Does God provide any hope?
The Bible prophesies that God will pour out judgment upon the Arab nations in the end times for their hostility toward the Jews and their attempt to claim the Jewish homeland as their own. Consider Joel 3:19, for example. This passage has a clear end time context, and in that context it says, “Egypt will become a waste, and Edom will become a desolate wilderness, because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, in whose land they have shed innocent blood.”
Keep in mind that Edom is often used as a symbolic term for all the Arab peoples, just as Israel is used as a term for all the Jewish tribes. Ezekiel says that “all Edom” will be dealt with in the end times because of its hatred against the Jews and its lust for their land (Ezekiel 35:10-11 and 36:1-7). The result will be the desolation of the Arab states (Ezekiel 35:15). The book of Obadiah prophesies a similar fate for Edom in “the day of the Lord” (Obadiah 15-18).
Part of this destruction is going to take place in the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38, most likely before the Tribulation begins. But these wars affect only the nations in the Middle East. The vast majority of Muslims live in nations outside the Middle East.
I believe the Muslims in other parts of the world, like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, will taste the wrath of God at the beginning of the Tribulation when they refuse to accept the European Antichrist. They will become the focus of the Antichrist’s military actions to subdue all the world to his authority.
The book of Revelation states that one-fourth of humanity will die in the initial military campaign of the Antichrist (chapter 6). That’s 1.5 billion people in today’s terms. Then, we are told that the war will expand into what appears to be a nuclear holocaust, and during this second phase (chapters 8 & 9), one-third of those remaining will die. That’s another 1.5 billion.
So, a total of 3 million people are going to be killed in the wars of the Antichrist during the first half of the Tribulation. I believe most of those will be Muslims.
Hope for the Arabs
But the future for the Arabs is not all bleak. They must suffer for their sins just as the Jewish people will suffer during the Tribulation. And, like the Jews, a remnant of the Arabs will emerge from their suffering with their hearts turned to the one and only true God (Jeremiah 12:14-17).
The most remarkable prophecy concerning the future salvation of an Arab remnant is contained inIsaiah 19:16-25. Isaiah says that when the Lord strikes Egypt and Assyria, they will turn to Him and He will have compassion on them and “heal them.” Isaiah then presents an incredible picture of Egypt, Assyria and Israel living together in peace during the Millennium, worshiping the same God!
Another remarkable prophecy concerns the Arabs who will be living in the land of Israel after the Lord returns. This prophecy relates to the fact that the territory of Israel will be greatly expanded when Jesus returns, incorporating many of the Arab nations that exist today. (The considerably expanded borders of Israel during the Millennium are detailed in Ezekiel 47:15-20.) Amazingly, Ezekiel says that the Arabs living in Israel at that time will be “allotted an inheritance” of the land together with the tribes of Israel! (Ezekiel 47:21-23. See also Isaiah 14:1-2.)
God’s Love for the Arabs
The Bible says the Jewish people are the “apple of God’s eye” (Zechariah 2:8), but that does not mean that He has no love for their cousins, the Arabs. Just as God has covenants with the Jews, He has a covenant with the Arab peoples. You can find it in Genesis 16:11-12 and 17:20-21. In this covenant, God promised to make the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs) a great nation and to give them all the land to the east of their Jewish brethren.
God has been faithful to these promises. Today there are 22 Arab nations with a combined population of 289 million people. The Arabs occupy a total area of 5.3 million square miles of oil rich land. By contrast, there is only one Jewish state with a population of 5 million Jews who are squeezed into only 8 thousand square miles of space. That’s a population ratio of 58 to 1 and a land ratio of 662 to 1. The Arabs have truly been blessed.
Our Impartial God
There is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11). He chose the Jews, not to be a repository of His blessings, but to be a vehicle through whom He would bless all the nations of the world, including the Arabs. But the fundamental requirement to receive God’s blessings — for both Jew and Arab, as well as all people — is to accept God’s gift of love in Jesus by receiving Him as Messiah.
When I consider the blessings God has given the Arab peoples and the grace He is going to show toward them in the future, despite their persecution of His Chosen People, I am reminded of what Paul wrote when he considered God’s grace toward his Jewish brethren: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans.11:33).