One of the problems people have in recognizing the significance of the prophetic message has been that they don't often associate biblical names for cities, peoples and kingdoms with the modern peoples and places. Once this key is given, we marvel at the detailed description given to us of the times in which we live, and which are leading to a very real climax, the “Apocalypse” (Greek for revealing) of our Lord Jesus Christ to this world.
A startling example of the current fulfilment of prophetic geopolitical alignment is Psalm 83. It is a desperate prayer to God by a besieged Israel, asking for a response, a declaration of war, for an action by God against an enemy confederacy. All of Israel's ancient enemies have united against them in an unprecedented “evil alliance” which openly threatens to wipe out the name and existence of Israel
Evidently, unique circumstances have emboldened these enemies. We are told, “They have lifted up the head” in a heady confidence, “They have taken crafty council together against your people” - Israel. They really feel their time has come. Historically this particular alliance has never occurred until now because there were too many competing interests dividing Israel's neighbours among themselves - but now something has united them enough to transcend their petty differences. I believe that that unifying something is Islam.
Who are these Confederated Enemies making Such a Tumult?
The following is taken from Walid Shoebat's excellent book, God's War On Terror.
Edom- which extends from Jordan to Saudi Arabia (see Ezekiel 25). Edom is described as extending from Teman to Dedan (Arabia). Edom also refers to Esau, Jacob's twin brother, the Edomites are brother people to Israel, but they aren't very brotherly because they have nurtured an “ancient hatred” of Israel, as God describes in a personal word to them in Ezekiel 35. The Muslim Arab near neighbours of Israel, are not only physical descendants of Esau, but they have a spiritual affinity with him, hating Jacob for his birthright.
Moab, Ammon, Children of Lot - Jordan. Moab and Ammon the incestuously conceived 'children of Lot' are also related to Israel. Lot was Abraham's nephew. They too have bought into the hatred, resentment and fear of Israel. Their descendants were the settlers of north and central Jordan. The city of Ammon is named for Ammon.
Gebal - According to the Unger's bible dictionary, this is in Lebanon, 25 miles north of Beirut. Lebanon was at one time considered the only Christian country in the Middle East, until Syrian Baathists and Islamic marauders dismembered it, driving the Christians out and establishing an Islamic majority, in the late 1970s. Although there was a “Cedar Revolution” backed by the US in which the Syrians were forced to withdraw from Lebanon, this once beautiful Jewel of the Middle East is now becoming an Islamic pesthole.
Tyre - Again in Lebanon, today this is a centre for Hezbollah. Southern Lebanon had retained its Christian identity thanks to the Israeli invasion of 1982, but relentless political pressure forced the Jews to withdraw from it, and into the vacuum stepped Hezbollah, the Iranian backed Shiite “A Team” of terrorism. Their latest claim to fame is the relentless showering of northern Israel with rockets.
Philistia - Gaza, today the centre for Hamas. Gaza, the southwest corner of Israel, and the site of the ancient Philistine stronghold has become, via world political pressure, a stronghold for the vicious terrorist group Hamas, and a seething cauldron of hatred, murder, and bitterness against Israel. It has also become a staging base for terrorist armies, bent on destroying Israel.
Ishmaelites and Hagarites - Arabs in general. Hagar was the Egyptian handmaid to Sarai, Abraham's wife, and surrogate mother of Abraham's son Ishmael. The Muslims proclaim Ishmael as the chosen son of Abraham, and every year celebrate EID1, in which they erroneously celebrate the so-called sacrifice of Ishmael. It is he, whom God told Abraham, would be a “wild ass of a man, whose hand would be against everyone, and everyone against him, and who would live against his brothers.” A pretty apt description of the spirit of the Islamic Arab. When Sarai kicked Ishmael and Hagar out of the house, they too began to nourish the resilient “ancient hatred”.
Assyria - These are Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. At its height it included Egypt and Iran as well. Assyria, the great empire, covered the areas now known as Iraq, parts of Syria, and Turkey. It is now united in spirit by the religion of Islam.
