Monday, March 31, 2014

A Psalm 83 War: Clarification by Dave Reagan

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

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.

Tommy Ice has presented his objections to Bill's thesis, which you can read here. Bill Salus responded next, which you can read here. I am now going to clarify some points.

Tommy Ice vs Bill Salus

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.

Check out our other interviews of Bill Salus, author of the Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine. The "Christ in Prophecy" episodes are available online here and here.

20 comments:

Scott Bustamante said...

I think you left out a couple of hyperlinks. In the paragraph above the pic of Tommy Ice & Bill Salus, you state 'which you can read here' twice. But the word here is not a link to anything. So where is the 'here' you are talking about? It seems like there should be two links in that paragraph where the word 'here' is. I would like to see those two links and read them, so I can evaluate both sides.

Thanks,
Scott

p.s. I'm not a robot...lol

Billy said...

What a great ending article on this subject. Dr. Reagan hit the perfect tone in not drawing absolute conclusions nor offering criticisms of opposing views.

Either side could be right and it is nothing to fight over.

Excellent series!!!

(...btw if the subject were something like "Was Jesus truly divine?" then that is a different matter. There ARE some things that are worthy of a "no backing down to the death" defense.)

Sean Osborne said...

I hold a view which is very, very close to Bill Salus' view of Psalm 83.

In my view Psalm 83 is purely a prophecy about a last days war between Israel and the "inner ring" of enemies, and it is one that has been in a process of literal fulfillment through a series of wars that have occurred from May 1948 to the present with the final battle being one that will occur in the very near future.

The difference in my view is that in the final war of the Psalm 83 series Syria (Aram-Damascus is not referenced in the Psalm 83 text) is not a participant due to the closely related prophecy of Isaiah 17; and Egypt is not a directly referenced participant due to the prophecy of Isaiah 11:12-15 and Isaiah 19. Isaiah 17 is likely to precede the Psalm 83 final engagement, very probably as a catalyst for it. Egypt's problems are already self-evident.

The final battle of Psalm 83 involves:

1.) the territory of Islamist-controlled Lebanon, which Israel conquers and occupies completely (nowhere does Lebanon appear in any Bible prophecy thereafter; it becomes Israel proper), and...

2.) the territory of Jordan, which Israel also conquers the vast majority thereof and making it also Israel proper (as proven by the text of Ezekiel 39:11-16).

3.) the Islamist-controlled areas of Gaza and Judea/Samaria (of the so-called 'West Bank') who are destroyed utterly and completely.

Psalm 83:8 names Assur (northern Iraq) as being of military assistance to the Jordanian islamists (who are soon likely to remove the Bedouin Abdullah II from his Hashemite throne and attain power in Amman) is a direct reference to the Sunni Islamic tribes (currently in the process of conquering western Iraq from the Shi'a regime in Iran), who are specifically located in the homeland heart of ancient Assur in the so-called "Sunni triangle" north of Baghdad.

I also believe that Psalm 83 is directly referenced by a pair of prophesies found in Ezekiel 28:24-26 as well as Isaiah 11:12-15.

Billy said...

From the book description of “Israelistine” on Amazon:

“The Israeli Defense Force will decisively defeat this offensive and prove to be the "exceedingly great army" of Ezekiel 37:10. They will expand their territory, become regionally superior, take prisoners of war and exploit the resources of these conquered Arab nations. In that condition they will become one of, if not the wealthiest nations on earth. It is from that position of empowerment that the Jews will dwell securely in the Middle East. Subsequently the world stage is set for the Russian - Iranian led coalition of nations, which will form against Israel as prophesied in the book of Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39.”

From Dr. Reagan’s post:

“…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.”

Back to me:

These may sound like the same thing but I don’t think they are and this is my whole disagreement with Salus and his “Israelistine” view. From the description of the Salus book above one can conclude Israel will defeat the Arabs in Psalm 83 then there will be a lengthy period of time in which Israel annexes the Arab lands (“expands their tterritory”), becomes a superpower and “exploits resources” to become the “…the wealthiest nation on earth”. This all says to me that years will go by as the Russians just stand pat and do nothing.

But one can conclude from Dr. Reagan’s comments that Psalm 83 will take place and almost immediately the Arabs will call out to the Russians. I can conclude the time frame for Ezekiel 38-39 will be rather short. I can conclude the events may be nearly simultaneous. Now THIS scenario is the only I CAN accept. Then AFTER the Russian defeat.

I can buy into Salus’ “Israelistine”, but NOT BEFORE the Russian defeat.

So I don’t argue against the Pslam 83 scenario/prophecy. I just simply think Salus has the part about Israel becoming a dominating nation in the wrong place. It makes more sense to me for and "Israelistine" after Ezekiel 38-39, not Psalm 83.

But, as I have stated before, I’m not doctrinal about all this. I could be right. I could just as well be wrong. It is a very interesting subject matter though and I appreciate the great articles on the subject and the opportunity to comment on it.

God bless L&L!

Jeff said...

Thank you Lamb & Lion for this most recent article on the subject…presenting both views. While I agree with Thomas Ice, I’m pleased to see Dr. Reagan softening on this by presenting both sides.

