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   AWLITLD Interview: Bill Salus
   
Psalm 83 What IT IS and What IT IS NOT


Tell us a little about yourself and your background. Have you always been interested in Biblical Prophecy?


Thanks for asking; please refer to my bio linked here.


Most people have heard of The War of Gog and Magog that is chronicled in Ezekiel 38-39, but one of the prophecies that people know you from is the exhaustive research you’ve done and published on the lesser known Psalm 83 War that precedes the War of Gog and Magog. Can you remember at what point you first began researching the Psalm 83 War and what were your first impressions of your investigations?

My first exposure to Psalm 83 was through Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s book called the “Footsteps of the Messiah.” I had been studying Arnold’s works for about a decade prior. I purchased most all of his tape cassette studies and listened to them all from start to finish.  I then purchased two of his books, The Footsteps of the Messiah, and Israelology.  It was while reading the Footsteps book that Psalm 83 interested me.

You might say I subsequently became obsessed, and I started reading most every Bible verse that mentioned each member of the ten member Psalm 83 confederacy.  Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, etc. Then I started realizing that some of these verse references were prophetic and remained unfulfilled. So I started taking extensive study notes about the passages that seemed to discuss pending prophecies.

Then when the Twin Towers toppled on September 11th, those study notes came alive to me. Americans had questions, and I felt the Bible had the answers. What happened that infamous day was about terrorism, and terror is the ugly by-product of the Arab – Israeli conflict. And, that conflict is exactly what Psalm 83 describes.

Ultimately, I became friends with Dr. Fruchtenbaum and he encouraged me to turn my study notes into chapters, and those chapters into a book. That book was published in the summer of 2008, and is called Isralestine, The Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East.

At your website and on our website, we have very in depth articles about the events of what is known as The Psalm 83 War, but for those who haven’t heard of it, could you briefly describe what it is and what it is not?

What it is - Psalm 83 appears to be a 3000-year old prophecy that awaits an imminent fulfillment. The Psalm presages the coming of a climactic, concluding Arab – Israeli war. It involves the nations displayed below. The image identifies the confederates by their ancient names alongside their modern-day equivalents.

Asaph, the Psalm’s author, informs us that this conglomerate of nations and terrorist populations confederate and form a cunning strategy to wipe the Jewish state off the map. Their goal is to dispossess Israel of its Promised Land. If the event were to happen in the near future it would most likely manifest into a massive Arab war against Israel in an attempt to form one last Arab state called Palestine.

What it is not - Some scholars believe the Psalm is merely an imprecatory prayer, but it appears to be much, much more. It involves ten specific populations that are contemporaries of each other. It is more than a basic list of Israel’s historical enemies like some suggest. Israel had more enemies than those included in Psalm 83:6-8, but the prophet omitted many of them. This suggests that those Arab groups he included are the actual participants of the confederacy.

Some other proofs evidencing that the Psalm is prophetic, rather than a simple prayer of lament for Israel are listed below.

  • Asaph was a Hebrew prophet. The Bible says that Asaph served Israel in a dual capacity: he was a worship leader, and a prophet.

Worship Leader - 1 Chronicles 16:4-5 points out that he was the chief Levite priest appointed by King David "to minister before the Ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel.” Seer (Prophet) - 2 Chronicles 29:30 informs that Asaph was a “seer.” The Hebrew word used for seer in this verse is “chozeh,” and it can be translated as a beholder of vision; a prophet. 1 Chronicles 25:2 further evidences Asaph’s prophetic office by saying that he prophesied under the order of King David. Moreover, all together Asaph wrote at least 12 of the 150 Psalms. He authored Psalms 50, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, and 83. Although some of the other eleven Psalms present intrinsic prophetic inferences, Psalm 83 is clearly the most prophetic of the group.

  • Psalm 83 involves an actual confederacy with specific participants. This point was made earlier, but is worth repeating. A confederacy involves a contemporary group that allies together for a common purpose. This means the ten populations must come together at some specific point in time. Arguably, they have not.

