COMING CHANGES IN
THE DESERTS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
This extract is from the booklet: BIBLE PROPHECY & THE MIDDLE EAST
Today we are familiar with that insane frenzy and hatred which Islamic fundamentalists reveal towards those who they consider to be infidel Jews. We are familiar with the hostage taking, the hi-jackings and the repeated calls for a "holy war". This is the character of that religion which in the days of Mohammed converted Arabia with the sword and which then went on to establish an empire. It was always a desolating power as it conquered, says Larousse in his history, the Moslems "stripping the country bare in their passage" advanced into the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Like swarms of locusts they destroyed everything in their path, leaving behind a devastated wilderness.
When the Son of God conquers the deserts of Arabia, the contrast could not be more stark. He will convert the people of the desert and bring blessing. When powerful men conquer their enemies the scene is one of devastation, misery and anarchy; but when Christ advances there will be blessings of plenty, fruitfulness and comfort for those who respond to the good things that they will learn. Thus, as Jews move south for refuge from the ravages of Gogs northern confederacy, they will be met with acts of kindness. Isaiah says:
"The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war." (Isa. 21:14-15 c/p Revised Version).
It is perhaps of some significance that some Bible maps locate Tema near to the city of Mecca. In any event, this picture of Arabians giving succour to the fugitives from Israel is evidence of a religious change in the people of the area.
Consider the implications of Isaiah 42:11-12
"Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit...Let them give glory unto the Lord and declare his praise in the islands."
To "give glory" and "declare praise" unto the Lord (Yahweh, the God of Israel) would only be possible if the cities of the wilderness and Kedar had undergone a spiritual revolution. As Christ and the Saints establish their presence in these areas, such a change of heart and outlook amongst the inhabitants is exactly what we would expect. It will be a response to the wonder and miracle which they will witness.
When Arabs begin to love their neighbours as themselves it will have been a truly remarkable change! What would give rise to such a radical reformation?
The answer of the prophets is clear. As the Lord takes control of the desert lands he will transform them physically and the people will respond to such a display of power. God says through Isaiah:
"I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it" (Isa. 41:17-20).
It will be an obvious miracle. Where vast stretches of lifeless desert now exist and where barren wilderness now is, there will be as it were an act of creation.
"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert..." (Isa. 43:18-19).
As the Lord comes to the land of Israel itself, the transformation of the land will continue until the whole of the Promised Land, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates, will blossom and bud as a new creation:
"For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody" (Isa. 51:3) "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God" (Isa. 35:1-2).
Only through a vision of faith that the word of God provides can these things be seen today. Land that is now waste, barren wilderness and desert will miraculously spring to life when the Lord comes. In these very lands the trees, grassland and flowering vegetation will teem with life and the song of birds. To the people of the Lord it is said: "...ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name (or renown), for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" (Isa 55:12-13).
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