Alliances against Israel … Will Fail
Most nations that came into existence down through the ages did so gradually through a growing population, commerce, culture, and merging political unions among their own people. Some became great empires by conquest of rival nations, such as Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. A handful of others were birthed from revolution against governments that ruled them through colonial expansion, like the United States of America’s declaration of independence from England. And then there’s Israel; a nation reborn from the ashes of the Holocaust just three years after six million Jews were murdered, and from the floods of dispersion and exile for two millennia.
Unlike many of the powerful empires that preceded them, it was necessary for the United States and Israel to immediately fight a War of Independence for their very survival. Then subsequent wars to maintain freedom won by the ultimate sacrifice of the blood and lives of so many valiant soldiers and civilians.
In last week’s Eye of Prophecy article, we ended with a quote from Psalms 83. The entire chapter is a prophetic picture of what Israel’s ancient and modern enemies intend to accomplish against the Jews. The Psalmist pleads with God not to ignore the malicious plans of Israel’s enemies, who are also God’s enemies.
“Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. ‘Come,’ they say; ‘let us wipe our Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence’” (Psalms 83: 2-4).
Following this conceited conspiracy to eradicate Israel as a nation and the Jews as a people, there is a list of peoples who were complicit in this evil plot. Some Bible scholars believe Psalm 83 speaks of a massive end-times coordinated assault against Israel that will comprise a modern configuration of the countries listed in this Psalm. That the descendants of these people currently populate the nations that border Israel today … Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and more distant lands such as Iraq.
They see the Psalms 83 integrated attack against Israel on or close to the same level as the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel (Ezekiel 38 & 39) and/or the final campaign against Israel initiated by the Antichrist, found in Daniel Chapter 11, which is the same apocalyptic conflict of Revelation 16 & 19 known as Armageddon.
Too Many Dissimilarities between Psalms 83 Countries and Today’s Nations
I agree with their evaluation, but only in part … that there logically would be some descendants of the Psalms 83 countries that continued to populate the geographical areas surrounding Israel today. Yet, in reality the “nations” listed in Psalms 83 were not really countries at all, at least not how we define nations today. Instead, they were minor gentile kingdoms (large ethnic groups) consisting of indigenous tribes, similar to the twelve tribes of Israel before King Saul began a merger and King David completed this unification of the twelve tribes into the mighty nation of Israel around 1,000 BC.
For example, some of the peoples listed in Psalms 83 were: Ishmaelites, Hagrites, Gebalites, Amalekites, and people from Philistia and Tyre. Philistia was located in the modern-day strip of Gaza, however, today’s Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza are not descended from the ancient Philistines. Many of these clans whose names end with “ite” were more like tribes or ethnic groups, some of whom inhabited various parts of ancient Canaan with overlapping ill-defined regions which eventually became the land of Israel. Yes, Edom and Moab were larger territories to the east of Israel; but, like the smaller tribes, they were virtually wiped out through war and assimilation into other societies.
In fact, there is one large empire mentioned in Psalms 83 that would qualify as a nation, actually a great nation at the time: Assyria. The text states, “Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot” Yet, the reason Assyria joined this malicious plot that sought to destroy Israel through an ancient alliance is because Assyria, at that time, was already preparing for an eventual (successful) campaign that culminated in complete conquest of the ten northern tribes of Israel. History also tells us that Assyria turned on her allies as well as some of the other peoples listed in Psalms 83 and totally destroyed them during its reign as a regional power. Eventually, Assyria itself was obliterated by Babylon, the first great world empire identified in the Book of Daniel. Thereafter, Assyria ceased to exist.
Thus, there are significant differences between these ancient peoples and their alliances; too many distinctions to connect them with contemporary countries that are mostly populated by Arabs (not ancient Canaanites). Consequently, I don’t believe that Psalms 83 depicts a huge modern-day unified attack against Israel in the same vein as the Gog/Magog war, and certainly not the Antichrist led assault against Israel.
But, I do endorse the idea that these ancient ethnic groups identified in Psalms 83 are models of modern countries, with their behavior toward Israel a predisposed pattern of godless nations today that have sought to destroy Israel ever since her rebirth (1948). In fact, we addressed the three major wars fought by Israel between 1948 and 1973, in last week’s article. And we’ve also addressed the minor wars between Israel and terrorists groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. It’s these smaller ethnic factions, some of which have morphed into terrorist organizations, that more closely resemble the warring tribes identified in Psalms 83.
And, as alluded last week, I don’t believe that these terrorists groups—even if they unify to some extent—can defeat Israel or will even try to take on Israel in the form of a joint campaign. If they do, they will be soundly defeated. Rather, it’s the monumental alliance of nations found in Ezekiel and Daniel and Revelation that specifically result in two (and only two) end times invasions of Israel. They involve governments of large, significant nations in today’s world.
