Isaac and Ishmael: The Origin of Middle East Conflict and the Foundation for Understanding Eschatology


The Middle East is swelling with violence and turmoil. Christian persecution is on the rise and all the while the enemies of Israel are closing ranks around her borders. Our current Western leadership views religion as an archaic coping mechanism unfit for the modern-day world and so denies that any kind of religious theology could possibly be the reason for these things. Western thinking is that the peoples of the Middle East only need a little freedom from oppressive regimes and then they’ll voluntarily want to shed their religious dogma and join the rest of the enlightened global community. Of course, as a show of good faith it’s necessary for the West to be somewhat disassembled and reorganized to create a sort of equilibrium while we welcome our brothers and sisters into the 21st century. Does it seem to you this approach is working? Why is our Western leadership under a sort of delusion concerning Islam? How are we to make sense of these things from our biblical worldview? There are answers in God’s Word.

The biblical origin of the modern-day conflict in the Middle East

The Family of Abraham by RT RadkeWhat do Isaac and Ishmael have to do with the conflict in the Middle East? What does the conflict in the Middle East have to do with eschatology, or end-time Bible prophecy? Let’s begin in Genesis chapters 12-21. Most of you probably know the story. God promised Abraham a son through whom He would make a great nation and redeem the earth. (Drawing: The Family of Abraham by RT Radke)

The promise of the redemption of the peoples of the earth:

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” [Genesis 12:1-3 NASB]

The promise of a son:

And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” [Genesis 15:3-5 NASB]

The promise of the land of Israel:

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: [Genesis 15:18 NASB]

The promise of the land of Israel and the redemption of the peoples of the earth through his son with Sarah:

Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” [Genesis 17:15-16 NASB]

This is important. God’s promise to Abraham was directly connected to the land of Israel. It was to be fulfilled through his son, Isaac, the firstborn of Sarah through who came the nation of Israel, the Jewish people and the redeeming Savior of the peoples of the earth, Jesus Christ. But what had Abraham and Sarah already done before Isaac was born?

The birth of Ishmael

Hagar and Ishmael by Abel Pan

Back in chapter 16, Sarah, lamenting her barrenness, told Abraham to go in to her maid, Hagar, and conceive by her. Perhaps because he doubted, perhaps he became impatient, Abraham, after listening to the voice of God for so many years, took things into his own hands and listened to the voice of his wife. (Painting: Hagar and Ishmael by Abel Pan)

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. [Genesis 16:1-2 NASB]

This is important, too. This child was Ishmael through who came the nations of the Arab peoples and, eventually, Islam and the greater Islamic world.

Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” The angel of the Lord said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.” [Genesis 16:10-12]

Hagar conceived Ishmael and, immediately after this, we read that she began to despise Sarah [Genesis 16:5]. Sarah, also, despised Hagar because she had conceived a child [Genesis 16:6]. After this, Sarah treated her so badly that Hagar attempted to flee. This enmity between Hagar and Sarah because of Abraham’s very bad decision is the beginning of all the enmity that exists to this day between their descendants.

The birth of Isaac

The Sacrifice of Isaac by Adi HolzerFourteen years after the birth of Ishmael, Isaac is born fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham through Sarah [Genesis 21:1-3]. Ishmael begins mocking Isaac’s birth so Sarah tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away. (Painting: The Sacrifice of Isaac by Adi Holzer)

Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.” [Genesis 21:10]

Abraham was greatly troubled by this but God told him not to worry and to do what Sarah said reminding him the promise was to be through Isaac [Genesis 21:12]. Ishmael was not to be heir with Isaac, however, out of His mercy, God also promised to make Ishmael a great nation because he was a son of Abraham. And it is from this nation that Islam eventually came.

And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.” [Genesis 21:13]

The biblical definition of Islam

I’m going to refer you to a respected scholar to pull this all together because I simply can’t state it any better. Joel Richardson, author and teacher of eschatology, describes it this way:

“So now we have this story: Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael is a fourteen year old boy. He’s kicked out into the desert but the Lord is faithful. He preserves him. He promises to make him into a great nation. So we read these things and they’re interesting Bible stories but what I’m asking you to do is to put yourself in the position and recognize the fact that in history, in real time, this was a real boy… with real emotions, with a real life. This happened to a little kid named Ishmael. And so what we need to understand is you have this little boy and… he had a dad. He had a mother. He had a family. He had a life. He had an inheritance. And in one day he loses all of these things. He loses his dad. He loses his inheritance. He’s out in the desert. He’s on his own. And that brokenness, that woundedness, that rejection that took place in this little child, today, has been passed on into the religion of Islam.

