Although God had wanted Abraham to wait for the son of promise of the Annointed One the Christ or Messiah for God to give him birth in his time and miraculously Abraham still wanted God to bless Ishmael who was the son of Abraham and the Egyptian Hagar. Hagar was the maidservant of Abraham's wife Sarah and Abraham lost patience with God to have the son of promise through Sarah and tried to immediately give birth to what he thought would be the son of promise through Hagar who was not barren as Sarah. Although God said the son of promise was Isaac and not Ishmael God agreed to still bless Ishmael and his descendants by promising to make of him a great nation. This happened historically when the exiled Ishmael went with Hagar to Arabia and intermarried with people of other tribes there and generally assimilated them as Arabs. Eventually this prophecy could be viewed as fulfilled through Mohammed the messenger of Islam that spread Islam and Arab power and influence through the Middle East and beyond as is still very much the case today. However as a Christian and believer in the Bible I don't believe Mohammed was a messenger of the one true God Jehovah or the LORD or that he was the last and greatest prophet of God although he might have brought some good morals and reverence. The prophecy of Ishmael and his descendants to be a great nation could have also received fulfillment partly and their being found in possession of great reserves of high great oil and natural gas that continues to be in high demand for society and civilization around the world including in the west and new markets like China and India as well as the Middle East inself. We believe that although God has allowed Arabs and Muslims to have much territory that this does not include the land of Israel which is given to the Jews that are the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob who was renamed Israel. Also although Muslims might progress in more power in world history as we know it this will soon be eclipsed first by the coming world empire of the beast or antichrist that will come out of Europe and then at the end of the tribulation by the eternal kingdom of God through His Son and Annointed One Jesus of Nazareth starting with Jesus' second coming and the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom in which Israel will have an exalted place among the nations. In the Messianic Kingdom the Arabs could still have a lot of land and some power but not as Muslims and the more if they trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and come to support the Jews as God's chosen earthly people before the end of the coming 7 year tribulation or 70th week of Daniel or time of Jacob's trouble. Abraham the Bible says was circumcised when he was 99 years old at which time Ishmael was also circumcised and Ishmael was 13 years old then. This is still the age at which Muslim males are circumcised and this tradition could be based at least on part on this account in the Bible. The scripture reference in Genesis 17 of God agreeing to Abraham's request to make of Ishmael a great nation and that Ishmael was circumcised at 13 years old is as follows:
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. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him. Genesis 17:20-27
And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre (in Hebron); The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi. Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham: And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Abdeel, and Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, and hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, and thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren. Genesis 25:7-18
Although this list in 1 Chronicles isn't exhaustive as it doesn't include the person of the religious affairs of Israel which would be the high priest, it is quite extensive especially in view of the fact that Israel was still largely an agricultural nation then. There are two positions that were led by descendants of Ishmael that over the camels and that over the flocks. One is called an Ishmaelite which is quite clearly a descendant of Ishmael and the other is called a Hagerite which means he was a descendant of Hagar who the Bible says had sex with Abraham to produce Ishmael. So King David had two descendants of Ishmael of what we would call Arabs in leading positions in his government. At that time God through King David had given the Jews the upper hand over the people of other nations in much of the land promised to the Jews so King David might have felt safe enough putting some of them in some positions of authority. Today in a more uncertain situation Israel does let Palestinians or Arabs vote that are citizens of Israel proper for positions in the Israeli parliament or Knesset and even become members of their parliament such as members of the Arab parties there although I don't think there are any Arab cabinet members although that is possible if the Arab parties became part of a governing coalition. However the problem now is that the Jews aren't in as solid a position with regard to people of other nations including the Ishmaelites or Palestinian Arabs as in King David's time and some of the Arab members of the Knesset and possible members of the Israeli cabinet aren't always that sympathetic to interests of Israel as a predominantly Jewish state. The scripture reference from 1 Chronicles 27 of some Ishmaelite (Arab) members leading departments of King David's government is as follows:
And over the king's treasures ... Over the camels was Obil the Ishmaelite: ... And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. 1 Chronicles 27:25, 30, 31.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall rise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles (nations) shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitudes of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory. Isaiah 60:1-7
For more information, comments, questions or advice contact Doug at www.spiritandtruthministries.org Contact Spirit and Truth MinistriesNew Spirit and Truth Ministries Homepage