Abraham, it would seem that the confusion over Ishmael might have receded. But Isaac and his wife Rebecca didn't have any children for a while after they were married. Thus, Isaac prayed for his wife and the Lord heard him. Rebecca then became pregnant with twins (Genesis 25:21-22). She inquired of the Lord about this, and the Lord prophesied the following; "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger" (verse 23). So it was actually clear from the beginning that Esau the firstborn would serve Jacob the second born.
But here again, the divine promise of Jehovah was pursued by the strategic schemes of Satan, who until the day that Jesus Christ was born, sought to muddle the Divine plan for the “Seed of the Woman.” The godless Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:33-34; Hebrews 12:16). Rebecca, demonstrating the unfaithfulness of Sarah before her, used Esau’s dispersion to enable Jacob, her favorite son to receive the blessing from Isaac. When her nearly blind husband Isaac wanted to bless the firstborn son, she conspired with Jacob to deceive Isaac so that he, and not Esau, would receive his blessing. It was in this deceitful way that Jacob received the blessings of the firstborn from Isaac (compare Genesis 27:1-30).
Another dimension that helps explain today’s ongoing conflict is the rivalry between Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac. Esau was the firstborn, and the heir of the family birthright. But in time of hunger, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. Later, Jacob disguised himself as Esau and deceived his aging father Isaac into giving him the birthright blessing (see Genesis 25; 27). What was Esau’s reaction? "So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob’" (Genesis 27:41).
This bitter rivalry has continued throughout history. Esau is also called Edom (see Genesis 36). The Edomites intermarried with the Ishmaelites, beginning with Esau himself (see Genesis 28:9). The descendents of these peoples continued to be in conflict with Israel, and they remain in conflict with the descendants of Jacob today. Esau became the father of the Edomites, who settled in the southern part of present-day Jordan (Genesis 25:30; 36:9 & 43). At one point, Jacob and Esau had reconciled (Genesis 33:1-4), but later the Edomites hated Israel all the more. For instance, they would not let the Israelites pass through their land after the Israelites were delivered by God out of Egypt (Numbers 20:14-21). And the Edomites betrayed the Jews in a very mean way when they were in Babylonian captivity. They gave Jewish refugees into the hands of the Babylonians and rejoiced over the tragedy that had befallen the Jews (Ezekiel 35:1-9, Obadiah 10-14).
The Moabites and Ammonites, who descend from Lot, also deserve to be mentioned; their territory is also in present day Jordan. Thus Israel has become surrounded by more and more Arab nations that would like nothing more than to exterminate this people and claim the land as their own.
· Yet, the Jewish people will never cease to exist because Almighty God Himself is watching over them:
"Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4). He will keep His Word: "He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock" (Jeremiah 31:10)
Jehovah’s Two Land Covenants
Jehovah has established several covenants relative to the Promised Land. In the original Abrahamic Covenant, Jehovah (who owns everything) gave Canaan’s land to the Jews in perpetuity, because of Abraham’s obedience. But later, because of Israel’s stiff-necked rebelliousness, God spelled out that Israel’s failure to obey his law and keep his Sabbath, (Mosaic Land Covenant, or Canaan Covenant) as outlined in Deuteronomy 28-30 defined the conditions for the possession and enjoyment of the land. This latter covenant is often referred to as the "Palestinic Covenant," but that is a misnomer, for the land was never called Palestine until after the second Jewish revolt in 132-135AD. At that time the Romans dubbed it "Palestine" to erase the memory of its Jewish heritage and to insult the Jews, and by so doing, mock Jehovah. Title and possession are not the same thing. The Jews have lost possession of the land from time to time, but they have never lost their God-given title. The Land Covenant promised that Israel would become the prime nation of the world if the Jews were obedient to God (Deuteronomy 28:1,13). But the covenant warned that many curses would befall the people if they were disobedient (Deuteronomy 28:15-37), including exile from the land (Deuteronomy 28:38-57). The covenant warned further that if temporary exile did not restore the Jews to obedience, they would suffer worldwide dispersion and persecution (Deuteronomy 28:58-68). But nowhere were they told that their disobedience would lead to a permanent loss of their Biblical title to the land. In fact, the Land Covenant ends in chapter 30 with a prophecy and a promise that a day will come, after the Jews have experienced the curses of the covenant, when the Lord will restore them to their land once again:
Deuteronomy 30:3-5 The Lord will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it.
