Damascus will one day be completely destroyed and left uninhabitable . . .
Syria is almost a 'city-state' with much of its population living in and around the city of Damascus. Some historians and archaeologists believe Damascus may be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world and there is no record in ancient history of it ever being fully destroyed. Syria is also the home of many Islamic terrorist groups and its army invaded and has occupied Lebanon for almost 30 years. Currently, Syria (with Iran) is supporting the Hizbollah in southern Lebanon against Israel. Syria, like the rest of Israel's Islamic neighbors hate Israel, have invaded and attacked Israel on several occasions, and have publicly called for the destruction of Israel. It is interesting to note that recently an Israeli general, on commenting on the growing threat of Syria, said the easiest thing to do to protect Israel from Syria would be to drop a nuclear bomb on Damascus . . .
Damascus, Syria will someday be completely destroyed and become a 'ruinous heap' . . .
"The burden of Damascus.
Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city,
and it shall be a ruinous heap" (This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled ... but it will be fulfilled)
The Bible warns it will also be a time of trouble for Israel . . .
"And in that day (usually refers to the coming 'Apocalypse')
it shall come to pass, (when God says 'it shall come to pass' it always happens.)
the glory of Jacob (Israel) shall be made thin,
and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean."
There will be a coming time of trouble unlike anything in the history of the nation coming to the land of Israel ... Jeremiah calls it 'the Time of Jacob's (Israel's) Trouble ... and it is hard to tell if this happens after Damascus is destroyed, or at the same time. We do know from Bible prophecies there will be a coming 3 1/2 year period of false peace in Israel brought in by a strong, powerful, and very popular world leader (also called the "Antichrist") who will someday enforce a 'peace plan' upon nation Israel just before the coming 'Apocalypse' and Armageddon ...
We are told here (and in other prophetic passages) that a faithful few in Israel will turn back to God and His Word ... and may discover, from Scripture, that Jesus-Yeshua, is the Eternal One (see Micah 5:2) and Holy One of Israel . . .
"At that day shall a man look to his Maker,
and his eyes shall have respect
to the Holy One (Messiah) of Israel." (Jesus-Yeshua, the promised Messiah)
God tells us why Jacob's (Israel's) 'trouble' will come . . .
"Because thou hast forgotten
the God of thy Salvation,
and hast not been mindful
of the Rock of thy strength (the "Rock" is Messiah)
God says none of His prophecies shall fail . . .
"For I am God, and there is no other.
for I am God, and there is none like me . . . Declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times
things that are not yet done."
"Search from the book of the LORD, and read: not one of these (prophecies) shall fail; not one shall lack her mate.
For My mouth has commanded it,
and His Spirit has gathered them."
"Indeed I (God) have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it. Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, who are far from righteousness . . ."
"Before the decree is issued, before day passes like chaff, before the LORD'S fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger comes upon you! Seek the LORD,
all you meek of the Earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD'S anger."
Have a hard time believing in God? Just watch the news. We are living in dangerous times. The above verses are clear.
Why? God is warning us. God says He is doing these things both as a warning sign to the world and as verifiable evidence the Bible is true . . .
Please remember . . .
The Kingdom of Heaven is available to every man, woman, boy, and girl in this world, no matter who they are, where they live, or what they have done. It is freely offered to any and all who will receive it. Simply learn of Jesus (Yeshua), the promised Messiah, invite Him into your life as Lord, believe He died on the Cross for all of your sins and rose from the grave (proving there is a Kingdom of Heaven ... and a Hell). Learn of Him and believe in Him . . . for He was the only one who has ever loved you enough to substitute Himself for you on the Cross. He shed His blood, suffered, and died on the Cross to save youfrom your sins and from the utter darkness and torment of Hell, if you will accept it, believe it, and trust in it. That is why Jesus is called Savior. He now lovingly and graciously offers you life in Heaven (and we are warned it is a "take it or leave it" proposition.) We have to consciously receive it and accept it in faith. If you sincerely admit you have sinned (which means you will need a Savior to get into Heaven) and ask Jesus to come into your life and honestly try to stop doing (and saying) those things God says are wrong, you will go to Heaven ... and with open arms and tears of joy He will receive all who will come to Him in faith and in love ... It's God's Promise!!!
The only unpardonable sin is to reject or ignore or treat as a common thing God's love and His free offer of life in the Kingdom of Heaven by rejecting Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha'Mashiach in Hebrew) who stepped forth from Eternity ("from of old, from everlasting"... see Micah 5:2) ... not to condemn the sinner, but to save the sinner (from the torment of Hell) and who willingly and lovingly shed His blood on the Cross so we can be washed clean of all our sins. The Bible warns there will be no peace in our lives until we make peace with God through His Son, Jesus (Yeshua), the promised Messiah. The Bible also says there will be no peace in Israel or on Earth until Jesus (Yeshua), the Messiah returns . .
