Dr. Couch, is Psalm 83 about the end times? It seems to be prophetic concerning the nations that are near her and who come against Israel in the latter days. What do you think?
ANSWER: I agree. The psalmist Asaph pleads with God not to remain silent. "For behold, Your enemies make an uproar; and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They [will] make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire against Your treasured ones" (vv. 1-3). More, "They have said, 'Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more'" (v. 4).
They have conspired "together with one mind; against You do they make a covenant" (v. 5). (Does this seem like today!) What adds to this view is the fact that the nations mentioned who despise Israel are the nations surrounding her and that are the closest to the Promised Land! "Edom and the Ishmaelites," Moab, Ammon, and the Amalekites. Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre. But more, even the Assyrians, who today would be the peoples of Iraq and Iran! The way the text puts it, is that the "Assyrians also have joined with them" (v. 7). In other words, the people of Iraq and Iran have joined in a pact to come and help the nations who are closer to Israel to come and help destroy her!
A hundred years ago or so, all the Arab peoples were called by the West, the "Ishmaelites." Today, the enemies of the Jewish people have all been mixed up together; they now are the descendants of the nations mentioned above.
As with the Arabs today, they want what the Jews have. They want to take over the Promised Land, the Holy Land, as their own. They say, "Let us possess for ourselves the pastures of God" (v. 12).
But the Lord will have the last word. He is beseeched by the psalmist to "make them like the whirling dust; like chaff before the wind. Like fire that burns the forest, and like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and terrify them with Your storm" (vv. 13-15).
While these peoples have an opportunity to turn to God, they more than likely will not. "They will be humbled and perish" (v. 17). They will then know that God's "name is the Lord, and that He is the Most High over all the earth" (v. 18).
Unger believes also that Psalm 83 is a prophetic glimpse of Israel's future troubles and ultimate deliverance into the Messianic Kingdom, the Davidic reign of Christ. It is about the Wrath, the Tribulation, that will last seven years on earth. These nations will be chastened and finally destroyed, though some of the peoples will repent and be saved for the Kingdom.
Unger further points out that there has never been recorded a coalition in the past such as mentioned here in these verses, so the Psalm waits for a future fulfillment. But Unger goes further and says that it is not impossible that this passage could be fulfilled just before the Tribulation, that is, even in our present time! He writes:
Probably its fulfillment will come in some pan-Arabic coalition and attack
on the Israeli State before the church is taken out, or at least before Daniel's seventieth week begins. (Commentary, pp. 866-67)
Interestingly, some of the Rabbis of the past held that Edom was Rome, or the kingdom of Italy. Many have forgotten that about 150 years ago, all of Italy was the kingdom of the Pope. It was his own state, the Papal state. Then a civil war followed and the various kingdoms of the Italian peninsula broke away from the Vatican. That Edom is Rome is a minor view of some of the orthodox Rabbis. On the day of Edom's downfall, the Lord will make war against the nations. When He is victorious, there will come about the resurrection of the dead Old Testament saints in order that they may enter the Messianic Kingdom.
Below is Rabbinical fiction, but it is very interesting:
During this turmoil, the Jews will say to the Arabs, "The temple is ours. Take silver and gold and leave the temple." The Arabs will answer, "You have no right to the temple. Accept our sacrifice and we shall be one people. Accept our faith!" The Jews will answer, "We shall rather slay and be slain, but we shall not deny God!"
The Messiah in the Tribulation will end this conflict; He will say "See the salvation of the Lord!" He will blow upon the Arabs with the breath of His mouth, and all of them will fall dead before Him.
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch