Our world has changed dramatically over the last few decades. It almost seems as if Islam is about to take over the world. Islam is determined to establish a world-wide Islamic caliphate which seems to be a growing possibility. The so-called Arab spring is not about to bring democracy to Islamic nations, Islam despises democracy. Sharia law is the very antithesis of democracy. The Arab spring is simply facilitating the growth of Islamic fundamentalism with its determination to destroy Israel and rule the world.
In order to adapt the idea of a coming Islamic caliphate to scripture, some are predicting that the Antichrist will be a Muslim and Turkey will be the center of his world-wide kingdom. No matter how hard they try, this cannot be harmonized with the clear teaching of scripture.
What does the prophetic Word say about Islam? Does Islam play a part in the end time events?
I believe that the Word of God has something to say about Islam’s involvement in the end times. I believe that this message about Islam is found in the prophecies of the wars of Psalm 83 (Ezekiel 35-36; Isaiah 17) and the war of Ezekiel 38-39.
The War of Psalm 83 (also recorded in Ezekiel 35-36 and Isaiah 17)
The timing of this war is given to us in our text. That timing is related to the very hour in which we are now living. The description and events in Psalm 83 relate to this very time and to no other in all of history. Let us look at the text.
Verse 2, “For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.” This is exactly what is happening in Israel today. The Palestinians, who are the Edomites, hate Israel and are in a rage to remove her from the land.
Verse 3, “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.” Recently the Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria have signed a pact with Iran to destroy Israel. The Palestinians recently broadcast a message on TV to Israel; “Israel, return to Europe and Ethiopia, so that Palestinians can return to Israeli cities such as Akko, Haifa and Jerusalem.” “Israeli’s go to your original home lands; Poland, Germany, Russia and Ethiopia.”
A year ago the leader of Hamas sent a message to the UN. He said, “The land of Palestine belongs to the Arabs from sea to sea, there is no place for Jews in it.” Hamas has also declared, “We are announcing a war against the sons of apes and pigs [the Jews] which will not end until the flag of Islam is raised over Jerusalem.”
Verse 4, “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” The Arabs have repeatedly said, “We will wipe Israel off the map.” Psalm 83 is a commentary on our own day. This situation has never existed before in all of history, when Islam built their mosque on the temple mount, Israel was not present in the land.
The Imams of Islam have recently stated, “The Jews have no claim to the Temple Mount. There has never been a Temple on it, it belongs to Islam.”
Verse 5, “For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee.” Today Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria are being armed to the teeth to destroy Israel. Today Hezbollah has a 10,000 man brigade armed with 40,000 missiles to be fired at Israel. Some of these weapons have a long range, some are capable of carrying heavy payloads and some are equipped to carry chemical and biological warheads.
Syria has a 500,000 man army with the very latest military equipment supplied by Russia. They also have a large number of missiles, some with chemical and biological warheads. Syria has for sometime been trying to build, beg or steal nuclear warheads, with what success no one knows for certain?
Hamas has an arsenal of 10,000 thousand missiles ready to fire at Israel’s heartland.
Ezekiel deals with the same scenario. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places (Temple Mt.) are ours in possession.” (Ezekiel 36:2). Today, the Palestinians (Edomites) are claiming the Temple Mount, and at this point they control what happens there. This is unique that an enemy should be contemporary with Israel in the land and claim the Temple mount as its own and seek to remove Israel from the land. Many have sought to destroy both Israel and the Temple in the past but this situation is unique.
The same pre-war scenario is found in Psalm 83:12, “Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.” This is again unique to our own day.
Who Will be Involved in this War?
We do not have space to labour this point, but those involved are clearly named.
Psalm 83:6-8, “The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot.” This translates into the following; Edom = The Palestinians: The Ishmaelites = The Arabs: Ammon = The Jordanians: The Philistines = Hamas (on the Gaza Strip): Tyre = Hezbollah (in Lebanon): Assur = Syria (a suburb of Damascus): These are the combatants in this war on Israel. This is very same group now preparing to go to war with Israel. This is unique to this very hour.
The war of Ezekiel 38-39 names an entirely different set of combatants. The war of Armageddon involves the entire world. These are three separate and distinct wars. The places, the timing and the people involved are separate and distinct.
