Ariel Ministries' Messianic Bible Study # 008:
THE ARAB STATES IN PROPHECY
Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum
Part 1 and
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
* Each item is linked for your convenience *
III. THE FUTURE OF THE CONFLICT
D. Assyria: Northern Iraq
E. Kedar and Hazor: Saudi Arabia
F. Elam: Persia or Iran
IV. THE TWO DESOLATE SPOTS OF THE KINGDOM
A. Babylon: Southern Iraq
B. Edom: Southern 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
study or review of
Part 2 is
recommended for essential
background material to Part 3, the forthcoming segment of this study. - ed.
FUTURE OF THE CONFLICT
Peace will come between Israel
and Egypt initially by means of destruction and later by means of conversion.
A comprehensive story of Egypt's future is given in Isaiah 19:1-22. In verses
1-10, the prophet Isaiah described Egypt's punishment because of her sins.
Egypt will be characterized by civil war, desolation, and famine. In verses
11-15, the prophet stated that the root cause of Egypt's devastation was her
leaders, who had led Egypt astray. Under the dictatorships of Farouk, Nasser,
and Sadat, Egypt went to war against Israel on four occasions, each resulting
in heavy losses for Egypt and wrecking her economy.
Out of all this, there developed in Egypt a fear of Israel, as prophesied in
|In that day shall the Egyptians be like
unto women; and they shall tremble and fear because of the shaking of
the hand of Jehovah of hosts, which he shakes over them. And the land of
Judah shall become a terror unto Egypt; every one to whom mention is
made thereof shall be afraid, because of the purpose of Jehovah of
hosts, which he purposes against it.
Never in ancient history has this been true. Even in the days
of Solomon, Egyptian forces passed through the Land of Israel freely. Only
since 1948, and especially since the Six Day War, have the Egyptian forces
evidenced a fear and dread of Israel portrayed in this
passage. With Egypt's having lost four wars against Israel with heavy
casualties, the fear is deeply rooted. Prophetically, today is still the
period of Isaiah 19:16-17.
But eventually peace will come between Israel and Egypt. Initially, the peace
will be a political one, when the Hebrew language will be spoken by five
Egyptian cities, according to Isaiah 19:18: In that
day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of
Canaan, and swear to Jehovah of hosts; one shall be called The City of
Destruction. In Isaiah's day, the language
of Canaan was the Hebrew language. Exactly how this prophecy will
be fulfilled remains to be seen.
This, in turn, will slowly give way to Egypt's conversion, according to Isaiah
|In that day shall there be an altar to
Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border
thereof to Jehovah. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto
Jehovah of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they shall cry unto Jehovah
because of oppressors, and he will send them a saviour, and a defender,
and he will deliver them. And Jehovah shall be known to Egypt, and the
Egyptians shall know Jehovah in that day; yea, they shall worship with
sacrifice and oblation, and shall vow a vow unto Jehovah, and shall
perform it. And Jehovah will smite Egypt, smiting and healing; and they
shall return unto Jehovah, and he will be entreated of them, and will
In verses 19-20a, an altar
to the God of Israel will be built as a sign
and a witness of the power of the God of
Israel to save the land of Egypt. Egypt will be greatly oppressed by the
forces of the Antichrist and his cohorts (Dan. 11:42-43), but God will save
Egypt from the domination
of those oppressors in verse 20b. The Egyptians will realize that Allah, the
Moslem god, cannot save them, but only Jehovah, the God of Israel. This will
lead to the national conversion of Egypt. In verse 21, Egypt shall know the
Lord and will worship the God of Israel with oblation,
vow. In verse 22, the same God who brought about their destruction
will also bring about their regeneration and their healing when they turn in
faith to Him.
In conjunction with the latter days of the Tribulation and the Campaign of
Armageddon, there will be a national conversion of Egypt. In this manner, they
will take their place in the ranks of the sheep Gentiles (Mat. 25:31-46). It
should be noted that Egypt will be one of the nations that will move against
the Antichrist, according to Daniel 11:40.
Nevertheless, because of her longstanding hatred of Israel, in the outworking
of the cursing principle of the Abrahamic Covenant, Egypt will suffer a
desolation that will be similar to that of Edom, according to Joel 3:19:
Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a
desolate wilderness, for the violence done to the children of Judah, because
they have shed innocent blood in their land.
