Ariel Ministries' Messianic Bible Study # 008:
THE ARAB STATES IN PROPHECY
Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum
Part 1 appeared in our
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
* Each item is linked for your convenience *
II. THE CONTINUATION OF THE CONFLICT
III. THE FUTURE OF THE CONFLICT
1. Edom: Southern Jordan
2. Moab: Central Jordan
3. Ammon: Northern Jordan
And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him. And Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning
for my father are at hand. Then will I slay my brother Jacob.
- Genesis 27:41 -
II. THE CONTINUATION OF THE CONFLICT
This section will concern the perpetual hatred of the Arabs against the Jews, which basically covers the span of time since the death of Ishmael and Esau. The hatred and animosities of Ishmael and Esau toward the Jews were instilled in their descendants. There has been a
continuous, perpetual hatred of the descendants of Esau and Ishmael against the Jews that is characterized especially by the Ishmaelites, descendants of Ishmael, and the Edomites, descendants of Esau. An example that shows how early the descendants had this animosity is
found in Numbers 20:14-21.
By the time this passage takes place, it would appear that the tables were indeed reversed; it would appear that the Arabs had all the blessings and the Jews had all the curses. The descendants of Esau had established their nation in the mountains of Mt. Seir; they had king
after king and had become a strong and mighty people. But Jacob and his descendants went into Egypt and eventually became slaves of the Egyptians. Now Israel had been rescued and was moving toward her inheritance, the Land of Canaan. The shortest route to their homeland would be to go by way of the land of Edom. Again, the Edomites are the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob.
A request had to be issued, and this is found in Numbers 20:14-21:
|And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus says your brother Israel, You know all the travail that has befallen us: how our fathers went down into Egypt, and we dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and our fathers: and when we cried unto Jehovah, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of your border. Let us pass, I pray you, through your land: we will not pass through field or through vineyard, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go along the king's highway; we will not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed your border. And Edom said unto him, You shall not pass through me, lest I come out with the sword against you. And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go up by the highway; and if we drink of your water, I and my cattle, then will I give the price thereof: let me only, without doing anything else, pass through on my feet. And he said, You shall not pass through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.|
A simple request is made on the basis of the blood relationship between these two nations. When Moses writes his letter, he says: Thus says your brother Israel. Although this is a simple request only to pass through without doing any damage to the territory, the answer of the
Edomites is “no.” Although about four hundred years had passed by this time, the perpetual animosity that had begun with Esau had been instilled in Esau's descendants against the Jews. To make sure the Jews do not cross their country, the Edomites come out with their army to their border to force the Jews to take a much longer route to their own homeland, even though the Edomites had already settled in theirs.
In the Book of Judges, we often read of Ishmaelites, Edomites, and other descendants of these two men inflicting damage upon Israel. Even after Israel settled in her own Land, we find the animosity still there.
In Psalm 83, the psalmist looks over, not just from his own time, but prophetically about the situation in the Middle East and tells what he sees in verses 1-8:
|O God, keep not your silence: Hold not your peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, your enemies make a tumult; And they that hate you have lifted up the head. They take crafty counsel against your people, And consult together against your hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent; Against you do they make a covenant: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre: Assyria also is joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot.|
In verses 1-3, the psalmist describes a united conspiracy against Israel. They are a tumultuous and crafty people who unite together against the Jews.
Their aim is clearly described in verse 4; the destruction of Israel. They want to destroy the Nation of Israel so that the world will not even remember the very name Israel any longer. It is no accident that the various Arab leaders have virtually paraphrased this very verse. In fact, when I was a student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem just before the Six Day War, I heard Nasser saying on the radio that he would drive the Jews into the sea and he would wipe Israel off the map so that it would not be remembered that there was a Nation of Israel in this century. The psalmist begins to describe a group of nations that have conspired and united together for the avowed purpose of destroying Israel to the point, in verse 4: That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
In verses 6-8, the psalmist begins listing these various nations that will come together against Israel. While these are all various ancient names, today they comprise the modern Arab states. For instance, in verse 6, Edom was in southern Jordan; Ishmael was the father of the
Ishmaelites, one segment of the Arab world; Moab was in central Jordan; the Hagarenes were from Egypt. In verse 7, Gebal was in Lebanon; Ammon was northern Jordan; Amalek was in the Sinai Peninsula; Philistia was in the Gaza Strip; Tyre was in Lebanon. In verse 8, Assyria comprises all of what is today Iraq and quite a bit of Syria.
The only time in history when all the nations listed in these verses ever combined themselves together against Israel has been since 1948. This was never true in ancient history. This has been especially true since the Six Day War of 1967, when one Arab leader after another
clearly stated that the only way of gaining peace in the Middle East is by the total annihilation of Israel as a nation.