What do I mean? … Mohammed, the founder of Islam… claims to be a direct descendant of Ishmael and Muslims, today, view themselves as both the physical and the spiritual descendants of Ishmael. And so here you have this story, this incredible event that took place in this child’s life. Two thousand six hundred years after these events took place, a direct descendant of Ishmael named Mohammed birthed forth a new religion into the world. And what does the religion teach? … It teaches God is not a father. God has no Son. And, thirdly, Ishmael, not Isaac, is the heir with regard to the promises of God to the earth. The very things that those issues of rejection and woundedness and brokenness that took place in Ishmael’s life were preserved in that line and two thousand six hundred years later, a man named Mohammed goes into a cave, has an incredibly dark encounter with some sort of spiritual being. It literally chokes the life out of him to where he feels as though he’s going to die, three times this presence comes over him and it demands of him to recite… On the third time, the words of the Qur’an begin to flow forth from his mouth.

Mohammed, himself, literally believed that he was demon-possessed. He was suicidal. He was terrified.” 1

After this, he runs home to his wife who eventually convinced him he was a prophet of God. This is the origin of Islam.

“In a spiritual sense, Islam is the broken, bitter cry of Ishmael.” 2

Did you notice the compassion in his definition of Islam? This is how we as the Church should approach Muslims who God also desires to be saved [1 Timothy 2:4]. These are people just as lost as you and I once were. I don’t want you to miss this because the implications of this original conflict in Genesis when played out through Scripture to the time of the end is shocking and may be considered by some as quite harsh especially in a day when we are taught that Christians and Muslims both worship the same God and a redefining of Christian love as powerless, non-judgmental tolerance is pervading the Church. We are to love Muslims but this doesn’t mean we don’t, also, let the truth be known. Rather, it is against this backdrop of compassion, of Christian love, that we must tell the truth and warn others. In other words, we must love people enough to tell them the truth about Islam.

“You have in Islam the greatest anti-Christ religion that the world will ever know… And, in fact, the greatest spiritual challenge the Church will ever face particularly in the days ahead. The Church, today, is still in denial.” 3

I echo these last sentiments and, with the exception of Adam’s sin necessitating the death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of all mankind, I don’t think there has been any one sin in the Bible that has been so felt around the world as Abraham’s. The consequences rage on to this very day between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael and it will only be resolved upon Christ’s return.

What is anti-Christ? How does the Bible define it?

Although the world system can generally be defined as anti-Christ, what we’re looking for is a uniting religion that will sweep over the world eventually bringing people together under the authority of one man. That hasn’t been the end result of all the various factions (and factions within factions) of religious beliefs today. In this day of relativism, one might successfully argue that people are only becoming more divided through their individual, specialized beliefs. The fact of the matter is the Bible says there will be a time when the religion of the Antichrist will sweep over the world unifying people before the man called the Antichrist will come to power and seize his kingdom [Daniel 7:24]. How do we recognize it? Thankfully, John tells us:

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. [1 John 2:22-23 NASB]

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. [2 John 1:7 NASB]

Someone who is anti-Christ denies Jesus is the Savior, denies God is His Father and denies Jesus came in the flesh. The religion of the Antichrist will do the same.

Now, compare these Bible verses with verses from the Qur’an:

They say: “(Allah) Most Gracious has begotten a son!” Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin. That they should invoke a son for (Allah) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) Most Gracious that He should beget a son. [Surah 19:88-92]

The Jews call Uzayr a son of Allah and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouths; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! [Surah 9:30]

In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His Will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all everyone that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things.” [Surah 5:17]

They disbelieve who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. [Surah 5:73]

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. [Surah 4:157-158]

Remember, we’re looking for specific answers not general ones. The adamant specificity within these verses from the Qur’an goes way beyond any kind of general denying of Christ as the Son of God as all other religions outside of Christianity do (in which I include Atheism). Islam is teaching over two billion people around the globe what the Bible says are the specific doctrines of the Antichrist.

Consider, also, what’s inscribed encircling the inside of the Islamic Dome of the Rock. It’s known as the Shahada:

“There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”

Let’s not forget the Dome of the Rock sits right at the spot where it is believed the Jewish Temple was, the very place where Abraham was prepared to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God [Genesis 22]. It’s a land grab.

With the promise of the land comes the promise of a savior

Imam Mahdi 2010 by AmwagI’ve endeavored to be as thorough as your attention might allow simply for this reason: the Church needs to wake up and recognize what it’s dealing with. You see, the longer Islam doesn’t occupy the Promised Land, the more it’s proven untrue. And, if Islam teaches that the promise to the land is theirs then with that comes the promise of a savior, a deliverer, through Islam as well. (Art: Imam Mahdi 2010 by Amwag)

Did you know Muslims are, in fact, waiting for a savior? They call him the Mahdi, or Imam Mahdi. Who might this Islamic savior be that will embody all of this anti-Christian enmity toward Jews and Christians? Who might this Islamic savior be that he might be willing to lead armies against Israel to claim the promise of the land upon which it sits and, thereby, legitimize Islam as the only true religion? I’m sure by now you have a very good idea and I‘m sure you can see why it is entirely necessary to start at the beginning to know the end.