If Asaph describes a contemporary confederacy this means he is not alluding to a chronological assortment of some of Israel’s historical enemies that existed at various interludes of time. This is yet another reason that the Psalm can safely be considered more than an imprecatory prayer of lament.

  • The Arab confederacy has specific characteristics. In addition to coming together with one consent (Ps. 83:5), forming a crafty plan with a mandate against Israel (Ps. 83:3-4), and having an apparent motive to take the Promised Land (Ps. 83:12), the Arab coalition of ten have specific characteristics that prove it must be a contemporary confederacy.

Two of the ten populations are described as living in specific conditions at the time the confederacy comes together. Esau’s descendant Edomites are dwelling in “tents,” and those from Tyre are simply “inhabitants.” Additionally, two other populations are apparently in need of military support when the confederacy forms; Moab and Ammon enlist help from Assyria.

The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah (Psalm 83:6-8, nkjv; emphasis added).

  • The tents of Edom

Observe that Edom, Moab, and Ammon occupied the southern, central, and northern portions respectively, of what is today called modern-day Jordan. Throughout most of ancient history these three co-existed in their own distinct territories. This was certainly the case approximately 3000-years ago when Asaph authored Psalm 83. Why did Asaph single the Edomites out as tent-dwellers from this group?

Biblical references to populations residing in “tents of” conditions often identify either refugee conditions or military encampments; as in Zechariah 12:7 and Daniel 11:45. Today, there are Edomite descendants within the ranks of the Palestinian refugees, and the Palestinians have been involved in several military conflicts with the modern-day Jewish state. These facts suggest that Asaph was identifying today’s Palestinian refugees as the “tents of Edom.”

Additionally, the tents of Edom are listed first among all the confederates. Generally when a group is listed first amongst others in the Bible, it implies that group is the key participant of the prophecy. If so, this suggests that their present refugee plight has something to do with formation of the Arab confederacy. Today, all of the Psalm 83 modern-day Arab equivalents are extremely pro-Palestinian. They all seek the formation of a Palestinian state inside the Promised Land.

  • The inhabitants of Tyre

Furthermore, why is Philistia listed alongside the “inhabitants of Tyre” in these same passages? Presently, the Hamas terrorist organization turned political party hails from the area of ancient Philistia, i.e., the Gaza. And, the Hezbollah terrorist organization has a strong presence inside the city Tyre. Hezbollah does not possess its own country; rather they are “inhabitants” within the country of Lebanon, and Tyre is an important city within Lebanon. By describing those involved from Tyre as inhabitants, is Asaph perhaps identifying Hezbollah as a non-nation terrorist member inside the Arab confederacy, alongside Lebanon? Both Gebal and Tyre identify the modern-day country of Lebanon in Psalm 83. Asaph didn’t classify Gebal with inhabitants.

  • Assyria has helped the children of Lot (Moab and Ammon) 

The above passages also inform that Moab and Ammon, “the children of Lot,” need assistance in Psalm 83. Moab and Ammon represent modern-day Jordan as a member of the Arab confederacy, and Assyria likely identifies Syrian and Iraqi participation in the Psalm.  Interestingly, the Jordanian Armed Forces of today are the second-weakest world-ranked army among all of the Psalm 83 countries. The list of rankings is: Egypt (#16), Saudi Arabia (#26), Syria (#35), Iraq (#36), Jordan (#43), and Lebanon (#52). Lebanon is stronger than its ranking suggests because the rating does not include the military might of the Hezbollah. Therefore, Jordan is probably the weakest of all the Psalm 83 members. Since their bitter defeats in the wars against Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, the Jordanian Armed Forces primarily function today to protect the existence of the minority ruling Hashemite Kingdom. They are not necessarily prepared to fight alone in a major regional war. If in the near future they get drawn into a regional war of the scope described in Psalm 83, they would likely need assistance from Syria to the north and Iraq to the east.

