With U.S. warships looming offshore, reports of chemical weapons and saber-rattling from Iran about the coming of Armageddon, the nation of Syria and its capital, Damascus, are at the epicenter of what some suggest may become a prophesied battle of biblical proportions.
“Many students of the Word of God see a major alignment of ancient prophecies regarding the end times being fulfilled right before our eyes,” asserts Carl Gallups, pastor, radio host and author of “The Magic Man in the Sky: Effectively Defending the Christian Faith.” “More importantly, we are the first generation in history to see such dramatic and striking alignments.”
Gallups points to the biblical passage of Psalm 83 – which tells of the nations surrounding Israel conspiring against it – and especially to Isaiah 17, which tells of a day when Damascus, often cited as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, will be utterly destroyed.
“Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap,” states the ancient prophet Isaiah. “The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.”
“I also want to note,” adds author of “The 9/11 Prophecy,” James F. Fitzgerald, “that the prophecy of the destruction of Damascus in Isaiah 17 is directly connected in its context to the fall of Ephraim and the Northern Kingdom of Israel as Isaiah previously warned in chapter 9:10. That is the same prophecy messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn has written about in ‘The Harbinger’ and in ‘The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment’ documentary, where he’s applied the specific pattern of judgment there to the remarkable events that have transpired here in America after 9/11.”
Certainly, Damascus has become the center of international attention and fears of war.
As WND has reported, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has publicly made the case for an American strike on Syria over the nation’s alleged use of chemical weapons on rebel forces among its own people, even as U.S. warships loom offshore.
Meanwhile, Syria ally Iran has threatened to launch “thousands of missiles” on Israel if President Obama follows through on the proposed attack, and Iran’s politicians have claimed the conflict could prompt “the end of times and the coming of the last Islamic messiah,” including an Armageddon-like battle for worldwide Islamic governance.
The result is an international powder keg that could easily explode beyond Syria’s borders, and President Obama is holding the match.
“The ancient Hebrew prophecy contained in Isaiah 17 is presently poised to find final fulfillment, and it could easily be provoked by a poorly calculated political move by America,” claims Bill Salus, author of “Psalm 83: The Missing Prophecy Revealed.” “Current contemplations of the Obama administration to strategically strike Syria to punish the Assad regime for using chemical weapons on his Syrian countrymen could be the spark that sets the entire Mideast ablaze. President Assad has threatened to attack Tel Aviv on several occasions during the Syrian revolution, and his latest threats have prompted Israelis to scramble for gas masks.
“In tandem a prophecy in Psalm 83 predicts that a climactic concluding Arab-Israeli war is coming, and Syria and Israel are listed among the participants,” Salus told WND. “It is reasonable to presume that we are living in the days of Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83, and that a single U.S. missile landing anywhere in Syria could provoke the ‘Mother of All Mideast Wars’ that is predicted in the Scriptures!”
Fitzgerald explains there may indeed be something greater than politics pushing Obama’s current actions.
“We have no vital national interest to be served in Syria by involving ourselves in their civil war,” Fitzgerald told WND, “except to see that Syria doesn’t fall into the hands of al-Qaida and the radical Islamists. Yet it seems the Obama administration is now planning to take sides in this internal struggle with the rebels that include terrorists like al-Qaida, and they’re doing so even with the help of Republicans like John McCain and Lindsay Graham.
“But if we’re being pulled into this war, against our own vital national interests, it’s because we have a ‘hook in our mouth’ that is drawing us to further national judgment,” he continued. “As I spell out in my book with lots of evidence, post-9/11 America is a nation under judgment. In that regard, I show exactly how the next major end-time prophecy to do with our nation is the imminent coming of World War III. That war will reduce us once and for all from our superpower status – as we know must happen from the book of Revelation. That’s why there is no doubt in my mind that getting involved in Syria’s civil war – even in the face of Russia’s strong warnings – is going to contribute to the future coming of a world war with Russia and Iran.”
But could these events really be the foretold culmination of biblical prophecy?
It appears the jury is still out on definitively saying yes.