The sin of Egypt is the same as that of Edom: mistreatment of the Jews, and so
punishment will come. With Edom, it will be a total and permanent
desolate wilderness. With Egypt, it will
be a total, yet temporary desolation, but
not a wilderness.
In fact, the desolation of Egypt is to last only for the first forty years of
the Kingdom, as recorded in Ezekiel 29:1-16:
|In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in
the twelfth day of the month, the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,
Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy
against him, and against all Egypt; speak, and say, Thus says the Lord
Jehovah: Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great
monster that lies in the midst of his rivers, that has said, My river is
mine own, and I have made it for myself. And I will put hooks in your
jaws, and I will cause the fish of your rivers to stick unto your
scales; and I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, with
all the fish of your rivers which stick unto your scales. And I will
cast you forth into the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers:
you shall fall upon the open field; you shall not be brought together,
nor gathered; I have given you for food to the beasts of the earth and
to the birds of the heavens. And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know
that I am Jehovah, because they have been a staff of reed to the house
of Israel. When they took hold of you by your hand, you did break, and
did rend all their shoulders; and when they leaned upon you, you broke,
and made all their loins to be at a stand. Therefore thus says the Lord
Jehovah: Behold, I will bring a sword upon you, and will cut off from
you man and beast. And the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a
waste; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. Because he has said, The
river is mine, and I have made it; therefore, behold, I am against you,
and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter
waste and desolation, from the tower of Seveneh even unto the border of
Ethiopia. No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall
pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years. And I will
make the land of Egypt a desolation in the midst of the countries that
are desolate; and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall
be a desolation forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the
nations, and will disperse them through the countries. For thus says the
Lord Jehovah: At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from
the peoples whither they were scattered; and I will bring back the
captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of
Pathros, into the land of their birth; and they shall be there a base
kingdom. It shall be the base of the kingdoms; neither shall it any more
lift itself up above the nations: and I will diminish them, that they
shall no more rule over the nations. And it shall be no more the
confidence of the house of Israel, bringing iniquity to remembrance,
when they turn to look after them: and they shall know that I am the
In verses 1-2, Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy against Egypt
and predict the coming dispersion of the Egyptians from their land in verses
3-5 because of their long history of mistreatment of Israel in verses 6-7. The
land of Egypt will suffer a period of total
verses 8-10, which will last forty years
in verses 11-12a, and the Egyptians will be scattered all over the world like
Israel was before her in verse 12b. But after the end of the period of forty
years, the Egyptians will be regathered in verse 13 and brought
back into their land in verse 14. Though Egypt will become a kingdom again in
verse 15, it will never be a powerful one. Nor will Israel ever again be
guilty of placing her confidence in Egypt in verse 16, but will trust in the
Lord their God. As for the lowly kingdom of Egypt, it will also be required to
observe the Feast of Tabernacles, according to Zechariah 14:16-19.
To summarize, peace will come between Israel and Egypt by means of conversion.
Only when the Egyptians worship the same God as Israel, through Jesus the
Messiah, will peace finally come. For the first forty years of the Kingdom,
the land of Egypt will be desolate and the
Egyptians will be dispersed all over the world. But afterwards, the Egyptians
will be regathered and become a kingdom once again, albeit a lowly one.
D. Assyria: Northern Iraq
Ancient Assyria is today comprised of modern northern Iraq, another implacable
Arab enemy of modern Israel. But peace will come between Israel and northern
Iraq by means of conversion, according to Isaiah 19:23-25:
|In that day shall there be a highway out of
Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the
Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians shall worship with the
Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with
Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth; for that Jehovah of hosts
has blessed them, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the
work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.
Verse 23 describes an economic unit that will encompass
and Assyria. The famous highway of the
ancient world, known as the Via Maris, has ceased to function ever since 1948,
when Israel became a state. In 1948, Egypt and Syria closed their borders,
making the highway inoperable. However, in
the Kingdom, when peace will be restored, all borders will be open, and the
highway, a symbol of economy, will be
restored between these middle eastern states. The means by which this will
occur is conversion in verses 24-25. Not only will Egypt undergo a conversion
experience, so also will the ancient area of Assyria. Assyria will become a
blessing in the earth and will receive a blessing from God. The three former
enemies will now have a spiritual unity as well as an economic and political
declares: Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the
work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance. This spiritual unity
will be the basis for the other unities.
