"Twenty-first century international security will depend less on how many people inhabit the world than on how the global population is composed and distributed...which countries are relatively older and which are more youthful, and how demographics will influence population movements across regions" (Jack A. Goldstone, January-February 2010).
Today's global population is 6.83 billion people. According to the United Nations Population Division, the population of the world will be around 9.15 billion by the year 2050.
However, as the population of Western countries continues to decline, the fastest-growing populations will be located in Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Except for Latin America, huge elements of these fast-growing, youthful populations will be concentrated in Muslim countries, such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
According to Foreign Affairs, in 2009 the above-mentioned six countries were the world's most populous Muslim-majority countries and had a combined population of 886 million (2009). Their populations are expected to increase by 475 million more between now and the year 2050.
The descendants of Ishmael are generally considered to be today's Arab people, but their descendants expand further than just the Arab peoples. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia points out that the term "Ishmaelite" has a broader significance in the Scriptures. "The Ishmaelites were not confined to the descendents of the son of Abraham and Hagar, but refer to desert tribes in general, like 'the children of the East'" (p. 906).
Some of them are listed in another prophecy in Psalm 83, which mentions a confederacy of tribes that correspond to Arab and Muslim nations today. This confederacy will apparently attempt to destroy the modern descendants of the tribes of Israel: "They have said, 'Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more'" (Psalm 83:4).
The article in Foreign Affairs issues a warning to the Western world. Describing the Muslim nations that will experience such enormous population explosions, it says that the majority of people "live in poor communities vulnerable to radical appeals and many see the West as antagonistic and militaristic" (p. 37).
The tensions between Muslim and Western societies will also lead to the prophetic scenario of an end-time king of the South pushing at the European-centered king of the North (Daniel 11:40).
For more on these prophecies, see The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. WNP