Three In One

Yellow: Israel’s enemies as enumerated in Psalm 83, Obadiah, and Isaiah 17
Green: Israel’s enemies as enumerated in Ezekiel 38

Upfront Disclaimer: I don’t believe in being dogmatic, either as a student of prophecy or in life. I welcome debate and challenge through comments and will respond to every comment as I can, both on-blog and off-blog. I praise the Lord for such dialog and am always open to someone pointing out an alternate interpretation of Scripture. I am also of course open to the Spirit pointing out a new interpretation. This blog and this life are journeys of learning!

RECAP:  Last time we talked about a confederacy of countries/regions/people enumerated in Psalm 83. This confederacy is likely to attack Israel prior to the War of Gog and Magog, and this attack is likely to be the next major event on the prophetic calendar.

At the end of the last entry, I mentioned the fact that some see Psalm 83 as a “prayer prophecy,” not an “action prophecy” in the fashion of Ezekiel 38. A careful reading of the language reveals that God is being petitioned for action against an anti-Israel confederacy made up of these countries/groups:

  • Tents of Edom – Palestinians and South Jordan
  • Ishmaelites – Saudi Arabia
  • Moab – Palestinians and Central Jordanians
  • Hagrites – Egypt
  • Gebal – Hezbollah and Northern Lebanese
  • Ammon – Palestinians and Northern Jordanians
  • Amalek – Sinai Arabs
  • Philistia – Hamas (Gaza Strip)
  • Tyre – Hezbollah and Southern Lebanese
  • Assyria – Syria and Northern Iraq

We see that this confederacy is “laying crafty plans” against Israel, conspiring to effect the total destruction of God’s chosen people. What we don’t see is an account of action. We see nothing about an attack or counterattack. We see a prayer made to God about a potential attack, but we don’t see His answer. Or to be more specific, we don’t see action or Answer in Psalm 83. But what if Psalm 83 is just one part of a multifaceted prophecy? Let’s consider a couple passages from Obadiah:

8 Will I not on that day, declares the LORD,
destroy the wise men out of Edom,
and understanding out of Mount Esau?
9 And your mighty men shall be dismayed, O Teman,
so that every man from Mount Esau will be cut off by slaughter.
18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
and the house of Joseph a flame,
and the house of Esau stubble;
they shall burn them and consume them,
and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the LORD has spoken.
Obadiah focuses on judgment against Edom (the descendants of Esau, whom I believe to be today’s “Palestinians” and southern Jordanians). In Psalm 83, the “tents of Edom” are the first anti-Israel group mentioned. Psalm 83 describes an anti-Israel confederacy. Obadiah refers to Edom’s allies (confederates). So in both books we see Edom and a group of allies arrayed against Israel. Psalm 83 sets forth an elaborate prayer of petition to God against Edom and her allies. Obadiah portrays great judgment against, at the very least, Edom. Now let’s take a look at Isaiah 17.
An oracle concerning Damascus.
Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city
and will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer are deserted;
they will be for flocks,
which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Is 17:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Damascus, Syria, is the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city, but we see here that it will become a “heap of ruins.” Also mentioned are the cities around Aroer, which is in present-day Jordan; these cities are described as being completely deserted, which suggests that something calamitous has happened there, as well. (When we look back to Psalm 83, we see that both Syria and Jordan are identified as members of the anti-Israel confederacy enumerated there.)
Also of note in Isaiah 17 is this passage, which seems to indicate that Israel, although the winner of the war, herself takes great damage.
And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low,
and the fat of his flesh will grow lean.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Is 17:4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Tying It All Together

If we view the three passages separately, here’s what we have:  God is petitioned to protect Israel from a confederacy of enemies, but we don’t know how it turns out. Edom suffers a great judgment but we don’t have any context for that judgment. Similarly, Syria and Jordan suffer calamity, while Israel is damaged, but we have no context for how it happens.
If, however, we view Psalm 83, Obadiah, and Isaiah 17, as different parts of the same story, that story is logical and clear:  A group of Israel’s enemies, including modern-day Edomites, Syria, and Jordan, among others, form an alliance to destroy Israel. God is petitioned to fight this alliance on Israel’s behalf and does. The Edomites (Palestinians) are decimated. Damascus is reduced to rubble. A region of Jordan ends up deserted. Israel wins but takes heavy damage. Everything fits. And to repeat a point made in an earlier post, another benefit of the above scenario is that it perfectly sets the stage for Ezekiel’s War of Gog and Magog. Israel would have neutralized most, if not all, of her neighborly threats, and would be living with her greatest sense of security in decades.
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  1. April 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm

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