In Part 10 of this series, we started taking an in depth look at how the end time wars would unfold. The Old Testament has given us intricate detail of what is still to come. Because we are the generation that is going to witness these events coming to pass, it is important to understand what the Word of God has to say about these things.
We will now take a look at Isaiah 34:1-6 in the NKJV:
Come near, you nations, to hear; and heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world and all things that come forth from it. For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made overflowing with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
As we find in many scriptures, this prophecy is layered and covers more than one event. For the most part, this refers to the “Day of the LORD”, which is the Great Tribulation. This is easy to determine by the statements of judgment against all nations and their armies.
We find Isaiah 34:5-6 referring to Edom. Here Isaiah confirms again that Edom is due for a great slaughter, and it will be enforced by the God of heaven, the God of the Israelites, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It will come to pass, and very, very soon. It is important to keep in mind that there are actually two devastating judgments coming to Edom. The first with the complete destruction when the Israeli military defeats Edom. The second, however, is even more devastating and far-reaching. This event happens at the return of the Messiah Jesus Himself when He comes to rescue His faithful elect at Petra, or Bosrah. At the rescue, the enemies are totally annihilated. This event will be covered in another article dealing with the subject of Armageddon.
In order to understand the request of Asaph in Psalm 83, there is very important and fascinating Scripture we need to look at found in Jeremiah 49. This Old Testament chapter is loaded with prophecy covering several very important events still to come. In verses 1-27 we find many explanations for Asaph’s prayerful request in Psalms 83. Let’s read what God had Jeremiah write so many centuries ago about what is unfolding before our eyes today. It is a lengthy passage, but please take the time to read how detailed God was in His touching on future world events.
Against the Ammonites. Thus says the LORD: “Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then does Milcom inherit Gad, and his people dwell in its cities? 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; 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.
“Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is plundered! Cry, you daughters of Rabbah, Gird yourselves with sackcloth! Lament and run to and fro by the walls; For Milcom shall go into captivity with his priests and his princes together. Why do you boast in the valleys, your flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? Who trusted in her treasures, saying, ‘Who will come against me?’ Behold, I will bring fear upon you,” Says the LORD GOD of hosts, “From all those who are around you; You shall be driven out, everyone headlong, And no one will gather those who wander off. But afterward I will bring back the captives of the people of Ammon,” says the LORD.
Against Edom. Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished? Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan! For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I will punish him. If grape-gatherers came to you, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? If thieves by night, would they not destroy until they have enough? But I have made Esau bare; I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hid himself. His descendants are plundered, his brethren and his neighbors, and he is no more. leave your fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let your widows trust Me.”
For thus says the LORD: “Behold, those whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunk. And are you the one who will altogether go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you shall surely drink of it. For I have sworn by Myself,” says the LORD, “that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse. And all its cities shall be perpetual wastes.”
I have heard a message from the LORD, and an ambassador has been sent to the nations: Gather together, come against her, and rise up to battle! For indeed, I will make you small among nations, Despised among men. Your fiercemness has deceived you, The pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there,” says the LORD.
“Edom also shall be an astonishment; Everyone who goes by it will be astonished and will hiss at all its plagues. As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors,” says the LORD, “No one shall remain there, nor shall a son of man dwell in it. “Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the floodplain of the HJordan against the dwelling place of the strong; but I will suddenly make him run away from her. And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? For who is like Me? who will arraign Me? And who is that shepherd who will withstand Me?”
Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD that He has taken against Edom, and His purposes that He has proposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out; Surely He shall make their dwelling places desolate with them. The earth shakes at the noise of their fall; At the cry its noise is heard at the Red Sea. Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah; The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.
This is a long passage but gives us much detail. We find a question being asked in verse 1: “Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then does Milcom inherit Gad, and his people dwell in its cities? Milcom is the same as Melcom, Malcham (Zephaniah 1:5), and Molech. This is also the same deity claimed by the Moabites by the name of Chemosh. What Jeremiah is questioning is why Israel is not in possession of their own land in these locations that are presently part of Jordan. In verses 2-6 we find God telling us that Israel will take this territory back forcefully. This is an event which had not yet happened in Jeremiah’s time. Instead, it will be part of the major regional war about to begin in the Middle East.
