Libya, Egypt, and the Middle East Today

Current Tensions in the Middle East

Tensions in Afghanistan

  • The death toll rises in Afghanistan after the news of the burning of Qurans and other religious texts at a U.S. military base.
  • So far 2 American soldiers and at least 13 Afghan civilians have been killed.

Tensions – Syria

  • Syrian President Bashar Assad has sworn he will never step down.
  • Hundreds of people have been killed (over 200 in one massacre) and the government lost control of half of the country.

Tensions – Iran

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referred to Israel as a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.”
  • Iran has also sworn that it will never end its nuclear program.
  • Will Israel attack Iran?

Libya: History and Future

Biblical History

  • Libya is referred to numerous times in the Scriptures, both directly and indirectly.
  • We read in Matthew 27 that Simon of Cyrene (part of ancient Libya) was the man who carried the cross for Jesus.
  • In Acts 2, we learn that God-fearing men from Libya were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost.
  • In Acts 11, we learn that Libyan followers of Christ helped bring the gospel to Antioch, Syria, and made disciples there.
  • In Acts 13, we learn that Lucius of Cyrene (part of Libya) became one of the leaders of the church in Antioch and helped send Barnabas and Paul on their missionary journeys.
  • There are a number of times Libya is mentioned in the Old Testament.
  • Genesis 10:6 identifies Put (Libya), as the 3rd son of Ham, a son of Noah.
  • Ezekiel 38:5 – part coalition invades Israel.
  • Daniel 11:43 – Antichrist will have Libyan people in submission during Tribulation.

Current Conflict

  • Colonel Gadhafi was the leader of Libya since a military coup in 1969 where he overthrew the king and established the Libyan Arab Republic.
  • 1986: US bombing of Libya
  • 1988: Bombing of Pan Am 103
  • 2011: Protests from Tunisia
  • Gadhafi posed a threat not only to the countries in the Middle East, but has also developed alliances with Russia and others.
  • He was responsible for building mosques all over the continent of Africa to spread Islam.
  • The Arab Spring has resulted in a Christian Winter and will probably result in an Arab Winter for the average citizen.
  • Even if the people in Libya desire to move in a more democratic direction, it is likely that radical Muslim forces will turn Libya into another Iran.
  • How many Arab states have implemented democratic values, religious tolerance, and rights for all after a revolution that deposed a dictator?
  • Hard to grow a democracy on Muslim soil.
  • Democratic values (one-person-one-vote, equal protection, constitutional guarantees for human rights) are foreign.
  • Arab countries that practice shariah do not allow women to vote, value the testimony of a man over a woman, and do not guarantee the same human rights to infidels as they do to Muslims.
  • Muslim leaders can point of verses in the Qu’ran to justify their actions.

Egypt: Its Past and Future

Egyptian Leadership

  • In 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser took power from and became president in 1956.
  • He nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956.
  • Three days after the 1967 Six Day War, he died, and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat.
  • Anwar Sadat switched Egypt’s alliance from the Soviet Union to the United States.
  • In 1973, Egypt, along with Syria, launched a surprise attack against Israeli forces in an effort to regain the Sinai Peninsula.
  • Israel won a military victory, and Sadat achieved a political victory.
  • In 1977, Sadat flew to Jerusalem and spoke in the Israeli Knesset.
  • The first breach in the 33 year determination by all Arab states to destroy Israel.
  • Ultimately this led to the Camp David Peace Accords.
  • Arab League rejected Egypt.
  • In 1981, a military soldier assassinated Sadat in Cairo.
  • Sadat was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak, who was also a military leader.
  • He served as president and commander in chief.

Mohamed El-Baradei

  • Was born in Egypt (Cairo) and educated in Egypt and America (New York University).
  • Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Although he is no friend of ours, he was attacked by mob of extremists.

Amr Mohammed Moussa

  • Was born in Egypt and earned a law degree from Cairo University.
  • Served as UN Ambassador and minister of foreign affairs to Mubarak.
  • Also served as secretary at the League of Arab Nations.

Pew Research Poll

  • 95% Egyptians prefer religion play “a large role in politics.”
  • 84% favor death penalty for people who leave the Muslim faith.
  • 77% think thieves should have hands cut off.
  • 54% believe suicide bombings that kill civilians can be justified.

