Muslim Riots and upheavels and Gods purpose with the the children of Ishmael.
September 15, 2012 - Audio, 14.50 MIN
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Deadly protests, riots and the storming of American embassies that started on September the 11th in Egypt have quickly spread to Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Israel, Iraq, India, Indonesia and others. Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News, this is John Billington with you this week.
Ironically the worst of violence is originating from the many of the countries that were involved in the “Arab Spring” and where America and her allies supported the transition to democracy. Libya is one such place where the American ambassador and a number of others were killed. All this was apparently in response to a low budget film insulting the prophet Mohamed that was posted on the internet, although many doubt that pointing to the level of the organized protests and the timing on September the 11th.
The long term results and lasting impact of the events taking place are hard to predict. We do know however that nations such as Libya are not destined to be pro American, quite the opposite in fact. We have looked many times on the Bible in the News at the final line up of the nations at the battle of Armageddon in Ezekiel 38. There we find a northern confederacy of nations lead by Russia and the Catholic Church and a southern confederacy of nations lead by Britain. There we find for example that Libya is with the Northern confederacy of nations, so no matter how much help America, Britain and Canada give them in turfing out Gaddaffi they are not destined to be friends. What we find when we go through the list of Middle Eastern nations in Ezekiel we find them split, some with the Northern Confederacy and some with the Southern.
To understand the Arab world and where it came from and where it is headed we go back to Genesis and the account of Ishmael, Abraham’s son through Hagar. We do not have time to go into this in detail here but we do find that God had a purpose with this family. It was not through Hagar that the promises of a chosen seed etc. would be realized but through Sarah and Isaac. That said in Genesis 16:12 we find very significant promises regarding the future of the Ishmaelites:
- They would be “wild” in character and behaviour
- They would be belligerent by nature toward mankind at large
- They would be fractious, always struggling and against each other
- They would dwell in “the presence of all his brethren” (Youngs concordance gives us the meaning that they would dwell “to the face of,” a term meaning the east of Israel)
Further to that we have God’s response to Abraham’s yearning that Ishmael could share in the promises, Gen 17:18 - 21:
“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac...”
When we look at the world today we must admit that the Arab world is wild, belligerent and fractious. There was however the promise that they would become a great nation, when we look into history that is exactly what happened with the rise of Islam in AD 632. The Muslims extended their territory to a vast expanse, a territory that included Spain, stretched across the whole of North Africa, included the entire Middle East and stretched east to the borders of India and China.
When the time came for God to end the political power of the Roman Empire he did so in the west using the Barbarian invasions. In the east God used the Muslims, the great nation of Islam to bring judgements on eastern Christendom, the Byzantine Empire.
Speaking of this time in Revelation 9 we read the following:
“And the fifth angel sounded...
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power...
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.”
Here we make the note that in scripture the Midianites of Arabia are called “grasshoppers” or locusts in the revised version (Judges 6:1-6; 7:12), it says they came against Israel “as grasshoppers for multitude.”
In Larousse History speaking of this time of the Islamic expansion we read the following:
“Between 674 and 677 Moslem squadrons reappeared each spring... In 737 Leo III suffered several raids from Asia Minor, and two years later, 150,000 Moslems, stripping the country bare in their passage, advanced as far the Nicea...” Pg 265
Well the great Islamic empire had its day in the sun and God later used four Eastern powers to continue the judgments on Eastern Christendom, powers that actually adopted Islam. The last of which was under Othman in the 14th century.
The Ottomans took Constantinople in 1453 and drove out the last of the phoney Christian Caesars, who actually take off north first to Kiev and up to Moscow to become the Czars of the third Rome.
This Ottoman Empire really lasts until the First World War when joining forces with Germany proves disastrous. This decline was foretold in Revelation 16 in the words “the drying up of the river Euphrates” meaning the power surrounding the Euphrates, we have spoken about this before on this program.
Well what of the Ishmaelites through all this time after their empire dwindles away, essentially they became the fractious people they once were. After the First World War the power of the Ottoman Empire dries up and Britain and others redraw the map into essentially what we have today.
Also in all this upheaval a home for the Jews in their ancient land is born through the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1947 UN resolution. This brings back to the forefront the age old struggle between the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. I find this amazing, after thousands of years we find the descendants of Ishmael still a fractious people divided between their princes, still belligerent and in the news this week, still as wild as ever!
Well what for the future of these peoples, when we come to Ezekiel 38 as we mentioned at the beginning we find them divided between the Northern and Southern Confederacies. It would seem when we look at the nations of Ezekiel 38 and the world as we see it today that the divide is close to the divide between Sunni and Shiite.
After that you ask? God will remember his covenant with the children of Israel; will send Jesus Christ back to save his people from their troubles. And the Arabs? They too have blessings in store and they will it seems be among the first to submit to Christ. Yes the Arabs will forsake Islam but so too will the Jews accept Jesus Christ!
Reading from the book of Isaiah:
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth (These are two sons of Ishmael) shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.”
Isaiah 59: 20 – 60:7
So yes, we have the children of Ishmael coming to worship the Lord Jesus Christ in a Jewish temple!
Not only that, but Isaiah also tells us of the desert blooming and rivers running through it. There really is an incredible future for the Middle East although much has to happen before that time.
Well much is happening in the Middle East and even the world, especially when we look in relation to Israel. Israel has struck oil and gas, the jokes of God giving the Jews the only land in the Middle East without oil are over. Further to that America is looking to become less reliant on Middle East oil. The Arab spring is still springing and this is taking the attention off Israel to some degree and they are building settlements on the mountains of Israel at a rapid pace. God has said that Jews will be on the mountains of Israel and that is continuing to build.
So as we said before, the long term results of the current crisis are hard to know when we are in the middle of it but we are also told in Ezekiel 38 that when Russia comes down on Israel they come against a land of unwalled villages, against a people living peacefully. What will bring about that peace could only be speculation but something has to change in the land as we see it today. This we can be sure of, God’s hand is at work making ready the time for his Son’s return. We look forward to that time when the chosen people Israel will accept their Messiah and their cousins the Ishmaelites will dwell peacefully with them and come to worship the one true God in his holy temple.
Thanks for joining us again this week as we watch the news for signs of the coming of Christ. Join us again next week for another broadcast God willing at bibleinthenews.com