Abraham is called "the friend of God" (Jas 2:23), an expression used of no other person in the Bible. As a result of that relationship, God made an "everlasting covenant" with His special friend (Gen:17:7, 13, 19; 1 Chro:16:16-18; Ps:105:8-12; 118:9, etc.) that extended to Abraham's descendants for all time.
This covenant involved (1) the promised land and (2) the promised Messiah. Only in the Messiah could God fulfill His pledge to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: "in thee [and in thy seed] shall all families [or nations] of the earth be blessed" (Gen:12:3; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). As for the land, God's promise was clear: "For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" (Gen:13:15); "...the LORD made a covenant with Abram,...Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river...Euphrates" (Gen:15:18); "...all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession..." (Gen:17:7-8).
Abraham had several sons: Ishmael through his wife Sarah's Egyptian maid, Hagar; Isaac through his wife Sarah; and six others through Keturah, whom he married after Sarah died (Gen:25:1-2).
Sarah was unable to bear children. Neither she nor Abraham could believe God's promise that she herself would bear him a son (Gen:16:1-4). Abraham was satisfied with Ishmael and begged for God's covenant to be fulfilled in him (Gen:17:18). But Ishmael was an illegitimate child, born through the unbelief of Abraham and Sarah, and not the son God had promised to them. Rejecting Abraham's plea, God emphatically declared, "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son...; thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael,...I have blessed him....But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee..." (Gen:17:19-21).
That Isaac, miraculously born to both Abraham and Sarah, was the one through whom God's promises of the land and of the Messiah would be fulfilled, and that Ishmael was not the son whose descendants would possess the promised land, is so clearly and repeatedly declared in Scripture that it cannot be honestly disputed. Yet the Arabs, who claim to be descended from Ishmael, lay claim to the promises given by God to Isaac and through him to the Jews. Islam's claim that Ishmael was the son of promise not only contradicts Scripture but irrationally gives an illegitimate son priority over his half-brother, the true heir.
Distinguishing Isaac beyond dispute from the other sons born to Abraham, God called Isaac the "only son" of Abraham and commanded that he be sacrificed on Mount Moriah (Gen:22:2). It was Isaac who, in submission to God's command, willingly allowed his father to bind him upon the altar, and whom God delivered at the last moment when He had proved the complete obedience of both father and son (Gen:22:1-14). This is the testimony of Scripture from the God who "cannot lie" (1 Sam:15:29; Ps:89:35; Titus:1:2, etc.) and whose "gifts and calling...are without repentance" (Rom:11:29).
Isaac had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Contrary to custom of the time, instead of Esau, the firstborn, God chose Jacob, the younger son, through whom His promises would be fulfilled. Before these twins were born, God specifically revealed to their mother, Rebecca, the destiny of their descendants: "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people...and the elder shall serve the younger" (Gen:25:23). The prophecy did not pertain to Jacob and Esau as individuals (Esau never served Jacob in his lifetime) but to the nations that would descend from them. The Arabs come from both Ishmael and Esau because the latter and his descendants intermarried with the descendants of Ishmael (Gen:28:9).
The Jews, in contrast (isolated in Egypt for 400 years and brought as an identifiable ethnic group into the promised land), are the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel. The promise of the land and of the Messiah was renewed by God to Isaac: "Unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries,...in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed..." (Gen:26:3,4). Also, to Jacob (Israel) God said, "...the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;...and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Gen:28:13,14).
Indisputably, the land of Israel ("from the river of Egypt unto the great river...Euphrates" - Gen:15:18-21) was given to the Jews forever. God declared, "The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine..." (Lev:25:23). In blatant disobedience, Israel's leaders have been trading land for "peace" with Arafat, who has sworn to exterminate Israel. Israel has abandoned the biblical conviction expressed by her first premier, David Ben Gurion:
Our right to this Land in its entirety is steadfast, inalienable and eternal....This right...cannot be forfeited under any circumstance...[Israelis] have neither the power nor the jurisdiction to negate it for future generations to come....And until the coming of the Great Redemption, we shall never yield this historic right. 1
To further make certain that all mankind understands that the Jews are God's chosen people, the word "Israel" dominates the Bible, appearing 2,565 times in 2,293 verses. In contrast, Arabians are mentioned only ten times.
Anyone who claims to believe the Bible must acknowledge that there is only one nation and one people—the Jews alone—to whom God ever gave a land and specific, perpetual promises. The Jews are the only people still existing as a nation, though scattered, whose genealogy is preserved in Holy Scripture and who are identifiable in the world today. Were that not the case, there would be no fulfillment to hundreds of God's promises and He would be a liar.
We have documented in the past that Yahweh of the Bible and Allah of the Qur'an are not the same (see especially the Q&A section of TBC Reprints for Feb. 2000). Twelve times Yahweh calls himself, or is referred to as, "the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob." An overwhelming 203 times in 201 verses (from Ex 5:1 to Lk 1:68), Yahweh is called "the God of Israel"—never the God of Ishmael.
In contrast, Islam and Allah express hatred for Israel and all Jews. That fact alone is enough to distinguish Yahweh from Allah. The Qur'an and authoritative Islamic tradition cited in the hadith vilify the Jews repeatedly:
Because of the wrongdoing of the Jews...We have prepared for [them] a painful doom" (Surah 4:160-161); Allah hath cursed them [the Jews] for their disbelief (4:46); Allah fighteth against them. How perverse are they! (9:30); Ignominy shall be their portion wheresoever they are found...(3:112); The resurrection of the dead will not come until the Muslims will war with the Jews and the Muslims will kill them;...the trees and rocks will say, O Muslim...here is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. 2
Sadly, the Arabs, persisting in the false claim that Ishmael was the legitimate son of promise, have rebelled against God's Word. Their jealous hatred of the descendants of Isaac (exacerbated by the teachings and example of Muhammad and Islam) has left a blot on the history of mankind unequaled even by that left by Hitler.