For almost 2000 years the Jews wandered among the nations and suffered severe persecution, just as the Lord prophesied in Deuteronomy 28. During all that time, their land lay desolate, and cursed as prophesied in Deuteronomy 29. But in our times, God has re-gathered them from the four corners of the earth, re-established them in their land, and begun the transformation of their land from wilderness to milk and honey, as prophesied in Deuteronomy 30.
The only prophecy left to be fulfilled in Jehovah’s Land Covenant with Abraham is the spiritual salvation of the gathered remnant (Deuteronomy 30:6-8). Although the children of Israel are back in the land, they remain in spiritual blindness, but the transformation of the Lord upon their national body is now being undertaken by the Lord, and the day will soon dawn when they repent and accept Yeshua as their Messiah, and as a byproduct of their repentance, they will find true peace with their Arab brethren, as the multitude of Arab nations around them also come to know Jesus Christ as the Messiah. (not Mahdi)
The Roots of the Conflict Produced Trees,
In The Modern Israeli- Arab-Palestinian Conflict
Luke 21:29-31 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
The Bible uses the analogy of a fig tree in reference to the rebirth of the nation of Israel. But, Jesus also indicated that alongside the rebudding of the fig tree, that there would be a sign in all the trees. The 20th century blossoming of national trees throughout the Middle East foretells that God’s prophecies for all the nations is coming to pass in these times.
The roots of the Israeli-Arab conflict, planted in the ancient conflict of the seeds of Abraham, have come full circle today. Abraham’s seed, Isaac and Ishmael have indeed fathered many nations, just as the Lord promised long ago. For centuries the Arab nations wandered the deserts of Arabia, and never projected any borders between themselves. Ishmael’s descendants have lived as God foretold….they have been mingled desert dwellers, and behaved as wild men, and have shown a tremendous tendency to lift their hands against their brethren. This characteristic has been ingrained into their makeup by the sword of Mohammad, who invokes Allah (false god of Satan’s designs) to continually stoke the fires of hatred and jealousy against Jacob.
It was only in the 20th century, after the World Wars that the roots of all the modern states of the Middle East blossomed into defined boundaries of nations. Most of are aware of the fact that Israel was reborn in 1948, but not many people realize that the Arabs discovered nationalism in the same period. Many of Ishmael’s descendants suddenly found themselves identified with ancient national names, some of which were rooted in the ancestry of Ishmael and Esau’s ancestry.
Concerning the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, there has emerged a myth hanging over all discussion of the Israeli-Arab problem. That myth is that this land was "Arab" land taken from its native inhabitants by invading Jews. Whatever may be the correct solution to the problems of the Middle East, its necessary to get a few things straight. One, the Jews didn't take the land now being referred to as Palestine from the Arabs; they obtained it from the British, who exercised sovereign authority in Palestine under a League of Nations mandate for thirty years prior to Israel's declaration of independence in 1948. The British obtained the land as spoils of war when the Allies, as the victors of World War I acquired massive amounts territory from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans had exercised control over Palestine, and much of the Middle East since 1517.
since the destruction of the Second Jewish Commonwealth(1) by the Romans, the
land referred to as "Palestine"(2) had been ruled by a series of foreign
occupiers. Each successive ruler subdivided his conquest as he saw fit, though
none, since the Romans, considered "Palestine" as having a separate
administrative or geographic entity.
Because the Ottoman Turks sided with the Germans in WWI, their realm, including Palestine was divided up among the Allied victors. In a secret pact signed in 1916 (called the Sykes-Picot Agreement), the British and French agreed to divide the Middle East between themselves when the war ended. Great Britain received Palestine while the French were given Syria. In November 1917 the British announced that they intended to create a homeland for the Jews, who had been allied with Great Britain in the war, within the territory of Palestine Britain mandated as a Jewish allotment. At that time Palestine consisted of all of modern day Israel and Jordan.
