At the end of the battle of the brothers, i.e. Ishmael and Isaac and their descendants, justice will be given to both the persecuted and persecutor.
It all began when Ishmael was in his mid teens and Isaac was about 2 or 3 years old. Isaac’s mother Sarah saw Hagar’s son Ishmael scoffing at Isaac. Scoffing in this context means to deride, mock, or make sport of.
At that time Sarah said to Abraham:
“Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” Genesis 21:10
Paul repeated these words to the church at Galatia 2000 years later.
Persecutors are always ‘citizens of the world’ and the persecuted are God’s chosen.
Persecution directed at the seed of Abraham and Isaac has increased during the centuries.
The Biblical historical books reveal that just prior to the Babylonian captivity, apostate Jews persecuted God’s prophets to the extent that judgment was inevitable.
“And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people… But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.” 2 Chronicles 36:15-16
Mocking, despising, and scoffing of the prophets by the unrepentant are the same actions that described Ishmael’s persecution of Isaac.
Persecution of God’s chosen continued relentlessly throughout the history of Israel and the church. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their past and present hypocrisy regarding the persecution of the prophets.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’” Matthew 23:29-30
Jesus unveiled their hypocrisy and confronted them with the truth.
“Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets…I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute…” Matthew 23:31, 34
The persecution of the church in the present age is basically a continuation of the persecution of God’s people in previous ages. All persecution was/is focused on the Son of God and His role as King, Lawgiver, and Judge.
Recall Stephen’s words just prior to his death.
“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers…” Acts 7:51-52
Persecution has just been passed on to succeeding generations and will continue until the Object of persecution returns to end it.
In God’s perfect timing His required wrath will be unleashed on the persecutors and rewards given to the persecuted.
Consider first God’s promise to the persecuted:
“…we…boast of you…for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure…that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven…” 2 Thessalonians 1:4-7
Now consider God’s required wrath on the persecutor:
“…in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God… These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…” 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
Every person is, by their own choice, a member of one of the two groups.
On the global scene, is America now a persecutor of Israel?
And in America’s internal political/religious climate, is the church the persecuted or alleged persecutor?
Understanding the history of Isaac and Ishmael and their descendants will help define the mocked and the mockers.
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