Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.And the LORD said unto her, 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.(Genesis 25:21-23)
In the light of the current upheaval in the Arab world, we have been looking at what the Bible says about the future of the Arabs, particularly in Bible prophecy. Ironically the way to see the future is to look to the past, for it is all laid out for us in the book of Genesis.
The Arabs are a people of great importance to God. Ishmael is the son of Abraham and has been blessed by God and has a destiny in the sight of God. There is a physical and spiritual affinity. Not all Arabs are Ishmaelites physically, but through the religion of Islam, the Muslims consider themselves in spiritual affinity with Ishmael.
Unfortunately, Islam has taken up what is called in the Bible, “the Perpetual hatred”. This is the grudge held against the seed of Isaac, by Ishmael and his mother Hagar, for their expulsion from the household of Abraham, as described in Genesis 16. I recently heard that the word “Saracen” means, “emptied of Sara”, from Hagar’s complaint “Sara has sent us away empty”!
The story of Isaac’s twins, Jacob and Esau has prophetic insights regarding the future of the Arab/Muslim world also. The Biblical prophets have much to say about the fate of Esau, or Edom.
*Esau and Jacob would be two nations – Isaac’s barren wife conceived twins,in answer to prayer.But the pregnancy was difficult, there was much movement in the womb. She inquired of the Lord and this is the Word that came to her.
“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.”
* Esau was the firstborn – The Bible tells us that even coming out of the womb, the babies wrestled for pre-eminence. Esau was born first. Traditionally the firstborn is given the birthright, the family leadership, double share of the inheritance, and the spiritual headship of the family.
* One people would be stronger than the other – He doesn’t specify which, but ever would it be that one will be stronger than the other. History bears this out, for at times Israel prevailed over the surrounding Edomite/Ishmaelite people, and at other times were subdued by them.
* The Elder shall serve the younger – This would be a hard pill to swallow,for it goes against man’s order. But God chose Jacob over Esau to be the repository of Abraham’s blessing. The “seed of the woman” would come through Jacob, not Esau.
Esau and his seed would have to serve Jacob, whom God elected. The fate of Esau would be linked to whether or not he accepts Jacob’s God, and ‘the seed of the woman’ who would come through the line of Jacob. Obviously , carnal Esau bristled at that as do all of those in spiritual affinity with Esau to this day.
On the other hand, millions of the seed of Ishmael and Esau have come under the service of the God of Jacob, believing in the Messiah who came through Jacob and Judah. There are and have been untold millions of Arab christians through the centuries.
* Esau shall hate Jacob, envying him for his birthright – First Esau “sold” his birthright to his brother Jacob, for a bowl of porridge. He then complained to everyone who would hear, that Jacob tricked him out of it! The spiritual and physical descendents of Esau, hate Jacob(Israel) to this day swearing that they have been cheated by him out of their ‘birthright’, the land.
In reality, it was neither the machinations of Jacob or Esau, but the election of God himself, which conferred upon Jacob the birthright and the promise and blessing of Abraham.
*Isaac would bless Jacob in the place of Esau, whom he intended to bless. In spite of Esau’s faithlessness,(he married two Hittite women, over his parents objection), and unspirituality,(He counted the birthright for nothing), Isaac was determined to confer upon him the blessing of the firstborn. He had a great natural affection for his virile, accomplished son. But God’s election is all that counts.
When Isaac discovered the elaborate ruse which put Jacob in the place of blessing and not Esau, it dawned upon him that God’s purposes of election were being served after all , for he told the astonished Esau, I have blessed him and indeed He shall be blessed! He knew that it was God’s hand over ruling his own carnal choice.
Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!”(Genesis 27:33)
Esau’s reaction was a vow to murder his brother at the earliest opportunity.
What we are seeing in the awakening of the Arab/Muslim world is the continuation of what started in that troubled pregnancy of Rebecca, Esau wrestles with his brother Jacob. But the conflict ceases only after the whole earth is embroiled in the struggle, and God himself intervenes.