Another passage that describes this perpetual hatred is found in Ezekiel 35:1-5:
|Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, set your face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, and say unto it, Thus says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against you, O mount Seir, and I will stretch out my hand against you, and I will make you a desolation and an astonishment. I will lay your cities waste, and you shall be desolate; and you shall know that I am Jehovah. Because you have had a perpetual enmity, and have given over the children of Israel to the power of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time of the iniquity of the end.|
Mount Seir is the long mountain range that overlooks Israel from the land of Edom, where the descendants of Esau settled. In verses 1-4, Ezekiel prophesies of a judgment of God that will result in making Edom a desolation because of Edom's perpetual hatred against Israel, even to the point that they were willing to turn Jewish escapees over to the Babylonians, although Edom was also subjugated by Babylon in verse 5.
The small Book of Obadiah, comprised of only one chapter, also speaks of this hatred against Israel in Obadiah 10-14:
|For the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off for ever. In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even you were as one of them. But look not you on the day of your brother in the day of his disaster, and rejoice not over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither speak proudly in the day of distress. Enter not into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, look not you on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither lay ye hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. And stand you not in the crossway, to cut off those of his that escape; and deliver not up those of his that remain in the day of distress.|
The sins of Edom described in this passage speak of another time preceding the Babylonian destruction when the Edomites committed sins very similar to those they were to commit under Babylon. Once again, the reason for Edom's actions is their perpetual enmity toward the Jews.
III. THE FUTURE OF THE CONFLICT
In determining the place of the Arab states in the Kingdom, it should be viewed from the background of the Arabs' perpetual hatred against the Jews. Two principles will be used to determine the future of the individual Arab states: first, the history of their anti Semitism; and
secondly, how closely these individual Arab states are related by blood to Israel.
Ultimately, peace will come between Israel and the various Arab states, but it will come in one of three forms: first, by means of occupation; secondly, by means of destruction; or thirdly, by means of conversion. It is necessary to deal with the various Arab states individually in order to get a clearer picture.
Peace will come between Israel and Lebanon by means of occupation. This is not so much explicitly stated by Scripture as it is derived from certain facts contained in the Scriptures. Ezekiel 47:13 - 48:29 gives the boundaries of the nation of Israel in the Messianic Kingdom. The tracing of the northern boundary will show that Israel will encompass all of modern day Lebanon. From this fact, it can be deduced that, in the Kingdom, Israel will occupy and possess all of Lebanon, and it will be settled by some of the northern Jewish tribes. Lebanon was always part of the Promised Land, but it was the part that Israel never possessed. In the Messianic Kingdom, there will be no nation called Lebanon; it will be part of Millennial Israel. Peace will come between Israel and Lebanon by means of occupation.
Modern Jordan comprises the ancient countries of Edom, Moab, and Ammon. Since God does not have the same future for each individual segment of Jordan, they will need to be studied separately.
1. Edom: Southern Jordan
It is Edom or southern Jordan, in particular, that the prophets were concerned about. Several passages disclose that peace will come between Israel and southern Jordan by means of destruction. One such passage is Ezekiel 35:6-9:
|therefore, as I live, says the Lord Jehovah, I will prepare you unto blood, and blood shall pursue you: since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you. Thus will I make mount Seir an astonishment and a desolation; and I will cut off from it him that passes through and him that returns. And I will fill its mountains with its slain: in your hills and in your valleys and in all your watercourses shall they fall that are slain with the sword. I will make you a perpetual desolation, and your cities shall not be inhabited; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah.|
In verses 6-8, the picture is one of massive destruction with blood and dead bodies filling the mountains, hills, and valleys, resulting in Edom's becoming a perpetual desolation in verse 9.
Adding to all this, Jeremiah 49:7-13 states:
|Of Edom. Thus says Jehovah of hosts: Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished? Flee ye, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan; for I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I shall visit him. If grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, would they not destroy till they had enough? But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is destroyed, and his brethren, and his neighbors; and he is not. Leave your fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let your widows trust in me. For thus says Jehovah: Behold, they to whom it pertained not to drink of the cup shall assuredly drink; and are you he that shall altogether go unpunished? you shall not go unpunished, but you shall surely drink. For I have sworn by myself, says Jehovah, that Bozrah shall become an astonishment, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes.|
In verses 7-10, the emphasis of Jeremiah is on the totality of the destruction of the land of Edom so as to leave nothing remaining of the seed of Esau. In verse 11, Edom had been given an opportunity to trust in the Lord but failed to respond. So now the cup of iniquity is full. In verse 12, Edom must drink of the cup of God's wrath. In verse 13, the result will be that the land of Edom will become nothing but an astonishment, a reproach, a waste, and a curse.
To all this, Jeremiah later adds in verses 19-20:
|Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the pride of the Jordan against the strong habitation: for I will suddenly make them run away from it; and whoso is chosen, him will I appoint over it: for who is like me? and who will appoint me a time? and who is the shepherd that will stand before me? Therefore hear ye the counsel of Jehovah, that he has taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he has purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely they shall drag them away, even the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them.|
Once again, there is emphasis on the totality of the destruction, with the addition that this final desolation and destruction of Edom will come by means of a war and an armed military conflict.