Amalek - Jordan, southwest of the Dead Sea (Gen14; 7). The Amalekites were the ones who waged a guerilla terror war against Israel in Exodus 17, probably killing the old, sick, infirm and also children among others. Amalek was a grandson of Esau, or Edom.
These will be the combatants of the next great war. They feel emboldened and have lofty ambitions. They aspire to annihilate God's chosen people, to reverse God's edict that brought Israel back to the land, they seek to take for themselves and in the name of their false god Allah, that which God, in grace has bequeathed to an admittedly undeserving people, Israel. It is a “battle of the gods” and it will get interesting.
Why Do They Make Such a Tumult?
We have looked at the question of the “who” of Psalm 83. Who are these nations who make a tumult against the people of God, taking counsel together to “cut them off from being a nation, that the nation of Israel be remembered no more”? The modern day names for this confederacy are those nations which surround the present day state of Israel - Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip , Palestinians, and some from Iraq also “have helped the children of Lot”.
This is the situation we find ourselves in geopolitically today. Israel's conflict with her immediate Arab, and largely Muslim, neighbours has successfully engulfed the whole world into a “tumult”. They have formed a very real confederacy, The Organization of Islamic States have pooled their influence in world bodies such as the UN, as well as having successfully leveraged their considerable oil influence, in order to successfully isolate Israel, the only legitimate democracy in the Middle East.
Our purpose now is to explore the question, why? Why do they make such a “tumult”? How is it that they cannot simply make peace with Israel, accept them as a trading partner, and share in the “blooming of the desert” miracle that Israel has been experiencing for sixty plus years? Why hasn't the ceding of land brought any peace?
The Psalmist, being a prophet, agrees with the other Hebrew prophets about the reasons for this hostility of Edom towards his brother Israel. Ezekiel calls it “ancient hatred” (NKJV) “perpetual hatred” (KJV).
Moreover the Word of the Lord came to me saying, Son of man, set your face against Mt Seir (Edom) and prophesy against it, saying to it, Thus says the Lord God: 'Behold O mount Seir, I am against you, and will make you a desolation and a waste; I shall lay your cities waste, and you shall be desolate. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. Because You have had an ancient hatred and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity when their iniquity came to an end - Ezekiel 35:1-5.
This “ancient-perpetual hatred” is currently embodied in Islam but is older than Islam. It goes back to Ishmael, Abraham's eldest son, who was disenfranchised of his inheritance (in his own and his mother Hagar's mind) by the birth and election of Isaac. “In Isaac shall your seed be called...” Far from a mere Sunday school lesson, this division between the child of the handmaid and the chosen seed of Abraham is directly relevant to at least a third of everyone now living!
Muslims (one out of seven people in the world) believe that Ishmael was the chosen seed of Abraham, and they celebrate the feast of EID to commemorate their version of the Abraham story, the sacrifice of Ishmael. As Ishmael was supposedly disenfranchised by Sarai and Abraham, being evicted from Abraham's tent, so the Arab Muslim world nurtures that same sense of resentful disenfranchisement, focusing their resentment on Jews and Christians.
The story of Esau and Jacob also feeds into the very real “ancient hatred”. God chose Jacob, not Esau to be the carrier of the Abrahamic blessing. But Isaac chose Esau, his favourite of the twins. Esau burned with rage when he perceived that Jacob had tricked Isaac into blessing him with Esau's birthright! To this day Esau's descendants rage at the Jews, believing that they are cheating supplanters, usurping Edom's birthright! Isaac did bless Esau with a very dubious blessing that is prophetic.
Behold your dwelling shall be of the fertility of the land, and of the dew of heaven above. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; and it will come to pass, when you become restless that you shall break his yoke from your neck - Gen 27:39-40.
Esau would indeed live off the land. He would also be 'blessed' by having to 'live by the sword'. Furthermore, by God's election, proud Esau would have to serve his brother, Jacob. As Rebecca, Isaac's wife found out, “the elder would serve the younger...” (Genesis 25:23). Isaac prophesied also that in the last days Esau would become restless and throw off the yoke of his brother. Is this part of what we are seeing now?
