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Sunday, December 4 2011
What Does The Bible Say About Arabs?
Although many people today equate the word "Arab" with "Muslim" (i.e. of the Islamic religion), Islam has only existed since about the seventh century AD, from the lifetime of its founder, Muhammad, who lived from 570-632. The Arab people have existed long before that time. When the Holy Bible refers to "Arabs" or "Arabians," it is speaking of specific tribes of related people who lived in the vast area extending from North Africa across the Middle East (see Paul's Geography Lesson).
Many of the Arab people today claim Abraham as one of their key ancestors, just as the people of Israel do. Both are correct; Abraham, who was born in what is today Iraq (see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees; also 'Raghead' Racism), became the father of the Israelites through his son Isaac (Isaac had a son named Jacob, who the LORD renamed as Israel; see also Are Levites 'Jews'? and Who Were The First Jews?), while at the same time Abraham became the father of many of the Arab people through his other wives and concubines - such as the Egyptian woman Hagar who was the mother of Ishmael (in later years, two of the Israelite patriarchs, Ephraim and Manasseh, were also born of an Egyptian mother i.e. Genesis 41:50-52; see also Why Did They Go To Goshen?). Abraham asked the LORD (see Abraham The Christian) to bless his "Arab" children, to which the LORD replied, "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."
"17:20 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." (Genesis 17:20 KJV)
Still more Arab people can claim descent from Abraham - from his wife Keturah (after Sarah died) and other concubines. As with Ishmael, they too were sent to live away from Isaac, at first "eastward, unto the east country."
"25:1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 25:2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. 25:3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. 25:4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
Among the children of Keturah was Midian (verse 2 in the quote above). From Abraham's son Midian came the "Arab" Midianite people who dwelt in the Sinai Peninsula. When Moses fled from the Pharaoh, he took refuge with Jethro the Midianite. Moses married Jethro's daughter Zipporah, who became the mother of his two sons, Gershom and Eliezer (just as two of the Israelite patriarchs had an "Arab" mother, so too did the two sons of Moses).
"2:15 Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses [see also The River Of Moses]. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. 2:16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 2:17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
It was during the time of his forty years of living with, and as, the Arab people of the Sinai that Moses discovered the LORD on "the mountain of God" - the famous "burning bush" incident.
"3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God [see also The First Christian Church], even to Horeb. 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
"Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God"
Much of the Arab territory became dry and desolate (see also Libya In History And Prophecy); perhaps primarily for that reason, the Arab people were often not only nomadic, in order to sustain their flocks and herds, but also extensive commercial traders with distant lands - from which all other nations in the Middle East benefited, including Israel.
"10:14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, 10:15 Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country." (1 Kings 10:14-15 KJV)
When Israel was obedient and faithful to the LORD, all of the nations, including the Arab people, lived in peace with Israel.
"17:10 And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat. 17:11 Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.
On the other hand, whenever Israel became corrupt before the LORD, He made them vulnerable to the nations around them, including the Arab people i.e. "the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians: And they came up into Judah, and brake into it."
"21:12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, 21:13 But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself: 21:14 Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: 21:15 And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.
When Israel returned to obeying the LORD, peace with the Arabs soon followed.
"26:3 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 26:4 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. 26:5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
When the people of Judah returned from their seventy-years exile in Babylon (see Jeremiah's Field and The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today), the people of the land, including some of the Arab people, opposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
"2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 2:18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me.
Arabs are mentioned in the future fall of "Babylon," in that they, like all of the rest of humanity, will no longer be "in" it (see What And Where Is Babylon Today?).
"13:19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 13:20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. 13:21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. 13:22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged." (Isaiah 13:19-22 KJV)
That "coming out of Babylon" began for some of the Arab people at the time of the famous "birthday of the Church" Pentecost (although the Holy Spirit and the Church of Christ had already long-existed - again, see The First Christian Church). Also, just like the rest of humanity at that time, one day all of the Arab people will know the LORD (see The Eighth Day: What Does It Mean?).
"2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
"1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." (Galatians 1:15-17 KJV)
The apostle Paul used the allegory of the two lines of the children of Abraham to illustrate how all people, before their conversion, are "children of Hagar," while all people, after their conversion, are "children of Sarah" (again, see Abraham The Christian; also Don't Look Back).
"4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all [see The Yoke Of Freedom]. 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
As stated earlier, the most-prominent religion of the Arab people, Islam, began around 600 AD - at about the same time that the Church of Rome was becoming a major force, to the north of the Arab nations. Those two empires became the prophetic "King of the North" and the "King of the South" who fought the centuries-long "Crusades" struggle for control of Jerusalem - a conflict that is not yet over (see the Fact Finder question below).
"11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. 11:41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 11:42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 11:43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. 11:44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him." (Daniel 11:40-45 KJV)
Fact Finder: How have (and will be again in the time just prior to Christ's return) the Arab people been the major opponent of the prophesied "beast"?
This Day In History, December 4
771: Charlemagne became the sole emperor of the Franks after the death of his brother Carloman (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
963: Holy Roman Emperor Otto deposed Pope John XII for dishonorable conduct and for plotting an armed conspiracy. Leo VIII succeeded as pope (see The Holy Roman Empire, Emperors and Popes and The Struggle For The Papacy).
1154: Nicholas Breakspear became the only Englishman to be crowned pope. He reigned as Adrian IV.
1489: The Battle of Baza between the Spanish army and the Moors.
1563: The Council of Trent ended after 18 years.
1674: French Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette constructed the first building of a mission in the wilderness area of Lake Michigan. Today the place is known as Chicago.
1791: The Observer, of Britain, the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world, was first published.
1809: The International Bible Society was founded. It has since distributed the Bible to over 150 countries in the world.
1829: Britain abolished the practice of "suttee" in India, in which the widow burned herself to death on her husband's funeral pyre.
1861: Queen Victoria prohibited the export of British-manufactured gunpowder and firearms because they were being used to fight British imperialism in the countries and colonies that were purchasing it.
1914: At the beginning of the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the German Navy formed the first military seaplane force. It began operations from Zeebrugge, Belgium.
1918: The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was proclaimed. It became known as Yugoslavia.
1952: The Great Smog of London began when vast amounts of coal smoke emitted from homes and factories, along with gasoline and diesel vehicle exhaust, combined with a unique cold fog from the Atlantic. The "smog" (the original and first use of the word smog - smoke and fog) killed thousands of people over that winter.
1981: Ronald Reagan officially (i.e. publicly admitted) authorized the CIA to conduct spy operations in the U.S. itself (millions of naive people were apparently oblivious to the reality that the CIA was already doing so, just as it had been right from the moment that it was created).
1991: Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) ceased operation due to bankruptcy.
1992: George Bush (Sr.) ordered 28,000 U.S. troops into Somalia to assist in UN humanitarian distribution of food aid that was being blocked by warring gangs. Although welcoming the U.S. troops at first, the Somalian people soon regarded the U.S. troops as invaders and occupiers - and began fighting them rather than each other (the famous "Blackhawk down" occurred in Somalia during the Battle of Mogadishu).