Chapter 2 - Jew And Arab
It is the purpose of this chapter to suggest
that, contrary to common expectation, the last great conflict before
the coming of the Lord will be between Jew and Arab, and not (as is often
thought) between Jew and Russian. Just as there are weaknesses (pointed out in
chapter 1) in the hypothesis of a Gog-Magog invasion of Israel before the coming
of the Lord, so there is a corresponding strength about the repeated emphasis in
the prophets on an Arab victory over the Jews. Whilst many students of prophecy
have lately found anticipations in Scripture of the present Arab-Jew antagonism,
few seem to have taken these prophetic foreshadowings to their logical
conclusion. The evidence — Biblical, not political — calls for
First, it is taken as a conclusion requiring no
proof that the prophecies of the last days concerning Edom are about the Arabs
since so many of the Arab tribes are descended from Esau and because ancient
Edom is unquestionably Arab territory today.
The first of these prophecies calling for
attention is Ezekiel 35, 36. The words here are remarkably explicit: “I
will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not be inhabited, and
ye shall know that I am the Lord. Because thou hast said, These two nations
(i.e. Edom and Israel) and these two countries shall be mine, and we will
possess it; whereas the Lord was there: therefore as I live, saith the Lord, I
will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou
hast used out of thine hatred against them; an d I will make myself known
among them, when I have judged thee” (Ezekiel
A careful consideration of these words shews that
certain events are clearly implied:
Almost every verse in the chapter reinforces
- The annexation of Israel by Arab
- A divine judgement on these boastful enemies to be
followed immediately by
- The manifestation of divine
glory among the Jews.
Ezekiel 36 is, if anything, even more emphatic.
There, Edom is pictured as gloating over a recent triumph: “Aha, even the
ancient high places are ours in possession” (v. 2). For this, divine
judgement is pronounced “against all Edom, which have appointed my land
into their possession with the joy of all their heart” (v.
But, by contrast, there is to be re-gathering and
blessing for Israel: “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth
your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they are at hand to
come” (v. 8).
What is specially impressive is that this Arab
desolation of the Land is represented as Israel’s last agony
before the fulfilment of all their ancient hopes: “Thou (land of Israel)
shalt devour men no more . . . neither will I cause men to hear in thee
the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou hear the reproach
of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to call
any more” (vv. 14, 15).
The logical conclusion seems to be that the
Arab conquest of Israel will be the last that it will
The prophecy of Obadiah “concerning
Edom”, has exactly the same shape, so that reinforcement of this
conclusion just reached is only to be evaded by denying altogether a last-day
application of the prophecy. “For thy violence against thy brother Jacob
shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever” (v.
There is the same emphasis on the unlawful
possession of Israel’s territory: “Thou shouldest not have entered
into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity” (v.
Therefore judgement from the Lord must inevitably
follow: “For the day of the Lord is upon all the heathen: as thou hast
done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink
continually . . . they shall be as though they had not been” (vv. 15,
Nevertheless Israel will be delivered:
“Upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and
the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions” (v.
The ensuing verses (vv.18, 19) indicate that the
whole of the Land promised to Abraham will be restored
“and the kingdom shall be the
Lord’s” (v. 21).
Thus, again, Israel’s final tribulation
appears to come from Arab enemies.
Many as a prophecy of Israel’s calamity
also have read psalm 83 in the Last Days. Doubtless it had its origin in the
historical circumstances of the reign of Hezekiah or Jehoshaphat, but few
readers of these words would limit its reference to such a time, any more than
they would insist on the application of Psalm 72 to Solomon
Psalm 83, then, describes a highly successful
confederacy against the people of God: “They have taken crafty counsel
against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come,
let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel be no more in
remembrance” (vv. 3, 4). Then follows a long and impressive list of names
of the hostile peoples—all of them Arab peoples, or modern Arab
territories: Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagarenes, Gebal, Ammon,
Amalek, the Philistines, Tyre, Asshur, the children of Lot (vv. 6-8). And the
plea for divine succour (vv. 9-11) is based not, as is so commonly the case
elsewhere, on God’s mighty deliverance from Egypt under Moses, but on His
rescue of His people from Arab oppressions—Sisera and Jabin, the
Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb, Zebah and Zalmunna. And the Psalm ends with the
words: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the
most high over all the earth”. Such words require reference to the end of
Further evidence may be adduced from Jeremiah 30,
31. “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (30: 7) is one out of
which he is to be saved, so that “strangers shall no more serve
themselves of him; but they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their
king (the Messiah: ch. 23:5, 6), whom I will raise up unto them” (30:8,
9). The Hebrew word here-translated “trouble” is the same as that
used in Genesis 32:7: “Thy brother Esau cometh to meet thee and four
hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed
“. In the ensuing prophecy in Jeremiah 31: 7-22 about the
re-gathering of Israel phrase after phrase goes back to the Genesis narrative of
Jacob’s return to the Land in fear because of Syrian foes behind him and
Edomite foes coming to meet him. About twenty of these allusions are traceable.
The obvious intention is to represent that return of Israel the patriarch as a
type of the return of Israel the nation.
Read thus the prophecy carries a strong
implication that in the great “time of Jacob’s trouble”, it
will be Arab (Esau) hostility and opposition, which must be feared rather
The familiar details of Zechariah 14 harmonize
with this view . . . “and the city shall be taken . . . and half the city
(i.e. half of the population of the city) shall go forth into captivity . . .
Then shall the Lord go forth . . .” (Zechariah 14:2, 3).
It is not unreasonable to identify this
“captivity” of Israel in the Last Days with that described in Joel 3
:1-8. If this equation is correct, then the gathering of the hostile nations for
retribution in “the valley of Jehoshaphat” (Joel 3 :2) is highly
appropriate also inasmuch as the great deliverance in King Jehoshaphat’s
time was from a fearsome invasion by “Ammon and Moab, and mount Seir
(Edom)” (2 Chronicles 20:10).
This prophecy of Joel concludes with the words:
“Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the
children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land”
From the foregoing accumulation of Bible evidence
it can be justly claimed that a fair case is to be made out for believing that
the great climax of Israel’s history is to come not with the crushing of a
tiny Jewish state by a Russian steam-roller, but by the fulfilment of the great
historic types of Genesis— Ishmael against Isaac, Esau against Jacob. The
ultimate outcome of this clash is assured, both in type and prophecy. But first
Israel must learn, through the bitterest experience of all, to abandon all
reliance on working out its own salvation. As yet the Jews shew no sign whatever
of assimilating the vital lesson that cleverness and industry can never be any
substitute for humble faith in the God of their fathers.