What is the next prophetic event that will happen in the Middle East?
Many prophecies concerning that area of the world have recently been fulfilled. For example, the Bible prophesized that in the end times the Jews will be re-gathered from the four corners of the world — an amazing development that occurred in the 20th century and which continues today. The Bible also prophesized that as the results of that regathering, the state of Israel would be reestablished — a momentous event that occurred on May 14, 1948. Jesus himself prophesized that one day the city of Jerusalem would be reoccupied by the Jews, and that event took place on June 7, 1967. Finally, the biblical prophets stated that once the nation of Israel was reestablished all the world would come together against it over the issue of who would control Jerusalem. And that is exactly what is happening today.
So, what's next? Most believe that it will be an invasion of Israel lead by Russia accompanied by a number of Muslim nations. But, Bill Salus, the author of Isralestine, believes otherwise. He thinks the next great prophetic event in the Middle East will be a war between Israel and all the Arab nations that share a common border with it. Where does he get that idea? Who is going to win that war? And what will be the consequences? Bill has been kind enough to be interviewed and answer these questions.
Q) Ezekiel 38 and 39 speaks of a great invasion of Israel in the end times. Most people believe this is going to be lead by Russia together with a lot of Muslim nations. And there are some problems with this, because most Bible prophecy scholars until you came on the scene believed that this would be the next major prophetic event. But, the problem is that in Ezekiel 38 and 39 it says over and over that Israel would be living securely. For example, in chapter 38 and in verse 11, "they will be living without walls," and in verse 14, "they will be living securely." And that is not the situation in Israel today. And yet people have said, well it is just a relative thing and they are relatively living securely, but they are not. So how could this be the next event when that condition has not been met?
A) With all the elbow rubbing and muscle flexing that Russia is doing these days, it does appear as though this would be the next prophecy that would be fulfilled. I did an article called: "Psalm 83 Verses Ezekiel 38: Which is the Next Middle East News Headline." In that article I discussed six to seven reasons as to why Israel is not in that condition yet for Russia to invade. They are now dwelling securely. I have a chapter in the book called "Israel Dwelling Securely," and the "Yisreal Yasbab Betach." They are not dwelling securely. They had 4,000 rockets logged at them from Hezbollah and so forth in the summer of 2000.
And, they are not dwelling without walls, which is another condition they have to be in. They have a 403 mile wall that at some point they have almost finished completing. At some points it is 20 feet high, all to keep the Palestinian terrorist element out of Israel proper.
They are not dwelling in the center of the land. This is the new one I discovered. It says in Ezekiel 38 that Israel is "in the midst of the land" when Russia comes against them. And the Hebrew word is tabbuwr. And we have to wonder what (and that means "center" in the language) portion of land was he really talking about. Was he talking about that portion of land allotted to the Jewish State in 1947 with UN Resolution 181 of the Partition Plan, or was he perhaps talking about the land allotted to the Jewish people in Genesis 15:18 when God promised Abraham that he would give Him land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates River, which is of course through Syria and Iraq, which would put the center of that land in Jordan. And, as I get into the book and hopefully discuss some of this stuff, I talk about how Israel will annex land and will find themselves in possession of Jordan.
They are not dwelling securely. They are not one of the wealthiest nations in the world, nor acquired exceedingly great plunder that Russia also comes after. We are given a hint as to the motive of Russia and the consortia of Russian alliance that comes against Israel. They are coming for exceedingly great plunder. Some suspect that since Israel is drilling for oils these days with Zion Oil that they will come into a new found wealth of oil under their own soil. And they might. And there a lot of Zion Oil, prophetic oils out there. They tie in connecting passages of the Old Testament where they believe that it is foretold that Israel will find oil. However, I don't think it will be limited to that. I believe that it will be the exploitation of their resources, as Israel expands and conquers over Psalm 83 Arab nations.
Q) Ezekiel 38 and 39 doesn't mention any of the Arab nations that have a common border as being part of the invasion. Why aren't they there? How how does Psalm 83 answer this question?