Bill Salus, in a personal response to a comment I made on his website, said the following: “Keep your eye on the news because Psalm 83 looks readied to occur soon, perhaps even during president elect Obama's first term in office.”

I responded that believers can have differences of opinion about the timing of the Ps 83 war (I believe Ps 83 AND Ezek 38 are simply different descriptions of the final battle at the end of the tribulation), but setting a specific date was irresponsible and unbiblical. The entire conversation was summarily deleted from the web site!!

Which illustrates one of the big problems with this teaching. Dr. Reagan says, “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.” While Salus (or most who agree with him) does not specifically place these wars ahead of the rapture on a timeline (as Dr. Reagan recognizes), there are sure a lot of Christians out there who are now looking for war instead of the rapture! Lamb & Lion’s own poll shows it!

Doesn’t it concern Lamb & Lion, one of the best and most respected prophecy ministries around, that more people today are looking for war than the rapture? Has “charge” replaced “maranatha” in the church today?

Anonymous said...

Well since Israel is such a dominating force according to Bill Salus and others who embrace the Isralestine theory, surely God will not have to intervene during the Gog/Magog battle. With extended borders Israel would have plenty of time to counter an attack from the Gog/Magog invasion force yet not surprisingly it appears the other way around.

The nagging question in the back of my mind has been, how could God allow Israel to utterly defeat their enemies in close proximity, then of course send an even greater coalition of enemies against them as written in Ezekiel 38/39. This makes no sense at all to me and personally keeps me from adopting such a theory suggesting Psalm 83 to be an actual battle plan.

Terry Farley said...

Presenting this discussion is a real blessing to believers, hungering to consider these deeper and relevant issues.

One comment, if understood correctly, suggested Psalm 83 as prophecy would take years to fulfill. Yet one only need recall the '67 Six-Day War and more currently the present events in the Ukraine, to realize how quickly events transpire in this present age. Daily global shifts in economy only support this position.

And with all this international activity as daily fare in the myriad of news offerings across the planet, one is hard-pressed to conceive of many being mindful of the imminent twinkling of an eye!

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Till the Shout,

TL Farley,
author,
"When Now Becomes Too Late"

Anonymous said...

Everyone is entitled to their belief but I think it does not take much real observation to tell who really is the regional broker here for the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa, the shadow of Moscow is everywhere. This serves to additionally disengage the belief that Israel's neighbors act independently without Russian and Iranian influence. Jordan however will always join their Arab/Islamic brothers against Israel, there is no question there.

Sean Osborne said...

Billy wrote:

"
But one can conclude from Dr. Reagan’s comments that Psalm 83 will take place and almost immediately the Arabs will call out to the Russians. I can conclude the time frame for Ezekiel 38-39 will be rather short. I can conclude the events may be nearly simultaneous. Now THIS scenario is the only I CAN accept.
"

Billy,

How do you reconcile the scenario you accept with this verse from Ezekiel 38:8b

"In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely."

How can Israel be dwelling safely prior to the Gog Confederation's invasion with the Shi'a and Sunni Islamists staging murderous terror attacks against Israel and its civilian population from their lands in Lebanon, Judea, Samaria and Gaza on an almost daily basis?

Are these lands not the focus of the conquest Bill Salus cities in Israelestine as a precursor event to the "and now all of them dwell safely" cited above?

If after considering this Biblical fact and you still conclude as you do currently express yourself, then please tell all of the good folks living in Israel but ready to sprint for a bomb shelter at the moment a warning siren sounds upon the detection of an incoming rocket or mortar round that they are just fine and dwelling safely and have nothing to fear from anyone living just over the border in any direction.

Billy said...

Sean,

After re-reading Ezekiel 38-39 I say when you're right, you're right.

HOWVER...after re-reading Psalm 83 it does NOT say anywhere that there will be an Israelistine.

Can you, Sean, please direct me to where it says is Psalm 83 that there WILL...

...be a war
...the Arabs are defeated
...Israel becomes a superpower
...all the other Salus predictions

I see a call out for these things to happen but where is the text showing what will?



Psalm 83 text (NIV):


1 O God, do not remain silent;
do not turn a deaf ear,
do not stand aloof, O God.
2 See how your enemies growl,
how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”


5 With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against you—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them
to reinforce Lot’s descendants.[b]


9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor
and became like dung on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession
of the pasturelands of God.”


13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, Lord,
so that they will seek your name.


17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.


Anonymous said...

This ought to be interesting!

Anonymous said...

Ezekiel 38:8 seems to be interpreted as militarily secure or confident in the ability of Israel to be able to defend their borders, that is the meaning of dwelling safely. Israel a nation brought back from what in all appearances was certain annihilation now exists as a dominant super power. The absence of the word peace in both chapters 38/39 also supports this view.

Sean Osborne said...

Hi Billy,

Regarding your question:

"HOWVER...after re-reading Psalm 83 it does NOT say anywhere that there will be an Israelistine."

You do realize that the title of Bill Salus book came to him, after much prayerful supplication to the Lord, in a quiet moment of inspiration as the Holy Spirit whispered into his heart that the title of the book he had worked on for five years was to be "Isralestine."