Under the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the British moved to implement their promise to their Jewish allies for the Palestinian region to be availed as their national homeland. But in 1922, Britain reneged on promise by mandating that 77% of the Mandate should go to placate the Palestinian Arabs to create the Arab state of Jordan. Israel accepted that mandate, and the Arabs rejected it. In Transjordan, the British installed a Hashemite ruler named Abdullah, who had been expelled from the Arabian peninsula by Ibn Saud.
Even after God had miraculously produced a homeland for the Jews out of the horrors of World War I, the Jewish people did not return in great numbers. Most felt comfortable in Europe. But WWII changed things for the Jews. World War II produced the Holocaust which, in turn, provided the motivation for the Jews to return home. They came out of the war saying, "Never again! Never again! In November of 1947, Jews worldwide were elated when the United Nations voted to allow the establishment of a Jewish State. But they were severely disappointed when the United Nations decided at the same time to divide the remaining portion of Palestine once again. That partitioning became known as the 1947 UN Partition Plan, and is alluded to in prophecy in Joel chapter three. Half was apportioned to the Jews for the creation of a Jewish state. The other half was assigned to the Arabs for the establishment of a second Palestinian state.
The Jews accepted the UN plan and proceeded to declare the existence of their new state on May 14, 1948. The Arabs rejected the UN plan and declared war of extermination on Israel. The 1947 plan provided for the establishment of two states, with the Jewish state to consist of the Galilee, the Mediterranean coastal plain, and the Negev Desert. The Arab state was to be made up mainly of the heartland of ancient Israel, (Samaria and Judea), and the Gaza Strip. Once again, the Arabs rejected the UN plan.
Since 1948 there has been war after war in the Middle East as the Arabs have tried repeatedly to destroy Israel, the Suez War of 1956, the Six Day War of 1967, the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Lebanese War of 1982, the Gulf War of 1991, and the current Arab Uprising War which started in September of 2001.
The real goal of the Arab world is not the establishment of another Palestinian state. The true goal is the destruction of Israel. In fact, the Arab world adopted this strategy in 1974. It is called "the phased plan." It is the theme of the Arab League, and it is making its geo-political headway among all the trees (nations) of the world.
The events unraveling today in the Middle East are proof that God is faithful to His promises. God is fulfilling in detail promises that He made to the Jewish people 2,500 years ago. And as we see each of these promises fulfilled, we can likewise be assured that God is going to fulfill every promise He has made to the Church. God has promised that one day soon, Jesus will appear in the heavens, the dead in Christ will be resurrected, the living believers will be caught up to meet the Lord in the sky, and both the living and dead will be given new, glorified bodies. We will return to heaven with Jesus where we will be judged of our works to determine our degrees of reward. We will also celebrate our union with Jesus in a great feast that will symbolize the union of the Bride (the Church) with her Bridegroom (Jesus). We will then return to earth with Jesus to see Him crowned as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus will reign over all the world from his throne in Jerusalem. That’s why Jerusalem today is such a stumbling block to the beastly nations of this present world. The events in the Middle East are evidence that Jesus is returning soon. The Bible says that Jesus will return when the Jews will be drawn back into their homeland and their capital city. It also says that it occur at a time when all the world is confederated against Israel over the issue of the control of Jerusalem. Since 1991, all the world has been pressuring the Israeli government to surrender all or part of Jerusalem. The fulfillment of these prophecies makes it clear that we are on the threshold of the Tribulation. That means the Rapture of the Church is imminent. Jesus is at the very gates of Heaven, waiting for His Father's command to return.
Nearly 4000 years ago, the Lord God, Jehovah is his name, promised to bless all nations through the seed of Abraham. That seed is Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of Gods calling unto Abraham, and he calls all to the city for which Abraham searched as he sojourned in the Promised Land!
Galations 3:6-9 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Galations 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.