“Now the Lord had said unto Abram (Abraham), Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land (Israel) that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families be blessed.”
I am sure you know this story well. But, if I may, let me delve deeper into why this Promise from God to Abraham has changed the course of world events which will lead to the ultimate fulfillment of so many of the prophecies regarding the Last Days. God selected Abraham for a unique purpose, and that was the founding of the Jewish people and their Nation of Israel. In order to do that God told him to “…get out of thy country” where he was then living (Ur of the Chaldees – Iraq) and go to a “…land (Canaan-Israel) that I will shew thee.” In other words, Abraham was NOT living in Israel when God spoke to him. Rather, he was told to leave the land where he was living, to leave his family and to go to a new land God would show him. With that migration, God promised he would become the father of a “great nation”. There is only one problem. He and his wife Sarai (Sarah) had no children. Even worse, Abraham was seventy five and his wife Sarah was 65! While Abraham remained a true believer in God, at one point he actually questioned how he could have many, many heirs when he was old and still had no children:
“And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This (Eliezer) shall not be thine heir; but he (Isaac) that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.”
Once again, God reaffirmed His commitment to Abraham in what has become known as the Abrahamic Covenant. He would father a son and from him would rise a great nation, with as many descendants as there are stars in the heavens (Gen. 15:5). Not only did God confirm His Promise, He even told Abraham the borders of the land He Promised to give to him and his future descendants, the land of Israel. “…Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” – Genesis 15:18. This becomes critical as we enter the Last Days and see its prophetic fulfillment.
Remember, when God first Promised Abraham an heir who would continue his legacy and “father” the new Land of Israel with what would become the Jewish people? Do you remember Abraham was 75 years old? Well, guess what? Abraham’s wife Sarah of course knew of the Promise God made to Abraham but feeling she was no longer capable of bearing a child, she told her husband in order to fulfill God’s commitment to him, he would need to also marry her handmaiden Hagar. She felt this would then fulfill God’s Promise. Unfortunately, that was NOT God’s Plan. When Abraham was 86 years old (and Sarah was 76) her handmaiden Hagar bore him a son whom he named Ishmael. But, this was NOT the son God intended! God’s Plan was for Abraham and Sarah to have a son and His Blessing would be on that son, not on Ishmael. When God told Abraham His Plan was not yet fulfilled, Abraham had an unexpected reaction:
“And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be the mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?”
Rather than get upset at Abraham, God showed His patience and mercy by answering Abraham:
“And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: AND I WILL ESTABLISH MY COVENANT WITH HIM FOR AN EVERLASTING COVENANT AND WITH HIS SEED AFTER HIM (capitals mine).”
Hopefully, you will see that God does not lie or change His mind. He ordained Abraham to have a specific son, not one determined by Sarah. While Abraham fathered a son named Ishmael with Hagar, this was not the son God had promised to Abraham. And, in His ultimate truthfulness, guess what?
“And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.”
So, Abraham fathered two sons, now young brothers, with two mothers. What, you might ask, does this have to do with anything? First of all, God made a specific covenant with Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son, not he and Hagar. Secondly, God’s Blessing would be with Abraham’s heir Isaac, not with his son Ishmael. Isaac would then go on to have many descendants and would forever be given the rights of the land (Israel) God had Promised to them, and finally,through them the entire world would either be blessed or cursed. Isaac was the God-designated heir to the Covenant God made with Abraham.
What about Ishmael, you might ask? God also made a Promise to him as well:
“And also of the son (Ishmael) of the bondwoman (Hagar) will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.” “Arise (Hagar), lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great (large, not necessarily good) nation.”
Unlike Isaac, who the Lord said He would make of him a great nation and the entire world would be blessed, of Ishmael He said:
“And 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.”
Wikipedia describes Ishmael as “Ishmael is recognized as an important prophet and patriarch of Islam. Muslims believe that Ishmael was the firstborn of Abraham, born to him from his second wife Hagar. Ishmael is recognized by Muslims as the ancestor of several prominent Arab tribes and the forefather of Muhammad. Muslims also believe that Muhammad was the descendant of Ishmael who would establish a great nation, as promised by God in the Old Testament.” In other words, to this day both Arabs and Jews consider Abraham as their patriarch. The argument could be made since Ishmael was born first, he should inherit the Promise of God to Abraham. But God specifically said His Blessing would go to Isaac. This “disagreement” has haunted the Jews for thousands of years, even to today. Basically, the Arabs believe they have the right to Israel even though the Bible says otherwise.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan (Israel); Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: For I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. BUT IF YE WILL NOT DRIVE OUT THE INHABITANTS OF THE LAND FROM BEFORE YOU: THEN IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT THOSE WHICH YE LET REMAIN SHALL BE PRICKS IN YOUR EYES, AND THORNS IN YOUR SIDES, AND SHALL VEX YOU IN THE LAND WHEREIN YE DWELL. MOREOVER, IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT I SHALL DO UNTO YOU, AS I THOUGHT TO DO UNTO THEM (capitals mine).”
Guess what the Jews DID NOT do when they first entered their God Promised Land of Israel? They didn’t throw them out! And now they wonder why they have constant problems. To get to the gist of this discussion however, is with the Blessing God gave to Hagar regarding Ishmael fathering a great (large) nation, He also said he would be like a “wild man” and would constantly be fighting among themselves, not just against the Jews. I have written previously about the soon to come war (The War of Gog and Magog) where Russia, Turkey, Iran and a number of other Arab countries will invade Israel in the Last Days to “take” it back. Guess what happens when they attempt to do this?
“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be great shaking (earthquakes) in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heavens, and the beasts of the field, and all the creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: EVERY MAN’S SWORD SHALL BE AGAINST HIS BROTHER (capitals mine).”
At the peak of the invasion of Israel by a select group of Arab countries and the Wrath of God causes many ominous signs, the invaders will turn on each other! While it clearly says God will turn His Wrath on the invaders, it basically says they will kill each other. Later on it goes on to say it will take 7 months to bury the dead and 7 years to burn their implements of war (by the way, this is my biggest contention why this is NOT the Battle of Armageddon where Jesus will slay the unbelievers with the “…sword proceeded out of his mouth”). If you take this prophesy of the inherent conflicts between the Arabs and the Jews and merge it with the long standing historical fights of the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Turks, the Persians (Iranians), the Assyrians, etc. and put into today’s headlines of wars between Saudi Arabia and Yemen; Pakistan and Afghanistan; Iran and everyone else; etc., I believe you can see the prophecy God made regarding Ishmael has proven true, not only in the past but today and into the near future.
Now, I am not saying God does not love the Arab people. He loves us all! The issue is their religion of Islam is profoundly anti-Israeli (for the reasons we have discussed) and they are in a constant battle against God’s chosen people. Remember, not only did He tell all He would bless those who bless Israel but He would curse those who curse Israel! This is yet another prophecy being fulfilled today giving us all a clearer picture of the ultimate fulfillment of ALL of God’s prophecies. Simply put, you cannot accept 99 prophecies coming true without accepting the 100th also coming true. And, of course, that is the COMING back of Jesus Christ! Knowing the Bible and it’s accuracy, His Promises to the descendants of Isaac are also Promises to all who believe Jesus Christ died for the remission of our sins. That is comforting, not only to know, but to believe. If you believe His Holy Word, please help me to do what we are all told to do and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.”
May God Bless you as we all Bless Israel!