Verse 7 presents us with some notable questions. God, through the prophet Jeremiah, asks these questions:
- “Is wisdom no more in Teman?”
- “Has counsel perished from the prudent?”
- “Has their wisdom vanished?”
These questions have a sarcastic sound to them. In my venacular, it would be something like this: “Do you have any idea what you’re doing? Have you lost your senses? Do you realize the storm you’re inviting?” As mentioned earlier, Teman was the name of one of Esau’s grandsons, and considered a duke of the Edomites. God, in effect, is warning the Edomites (or Tents of Edom)–the Palestinians, of what is coming. They are going to have a disastrous reversal of their fortunes.
In verse 8, God warns Dedan (Saudi Arabia) to stay out of it. God is telling them that if they persist in participating with this confederation, they will be devastated along with the descendants of Esau. But, as we know, Saudi Arabia will not listen to the warning and will be badly defeated along with the Palestinians.
Verse 10 tells us that all of Esau’s descendants and neighbors will be plundered when this war happens. As far as God is concerned, it is as good as done already and He is making sure everyone is warned, especially those who would dare to take part in this attempt to wipe His people, Israel, out. God will not allow it! Throughout these passages we find God putting His personal stamp on what has been said by declaring several times, “Thus says the LORD!”
Verse 11 mentions the many widows and children that will be left as a result. The men will be killed because they dare to attack Abraham’s descendants in this war, but God reaches out to the widows and fatherless and promises to preserve them alive. He encourages them to trust in Him.
I find it interesting how verse 12 is worded. It indicates in the first part of the verse that there are those that have had to drink of a cup of judgment that was not theirs to drink. This could refer to many innocents that have gone through things that they didn’t deserve. This passage could also refer to the fact that the enemies of Israel have heaped judgment on them that were beyond God’s judgment. The verse goes on to say that Israel’s enemies might think that they won’t have to drink of the same cup of judgment, but God says differently. God says here that they will surely drink of that same cup. In verse 13 God says that He has sworn by Himself that Bozrah (located in Southern Jordan) would be devastated, become a reproach, a waste, and a curse. It goes on to say that all of its cities would be perpetual wastes.
(Since this area is predicted to be totally destroyed in an even greater devastation at the end of the Great Tribulation, I suspect the area is sacked to make way for those that flee Jerusalem when the city is compassed about by the armies of its enemies in the latter part of the Tribulation. Petra will be the location where these people are kept safe and cared for until Jesus Himself returns to rescue them.)
Verse 14 repeats what other Old Testament prophets point out, and that is that an ambassador has gone out to bring this federation against the land of Israel in the last days.
In verses 15-19 we find the Almighty describing how the Edomites or Palestinians have been made to be small and weak among the nations. This has already happened. Palestinianism today has convinced many that the world has put them in a special place–and the United Nations today is playing this hand, but it is a facade. The Palestinian people are being kept riled up, while at the same time, for the most part, not being allowed to assimilate into the nations where they have set up their tent cities. The Arab enemies of Israel are using them for their own agendas, not really for the Palestinian people benefit.
God makes it clear that their own fierceness has deceived them. Nothing less than a great destruction is coming, and it will be accomplished with God’s hand behind the Israeli military forces, as is made clear in Ezekiel 25:14. It does not matter whether the “Edomites” hide up in the clefts of the rocks thousands of feet in elevation over the plain. God has spoken and what He has declared will surely happen. It is a fascinating thing for those of us in our generation to be watching these events being set up to unfold before our very eyes!
In verses 20-21 we find the prophet’s command to hear the counsel of the LORD. What He has decreed against Edom will happen. Once again, so that no one mistakes who he is speaking about, he mentions Teman, the grandson of Esau. God, through the prophet Jeremiah says the sacking of Edom and its allies, all nine of them, will be so complete that it will catch everyone’s attention. The cry will be heard clear to the Red Sea. The destruction in the end will be so complete, it will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems that this declaration is inclusive of both the defeat at the hands of the Israeli military and finally by Jesus the Messiah Himself at His second coming.
