Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Current Events In The Middle East And Prophecy (Isaiah 17, Ezekiel 38-39)

Syria And The End Times

I believe recent events in Syria have great significance when it comes to the study of bible prophecy. 

This doesn't mean you're guaranteed to see the immediate fulfillment of any specific bible prophecy. However, it does mean you should pay close attention. 

Why? Because, at the very least, these events are setting the table for the fulfillment of multiple bible prophecies.

Just look around you. The signs of the Second Coming are everywhere. The restoration of Israel (Isaiah 11:12)... The Jews back in Jerusalem (Luke 21:24-28)... The Gospel preached to the world (Matthew 24:14)... An increase in travel and knowledge (Daniel 12:4)... The rise of the European Union (Daniel 2:43)... And many more. 

Jesus says once you see all these signs come together, His return is near (Luke 21:28). This means the Tribulation is close, and you should expect to see the fulfillment of many end times prophecies in the near future.

Below are two prophetic events especially relevant to the ongoing events in Syria. The first could take place at any moment. 

I believe a careful study of the Bible reveals the second event will take place sometime after the war foretold in Psalm 83. 

Either way, both events could be very close to fulfillment. While both could still be several years away, breaking events could lead to their fulfillment in this very hour.

Below are two prophetic events especially relevant to the ongoing events in Syria. The first could take place at any moment. 

I believe a careful study of the Bible reveals the second event will take place sometime after the war foretold in Psalm 83. 

Either way, both events could be very close to fulfillment. While both could still be several years away, breaking events could lead to their fulfillment in this very hour.

1) The Destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17)

Chapter 17 in the Book of Isaiah paints a sobering picture. In it, the city of Damascus is a pile of rubble. The Bible says it will disappear from the face of the earth and become a heap of ruins (Isaiah 17:1). 

At the same time, large parts of northern Israel will also lie in ruin (Isaiah 17:3). Now, before you say this prophecy was fulfilled during Old Testament times, keep this in mind... This passage says Damascus will cease to be a city (Isaiah 17:1). 

It will be utterly and completely destroyed. Yet, Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on record. Its history goes back more than 5,000 years. At 2,600 years old, the Book of Isaiah itself is new compared to Damascus! This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.

So how do current events in Syria relate to Isaiah 17? Following the U.S. strike on the Syrian airfield Shayrat, Syria's allies issued a joint statement saying, "What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it isand America knows our ability to respond well". 

While this statement was clearly in response to a U.S. bombing, these nations made it clear they will respond to any nation they view as an aggressor. 

This includes Israel. While it hasn't been a major news story, Israel has also been bombing Syria. They're bombing Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists operating on the northern border of Israel. 

If Syria and its allies view their situation as desperate, they may decide to use these bombing raids as an excuse to launch a chemical attack on Israel. 

This is because drawing Israel into the war could rally the Muslim world to Syria's side. Saddam Hussein tried this same tactic during the first Gulf War. In 1991, he fired Scud missiles at Israel in an effort to draw them into the war and break up the coalition aligned against him.

If Syria, Hezbollah, or any of their allies managed to strike Israel with a weapon of mass destruction, the response would be swift. Israel would most likely respond in kind. If their intelligence revealed the Assad regime was behind such an attack, nuclear retaliation on Damascus would not be out of the question.

While this is all speculation, and not necessary how Isaiah 17 will be fulfilled, it shows how realistic a near-term fulfillment of this prophecy could be. With current instability in the region, and so many warring factions in Syria, events could spiral out of control very quickly. 

At this point in time, it's not difficult to imagine a scenario in which Damascus is completely destroyed.

2) The Gog of Magog War (Ezekiel 38-39)

Current events in Syria are also setting the stage for the Gog of Magog War. More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel warned of a future time when a vast coalition of nations will attack Israel. 

Ezekiel identifies these nations as "Magog, Rosh, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah" (Ezekiel 38:1-6). These nations have since come to be known as the Gog of Magog alliance. 

Now, with the exception of Persia and Cush, I realize most people have never heard of these nations. 

But keep in mind Ezekiel used the names of these nations as they were known in his day. Each one is a clearly identifiable nation today. So who are these nations in our day and time?

Below is a list. The Old Testament name is listed first, followed by its modern day equivalent:

Rosh = Russia
Magog = Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan
Persia = Iran
Cush = Sudan
Put = Libya
Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah = Turkey
Collectively, these nations have never attacked Israel. In fact, in the history of the world, such an alliance of nations has never existed. 

