O God, Do Not Be Silent!
Much interest is being focused on Psalm 83 by Bible students. It is a prophecy presently being fulfilled in the Middle East. The nations surrounding Israel are calling for her destruction. The prayer, the heart felt plea, by those of us who love Israel should be, “O 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.” Psalm 83:1-3 ESV
They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” (Psalm 83:4 ESV) The blatant public calls by Islamic leaders for Israel's annihilation are intensifying in frequency and belligerence. We believe such calls point to the current fulfillment of Psalm 83.
Israel will never be destroyed. Israel has not been regathered by Divine providence for the purpose of destruction, but for their ultimate role in being a blessing to all the nations of earth in Messiah's kingdom. Consider the current conditions in the Middle East:
Hezbollah's Antagonistic Role
Remember back in 1983 Hezbollah was the perpetrator of the truck bomb murder of 241 United States Marine peacekeepers while they were sleeping in their Beirut barracks. Hezbollah soon became a state within the state of Lebanon — flexing its terrorist muscles with impunity; so much so that the UN finally passed Resolution 1559 requiring the disbanding and disarming of Hezbollah by Lebanon. Sadly, neither the UN nor Lebanon ever followed their words with actions.
In June Hezbollah initiated a terrorist raid into Israel killing members of an Israeli army patrol and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. This was nothing new, but enough was enough. Israel demanded the return of their kidnapped soldiers alive and a withdrawal of Hezbollah's highly sophisticated military bases from southern Lebanon. Hezbollah refused.
Tired of waiting for the enforcement of UN Resolution 1559 requiring the disbanding and disarming of Hezbollah, Israel took the role of the enforcer. Israel's surgical bombing of Hezbollah's civilian-shielded bunkers began. After a week, ground troops attacked Hezbollah's strategic rocket-launching sites that were raining havoc on northern Israel. Another Israeli-Arab war had begun. Hezbollah's rockets were solely targeting the Israeli civilian population, whereas Israeli bombing targeted Hezbollah sites that were bunkered under civilian structures surrounded by civilian occupied buildings.
Hezbollah's evil policy of covering its military sites with civilian hospitals and civilian housing show their callous disregard for human life—even the lives of their own people. This belies their supposed motive of trying to help the Lebanese people. It appears their motivation is not humanitarianism but merely their hatred of Israel.
After the death of Mohammed in AD 633, Arab armies swarmed out of the Arabian Peninsula, pushing westward in North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean and eastward to India. Consequently, there are now 52 Muslim nations. But, a very special portion of land in the Middle East was spared Arab domination—the land of Israel!
Israel had been a disobedient people. Therefore, God permitted the Roman army in AD 70 to temporarily disburse His people from their land during a “double” period (1845 years) of punishment. The land of Israel was to remain relatively sparse of population—“desolate of man and beast.” Jeremiah 16:13-18; 33:10. After the “double” ended in 1878, Jews were miraculously permitted to return to their land. The UN partition vote in 1948 finally granted them the opportunity to establish an independent state. The Arabs would have none of this. Armies of six Arab nations stormed the newborn Israeli State. Outnumbered 600 to 1, God gave the victory to Israel. Three more wars followed. Miracles happened. Israel won each war. Why?
Psalm 83 In Process of Fulfillment!
Psalm 83 appears to describe an ongoing conflict between Israel and the Arabs that will climax in a final war in which Israel will win a decisive victory over the Arabs. Psalm 83 is a prayer in which Israel asked the Lord for deliverance from a group of nations that verses 3-5 show are united in a confederacy or league for one purpose — the destruction of the nation of Israel. In 1945 an Arab League was actually formed. It united the Arab nations after 1948 for the very purpose of the destruction of Israel—as predicted in Psalm 83.
Verse 6 mentions some of these nations. Bible scholars and historians agree that ancient Israel was never confronted by such an elaborate alliance of nations, namely, Ishmaelites, Edom, Ammon, Amalek, Hagarenes, Gebal and the Philistines. Therefore, this prophecy must have an end-time fulfillment. These Old Testament territories are in modern times the nations of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
The Nations Prophetically Allied Against Israel
Obviously the Philistines are the Palestinians. Edom, Moab, and Ammon occupied what is the modern state of Jordan. Gebal is Lebanon (Joshua 13:5, 6) Iraq was populated by the Hagarenes or Hagarites that dwelt east of Gilead in the wilderness of the River Euphrates (1 Chronicles 5:1,9,10) The Ishmaelites settled what is today Saudi Arabia and Ishmael's eldest son, Nabajoth, is identified with Syria.
Lebanon (Gebal) and Tyre play a prominent role in Psalm 83. Hezbollah is headquartered in Tyre which has been heavily attacked by Israel's army in this current war. Back in the 1970s the PLO had 6,000 Palestinian terrorists in southern Lebanon creating havoc in Galilee, northern Israel. Thousands more Palestinians were amassed in the environs of Tyre where Arafat was headquartered.
Finally on June 6, 1982, in “Operation Peace of Galilee” the Israeli army invaded Lebanon and pushed the Palestinians back to Tyre. Israel was ready to take Arafat and the upper echelon of PLO leaders captive. But something incredible happened. Bewildered and bitterly disappointed Israel watched as the US Navy intervened and gave Arafat and his henchmen safe passage to Tunis. Meanwhile US Marines were stationed in Beirut to keep the peace. That's when Hezbollah, a new Shiite terrorist group, murdered the US marines. This caught the eye of Iran, the theological center for Shiite Moslems. Through Syria, Iran bankrolled and provided the military might for Hezbollah.