A) It is intriguing that Israel's most observable opponents over the last 60 years since the restoration of the nation are not enlisted in the Ezekiel 38 nine member consortia of nations. This has puzzled the scholar alot recently. These are the very nations that border Israel through which the Russian invasion would be trespassing into to get into Israel to invade. So, why are they now listed? And, of course, what we are referring to are Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and what has evolved out of those entities are Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinians, and other terrorist entities could be included in that list.
Three-thousand years ago, oddly enough, a prophecy that has not found its final fulfillment — Psalm 83 — issued by Asaph the Seer, enlist all of these specific populations that we are talking about. There are ten of them in total. In my book I have gone through and traced who they are because when Asaph wrote this prophecy he was speaking in vernacular of his time. He was talking about the Edomites and Philistians and Tyrians from Tyre. Who could he have been talking about? It turns out he appears to have been talking about the Palestinian refugees — the Hamas, the Hezbollah. He talks about Assyria which would encompass Syria and part of Northern Iraq. He talks about the Hagarines which Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum and myself subscribe to being Hagar the matriarch of Egypt. She mothered Ishmael for Abraham, so we look at them as the Egyptians. Ismaelites, we look at them as the Saudi Arabians. Thoughout the book I weave in these connections of who these people are through the research I have done. And they are absent from the Ezekiel 38 invasion.
So, I was intrigued by Psalm 83 and, of course, the theme of the book is Psalm 83, and I talk about how the Psalm talks about these ten populations coming together with one consent in an attempt to destroy the nation of Israel, that "the name Israel would be remembered no more." So I look at that, as and most scholars agree, has not been fulfilled yet. So I look at that as a forthcoming event in light of the way we see the stage setting over in the Middle East presently. It answers the questions, "Why aren't those nations included in Ezekiel 38 and 39?"
And then, I get into how God deals with that battle through the "exceedingly great army" of Ezekiel 37:10, which I believe the Israeli Defense Forces will fulfill that prophecy. So they are not listed in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but they are listed in Psalm 83, and so I make a distinction between the two: the Israeli Defense Forces and the nations of Psalm 83 which I call the "inner circle."
Q) Psalm 83 is a war that is going to be fought before the war in Ezekiel 38 and 39? And, it will be a war in which Israel will defeat all of these Arab nations that have a common border with it?
A) Yes. Israel will expand into that territory, and therefore that is the reason they are not mentioned in the Russian invasion. This is my hypotheses.
That solves the problem, too, of Israel having peace, and it also solves the problem of Israel moving into the center of the land, "midst of the land." It also solves the problem of them being exceedingly wealthy because they will be able to exploit their resources. I believe that it will be a safer Israel. More alilyah will come forward. More Jews will come into Israel. They will exploit the resources and expand the territory. And they will become that ripe carrot on the string that Russian and Iran will lick their chops to come after for that exceedingly great plunder.
Q) It never says in the Psalm who wins this war, so how do you know the Israelis win this war?
A) Well, there are several reasons for that. The very basic starting one theologically is that God promised Abraham he would have descendants forever and those would be the Jewish people. What we are talking about is probably nothing less or nothing short of a genocidal attempt against the Jewish people by the Arab Nations that we talked about — those ten populations. God is a promise keeper, and He will not allow the Jewish people to be destroyed. Hitler was unsuccessful and, of course, there was a litany of attempts.
In fact, in Amos he says, I will put you in that land and you will never be rooted up again. If God keeps his promise to Israel, which we know he will, then the Jews will win. What connected this for me is Ezekiel 37:10. Many people, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum and myself included, believe that Ezekiel was transported in Ezekiel 37 some 2,600 years ago into the 1940's where he saw the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones. And this represented the Jewish people in the Diaspora in a devastating grave/holocaust condition. Then God even asks Ezekiel "can these bones live?" Ezekiel says, "God you know." What a profound question that turns out to be because if they don't survive the very thing we are talking about God will have broken His promise to Abraham.
Q) About the time that you were getting this insight from the Lord, wasn't something discovered in Ireland?
A) Yes, I believe it was July of 2006 an engineer was digging up some Irish bog soil and he found under the soil almost unblemished a parchment opened up specifically to Psalm 83.
