Islam from a Biblical Perspective XVI
Psalm 83 Invasion
The growing popular theory is that there are three distinct invasions of Israel in the following order:
The Psalm 83 invasion of Israel
The Gog Magog invasion of Israel (Ezekiel 38-39)
The Antichrist's invasion of Israel (Revelation 16, 19)
But, there are at least six fatal problems with this emerging popular theory.
Psalm 83 is not a prophecy about an invasion
Dr. Thomas Ice stated, “The Psalm is a detailed request by Asaph to judge the enemies surrounding Israel. God does not answer Asaph in Psalm 83. I believe that God will one day judge these enemies mentioned in Psalm 83, but I do not believe that based upon this Psalm”.
Marvin Tate stated, “Psalm 83 is generally accepted as a national lament, manifesting several characteristics of this form”. There are many good scholars that feel it should be viewed in a general nature and not as pointing to some specific and distinct “Psalm 83 war”. Interestingly enough, all of the nations listed in Psalm 83 will be judged at the Battle of Armageddon and the Day of the Lord.
The first principle that I think many who hold to the multiple-invasion theory miss is the fact that all Biblical prophecy is ultimately Messianic –centric and the Day of the Lord –Centric. The primary focus and prophetic burden of all of the prophets is the return of the Messiah and the events that surround His coming. All of the Biblical prophets, though each one spoke through the diverse circumstances and events of his day, were ultimately prophesying and pointing us to the Day of the Lord and the Messianic kingdom that follows.
The most significant reason that so many believe this theory is because each of these various passages contain certain details that the other passages do not. Consider, for example, if this method of interpretation were applied to the four gospels where various retelling of the same events often contain different, and sometimes even seemingly contradictory, details. If we applied the same reasoning used by the proponents of the “Psalm 83 war” theory to the Gospels, our understanding of the ministry of Jesus would be pure chaos.
Improper Identification of the Nations of Psalm 83
According to Bill Salus, author of Israelestine, “The modern equivalents of the Psalm 83 confederates are: tents of Edom (Palestinian Refugees and Southern Jordanians), Ishmaelites (Saudi Arabians), Moab (Palestinian Refugees and Central Jordanians), Hagrites (Egyptians), Gebal (Northern Lebanese), Ammon (Palestinian Refugees and Northern Jordanians), Amalek (Arabs South of Israel), Philistia (Palestinian Refugees and Hamas of the Gaza Strip), inhabitants of Tyre (Hezbollah and Southern Lebanese), Assyria (Syrians and perhaps Northern Iraqis), and the children of Lot (Moab and Ammon above)”. Turkey should be added to his list as it occupies much of what was Assyria when this was written.
When Psalm 83 was written, the Ishmaelites would have lived throughout the greater region of the Arabian Peninsula and portions of Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq. Today, of course, this would be expanded to include Lebanon, Syria, and most of North Africa.
Failure to Acknowledge the Similarities of Ezekiel 38-39 and Psalm 83
Several nations are not included in both prophecies, but more of them are. Ezekiel only lists the leader of the invasion as well as one nation from each of the four corners of the compass. By highlighting a single nation from each corner of the compass, Ezekiel was emphasizing that beyond the nations mentioned, other nations from all corners of the compass would be involved. If indeed Psalm 83 is even a prophecy, then it would make far more sense to simply see it as another telling of the same invasion described in Ezekiel 38-39.
The Psalm 83 Nations are Judged at the Day of the Lord
The final and perhaps most fatal flaw in "the Psalm 83 multiple-invasion" theory is that several of the nations specified in the psalm are specifically mentioned in numerous other passages as being reserved for judgment on the Day of the Lord and the Battle of Armageddon. Most of the nations and peoples listed in Psalm 83 will specifically be judged on the Day of the Lord. These include Edom (Numbers 24, Obadiah, Ezekiel 25, Isaiah 34, 63), Moab (Numbers 24, Isaiah 25), Egypt (Habakkuk 3, Zephaniah 2, Isaiah 19), Arabia (Ezekiel 25, 30), Philistia (Joel 3, Zephaniah 2, Ezekiel 25), Lebanon (Joel 3), and Assyria (Micah 5, Zephaniah 2).
Dr. Thomas Ice observes: “When will Obadiah’s prophecy be fulfilled? Verse 15 says, “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head”. The passage clearly says it will be fulfilled when “the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations”. Such an event is clearly scheduled to occur at the same time when Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and others indicate that the nations will be judged at the end of the tribulation, during the Campaign of Armageddon”.