So far in this series we’ve identified and defined the dangerous world in which we live, on the very edge of transformational chaos. We’ve seen how the Word of God has given us a template to understand these times in which we live that is more relevant and comprehensive than any man-made explanation so far offered. The Scriptures have laid out some very specific prophecies and promises. We’ve begun to trace how so many of these prophecies have now come to pass and are already historical facts. We’ve observed further how forces and nations are aligning according to what the Bible says will happen. We can see that we are on the edge of historical changes the like of which the world has never seen before or will ever see again. We’ve set the stage. But what will follow? What is ‘The history of the future’?
GOD’S PLAN – I
Know this: It is God’s history; – a part of his plan that He’s already laid out. Since we’ve seen His Word so exactly fulfilled we can be confident that it will be exactly fulfilled in the future. Still, when it comes to the prophetic, we cannot always see what form that fulfillment will take. It is often in hindsight that we come to understand what He has done. God often uses the prophetic to confirm what He has already done, – so that we may recognize it when it comes. And of course there are other things that God just didn’t tell us, – or that we not fully understand. Yet we’ll try to sketch out just what we may expect in the near future, – as God’s plan for the End Times and the return of His Son approaches.
The scenario presented here is certainly not perfect, however it is much more than a guess. It is taken from the Word of God, fleshed out some by the history of the world so far, – and colored to a degree by the plans of men. It’s not that men’s plans can ever trump the pronouncements of God, – but sometimes by looking at human efforts we can see prophetic fulfillment in the making. So we’ll be brief here and make it our business to just lay out a possible / likely scenario.
- THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH – Let’s start by stating this: I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, – but I guess I could be wrong. That being said, we know that we can’t know whether the rapture will occur before the next event; – the conflict described in Psalm 83. That seems to be the first of at least three major wars that will punctuate the End Times. Jack Kelly, a scholar we’ve quoted in the past, sees “no connection between Psalm 83 and the rapture.” Both events, however appear to be imminent. Bill Salus, the author of Israelstine, concurs that it is hard to pinpoint the relative placement of the two events, yet makes the case that “the Church may not be here for the fulfillment” of that prophecy.[i] [ii]
The rapture of course is when Christ comes for His bride, the Church, “that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord”. (1Thessalonians 4:15-18) So here’s the short of it. The rapture is coming and probably pretty soon. But we can’t be sure whether or not we’ll be here to see the next event in our list.
- THE WAR OF PSALM 83 – The inner ring of Arab nations and peoples will fight a war against Israel. They have one motivation. The total destruction of the Jewish state. It’s what’s on the mind of every Arab / Muslim movement in the Middle East today. Here’s how Psalm 83:4 puts it: “‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more’”. Using the ancient names, the Scripture says the lineup of that confederacy will include the Palestinians, Jordan, the people of Tyre in southern Lebanon where Hezbollah is in control, the Syrians and even the Egyptians. It is a coalition of the radicalized Arab nations on Israel’s border and their terrorist cousins. Going all the way back to 1996, a Congressional ‘Task Force on Terrorism’ had found evidence that preparations were under way for a “final, devastating war of annihilation against Israel.” Besides the direct military threat, the Arab coalition had plans to use the Palestinians as a fifth column within Israel, operating much as the Underground did in Nazi occupied Europe, going after the nation’s infrastructure while the more militarized units take on the IDF in the field.[iii] While the developing strategic situation may have altered the operational plans, the goal of Israel’s annihilation has remained constant.
The Israeli armed forces will win a devastating victory in this war, driving them “like the whirling dust, like the chaff before the wind”. (Psalm 83:13) It is also likely that this is the time for the destruction of Damascus. Israel has already warned Syria that it would be held responsible for major strikes, – even by its terrorist toadies like Hezbollah. Isaiah 17:1 foretells the event. “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city and will be a ruinous heap.” Verses 13 & 14 of the same chapter detail the swiftness of that war and the completeness of the victory. “The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, And be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, Like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. Then behold, at eventide, trouble! And before the morning, he is no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, And the lot of those who rob us.”
It is at this time too, that Edom, – the Palestinians, – takes a fatal blow, – “for violence against your brother Jacob” (Israel). God’s judgment is severe and complete against those that come against His Chosen People. The Arab Confederacy may start that conflict, “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, And there shall be holiness; The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. The house of Jacob shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau” (Obadiah 10, 17-18) Isaiah 25:14 makes it clear that this shall be carried out by the Israeli Military. “I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, that they may do to Edom according to My anger”. It may at this time that Israel will actually fulfill the command of God to take the rest of Canaan, that he promised them, “as far as the great river, the River Euphrates”…and “go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them”. (Deuteronomy 1:7-8)
In any case, it is after this war that Israel will expand greatly, beginning to occupy finally the boundaries that God ordained for His people. Bill Salus tells us, “It is through military means rather than politically brokered Real Estate deals, such as the ‘Roadmap Plan,’” that will bring the Jews to their point of triumph.[iv] “Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘That I will cause to be heard an alarm of war In Rabbah of the Ammonites; [that’s Jordan], It shall be a desolate mound, And her villages shall be burned with fire. Then Israel shall take possession of his inheritance,’ says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 49:2) The Prophet Obadiah goes on to describe Israel gathering up Arab lands, including Samaria, the home of today’s Palestinians.
- AN INTERLUDE OF PEACE – What follows, for however long, is a time of peace for Israel and the Jews. The Palestinian question has been solved. The security barrier / fence comes down. This is “a land of unwalled villages”, – of an “unsuspecting people – all of them living without walls and without gates and bars”. This is a wealthy Israel “rich in livestock and goods”. (Ezekiel 38:11-12)
- GOG OF MAGOG COMETH – What follows after an indeterminate time is an invasion by a new confederacy, led by Persia and either Turkey or Russia. (We’ve reviewed that argument previously.) Joining them in this epic struggle are many of the nations that make up Russia’s former Islamic Soviet Republics, as well as Libya and likely Sudan. The invading force is overwhelming. The West only makes a protest, allowing events to follow their course. Israel has no chance against this alliance. And then God acts. It is the LORD Almighty that engineers the victory for His people against what seem like impossible odds. “‘I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’” (Ezekiel 38:22-23) [It is here that the order gets a little dicey, – but we shall proceed. So we’ll pick this up again next time.]
[i] Jack Kelly, answering the question, How Close is Psalm 83?, on his website, Grace Through Faith, monitored November 4, 2008
[ii] Bill Salus, The Psalm 83 E-Chat-ologists, Israelstine, August 8, 2008
[iii] This information I got from David Bay, The Next Arab Israeli War As Planned By The Arabs, Update #1056,
Cutting Edge Ministries, where he quoted from: The Next Arab-Israeli War, Emanuel A. Winston, The Jewish Press, January 31, 1997
[iv] Bill Salus, Which is the Next Middle East News Headline?, Rapture Ready, April 21, 2008