Islam as a world religion didn’t burst onto the world scene until the 7th century AD. But in the 14 plus centuries since, it has played a major role in world affairs, as a foil to the Judeo Christian world, and a scourge on India, the Levant, Persia, Southern Asia, much of Africa, the Caucasus, and even part of China.
Many have forgotten that Islam menaced Europe as late as the 17th century when the siege of Vienna ended. It was as recent as early in the last century that the Caliphate of Sunni Islam finally collapsed, after Ottoman Turkey stood on the losing side of World War 1.
In the modern world, due to the newly acquired wealth of the oil boom, as well as advances in (Western) technology, the population and influence of the Muslim world have increased exponentially. One out of six people in the world are Muslim. The lifeblood of modern technological society is oil, of which the cheapest, easiest accessible crude has lain under the sands of the harshest and most retrograde expression os Islam, Wahhabism, of which the Saudi’s have long been the most fervent guardian patrons.
The Bible has much to say about this sect. Though it doesn’t mention Islam by name, the scriptures certainly anticipate it’s effects and interactions with God’s chosen people, the children of Israel. The prophets also indicate that the adherents to this form of paganism play a large role in the events of the last days tribulation.
How does the Bible anticipate Islam without mentioning the name of the cult or its false prophet Mohammed?
First of all by relating the story of the birth and nature of Ishmael, the surrogate son of Abraham, born through the handmaid Abraham acquired in Egypt Hagar.
Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.(Genesis 16:1-4)
This act of compromise by Abraham and Sarai, a barren couple, long past child-bearing years, yet who had been promised by God himself a miracle son, caused much division in Abraham’s house. Sarai began to resent the newly pregnant Hagar, who in turn began to despise the barren Sarai.
Eventually the tension became so great that the pregnant Hagar fled into the desert, from the treatment of Sarai, Abraham’s wife. There the Angel of the Lord encountered Hagar and encouraged her to go back home,
And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. 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.(Genesis 16:7-11)
Ishmael is a unique figure in scripture. He shares with Jesus himself the distinction of being one of the few people in scripture, named by an Angel before his birth.The name means”The Lord has heard”, because God did indeed hear Hagar’s cry in the desert.
But the Angel of the Lord then prophesied of Ishmael that;
… 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.(Genesis 16:12)
The Pulpit commentary notes that this literally says “He will be a wild Ass of a man…”, many other translations, such as the New American Standard bearing this out.
Verse 12. – And he will be a wild man. Literally, a wild ass (of a) man; the פֶּרֶא, snarler, being so-called from its swiftness of foot (cf. Job 39:5-8)
…His hand will be against everyone, and every man’s against his…Ishmael will be in constant and varied warfare.
…he shall dwell in te presence of his brethren…” Literally “in the face of His brethren, in other words, He shall even be at constant warfare even among his own brothers.
The Hebrew – English Bible According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Edition
And he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.’
Hagar did bear the child Ishmael, remaining within Abraham’s family until Ishmael was about 13, by which time Isaac, the true heir to the promise of God was born. Ishmael and his mother Hagar resented Isaac, even ‘teasing him’ to the point that Abraham had to put Hagar and Ishmael out of the family camp!
And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed(Genesis 21:8-13)
Thus was Abraham’s first-born son, Ishmael disenfranchised, kicked out of the camp with his mother, while but a teenager, and sent to wander in the wilderness, to make way for his younger brother Isaac, the child of Abraham and Sarai, and of the promise of God.
God had indeed promised good for Ishmael, but he was not chosen to be the bearer of the “Seed of the woman” who would one day crush the serpent’s head and be a blessing to every family on earth. Jesus came through Isaac, not Ishmael. But Ishmael would be blessed, being the seed of Abraham.
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.(Genesis 21:14-20)
But there was resentment, by both Ishmael and Hagar, who had been sent away, to roam the desert.
That ancient resentment would be picked up and codified by Ishmael’s descendants and nurtured, along with other grievances, (Esau’s disenfranchisement), morphing into a distorted form of extreme monotheism and Ishmaelite imperialism. This new religion would be a twisted parody of that revealed to Abraham,Isaac,and Jacob and eventually a rival counter to the religion of the ultimate ‘seed of Abraham’, Jesus Christ.