God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
–Genesis 17:19

Why is there so much conflict between Muslims and Jews today? Muslims cannot accept the fact that the eternal covenant God made to Abraham in Genesis 12 went through Isaac and not through Ishmael. Thus, the land that God promised Abraham and his descendants rightfully belongs to the descendants of Isaac (Jews), not to the descendants of Ishmael (Arabs).

Muslims didn’t like the Scripture, so they rewrote it. They came up with a fanciful story that Abraham and Hagar took Ishmael and fled to Mecca. There, Ishmael became the forerunner of Muhammad and all Muslims. They took the story of God’s blessing Abraham and Isaac, and they said, “No, it was really Abraham and Ishmael.” They took the story of Genesis 22, when Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah to offer him as a sacrifice, and said, “No, it was Ishmael who was offered on Mount Moriah.” They completely fabricate a story to make their point.

Now, God did promise to bless Ishmael and his descendants. “As for Ishmael … I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation” (Genesis 17:20). Has God blessed Ishmael and his descendants? Think of all the oil in the Middle East. Yes, God has blessed the Arab people as He said He would. But God said the Abrahamic covenant belongs to Abraham and Isaac and their descendants: “My covenant I will establish with Isaac” (v. 21). The land of Israel, regardless of what any peace negotiations accomplish, belongs to the Jews. It is theirs by the decree of Almighty God. America better make sure we are on the right side of God, because God said He will bless those who bless Israel, and He will curse those who curse Israel.

The clashes we see today stem from the conflict that began 4,000 years ago about who owns this land. The most contested piece of real estate on planet Earth is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Temple stood before it was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans. Today, in the place of the Temple stands the Dome of the Rock, a holy site for the Muslims. Soldiers walk around the site with machine guns because the Arabs and Jews have skirmishes from time to time there. The Bible says one day the temple will be rebuilt in that place before the return of Jesus Christ.

Radical Islam is united in this: they hate Jews, they hate Christians, they hate anyone in the West who supports Jews and Christians, and they even hate moderate Muslims who won’t support their radical ideas. What is the goal of radical Islam? They are determined not only to evacuate the Jews from the land of Israel but to exterminate every Jew and Christian from the face of the earth. And they are dedicated to using whatever means necessary to achieve that goal. This rise in radical Islam is a sign for us to be alert and to be prepared for our Lord’s return.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Rise of Radical Islam” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.