THE ARABS IN PROPHECY, PART 1
BY DR. RICHARD BOOKER—
As believers in the one true God (Yahweh), the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we understand that God has given us a revelation of Himself in the Bible. One of the things that He self-reveals is that He transcends time and space. This means that all of time and space is contained within God. In other words, He is outside of time. This is what the Bible means when it says that God is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One who was and is and is to come.
Because God lives outside of time, He knows from the beginning of time what events would transpire in the history of time and how history would conclude at the end of time. In His sovereign power and all knowledge of time, God has both caused and allowed some events to happen in time while not causing or allowing other events that could happen but won’t happen because God did not or will not allow them to happen.
In a Scripture God informs us, “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’”(Isaiah 46:9-10).
The prophet says that God declares the end from the beginning. His declaration is His counsel and His pleasure. God has written this down in the Bible so we can know what He has declared. We can know His counsel and pleasure. We, who live in time, can know what the One who lives outside of time has declared by reading God’s word. We call this Bible prophecy.
Now since the Almighty has chosen the Jewish people as the ethnic group through whom He would bring redemption to the world, most Bible prophecy is about Israel and the Jewish people. But since the Jewish people live with all the rest of us, there is also Bible prophecy about the Messiah, about the nations, about the Kingdom of God, about the grafted in Gentiles we refer to as the Church, about the Arabs, about the end times, about the Coming of the Lord, about the Messianic Kingdom, the New Heaven and the New Earth, and whatever else God thought important for us to know about.
In this series of articles we want to learn what God has said about the Arabs in Bible prophecy.
The Beginning of the Nations
We learn in Genesis 9-10 that Noah had three sons – Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Noah prophesied to Shem that God would be identified to the world with Shem. One of Shem’s grandsons was named Eber. Eber had two sons: Peleg and Joktan. The name “Peleg” means division because it was during his life that God confused the people’s languages and divided them. Based on the names of their descendants and the geographic locations where they lived, we understand that Peleg was the ancestor of the Hebrews and Joktan the ancestor of the Arabs (Genesis 10:22-32; 1 Chronicles 1). Joktan has thirteen sons who fathered the people later known as the Arabs. God’s prophecy to Shem would be fulfilled through the line of Peleg.
Peleg and his brother Joktan would give birth to different ethnic groups – the Hebrews and the Arabs. Their descendants would fight each other for supremacy in a sibling rivalry that would eventually engulf the whole world even to our times today.
The history of this family feud can be traced through the Book of Genesis. The conflict began around the year 1848 B.C. The God of the Bible promised that He would give one of the descendants of Peleg a land that would be his forever. God would make this man’s descendants a great nation and from his descendants would come One who would bless the whole world. This descendant was a man named Abram, later known as Abraham.
The Call of Abraham
“Now the LORD had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from our father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).
God also promised to give Abraham a son as heir to the promises. When God spoke these things to Abraham, he was 85 years of age and his wife, Sarah, who was elderly, had never conceived.
It was the custom in those times for a barren wife to offer her bondwoman or slave to her husband in the hope that she might bear them a son. The child would be considered the offspring of the barren woman. Sarah, despairing of her age and infertility, did just that. She offered Abraham her Egyptian slave named Hagar. Abraham accepted Sarah’s proposal and soon Hagar conceived and gave birth to a son. She called the child, Ishmael.
In what seems to be a prophecy about his character, Ishmael is described in Genesis as a “wild man” whose hand would be against every man. The Angel of the LORD says to Hagar: “Behold you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Genesis 11:11-12).
In Genesis 17:20, God promised to bless Ishmael, but He made it clear to Abraham that the heir to His promises would be a son born to Sarah. God supernaturally enabled Sarah to conceive, and she also gave birth to a son, which she named, Isaac.
God made what the Bible describes as an everlasting covenant with Abraham. In this covenant, God promised to give the land of Canaan to Isaac (not Ishmael) and his descendants. God said to Abraham,
“And I will establish My covenant Between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-9).
“And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!’ Then God said: ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his descendants after him.
“As for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year’ ” (Genesis 17:18-21).
This covenant promise God made to Abraham is still in effect today. The conflict between these two sons of Abraham and their descendants continues to our times. The world sees it everyday on the evening news. In Part Two we will examine “The Mother of all Family Feuds.”
Dr. Richard Booker is the Founder of Sounds of the Trumpet and the Institute for Hebraic Christian Studies and a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Connection. These articles are extracted from his book, “The End of all Things is at Hand.”For information about his ministry and teaching resources, see his web page at www.rbooker.com.