Sunday, May 5, 2013

Approaching Doomsday?

The burden against Damascus. "Behold, Damascus will cease from [being] a city, And it will be a ruinous heap.  Isaiah 17:1  NKJV
This past week has seen a significant escalation of tensions between Israel and her neighbor to the north, Syria.  Most are aware of the ongoing civil war in Syria and the attempts to overthrow the current regime of Bashar Assad who is actively supported by Iran and Russia.  To many it seemed inevitable that the violence would somehow produce the result of Israel becoming involved in some way. 

As the situation progressed, Syria’s possession of biological weapons of mass destruction, and their willingness to use them, became the major concern of not just the surrounding nations, but the world as well.  The reality of the region is, however, that if those weapons were to fall into the wrong hands the possibility of their use against the state of Israel is a foregone conclusion. 

This week we have seen that Israel certainly believes this as they have made the decision to use their air force to attack targets inside of Syria which concern not only their chemical weapons, but the distribution of those weapons to forces hostile to the state of Israel.  As a result, the rhetoric from the Syrian regime took an ominous turn this morning with the statement from their Deputy Foreign Minister which called the air strikes by Israel’s air force a “declaration of war”.

This past January Israel also mounted an operation against this same facility, however at that time the Syrian regime chose not to respond militarily.  That decision came under heavy fire from many people in the region, especially from the country of Iran which is heavily invested both financially and militarily in support of the Syrian regime.  One cannot help but wonder if the statement from Syria is an indication that this time, under pressure from his supporters, Bashar Assad will chose to respond militarily against Israel.
This eventuality would certainly appear to be on Israel’s mind as they have mobilized troops in the north, called up their reserves, and moved Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to forward positions close to the border.  This situation, and the possibility of military action between Israel and Syria, has many asking the question will this be the conflict which results in the fulfillment of the Isaiah 17 prophecy of the destruction of Damascus.

Those of you who have requested a copy of my book are familiar with my thoughts about this prophecy, and where and when I believe it occurs in relation to the eschatological events surrounding the time of the end which is revealed to us in the Bible.  If not, let me share just a couple of those thoughts with you this morning with the aim of helping you make some sense of not only what is happening, but what the Bible tells us will happen.
The Isaiah prophecy tells us unequivocally that at some point in the future, Damascus will be destroyed and cease to exist as a result of an attack by Israel.  Another passage about this event which we find in the book of Amos sheds even more light on this future event.

Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its [punishment], Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron. But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, Which shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad.  Amos 1:1-2  NKJV
What we are told in this passage is that the destruction of Damascus is in response to a fourth transgression against Israel.  Since Israel became a nation in 1948, Syria has participated in three wars of aggression against them with disastrous results.  This passage from Amos tells us that they must not have learned their lesson very well because they intend, by means not revealed, to attack Israel again.  I believe the important point here, however, is that Israel destroys Damascus as a response to something Syria chooses to do.

Many people are familiar with the “Gog-Magog” prophecy from the book of Ezekiel which details an attempted invasion of Israel by what is described as a coalition of most of the countries which surround Israel today.  Most understand and believe that this is the conflict which produces the appearance and revealing of what the Bible describes as “the man of sin”, or the anti-christ who enforces a covenant of peace between Israel and it’s neighbors.  Many also believe that this event occurs at the beginning of the seven year period of time which the Bible calls the tribulation.

The question that first came to my mind when I began to study this prophecy was why would such a large coalition of nations gather against Israel?  It seems to me, especially if you carefully read and compare the language used in both the Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38, that the destruction of Damascus is the event which produces the excuse for the attempted invasion of Israel.  Logically, if this is true then it follows that the destruction of Damascus occurs before both the Gog-Magog war, and the tribulation period.  My conclusion then is that the destruction of Damascus is the next major prophetic event in Israel’s future.
Only time will tell if this is a correct interpretation of future events but it certainly comes as no surprise to me, considering all of this, that we see the possibility of a major conflict between Syria and Israel unfolding right before our very eyes.  I have included a few links to articles about what is happening right now in the Middle east, and suggest you not only read them, but watch carefully this week to see if the situation cools off, or escalates to a greater degree.

If you are a believer, these events are certainly a sign that we are fast approaching the time of our deliverance from this world.  If you are reading this and have never made the decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and accept the free gift of eternal life He has offered you, I urge you to do so right now. You can do that by praying this prayer and accepting the gift of eternal life God has offered you by the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you for saving me. Amen.
Keep watching.