The Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83 Prophecies/Part 7
|By: John G Weldon, PhD; ©2011|
|A number of commentaries have pointed out that collectively, the specific nations listed in this Psalm as seeking to destroy Israel have never yet jointly existed in history, which indicates this may have a dual fulfillment, both ancient and future.|
The Ezekiel 38/Psalm 83 Prophecies: Russia, Iran and Muslim Nations in Biblical Prophecy
A number of commentaries have pointed out that collectively, the specific nations listed in this Psalm as seeking to destroy Israel have never yet jointly existed in history, which indicates this may have a dual fulfillment, both ancient and future. Regardless, no one can logically deny that an Arab/Muslim conspiracy to destroy Israel has existed ever since the nation was first born in 1948; in a genuine sense, Israel has never known true peace since its founding. According to Bill Koenig, “The Revised New Bible Commentary (Eerdmans, 1970) points out that: ‘No such widespread alliance of adjacent states, as is described in verses 6-8 (of Psalm 83) is mentioned in the Old Testament.'” The NIV Study Bible footnote on Psalm 83 comments, “Neither Kings nor Chronicles tells of a confederacy as extensive as that described here. Perhaps only some of the nations mentioned here were actually attacking, while the rest of Israel’s historic enemies were more passively supporting the campaign.”
In Psalm 83 we find a list of 10 nations described that gather together to destroy Israel. Placed into their modern counterparts, these are primarily the nations that currently surround Israel. “With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you…” (Psalm 83:3-5) This sounds like a fairly modern depiction of things, despite being written 3,000 years ago.
This prophecy apparently has a partial past fulfillment, and possibly a current partial fulfillment in the half dozen wars of Israel where the Arab/Muslim nations have attempted to destroy Israel. Regardless, a good argument can be made that it also refers to a future attempt. In his book Israelstine, Bill Salus makes a convincing case. The “tents of Edom” are apparently the Palestinian peoples that the Arab nations are using as a ploy not only against Israel but to gain sympathy from the international community. The “Hagrites” are descendents of Hagar, so Egypt is apparently mentioned in Psalm 83. According to Salus, the Arab confederacy includes Hezbollah and Hamas, the Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Saudi Arabians, Iraqis, and Egyptians.
There is significant agreement among analysts who accept this as a future prophecy and some disagreement as to the specific identities involved, but it seems generally agreed that the nations cited are Israel’s surrounding and hostile Muslim Arab neighbors.
For example, consider a variety of commentators:
1. Koenig argues as follows:
- “The first seven groups named in Psalm 83 were all located east of Israel. They were tribes whose moving boundaries often overlapped. The first two, Edom and the Ishmaelites, are synonymous today with the entire Arab-Muslim world. This is because both people groups are thought to have migrated further south into the Arabian Peninsula — the seat of Islam. Moreover, Ishmael is a significant figure in Islamic theology. So in modern terms, these names could be referring to Saudi Arabia, which backed front-line Arab forces in 1948 and 1967, and/or to the entire Arab-Muslim world that stretches from Morocco to Oman. …. In summary, the nations where the ten ancient people groups and tribes mentioned in Psalm 83 live today, are Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories within Israel.”
2. According to Bill Salus, author of Israelstine the Psalm 83 co-conspirators are:
- “Tents of Edom (Palestinians and S. Jordanians)
- Ishmaelites (Saudis – Ishmael father of the Arabs)
- Moab (Palestinians and Central Jordanians)
- Hagrites (Hagarenes – Egyptians)
- Gebal (Hezbollah & N. Lebanese)
- Ammon (Palestinians and N. Jordanians)
- Amalek (Arabs of the Sinai area)
- Philistia (Hamas of the Gaza Strip)
- Tyre (Hezbollah and S. Lebanese)
- Assyria (Syria and N. Iraqis)”
3. According to former Palestinian terrorist Walid Shoebat, the nations in Psalm 83 are Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.