Q) Traditionally, Bible prophecy teachers have said that peace would come to Israel only when the Antichrist made a covenant with them that would guarantee their security. Now you are saying the Israelis are going to defeat all of their Arab neighbors around them, occupy their territory, have peace and become a world superpower. And, they don't need an Antichrist to guarantee their peace. So what is the Antichrist's coming all about?
A) Exactly! The traditional viewpoint that has been taught for the last 60 years has come from the limited lenses of a lesser Israel, in my estimation. Ehud Olmert said in September 14 that the notion of a greater Israel has expired and then on the 19th, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the idea of the lesser Israel is about to be expired. I am paraphrasing his verbiage.
But the way I look at it, I look through the lenses of a greater Israel. Israel is going to expand. They are going to come out of this little 9,000 square box that they were allotted with UN resolution of 1947 — the Partition Plan. As a result of the Psalm 83 war, they are going to become an exceedingly great army. They are going to posses not only their arsenal, but they will have the opportunity to posses some Arab arsenal as well. They will be very powerful.
I then say like a Goliath shadow coming in behind then comes Ezekiel 38 and 39. When Russia comes after Psalm 83, these nations and in the process God exhibits His power and He defeats that invasion. The purpose of the Israeli Defense Forces is only to deal with Psalm 83. They are not even necessary in Ezekiel 38 and 39 apart from perhaps burying the dead and burning some weapons and things like that in the aftermath. God destroys them, so what we have, and I put these events Pre-tribulational, I put the Antichrist coming into the scene in the aftermath of both of these power genocidal attempts against the Jewish people. So we have to be looking at this when we try to understand the contents of the Antichrist pact with Israel.
We have to be looking through the lenses of a greater Israel in my estimation. The Israeli Defense Forces have exhibited their might, achieved the title and fulfilled prophecy being the great army. God will have accomplished His purposes which say the Jewish people will recognize He is God and the nations of the world will recognize that He is God. And so that is the stage when the Antichrist comes on the scene in light of the fact of these two facts could precurse the Tribulation period.
Isaiah 28 says that this Daniel 9:27 covenant becomes a covenant with death — an agreement with Sheol — and it is a picture if you read Isaiah 28 of the Jewish people in a very empowered condition. They are intoxicated with their empowerment all the way from Ephraim on through to the priests, prophets, even the people that fight back at the gate. I presume that would be the exceedingly great army. They are all intoxicated with this power. So it says that when they sign this covenant in Isaiah 28:15 and 18, they are expecting that an overflowing scourge that will be coming and that they will escape that scourge.
So we have to ask what is this overflowing scourge that they could be referring to? Could it be the 144,000 witnesses that have been running around talking about the Lord's coming? Revelation judgments could be forthcoming. Could it be the gentile nations of the world are going to war and Israel is concerned about that? We have already talked about Psalm 83 occurring and Ezekiel 38 occurring. I don't necessarily see another war apart from the Armageddon campaign after that, although there may be some. Could that be the scourge they are worried about and they want peace from that? The traditional viewpoint has been that it is a peace between the Arabs and the Jews, or a protection for Israel from the world in general. But, I look at it in a different way. Perhaps it a protection from the world of an empowered Israel on some level. So then, it goes on to say in Isaiah 28:18 that this covenant will be annulled and that this scourge will pass through.
Now we do also know that in the Armageddon campaign the Antichrist is going to come forward and he is going to try to destroy the Jews. In Zechariah 13:8 it talks about two-thirds of them being cut off and being destroyed. So this could be the scourge as well. Their thinking by signing some covenant with this individual that some overflowing scourge is not going to come their way. And, of course, God says that is going to annulled, and it does say in Isaiah 28 verse 22 a little further down that God is determined an end for the whole world. So it could very well be the Day of the Lord — the Day of Jacob's trouble — things along those lines. I don't know if they feel they can escape that, and again I am conjecturing. I think that it is a milestone to consider the possibility that it is not a peace pact between the Palestinians and the Israelis, but it is something much bigger and much broader.
Thank you, Bill, for sharing this new prophetic insight and explaining it to us!