Obadiah, the smallest book of the Old Testament, centers its entire attention on Edom's destruction. Verses 5-9 state:
|If thieves came to you, if robbers by night (how are you cut off !), would they not steal only till they had enough? if grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? How are the things of Esau searched! how are his hidden treasures sought out! All the men of your confederacy have brought you on your way, even to the border: the men that were at peace with you have deceived you, and prevailed against you; they that eat your bread lay a snare under you: there is no understanding in him. Shall I not in that day, says Jehovah, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one may be cut off from the mount of Esau by|
In verses 5-6, Obadiah also emphasized the totality of the destruction, pointing out their failure to be aided either by their friends in verse 7, or by their own wisdom or military might in verses 8-9.
Later, in verses 17-21, Obadiah adds:
|But in mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall burn among them, and|
devour them; and there shall not be any remaining to the house of Esau; for Jehovah has spoken it. And they of the South shall possess the mount of Esau, and they of the lowland the Philistines; and they shall possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria; and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. And the captives of this host of the children of Israel, that are among the Canaanites, shall possess even unto Zarephath; and the captives of Jerusalem, that are in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the South. And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be Jehovah's.
In verse 17, the time of Israel's final restoration will also be the time of Edom's final destruction. In verse 18, Obadiah states rather clearly that this destruction of Edom will come by means of the children of Israel, for the two houses of Israel will be like fire while Edom will be like stubble that quickly catches fire when exposed to the flame. In verses 19-20, this destruction will be total, so that nothing will remain of Esau's descendants, while the descendants of his brother Jacob will own and possess the mountains of Edom. In verse 21, it is out of mount Zion that judgment will fall on Edom.
The fact that Israel will be used to bring about the final destruction of Edom is further portrayed in Ezekiel 25:12-14:
|Thus says the Lord Jehovah: Because that Edom has dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; therefore thus says the Lord Jehovah, I will stretch out my hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; even unto Dedan shall they fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel; and they shall do in Edom according to my anger and according to my wrath; and they shall know my vengeance, says the Lord Jehovah.|
In verse 12, after declaring the sins of Edom, that of taking vengeance against the people of Israel, in verse 13, the prophet states that God will now stretch out His hand in judgment against Edom in order to destroy everything in it. In verse 14, the totality of the destruction by
means of the people of Israel in armed military conflict is again pointed out.
So Edom, present day southern Jordan, is to suffer desolation, and the destruction of all of the descendants of Esau will come by means of the people of Israel. Only by means of total destruction will peace come between Israel and southern Jordan. As with Lebanon, there will not be a nation called Edom in the Messianic Kingdom.
2. Moab: Central Jordan
As for Moab, present day central Jordan, it, too, will suffer destruction (Jer. 48:1-46), but it will not be total. Those who survive will come to repentance and a remnant of Moab will return, according to Jeremiah 48:47: Yet will I bring back the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith Jehovah. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Peace will come between Israel and central Jordan by means of a partial destruction that will lead to the national salvation of Moab. Thus, there will be a saved nation called Moab in the Messianic Kingdom.
3. Ammon: Northern Jordan
Concerning Ammon, modern day northern Jordan, it will also suffer a partial destruction and become a possession of Israel, according to Jeremiah 49:1-2:
|Of the children of Ammon. Thus says Jehovah: Has Israel no sons? has he no heir? why then does Malcam possess Gad, and his people dwell in the cities thereof ? Therefore, behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard against Rabbah of the children of Ammon; and it shall become a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel possess them that did possess him, says Jehovah.|
As with Moab, it will not be a total destruction and those who survive will turn to the Lord, for a remnant of Ammon will also be found in the Kingdom according to Jeremiah 49:6: But afterward I will bring back the captivity of the children of Ammon, says Jehovah.
Thus, peace comes between Israel and northern Jordan by means of a partial destruction, followed by conversion, and there will be a saved nation called Ammon in the Kingdom.
To summarize, peace will come between Israel and the three parts of Jordan by means of destruction, but not all to the same degree. In the case of Edom or southern Jordan, the destruction will be total, and there will not be a nation of Edom in the Kingdom. The Edomites are descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, and so Israel and Edom were the closest blood relationship. In the case of Moab or central Jordan and Ammon or northern Jordan, the destruction will be partial. There will be a nation of Moab and a nation of Ammon in the Kingdom, with both subservient to Israel. Both these nations are descendants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham and, thus, more distantly related by blood.
The Arab States in Prophecy will conclude in the next Shofar.
If you enjoyed this Bible study, Dr. Fruchtenbaum
recommends the following Messianic Bible studies (mbs):
mbs 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
mbs 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
mbs 017: The Messianic Kingdom
mbs 038: The Sequence of Pretribulational Events
mbs 039: The Rapture of the Church
mbs 042: The 75-Day Interval
mbs 045: After the Kingdom
mbs 046: The Eternal Order
* Many of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's Messianic Bible studies are available for free online reading
and listening at Ariel Ministries' Come and See. All of his materials are available
for purchase at Ariel Ministries in various formats. Other select
materials and resources are available at Ariel, as well.
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Th.M., Ph.D., is
founder and director of Ariel Ministries.
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