For Ishmael, Esau and their seed, salvation would be dependent upon being 'yoked', taking on the religion of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The emergence of Islam, in the seventh century, amounted to a “shaking off” of the yoke of any Judeo Christianity ever accepted by the seed of Ishmael and Esau, i.e. the Arab Middle East. Islam is the current custodian of the ancient hatred of Israel, inflaming the passions of the already miserable masses of repressed, unemployed and frustrated of the so called 'Arab street'.
Time and again at critical periods of Jewish history, the Edomites have handed their Jewish brothers over to be enslaved. They cheered when the temples were destroyed, they aided and abetted those who enslaved, raped, and slaughtered the Jewish people.
Because you have had an ancient hatred and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity....therefore as I live says the Lord God, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you... - Ezekiel 35: 5-6.
I am reminded of the constant taunt that modern Edomites make to those affected by the Judeo Christian reverence for life, “You love life but we love death!”. I am also reminded of a Time magazine cover a few years back, in which a so called “Palestinian” leans out of an upper floor window showing off his blood soaked hands to a raving, cheering mob of Edomites, having just participated in a double murder of two unfortunate newly arrived Russian Jews who had made a wrong turn into a “Palestinian” section of the city.
Therefore as I live says the Lord God, I will do according to the envy which you have showed in your hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them when I judge you. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I have heard all your blasphemies which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel (Judea, the west bank), saying they are desolate; they are given to us to consume thus with your mouth you have boasted against Me and multiplied your words against Me, I have heard them - Ezekiel 35:11-13.
Right up to modern times, the children of Esau, Ishmael, and Lot - long since intermarried and dissolved into one another culturally and religiously by Islam - have sought to destroy the Jews. Hitler was an admirer of Islam, and modern Islam repays the adulation.
This comes to a head in the last days, this “ancient hatred” has to be expressed, it seeks to be sated in the utter destruction of the Jewish state. Esau has a birthright that is 40 times the land area of that allotted to Israel, but is unsatisfied, craving Jacob's birthright. This is what will lead us to the next great disastrous Arab war with Israel.
For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that strangers carried captive his forces...and cast lots for Jerusalem - even you were as one of them. But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother, in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of their distress...You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who have escaped nor should you have delivered up those among you who remained in the day of distress - Obadiah 10-14.
What the Answer Will Look Like?
Deal with them as you did with Midian, with Sisera, with Jabin, at the brook Kishon-who were destroyed at Endor, who became dung for the field. Treat their great men like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna...cover their faces with shame so that they may seek Your name, O Lord - Psalm 83:10-16.
Because we believe that the Psalms are God given expressions of the hopes, aspirations, prayers and worship of Israel, and particularly of Israel's Messiah, we believe that these prayers are as sure to be answered by God as any other promise or prophecy of scripture. “The word of the Lord is sure, enduring forever” (Psalm 19).
Therefore the fate of Israel's near neighbours is grim. God himself has inspired the requests of this desperate plea for deliverance, and shall surely answer these cries in due time. Just what exactly would such answers look like?
Deal with them as you did with Midian, Sisera, as to Jabin at the brook Kishon.
The Psalmist was led to pray for a repeat of the battle recorded in Judges 4 and 5 in which God used women in prominent roles to lead Israel's hosts to destroy an Arab multitude. Deborah the prophetess mobilized the ragtag army of Israel after 20 years of oppression, and received the word of the Lord, a battle plan to overcome the advantage the Arabs had in superior armour (900 chariots). They were to be drawn into the swollen, flooded plain of the Kishon brook, thus nullifying the chariot mobility.
When Sisera, the enemy commander fled on foot to save his life, he was drawn into the tent of the wife of an ally – Jael - who gave the exhausted general warm milk, putting him to sleep. She then took a tent stake and a mallet and drove the stake through his head!
Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. He asked water, and she gave him milk, she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman's hammer and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples - Judges 5:24-26.