In Muslim lands for 1,300 years, Jews suffered from inhumane treatment and periodic bursts of violence. Take only one country, Morocco, as an example of what occurred everywhere under Muslim rule. Jews were forced to live in ghettos called mellahs. One historian writes that rape, looting, burning of synagogues, destruction of Torah scrolls and murder were "so frequent that it is impossible to list them."3 As only one instance of many, in Fez, in A.D.1032, about 6,000 Jews were murdered and many more "robbed of their women and property." 4 Such slaughter continued periodically in Fez and throughout Morocco (as in other Muslim countries). Interestingly, the fierce persecution of 1640 in which women and children were murdered was called the al-Khada. Chouraqui (p 39) says that Jews suffered "such repression, restriction and humiliation as to exceed anything in Europe."
Most Jews today do not believe God's promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Nevertheless, there has always been a nucleus through the centuries who did believe His promises—and even recognized and admitted that the dispersion of Jews was God's judgment on their sin. Maimonides, the famous Jewish physician and philosopher, whose family had fled from Islamic persecution in Spain to, of all places, Fez (and who himself had to flee from Morocco later), wrote in his "Epistle to Yemen" in 1172,
It is...one of the fundamental articles of the faith of Israel that the future redeemer of our people will...gather our nation, assemble our exiles, redeem us from our degradation....On account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely...as Scripture has forewarned us....Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase, and hate us as much as they.... 5
Such persecution has continued against those few thousand Jews who have not yet escaped Muslim lands. In a letter dated July 10, 1974, to then UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, Ramsey Clark declared, "Jewish people living in Syria today are subjected to the most pervasive and inhuman persecution....Young women and children are harassed in the streets. Old people are knocked down. Homes are stoned....They are forbidden to leave in peace and cannot remain in dignity....Many have been arrested, detained, tortured and killed."
Muslims falsely claim that the animosity toward Jews is the result of the founding of the state of Israel. This is so obviously not the case that this lie ought to be an embarrassment. The Qur'an's official religious denunciations of Jews existed more than 1,200 years before Israel's rebirth. Joan Peters, in her invaluable book, From Time Immemorial, writes (p. 72),
The late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia told Henry Kissinger [a Jew] that "...Before the Jewish state was established, there existed nothing to harm good relations between Arabs and Jews...." Ironically, no Jews were allowed [since Muhammad killed or sold them all into slavery] to enter or live in Saudi Arabia [still true today]. Jordan's King Hussein stated, "The relationship that enabled Arabs and Jews to live together for centuries as neighbors and friends has been destroyed by Zionist ideas and actions." Yet the Jordanian Nationality Law states that "a Jew" cannot become a citizen of Jordan.
Jordan annexed to itself most of that part of "Palestine" which UN Resolution 181 had assigned to the "Palestinians" in November 1947, destroyed every Jewish house of worship and expelled all Jews months before the state of Israel was born.
The hatred against Jews by Muslims in obedience to Muhammad, and the wicked support thereof by much of the world (which we have documented more fully elsewhere), continues to this day in the satanic determination to wipe out the state of Israel. This hatred provides the key to Middle East problems, which would be solved if the Muslims and the world would accept and obey the clear language of the Bible.
Of course the secular world in its gross immorality and selfish pursuit of the "lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 Jn:2:16) demonstrates continuously its rebellion against God. Even the ungodly know, too (Rom:1:32), that all who engage in these things will be held accountable by "the judge of all the earth" (Gen:18:25; Jn:5:22; Rev:20:12-15). There is another grave disobedience to God, however, amounting to open defiance, in which almost the entire world is united: the support of Ishmael's descendants to establish a "Palestinian State" within Israel.
The willful persistence in this illegitimate claim, and its support by the rest of the world, constitutes rejection of the clear testimony of Scripture and rebellion against God. These twin crimes have created the Mideast crisis facing us today. Abba Eban in Personal Witness records that when President Truman wanted to recognize Israel, Secretary of State George C. Marshall stated angrily: "They don't deserve a state, they have stolen that country."
The dual fulfillment of biblical prophecies concerning Israel as chronicled in the daily news is approaching its foretold climax in our time—the last of the "last days." Our important new video, Israel, Islam and Armageddon, offers powerful graphic footage documenting these prophecies' historical background and the broad sweep of their modern consummation, especially through Nazism and its close partner and now successor in anti-Semitism and terrorism, Islam.
Today's fulfillment of biblical prophecy in current events is a topic of great interest to non-Christians, offers irrefutable proof of God's existence and that the Bible is His infallible Word to mankind, and is a valuable tool in evangelism. We hope that our readers will take advantage of the materials we offer for this purpose.
The prophesied burden of Israel and Jerusalem continues to grow heavier until it threatens to crush the whole world under the weight of a global conflict. Tragically, that conflict has already manifested itself globally in the despicable scourge of international terrorism. Here, too, Israel is the scapegoat.
Yahweh claims repeatedly that He is the only true God: "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God" (Isa:44:6,8). Yahweh also declares, "beside me, there is no saviour" (Isa:43:11; Hos:13:4). Isaiah foretold that the promised Messiah who would come to pay the penalty for sin demanded by His justice would be "The mighty God, The everlasting Father" (Isa:9:6). Thus Jesus declared, "I and my Father are one" (Jn:10:30). He warned that all who denied His identity as Yahweh the Savior would die in their sins and be separated from Him and heaven forever (Jn:8:21-24). We need to make this gospel clear. TBC