This is part 4 of a 6-part series from T. Getterman concerning the role of Israel in the end times. Part 5 will be published tomorrow, May 30th at 6pm CST.
Dr. Mike Harmon
It could be argued that the Psalm 83 Battle has already taken place and was either the Jewish War of Independence, which began on May 15, 1948, or the Six Days War, which was fought in June 1967. In each of these wars, Israel fought virtually all of the countries with which she shares borders. While either of these is a possibility, I believe that the Psalm 83 Battle has not yet occurred because, in both of these prior instances, Israel’s neighbors were not devastated to the point that Israel lived in total safety as Ezekiel 38 says that they will, and Israel did not plunder their conquered neighbors at either time as Obadiah and Zephaniah say will happen.
It does not appear that the Psalm 83 Battle could have been fought before 1948 because of the references to “nation” and “Israel”. From the time that this Psalm was written during King David’s reign until the mid-20th Century, there were three times when Israel could have been considered a “nation”. The first of these was during the time of the United Jewish Kingdom under King David and King Solomon. That “nation” ended in approximately 931 BC.
That time was followed by the second pre-1948 possibility of Israel being considered a “nation”. This was during the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Israel was defeated by Assyria in 722 BC and Judah was defeated by Babylon in 586 BC.
The third pre-1948 time that Israel could have been considered a “nation” was during the rule of the Maccabees from 145 to 63 BC. It ended with their conquest by Rome.
In each of these time periods, the Jewish nation (or nations) was never in an all-out war against all of her neighbors at the same time, and the Jewish people certainly never devastated them to the point that the Israelis could live in safety as Ezekiel 38 says. Therefore, I do not think the Psalm 83 Battle occurred before 1948.
On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation, thus fulfilling the Isaiah 66:8 prophesy. It says, “Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” May 14, 1948 is the only time in the history of the world that a nation has come about in a single day. The next day, Israel’s War of Independence began when she was attacked by her neighbors. Note that it took seven years for the United States to become a nation. It only took Israel one day.
Again, I believe that the Psalm 83 Battle is a future battle. Scripture tells us not to lose all hope for Egypt. Look at the remainder of Isaiah 19.
Isaiah 19:18-25 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction. In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, He will send them a Savior and Defender, and He will rescue them. So the LORD will make Himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; He will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and He will respond to their pleas and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the Earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”
Isaiah 19:18-25 speaks of three different times. One is when the Lord strikes them with a plague. This could be during the Psalm 83 Battle, or it could refer to a different time altogether. It doesn’t really matter for purposes of this discussion.
Another time mentioned in Isaiah 19:18-25 is when Jesus returns as Egypt’s Savior and Defender and rescues them from the Antichrist and the evil of the Tribulation.
The third time mentioned is the Millennial Kingdom, which is when “there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border”. During the Millennial Kingdom, they will worship Christ with sacrifices and grain offerings, and Jesus will heal them.
Look at the last part of these verses, which speaks of the “highway from Egypt to Assyria”, the Egyptians and Assyrians worshiping together, and the Lord blessing Egypt, Assyria and Israel. Compare this to Genesis 15:18, which says, “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.’” The Euphrates River was in ancient Assyria.
These Isaiah verses are speaking of when the full extent of the land promised to Abraham’s descendants are inherited by the Jewish remnant. Remember Isaiah 25:1, which says, “O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”
The Psalm 83 Battle is part of what God planned long ago. He doesn’t cause the evil, but He allows it to happen. He will use the evil of these countries’ attack on Israel to fulfill His plan.