“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20).
Psalm 83 is an imprecatory prayer, an imprecatory psalm—it seems very obvious to me. Some popular hypotheses regarding the meaning of Psalm 83 are circulating claiming the psalm is an unfulfilled prophecy, describing a major separate war that will take place before the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39. Accompanying that particular interpretation is a belief that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will successfully defeat Arab enemies, therefore getting all the credit for defeating the Arab nations that surround Israel.
It is true that in Ezekiel 37:10, an “exceedingly great army” is mentioned, but the verse does not say that a great army will be responsible for the destruction of Israel’s enemies. I would also say it is much more likely that a war we will see before the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 will be the fulfillment of Isaiah 17:1, which could very possibly take place shortly before the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 or even be tied into it. It also makes sense that it will happen during the Tribulation when God judges the nations listed in Jeremiah 49.
“The burden against Damascus. Behold. Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap” (Isaiah 17:1).
The Arab states mentioned in Psalm 83 are the modern Arab states who are members of the Arab League. Their agenda is to reduce Israel to nothing. In reference to Psalm 83, verse 5, the word “confederacy,” berith, in Hebrew can be translated into the word “league” from Hebrew to English. Also, according to The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Hebrew word berith is translated “covenant” in the English Bible. The concordance also states the word berith appears 227 times in the Old Testament, and means “confederacy, league or covenant.”
Psalm 83 is a fulfilled prophecy, a prophecy that continues to be fulfilled, and a prophecy that will be fulfilled when the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 takes place; and completely fulfilled when Jesus the Messiah returns at Armageddon and personally destroys the nations that come against Him and Israel. The battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 will most likely be the next major prophetic war in the Middle East.
By carefully comparing Psalm 83 with Ezekiel 38 and 39, Psalm 83 appears very much to be an imprecatory prayer for Israel, and certainly relates to current events. Both Christians and Jews have been praying for God’s intervention—to stop Israel’s enemies from the continuous barrage of threats and assaults from those who also happen to be members of the Arab League.
This fervent appeal can be witnessed today. Every time Israel is threatened, prayers go before the throne of God on Israel’s behalf. An imprecatory prayer is pleading with God to bring down judgment upon a dangerous enemy. To imprecate means to call God’s judgment down upon a people. The following verses sound like what the enemies of Israel are saying today, including those who are members of the Arab League:
“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. For they have consulted together with one consent, they form a confederacy against You” (Psalm 83:3-5).
Psalm 83 speaks about a “confederacy” and some of the nations listed in that psalm are part of the Arab League, whose members are frequently calling for Israel’s demise. The political leader of Iran, Mahamoud Ahmadinejad, is well known for spewing his hatred for Israel and calling for its total destruction.
Psalm 83 is a prayer to circumvent the conspiracy against Israel. I would further say that Psalm 83 describes and correlates what will happen during of the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39, when the nations of the world will know God and God alone will save Israel from the Russian-led invasion. To imply that the Israeli Defense Forces will liberate Israel from Islamic threats cannot be confirmed or supported by any Scripture found in Psalm 83, or Ezekiel 38 and 39. If the IDF is given the credit for winning that war, then God will not be known for saving Israel.
Where does it say in Psalm 83 that man-made military forces will save Israel? Where does it say in Ezekiel 38 and 39 that an army will save Israel? Only God will save Israel during the judgments described in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. There will be no mistaking His supernatural intervention when He rescues Israel.
This event will be a monumental, defining moment in history. The entire world will see God in a new light, in a different way because of His undeniable, supernatural miraculous intervention. Weapons of war will of course exist but God will somehow make them inoperable or skew them away from the Israelis sending the enemy into frenzied confusion. The invaders will turn against each other (Ezekiel 38:21).
Psalm 83 is not a war, but an imprecatory prayer calling for Ezekiel 38 and 39 to be fulfilled., as well as the final battle at Armageddon. The circumstances of the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 will surpass even the historic miracles of the Exodus. The Exodus will take a back seat in comparison to what God will do at the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39. God’s new historic identity will be, “The Lord who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north,” based on Jeremiah 16:14:
“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that it shall no more be said, ‘The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers’” (Jeremiah 16:14-15).
Approximately one million Jews have already immigrated to Israel from Russia (the north). The Islamic population will be tremendously decreased because of that war. Russia will be destroyed:
“And I will send fire on Magog [Russia] and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 39:6).
According to Ezekiel 38:13, Saudi Arabia (ancient Sheba and Dedan) will not participate in the Ezekiel 38 and 39 invasion of Israel. Even now the Saudi’s are leading the central banking group into pressuring Israel into a land-for-peace deal, and most probably will keep pushing for that deal, rather than joining the future Russian-led Islamic forces when Israel is attacked.
