By Bill Salus
The Fructhenbaum / Salus Dialogue
Recently I had the opportunity to interview the highly regarded prophecy expert, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, (pictured here) for Prophecy Update Radio. This important two-part radio interview can be accessed at the bottom of this article.
We talked about several prophetic topics, but of particular interest was our discussion centered upon the timing of Psalm 83. Many of you interested in the Psalm and its timing may find his comments below fascinating.
Knowing that Dr. Fruchtenbaum has a healthy aversion to date setting and newspaper exegesis, I was respectfully careful in our interview not to corner him into pinpointing the exact timing of the fulfillment of the Psalm event. However with that said, I’m very familiar with his general viewpoint regarding the final fulfillment of the prophecy. Arnold and I have bantered back and forth on the event timing on numerous occasions. I believe it is a Pre-Trib event, and Arnold has tended to place the final conclusion of the event into the “Great Tribulation”, which would be the second half of the seven year tribulation period.[i]
Let me give you some background on this friendly decade old timing debate we embarked upon. Please note that his teachings have mentored me throughout most of my Christian walk. I have listened to a majority of his teaching tapes and read his Footsteps of the Messiah and Israelology books with great interest.
Regarding his placement of the Psalm in the Great Tribulation, I first discovered his viewpoint in his Footsteps of the Messiah book, where he clearly places the final fulfillment of the event in the Great Tribulation. At a luncheon together, I seized the opportunity to ask him why he believed this. He opened up his Bible to Obadiah 1:15 and read:
“For the day of Jehovah is near upon all the nations: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee; thy dealing shall return upon thine own head.” (ASV).
He and I both concur this passage alludes to the timing of the fulfillment of Psalm 83; however, where we differ in opinion is that he believes the passage mandates that the event conclusion occurs in the day of Jehovah, and I read the passage as it occurs when the day of the LORD (Jehovah) draws near. The text says; “For the day of Jehovah is near”, which implies that the day of the LORD will occur subsequent to the fulfillment of Obadiah 1:15. We both believe that the day of Jehovah encompasses at least the second three and one-half years of the Tribulation, and quite possibly the entire seven year period. Therefore, I suggest Psalm 83 occurs when the Tribulation period is relatively soon to happen, but not yet come.
A few friendly face to face meetings later, Arnold suggested that I write a book about the subject, which is now published and is called Isralestine, The Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East.[ii] Although he believes we are in “substantial agreement” and Isralestine presents “valid arguments” on the details of the Psalm, he has remained fairly steadfast in his contrasting view of the timing of Psalm 83.
Additionally, since the publishing of Isralestine our interplay has continued on through radio interviews together and volleys of emails back and forth. His general feeling up to the present is that partial fulfillment of Psalm 83 occurred in the wars of 1948 and 1967, however final fulfillment has not yet occurred.
Here is where this article takes an interesting twist. In our most recent radio interview together airing January 15, 2010, Dr. Fruchtenbaum answers several of my semi-pointed questions in a way that suggests he is open to other views of the final timing of Psalm 83. Dr. Fructhenbaum believes the majority of Psalm 83 finds fulfillment before the seven year Tribulation Period occurs, meaning more segments of Psalm 83 may yet occur as Pre-Trib events.
For instance, regarding the destruction of Damascus, he believes that Isaiah 17:1 may be part of Psalm 83 but he is not certain. However, if it is part of Psalm 83 he believes it will be a Pre-Trib event because there is no reference to the Day of the LORD throughout Isaiah 17.
Concerning God’s manner of dealing with the Psalm 83 Arab confederacy, he “definitely” believes, as do I, that the Israeli Defense Forces (I.D.F.) will become divinely empowered to conquer these confederates as per Obadiah 1:18, Ezekiel 25:14, and elsewhere. We both believe that Asaph petitions God for this type of I.D.F. empowerment in Psalm 83:9-11.
Then I asked Arnold a multi-layered question: first, if Israel is dwelling in a condition of peace guaranteed by the false covenant with the Antichrist[iii] in the first half of the tribulation, how could Psalm 83 occur, and second if Israelis are fleeing from the genocidal campaign of the Antichrist in the second half of the Tribulation, likewise, how could Psalm 83 occur? I invite you to hear his specific answers when our timely interview airs on Prophecy Update Radio. For now, his comments can be summarized as follows:
First, the purpose of the false covenant is to guarantee Israel’s military security and, therefore, the I.D.F. will not likely be very active during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation period. Thus when the “Abomination of Desolation”[iv] occurs at the midpoint of the Trib period, the I.D.F. won’t be ready to “tackle it”.
Second, the Jews will be fleeing from the Antichrist rampage during the second three and one-half years of the “Great Tribulation” and thus they won’t likely be stopping in mid-flight to conquer the Psalm 83 confederates.
Therefore, I pointedly asked him, then how can Psalm 83 find final fulfillment during the seven year Tribulation period? He said, “That’s why I believe the majority of Psalm 83 occurs Pre-Trib; before the actual tribulation”.
Wow! So what do you make of that? It sounds like he may be leaning toward a complete fulfillment, or at least a majority fulfillment, of Psalm 83 as a Pre-Trib event. Draw your own conclusions after you hear our exciting Prophecy Update Radio interview in January 15, 2010.
LISTEN NOW TO PART ONE of the Fruchtenbaum / Salus interview.
LISTEN NOW TO PART TWO (this is one of Bill Salus's favorite radio interviews)
Please be patient interview download may take a few minutes.
[i] Footsteps of Messiah Chapter 20, section C, pages 498-499
[ii] Fruchtenbaum invited me to be part of a panel for his filming of his DVD, “Why is God still saving Gentiles” available at http://www.ariel.org/. It was after this filming over refreshments that he suggested that I write Isralestine.
[iii] Daniel 9:27 and Isaiah 28:18,18
[iv] Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, and Mark 13:14