“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;  [Isaiah 46:9-10 NASB]

Just as God’s chosen people are the Jews, Satan’s chosen people are the Middle Eastern gentiles. Just as Jesus came through the Jews, the Antichrist will come through the Middle Eastern gentiles. This conflict has been highlighted throughout the Bible starting in the Book of Genesis and continues to this day [Genesis 3:15].

1,2,3 The Return Is Near: Strategic Insights Into the Most Important Moment In History. Richardson, Joel. 2011. DVD.

NEXT >>> Daniel 11 Reveals the Geographic Location of the Antichrist’s Rise to Power

Categories: Prophetic Geography, The Timeline of the End, The True Revived KingdomTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

20 comments

  1. In your excellent article on the origin of the Middle East conflict, I especially appreciated two things: the collection of Islamic verses as an educational reference to the consummate anti-Christ core teaching of Islam; 2) the appeal to love Muslims, and desire their salvation.

    In reference to the latter (loving Muslims), I note God’s mercy in also making Ishmael a great nation (Genesis 25:16: “These are the sons of Ishmael…twelve princes according to their nations”). Notably, the reason He does so, as in the verse you quoted, is that Abraham is Ishmael’s father.

    I see the reconciling peace of God when I read of Abraham’s funeral: both Isaac and Ishmael were there together:

    “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age….And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of
    Mach-pe-lah.” (Genesis 25:8,9, KJV)

    And in Isaiah, I see God’s heart for Ishmael’s descendants, and those nations about Israel. Our Sovereign God promises:

    “In that day shall Israel be third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.’ ” (Isa. 19:24,25, KJV)

    In the present-day conflict, I think one cannot emphasize enough, that the battle going on starts with geography and people — the land of Israel, surely, but the slaughtering rebellion of Satan mushrooms to a last-days conflagration for the governance of ALL the nations. The Abrahamic covenant of the land is poignantly significant, because all earthly warrings culminate in our conquering Messiah Yeshua, Who will rule all the earth with a rod of iron. Oh, that mandate of His: Beat the swords into ploughshares!

    This final tribulation we are facing is a death struggle for who will rule all peoples and lands.

    How regrettable that replacement theology is being taught in assemblies that own Jesus as Savior and LORD. The teaching that God has made one new man of Jew and Gentile, in Messiah, while abrogating the promises to natural, national Israel (as espoused by such teachers as R. C. Sproul and others) so “spiritualizes” and allegorizes all the prophetic writings about Israel’s enemies, and last-day battles focusing on God’s nation brought back from the sword, that I don’t see how a replacement theologian can grasp prophetic developments right before his eyes.

    Yaweh’s great plan was not just for the redemption of a people, but the redemption and governance of the physical world itself. That plan encompasses an actual nation from which to set up a global throne. And God’s governing nation has a capital — Jerusalem. The nation to which all nations will one day flow, as the prophet Zechariah, and others, proclaim.

    The dreadful iron-clawed beast will perish, and the conquering King, coming from the sky with ten thousands of his saints shall stand upon the Mount of Olives. The Revelator declares, “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him…” (Rev. 1:7). And from where will His old and new testament saints be given their governing orders? Why, from “Jerusalem the Golden, with milk and honey blest.” On this EARTH. Our eyes shall see it!

    “Even so, come, LORD Jesus.”

    • “How regrettable that replacement theology is being taught in assemblies that own Jesus as Savior and LORD. The teaching that God has made one new man of Jew and Gentile, in Messiah, while abrogating the promises to natural, national Israel (as espoused by such teachers as R. C. Sproul and others) so “spiritualizes” and allegorizes all the prophetic writings about Israel’s enemies, and last-day battles focusing on God’s nation brought back from the sword, that I don’t see how a replacement theologian can grasp prophetic developments right before his eyes.”

      fantastic comment! i wasn’t aware that R.C. Sproul taught replacement theology unless I misunderstood (I hope).

  2. Thanks for your post!
    Uzayr who is Abednego servant of Nergal deity of Cush 2 Kings 17:30
    Son of Enlil who is identified with Shamash who is Marduk.
    The artifacts from shamash show he is in the center of the Egyptian solar winged disk ..this was the time of the flood of Noah and the end days will be like the days of Noah ..