The Israeli army retreated to southern Lebanon where it maintained a buffer zone to prevent terrorist attacks on northern Israel. Syria and Iran have been transforming Hezbollah into a highly professional army with some of Russia's most sophisticated rockets, anti-tank missiles and other Russian weapons.
Hezbollah soldiers, rocket launchers and weapons are bunkered down in civilian population centers throughout southern Lebanon. If Israel becomes a threat to Iran, it is Hezbollah's job to take out Israel. As Hezbollah increased in military might, it harassed Israel's buffer zone demanding that Israel withdraw from southern Lebanon.
Four mothers who lost sons to Hezbollah started the “Four Mothers in Black” campaign for the removal of all Israeli troops from southern Lebanon. A majority of Israeli public concurred. In 2000 Labor Prime Minister Barak withdrew all Israeli troops from Lebanon, naively thinking Hezbollah would be satisfied. It was not. Hezbollah rockets continued to hit Israel. The international community did nothing to enforce UN Resolution 1559. Nothing! (By the way, those four mothers have now changed their minds.)
Israel's Failure In the Lebanese War
Israel failed to achieve its purpose in the recent Lebanese war. The Arab nations' confidence has been greatly bolstered—they are now confident they can defeat Israel in a future war of their choosing. Hezbollah's army was inspired, very well trained and heavily armed by Iran. Still, Israel could and should have won. Instead, its army suffered heavy losses. Never before was Israel's civilian population so devastated. Israel failed to knock out Hezbollah as Prime Minister Olmert at first boasted. It is doubtful that Israel will secure the release of the two kidnapped soldiers with no strings attached as demanded.
Why didn't the Lord give Israel a decisive victory as in the past? Perhaps this is the Lord's way of teaching Israel not to give up land the Lord permitted them to gain. After all, He did promise Israel most of Lebanon up to Hamath. Judges 13:1, 5, 6. Many feel the least Israel could have done was keep part of southern Lebanon for a security zone. “Most analysts are in agreement, albeit some hesitantly, admitting that then Prime Minister Ehud Barak's unilateral retreat from the security zone in May 2000 provided Hezbollah the stage to prepare for the current war, leaving the Syrian/Iranian backed guerilla army six years to stockpile weapons and train forces for the big standoff with Israel.” Arutz 7 News. August 8, 2006
The ongoing Israeli-Arab conflict could now escalate and/or will in a future war culminate in a complete victory for Israel over the Arabs. Besides another possible Hezbollah/Lebanese War and Palestinian/Hamas skirmishes, there will probably be one more war in which Israel will totally defeat a group of Arab nations. Finally, their prayer of Psalm 83 will be answered by the Lord. Israel will take back any land given up. Additionally, she will acquire parts of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and all of Gaza. Isaiah 11:14; Zephaniah 2:3-10; Zechariah 10:10; Obadiah 19-20 (NIV).
Assyria Symbolic of Russia
A final comment on Psalm 83. “Assyria also is joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot.” Verse 8 ASV. Assyria could refer to Iraq; however, verse 6 identified the Hagarenes as symbolizing Iraq. Assyria is used in many Israel end-time prophecies to symbolize Russia. For example, Micah 5:5, and Zechariah 10:10.
The Hebrew word for helped literally means strong arm, which could symbolize military help. When Russia was a super-power vying with the US for world supremacy it supplied the Arab nations with military hardware. Why? So the Arabs could defeat Israel, the US ally, leaving Russia the dominant force in the oil rich Middle East. It is noteworthy that literal Assyria/Iraq never supplied the other Arab nations with military equipment—again showing the modern day fulfillment of this Psalm.
In the early 1990s, Russia on the verge of bankruptcy toppled as a world power. Economics have changed. Russia once again is aspiring to attain world supremacy. Russia is not only arming Iran but in fulfillment of Psalm 83 is once again the strong arm of other Arab nations.
A Final Israeli Arab War
Many Bible students and televangelists are heralding the invasion of Gog, Ezekiel 38, as the next prophetic step in the Middle East. But the Scriptures (Isaiah 11 and Zephaniah 2 as previously noted) indicate that a decisive Israeli-Arab war must be fought before Gog's invasion. Israel will then enjoy a short period of peace and security as shown in Ezekiel 38:11. After this the battle of Ezekiel 38 will occur—an invasion by Russia allied with a group of nations including Iran (Persia). Iran never seems to give up, but Iran will finally learn not to oppose Israel. God will fight for Israel as in the days of old with miraculous deliverance from the invading horde. The God of Israel will then be made known in the eyes of many nations. Christ's Kingdom will be established in Jerusalem and, from there, grow to encircle the globe. See Ezekiel 38, 39 and Zechariah 14. The ultimate boundaries of the Land of Israel, as defined in Genesis 15:18, will be acquired after Christ's Kingdom is fully set up.
To suppose that God merely looks forward to the destruction of His relatively puny enemies is to miss the most important goal in His dealings with mankind. The stern call for punishments upon Israel's enemies, particularly in Psalm 83:13-18, has this loving motive in it, “That they [Israel's foes] may seek thy name” and that “men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” This is consistent with God's merciful plan for mankind. His punishments are designed not to be vindictive but therapeutic; to heal the fallen human race and lead them back into harmony with Him.
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