The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: A

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Arena of Bible history and prophecy

A significant aspect of the Abrahamic covenant is the promise of a special Land: Gen 13:14,15,17. This Land is specifically defined: Rev 15:18. It was (and this may be of real consequence in the study of Bible prophecy, esp of Rev) a land of ten peoples and therefore ten kings (Rev 15:19-21).

Elsewhere this Land is defined similarly -- ie, as basically stretching from the borders of Assyria/Babylon to the border of Egypt (Exo 23:23; Deu 1:7; 11:24; Jos 1:4; Psa 72:8). It was within this extended Land of Promise (the full territory of which the people of Israel have never yet occupied) that much of Bible history has been played out. It is within this same extended Land that much of Bible prophecy has been set: it is a Land, for example, of ten kings and peoples (slightly more or less at different times) who have almost always been the enemies of God's people.

This same Land -- the Middle East in general -- is the arena in which the Book of Rev is to be fulfilled; a Land where Israel is today surrounded by approximately ten Arab nations or kingdoms intent on her destruction (cp Rev 12:3; 13:1; 17:12,16; etc). Coincidence? Or something more?

The ten nations of Psa 83 occupy today the same area, generally, as the ten peoples of Gen 15:19-21. Thus, the extended "Land of Promise" (Gen 15:18) is a land, prophetically speaking, peopled by a (reborn) Israel and ten "kings". (Did Jesus refer to this when he prophesied of the sprouting forth of the "fig tree" "and ALL the trees" in Luk 21:29,30?) Does all this sound familiar?

The ten nations of Psa 83, however, are different peoples than the ten nations of Gen 15. Those of Psa 83 are for the most part relatives and descendants of Abraham; those of Gen 15 were the earlier occupants of Canaan and the Middle East. Is there some continuity or connection between these two different groups, each of ten peoples?

Remember that "Arab" means "mixed"; a very similar word occurs -- four times -- in Dan 2:41-43, re the (presumably ten) toes of the Great Image: "Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron MIXED [ereb] with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron MIXED [ereb] with baked clay, so the people will be a MIXTURE [ereb] and will not remain united, any more than iron MIXES [ereb] with clay." [See Lesson, Arab/"mixed"]

What evidently has happened is that, since the beginning, the (Arab) descendants of Abraham have intermarried with the Canaanitish peoples so as to create, over time, a mixed or mingled peoples. There are in fact Biblical cases of this very sort of intermingling:

"While he [Ishmael] was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt" (Gen 21:21).

"He [Esau] married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite [cp Exo 23:23; Jos 1:4], and also Basemath daughter of Elon the HIttite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah" (Gen 26:34,35).

Other instances of the word "ereb" -- signifying "mixed" or "mingled" -- related to peoples are:

So the "mixed peoples" of the Middle East are the "Arabs" -- with blood ties to the original Canaanitish peoples and the corrupted descendants of Abraham. Both these groups of peoples have had, historically, intense hatred for the Jews.

Now, with the admixture of a unifying religion -- Islam -- these Arabs view the Jews as great "infidels", who have no real claim to the Land of Palestine.

Certainly the stage is set for a battle between Israel and the ten "kings of the earth (or Land)"! And, as Daniel describes, it is in the days when these mixed/mingled (Arab) peoples trample down Israel (and that may be very soon!) that the God of heaven will set up His everlasting Kingdom (Dan 2:44)!

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