Actually these three wars are like concentric circles around Israel. The first group involves those within and those immediately around Israel’s borders. The second group involves a group of nations beyond Israel’s borders; they are named in Ezekiel 38:3-6. The third group (Armageddon) involves the entire world.
We also have the time of each war given to us. The stage is now set for the war of Psalm 83. The war of Ezekiel 38-39 is to take place after the peace treaty is signed by Antichrist. This will be a time when Israel is dwelling in peace, though it is a false peace. (See Ezekiel 38:8,11,14 – 1 Thess. 5:3 – Dan. 8:25). The battle of Armageddon will take place at the very end of the tribulation period when the world is in utter chaos.
There is other scriptural evidence that this war will take place very early in the tribulation period. The burning of the weapons of this war will take seven years, (Ezekiel 39:9). That would require seven years before the millennium begins, placing this war very early in the tribulation period. Note that in the chronology of the kings of Israel any portion of a year that a king served was considered a full year in his reign.
The whole world knows that there is a major war coming in the Mideast. That is one reason the push for the peace treaty has taken on a new urgency for the western nations. Retired US general Paul Valley, a Mideast expert, has made some startling statements. He has said, “A major Mideast war is imminent, this war will drastically change our world forever.” He goes on to warn of possible chemical attack or even possible nuclear attack on Israel.
The Outcome of this Coming War
I believe the outcome of this war will greatly affect the events that will follow it. It will set the stage for events such as the coming of Antichrist and the peace treaty.
Psalm 83:14-17, “As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish,” Our text tells us how this war will end, “let them be put to shame, and perish,” the Palestinians and their allies will be totally routed in this war.
When this war is over the Palestinians will be so humiliated and defeated they will drop any claims to the land of Israel.
Obadiah comments on the outcome of this war, “And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it,” (Obadiah 18).
Isaiah 17:13 also tells us the same thing, “The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.”
Ezekiel tells the same story, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.” (Ezekiel 36:5). God’s anger will be kindled against the Palestinians, Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria. They will be totally decimated in this war and the world will be left in a state of shock.
The Plan of God
In the whole end time scenario God is at work to glorify Himself in the eyes of Israel, in the eyes of the gentile nations and in the eyes of Islam.
In Ezekiel 36:23 we see God glorified in the eyes of the heathen nations, “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” The same Israel that has dishonoured the name of God will be used by God to glorify that name, not only in Israel but in the eyes of the whole world.
Let me give just a few quotes from Ezekiel to demonstrate this purpose of God in the wars that yet lie ahead. “And they shall know I am the Lord,” stated twice. “And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel.” “That the heathen may know me.” “And they shall know that I am the Lord.”
I believe God’s intervention in this war recorded in Psalm 83 (prior to the Tribulation period) and the war of Ezekiel 38-39, which would appear to follow it by a matter of months, (early in the tribulation period) will be a springboard for the salvation of multitudes in the tribulation period.
In this war the Muslim army that attacks Israel will be totally decimated. In the war of Ezekiel 38-39, five of every six Russians and Muslims that come against Israel will die. When God has finished dealing with Islam in these two wars it will dawn upon the hearts of multitudes of Muslims that Allah is not the sovereign Lord of the universe. They will instead realize that Jehovah, the God of Israel is the only true God.
We read about a great multitude being saved and martyred in the tribulation period. We see them in heaven during the tribulation period. Revelation 7:9, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” John reveals to us who these people are and where they came from. We discover that they are those saved and martyred during the tribulation period. Verse 13-14, “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Today it seems at times as if Islam is about to stand Bible prophecy on its head with its own agenda, not so. God has a program and it is recorded in His Word.
In the three wars that Israel has already fought since 1948 God has been seeking to draw Israel to himself. In each war Israel had no hope of survival; they should have been wiped out. God intervened in an obvious and miraculous way. The Lord was saying to Israel by His actions, “Israel I love you, if you will believe me and obey me and trust me I will bless and protect you.” Israel has not responded in faith and obedience.