So peace will come between Israel and Assyria, northern Iraq, by means of
conversion. When this happens, there will be economic, political, and
religious unity, because they will all worship the same God.
E. Kedar and Hazor: Saudi Arabia
Peace will come between Israel and Saudi Arabia by means of destruction. This
is taught in Jeremiah 49:28-33. This passage describes the total devastation
of Saudi Arabia by war until the inhabitants are scattered and dispersed all
over the world. As for the land itself, verse 33 states:
And Hazor shall be a dwelling place of jackals, a desolation for ever: no
man shall dwell there, neither shall any son of man sojourn therein.
The land of Saudi Arabia will be a perpetual
desolation throughout the Kingdom, and the residents will be
dispersed everywhere. While Egypt's desolation and dispersion will last only
forty years, for Saudi Arabia, it will last for all of the one thousand years
of the Messianic
Kingdom. So peace will come between Israel and Saudi Arabia by means of
F. Elam: Persia or Iran
Although Persia or Iran, which is ancient Elam, is not an Arab state, its
future will be examined here because they share the same religion, Islam, with
the Moslem Arabs.
Peace will come between Israel and Iran by means of destruction, according to
Jeremiah 9:34-39. In verses 34-38, Jeremiah described the destruction of Elam,
with the inhabitants being completely dispersed all over the world. But then
verse 39 declares: But it shall come to pass in the
latter days, that I will bring back the captivity of Elam, says Jehovah.
The destruction of Iran will be partial, and the dispersion will be temporary.
Eventually the inhabitants will return and resettle Iran. The future of Iran
is similar to that of Egypt, but the length of time they will be in dispersion
is not revealed.
So peace will come between Israel and Iran by means of a destruction,
dispersion, and then a conversion and a return. There will be a saved nation
of Elam, Persia or Iran, in the Kingdom.
IV. THE TWO DESOLATE SPOTS OF THE KINGDOM
During the Messianic Kingdom, the entire world will be
fruitful and very productive; it will be characterized by beauty.
Nevertheless, there will be two desolate spots of burning pitch and burning
brimstone throughout the period of the Kingdom: Babylon and Edom. Egypt will
be desolate only in the sense of being uninhabited, and that for only forty
years. Saudi Arabia will be desolate throughout the Kingdom, but also only in
the sense of being uninhabited.
A. Babylon: Southern Iraq
The first of these two desolate spots will be the former world capital of the
Antichrist: Babylon. Several passages make this point, one of which is Isaiah
|It shall never be inhabited, neither shall
it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian
pitch tent there; neither shall shepherds make their flocks to lie down
there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses
shall be full of doleful creatures; and ostriches shall dwell there, and
wild goats shall dance there. And wolves shall cry in their castles, and
jackals in the pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her
days shall not be prolonged.
The uninhabitable ruins are described as similar to Sodom and
Gomorrah in Jeremiah 50:39-40:
|Therefore the wild beasts of the desert
with the wolves shall dwell there, and the ostriches shall dwell
therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be
dwelt in from generation to generation. As when God overthrew Sodom and
Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, says Jehovah, so shall no man
dwell there, neither shall any son of man sojourn therein.
Later, Jeremiah emphasized the totality and completeness of
Babylon's desolation in Jeremiah 51:41-43:
|How is Sheshach taken! and the praise of
the whole earth seized! how is Babylon become a desolation among the
nations! The sea is come up upon Babylon; she is covered with the
multitude of waves thereof Her cities are become a desolation, a dry
land, and a desert, a land wherein no man dwells, neither does any son
of man pass thereby.
Throughout the Kingdom period, no man will even so much as
pass by the ruins of Babylon, something that is hardly true today.
Not only is Babylon to be a desolate waste throughout the Kingdom, it will
also be a place of continual burning and smoke, according to Revelation 19:3:
And a second time they say, Hallelujah. And her smoke
goes up for ever and ever.
