Is the war of Psalm 83 and a greatly enlarged Israel imminent as in "Isralestine"?
a critique by Don Koenig - 2008
One of the great mysteries for those who study Bible prophecy is the timing of the wars mentioned in Psalm 83 and the war described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. They are obviously different wars but which war occurs first and when? Are they pretribulational wars or tribulation wars? How can Israel be living in peace and security prior to the Ezekiel war as the prophecy clearly indicates? That is the ongoing debate.
Bill Salus in the book "Isralestine" offers a solution but the thesis is very difficult to accept in light of real world realities. However, that does not mean the thesis he offers based on his selection and interpretation of certain scriptures is wrong. I have had a very difficult time reconciling the issues in his book and think that you really need to read the book and judge the merit of this hypothesis for yourselves and not just rely on my review.
The thesis of the book is that the war of Psalm 83 is now imminent. It occurs before the tribulation. The war brings about the defeat of the Arab nations and it allows a very large territorial expansion of Israel into the Arab states through conquest. After the war of Psalm 83 the greatly expanded Israel then lives in peace and security until the war of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 where Gog (Russia) comes against Israel with Iran and other allies. At that time, God intervenes for Israel and Israel expands to the entire land area promised to Abraham. Bill Salus believes the Ezekiel war is before the "Day of the Lord" and that the rapture could be before or after the war of Psalm 83 but it will be before the "Day of the Lord".
The difficulties of a much greater Israel before the return of the Lord are obvious. Even if all the Jews in the world relocated back to Israel there are only about 15 million Jews in the entire world. How can a small nation like Israel occupy and hold such a large area? Today there are only six million Jews in Israel and there are over 300 million Arabs and their population will grow to 400 million in seven years. Israel cannot field a large army for a long period of time because there would be few adult citizens left to run internal affairs in Israel. Even the mighty U.S. would have to make a World War II type effort to occupy and hold such a huge area of the Middle East.
The author also asks us to believe that after Israel conquers all the Arab nations the world would just allow Israel to expand its borders into Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations and also to live in peace until a later date when Gog (Russia) decides to come down to take a spoil. In today's world realities I do not believe the conquest of the Arab nations is humanly possible by Israel alone. The premise in Isralestine may be partly correct, but if it is, I think there would be much more to this story.
I also think many of the prophecies quoted in Isralestine are subjective interpretations. For example some, could be fulfilled through the judgment of the two witnesses and not necessarily in a pretribulation war. I think many additional interpretations of biblical passages in the book are speculative at best and some in my opinion are really quite a stretch.
One example is that Salus takes scripture about Satan and also applies them to the Palestinians and justifies doing so by calling it a "typeological translation". Applying some of these scriptures to Allah might have some merit if one believes Allah is a synonym for Satan but to typecast those passages that are talking about the fall of Satan being also fulfilled in Palestinians is taking clear scripture to an obscure place where I am not going.
Having said that, the thesis of the book has merit. Some of the prophecies that Bill Salus quotes can only be fulfilled by a future major war in that area that is prior to the "Day of the Lord". The Ezekiel war does not fulfill the detailed requirements in those passages, so the scriptures seem to be referring to the war of Psalm 83.
Many Bible prophecy teachers say that the war of Ezekiel is pretribulation or the war starts the tribulation period. That may be true but to me these teachers never offer a satisfactory explanation of how Israel could be living in peace and security as required in Ezekiel's prophecy under the present world realities. They often talk about a false peace but does anyone really believe that there can be any peace and security in Israel as describe in Ezekiel while the enemies of Israel are still armed to the teeth with 40,000 rockets? So how do we get there from here, if prophecy is going to be fulfilled in our generation? Realistically, Israel's enemies are not going to suddenly disarm themselves so Israel can live in peace and security. It will be done by war.
Other Bible prophecy teachers say the peace is brokered by the Antichrist in the first 3 1/2 years of a seven year tribulation period and then at the mid tribulation point Gog comes down against Israel. However, the picture painted in Ezekiel 38 is that this is more a long term peace when all of Israel is at rest and not just a forced peace of a couple of years. Besides, if the Ezekiel war starts at the beginning of the last 3 1/2 years when the "Day of the Lord" begins it opens another can of worms. You have to do prophetic gymnastics to explain how the other prophecies in those same chapters of Ezekiel are literally fulfilled during the next Jewish holocaust.
For example, how can Israel be searching for bodies and be burning weapons of war for seven years when they have been overrun by the forces of the Antichrist? The obedient of Israel at this time fled to the mountain of Jordan and are being supernaturally protected. They are not burning weapons of war in Israel. Some of the explanations I have heard how this can take place are simply not logical.
In my mind these two end time wars will probably be fulfilled much like Bill Salus said in Isralestine. The war of Psalm 83 that describes Arab nations forming a confederacy to cut Israel off from being a nation has to occur before the war in Ezekiel because no other scenario makes sense. Israel can only be living in peace and security before the Ezekiel Gog war if the armies of the Arab nations are once and for all crushed. Today we can see Arab nations armed to the teeth and ready to war against Israel and ready to fulfill Psalm 83. Yet, Russia is probably two decades away from equipping their army and making the alliances required to fulfill Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. Today we see Russia make some efforts to assert itself again but they are a far cry from fielding the splendidly attired army that is described by Ezekiel.
So it looks to me like the Psalm 83 war is imminent like Salus said, it will probably occur in months or a few years. However, I do not think Israel can defeat the Arabs alone and continue to occupy these lands. Therefore, I will offer my own view of how the war of Psalm 83 might evolve to the same end as in Isralestine.
In Psalm 83 Israel is attacked by a Arab confederacy that thinks it can cut off Israel from being a nation. Israel obviously goes to war against them in self defense but Israel will not stay alone. The U.S. and NATO probably joins forces with Israel to defeat and disarm the entire Arab Confederacy and also to go on to defeat all strongholds of Islamic world terrorism.
After this world war we will see a kinder and gentler Islam emerge that can be at relative peace with its neighbors. A Islam that will fit in with Tony Blair's concept of world religious pluralism will evolve along with a new world order. Israel as part of the newly proposed Mediterranean Union (MU or AU) and possibly Iraq may be given the authority to govern the defeated Arab areas after the war with the military backing of NATO. But, at some point maybe because of a world economic collapse or a civil war in Europe or disaster in the United States, Russia and her allies will see an opportunity to invade and occupy these lands. However, God will intervene and this army will be destroyed as described in Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39. Israel will then govern over even more land area along with Iraq (Babylon) until the armies of the Antichrist are assembled against Israel.
Of course it certainly does not have to exactly turn out this way at all. I still do not think we have this puzzle figured out by a long shot and I am not sure we will before the time. Meanwhile, the book "Isralestine" does offer a general explanation. How valid the idea of a greatly expanded Israel is before the second coming of Christ will be seen soon enough.
In any case, the book is thought provoking and even apart from Bible prophecy the book is worth reading just to find out extensive historical information on ancient Israel and its blood-related, but enemy neighbors.
2015 update. I do not believe the book in being offered anymore but Bill Salus has since written other books. His website can be found here.
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