I believe the scriptures reveal three more wars yet to come in which the God of Israel will continue to work to draw Israel back to himself. I believe that those coming wars will increase in intensity and ferocity with hand of God directly involved to arrest a rebellious world. Some will be arrested, like Paul on the road to Damascus. Multitudes will harden their hearts and be hardened by God in response. They will be consumed in the judgment of God.
Question - Will the rapture take place before this coming war? Answer – We do not know. The rapture is a sign-less event, though it is imminent, we do not know when it will take place. We only know that it will take place prior to the start of the tribulation period. We know that the seven year tribulation period begins with the signing of the seven year peace treaty, (Daniel 9:26-27).
The Aftermath of the War of Psalm 83
The picture is painted in the scriptures we have already quoted. The Palestinians, with Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria will be decimated by the hand of God through Israel. Israel will also suffer losses. The severity of the war will shock the world. The use of chemical and biological weapons and possibly even nuclear weapons will trouble the nations. The fear of the spread of war will grip the world, and not just the fear of war but the fear of nuclear war. The world is already on the edge of an economic collapse; such a war, along with the interruption of oil supplies would likely bring economic chaos to the whole world.
The stage will be set for two prophetic events
First – The coming of Antichrist - The world will be filled with unprecedented fear and turmoil. The nations and the people will cry out for a solution, they will be ready for a man to rescue them. Antichrist will come suddenly on the scene as a man of peace. We read about that in Revelation 6:2, “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”
Paul also describes the same event in 2 Thess. 2:9-10, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” The coming of Antichrist will be based on great deception, Jesus also taught us about it in Matthew 24.
This great deception will come on the world from Satan and also from God Himself, verse 11, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”
Second – The peace treaty – At God’s appointed time the Antichrist, who will be Roman (see Daniel 9:26-27) will appear on the world stage as a man who can bring peace and solve the world’s problems.
The Palestinians and their allies will be nullified as a factor in the land. They and their allies will be ready to sue for peace at any price. The peace treaty will give Israel the whole land and the Temple Mount on which to build the third Temple. Euphoria will sweep over the entire world the, world will experience unprecedented unity. Even the religions of the world will be caught up in this world wide unity and come together as one.
Antichrist will deceive Islam into believing that he is their Islamic saviour, the Mahdi. He will deceive Israel into believing that he is the Messiah who will bring them peace. He will also deceive Christendom into believing that he is none other than Christ. How could such deception be possible? Remember 2 Thess. 2:11, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Those who have hardened their hearts to the truth will have their hearts hardened by the God of truth.
The War of Ezekiel 38-39
It would seem that within a few months of these events the wider Muslim world will realize that they have been deceived. They still have demonic motivation to destroy Israel. They will mobilize under Russia’s leadership to destroy Israel, (see Ezekiel 38:2-4 ff).
The lessons of the war of Psalm 83 will be repeated on a larger more dramatic scale.
We see the purpose of God for the tribulation unfolding in the aftermath of Ezekiel’s war. “And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword.” (Ezekiel 39:21-23).
God is a God of mercy and grace. Mercy and grace always precede God’s judgment. Habakkuk said, “In wrath remember mercy.” Peter said that God is, “not willing that any should perish.” Hence at the very beginning of the awful tribulation period judgments, God seeks to arrest a rebellious world through a demonstration of His power and glory in judgment on Russia and the Islamic nations. “Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 38:23).
Some say because of Israel’s unbelief God is finished with Israel and He has nothing in this world and in the future for Israel. Why does God continue to seek to bless Israel? Why doesn’t God cast them off? The answer is given by God Himself, “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.” (Ezekiel 36:22).
Israel’s primary problem is not with the Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. It is not primarily with Obama or the Muslim world. Israel’s primary problem is with the God of Israel. Israel is still walking in disobedience and unbelief toward God and is still rejecting her Messiah. God is at work today with Israel to remove the blindness and unbelief. Through God’s dealing with Israel multitudes of gentiles will be saved.
To those to whom prophetic revelation has been given a new responsibility that goes with it, “To whom much is given much is required.” Are you ready for the trumpet to sound or will you be ashamed at His coming? My unsaved friend, are you ready for the trumpet to sound or will you be left behind to face the judgment of God?