It is obvious that the animal inhabitants, as they are known today, mentioned
in Isaiah 13:20-22 and Jeremiah 50:39-40, cannot live in a place of continual
burning and so cannot be literal animals. What they actually are is explained
by Revelation 18:1-2:
|After these things I saw another angel
coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was
lightened with his glory. And he cried with a mighty voice, saying,
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of
demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean
and hateful bird.
This place of continual burning and smoke will be a place of
confinement for many demons during the Kingdom period. It is clear from
Revelation 9 and other passages that demons have animal like features, and
this is what the animals of the Isaiah and Jeremiah passages actually
represent. In fact, the Hebrew word translated as wild goats refers to demons
in goat form.
B. Edom: Southern Jordan
The second desolate spot in the Kingdom will be Edom. This is pointed out by
several prophets, such as Isaiah 34:8-15:
|For Jehovah has a day of vengeance, a year
of recompense for the cause of Zion. And the streams of Edom shall be
turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land
thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor
day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever; from generation to
generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and
ever. But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it; and the owl
and the raven shall dwell therein: and he will stretch over it the line
of confusion, and the plummet of emptiness. They shall call the nobles
thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there; and all its princes
shall be nothing. And thorns shall come up in its palaces, nettles and
thistles in the fortresses thereof; and it shall be a habitation of
jackals, a court for ostriches. And the wild beasts of the desert shall
meet with the wolves, and the wild goat shall cry to his fellow; yea,
the night-monster shall settle there, and shall find her a place of
rest. There shall the dart snake make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and
gather under her shade; yea, there shall the kites be gathered, every
one with her mate.
In verse 8, the reason for Edom's becoming a perpetual
desolation is their sins against Israel. Like Babylon, in verses 9-10, it is
to become a place of continual burning and smoke inhabited by various foul
birds and animals, and characterized by confusion in verse 11. In verse 12,
it will be totally uninhabited by men and will be habitable only by the
animals mentioned in verses 13-15. Yet these animals, as they are known today,
cannot live in a place of burning pitch and burning brimstone. Two clues in
this text show that these are not literal birds and animals. Again, the word
translated wild goats actually means
“demons in goat form.” The word translated
night-monster means “night demons.” Like Babylon, Edom will be an
abode of demons.
Another prophecy where this is found is Jeremiah 49:17-18:
|And Edom shall become an astonishment:
every one that passes by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all
the plagues thereof. As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the
neighbor cities thereof, says Jehovah, no man shall dwell there, neither
any son of man sojourn therein.
The emphasis is on its totality, for no human will inhabit the
land of Edom or even pass through it. Like Babylon, the desolation will be
similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The reason for such massive destruction in Edom is amplified by Ezekiel
|Because you have said, These two nations
and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas
Jehovah was there: therefore as I live says the Lord Jehovah, I will do
according to your anger, and according to your envy which you have shown
out of your hatred against them; and I will make myself known among
them, when I shall judge you. And you shall know that I, Jehovah, have
heard all your revilings which you have spoken against the mountains of
Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to devour. And
ye have magnified yourselves against me with your mouth, and have
multiplied your words against me: I have heard it. Thus says the Lord
Jehovah: When the whole earth rejoices, I will make you desolate. As you
did rejoice over the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was
desolate, so will I do unto you: you shall be desolate, O mount Seir,
and all Edom, even all of it; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.
In verses 10-13, because of Edom's glee over the fall of
Israel and Judah, the punishment must come. So while the whole earth is
beautified and rejoicing, Edom will be a desolation in verse 14. The
calamities, which fell on Israel and over which Edom rejoiced, will now fall
on Edom in a more severe way in verse 15.
Finally, Joel 3:19 states: Egypt shall be a
desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence done to
the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
Egypt's desolation will be limited to only forty years. As for Edom, because
of her unique violence against Israel, her desolation will be permanent and
last throughout the Kingdom.
Throughout the Millennial Kingdom, while the whole earth is beautified and
blossoming as the rose, the two areas of Babylon and Edom will be places of
continual burning pitch and burning brimstone. The smoke will rise and be
visible for the entire one thousand years. While Satan will be confined in the
Abyss, his demons will be confined in Babylon and Edom. These two places will
be the abode of demons for the entire Kingdom period.
This concludes our study of The Arab States in Prophecy.
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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