  • Asaph’s petition presents further proof in the prophetic pudding – Psalm 83:9-11 petitions the Lord to empower the Jews to a military victory formatted in the historical precedent of past Israelite wars against the Midianites and the Canaanites. These past wars are detailed in Judges 4 – 8. The fact that these were specific battles, suggests that Psalm 83 will likewise be a specific war.

Moreover, Psalm 83:13-17 pictures descriptive metaphors that imply Asaph is petitioning for a military victory over the Arab confederacy.

  • The miraculous timely discovery of Psalm 83 in Ireland – An extra-biblical matter worthy of mentioning, is that during the midpoint of the 34-day Israel – Hezbollah conflict in the summer of 2006, Psalm 83 was miraculously discovered in Ireland. In what was heralded as the “Irish Dead Sea Scroll Discovery,” the Psalm was found opened in place in Irish bog soil. Apparently against all odds, the antiquities’ parchment had survived intact from being buried for approximately 1200-years.

Considering Psalm 83 is the only place within the entire book of Psalms that Israel and Tyre appear together, this is an amazing discovery. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were engaged in a war with the “inhabitants of Tyre.” Some might consider this timely discovery coincidental, but I believe it was providential. The Bible contains 66-books 1189-chapters, 150-Psalms, and approximately 31,200-verses, and the odds of discovering a chapter buried for centuries in a bog, and opened in place to a prophetic war involving the IDF and Hezbollah are astronomical. Some who believe that the Psalm is not prophetic, argue that position because they suggest no other prophets make mention of this war, and that since Psalm 83 doesn’t specify a time for the war like Ezekiel 38:8 does, then the Psalm should probably be discarded as a prophecy.
I disagree that no other prophets reference this war. Many of the populations in Psalm 83:6-8 show up in unfulfilled prophetic conflicts, like the examples below;

  • Edom – Ezekiel 25:14, Jeremiah 49:10, and Obadiah 1:18,
  • Ammon – Jeremiah 49:2, Zephaniah 2:9, Isaiah 11:14,
  • Moab – Zephaniah 2:9, Isaiah 11:14,
  • Philistia – Ezekiel 25:15-17, Isaiah 11:14,
  • Saudi Arabia – Ezekiel 25:13
  • Egypt – Isaiah 19:16-18

These are just a few examples. In my book Revelation Road Hope Beyond the Horizon, I give many more related instances. I would also mention that it doesn’t appear that any other prophets speak about the prophecy of Ezekiel 38; so does that imply that we should discard Ezekiel 38 from being a prophecy?The argument that Psalm 83 doesn’t give a specific timing doesn’t disqualify it from being a bonafide prophecy either. There are several prophecies that don’t present us with specific time periods of fulfillment. A perfect example concerns the prophecies regarding the four Gentile empires in the book of Daniel. Daniel never declared when the Persians would defeat the Babylonians, or the Greeks would defeat the Persians, or the Romans would defeat the Greeks. Does this mean Daniel’s Gentile empire prophecies also should be considered mere prayers of lament?

Lastly, some say that the Psalms are not prophetic, but Psalm 22 and others seem to refute that theory. Some say Psalm 83 is nothing more than a type of a Psalm 2. However, Psalm 2 doesn’t give a specific list of Israel’s enemies like Psalm 83:6-8 does.

There are many more reasons than these listed above that argue strongly for a prophetic interpretation of Psalm 83 and they are contained in my books called Isralestine and Revelation Road.

It seems like the Middle East is about to erupt in a military conflict at any moment. Do you think there could be a war involving Israel and its Islamic neighbors that does NOT result in the fulfillment of the Psalm 83 War prophecy? In other words, could fairly significant military actions take place in the Middle East that would not escalate into the Psalm 83 War or do you think that the boiling point is so high that even the smallest of skirmishes would escalate into the Psalm 83 War?