As this passage in Jeremiah continues, it deals with Damascus and, finally in the last part of the chapter, with ancient Elam. We will take a look at these prophecies in the next portion of this series on the Apocalyptic Red Horse and Rider.
I would like to conclude this portion of the study by looking at some prophetic statements recorded by the prophet Zephaniah in the second chapter of his Old Testament book. It reads like this:
Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable (shameless) nation, before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the LORD’s anger comes upon you! Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger. (verses 1-3 NKJV)
I have read and reread the second chapter of Zephaniah many times. It is full of prophecy that is about to unfold in our generation. Zephaniah joins other prophets in giving pertinent details about the nation of Israel in the last days. He goes into considerable detail, not only with the major Mideast war which is about to erupt in our time, very possibly here at the end of 2014 or in 2015, but also the Gog / Magog war described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Zephaniah describes Israel’s fortunes restored, including an expansion of their land holdings–which God had promised to Abraham’s descendants to begin with–as well as a great deal of booty. It appears from Old Testament prophecies that Islam will be humilitated badly two times within a very short period of time. The first will be through the Psalms 83 / Obadiah war that we have been studying. The second will be through the overwhelming defeat of Russia and its allies in the Gog / Magog conflict where 85% of Israel’s enemies will fall in the mountains of Israel. The study of this war is still ahead in this series of articles.
I believe Zephaniah and Obadiah both give us a good indication of the timing of the conflict we have called the Psalms 83 / Obadiah war. The early verses of the chapter begin with his admonition to be aware and seek the LORD before“
“… the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! Zephaniah goes on to say, “Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility.”
I believe this puts the events of this chapter in a time slot. The “decree” could be the infamous peace agreement with the Antichrist the Jewish nation will make, or more likely, this is speaking of the decree for the beginning of the Great Tribulation itself to begin. I believe it is the latter because it speaks strongly of the wrath and anger of the LORD being poured out. Both events however are intricately tied in their timing because they are nearly simultaneous in their unfolding. Zephaniah also refers to “the day” passing. This reminds me of a statement made by Jesus in which he urged His followers to work while there is still “day”, for night will come when no man can work. I believe this is what Zephaniah refers to.
Zephaniah goes on to make this statement: “…It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger.” I find this to be a very encouraging statement. Scripture makes it clear that the Great Tribulation will be the worst time in the history of mankind, including the great flood in Noah’s day. Think about that for a moment! The Bible always means exactly what it says! I would like to be “hidden” during that time. Would you? This reminds me of the promise given to the Church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:10-13:
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the Name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and I will write on him My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
There are many who teach that there is no such event as the “Rapture”. One argument used is because the word is not found in the English Bible. It is however in the Greek Bible and also in the Latin. There are many Biblical passages referring to this wonderful event, but that is the topic of another article. It is however a promise of God to the “overcomer”. The Holy Spirit through the prophet Zephaniah is warning us that we need to recognize the times and seasons and be properly prepared for the call HOME which we are going to be receiving. One historical marker will be the outbreak of this war between Israel and its border enemies, the tents of Edom and their nine allies.
The prophet Obadiah gives this war the same time slot Zephaniah does. In verse 15-16, after describing the sins of the Edomites, he says this:
“For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head. For as you drank on My holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; Yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been.” (NKJV)
He makes it clear that this event is just prior to the “Day of the LORD”, which we know is ”The Great Tribulation”, or “The 70th week of Daniel”. We are standing at the most unique point in history. We are able to look back and read history that is about to unfold now, centuries later! The account in Scripture has been proven flawless, regardless of man’s attempts to taint its message or its accuracy. As time passes, science will find itself having to bow willingly or unwillingly before the feet of the One who authored the Book. He is the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He has the last word!
Psalm 76:7-9 speaks to this:
You, Yourself, are to be feared; and who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry? You caused judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared and was still, when God arose to judgment, to deliver all the oppressed of the earth.” (NKJV)
Psalm 37: 7-11 adds to the thought:
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret–it only causes harm. for evil-doers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
To be continued, as we look into the coming utter destruction of Damascus, ancient Elam, and the battle of Gog and Magog in our continuing “Suddenly!” series, and “The Apocalyptic Red Horse and Rider”.