– Tim Osterholm – http://www.soundchristian.com
Bible prophecy is unfolding before our eyes, and the world is watching too. Israel and Iran are close to war. There are three major end-times prophetic events regarding war and the nation of Israel. They are Psalm 83, Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39. Many Christians want to know which is likely to happen first. Could we witness events of Psalm 83 before Ezekiel 38 or Isaiah 17? Some answers are here, including God’s warning to our political leaders regarding the dividing of the Land of Israel.
Bill Salus, prophecy scholar and author, believes (as I do) that Israel is on the verge of a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. This strike could either initiate the Psalm 83 war or start a chain reaction of events that may quickly lead to that war. Israel has made it known that they intend to disable Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Just a few days ago, Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) reported that Israel had completed the development of its Jericho 3 electromagnetic pulse (EMP) nuclear missile. Some are calling it Israel’s “preemptive missile” which can be detonated 250 to 300 miles above Iran. This would effectively wipe out Iran’s electrical infrastructure, disable their nuclear capabilities, prevent the ability to launch aircraft or missiles, and take down all radar and defense warning systems. Israel government-sponsored radio reported that Israel Defense Forces (IDF) now have “an attainable military option that it can implement independently, without American assistance, against Iran.” Israel has also upgraded its Arrow II ballistic missile shield, designed to intercept and destroy medium range enemy rockets and missiles aimed at Israel. American intelligence officials suggested that an Israeli nuclear burst over Iran could “send Iran back to the Stone Age.”
Israel isn’t waiting much longer. Nuclear experts recently reported that Iran is “defiantly” stepping up its uranium enrichment program, and setting up new centrifuges in its facilities. Iranian officials continue to threaten Israel. In the month of August there were several radical statements made by Iranian leaders, who again vowed that “the Zionist entity” will soon be wiped off of the regional map. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told demonstrators at an annual anti-Israel protest in Tehran that the Jewish state was a “cancerous tumor” that will soon be excised.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Supreme Leader of Iran) declared that “the fake Zionist regime” will “disappear soon from the landscape of geography.” He vowed that “The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land.” Those nations are identified in Psalm 83. Echoing Iran’s combative talk, Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon stated, “We stand steadfast along our borders in the face of threats.” Iranian military leader Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali declared that “no other way exists apart from resolve and strength to completely eliminate Israel.” The IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, often responds publicly to Iran’s threats. His latest comment was very telling. He said, “We are hearing explicit threats over Israel’s security and the wellbeing of its people, threats that demonstrate an underestimation of our capabilities.” Perhaps that says it all.
So why wouldn’t a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities initiate the Ezekiel 38 war? The results of an EMP strike would be devastating. Iran’s ability to mobilize any kind of a military response would be nearly impossible. Attempting to put together a military alliance with Russia would be futile. Iran would have to spend months, perhaps years to rebuild. We know the events of Ezekiel 38 includes Persia (Iran) and Russia, yet Psalm 83 does not mention Persia or Russia in that coalition. If Iran is immobilized, the attack would quickly ignite a firestorm amongst other Arab nations. They would see it as an attack on Islam, setting the stage for Israel’s border enemies to make their move (Psalm 83). Here is what’s important to understand: Psalm 83 is about Israel’s conquest over the inner circle of the surrounding Arab populations of Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Saudis and Egyptians. The final result of such a war is that Israel’s borders would be enlarged, prosperity would be increased, and their national stature greatly enhanced. This has to happen before Ezekiel 38-39.
Why? We know that in Ezekiel 38 there is a Russian-Iranian led coalition that will attempt to invade a militarily secure Israel. Salus believes this condition of security becomes a reality only after the judgments are executed upon the surrounding Psalm 83 nations. If Iran is incapacitated (so to speak), then other Muslim nations will band together to “defeat” Israel. Psalm 83 identifies these nations who come against Israel (see below). Salus also thinks that once the Psalm 83 war is complete, Israel will have accomplished all the prerequisites for the Ezekiel 38-39 war (war of Gog & Magog).
What about Isaiah 17? Perhaps the Psalm 83 war includes the events described in Isaiah 17. Some think it will be part of the Ezekiel 38 war. Either way, Damascus (present Capital of Syria and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world) becomes a wasteland, as if a nuclear strike had taken place. The prophecy also says that Israel is negatively impacted by this. Syria has thousands of chemical and biological warheads pointed at Israel, many of them hidden in Lebanon.
The events of the Psalm 83 set the stage for the Ezekiel 38-39 war. Note Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 are different coalitions:
Psalm 83 Coalition (nations that surround Israel today):
Edom = Palestinians (refugees from southern Jordan) and southern Jordanians (descendents of Esau)
Ishmaelites = Saudi Arabians and related groups
Moab = Palestinian refugees and central Jordanians
Hagrites = Egyptians
Gebal = Northern Lebanese
Ammon = Palestinian refugees and northern Jordanians
Amalek = Arabs living south of Israel
Philista = Palestinian refugees and Hamas of Gaza Strip
Tyre = Southern Lebanese (Hezbollah)
Assyria = Syrians and perhaps northern Iraqis
Children of Lot = Moab and Ammon
The end result of the Psalm 83 war is that Israel finally dwells peacefully with extended borders, which is the platform the Antichrist will use to confirm a seven year peace treaty with Israel and the “many” kings of the world (Daniel 9:27), eventually leading to fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38-39 war. Here is a map showing a rough estimate of Israel’s land gains following the Psalm 83 war:
Ezekiel 38-39 Coalition:
Gog = Prince of Rosh (ruler of Russia)
Magog, Rosh = Russia and former Soviet republics
Persia = Iran
Cush = Ethiopia, Sudan and possibly Eritrea
Put = Libya, possibly Algeria and Tunisia
Gomer = former western Soviet republics and the European Union (headed by Germany / NATO?)