Smaller conflicts could still precede the climactic concluding Psalm 83 war; there is precedent for that, like Operation Cast Lead in 2009, and the Israel – Hezbollah war of 2006. However, the stakes have risen dramatically due to the high-tech arsenals the Arabs have amassed, and the regional instability brought about by the Arab Spring of 2011.

My personal view is that Psalm 83 is merely an Arab missile launch away from igniting the granddaddy of all Mideast wars to date. I believe anything that happens of a warlike nature in the Fertile Crescent will lend itself to the commencement of Psalm 83. In my book Revelation Road, Hope Beyond the Horizon, I hypothesize a very possible scenario for how the Psalm war could be triggered.

As you know, the West (the U.S. and U.K.) is only briefly mentioned in the scriptures surrounding the War of Gog and Magog and only in the context that they ask Russia and Iran why they’re marching to war against Israel. They do nothing to help Israel. And neither America nor Britain is mentioned at all in the Psalm 83 War. As of this writing, in the third week of February 2012, America and Britain have left Iraq, freeing up many military troops and America is stationing its war ships in the Strait of Hormuz. Do you think that America/U.K. will be involved in the Psalm 83 War and if not, how would these two countries explain themselves to its people by not coming to the aid of one of their closest allies, Israel? What circumstances do you see that would prevent America and Britain from helping Israel?

Your question presumes that the Merchants of Tarshish and all their young lions of Ezekiel 38:13 represents the UK and US. I tend to agree with this possibility; however there are others who believe it could represent Spain, and Central and South America. Presuming that it speaks of America, then your question is reasonable considering the fact that America has historically been a staunch ally of Israel.

First, I have no reason to believe that any other nations ally alongside Israel’s in Psalm 83. The prophetic text doesn’t support a coalition with Israel at the helm. The Judges examples alluded to earlier pictured Israel going it alone against the Midianites and the Canaanites. For the most part, many of Israel’s past wars were fought single-handedly.

Second, if the war were to happen under the reign of the Obama administration, and it very well could, a plethora of excuses could be levied. Among them, is the fact that the country is virtually bankrupt and can’t afford to engage in another Mideast war. The US is withdrawing troops from the region rather than deploying them. Additionally, America can take the position that Israel acted unilaterally without US consent, and therefore; America will only be responsible for protecting its own interests at home and abroad.

Third, the rapture could occur before or during the Psalm 83 war and that would mitigate against America’s ability to engage in a major war.

Let’s talk about timing. How long would you anticipate the Psalm 83 War could last? What amount of time do you think might pass between the end of the Psalm 83 War and the beginning of the War of Gog and Magog? For both of these questions, do you foresee days, weeks, months or even longer?

Israel’s history evidences that the nation doesn’t fight long drawn-out protracted wars. One example of this was the six-day war in June of 1967. The present geo-political scenario suggests that approximately 200,000 missiles are aimed at Israel, including Scud D’s, and other varieties that can carry a chemical payload. This is why Israel has equipped millions of its residents with gas masks; and why the nation conducts frequent “Turning Point,” civilian defense drills.

The Psalm 83 war will most likely be a short war, because the Lord will honor Asaph’s petition to empower today’s IDF like was the case when Gideon fought the Midianites, and General Barak fought the Canaanites. Also, Israel will have to act decisively and expeditiously in order to save Israeli lives. I suspect that the IDF will spare no fire power in this war, and that could imply a nuclear war.

Concerning the time-lapse between Psalm 83 and Gog of Magog; I don’t suspect more than one to five years will separate these two wars of epic biblical proportion. I can’t imagine it being merely a period of a few days or weeks, because Israel will need some time to mop up the war mess, and process the POW’s. The nation will also need to do all that it takes to dwell securely without walls, bars, and gates. Moreover, the country will need to acquire the wealth that entices Russia to form its formidable coalition to invade Israel to capture its great plunder. All of the above will require some time.

