Arab countries, rising from the relative obscurity in which they were lying until little more than a century ago, have taken a more relevant place in politics internationally, driven by wealth and influence they acquired with the extraction of oil from the vast sheets under their territory, and the migration and accelerated proliferation of the Islamic population, and of a religion they invented and adopted in the Middle Ages.
Considering the strong opposition that many of the Arab countries make not only to Jews and the State Israel but also to the Gospel of Christ, it is a suitable time to look at what the Scriptures tell us about them.
Arabs are descended from Abraham, through two of his descendants: Ishmael, Abraham's son and half brother of Isaac, and Esau, older twin brother of Jacob, sons of Isaac (Genesis 12:10-20, 16:1-14, 25:19-34 and 41).
Ishmael ("God hears") was the product of two sins of Abraham when he faltered in his faith: the first was when Abraham emigrated away from the Promised Land to go to Egypt, where he felt obliged to deny that Sarah was his wife. As a result, they were expelled when Pharaoh discovered the truth, but returned to Canaan bringing great wealth with them, including servants. One of these, called Hagar, served Sarah, and in another lapse of faith, because ten years earlier God had promised Abraham would have a son with Sarah (Genesis 12) Abraham attended to a request from Sarah, who was barren, to have a son from Hagar as if he were their own. From this union Ishmael was born.
The Angel of the Lord announced to Hagar, when she was pregnant with Ishmael, that her descendants would be numerous: “they shall not be counted for multitude" and that "He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." (Genesis 16:11-12). So Ishmael and his numerous progeny (he started with twelve children with his Egyptian wife) would be characterized by:
1. Living in nomadic bands in the desert, like the wild ass;
2. Always being aggressive against others;
3. Consequently, also being attacked;
4. When settled in a territory (to dwell), remaining in a state of hostility toward all his brethren (i.e. Israel now).
Esau ("hairy") soon distinguished himself from Jacob by becoming an expert hunter and pleasing his father by providing game meat for his table, while Jacob, quieter than he, dwelt in tents. As the first born, Esau was entitled to most of the estate of Isaac, and more importantly, to inherit the promises God had made to his grandfather Abraham. But one day, arriving home very hungry, he switched his right to the birthright simply in exchange for a meal prepared by Jacob.
Jacob deceived his father to exercise the right of primogeniture that he had acquired, and Esau hated him because of this. The hatred of Esau was added to the hatred of Ishmael. Arab countries were originated by the Ishmaelites (descendants of Ishmael) and the Edomites (descendants of Esau, nicknamed Edom). In Numbers 20:14 to 21 we read with what hate, four centuries later, the Edomites refused to let the Israelites pass through their territory after they were delivered from slavery through Moses, on their way to the Promised Land.
Even after the Israelites had settled in the Promised Land , the Ishmaelites, Edomites and other descendants of these two men unleashed attacks and damage on them, as we read in the book of Judges. Their perpetual hatred is reported by the prophets, e.g. Ezekiel 35:5 and Obadiah 1:10-14. Psalm 83 considers their hatred in David's time and, prophetically, the current situation in the Middle East: the Edomites and the Ishmaelites at that time allied themselves with Moab and Ammon (descendants of the sons of Lot), the Hagrites (an Arab tribe composed of descendants of Hagar), the Amalekites (other descendants of Esau), and people from the area “to destroy the nation of Israel and to delete their name”.
It is not by simple coincidence that the Arab countries of today have used the same expression with respect to the State of Israel. Shortly before the recent "Six Days War”, the then President Nasser of Egypt said over the radio that he would sweep the Jews into the sea and wipe the State of Israel off the map so its existence would no more be remembered (nevertheless he died and Israel is still there!).
The nations mentioned in Psalm 83 also exist today. Edom, Moab and Ammon respectively comprise Southern, Central and Northern Jordan, the Hagrites were from Egypt, Tyre and Gebal are now Lebanon, Amalek is the Sinai, Philistia is the Gaza Strip, while what was Assyria includes Iraq and a good part of Syria; the Ishmaelites are a segment of the Arab world. The only time in history when all these nations have ever joined together against Israel was after 1948. It never happened in antiquity, but the prophecy was clearly fulfilled since the "Six Days War" of 1967, when the Arab leaders declared one after another that the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East is through the total annihilation of Israel as a nation.