Meshech = Russia and former Soviet republics
Tubal = Turkish-speaking peoples of Asia Minor & Central Asia
Beth-Togarmah = Turkey, Armenia, and other Turkish-speaking peoples of Asia Minor & Central Asia
The Biblical people of Magog are described here: http://www.soundchristian.com/magog/ . Prophecy scholars also take special note of Gomer in this coalition. Gomer’s descendants settled in southern Russia, Asia Minor and in present-day western Europe, specifically Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia and the U.K. Could it be that the European Union is part of the Russian-Iranian coalition against Israel? Absolutely. In fact, the E.U. has not supported Israel like the U.S. has.
Germany is also considered the figurehead and decision-making arm of the E.U. Why is this important? Germany first came on the international scene after their unification in 1871, creating radical German nationalism. This led to Germany becoming the central figure in WWI, and again in WWII where Hitler attempted to eradicate the Jews. Germany could again be a prominent player in events leading up to WWIII, what many prophecy teachers believe is the Ezekiel 38-39 war, the same war which we know as Armageddon in Revelation 16 and 19, Satan’s final attempt to wipe out the Jews and Israel.
Hands Off Israel: Is God Warning The U.S. With Natural Disasters?
Bill Koenig, White House correspondent, and author of the compelling book, “Eye to Eye, Facing the Consequences of Diving Israel” has noted that for a third time, the Republican National Convention was postponed due to a hurricane. He asks, “What are the odds of a major hurricane hitting at the same time of three straight Republican Conventions? Why the Republican Conventions?” Koenig believes he knows the answers. He states this is God’s response to the birth of the Israel and Palestine two-state plan in 2002 under President George W. Bush. In preparation for the realization of a Palestinian state, the Bush Administration placed intense pressure on Israel to evacuate Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon officially agreed on August 31, 2004 to vastly increase the scope of the Gaza evacuations. That same day, Hurricane Frances increased to an enormous Category 4 storm with wind speeds of 140 mph, initiating the largest evacuation in Florida’s history (2.8 million people).
Coincidence? Not likely. Florida Governor Jeb Bush had to cancel his trip to the Republican Convention in New York City to monitor the hurricane response. Thursday night’s September 2, 2004 nomination acceptance speech by President George W. Bush shared the top news story with Hurricane Frances. One journalist stated, “Frances took some of Bush’s thunder from him.” Sadly, President Bush didn’t get the message. Over the next several months the Bush Administration continued to put the squeeze on Israel. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon again bowed to the pressure, and in August of 2005 began removing settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. News images showed Israeli soldiers forcing thousands of Jewish settlers (about 9,500) to leave their homes. Appropriately called “Israeli disengagement evacuation and eviction,” it began August 17, 2005. The evacuations ended on August 23, 2005, and on that same day Hurricane Katrina formed as a Tropical Depression. By August 29, Katrina had become a colossal Category 4 hurricane that hit Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and devastated the city of New Orleans. It was the largest natural disaster in U.S. history, the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, and produced the largest mass migration and evacuation in U.S. history.
Coincidence? You be the judge. Three years later, by the time of the 2008 Republican Convention, the Bush Administration was again pressuring Israel. This time it was to divide Jerusalem by giving the Palestinians a state in Israel’s capital city, and give them land in Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip. News headlines on August 25, 2008 reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had tried to pressure Israel to sign a document that guaranteed sections of Jerusalem to the Palestinians by the end of the year, but Israel would not be required to withdraw from Jerusalem for period of 1 to 5 years. That same day Hurricane Gustav formed, and quickly became a massive Category 4 hurricane which officials feared would be another Katrina. By August 30, President Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana and Texas. September 1 was the opening night of the 2008 Republican Convention, but had to be canceled due to the hurricane, and President Bush canceled his planned appearance at the convention’s opening session. That same day Hurricane Ike formed and became a Category 4, hitting Texas hard. Hurricane Ike was the second-costliest hurricane to hit the U.S., and the costliest hurricane in Texas history. Over a two week period, hurricanes Gustav and Ike damage totals reached $44 billion.
Coincidence? Not anymore. The Republican Party has endorsed a two-state solution since President Bush was in office. However, that wasn’t good enough for this year’s platform, so on August 21, 2012 the Republican platform committee voted to add Israel’s land to the “two-state” position. That same day Hurricane Isaac formed in the Atlantic! The 2012 Republican Convention was set to begin August 26, but Hurricane Isaac hit Florida’s coast, delaying the start until August 27. This was the third straight Republican Convention delay due to a hurricane (2004, 2008, 2012). This time, there are some interesting facts regarding Hurricane Isaac, such as it’s name (Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob who was renamed Israel). Hurricane Isaac (August 21-September 1, 2012) took place on the seventh anniversary period of Hurricane Katrina (August 23-30, 2005), and was a direct hit over New Orleans. Was the Lord making it clear that if our next president is Mitt Romney, he should avoid, at all costs, a two-state plan for Israel? The answer has to be yes!
Be sure to keep current on what’s happening in Bible prophecy. Here are a couple of my personal favorite websites: Terry Malone’s Calvary Prophecy Report at http://www.calvaryprophecy.com , and Jeff Camino’s Learn Bible Prophecy at http://www.learnbibleprophecy.com .