Many people are not aware of the root cause for the raging conflict that exists between the Arabs and the Jews. The Bible traces the present conflict to the tension that existed between Sarah and her Egyptian slave Hagar. Desperate for a child, Sarah conceived of a plan to have a child through a surrogate mother, as was the custom of the Middle East. “And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai” (Gen. 16:2).
Setting aside the promise of God made to her husband Abraham, Sarah convinced Abraham to produce a child with Hagar that she could call her own. Foolishly, Abraham listened to the voice of Sarah. “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived” (Gen. 16:3-4a). The results were predictable. Hagar conceived a child by Abraham whom they named Ishmael (lit. “God will hear”). When Sarah saw that Hagar had conceived, she despised Hagar. The Hebrew word for despise means to “reject.” Sarah rejected Hagar and she rejected the child.
In contrast to Sarah, Abraham grew to love Ishmael to the point that he pleaded with God to bestow on Ishmael the covenantal blessings. “And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Gen. 17:18). God denied Abraham’s request concerning Ishmael. God had another plan. “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (Gen. 17:19).
In matchless grace, God did not forget Ishmael. He too would be blessed. “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation” (Gen. 17:20).
The descendants of Ishmael have been blessed. The Arab people are numerous. Because of their vast oil reserves the nations are prosperous. But what the Arab people do not have are the cherished covenant blessings God promised to Abraham and established through Isaac.
The Arabs know they are a rejected people in the eyes of the Jews. As students of the Scriptures the Arabs also know they are a rejected people by God as a covenantal people, and Israel is not. That is the ultimate source of their hatred and hostility towards Israel. It is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually traumatic to know that one is rejected by God in a particular area desired, and despised by others. It is not unusual for rejected individuals to lash out at those who are more blessed, and more favored than themselves.
When Cain was rejected by God, and Able was accepted, Cain rose up and killed his brother. When the sons of Jacob perceived their father loved Joseph, they rose up to murder him. Only the intervention of Providence stopped Joseph’s brothers from murdering him.
Because the Arabs are a rejected people, they are a jealous people, and in their jealousy they hate to the point they want to kill every last Jew on planet earth. To that end the Arabs plot and scheme and develop weapons of mass destruction. In hopes of annihilating Israel, the Arabs wait for the Twelfth Imam, the spiritual leader who will supernaturally return prior to the Day of Judgment to rule over all the Arabs, destroy the Jews, and prepare the world for the final Day of Judgment.
In order to fully understand the hatred of Arabs for the Jews, a person must understand the spiritual origin of the conflict, and the contest to be blessed by Abraham, and ultimately by God. Not finding that blessing, the Arabs try to take by force what is not theirs to have. Nevertheless, they fight and kill and promote themselves, while silencing all others.
There is a way for an individual Arab to receive the covenantal blessings collectively longed for. That way is marked, repentance. Like all others, the Arab that would be blessed must repent of any hatred in the heart. The Arab that would be accepted by God must stop trying to kill their kinsmen according to the flesh. The Arab that would have an authentic relationship with God must come by faith into the covenant made with Abraham by receiving Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour. When this is done, the Arab will become a legitimate child of Abraham, and receive the covenantal blessings so long desired.
To every individual Arab, the gospel message cries out: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7). Let it be said plainly: to be a child of Abraham according to the flesh is not enough. The flesh is rejected by God. To be a child of Abraham through faith in Christ alone is what God demands.