By Nathan Jones
What is the Islamic world's plan for Israel according to Psalm 83?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will discuss the end times war found in Psalm 83.
The Enemies of Israel
Vic Batista: Nathan, you have been taking us verse-by-verse through Psalm 83. Before we move forward, I want to see if you could recap some on the opening of Psalm 83. Give us the details about the war and when it might occur.
Nathan Jones: Psalm 83 is one of the Psalms not written by King David. but by Asaph, who was called "The Seer." A seer was a prophet. Asaph wrote a few of the Psalms.
This particular song is also a prophecy about Israel having to finally subjugate their surrounding hostile neighbors, the neighbors that are constantly attacking them. Asaph is giving this prophecy in a song format.
Asaph lists quite a few hostile nations that we can look at today and recognize. For example, we know that when he talks about the "tents of Edom" they can be traced to the modern Palestinians residing in southern Jordan area. The Ishmaelite's are the Saudi's. Moab is the Palestinians from central Jordan. Hagarites are the Egyptians. Gebal is Hezbollah in northern Lebanon. Ammon are the Palestinians in northern Jordan. Amalek are the Arabs in the Sinai area. Philistia is Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Tyre is Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Assyria is the Syrians and those from northern Iraq, also the area that is controlled by ISIS today. All these different areas are countries that are directly connected by border to Israel. The result — Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, Egypt and the Saudi nations. They connect by border to Israel and they want Israel destroyed. Even today these nations spend all their time in the UN trying to get rid of Israel as a nation.
The Psalm 83 prophecy talks about how Israel is going to one day subjugate the nations around her. This prophecy has never been fulfilled in history, so we know that it's a future prophecy; it hasn't happened yet, obviously.
But, we do know that a Psalm 83 War will happen before another prophetic war which can be found in Ezekiel 38 & 39. There we read about the Gog & Magog War. That's when Russia leads a coalition of nations such as Iran, Turkey and all those 'Stan nations like Turkmenistan, also Put which is modern day Libya, and the Sudan. All these nations are an outer ring of Islamic nations that want to destroy Israel. Missing from that scenario are the nations directly surrounding Israel, so a lot of Bible prophecy scholars point to Psalm 83 as the next prophetic war that precedes the Gog & Magog War.
The Enemies' Insidious Plan
Vic Batista: Reread Psalm 83:1-4 and then highlight verse 4 because that sums up the purpose for why these nations are coming together against Israel.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, verse 4 is probably the crux of the whole passage. I'm reading in the New King James starting in verse 1.
"Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, 'Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.'"
Pastor Vic, you're absolutely right, for verse 4 is the key to this passage. The nations that surround Israel, which comprise the Islamic world in the Middle East today, want to cut Israel off from being a nation. They have tried different ways, such as politically with a Two-State Solution. That terrible deal would make Palestine its own state out of Israeli lands and thereby make Israel indefensible. Or, they'll boycott Israel in order to destroy the nation economically. No matter what tactic Islam uses, the work of Satan continues on through Islam's constant attacks against Israel for the purpose as verse 4 says to "cut them off from being a nation." In other words, "Let's end the nation of Israel!"
What's amazing to me is that because this a future prophecy, it would require to find fulfillment Israel being an actual nation. Israel became a nation again in May of 1948, and there have been many wars since then in which the Islamic world has tried to destroy Israel. God has always miraculously protected them. At some point God is going to use the Israeli Defense Forces and He's going to stop the attacks from the nations that directly surround Israel.
Vic Batista: Nathan, that's an excellent point you just brought up, because sometimes people read Psalm 83 and they apply it to different time periods, or they think it's just another psalm. But, you make a very good point, and that is that Israel would have to be a nation again in order for this prophecy to find fulfillment. Israel's nationhood took place during our era, right?
Nathan Jones: Exactly, well, sort of. My parents' generation was alive in 1948. That's when Israel became a nation again, but we live in the era of the people who were alive to witness that miraculous rebirth.
It is interesting what Jesus said in Matthew 24:32-35. When the fig tree (Israel) reblossoms (becomes a nation again), that is when Israel's troubles would actually start, not before, but after. And, as soon as Israel declared itself a nation on May 14, 1948, all the nations surrounding Israel attacked. At that time Israel had no real military. It only had a few old planes. Their population was mostly a bunch of farmers on kibbutzes with shotguns, and yet they held off these professional armies that were attacking them.
Since that war for independence, Israel's experienced other wars such as in 1967, 1973, 2006, and so on. There have been many wars with the nations bordering Israel who have been trying to destroy them. But, at some point as we read in Psalm 83, Israel cannot continue to be constantly attacked, and so they will subdue the nations surrounding them.
Vic Batista: People do not understand the military might Israel possesses for being such a small nation. Israel has one of the best armies in the world.
Nathan Jones: Yes, the IDF is actually ranked fourteenth in the world right now. But, for the effective use of military and manpower and for the resources that they have, it is actually number one. In other words, the IDF has the most bang for the buck with their military power. The nations in the Middle East greatly fear Israel, and that's why they are constantly getting the United Nations to try to cripple Israel both economically and politically in the hopes of weakening them enough where they could have a combined army attack Israel victoriously.
According to Ezekiel 38 & 39, at some point Israel becomes so powerful that Russia believes it has to gather all these Islamic nations together and join them in trying to destroy Israel. That means at some point Israel will not just be a power, but a super power in the world.
Vic Batista: These Islamic maneuverings against Israel sort of remind me of the whole bully experience. Back when we were in grade school, I always hid from the big bullies. But then, sometimes, you just have to stand up to them, right?
Nathan Jones: I remember I guess I was in sixth grade, and there was this bully. He had to have been two feet taller than me. He was so big he should have been going to high school! He attacked and I was fighting this guy, but he was so tall that as high as I could swing, I could only reach up to his neck. I couldn't even reach his face! I remember the irony of the situation now, but I thought then I was going to be a dead man for sure. Hitting him only up to the neck for some reason at the time was so funny to me that it made me laugh. I was actually laughing at the guy because he was so tall that I couldn't even hit his face. Do you know what he did? He turned around and ran away. He ran away!
Israel is always getting bullied. This little nation that only has six million Jews living there is up against some 66 million hostile Arabs surrounding them and who want them destroyed. Israel lives in an incredible David and Goliath scenario. And yet, God will defend His people! He promised to regather them from the four corners of the earth and bring them back to the Holy Land, and they are doing just that. The Jews are going back to the nation, and the nation has rebudded, just like Jesus said would happen.
Once back in the land of Israel, God will refine the Jewish people into a faithful remnant. A third of the Jewish people will survive the Tribulation and will give their hearts to Jesus Christ. Then Israel will become a priestly nation governing the world during Jesus' Millennial Kingdom. That's what Satan has been trying to stop. That's his end game.
Vic Batista: And that's exactly what we are seeing here in Psalm 83. We read about how these nations bordering Israel are gathering with the purpose of destroying Israel.
In the eighth segment of our survey of the Psalm 83 War, Vic and I will look at how God's victories in the past will answer an imprecatory prayer about the promised rebirth of a nation.