But today we see it coming together right in front of us. Since 1989, Russia and Iran have gradually strengthened their diplomatic, military, and economic ties. 

Yet, in the first 2,600 years after Ezekiel recorded his prophecies, the nations of Russia and Persia (Iran) had never been part of any alliance of any sort. Never. Cooperation between Russia and Iran, especially military cooperation, didn't take place. 

This led many people to claim Ezekiel's prophecy was symbolic. Why? Because the idea of the Gog of Magog war seemed absurd. After all, at the dawn of the 20th Century, Russia was an orthodox Christian nation and Israel didn't exist! 

But those who believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible knew otherwise.  They knew all prophecy would come to pass. Because bible prophecy doesn't come from mere humans. It's God's Word (2 Peter 1:19-21).

In the years since, the stage has been set for the literal fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39. A 1917 communist revolution transformed Russia from a Christian nation to an atheist nation. 

In 1948, Israel once again became a nation. And earlier this week, Russia and Iran issued a joint statement vowing to respond with force to any aggressor.

And Turkey? For decades, people have wondered how Turkey could be a part of this alliance. After all, Turkey is a member of NATO. 

And in late 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian jet when it strayed into Turkish airspace. Russia and Turkey seem to be at odds. 

So how could Turkey be a part of this alliance? At first glance, it seems unlikely. But in the summer of 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jailed thousands of political opponents. And just today (Easter Sunday 2017), Turkey voted to eliminate its parliamentary form of government and give expanded powers to Erdogan. 

Ultimately, this could be what pushes Turkey into the Russian sphere of influence. Erdogan is an anti-Western, pro-Islamist leader, and he's worked hard to strengthen Turkey's ties with Russia. 

In light of these developments, we can see the Gog of Magog alliance coming together for the first time in history. 

For the first time since Israel re-emerged on the world scene in May 1948, the main players of the Ezekiel 38-39 alliance are all working together. Even more important, they all have military personnel on Israel's northern border. The stage is set for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39.

What Will Ultimately Happen?

While terrible destruction awaits Damascus (Isaiah 17:1), northern Israel (Isaiah 17:3), and the entire Gog of Magog Alliance (Ezekiel 38:19-22), we have reason to be hopeful. 

Because of these events, the Bible says people will soon look to and acknowledge their Creator - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Isaiah 17:7). 

When He strikes down Israel's enemies, the whole world will know He is the God Israel (Ezekiel 38:23).

In the days and weeks ahead, we can't be certain what will happen in Syria. But in the long run, we can be absolutely certain the events of Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39 will be fulfilled. 

Damascus will lie in ruin, and the Gog of Magog Alliance will be destroyed. These events are certain. 

Because whatever He has declared, God will bring to pass (Isaiah 14:24). And when these things happen, the world will no longer be able to deny Him. He will destroy the enemies of Israel in plain view of the entire world.

"In this way," says the Lord. "I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel 38:23 (NLT)

Learn more about the converging of prophetic events at this unique time in history with our brand new DVD release - The Coming Convergence.

Syria has moved all its fighter aircraft to the Russian Hmeimim air base in Latakia three weeks after 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles knocked out one-fifth of its air force at the Shayrat base, in retaliation for a chemical attack on civilians in Idlib. This was reported Wednesday night, April 19, by the Pentagon. The Russian high command in Syria has its seat at that base.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Syrian air force will operate henceforth under Russian protection and behind the advanced Russian S-300 and S-400 air defense shield without fear of US reprisals.

President Vladimir Putin’s response to the Trump administration’s call to distance Moscow from the Assad regime is therefore a flat rejection. He is instead fortifying Russian support for that regime.

The upsurge of Russian-US military tension places at risk the operational coordination accords prevailing between the air forces of Russia, the US and Israel in Syrian skies. 

Syrian operational staff officers working in Hmeimim will now have access to the advanced Russian surveillance instruments tracking the movements of all foreign aircraft moving through Syrian air space. Syrian intelligence officers will also be close to Russian SIGINT facilities which the Russian spy agency GRU has installed there. In other words, by a single move, the Russians have substantially upgraded the Syrian air force’s operational and intelligence capabilities.


bumble bee said...

Does anyone know the current level of destruction in Damascus? Are there areas that are not destroyed and are "fully functioning" compared to areas that look like they are totally in ruins? It's just hard to get an idea of how close or not the city is to being a "ruinous heap".

Scott said...

