Israel is the central focus of Bible Prophecy. God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give their descendants a literal, specific land region in the Middle East. About 4000 years ago, God stamped this small plot of land “This is Mine” – and the reverberations have been felt in that place ever since!
Before we examine Psalm 83, I will mention that some see this as an imprecatory prayer that was answered (and thus the war never occurred, as an answer to prayer). I disagree, because I believe the Psalm 83 war was at least partially fulfilled by the 6-Day War in 1967 (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War).
While it’s possible the 6-day war completely fulfilled Psalm 83, it’s also possible that the complete fulfillment of this war is yet future. I don’t want to be dogmatic about it, because I think it will become plainly obvious within the next few years whether it gets fulfilled again or not. The main uncertainty, I believe, comes because no one can easily foresee how the Third Temple might be built upon the current Islamic Dome of the Rock. The literal fulfillment of Psalm 83 would apparently destroy Islamic resistance and pave the way for the coming Third Temple.
Of course, it’s always possible that the Temple was never built at that particular location in the past anyways… but that’s a topic for another post 🙂
Let’s examine Psalm 83, noting the bolded verses for further discussion.
The Battle of Psalm 83
God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant— the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Asshur also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot… O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane! Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord. Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83:1-8, 13-18 ESV)
Additional Scripture References:
- Obadiah 1:1-18 (Edom)
Prerequisites of This War:
Israel must be a nation.
Purpose of This War:
God will intervene to defend Israel from a group of people who have devised “crafty plans” against her. They have conspired to wipe Israel out as a nation. The psalmist pleads to God to “not keep silence” and to put them to shame “that they may know that [God] alone is the Most High over all the earth”.
Who Are the Players?
Basically, the countries adjacent to Israel, who form a tight ring around her, appear to focus in and attack together in a coordinated effort. Douglas Berner, in his book “When God Intervenes”, interprets the nations very similarly to what has been published by other eschatology scholars:
- Edom – Southern Jordan / Palestinians
- Ishmaelites – 12 tribes of Arabs = Saudi Arabia
- Moab – Central Jordan
- Hagrites – Northeast Jordan, or possibly the area of Damascus and Syria
- Gebal – Lebanon; an area in the region of Edom between Petra and the Dead Sea
- Ammon – Northwest Jordan
- Amalek – Sinai Peninsula; possibly into Egypt
- Philistines – coastal area of Gaza; possibly into Egypt
- Tyre – Lebanon
- Assur – Northwest Syria, Northeast Iraq, Southeast Turkey
- Children of Lot – Northern and central Jordan
Timing of This War:
Not given; it has to occur when Israel is established as a nation.
It’s possible that the Psalm 83 war was completely fulfilled in the Six-Day War of 1967. Gary at Unsealed mentions, “In Psalm 83 the enemies of God plot to destroy Israel and the reason given is “so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” They conspire, plot, and form an alliance in secret with this goal in mind. This is exactly what happened in 1967. In the years and months leading up to the Six-Day War, the Egyptians and Palestinians in particular had been provoking Israel with blockades and terrorist attacks. This culminated with a defense alliance between Egypt and Jordan in May 1967. Iraq and other Arab nations were soon involved and amassing forces for a grand invasion of Israel. The nations who fought against Israel at that time were Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. The ancient equivalents to these nations are Edom, Moab, Byblos, Ammon, Amalek, Tyre, Assyria, and the Hagrites. These are the exact nations described in Psalm 83. The outcome was exactly as laid out in Psalm 83 as well – Israel won the victory.” (Source: http://www.unsealed.org/2017/07/psalm-83-six-day-war.html).
It’s possible that the complete fulfillment of this war is yet future. If it is future, it would seem that this war might pave the way for the destruction of Damascus, Syria (Isaiah 17), or vice versa. They seem to share several conspirators. Additionally, both prophecies contain a plea to God to drive the enemies away like chaff, or tumbleweed, before the wind (Isaiah 17:13; Psalm 83:13). Logically, Psalm 83 in co-ordination with Isaiah 17 would seem to pave the way for the Gog/Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39. I don’t believe it can be ruled out that the 3 wars might chase each other rather quickly, or be close to simultaneous (part of one larger picture). An interesting detail noted in Obadiah is that it places the battle against Edom (included in Psalm 83) near the Day of the Lord – “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.” (Obad 1:15 ESV). Near, but not ON. The Ezekiel 38-39 war seems to occur on the brink of the Day of the Lord, so Psalm 83 may be right in front of it.
The prayer of Asaph (Psalm 83) may have had partial or complete fulfillment in the Six-Day War of 1967. There may be a future double fulfillment of this prophecy, on the brink of the Day of the Lord. There are supporting prophecies against the specific nations listed in Psalm 83 in other parts of the Old Testament. Even though God’s response is not recorded in Psalm 83, we know that He has and will intervene to save Israel as requested because of the corroborating scriptures.
The timeline for Psalm 83 is not given in the Bible, nor does it specifically detail how it occurs. In Obadiah, the prophet details God’s judgment against Edom (Southern Jordan/Palestine) which is likely part of the Psalm 83 battle (Edom is also mentioned there). The interesting detail added in Obadiah is that it places it near the Day of the Lord – “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.” (Obad 1:15 ESV).
There is an interesting connection between these smaller battles and the Gog-Magog war, in that the Ezekiel 38-39 (Gog/Magog) war conspicuously OMITS all these Psalm 83 nations. It will be interesting to see if “all his hordes – many peoples are with you” mentioned in Ezekiel 38:6 includes Syria and the other nations described in Psalm 83. The results of all the prophetic end time battles/wars are that the nations will know that the Lord is God.
Note that future prophetic events are not necessarily dependent on this battle, but that speculation on its’ timing does make it easier to visualize the fulfillment of other end times events. Logical placement (through human eyes) would put this inner bulls-eye ring attack next on the prophetic timetable, before or in conjunction with the rapture of the church. The destruction of Damascus by Israel could be the fuse that ignites the battle of Psalm 83 (or vice-versa), paving the way for Ezekiel 38-39 to occur. However, there is nothing stating that this could not be fulfilled at the SAME TIME as the Gog-Magog war, or at a different time entirely.
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
Psalm 83: The Six-Day War (Unsealed)
Psalm 83 – Preview of a Coming Attraction (Jack Kelley)
When God Intervenes (Douglas Berner)
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!