Therefore, who among us will deny this Divinely inspired origin for the new word "Isralestine"?

Where is there evidence in the text that Psalm 83 involves military action?

IF you agree that Psalm 83 is a prayerful song Divinely inspired of the Holy Spirit upon the Hebrew chozeh Asaph (I must assume you know what a chozeh is), then you merely have to recognize the prophetic language used in the prophecy mirrors the same type of prophetic language used by other Hebrew chozeh's in ancient times.

In fact, what Asaph was inspired to write in Psalm 83:13-15 is nearly identical in its context denoting military action as the language used by Isaiah 17:12-13.

So, I ask you, is Isaiah 17 a prophecy that deals with a war, the utter defeat of an existential enemy?

By the way, none of this a prediction by Bill Salus; it is an interpretation of the Lord's prophetic word, which is 100% consistent with confirming prophecies found in Isaiah 11:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:24-26.

How can this hard Biblical evidence be argued with or denied by anyone is beyond me to fathom.

Anonymous said...

His personal interpretation not based on the context of Psalm 83, random passages stacked up to support this theory does not give it credibility. Still no one is able to explain how Psalm 83 constitutes an actual war, expansion of borders, increased wealth, and peace for Israel. Believe we are still waiting.

Sean Osborne said...

Anonymous,

No one is able to explain?


Good grief, the first rule of Biblical eschatology is that the Bible explains the Bible!

Here's a clue for you.

Ezekiel 39:11 refers us to "...in Israel, the valley of the passengers valley east of the sea..."

This is specific to a location which is currently in western Jordan near the town of Dhiban.

How do you think this place in Jordan becomes "in Israel" and the burial sites for Gog of Magog entire invasion force if not through "an actual war, expansion of borders"???

Billy said...

Sean said "Therefore, who among us will deny this Divinely inspired origin for the new word "Isralestine"?"

Sean, the only text that I can say is DIVINE is THE WORD OF GOD. The text of THE BIBLE.

Sean said "(I must assume you know what a chozeh is),..."

No, I don't. I am NOT a Biblical scholar. I am an average believing Christian. I am not ashamed of that as many so called "educated" and "in the know" people in the time of Jesus DENIED Him. While many uneducated people ACCEPTED Him through faith. So, fancy educations and knowing Biblcial terms doesn't mean you automatically are right. The average Christian can have understanding and insight, too. Also don't forget the article with an opposing view to Mr. Salus was written by a prophecy expert (who likely knows a lot more than you).

Finally, I don't deny the Psalm 83 Salus version is incorrect. I just haven't been convinced of it yet (and apparently I'm not alone). But no one is going to be judged by Psalm 83's meaning, only if Jesus is your Saviour, so again I appreciate the discussion points you make but I'm not fanatical about who is or isn't right.

Sean Osborne said...

Billy,

I get the distinct impression that you do not own a copy of, nor have you read a borrowed or library copy of Bill Salus' book Isralestine.

Would I be correct in this impression?

I also get the impression that no matter who the person is, if that person says the Holy Spirit told him or her something or laid something upon his or her heart and then that person related that something directly to you, that you would summarily dismiss it out of hand as being NOT of Divinely inspired instruction.

Ok, fine, I have no further questions for you.

But I do have one final comment to make to you.

Prepare yourself, in these last days, to eat those words you wrote in your response, for the LORD God has declared through his prophet Joel...

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy."

Acts 2:17-18

Would i be correct in assuming that your denial of this will be forthcoming as well?

If not, then why do you deny what Bill Salus' says was the Spirit speaking to his heart regarding a simple, one-word name for a book about the prophecy of Asaph, among others of the Old Testament period?

Billy said...

Sean,

I have not read Israelistine. I admit this puts an asterik next to my comments. My comments are based on what I have read ABOUT Israelistine at this website alone.

I do not DENY what Bill Salus says or claims. I just can't say I agree absolutely. I suppose being on the side (not that this is a competition or divisive matter) of Tommy Ice puts me in great company, no?

Third:

"For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

I am NOT, in NO WAY applying the above to Mr. Salus. I'm just countering your Bible verses in general. There will be FALSE prophets too so you don't bite at every prophecy lure dangling in front of your face.

(Remember Sean, I'm NOT saying you're wrong. I'm just not convinced.)

Guess we should leave it at that.

Billy said...

Actually, I must respond to your comment "Prepare yourself, in these last days, to eat those words you wrote in your response, for the LORD God has declared through his prophet Joel..."

In the last days I will be in Heaven with our Lord Jesus and all other Christians (where you and I will happily meet each other).

Divisions/opinions/speculations will be gone as the whole truth and understand of The Word will be taught to us (would anyone be so bold as to say they know it all?!) and there will be NO words for anyone to "eat". We will be joyful and happy beyond imagination and no one will be saying "I told you so" as that type of attitude is for the currently world of fallen man.

Sean Osborne said...

The point is were are already in the last days, have been for some now in fact.

So...

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy."

...is happening right now as well.

That's the point.