In my opinion its nowhere neat being a ruinous heap. Plus, whatever happens will occur overnight - not a slow progression over time. It will be acute qnd dramatic

Caver said...

How, HOW, how can anyone read something like this that was written with specificity over 2500 years ago and watch it coming true before their eyes and not believe. It makes no sense. What type spiritual blindness, what type arrogance, what type rebellion can cause, or even allow, this?

It just boggles my mind! I can't comprehend this.

Scott said...

I agree. But its been that way throughout history, just look at the book of Jeremiah

Alice said...

Bumblebee, search "Damascus drone footage" and you will see the level of destruction. Also, check out this video published in January, 2017.

Sandra said...

Scott, thank you again for your faithful updates. I watch and look each day and know we are so close. Caver, it is so true, how can people be so spiritually blind but God's word does tell us this will happen leading into the end.

Scott said...

It still exists as a city though

Alice said...

Scott, I concur, and parts of it are functional. Just hoping to help answer Bumblebee's questions. It seems most prophecy gurus believe the fulfillment of Damascus' destruction will likely be nuclear -- never to be a city again. Currently the rubble COULD be cleared and the city rebuilt.

Scott said...

Thats a good point. It could also be chemical/gas. We only have 7 years + a little so i dont think they could rebuild in that period even if it was conventional destruction

Scott said...

Although that wouldnt make it a ruinous heap. Hmm. It does point to nuclear doesn't it

Caver said...

Yes, absolutely. The Bible does tell us it would be this way.
But sometimes I they not see it because they can't, do we see it so clearly because the Holy Spirit gives us the eyes that can see it, or a combination or other.

Its fascinating....tragic, but fascinating.

IT's time we got busy and found that last hard headed stubborn rebellious gentile and get him/her on board.

Ele said...

Come Lord Jesus

Unknown said...

It's going to happen overnight in Damascus when it goes down?

WVBORN56 said...

I still think the church will already be raptured before Isaiah 17 or Ezekiel 39 wars. Although Cristian martyrdom is at an all time high I don't believe a nuclear explosion to destroy Damascus will occur until the tribulation. It seems it is a better fit for the time of Jacobs trouble. World war and mass death are a big part of the seal judgements.

Mrs.C said...

Have to respectfully disagree with you Brother WV :) Both the Isaiah 17 war, and the quickly following Ezekiel 38/39 invasion, will precede the Tribulation without question. They are not Tribulation events :)
- The Tribulation starts with the ac entering into a covenant, and we know it will be including the false promise of peace - which by mid-Trib is revealed as false.
- There is no ac spoken of in either event, which since we know the ac will be in Israel during the Trib, he is not even revealed/in power yet when the Isaiah 17 & Ezekiel 38/39 events occur.
- The Temple is rebuilt in the first half of the Trib, and that could not be accomplished in the middle of wars.

Scott said...

My rationale is a little different...We know that they will burn the weapons for 7 years..I have a really hard time seeing that happening during the 1,000 year reign as the earth will have been restored and there will no longer be a need to burn the weapons, - and I just can't see such a holdover from the previous era/dispensation.

So if they aren't burning the weapons during the Mill reign then it (Gog-Magog) would have to happen prior to the Tribulation, but I believe the AC steps in JUST after Gog-Magog and confirms the covenant and facilitates the rebuilding of the temple.

Thats the issue I can't get around every time I start to consider Gog-Magog as happening in the Tribulation

Mrs.C said...

Have to respectfully disagree with the author of the ME Prophecy article.
- Psalm 83 is not a war whatsoever, it is a imprecatory Prayer. The Isaiah 17 war, will be Gods answer to that Prayer.
- It is not just the North of Israel, but all of Israel that will be affected by this war.
- He ignores the Verses in between, and quotes Isaiah 17:7 as applying to the peope of the world, when it is specifically for His People, Israel, not the world. Missing the absolute "desolation" that is coming to Israel and her People in those Verses.

Mrs.C said...

Lets look at how Israel is left, and what occurs, during the Isaiah 17 war. Israel is fighting a multiple fronted war, alone, with no allies or means of resupplying. Just as God would have it.