  3. Finally God has been vindicated. The consequence of sin and Father Yahwehs imeasurable love and patience through time is the heart of the MIddle East Conflict. Maranatha

  4. Reblogged this on Daily Prophecy Digest and commented:
    I love this article and was going to write a post about this very subject, but I doubt very seriously that I could cover it any better than this post by P2ALM has already done. Time is of the essence and I will reblog posts as necessary to get the basics here on Daily Prophecy Digest quickly! This is a foundation to understanding Eschatology as the title states.

  5. Thank you for this… I have been trying to tell people that from what research I have done I noticed something… Jesus went to the desert for 40 days and was tempted by Satan, Jesus almost caved I found strength in God his father and his teachings stayed the same and were pointed towards God… Muhammad had a very similar situation, and I was trying to tell my friends that I believed that Muhammad was tempted the same way Jesus was from Satan… but what I believed was that Muhammad instead of staying truthful to God caved in to Satan and Satan promised him his religion would one day rule the world… now after reading this article I realize then I was spot on and I was correct that Muhammad caved in to Satan and his teachings went from being peaceful to despicable…

  6. The only hole that I see in the Islamic Antichrist theory is that there is nothing in scripture that requires it. It is just as plausible that the antichrist uses the Islamic hatred to achieve his own dominance before turning on them so that he stands alone as the only object of worship for the enemies of God. Because he does not worship the god/s of his fathers, it calls into doubt the Islamic continuum. This antichrist declares himself god which is incompatible with the Koran. As an outsider, the “AC” would be the logical new pretender to the throne after the massive defeats that Islam will be dealt in the Isaiah 17, Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38/39 judgements. Why, because Allah will be proven a fraud to the remaining faithful and his power is derived from other sources outside the Middle East. What source? Secular Humanists and atheistic technocrats like the socialists and communists… AKA Europe, USA, former British Colonies, China, Japan, and the recently transforming catholic nations that embrace religion without truth.

    But nevertheless, I thank God for opening the hearts and minds of brilliant believers in these last days to discern what has been concealed for our time. I have a feeling that we will all know the answer to this mystery in short order.

    • Thanks for reading. You said, “It is just as plausible that the antichrist uses the Islamic hatred to achieve his own dominance before turning on them so that he stands alone as the only object of worship for the enemies of God.”

      I agree. Satan is using Islam to achieve his goals and then…

      “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. “For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. [Revelation 17:16-17 NASB]

      The purpose is to wake up the Church, which is largely in denial, so it understands what it’s watching and recognizes Islam for what it is. The way we approach Islam would be entirely different.

      As far as, Ezekiel 38-39 and Psalm 83, etc… I think they are describing the same event all the other prophets wrote about — Armageddon. When you have the time, examine the reasoning here: Is Ezekiel 38-39 a Pre-Armageddon Invasion of Israel?

      Consider, when we read through the OT prophets, there is never a European country named as receiving judgment by a returning Christ. They are all Islamic nations.

      • Great article & very interesting comments. I’d like to add one thing. In Arabic the root of the word Islam which means surrender is derived from the word “salaam” which refers to safety or peace. The Bible repeatedly refers to Lucifer as the “Prince of Peace”

  7. believing that god came down just to redeem your sin is an absurd theology,..

    • Why? God is love and He loves me just as He loves you. That means He came down to redeem your sin, too.

      Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [1 John 7-10 NASB]

  8. I have a Daughert in law that is Muslim, not a good Muslim at all, beer family is pretty Americanized, they only thing they really practice is they don’t eat pork. I truly believe that she was not bright into our family by accident, one day she and her family is going to be saved!!

  9. Thank you, very illustrative.

  10. Reblogged this on hollandv36wordpresscom and commented:
    Beautiful revelation.

  11. Well written article, although it is necessary to understand who a true Jew is.
    Romans 2:28-29 KJVS
    [28] For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: [29] But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

    A true Jew is one who has their heart purified by faith, Acts 15:9. Faith in Jesus Christ, the messiah.

  12. I understand framing the two Kingdoms and prophetic conflicts that have occurred and will occur. However, I believe to really understand the fullness of the conflict greater study needs to be done on Esau and Ishmael. This is where the real problem began. Esau entered in covenant with Ishmael and sealed the deal by marrying his sister whose name literally meant diseased(Dis-ease). Here is where the conflict with Israel began and continues today. When Jesus walked on the Earth he had to deal with King Herod(an Edomite) who had ruled for 40 years. Herod had killed over 4400 Rabbis and replaced them with the Sanhedrin who were Edomites. That is why most Jews referred to Herod as a half Jew. Not trying to butcher your blog it was very informative. I think if you follow this study you will also find that Edomites and Ishmaelites are still in allegiance today and still dedicated to the demise of Israel.

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