One of the most pressing international issues of today is Islam’s animosity towards Israel and any nation that befriends them. As such, this issue affects nearly every nation on earth. It all began with two brothers.
In about 2165 BC the man Abraham (formerly Abram) was born near the Euphrates River in Babylon, which is the present Iraq. Abraham was called by God to leave the land of his birth and journey to the land of Canaan which was later named Israel. The purpose of God’s calling to Abraham was to begin a nation which would reveal to the whole world that there was but one God, the creator and sovereign ruler of all things.
Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country…to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great…I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Gen 12:1-3
Well Abraham obeyed God and journeyed to Canaan (the future Israel) and dwelt there awaiting further instructions. And the LORD said to Abram… “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth…” Gen 13:14-16
Years passed and Abraham and his wife Sarah (formerly Sarai) did not have children. That perplexed Abraham because he questioned as to how his descendants could inherit the land when as yet he had no descendants and both he and Sarah were far beyond their child bearing years.
At this point Abraham thought he would help God fulfill His promise so he suggested to God that a foreign servant who had been made a legal heir to Abraham and part of his household should be the recipient of the covenant and land of promise.
The Lord God answered Abraham immediately: “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Gen 15:4
Still doubting God’s ability to fulfill His promise, Abraham’s wife Sarah gave her maid named Hagar to be a second wife to Abraham so he could father offspring with her in order to fulfill the promise that God made. And sure enough, Hagar conceived. God then spoke to Hagar through an angel; “…I will multiply your descendants exceedingly…Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael…He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man… Gen 16:10-12
Well Abraham then proposed to God that Ishmael, who was indeed from Abraham’s own body, be his legal descendant to inherit the land of promise. God response was; “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant…” Gen 17:19
However, God did not dismiss Ishmael from future blessings. “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” Gen 17:20
“But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you…” Gen 17:21
And so it was Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90. Not only did God specify that Isaac was to receive the covenant promise, but He later confirmed it when questioned.
Therefore, Isaac was to inherit the land of Israel and rise up a nation that would reveal the one true God to the whole world, and Ishmael was to be the progenitor of the Arab nations. Mohammad, an Arab and the founder of Islam, was born in the 6th century A.D. as a descendant of Ishmael. As can be seen, both Isaac and Ishmael were the sons of Abraham and both are still bitter enemies over which of them is the rightful heir of the covenant and the land called Israel.
Much more to follow.