I am watching the Middle East situation carefully. I have some concerns regarding if the conflagration will widen, and if it does, whether some of the prophesied wars will begin. I don’t know if the time is now or not, but it seems to me that we have had so many near misses of late (in the last 4 years) and those near misses are coming faster and more frequently, that they seem like birth pangs to me, ready to break water and flood the world with Tribulation. That is my opinion. In any case, we know that the last days wars will happen and one of these days they will begin. I just happen to think it will be sooner rather than later.
In watching the news and reading the Old Testament prophets, I noticed something that Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman yesterday struck me. He said–
“that Israel does not want to become embroiled in the Syrian conflict, but may have to hit back if it is struck. … Lieberman said that Israel does not want to enter the fray against Syria but added, “We may have no choice, but I hope that everyone knows how to read the map correctly and understand that Israel has no interest in entering the whirlpool of the Arab world.” “
What I believe he was referring to is that Israel is a tiny nation, completely surrounded by implacable enemies. If the situation goes south in Syria, well, Israel is to the south and undoubtedly Israel will receive either purposeful targeting or accidental blowback. Either way, the job of the Foreign Affairs Secretary is to protect the people.
However, when has that situation ever been different? Israel has always been surrounded by implacable enemies. We we do know how to read a map and we do know that at some point every single one of those enemies abutting the tiny nation of God’s people will attack. Many prophecy interpreters believe that battle is prophesied in Psalm 83.
Psalm 83 is an imprecatory psalm, imprecatory meaning calling a curse upon someone or on a nation. In Psalm 83 Asaph is calling for God to intervene against a coalition of nations which are colluding to attack Israel.
The reason some interpreters think this is an unfulfilled prayer is that the particular configuration of nations who are colluding and attacking have never joined up to attack Israel in history past. Though parts of the psalm have been fulfilled and now are history, the psalm has not seen fulfillment in the exactly as described. So they believe it is still future. Here are the first 8 verses to the Psalm:
A Song. A Psalm of Asaph.
1 O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
3 They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against your treasured ones.
4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
5 For they conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Asshur also has joined them;
they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah
The nations named also in today’s modern language, are:
- Edom & Moab, are southern and middle Jordan.
- Ishmaelites, Hagrites, and Amalekites are descended from Hagar and Ishmael, and settled in southern Jordan and Saudi Arabia. (Map shows Amalekites being solely in Egypt, again, this is another interpretation)
- Ammon is norther Jordan. Its capital today is still Ammon.
- Gebal & Tyre are in Lebanon.
- Philistia is Gaza.
- Asshur is northern Iraq and western Syria (Assyria)
So in reading the map, we see that Asaph is pleading for deliverance from a coalition which intends to wipe Israel from the map.
Be advised that there is a lot of disagreement about the purpose of this psalm (imprecatory only? partially prophetic?) and its fulfillment’s timing, (past? present? or still far future?)
One thing I like to do is look at the bible’s end and work backward. We know that in the end, all nations will be against Israel. (Zechariah 12:3). Backing up some, we know that in Ezekiel 38-39 another, different coalition attacks Israel while Israel is dwelling securely. We know that battle is going to take place in the latter days because it says so in Ezekiel 38:16. Also, in Ezekiel 38:22 God says He will rain down sulfur on the hordes coming to attack Israel. This has never happened.
So the coalition named in Ezekiel’s attack are are non-abutting neighbors of Israel. Israel’s abutting neighbors are all named in the Psalm 83 prayer. It is thought that the victory given Israel over the Psalm 83 coalition nullifies them and takes them out of action. So when the second waves of attacks comes in Ezekiel’s coalition, it is subsequent to Psalm 83 because none of the nearer inner circle is named. Logic dictates they would be part of this attack if they could be. Others wonder about Israel dwelling securely, without bars or walls. What could make Israel lower their security vigilance? Perhaps the fulfillment of Psalm 83, where Israel vanquishes all her abutting enemies and is dwelling safely in the land? (Ezekiel 39:26)
If you think of satan’s attempts to get rid of Israel, as Israel being the bulls eye, and Psalm 83 being the first wave, then Ezekiel 39-39 being the widened wave of a larger and further-afield coalition of enemies, and then culminating in Armageddon with all the world coming against her, this seems to be the prevailing thought on the successive prophesied battles of the latter days.
Mr Lieberman is right. Anybody looking at a map can see that Israel is surrounded, small, and in all likelihood, going to be obliterated. However, that is not in God’s plan. As surprising as it is and as it will be to those who dwell on the earth, Israel is in fact an immovable rock, and those who try to dig her up or push her over will themselves be injured. (Zechariah 12:3).
If only Mr Lieberman knew that his nation has the only perfect and strong protector! What comfort that would be as all the missiles are aimed at her, as all the hordes storm the mountains like insects. As the bombs come down, the Lord will personally bat them away! (Ezekiel 39:3)
“The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground.” (Ezekiel 38:20).
Not that Israel won’t be harmed at all during the Tribulation, she will, (Zechariah 14:2) but the Lord God Almighty will not let His people nor His designated land be overrun or destroyed at the hands of the Gentiles. He keeps His promises. Though we do see by the map that tiny Israel is beleaguered, beset, and besmirched, she will prevail in the end. That is because God always prevails in the end.
“And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.” (Ezekiel 39:7)
Fears of a Larger War in the Middle East
“Will the phrase “Guns of August” one day refer not only to the prelude to World War I in 1914 but also to the prelude to a Middle East war in 2013? That is the ominous question posed by Roger Boyes, the diplomatic editor of the Times of London and a foreign correspondent for the past 35 years. “The direction of events in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran should keep us awake at night. History is taking a dangerous turn,” he writes. “The region certainly cannot sustain two wars — Syria’s bloody insurgency and a near-civil war in Egypt — without wrecking established peace treaties and the normal mechanisms for defusing conflict.”