The 83rd Psalm seems to speak of a battle between Israel and a confederation of its Old Testament time bordering neighbors. The nations spoken of in the psalm no longer exist, but of course those areas are currently occupied by Arab nations which are all enemies of Israel. The battle of Gog/Magog spoken of in Ezekiel 38 and 39 lists Old Testament nations who no longer exist as well, but it is generally understood that the nations which do exist in those geographical regions will make alliances for the invasion that will fulfill that prophecy. We are seeing the beginnings of that alliance form right now, with Turkey and Russia forming a pact together with Iran, an unprecedented historical friendship. It is fascinating to watch the stage being set for that prophecy in today’s headlines!
Should Psalm 83 also be referring to a forthcoming prophetic battle, it will likely shape up in much the same manner. The nations spoken of in this chapter of the Bible were all immediate surrounding border kingdoms, all of whom Israel did fight battles and wars with at one time or another. But they never all formed an alliance as written in Psalm 83:4-8, or at least that has never been reported in the scriptures or in the history books. Therefore one may expect a confederacy of these nations to form if one is looking for this battle as a pending end-times event.
You could make an argument that this prophecy was fulfilled in one (or all) of the 20th century wars that Israel has fought since officially becoming a nation state again. However Tyre, one of the nations listed in the psalm, was located in Lebanon – and they did not participate as an ally in the 1967 war or the 1973 war. Neither did Iraq, which is where Assyria was located, also mentioned in the psalm as part of the confederacy. However both Lebanon and Iraq were involved in open hostilities against Israel in their war of independence in 1947-48, as was pretty much every surrounding Arab nation. So a decent argument can be made that if this psalm portrayed an end-times prophetic war, it was fulfilled in 1948.
Also, many Bible commenters simply assume that this confederacy did take place in Old Testament times, either literally or figuratively (most likely literally). Just because no writings about it have survived into scripture or secular history doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. In this case Psalm 83 would be the actual only written record of it, and not a very complete one at that.
Researching this on the internet is interesting. The folks that believe Psalm 83 is an unfulfilled, pending end-times battle have some excellent points. It actually helps clear the way for other prophecies, or to put it another way, helps tie it all together neatly. Basically this battle is expected to happen first, as the inner circle invasion, as they put it, since the confederacy is made up of all border-neighbors. Israel wipes them all out and that then creates the condition of un-walled villages, living in peace and not expecting another invasion, which is the state they are in when the outer circle invasion of Ezekiel 38-39 begins. It also would likely fulfill Isaiah 17:1, which mentions the ultimate destruction of Damascus, a thriving ancient city that has never been destroyed.
Reading the psalm however, I don’t see where it is necessary that Israel actually wins a decisive victory in this battle. It is essentially a prayer for help from God in winning the battle. It doesn’t talk about the outcome. But since we know that nobody ever wipes out Israel in the end times, as they are still in existence when God defeats the outer circle invasion, and in fact are still there all through end time events, it is a reasonable assumption that God answers that prayer in a positive manner.
What about the rapture? That can happen at any time. In fact the 7-year tribulation period does not necessarily have to start immediately after the rapture either. The tribulation will likely start with some significant event, to be sure – but that could be the unveiling of the anti-christ, the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, or even the battle of Psalm 83. This in fact would help further tie together everything neatly, being as the weapons left over from the Gog/Magog battle are burned for fuel for 7 years afterward, and it is an impractical notion that this would be something which carries into the millennial rein of Christ. If that battle takes place prior to the final 7-year countdown kicking off, it makes everything work well.