The Saudi’s appear to be leaning in the direction of those who form the Mediterranean Union, pressuring Israel to make land-for-peace concessions. The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is of great concern to the leaders of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has never been very cozy with Iran or Russia, although the Saudis did recently purchase some weapons from Russia. In my opinion, the attempt to subvert Israel will continue to be done in a more “civilized” way, by pressuring them to make land-for-peace agreements.
Earlier I mentioned Amir Tsarfati, a popular sought-after Israeli speaker and a very knowledgeable Bible teacher. He lives in Jerusalem and travels throughout the world. During a number of speaking engagements at various churches, he has stated that he believes the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 is coming soon.
He also stated that he disagrees with the argument by some prophecy teachers regarding Ezekiel 38, teaching that Israel has to be living peacefully before that battle can take place. He believes all the physical conditions for the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 are already in place today.
Amir is a strong Hebrew Christian who carefully follows prophetically related events. Living Jerusalem gives him an advantage when discussing and discerning the meaning of the relevant prophetic passage: Ezekiel 38:11. “Dwelling safely” does not mean the Israelis dwell peacefully, but that the conditions that exist are considered “safe,” to a degree. Some walls to protect the Israeli population from Palestinian missile attacks do exist.
However, there are no extensive walls surrounding all of Israel. Each village or community in Israel does not have “bars” or “gates.” The common situation for cities or villages during the time of Ezekiel was one where rock walls and gates were very prevalent. In my opinion, these are the types of walls, fences and barriers Ezekiel was referring to in verse 11.
These rock barriers no longer exist. In general, the people of modern Israel move about freely and have secure borders, and the current border circumstances qualify for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Another point to consider is the fact that Israel as a whole is quite rebellious against God and is not engaged in a genuine spiritual relationship with the Lord. Generally speaking, Israel is secular to the core, and government leaders have a history of settling for false peace agreements by giving away chunks of land, land that was given to them by God Himself.
Therefore, we could say that Israel has no spiritual walls, fences or barriers. Israel at the moment is lacking spiritual walls or hedges of protection from the Lord. In general, they are living carelessly, without a genuine relationship with the Lord, and this is a contributing reason why they are opening themselves up to being pounced on by many enemies.
In order for the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 to occur, there will be plenty of enemies who will eagerly march against Israel. To imply that the Israelis will ever be living peacefully before the Gog-Magog battle simply cannot be. Clearly those who participate in the Gog-Magog war will be great enemies of Israel.
I don’t believe for a minute that Israel will let down her guard until the son of perdition, the Antichrist, deceives them into thinking he is their savior. This argument is also in keeping with the conditions necessary for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church.
“You will say, I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (Ezekiel 38:11).
The passage says the people of Israel are a “peaceful people”—not that they are living in “peace.” The verses from Psalm 83:17 and 18 correlate with what will transpire when the Lord almighty supernaturally intervenes during the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39. As a student of Bible prophecy, it is my opinion that a portion of Psalm 83 is speaking of a partially fulfilled prophecy—the Arab League, and their despotic verbal rumblings.
I have already addressed the prayer aspect of the psalm. Next, it also speaks of events that will take place as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and, when the Lord confounds the enemies of Israel and shows His indignation, halting the onslaught against His nation, Israel. If you carefully read through all the passages in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and Psalm 83, their unmistakable interdependence and similarities cannot be denied.
“O my God, make them like a whirling dust like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and frighten them with Your storm.
Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name O LORD. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish. That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, And the most high over all the earth” (Psalm 83: 13-18).
The previous verses are very similar to the verses of Ezekiel 39 and 2, 3, and verse 7. They appear to be speaking about the same event as you can see here:
“And I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the mountains far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand.
So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane my holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know I am the LORD, the Holy One of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:2, 3, 7).
In both Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 39, the Lord is describing what will happen when the Russian-led, predominately Muslim army marches down from the north to decimate Israel. It is the Lord Himself who will give the Russians the idea to invade Israel (Ezekiel 38:4, 11) so He can be glorified, and reveal Himself to the nations.
He will not be defending Israel for Israel’s sake, but for His Name’s sake, so the nations of the world will see He is in control—Almighty God that He is. No dangling carrot is necessary for this invasion to take place. Israel does not have to be bigger or richer for this battle to ensue. It is God’s battle to fight, and He intends to make Himself known.
God Almighty has a plan to personally foil the wicked plans of the enemy. He will use the enemy’s extreme hatred for Israel to bring His redemptive plans for His chosen nation and the world to fruition. Both Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 39 make it perfectly clear that it is the Lord Himself who will intervene in such a mighty way that no one will be able to deny His awesome power.
The nations will realize God defended Israel, and destroyed the enemy. The Israeli Defense Forces—as great as they—are will not be responsible for Israel’s victory. To say that they will save Israel from the enemy is an assault upon the promises of God and His Holy Word. Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 39 both state God and God alone will be the One to deliver Israel during this prophesied battle. Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 each reveal that God’s awesome presence will be undeniable.
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).