Is Psalm 83 a prophecy about an end time war between Israel and its neighbors, or is it something else?
Many people like Joel Rosenberg dismiss it and point instead to the war of God & Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 as the next end time prophetic war that will take place in the Middle East. But, there are many other respected Bible prophecy experts who argue strongly that the next end time war prophesied for the Middle East is the one described in Psalm 83.
A major controversy has erupted in recent years among Bible prophecy experts who believe in Premillennialism, the view that Jesus will return to this earth at the end of the Tribulation to reign for a 1,000 years. The controversy centers around Psalm 83.
It began in 2008 with the publication of this book Isralestine by Bill Salus of Prophecy Depot Ministries. The thesis of this book is that Psalm 83 describes an end time war between Israel and the nations that share a common border with it, namely Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Bill Salus theorized that the Israelis would win this war overwhelmingly resulting in peace for their nation, but the peace would be short-lived because the Arab world would turn to Russia. The Russians would come down against Israel with certain specified Muslim allies in what the Bible calls the War of Gog & Magog, described in detail in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Russia's Muslim allies will be made up of an outer ring of nations with no common border with Israel today. The Psalm 83 War on the other hand would be one between Israel and the inner ring of nations that surround it.
So, what about it? Is Psalm 83 a prophecy about an end time war that could occur any moment, or is it describing something else? I contacted Bill Salus and his major critic, Tommy Ice, and asked if they would present their arguments. Both graciously agreed to do so.
Dr. Tommy Ice is the Director of the Pre-Trib Research Center that you can find at pre-trib.org. This website contains a treasure trove of articles about end time Bible prophecy.
Dave Reagan Clarifies Some Points
When Bill Salus first published his Psalm 83 War theory in 2008, I endorsed it immediately with a feature article in our September/October Lamplighter magazine. I did so because I had always taught that a limited war in the Middle East between Israel and its immediate neighbors would result in a victory for Israel that would, in turn, motivate the Arab world to cry out to Russia for help. That would lead to a Russian invasion of the area, with the Russians accompanied by the outer ring of Muslim nations mentioned in the War of Gog and Magog from Ezekiel 38 and 39. Although I had taught this for years, I had never made the link between Psalm 83 and a war of Israel with its immediate neighbors, which are those with whom it shares common boundaries.
I still believe this is the most likely scenario: first the limited war of Psalm 83, and then the broader war of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
One of the immediate objections to Bill's thesis took the form of an accusation that he was inserting events that must take place before the Rapture, but that objection was unfounded. Bill never placed any event before the Rapture. According to his thesis, the Rapture could occur before these wars, or during them, or after them. Bill has been consistent in arguing that the Rapture is a signless and imminent event that could occur at any moment.
Basically, those who object to Bill's thesis about Psalm 83 simply argue that the Psalm is a prayerful lament against the enemies of Israel. Do you know what? It could very well be. Bible prophecy is not always clear, and that provides legitimate grounds for honest differences in interpretation.
I want to thank both Tommy Ice and Bill Salus for agreeing to share their viewpoints about Psalm 83. If you would like to study this issue in greater detail, I would recommend a particular video by Bill Salus entitled, Psalm 83.