One day, however, there will be lasting peace between Israel and these enemy nations. According to the prophecies, this will happen in three ways: by occupation, by destruction or by conversion. Let us see them one by one:
It will be occupied by Israel, according to Ezekiel 47:13 to 48:29. The boundaries of the messianic kingdom of Israel will extend to the northern Lebanon of today. The territory of Lebanon is within the land promised to Abraham, but has never been occupied by the Israelites. The nation of Lebanon will cease to exist, and there will be peace between the occupants of this land and the Israelites.
Its southern region comprising the land of Edom will be completely devastated by a great slaughter according to Ezekiel 25:12-14 and 35:6-9, "to know that the Lord God is the Lord" (they currently say it is Allah). Obadiah centralizes all his little prophecy on the destruction of Edom. In Jeremiah 49:7-13 we have more details, including a mention of the town of Bozrah. This town was very important until the early centuries of our era, when it was completely depopulated, and rediscovered just over a hundred years ago. It is still uninhabited and is a tourist attraction called Petra.
The central zone of Jordan, called the land of Moab in the Bible, will also suffer destruction in part according to Jeremiah 48:1-46 but there will be survivors who will repent and the remnant will return, according to verse 47. In the millennial reign of Christ these people will form the converted nation called Moab.
Northern Jordan also will not suffer total destruction; the survivors will turn to the Lord according to Jeremiah 49:1-2. Thus there will be peace between the Israelites and the remaining Ammonites, which will form the nation of Ammon at the millennium.
Their future is detailed in Isaiah 18:1-22. There will be civil war, desolation and famine. In verses 11-15, the cause of its devastation will be bad leadership which will lead the people astray. This is what happened during the governments of Farouk, Nasser and Sadat, when Egypt declared war against Israel four times, resulting in great loss for Egypt and ruined its economy. As a result, Egypt come to fear Israel (Isaiah 19:16-17). Since antiquity, Egypt has never feared Israel, but since 1948, and especially since the Six Day War, the military forces of Egypt have been afraid and have shown the fear portrayed in these verses. Prophetically, we are now in the period from Isaiah 19:16 to 17. Egypt will eventually turn to the true God through the Lord Jesus and live in peace with Israel. During the first forty years of the millennium, the Egyptians will be dispersed throughout the world, but then they will return to their land (Ezekiel 29:12) and will be a nation, enjoying the blessing of the Lord of hosts, along with Assyria (northern Iraq) and Israel (Isaiah 19:25).
It also will be converted, like Egypt, and will be reconnected to Israel and Egypt by a road enabling political, economic and religious unity (Isaiah 19:23-25). So it will be in the millennium.
Called Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor in the Bible will be devastated according to Jeremiah 49:28-33 and be desolate forever. Peace with Israel will only come through the permanent destruction of that nation.
Ancient Elam is not Arabian, but has adopted the same religion as the Arab Muslims, Islam. According to Jeremiah 49:34-38, it also will be destroyed and all its inhabitants scattered around the world, but verse 39 states that in recent days, they will return to their land, like the Egyptians. The Bible does not reveal for how long the dispersion will last, but it will be over at the millennium.
It will be the capital of the Antichrist, according to several biblical passages, but will be destroyed and become desolate. Throughout the millennium it will be uninhabited by humans, but will be taken up by wildlife (Isaiah 13:20-22). Its destruction will be similar to Sodom and Gomorrah (Jeremiah 50:39-40), total and complete (Jeremiah 51:41-43), becoming a place of continuous fire and smoke (Revelation 19:3). The wild animals of Isaiah and Jeremiah could not live in this environment as we know them, therefore they must be demons as we learn in Revelation 18:1-2, which will be imprisoned there during the millennium. We understand that the demons have similarity with animals, according to Revelation 9 and other passages. The Hebrew word translated "satyrs", or “wild goats” in Isaiah 13:21 actually means "devils in the form of goats”, and the word “leelith” translated as “night creatures”, or “ghosts” in Isaiah 34:14 means "night devils”.
Like Babylon it will be desolate and uninhabited forever because of their sins against Israel, being turned into a place of fire and smoke, taken up by demons (Isaiah 34:8-15, Jeremiah 49:17-18, Ezekiel 35:10-15).
We find that during the millennial reign of Christ most Arab countries will continue to exist, having been converted to the true God after being punished by wars and calamities. Even Egypt will prosper with the return of those who had fled. But Babylon and Edom will never again be inhabited by humans.