Muslim Brotherhood

  • Was established in 1928 when Egyptians were angered at Arabia’s collaboration in the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Its sole purpose was the resurrection of the Caliphate.
  • Their slogan is: “Al-Islam-Huwa-Alhal.” That means “Islam is The Solution.
  • Prepare is an Arabic word which appears on the Egyptian based Muslim Brotherhood’s logo. It is written under the sign of the two swords, the symbol of Islamic Jihad.
  • “Prepare against them as you are able of force and cavalry to terrorize Allah’s enemy and yours” (8:60).
  • Motto: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
  • Hassan al-Banna was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Strategy: “It is up to the Muslim leadership to assess the situation . . . before deciding the appropriate type of jihad.”
  • “Muslims may find that jihad, through persuasion or peaceful resistance, is the best and most effective method.”
  • Persuasive jihad (Egypt and Tunisia) versus violent jihad (Hamas and al-Qaeda).
  • Top leader of Muslim Brotherhood warned that any cuts in U.S. aid to Egypt could affect the country’s peace treaty with Israel.
  • A large majority (71%) of Egyptians are opposed to U.S. aid.
  • More Americans have a negative view of Egypt than a positive one.

Prayer

  • Psalm 122:6 – “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-2 – pray for President and his cabinet and military
  • Pray for the 2.5 million persecuted
  • Christians in Egypt (harassed, intimidated).
  • Christians being killed: Bombing of Saints
  • Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve.

Other Enemies of Israel

Hamas and Israel

  • While the military coalition had been focused on Libya, Hamas fired more than a hundred mortar shells into Israel.
  • This was the heaviest barrage in more than two years.
  • Israel responded to the attack.

Israel and Palestinians

  • This fall, the United Nations was to vote to establish a two state solution.
  • This would give international sanction to a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
  • Israel – pre-1967 borders

Ancient Conflict

Family Feuds

Mothers

Sarah/Hagar

Hagarenes

Sons

Isaac/Ishmael

Ishmaelites

Brothers

Jacob/Esau

Palestinians

Cousins

Ammonites, etc.

Jordanians

Distant Relatives

Amalakites

Amalakites

Jacob and Esau

  • Genesis 25 – Rebecca gave birth to twins.
  • One child came out red and hairy (Esau).
  • The other took hold of Esau’s heel (Jacob).
  • Esau – skillful hunter
  • Jacob – mild man

The brothers take two different paths:

  • God told Jacob that he was to dwell in “the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan,” this is the promised land.
  • God told Esau that he was to leave this “land of promise” and go to a place called Mount Seir.
  • Jacob would have twelve sons who would become the “twelve tribes” of Israel.
  • These tribes become the nation of Israel and part of the modern-day Jewish state. Esau’s descendants will also become a nation. This nation is located in present day Jordan and includes the Palestinians.
  • Esau’s descendants seem to always be fighting against the Jewish nation.
  • The grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:12) is Amalek – “father of the Amalekites.”
  • God says He would have “war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. 17:16).
  • Agag (1 Sam. 15) – Haman (Esther 3)

Esau and the Edomites

Esau

  • Genesis 36:8-9 – “So Esau dwelt in Mount Seir. Esau is Edom. And this is the geneology of Esau the father of the Edomites in Mount Seir.”
  • Esau did live by the sword (Isaac said).
  • He moved from Hebron to Seir (which was later called Petra).

Petra

  • This region was known as Seir.
  • Petra was the Greek name (from the Arabic word “batara” which means to cut).
  • Petra was cut into the stone walls and protected by the walls.

Nabateans

  • The Nabateans occupied Petra and were able to survive two attacks from the Greeks.
  • They were conquered by the Romans and dispersed in the Arab world.
  • Petra became a deserted place, inhabited only by owls, crows, and wild animals (Isaiah 34:5-15).

Idumeans

  • Just prior to the New Testament times, the Edomites still were subversive to Israel.
  • Idumea is the Greek version of the Hebrew name “Edom.” The Idumeans were conquered by the Jews and forced to be circumcised.
  • Most prominent Idumean family was that of Herod the Great.

Herod’s Family

  • Herod the Great – installed as king by the Romans, cruel man, ordered the murder of wives/children, ordered the death of all children under the age of two (to kill Jesus).
  • Herod Antipas – had John the Baptist beheaded. He also ruled in the trial against Jesus (Luke 23:8-12).

Current Reality

  • Where are the descendents of Esau today?
  • Consider this headline: “As for the Palestinians, leading Orthodox Jewish Bible scholars believe they are the descendants of Amalek, grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:12).”
  • If true, that means that the Palestinians are the descendants of the “House of Esau.”

Conclusion

  • Jacob and Esau both became two nations.
  • The descendants of Esau fought against Israel throughout the Old Testament (Amalek, Agag, Haman).
  • The descendants of Esau opposed Christ in the New Testament (Herod the Great).
  • They may still be in the world today.