4. According to Bill Randles the nations are Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Gaza Strip, Palestinians, and Iraq. Thus:
- “Edom- which extends from Jordan to Saudi Arabia
- Gebal – According to the Unger’s bible dictionary, this is in Lebanon,
- Philistia – Gaza, today the center for Hamas
- Ishmaelites and Hagarites – Arabs in general.
- Assyria – These are Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. At its height it included Egypt and Iran as well. Assyria, the great empire, covered the areas now known as Iraq, parts of Syria, and Turkey.
- Amalek – Jordan, southwest of the Dead Sea.
“These are the players of the next great war.”
5. Dr. F. Kenton Beshore, author of The Millennium, The Apocalypse and Armageddon argues as follows: “Psalm 137 is a prayer for God to judge Edom, and Psalm 83 is a prayer for God to judge the enemies of Israel — Edom (Southern Jordanians), the Ishmaelites (Saudi Arabians), Moab (Central Jordanians), Hagarites (Egyptians), Gebal (Northern Lebanese), Ammon (Northern Jordanians), Amalek (Arabs south of Israel), Philistines (Palestinians of Gaza), inhabitants of Tyre (Southern Lebanese) and Assyria (Syria).” He believes that this particular coalition of Arab and Islamic states and peoples are going to attack Israel at the same time as the Gog prophecy.
It is worth noting that Psalm 83 declares that the peoples of these nations are also God’s enemies who form an alliance against Him as well, by seeking to destroy His people and His land, Israel. (Psalm 83: 2, 5, 13). Significantly, they are all Muslim nations/peoples and Islam’s specific and intense anti-Judeo-Christian theology is to the point.
I believe that Psalm 83 seems to precede the Ezekiel 38 invasion. Dr. Chuck Missler is one of many who believe that in Psalm 83 there is a great victory for Israel that sets the stage for the Ezekiel 38 coalition to take the spoils of Israel. If the Israelis thoroughly route their Muslim enemies that surround them and increase their geographical size some ten-fold, Israel would certainly have a good deal of additional spoils waiting to be taken.
According to Missler in Jeremiah 49:2, 8, 19 the war starts between the Psalm 83 Confederacy and Israel, but Israel decisively defeats the Confederacy. (See: Obadiah 1:9, 18; Ezekiel 25:13-14; Jeremiah 49:10, 20, 21, 23-26; Isaiah 11:12-14; Isaiah 17:1; Isaiah 19:16-17). After Israel wins this tremendous battle, they become an exceedingly great army (Ezekiel 37:10; Jeremiah 49:21); they take prisoners of war (Jeremiah 48:46-47; Jeremiah 49:3, 6, 11; Zephaniah 2:10-11), and the whole geographical region is reshaped (Isaiah 17:1 Jeremiah 49:2, 10, Zephaniah Ch. 2). This is when Damascus is apparently nuked in Isaiah 17:1 and Israel expands its borders back to the original borders of the Abrahamic covenant given in Genesis 15 (cf. Obadiah 1:1, 9; Jeremiah 49:2; Isaiah 19:18-19). This is also when Israel comes to dwell securely in the land and because of its size, power and wealth, the attack of Ezekiel 38 happens.
According to Dr. Missler, “We have been plunged into a period of time about which the Bible says more than it does about any other time in history.”
- Bill Koenig, “Psalm 83: The Coming War?” August 15, 2001; http://www.watch.org/showart.php3?idx=15234&rtn=/index.html&showsubj=1&mcat=26; in part adapted from David Dolan’s “Israel’s Next War” commentary on Psalm 83; http://focusonjerusalem.com/revisitingpsalms83.html.
- Pastor Bill Randles, “Psalm 83 — The Soon Coming Fate of Israel’s near Neighbors — Part One,” February 24, 2010.
- Dr. F. Kenton Beshore, “Psalm 83─An Imprecatory Prayer for God’s Victory Over Israel’s Enemies:” http://www.raptureready.com/soap/psalm83-1.html.
- International Prophecy Conference “Chuck Missler,” 2008, God.tv.