Psalm 83 Summary: The conspiracy of mostly ethnic tribes identified in Psalms 83 applied primarily to the times in which this passage was written, not to an end-times alliance of nations surrounding Israel today. Other than a handful of actual descendants from some of these countries that may live in Syria, or Jordan or other contemporary nations, there is no direct observable connection between the peoples of Psalms 83 and today’s Middle East. However, the boastful claim of these ancient countries—to wipe Israel from the face of the earth—has once again reared its ugly head as evidenced by the rhetoric of mostly Muslim leaders bent on Israel’s annihilation. In that respect, the Psalms 83 prophecy is relevant today, but not by means of a huge, one-time multinational attack on Israel. Instead, there have been three wars with conventional armies and several other minor conflicts that involved terrorists groups against Israel, with all of them ending in failure.
The Two Invasions of Israel
Let’s scrutinize the two epic battles involving alliances that will engage Israel during the seven-year Tribulation, as well as God’s three-part strategy that results in final victory over these doomed nations. Both of these larger-than-life campaigns involve entire nations (not ethnic sects or terrorist groups) aligned against Israel, with the second coalition joining forces even with its enemies; thereby, turning its final attention from Israel to direct confrontation with the King of kings (Messiah Jesus) in the greatest show-down of all time … Armageddon. Both will take place in Israel.
Before we examine these two end-time wars against Israel, I need to emphasize that, with the temporary exception of the Jewish Maccabees defeat of the Syrian Greeks (Antiochus Epiphanes IV) in 168-167 BC, Israel had not been able to defend herself since Babylon conquered Judah in 586 BC. The ability of Israel to finally protect her people and land is one of the three methods used by God to defeat Israel’s ancient foes; one that in our generation has been restored to the Jews who vowed: “Never again.” Never again will they be led as lambs to the slaughter, so grotesquely displayed during the Holocaust.
Israel’s Military: As this article is being written, Israel possesses one of the top-five militaries on the planet … with only six million people, a population smaller than many cities throughout the world! For the first time in 2500 years, Israel has the God-given capability to fight her own battles. In principle, this began when they were reborn as a sovereign nation in 1948; the practical validity of which was stamped on the global conscience in the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel recaptured the Holy City Jerusalem of the Holy Land. This was a monumental milestone in Israel’s prophetic destiny, a breakthrough to confirm that Israel was once again the land promised to the Jews, that she was no longer under Gentile supremacy which resulted from God’s discipline (punishment) of Israel as decreed long ago by God through Moses.
Here I would strongly recommend that you read a series of Eye of Prophecy articles entitled Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power), Parts I, II, III, published 1-25, 2-1, and 2-8-14 respectively. You might even want to begin with the article of 1-18-14, An Incredible Time Lapse Prophecy that is an introductory prelude to Seven Times Seven. I’m convinced it will be worth your while to check into this largely unrecognized, but nevertheless stunning prophecy found in Leviticus Chapter 26 … of all places!
This prophecy comes with an actual timetable that concluded God’s discipline of Israel in 1967. For sure, Israel will undergo an even greater time of testing and trouble during the Great Tribulation, a national life and death struggle in which the Jews will suffer extensive casualties, but not as a result of God’s punishment. Rather it will be a prophetic spoke connected to the wheel of God’s punishment of the Gentile nations who dare to wage war against God’s special possession, Israel, in these last days.
Already, Israel’s skill and bravery in battle is well-known and recognized by the entire world. How could they miss it, given Israel’s remarkable success in the aforementioned wars. What they don’t know or refuse to acknowledge (which is even true of many Israelis) is that the Jews once again have a Divine source of help. Scripture is crystal clear: When the Jews returned to the Promised Land and Israel was reborn as a nation, they were once again placed under the mighty protection of the God of Israel, who is also the God of gentiles redeemed by the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.
The First Assault against Israel: You might want to review two prior Eye of Prophecy articles: Beware of the Bear published on 3-22-14, and The Omega Generation, posted on 2-15-14. Both columns touch on this first titanic attack against Israel, known as, The Gog/Magog War.
In keeping with the main theme of this current article, the emphasis will be on how God strategically deals with this ungodly Gentile coalition that arrogantly defies God … presumptuously thinking it can defeat Israel with vast superiority of numbers and weaponry.
We see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, two of the three main strategies that God employs in conquering Gentile nations. They are listed in points one and two below:
(1) Confusion, division, in-fighting within the coalition itself.
(2) God’s direct, miraculous unassisted (Israel simply watches while her enemies are destroyed) intervention mostly through nature.
(3) The third divine strategy will be described later in the 2nd and greatest battle(s) of all time: That God fights alongside of his people. However, the Jews bear the brunt of the initial onslaught against them. That is, until Jesus spectacularly descends from the clouds with power and great glory, sets foot on the Mount of Olives, assumes complete control of the war, and unleashes his divine power to utterly destroy Israel’s enemies.
This third method, in which Israel participates in its defense by fighting for its very survival, is not found in the Gog/Magog attack on Israel … meaning that Israel doesn’t engage this Russian led coalition. First, because of the irresistible, overpowering strength of Russia and her allies, including entire Muslim nations such as Iran and Libya (not ethnic terrorist sects of Islam). Secondly, in order for God to demonstrate that, if he chooses, he alone can defend Israel without the Israeli military (IDF) doing anything at all. Thereby, accomplishing God’s plan to once again reveal his awesome power to both Israel and her enemies.
