Unfortunately, as we discussed last week, the protests against Israel today did in fact turn violent. As their borders were breached, Israel responded by firing their weapons in an attempt to repel those who were illegally trying to cross their borders. Although Lebanese and Syrian troops were present, they did nothing to halt the protesters from trying to cross the border. Something that I'm sure will be overlooked by those who will rush to condemn Israel is the fact that no one was killed as a result of the actions by the IDF because they took great care not to shoot to kill.
The fact that the most violent and provocative demonstrations came from the border with Syria is of no surprise at all considering the situation that exists in that country today. The fact that the government is under attack by popular protests has resulted in a situation where the rulers wish to divert the attention they are receiving for the killing of their own citizens by creating a conflict with Israel. Most understand as well that the hand of Iran is firmly on Syrian president Assad's shoulder in respect to giving him advice on his relationship with Israel.
This situation is fluid and ongoing, and I believe much more will occur in the next few days leading up to President Obama's speech Friday on the situation in the Middle East, and Israel Prime Minister Netanahu's speech to the joint Houses of Congress which will take place on Tuesday, May 24th. All things considered, it is not surprising that many wonder if we are seeing the beginnings of what will eventually result in the fulfillment of the Isaiah 17 prophecy concerning the destruction of Damascus. I believe it is too soon to tell, but the past has certainly shown us how volatile the situation in the Middle East is, and how swiftly things can occur. In light of this, I thought I would post today an excerpt from my book on this prophecy that you might find useful to better understand the situation which exists between Israel and Syria today.
Agreements with Syria, however, have not come as easily. As a result of diplomatic efforts by the United States, Syria and Israel agreed to an "Agreement of Disengagement" between their two armies, and established a "buffer zone" between the two countries that would be monitored by U.N. forces. This agreement should not be confused with a peace agreement, because Syria still feels that the Golan belongs to them, and it has remained a point of contention between the two countries to the present time. As such, it would not be a stretch to consider that this may be the point of contention that is used for the prophesied "fourth transgression" of Syria that is predicted in the Bible. In the book of Isaiah we read;
The burden against Damascus. "Behold, Damascus will cease from [being] a city, And it will be a ruinous heap.
Isaiah 17:1 NKJV
What this prophecy tells us is that one day Damascus, the capitol of Syria, will be completely destroyed. Several points are made in this passage that bear examination and consideration, for it appears God goes to great lengths to not only describe what happens, but the events that surround the incident and quite possibly the reasons for it happening. In the book of Amos we also read:
Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its [punishment],
Amos 1:3 NKJV
Here we find God specifically says that Damascus is destroyed because of a fourth transgression against Israel. The word for transgression in Hebrew is "pesha", which can be translated "trespass". Since Syria has invaded Israel in three wars of aggression, is it possible God is telling us that they will be destroyed when they try it a fourth time? Another point to consider is that if you carefully examine both the Isaiah and Amos passages, it appears that God is telling us that the destruction of Damascus is a "response" to a Syrian aggression! Does Syria believe that it has learned enough from three defeats that it believes it can now win another conflict with Israel? Or is it possible that they believe they have the technology to win with a "first strike" that will prevent Israel from responding?
Another point to consider is that in a war of this magnitude, you must have some point of justification or "casus belli" that will carry weight in the eyes of the world, or you run the risk of alienating yourself, and more than likely inviting some sort of response such as sanctions, economic and political isolation, or possibly a military intervention. We have seen in the last three wars against Israel that no single country has ever acted alone, but always part of a coalition of Arab states, so I find it curious that in this scenario it appears that Syria acts alone. Does this mean that possibly there is no support from the other Arab states for the aggression described in Isaiah, or might it be an unplanned, impulsive strike by Syria?
One point that definitely needs to be considered is the well known Ezekiel prophecy of the "Gog-Magog" war. A very important fact in this prophecy is that although Magog is the aggressor, Persia, listed second, is the provocateur. Ancient Persia, modern day Iran, is even now positioning itself to act in that very role as its president frequently and consistently rants about Israel and the necessity to destroy it. His comments have outraged the world community, yet he continues to insist that Israel has no right to exist, and should be blotted from the face of the earth. Is it possible that Syria is told to attack by Iran? Syria certainly owes Iran for much of what it has, as well as for the support it has received from Iran over the years.
