After last week’s Preacher’s Point describing the battle of Psalm 83, questions came in about the invasion of Israel in Ezekiel chapter 38. Most correspondence mentioned that they had never heard of the Psalm 83 battle. Prophecy teachers often bring up the Ezekiel invasion in their lectures, sermons, and books. However, any Bible teacher mentioning the prophecy of Psalm 83 is rare. Some readers asking questions thought that Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83 described the same event.
This week’s column attempts to answer the questions and show that these chapters speak of different events.
Since we looked at Psalm 83 in detail last week, the following is only a summary.
The invasion of Israel described in Psalm 83 comes from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Gaza – the battle results in Israel’s attackers being reduced to “stubble” (Psalm 83:13-15). The names of the invaders are also mentioned in Amos 1-2 and are all destroyed by fire. Amos also tells us that the “palaces of Jerusalem” are devoured by fire. This destruction by fire brings us to the conclusion that Israel is the only one standing when the smoke clears. Still, she is devastated and without a government (“palaces”).
Now, we move on to Ezekiel 38.
Ezekiel’s attack is on a much larger scale. The list of invaders is in the first six verses of Ezekiel 38:1-6. I will list the Biblical name and the modern-day equivalent. The modern-day equivalent is found by laying a Bible map over today’s map.
Magog = Russia (Gog refers to an individual – the leader of Russia).
Meshech and Tubal = The area of the former Soviet Union that is now Muslim states.
Persia = Iran (Persia changed its name to Iran in 1935).
Gomer = Ukraine.
Togarmah = Turkey.
Ethiopia and Libya are still named the same as in Bible times.
The list of players in this prophecy gives us a good indication of where the battle falls chronologically.
Notice that none of the Psalm 83 invaders are listed. Any land invasion of Israel from any of the nations listed in Ezekiel 38 would have to march through Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, or Gaza to reach Israel. With the current political makeup of the world, it would seem extremely likely that those listed in Psalm 83 would pick up arms and join those coming in Ezekiel. So, why are they not mentioned?
Remember, Psalm 83 and Amos 1-2 tell us these areas are reduced to stubble. The destruction of Psalm 83 must come before the invasion of Ezekiel 38.
Two nations are omitted from both invading parties and deserve mention here.
Egypt, Israel’s direct neighbor to the west, is not mentioned in either chapter. Libya would need to go through Egypt to attack Israel by land. Unless Egypt allows them to march through without entering the fray, Libya’s attack would likely have come by sea. Egypt has not been hostile toward Israel for several decades. That trend will continue.
Babylon, modern-day Iraq, is also not mentioned in either chapter. Some believe that the Antichrist’s headquarters will be located in Iraq. This scenario would give a perfect explanation why Babylon (Iraq) does not invade because the tribulation period starts with a treaty between Israel, the Antichrist, and “many nations” (Daniel 9:27). Part of that covenant is protection for Israel by the Antichrist.
That protection by the Antichrist also indicates that the Ezekiel 38 prophecy occurs during the tribulation period.
When that massive invading force descended upon Israel, Israel does not seem concerned for their safety. Ezekiel 38:11, “And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.”
Since her recreation in 1948, Israel has never been at rest. In America, we send our babies home from the hospital with a car seat; in Israel, the newborns come home with a gas mask. By law, every residential building, apartments, and homes in Israel must be built with a safe room protecting the populace from missile and rocket attacks.
Israel will not feel at rest until the destruction of her closest enemies (Psalm 83), and they are guaranteed protection by the Antichrist. This feeling of safety only comes during the early years of the Tribulation.
One last significant difference between the two battles is how Israel wins.
In Psalm 83, the outcome results from the actions on the battlefield and the decisions of those leading the armies.
However, Ezekiel’s battle contains supernatural results. Only one in six of Israel’s enemies will survive the war (Ezekiel 39:2). God will send a massive earthquake and fire upon the invading armies (Ezekiel 38:19-20). Then, a tremendous rain mingled with great hail, fire, and brimstone. Ezekiel 38:22, “And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, and overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.”
Between the unbelievable covenant (discussed in last week’s column) signed at the end of the battle of Psalm 83 and the miracle conclusion of Ezekiel’s war, which the Antichrist will take credit for, the worship of the Antichrist will begin. By the midpoint of the Tribulation, less than three and a half years later, the entire world will worship the man (Revelation 13:8).
What we are watching in Israel now is not Psalm 83. Still, the events of the rest of this war could spark the flames that cause Israel’s closest enemies to enter a confederacy together and, in time, invade on three fronts simultaneously.
The words of the prophets may or may not be written on a subway wall, but the words of the Biblical prophets will come true a lot quicker than we realize.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com