Somehow this story is re-capitulated. In this is the oldest story of all. Deborah and Jael's story is an echo of the primal promise - the seed of the woman, the serpent crusher. Jael is given a similar blessing to Mary - “blessed are you among women”.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel - Genesis 3:15.
There is no doubt that the confederacy formed against Israel is Satanic, and the prayer is that Israel would, like Deborah and Jael, be empowered to crush the serpent's head.
Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb - their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna - Psalm 83:11.
This reference is to a later oppression of Israel by their Midianite (Arab) neighbours. God raised up Gideon to be a judge and a saviour to them. After reducing the army of his people to a mere 300 chosen men, the innumerable hosts of the Arabs were utterly routed, chased out of the Holy Land and scattered! Their leaders Oreb and Seeb (Raven and Wolf) were beheaded.2
Of particular interest is the fate of the princes Zebah and Zalmunna. These princes were captured and presented to Gideon, who personally slew them. Afterwards the Word of God tells us that Gideon then -
Took away the crescent shaped ornaments that were on the camels' necks - Judges 8:21.
The crescent moon was the symbol of the pagan god Sin, who later was known as Bel, then Habul, the Nabatean moon god who eventually morphed into Allah. The prayer is specific, “...do to them as you did to Zebah and Zalmunna...” it involves the crescent symbol and the destruction of the princes who have conspired against God's “hidden ones” (Psalm 83:3).
Because the confederacy arrogates to themselves that which God gave to Israel, God is asked to make them “as the stubble before the wind”-
Who said let us take the houses3 of God as our possession, O my God, make them like a wheel4 as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burns wood, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire - Psalm 83:13-14.
A horrible destruction is coming to the Arab world, when the Psalmist says it will “set the mountains on fire” this is a reference to all of the governments of the earth, which will be sucked into this conflict. The destruction coming will involve the obliteration of Damascus (Isaiah 17), the cities of the east side of the Jordan River (Jeremiah 49), Egypt (Isaiah 19), and ultimately all nations (Joel 3:1-3).
The answer to these pleadings will provoke a conflict that will eventually lead to the near destruction of Jerusalem itself, which will be the final outrage that will bring the actual bodily return of the Lord's Messiah -
Behold the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil shall be divided in the midst of you, For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled: and the women ravished; and half the city shall go forth into captivity, and the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle and His feet shall stand on the mount of Olives... Zechariah 14:1-3.
The embattled Israel pleads with Yahweh to utterly shame those who unite against her very existence. Twice she prays that they be shamed...which is interesting because the Arab Islamic culture is a shame based society, and perhaps as the cartoon fiasco has shown us there is nothing they fear more than being shamed.
Cover their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord, let them be confounded and troubled forever; yes let them be put to shame, and perish... - Psalm 83:17.
Twice the Psalmist prays about shaming the enemy, but perhaps there is a glimmer of hope in one of these imprecations. When he prays the first time for shame - it is that even they may “seek your name”- in other words he is actually praying for their conviction and repentance to salvation! I believe millions who are now trapped in Islam's dungeon, will be liberated and saved to God by Jesus Christ!
But the second prayer for shame is grim, “Let them be confounded and troubled forever, let them be put to shame and perish.” For those who are set in their ways, confirmed in the “ancient-perpetual hatred”, sold out to the moon god, seeking the glory of Allah and the 72 virgins, nothing awaits but the terror of “everlasting shame and contempt” (Daniel 12:1-2) in God's lake of fire.
As for the Jews and the Muslim world, so it is for the whole world, that by Israel's next, dreadful war, all of the world will be brought to a choice - neutrality will not be an option. By this fulfilment of His prophetic Word God is calling all men everywhere to repentance, this is brought out in the last verse of this Psalm-
That Men may know that You, whose name alone is Yahweh are the most high over all the earth - Psalm 83:18.
1) Short for Eid al-Fitr a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_ul-Fitr
2) Head wounds in the Bible are usually reminders of Genesis 3:15
3) Literally “the pastures of God”- the land flowing with milk and honey.
4) Literally “Like the thistledown”