“With all of the chaos in Syria continually growing more and more unstable, it is certainly understandable that many students of Scripture are looking to Isaiah 17 and asking if its fulfillment could be imminent,” states Joel Richardson, author of “Mideast Beast” and “The Islamic Antichrist”, in a WND commentary.
But Richardson warns some are trying too hard to make the events line up, like predicting Israel will use a nuclear bomb to fulfill Isaiah 17′s destruction of Damascus.
“For those sensationalists who are predisposed to believe that Israel is about to hit Damascus with a nuclear bomb,” Richardson writes, “the question must be asked: How wise would it be to drop a nuclear bomb on a city that lies less than 50 miles from your own border?”
Richardson asserts the context of Scripture points instead to the destruction of Damascus only in the end times.
“If one examines this larger portion of Isaiah’s prophecy in its proper context, rather pulling out a single verse here or there, then it is clear that its ultimate context is the Day of the LORD, the judgment against the nations and the return of Jesus,” Richardson asserts. “On this point, I find myself in full agreement with Dr. Tommy Ice: ‘It appears to be an event that will occur at the end of the seven-year tribulation as the Lord not only judges and destroy Damascus, but all of Israel’s historic enemies that surround her. If one examines the broader context of Isaiah 17 and takes account of the section where it is located, it becomes clear that it is a section in which the Lord prophesizes (sic) judgment upon all the Gentile nations that have opposed Israel. This will all happen at the end of the tribulation in conjunction with the second coming of Christ to the earth.’”
Yet even Richardson admits the belief that the events of Isaiah 17, Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39 could be happening right here, right now, is becoming an “emerging popular view.”
Gallups explains, “Respected teachers of end-time prophecies have devised several scenarios of interpretation regarding these prophetic alignments. Some prophecy experts are quite adamant that they have discovered the correct and exact layout and timeline. I will not be so bold as to declare an exact timeline, but understanding that prophetic Scripture almost always has an historical context and fulfillment in the day in which it was written as well as a message for the future, let me make a few biblically sound observations.
“Isaiah 17 is one important part of the larger prophecy that Isaiah sets forth in Chapters 13-23, which tell of judgments not only against Israel, but against all of the surrounding Gentile (mostly Muslim) nations,” he continues. “Isaiah 17 tells us Damascus will be leveled and in ruin, Aram will fade away as well (the southern region of Syria), Aroer (the northern region of Jordan) will be greatly affected, entire regions of northern Israel will become virtually desolate, the entire nation of Israel will be greatly and adversely affected for a long period of time. Given the massive and devastating armament capabilities of Israel and the chemical weapons cache of Syria, one can easily see how today’s escalating conflict can fulfill these prophecies.
“In Psalm 83, the Arab (Muslim) nations surrounding Israel will attack her in her perceived weakness, yet Israel will prevail,” Gallups continues, “and in Ezekiel 38-39, another alliance of more outlying nations (mostly Muslim) attacks Israel, again perceiving vulnerability on Israel’s part. God intervenes supernaturally, and Israel is spared.”
Walid Shoebat, who co-authored “God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible” with Richardson, has also found what he believes may already be fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
“We can sense the beginning signs for the fulfillment of Isaiah 17′s destruction of Damascus when we witness the influx of refugees from Syria to Jordan as predicted by the prophet Amos: ‘I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD’ (Amos 1:5),” Shoebat told WND. “It is here that we find the amazing precision of Bible prophecy: Aven is Damascus today, and Damascus is also literally mentioned here by name. Syrians are leaving by the droves into Jordan and precisely ‘unto Kir,’ which is Kir-Moab (Isaiah 15:1). Today that region is called Kerak. When we review both the ancient map and the statistics of the recent influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan, we find that over a half million Syrians already fled to ‘the borders of the land of Moab now called Kerrek [Kerak].”
Whether these things are all happening now or are set to happen in the future, however, there’s one point at which the prophecy students agree: “The apparent context of all these passages,” states Gallups, “is that their fulfillment is found in the very last days – shortly before the biblical Day of the LORD, and the return of Jesus.”
Gallups concludes, “Given the headlines of today’s news and the current Middle East upheaval, as well as Syria being at the epicenter of a major war in the region, I fail to see how any serious student of the Word could not see that these, indeed, are very prophetic times in which we are living.”