However, on the flip side, Russia will want to harness the Islamic hatred that will be spreading rampantly within Iran, Turkey, Libya, and all the other Muslim nations of the coalition in the aftermath of Psalm 83.

The wild card that might dictate the time-lapse window is the rapture. Should this miraculous event occur shortly after Psalm 83 concludes; then Russia will have license to move without further restriction. This is because all of the Muslim hordes of its coalition will be kept intact, but the western armies will undoubtedly be reeling from loss of significant troops.

The Bible seems to indicate that the ‘Hook in the Jaw’ that brings Russia, Iran and other Islamic countries against Israel in the War of Gog and Magog is oil. There are many oil exploration companies working in Israel and off its coast that believe that there are massive oil reserves beneath the land and ocean and they are working as hard as they can to find it. Do you think that oil will be the deciding factor that will make Iran, Russia (and the others) move against Israel, or will oil be only one of the many factors as why they march on Israel?

I cover this scenario in great length in Revelation Road, Hope Beyond the Horizon, and would defer the answer to invite the reader to obtain a copy of this timely and extremely relevant book.

The leaders of Iran have stated publically many times why they want to attack Israel; to cause as much death and destruction as possible which in turn brings about their supposed messiah, The 12th Imam. And the majority of the Islamic countries and terrorist groups that surround Israel either buy into this belief, or just simply hate any non-Muslim group, especially Jews and Christians, so we know why they would attack Israel. But Russia, even given all of that country’s shortcomings, is not rooted in satanically inspired, fanatical, radical Islam, so why would they align themselves with such unadulterated hatred and go to war hand in hand with radical Islam? And secondly, since Russia seems to be rooted more in reality, and the Russian leadership may be crazy, but they’re not stupid, they must know of both the Psalm 83 War and War of Gog and Magog prophecies, so why would they participate in the Gog and Magog one, because they have to know how it ends for them; with their army very, very decimated?

Russia seeks to regain its Cold War super-power status. The countries post Soviet Union attempt at capitalism has failed. Communism is still the modus operandi of the Russian government. The communist country possesses the world’s largest oil reserves, and has recently become the largest exporter of oil. In addition, it is a major supplier of natural gas to Europe and elsewhere. Furthermore, the nation is one of the world’s largest exporters of military weapons and technologies. If any country, or countries can help them achieve their super-power aspirations, they become an immediate ally.

Additionally, Russia has a history of Anti-Semitism; the pogroms of the 1800’s and early 1900’s are clearly a case-in-point. In modern history Russia has been a strong supporter of Israel’s Arab and Persian enemies. The country has supplied Iran with nuclear fuel rods in the summer of 2010, and is about to supply Syria with the S-300 missile defense system and quantities of the nuclear-capable Iskander missiles. Russia has demonstrated a genuine disregard for Israel’s well-being since its rebirth as a nation in 1948.  It is probably for these reasons that the Lord puts hooks in Russia’s Jaws to turn its attention toward Israel great prosperity.

Ezekiel 38:16 – 39:6 evidences that the Lord will personally, and divinely, make a humiliating spectacle of Russia for all of its antagonism toward Israel. Ezekiel 39:7 informs that the Lord chooses the occasion to put the nations of the world on official notice that He is the covenant keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!

It’s questionable as to whether Gog, the Russian leader, knows about Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 beforehand. If he does, he obviously puts no stock in those prophecies. Being either unaware of, or giving no credence to these prophecies, he allows his greed and quest for power get the best of him.

We know you’re heavily in demand right with your new book and we can’t thank you enough for spending some time with us and our readers. Can you give us your web site and tell us about your upcoming engagements and how people can get in touch with you?

It’s been an honor and privilege to participate in this interview. I really appreciate your website and ministry. I can be reached through my website at www.prophecydepot.com


i Strongs Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries
ii World army rankings gathered from the Internet on 2/24/12 at this link: http://www.globalfirepower.com/