Damascus is destroyed - gone in one night
Jordan goes down
The West Bank goes down
Israel captures the remnant of Syria
Then something catastrophic happens to Israel
God tells His People why He has allowed this to happen to them
The evil nations surrounding Israel then rush in to finish her off
God Himself steps forward to "rebuke" these nations to save the remnant of His People.
Jordan, Gaza, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran are taken down by Gods Judgment Ezekiel chapters 25-32

The Isaiah 17 war, sets the stage for the immediate invasion of Ezekiel 38 by Russia and their tag-alongs. - Iran, Turkey etc.
As God is orchestrating all of this, Israel is exactly where He wants them. Weak, wounded, unable to defend themselves. We know these events happen back to back, as they will occur before the beginning of the Trib, and actually, we usher in the Trib. They are two events that have not yet been fulfilled. They coincide, most importantly because of Gods Plan to return, reconcile, restore His Covenant with His People, but there are other obvious reasons. Since we know these events happen before the Trib, Gods Word does not say for example that Israel recovers from the Isaiah 17 war, and is powerful and self-sustaining like so many false teachers state these days. Quite the opposite, Israel will be suffering greatly, and extremely vulnerable. As God tells us He wipes out the enemy nations surrounding Israel in the Isaiah 17 war, this is why Russia has a clear path into Israel, with no surrounding enemy nation objecting or blocking their path – they are gone.

Most importantly of all, is Gods Purpose for these events. With the Isaiah 17 war, God Himself begins to step forward, beginning to turn His Full Attention, back to His People. He allows them to be brought to their knees, so as to seek Him, turn back to Him. IF as is so falsely taught these days, Israel was victorious in the Isaiah 17 war, and say had lots of time to recover, be strong, then 1. They would not need God, or turn to Him 2. They would fight the invading Russian forces, which His Word clearly says they dont. Ezekiel 38- with Israel still reeling from the Isaiah 17 war, weak, defenseless, God returns in full, and annihilates the invaders, shows Himself to the world and His People. By the end of Isaiah 17 – God begins to turn His Attention away from the Church, and back to His People, He begins to steps forward – the beginning of His Return in full to His People. Ezekiel 38/39 God Fully returns to His People after thousands of years, restoring in full His Covenant with them. The Church Age has ended, and we His Church are gone...

Mrs.C said...

Damascus is still called Damascus.It has been "conquered" by any number of enemies, and still remains "Damascus". Until this day, Damascus has never ceased from being a city. The city Damascus even boasts in present day, that they are “ the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world”.
A bit of history. The Syrian city of Arpad, did not surrender so easily. It took Tiglath-Pileser three years of siege to conquer Arpad, then he massacred the inhabitants and destroyed the city. In 732 he advanced on Damascus, first devastating the gardens outside the city and then conquering the capital and killing the king, whom he replaced with a governor. Damascus continued to be a city. I bring up this point because God, in His Word makes it very clear in Isaiah 17:1
• Damascus will not be "conquered”, but rather no longer ever to be a city again.
Isaiah 17:1
1.The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
• It took time (not overnight) for Tiglath-Pileser to conquer Damascus. God, in His Word, again makes it very clear. Damascus will be there in the evening, and then gone by the next morning. Gone in less that a day.

Isaiah 17:14
14.And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.

Mrs.C said...

To quote our Brother Jack K, who is now with the Lord...

"Millennium - obviously can't happen till the Second Coming, because that's when the Lord returns to establish it.
The Second Coming - can't happen till the end of the Great Tribulation. And that can't happen till the anti-Christ stands in the Temple in Israel declaring himself to be God. (2 Thes. 2:4) That's the event Jesus warned Israel to look for as the Great Tribulation's opening trigger. He called it "The Abomination of Desolation" in Matt. 24:15-21.

But that can't happen till there's a Temple. There hasn't been a Temple in Israel since 70AD and there won't be one until the Jews decide they need one. That won't happen until God reinstates their Old Covenant relationship, signaling the start of Daniel's 70th week. And that can't happen till the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 is won, because it's Ezekiel's battle that officially draws the Jews back to God. (Ezek. 39:22) And that can't happen till the Church is gone, because the Church and Israel are mutually exclusive to Him. (Romans 11:25 & Acts 15:13-18) Bringing us to the present, because there is no event that has to happen for the Rapture of the Church. It could happen at any time."

Mrs.C said...

Oh, totally agree with your Brother Scott on your points :) Ya know, Grant Jeffrey brought forth in one of his books, a facilitating point about the weapons being burned. He said and named a specific Russian gun, that the stock on the gun could indeed be burned. Very interesting :)

Scott said...

Yea - I know exactly what you are talking about - I read that in one of his books as well (not that Grant J was the only one talking about this) I can't think of the name of the product right now, but its highly compressed and would burn for a long time.