Obviously Islam isn’t mentioned by name in Bible prophecy, for it emerged in the 7th century, long after the Biblical canon was completed. But the Bible prophets are by no means silent about the followers of the monotheistic religion which has presented itself as the chief rival and alternative to the Judeo Christian world.
From the beginning of the Word of God, in Genesis we see the origins of the Isaac /Ishmael, and Jacob/Esau conflict, which is currently being played out on the world stage. Islam’s character and fate is foretold in the biblical record, in the stories of Ishmael and Esau, and in the prophecies which foretell the future of those Arab, Turkish, African and Persian lands which have embraced Islam.
Esau is a figure in Biblical history who is of great importance in understanding what the Hebrew prophets have to say about the fate of the Arab Muslim world, that is Esau, the twin of Jacob and son-in-law of Ishmael. Esau’s remaining physical and spiritual descendants have a large role in the Last days scenario.
We have already stated how Islam identifies with the grievance of Ishmael and has nourished the “everlasting hatred” of Isaac and Jacob as a result of it. Even so does Islam identify with the disenfranchisement of Esau , envying the Jews whom they see as interlopers upon their inheritance.
It is comforting to know that all of these things were predicted, even before Jacob and his twin Esau (the firstborn of Isaac and Rebekah) were born.
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)
The story of Isaac’s struggling twins, Jacob and Esau foreshadows the very events which the world is trembling and shaking over unto this day. The twins’ fight is worldwide now, nations and peoples are having to take sides in the conflict. Neutrality is proving to be impossible. The Judeo Christian world, and the Islamic and post Christian world cannot truly coexist.
Consider the details of the prophecy at the birth of these two;
- Esau and Jacob would be two nations – Isaac’s barren wife conceived twins, in answer to prayer. But the pregnancy was difficult, for there was much movement in the womb. The twins were literally wrestling within her. When she inquired of the Lord ,this is the Word that came 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.”
- Esau was the firstborn – The Bible tells us that even when coming out of the womb, these two brothers 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 would 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.
According to the prophecy given Rebecca, 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 covering 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, many concentrating in the Middle East. By clinging to Jacob’s God, Esau would be saved.
- 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 blessed Jacob in the place of Esau, whom he intended to bless. He blessed him in spite of Esau’s faithlessness, (he married two Hittite women, over his parents objection), and profanity, (He counted the birthright for nothing). Isaac was determined to confer upon Esau the blessing of the firstborn. He had a great natural affection for his virile, accomplished son.
But God’s election is all that really counts.
When the time came for the passing on of the Patriarchal blessing, and Isaac had sent his favorite son Esau out for venison to cook and eat for the occasion, Rebecca and Jacob sprang into action, putting Jacob in the place of Esau in an elaborate deception, disguising Jacob as Esau .
And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.(Genesis 27:26-29)
The blessing of Abraham which had passed on down unto Isaac, was now passed to Jacob, the second born twin. True, Isaac prophesied to Jacob wrongly thinking he was conferring the blessing upon Esau, but God was working in the situation his own Sovereign plan of election. Jacob was chosen by God. Esau, only by Isaac. God’s good hand had over ruled Isaac’s carnal preference.
When Esau came in from hunting, to prepare the venison his aged father loved, Isaac discovered the ruse that had been laid upon him,
And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.(Genesis 27:30-33)
Notice Isaac’s faith in the fact that he realized that the Blessing conferred upon Jacob was valid, God ordained, and couldn’t be reversed! “…He shall be blessed”. This is why the book of Hebrews in the New testament sums up this story in this fashion,
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.(Hebrews 11:20)
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 still wrestles with his brother Jacob. He still accuses him of trickery, theft, treachery and usurpation.The conflict ceases only after the whole earth is embroiled in the struggle, and God himself intervenes.
But Jacob did grant Esau a ‘blessing’ in response to his tearful entreaties,
And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.(Genesis 27:38-41)
- Behold your dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth – Sounds good in the King James version, but what this literally says is you will dwell away from the fatness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heavens..,
Here from the New American Standard bible ,
Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above.
Esau, or Edom would dwell in a harsh, arid, brown environment. Geographical Edom is in the area around the Dead Sea and into southern Jordan, a dry, parched wilderness. Spiritual Edom, the Arab/Moslem world is also parched. North Africa and the Middle East appears even from space, to be brown as opposed to the lush green of the rest of Africa. The Arabian Peninsula is an arid place.
- You shall live by your sword– Edomites were a fierce, warlike tribe, ever at war with their neighbors and with each other. Modern Islamic terrorists make the boast often that “We will prevail over the west, because we love death, and they love life!”.
Esau would ever live by the sword , therefore Esau would ever die also by the sword. According to the world’s one billion Muslims; Mohammed, the best man who ever lived, lived by the sword as a pirate, raider, and terrorist. A true son of Edom.
- And you shall serve your brother- But for all of the exaltation of the sword, Esau must serve Jacob. We know that King David put the Edomites into subjection, by military conquest, and cultural superiority.
But in another, better way, many of the descendants of Esau have served Jacob. There are millions of Arab Christians, sons of Ishmael, and of Esau, Moab, and Amman, who have come to believe in the Gospel of the Jewish Messiah, and to worship the God of Jacob. Remember that in the earliest years of church history, all of the Middle East and North Africa was entirely Christian.
- But when you shall become restless, you shall break his yoke off of your neck – This also is from the New American Standard Bible,
“But it shall come about when you become restless, that you will break his yoke from your neck.”
The prediction is that in later times Esau would become restless and break the yoke that joined Jacob and Esau off of his neck. History has borne that out in part, by the expansion of Islam in what was once a Christian Middle East. They have replaced for themselves an easy yoke with a heavy and intolerable one, Islam.
This is what we are seeing in the Arab world, a restless Esau, throwing off the yoke of any subservience to the Judeo Christian world , and asserting once again the wild, violent independent spirit of Esau.
Esau is a spiritual type of the Arab Muslim world which has carried on the ancient grievance over the birthright. They hate Israel with a passion, and would wipe her out if given the chance. This hatred will lead the whole world into “the time of Jacob’s (greatest) trouble and Israel’s true night of wrestling first and then clinging to her God until the dawn.