The Oldest Conflict?
News of violence in Israel has once again moved center-stage in the media worldwide. We’ve all been witnessing the aftermath of the sporadic lone wolf attacks carried out against Israeli citizens and soldiers. As I have watched the unrest escalate recently I am reminded of the dispute between the lines of Isaac and his older brother, Ishmael. This millenniums-old problem will not be solved by human efforts or negotiations. It surely will not be rectified by the carrot of land for peace and, as the world, its government, and its media move in one accord against the Jews, many of us understand the prophetic nature of both the conflict today, its climax in days future, and its roots so long ago. It is, in fact, just as the Scripture says it would be and only the Second Coming of the Savior will interrupt and bring to a close this family squabble that now engulfs multiple nations and millions of people.
Though many want to downplay the connection and become agitated the moment it is suggested, Bible believers can't ignore the covenant God made with Abram concerning Isaac as well as the Lord’s promise given to the older Ishmael (Gen 17:19-21).
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.
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 nation1.
my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at
this set time in the next year.
A promise to the eldest but an everlasting covenant with the other. And so it has been and so it will be. But along with Ishmael’s promise from God came the prophetic assurance of long and lasting trouble. Though the Muslim world rejects the Bible’s validity beyond Genesis 22, (claiming that it was Ishmael and not Isaac that Abraham took up the mountain to sacrifice), it is a verse in Genesis 16 that speaks to Ishmael’s fate.
And the angel of the Lord said unto her (Hagar), Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.
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.
What we are seeing today between Israel and the Palestinians has been ongoing since God proclaimed an earthly blessing upon Ishmael and the everlasting covenant with his younger brother, Isaac. Truly, the line of Ishmael has acted as a wild man, taking violence against others and suffering retaliation for their actions through the centuries. Surely there have been wrongs on the other side as well. But no single people has been marked for annihilation for so long and from so many sides as have the Jews. There cannot be and will not be a true peace between the two – regardless of the rhetoric poured out and played up by a sympathetic press. While Palestinian leaders claim they want peace, Palestinian TV encourages attacks and violence to be carried out against Israelis. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has who has made no effort to condemn the recent series of attacks, even claimed on October 14 that Israel had “executed” a 13 year-old boy. In reality the boy was alive in an Israeli hospital; he and his brother had committed a knife attack, after which his brother was killed.
The word “peace” means to the Palestinians the same as it does throughout Islam. Until one converts to Islam one is considered an infidel – an enemy. According to the Qur’an only when one bows his or her knee to Allah will one have peace. The goal of the Palestinians is not peaceful coexistence. They have stated numerous times through the years that their actual intent is to push the Jews into the sea. Truly, nothing so enflames the line of Ishmael as does the fact that Isaac's descendents still live - as does God's forever covenant with them.
1) The Arab World
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