“In this way, I will demonstrate my glory to the nations. Everyone will see the punishment I have inflicted on them and the power of my fist when I strike. And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. The nations will then know why Israel was sent away in exile—it was punishment for sin, for they were unfaithful to their God. Therefore, I turned away from them and let their enemies destroy them” (Ezekiel 39: 21-23, italics for emphasis).
Let’s read about the first manner (Point #1) in which God has defeated Israel’s enemies in the ancient past, and will do so again when Gog/Magog marches on Israel soon after the Rapture takes place.
“I will summon the sword against you on all the hills of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord. Your men will turn their swords against each other” (Ezekiel 38:21). Several times in Old Testament battles between Israel and their enemies, God supernaturally intervenes by causing discord, disarray, doubt, and panic within the ranks of the enemy. None more well-known than Gideon’s army of 32,000 troops whittled down by God to a mere three hundred soldiers against thousands upon thousands of Midianites (Judges Chapter 7). Although Gideon’s army later engaged in mop-up actions, for all practical purposes the Midianites lost the battle because of sheer panic before a single Israelite sword was unsheathed.
I’m convinced that the Lord will create the same kind of disharmony among today’s terrorists as one means to diminish their numbers and effectiveness. And then later with entire nations who mobilize vast armies against Israel. Yes, God sometimes chooses to terrorize Israel’s enemies! This is based on another Biblical principle: Israel’s enemies will fall into their own traps … will be struck down by their own tactics and weapons. I suppose we could call this, Reverse Terrorism. In a righteous, Godly sense.
“The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. They dig a deep pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads” (Psalms 7: 14-16).
The second means that God uses to vanquish Israel’s enemies is Divine omnipotence … sheer overwhelming power. As demonstrated in the next two verses: “I will punish you and your armies with disease and bloodshed; I will send torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and burning sulfur. In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38: 22-23). Ezekiel Chapter 39 contains even more graphic images of what God will do to the forces of Gog/Magog. And I do mean graphic! Read it for yourself.
We read about such power throughout the Old Testament, not the least of which is God’s supernatural judgments against Pharaoh performed through God’s miraculous manipulation of nature. Then, of course, there’s the breathtaking, fearsome seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments of Revelation. It’s not just virtual reality; it’s realism that even the secular world acknowledges and describes with such terms as: The Wrath of God or A Catastrophe of Biblical Proportions.
The Second and Final Assault against Israel: This of course, is the great series of military conflicts that will lead to the battle to end all battles, the day of reckoning in the Valley of Megiddo. Once again time/space does not permit quotation of several passages from Zechariah and other Old Testament books, but the gist is that Israeli soldiers will initially defend Israel against Antichrist and his coalition; however, Nero (Antichrist) will prevail for a short period of time. A remnant of surviving Jews will continue their fight to the death in this epic struggle for Israel’s survival (they will fight like King David as quoted in a verse from last week’s article). But then Scripture is clear that the Jews will steadily succumb to overwhelming military superiority until there is virtually no hope. Only then will the Lion from their tribe of Judah spring to their rescue. He will fight alongside the remaining remnant of Jews, and ultimately assume complete control of the battle. To include the other two heavenly approaches to victory. As follows:
“On that day, says the Lord, I will cause every horse to panic and every rider to lose his nerve. I will watch over the people of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of their enemies. And the clans of Judah will say to themselves, ‘The people of Jerusalem have found strength in the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, their God’” (Zechariah 12: 4-5). Blinding of the horses (there will be actual horses used in this battle as well as heavy armament) will be both literal and figurative; for example, by disrupting all of the electronic devices used in today’s weapons and communication systems. The Antichrist and his forces will soon be running blind.
Finally, the second phase of God’s invincible power will also be used against Antichrist and his forces in this final battle. There will come a time in this great conflict where Jesus will simply take over and speak his foes into oblivion. In an almost anti-climactic end to this colossal war, we read, “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet … both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies” (Revelation 19: 19-21). (Also, please read Daniel 11: 40-45).
That, my friends, will be the ultimate display of Royal and Regal power straight from Messiah Jesus, the Son of God, against all those to dare to be anti-Christ or who dare try to destroy God’s special people and land.
Things to Ponder
“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords” (Revelation 19: 11-16).
I implore all those who are undecided: Today is the day of salvation. Choose Messiah Jesus now before it’s too late. If you do, you will one day soon be riding one of those white horses following our Lord into battle. You, and I, and millions of other who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, will watch in awe as Jesus delivers his people, defeats Antichrist, and destroys evil.
We will exclaim with the host of heaven, “…Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations” (Revelation 15:3).
It’s your choice. From above the battlefield with a bird’s eye-view, you can ride a beautiful white horse behind the King of kings and be on the winning side. Or you can watch from below while Christ triumphs over the enemies of God and his people. Are you from above or from below?
As the late Christian songwriter Rich Mullen wrote in one of my favorite songs, Awesome God:
“There’s thunder in his footsteps, and lightning in his fists. Our God is an Awesome God.”
The battle lines have been drawn. We’re either for Christ or we are against him. There is no middle ground.