Ezekiel 38:8 – Israel Dwelling Securely

When Bill Salus proposed in his 2013 book Psalm 83 – The Missing Prophecy Revealed (How Israel Becomes the Next Mideast Superpower!), he started a major controversy among Bible prophecy teachers.  Prior to the ideas set forth in this book, the universal thinking among those who study and expound on Bible prophecy was that the next major conflict in which Israel would engage was Ezekiel’s War, i.e. the War of Gog of Magog explicitly described in Ezekiel 38-39.

The concept of a Psalm 83 War literally upset that apple cart of certainty.  Until this point, it was assumed that Psalm 83 was an imprecatory psalm, i.e. one that invoked judgment or called down calamity upon the enemies of Israel and, if prophetic, had already been fulfilled.  Its fulfillment would have been when God regathered Israel as a nation on May 14, 1948, and from that milestone date, her enemies from the surrounding nations came against the Jewish state to thwart her nationhood.

The problem with the scenario that Psalm 83 no longer applies as a future prophetic event is that Ezekiel’s War does not seem like it can be completely fulfilled unless Psalm 83 occurs first in these current times.  Specifically, there are three key prophetic elements that Ezekiel declares must happen.  Without Psalm 83 occurring prior to the Gog of Magog War, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see how the Ezekiel prophecy can be fully and accurately satisfied.  The Scriptures for these three items are as follows:

Ezekiel 38:8:

“After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them.”

Ezekiel 38:11:

“… and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ … “

Ezekiel 39:11:

“On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog.”

What is the issue?  Let’s examine each of these:

  • now dwell securely, all of them
      • Today, as much as some prophecy teachers want to convince us otherwise, Israel does not live securely in the way that this prophecy specifies and must be accurately fulfilled.
      • Hamas in the Gaza Strip is literally in the midst of Israel and continues to be a threat and a menace by launching fire balloons and missiles at various times.
      • Likewise, Hezbollah in Lebanon immediately to the north has up to 150,000 missiles as Iran’s proxy and continually threatens to start a war.
      • Iran itself is a nuclear threat that declares the Jewish state will someday perish at its hands.
      • This is not a situation in which anyone can reasonably state that Israel dwells securely.
  • dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates
      • Because of the constant attacks coming from Hamas in the Gaza Strip, several years ago Israel erected a 40 kilometer wall (~25 miles in length) surrounding this entire area.  Hamas receives “charitable” funding from many sources and uses those funds to dig escape/attack tunnels into Israel in the hopes of unleashing terror.
      • In the same manner, there is a 131 kilometer wall (~81 miles in length) on the Lebanon border.  Hezbollah often attempts incursion into Israel by digging elaborate tunnels under this wall.
      • The West Bank is fenced off and people traveling into and out of it must pass checkpoints.
      • The same is true for the border with Jordan.
      • These walls are necessary for Israeli security and are proof that this aspect of the prophecy is not yet true.
  • a place for burial in Israel … east of the sea
    • The sea referenced is likely the Dead Sea.
    • When this burial project happens, it is improbable that Israel will want to bury the mass of Gentile bodies on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights.  Some number of these bodies could be contaminated because of nuclear and/or biological weapons exposure.  That is too valuable an area for such defiled, non-Jewish remains.
    • The burial place must be in Israel, but if not in the Golan adjacent to the Sea of Galilee, then it must be on the eastern side of the Dead Sea.
    • The problem with this is that the Jordanian-Israeli border splits the Dead Sea.  Its eastern shore belongs to Jordan, not to Israel.
    • For the logistics to prophetically line up, something must change the border dynamic between Israel and Jordan for Israel to claim the Jordanian area where the burial will occur.

As you can see, the Ezekiel War has certain necessities that must be in place for the prophecy to accurately occur.  It cannot happen under the current circumstances in which Israel finds itself.  However, the situation can change dramatically if we factor in a Psalm 83 War.

Bill Salus proposed that with such a conflict, all the surrounding, hostile, Arab, Muslim nations would come against Israel, just as is laid out in the psalm.  Interestingly, every one of those nations/people groups directly border Israel.  In the Ezekiel confrontation, not a single one of the combatant nations in that prophecy borders Israel.  Without a Psalm 83 War, the questions must be asked: Where are Hamas and Hezbollah?  Why don’t they join with the other nations that come against Israel?  They are significant enough players that surely God would have included them among the Ezekiel conspirators if they were a threat at the time of this war.  Right?

All these issues are resolved under a Psalm 83 War scenario:

  • Likely the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would engage in this encounter (as opposed to Ezekiel where God Himself wields the sword).
  • A complete IDF victory would decimate all the hostile bordering nations (and entities such as Hamas and Hezbollah).
  • Islam would suffer a massive blow, and its god Allah would be shown to be impotent.  It would be step one in the total annihilation of Islam as a threat against Israel.  The second part of that would occur during Ezekiel when Islam would be completely reduced to a religious afterthought.
  • To the victor go the spoils.  Israel would likely have the opportunity and means to greatly expand her borders into Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan.
  • Hamas in the Gaza Strip would be neutralized.
  • Hezbollah’s arsenal and Islamic strength would similarly be annulled.
  • The walls, bars, and gates currently protecting Israel would no longer be necessary.
  • With the increase in land mass and the prowess that Israel displays in cutting off her enemies, she would dwell securely.
  • Because Israel’s land expansion would probably extend into Jordan, she would have access to the area east of the Dead Sea for the upcoming burial project.
  • Iran’s proxies would no longer be able to do its dirty work.  This would set the stage for Iran’s direct involvement against Israel as one the major Ezekiel War combatants

Bible prophecy must be completely, accurately fulfilled.  Whenever we examine such any prophetic statement, it is necessary to see where any issues might preclude that accuracy unless something else takes place.  I believe this is the case with Ezekiel’s War.  Before this incredible victory that God claims for His Name sake, the Psalm 83 War must occur.

Will true believers see either of these conflicts or will God Rapture us out of here prior to them?  Only time will tell.

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