Making Sense of Psalm 83 and How it Fits into Bible Prophecy

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Dear Saints, we have only just begun to explore this week’s features and each day holds special blessings.  Thanks for your diligence, and welcome to today’s study.  You won’t be disappointed!

Before we dive in too deeply today, let’s begin with a disclaimer.  Among Bible scholars and serious Bible students who seek to know God’s Word, there is little debate whether or not God is revealing prophetic end time events to us.  However, for any of us to claim that we have end times all figured out would be ridiculous!  Lately there has been a wave of theological opinion being developed regarding a prophecy found in Psalm 83.  It seems that some are very certain of the timing and the nations involved in this prophecy, while others tend to hold different opinions.  The point is, we are to be diligent as a workman to accurately handle the word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Thus, the point of today’s lesson is not to “prove” anything, but to encourage you to accurately handle God’s Word and discover what you believe God is revealing to you!  We may come to differing opinions regarding Psalm 83, and that is okay!

So, let’s begin by reading our text for today, Psalm 83.  Immediately we see that the psalmist, Asaph, was imploring God to act on Israel’s behalf.  Was this plea for help one that involved Asaph’s current situation or a future one?  As we saw in Isaiah 17, there are times when prophecies are partially fulfilled at one time, and fully fulfilled further in the future.  Could that be the case with Psalm 83?  Let’s discern the answers for ourselves as we dig into God’s Word.

Verses 1-5 certainly indicate evil intentions against God’s chosen people and God’s chosen land.  In fact, the Bible very accurately predicts threats we hear uttered today.   Verse 4 contains a prime example.  What nations have uttered those threats lately?

Verses 6-8 identify enemy nations who “conspire together with one mind.”  Later in today’s study we’ll take a look at who some scholars say those modern-day nations are, but for now let’s finish our survey of the chapter.

Asaph’s plea for the destruction of these lands is recorded in the final verses (9-18) of Psalm 83.  However, Asaph’s tone seems to change in verse 18.  What is his desire according to that verse?

So, who are these hoodlums, ganging up to wipe Israel out as a nation?  According to Bill Salus, a recognized researcher and writer on the Psalm 83 confrontation, people groups listed in Psalm 83:6-8 as Israel’s enemies are:

Edom = Palestinian refugees and Southern Jordan
Ishmaelites = Saudi Arabia
Moab = Palestinian refugees and Central Jordan
Hagrites = Egypt
Gebal = Northern Lebanon
Ammon = Palestinian refugees and Northern Jordan
Amalek = Sinai and Arabs of South Israel
Philistia = Palestinian refugees and Hamas of the Gaza Strip
Tyre = Hezbollah and Southern Lebanon
Assyria = Syria and Northern Iraq
Children of Lot = Moab and Ammon (above)

Do you recognize these as neighbors and current “thorns in the side” of Israel?  What we know for sure is that the people groups listed in Psalm 83:6-8 have evil intent toward the Jewish state.  What we do not know is whether Psalm 83 is a separate, stand-alone action against Israel, a part of the Ezekiel 38 Invasion, or something entirely different.  Again, we may not get to the “proof” of any Psalm 83 theory, but our goal is to examine the Word of God and allow Him to reveal His truth to us in His time and in His way.

Bill Salus (Prophecy Depot), Jack Kelley (Grace Thru Faith), Dr David Reagan and Nathan Jones (Lamb and Lion Ministry), among others, seem to conclude that the Psalm 83 event is a separate, stand-alone event in which Israel’s military will thoroughly defeat the enemies.  For a basic overview of the Psalm 83 Invasion position, read Does Psalm 83 Set the Stage for Ezekiel 38, by Bill Salus.

Now let’s consider an opposing viewpoint.  Joel Richardson (Joel’s Trumpet) holds a differing opinion regarding the Psalm 83 Invasion.  Read Psalm 83 War Speculations.  Briefly identify arguments made by Joel Richardson in this article.

But let’s take notice of another viewpoint that has significant merit.  In April 2015, Amir Tsarfati, a Messianic Jew and prophecy expert from Israel, sat down for a conversation with an American pastor.  Part of their discussion focused on Psalm 83.  Click here to view that discussion.  (You will be amazed, as this discussion will tie together a great many things we have studied!)

According to Amir, when do the events of Psalm 83 take place?  Amir mentioned the “first tier” of nations against Israel.  He is referring to Israel’s immediate neighbors…those with whom they share a border.  What nations are they?  (See map to the right.)

If you said Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, you are correct!  All of those nations attacked Israel in 1948; and all are part of the “first tier!”  According to Amir, what historical change “drove them nuts,” inciting the attack in 1948?  Who are the “second tier” nations, and what familiar Bible prophecies speak of them?

So, what position regarding Psalm 83 makes the most sense to you?  Why?

For an added blessing, check out Amir’s interview with TBN-Israel.

We have uncovered some interesting thoughts and ideas, haven’t we!  Regardless of your position, it is clear that Israel is surrounded by those wishing to obliterate them.  Be diligent in your prayers for the peace of Jerusalem.  Furthermore, study faithfully, dear friends, as God commands.  Soon enough the Lord will reveal Himself completely in His return.  Let’s be found faithful in rightly dividing the Word of Truth!  See you tomorrow!

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