It is a well documented fact that there are a great many Iranian military "advisors" in Syria today working with their Syrian counterparts, sharing technology, military hardware, and instructing them on how to use the weapons they have. Both Iran and Syria have traditional land forces, consisting of troops, armor, and air forces, but it needs to be said that the technology of choice in the past few years has been the production of missiles. Both countries have been almost feverishly trying to acquire the technology to expand the range of the missiles they have in order to become an even greater threat to an ever increasing number of countries, especially Israel.
When you consider the threat of missiles, however, you can easily come to the conclusion that they are only as dangerous as the payload they carry. This then, is the question that Israel and the world have to consider. Unfortunately, although these missiles can carry conventional warheads, intelligence suggests that both Iran and Syria have modified them to be able to carry non-conventional warheads, otherwise known as weapons of mass destruction or WMD's.
The term "weapons of mass destruction" reportedly was first used by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Christmas message in 1937, and has come to describe weapons which can kill very large numbers of people. Today, the term is used primarily to describe nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons. There is no question that Iran and Syria have both biological and chemical warheads, for there is evidence that both have used them. The fear now is that neither is content with those capabilities, as intelligence has shown they are pursuing both nuclear and radiological capabilities as well.
Now the thought of using these sorts of weapons may be naturally abhorrent to most people, and I'm sure many would take the position that no country would ever think of using them. That being the case, of particular importance then would be a report that recently became news concerning these two countries. On September 17, 2007, Jane's Defense Weekly reported that an explosion in Syria which occurred on July 23 was in fact, the accidental detonation of a chemical warhead that a joint Syrian and Iranian team was attempting to mount on a Scud missile. It was reported that 15 Syrian officers and "dozens" of Iranian engineers were killed in the accident. Considering the effective range of a Scud type missile, the only country within striking distance that Syria considers an enemy is Israel. Is it possible that a plan is in the works for Syria to attack Israel with chemical weapons?
Most people are familiar with the belief that Iran is pursuing nuclear technology for the purpose of building a nuclear weapon, and the declared intention by either Israel or the United States to attack them in order to put a stop to it. Could this accident be a sign of Iran's intention to respond to an attack on its own nuclear facilities by using Syria by proxy to launch a WMD towards Israel? In the summer of 2006, the terrorist organization Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, began a conflict with Israel by launching missiles on the northern cities in Israel while attacking an Israeli patrol on the Israel side of the border. Three Israeli soldiers were killed, two were wounded, and two were kidnapped and taken back across the border into Lebanon. Israel responded with a massive attack on suspected Hezbollah strongholds inside of Lebanon, and the result has come to be known as the 2006 Lebanon War. During the month long conflict Hezbollah forces launched approximately 4000 rockets into northern Israel. Despite this massive number, only 43 Israeli civilians were killed by these rocket attacks, thanks in no small part to the early warning systems and bomb shelters that are so prevalent in Israel.
But one has to wonder how the results, or lack of them, to these types of missile attacks will affect the philosophy of Israel’s' enemies in future wars? Is it possible that Iran and Syria have decided the best course of action is to use chemical warheads in order to overcome the defenses of Israel and cause the most damage to the population? One of the unfortunate results of using a Scud type missile is that it is not a precise or guided missile. You can launch it towards a particular target, but you have no precise control over where it will land. Will Israel’s' enemies target military installations, or will they be content to strike the civilian populations in Israel’s' major cities? More importantly, are they using Israel’s' response in the Lebanon war to predict a response to their next attack? If so, they may just be making the biggest miscalculation of recent history. If they decide to use a weapon of mass destruction against the nation of Israel, what would the response be? I am willing to suggest that Isaiah 17 tells us exactly how Israel is going to respond.
I have also added a few links to articles about what has occurred today in Israel and hope they might also shed some light about what is not only going on, but the thoughts of others in regards to the relationship that exists between the countries involved.