Ishmael versus Hamas—The Larger Picture

The conflict in the Middle East today has deep roots in Bible history. When Abraham made the decision to follow Sarah’s suggestion and help God out with their problem of childlessness, the consequences are still reverberating today. (See Genesis, chapter 16.)

In the years that followed, Abraham’s family was fractured. To finally have peace, Abraham had to make the agonizing decision to remove Hagar and Ishmael.

God kept His promise that His blessing would flow through Isaac but His comment about Ishmael turned out to be highly prophetic:

“… he shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man and every man's hand against him;” Genesis 16:12.

We don't have a clear picture of the history of Ishmael's tribe, as we do of Isaac’s. They appear to have blended with the other people groups in that area such as Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians.

Bible history focuses mostly on the Hebrews who ultimately became known as the Jews. However, it does record multiple conflicts between the Jews and the surrounding tribes.

The animosity between the two groups eventually hardened when Mohammed gained enough followers to found Islam. Muslim tradition places Mohammed as a descendant of Ishmael who is also considered one of the Islamic prophets.

The prophecy of the wild behavior of Ishmael seems to have carried on through his descendants. Before Islam, the Jews fought running battles with the surrounding tribes and were eventually dispersed by God's judgment, using the tribes to chastise Israel.

A key principle in the teachings of Islam is the declaration that wherever Muslims come to rule, that conferred perpetual ownership of the land to Allah. It became the obligation of future generations of Muslims to fight to recover all of that territory that was later lost.

In the centuries that followed Mohammad, Muslim armies conquered all the way into Europe. Current leaders of Islam now are urging their followers to fight for recovery of Allah’s property.

They see their first step as driving the infidels out of the areas where Islam has dominated previously. After that they are required by the Koran to convert the rest of the world to Allah by any means necessary, including brutality.

This places current Israel as a massive thorn in Islam’s side. It stands prosperous and defiant in the very heart of what the mullahs consider to be Islam’s rightful domain.

With this as background, we need to see the current conflict in the Middle East as much larger than just Israel versus Palestinians. This is a global effort by Satan against God himself. The devil knows the prophecy that puts Israel as the apple of God's eye, who He has pledged to bless and protect.

The present skirmish between Israel and Hamas must be seen in this larger context. In fact, there is evidence that God did step in this time on the side of Israel. It appears that a unified effort by multiple Muslim armies was planned for the attack on Israel.

But like so many other battles against Israel, their enemies became confused about their strategy and failed in their larger objective. Reports are coming out that Hamas jumped ahead before the others were ready. This allowed Israel to mobilize, and the others backed off from a direct attack.

Bible prophecies indicate that in the last days, evil forces of such magnitude will be arrayed against Israel, that only God himself will have the power to step in and save them. The push for globalization is definitely weakening Israel's friends. Fossil fuels provide the energy for modern warfare. The push to eliminate them could easily leave the survival of God's chosen people in His hands alone.

An older Chick tract, “The Promise,” that has been out of print for years, gives a background to this history from the Bible. Chick Publications is re-releasing it for a short time to help people understand the biblical perspective to current events in the Middle East.

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Excerpt from 'The Promise.

The PromiseRead "The Promise" by Jack T. Chick

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