We have been looking at the considerable attention the Word of God gives to the origin and fate of the Arab people. Genesis, the foundational book of the Holy Bible, contains history and prophecies of both Ishmael and of Esau, their character and descendant’s fate to the end days.
In the rest of scripture, there is also great interest in the Arabs, and their progeny. These children of Abraham are major players in the drama that is the end of the world. The Hebrew prophets speak almost as much about the fate of the Arab nations as they do the Jewish state.
As I said in the introduction, the key is to juxtapose the modern names for the people and regions, over the ancient ones.
- Edom – Edom is a major figure in end times Bible prophecy. Edom is another name for Esau who we looked at in the last chapter, the twin brother of Jacob. God assigned Esau the area of southern Jordan around Mt. Sier, which is why Edom is sometimes referred to as Mt. Seir such as in Ezekiel 35.
Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate.(Ezekiel 35:2-3)
There are several ways to designate the Edomite people; the political Kingdom of Edom is long gone, but the geographic region is well known, and of course there is the spiritual identity of those who have taken up Esau’s ancient hatred of the Jews.
The Edomite Kingdom was defeated by David and Saul and made subject to Judah for centuries as a vassal state. They would play a role in the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnessar, rising up against their former rulers, cutting off escape routes and openly gloating in the destruction of the Jewish people.
Eventually they intermarried with the Ishmaelites, and Midianites, and Moabites, and comprise much of the Middle Eastern Arabs.
Geographically the Edomites are the Arabs of southern Jordan.
Spiritually the Edomites are the Muslim Arabs who hate Israel, boast in inhabiting the Holy land, and have possessed the temple mount. Edomites rejoiced in the horrors that befell the Jews in 70 AD, and 120 AD, cutting off any escape routes the Jews would have used, and collaborating with the Romans enslavers of Israel.
Centuries later and in the same character, the middle eastern Muslim Arabs cooperated in the Nazi holocaust, rioted and performed pogroms in order to block the British from receiving any Jewish refugees fleeing from the Holocaust into the Holy Land, under British rule.
The prophet Obadiah proclaims the indictment against Edom in his short prophecy,
For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity;Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.(Obadiah 10-14)
- The Philistines-The Philistines were not Arabs, they were Greeks or Phoenicians, and were eventually wiped out by Israel. But there is a modern Arab people who have taken for themselves the name of the Philistines, ‘Palestinians’. It is they who have been granted by the World community the Gaza coastal area , which was once the dominion of the five Philistine cities .
I speak of the mixed Arabs who either inhabited or who immigrated into the Holy Land shortly before and ever since the 1948 rebirth of the Jewish state. For the most part they are Muslim, and have been at war with Israel from her start. They took upon themselves the identity “Palestinians” in 1967 that they might gain legitimacy for the establishment of their state.
God has something to say to Palestinians, ie Philistines, regarding the end times.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them. (Ezekiel 25:15-17)
In Biblical times, there were five Philistine cities, Ekron, Gath (the city of Goliath), Askelon, Ashdod with Gaza being the most prominent. Gaza is today, of course, the coastal region from which Jews were expelled in 2005, and where the terrorist entity Hamas has since seized control.
- Moab and Ammon-These are the names of Lot’s sons who were born of incest after he fled Sodom and Gommorah. Geographically, Amman and Moab are the inhabitants of central and northern Jordan. The capitol of Jordan is called Amman.
The Ammonites and Moabites were bitter resisters of Israel. When Israel made her Exodus, God told her not to molest them, take their land, and to pay for anything they took on their way through Moabite land. But the Moabites feared them nonetheless, and abused them, as the story of Balac and Balaam attests.
- Lebanon– Israel’s northern neighbor, features in several prophecies of the end. Lebanon was once considered the only Christian country in the middle east. When the 1967 six-day war broke out ,it set in motion events which would considerably alter the make up of this country.
Terrorists fled into Lebanon from Israel and Jordan, setting up enclaves in the south to launch attacks on northern Israeli towns. The mayhem they brought to the nation led to a bloody civil war in the 1970’s, pitting Lebanese Militias composed of Christians (Maronite,Philangists et al), and various strains of Muslim Jihadis , (PLO, Hezbullah, Salafists) as well as the Lebanese army.
As in all civil wars there have been atrocities on both sides. Philangist militias massacred hundreds of Palestinian Refugees in the Sabra and Shatila camps, supported by the Israeli defense forces. The PLO and mixed groups of foreign Muslim foreign fighters overran Christian towns such a Damour slaughtering hundreds of men, women and children without mercy.
The nation of Syria took advantage of Lebanon’s weakened state, arming the Muslim rebels and eventually invading Lebanon, occupying much of it and has controlled it to this day, arming Hezbullah, controlling elections and even assassinating popular elected leaders.
The U.N. and even the United States shed much blood trying to keep the warring factions from slaughtering each other, for example this was the setting for the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing .
In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon after repeated terror attacks upon her cities , eventually cornering Yasser Arafat and the PLO in Beirut, only to have to stand down , allowing the U.N. to give Arafat and his terrorist army safe passage to Tunisia rather than the extermination that he and the terrorist apparatus of the PLO faced by the surrounding IDF.
Israel occupied southern Lebanon for 28 years, until domestic pressure forced them to withdraw in the year 2000. The credit for this withdrawal was given by the Muslim world to Hezbullah, the Shiite “party of Allah” and is considered to be the first modern victory of Islam over Israel.
The prophets speak much indeed of Lebanon regarding the last days, but specifically “Tyre and Sidon” . That is, the region of southern Lebanon, currently dominated by Hezbollah. It’s terrorist leaders have been raining rockets on Israeli cities with seeming impunity as of late.
“Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done. For you took my silver and my gold and carried off my finest treasures to your temples You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, that you might send them far from their homeland.(Joel 3:3-4)
- Syria- The modern nation of Syria is about one half of the Biblical Assyrian Empire. The other half would be roughly the modern country of Iraq. Usually the area we refer to as Syria is referred to by the name of its major city, Damascus. There are 67 mentions of Damascus in the word of God.
Thus says the LORD: “ For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron. 4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, Which shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad. 5 I will also break the gate bar of Damascus, And cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, And the one who holds the scepter from Beth Eden. The people of Syria shall go captive to Kir,” Says the LORD. (Amos 1:3-5)
- Iraq- is the modern name for roughly eastern half of the Assyrian Empire. In the Bible it is referred to as Assyria, Babylon , or as the Land of the Chaldees.
*Saudi Arabia-The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is of recent origin, it came about as a result of the cooperation that the Saud family gave the British in World War I, and has only been in existence since 1932.
Biblically the region is referred to as Dedan, Sheba, Midian and Kedar. Dedan and Sheba were sons of Abraham through Keturah, and Kedar was a son of Ishmael.
- North Africa; consisting of Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia ,Morocco and Ethiopia, is a region that is in tumult as Islamists seek to hijack popular movements for democracy which have toppled several governments. The Biblical names for the regions are Egypt, Ethiopia, Cush, Put, Libya, and Cyrene.
Some of the non-Arab nations featured in Bible prophecy, are Iran, which is called Persia ,or Elam. Turkey, which is called Gomer, Togarmah, and Yavan , or Greece. Remember that Turkey was the Greek mainland, and that many of the books of the New Testament were written to Greek churches in what is now called Turkey.
The Unifying feature of all of these nations is Islam. It is Islam that unites these nations in a common visceral hatred of the west. It is also Islam that is currently causing these people to churn and roil in revolutions, throwing off the secular dictators who had tried to keep them by force in the modern world.