Assad: Syria will shower Tel Aviv with rockets if attacked by foreign powers
Tue, October 04, 2011 Tishrei 6, 5772
Syria will strike Israel and "set fire" to the Middle East if foreign forces choose to launch a military strike on the protest-ridden country, Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Tuesday.
During a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Assad was quoted by the Iranian semi-official news agency Fars as saying that Syria would not hesitate to strike major Israeli cities if it was attacked.
Syrian President Bashar Assad delivering a speech in Damascus, Syria, on June 20, 2011.
Photo by: AP
"If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than 6 hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv," Assad said.
In addition, Fars reported that the Syrian president told the Turkish FM that he would also call on Hezbollah in Lebanon to launch a rocket attack on Israel, adding: "All these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack the U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. and European interests will be targeted simultaneously."
Assad's comments to the Turkish FM came after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier Tuesday he would set out his country's plans for sanctions against Syria after he visits a Syrian refugee camp near the border in the coming days.
The move heralds a further deterioration in previously friendly relations between Ankara and Damascus since the start of Assad's crackdown on protesters.
"Regarding sanctions, we will make an assessment and announce our road map after the visit to Hatay in southern Turkey, setting out the steps," Erdogan told reporters, adding he expected to visit the region at the weekend or the start of next week.
Some 7,000 Syrians have taken refuge in camps established in Hatay, in flight from President Assad's security forces.
You would think after a half-century of studying Bible prophecy, teaching it, writing about it, and producing a weekly television program on the subject for the last 15 years, nothing would surprise me. Not so. I am continually amazed by how precisely the predictions of the ancient prophets are unfolding in the news.
How's this for prophetic precision? Last week, Iran's Fars news service reported that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad threatened to unleash a missile attack on Tel Aviv if NATO or Turkey dared interfere in Syria's affairs.
This wasn't an off-the-cuff, rash remark made in a fit of anger. He's issued this threat before. On August 9th, Assad told the Turkish Foreign Minister that "it would take only six hours for Syria to devastate Tel Aviv and ignite the Middle East."
Now, as ominous as that sounds, it's not the part of the story that raises the red flag for prophecy watchers. Middle Eastern hotheads have been threatening to wipe out Israel for decades.
Here's the critical part. Debkafile.com reports that after the first threat, Israel sent Syria a warning. In part, the message said, "If a single missile explodes in Tel Aviv, Damascus will be the first to pay the price.."
That raises the goosebumps, doesn't it?
This is the exact scenario foretold by the prophet Isaiah thousands of years ago. He said that a showdown would take place between Syria and Israel, like two gunfighters facing off in the dusty street of an old western town, complete with the townspeople clearing out to hide in the saloon and the stores. According to Isaiah, the rest of the world "will flee far away, and be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind, or like the whirling dust before a gale."
Then Syria will draw, but before it can clear leather, Israel will strike and Damascus will cease to exist. Here's how Isaiah described it: "And at evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more."
Isaiah predicted that Damascus, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world - which has never been destroyed - will disappear in one night. Before today, that would not have been even technically possible. With nuclear weapons, it won't take an evening.
And now the threat has been publicly made and the counter-threat has been delivered. I'm not saying when this will happen, but once an embattled dictator publicly suggests the possibility, I believe the chances of someone choosing that option increase considerably. And the possibility has to be considered that one of Syria's allies (Iran? Hezbollah? Hamas?) may actually be the one to pull the trigger.
Need I say it again? Get ready! Christ's coming cannot be far away.
Were you a Tea Partier? I know that many of you were and still are. If you recall, for several weeks, I drank tea on the set of "The Hal Lindsey Report" in honor of the Tea Party's efforts.
Well, according to the Left, there's a new movement in town that they're describing at the 'tea party of the Progressives.' I think that description of the "Occupy Wall Street" protests is stretching it a bit and on this week's show I'll tell you why.
I suppose there are similarities: they are protests and the protesters are people. I guess that about does it. To paraphrase former vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen, "I knew the Tea Party and you're no Tea Party!"
Another thing that continually amazes me is how you never know what bit of news is going to capture the spotlight at any given moment. With, among other things, the dismal American economy, the imminent collapse of the eurozone, the baseball playoffs, the undoing of Attorney General Eric Holder, and myriad other hot news stories being ignored by the Mainstream Media, who would have thought that a comment made by a Southern Baptist pastor would grab the spotlight.
At last week's Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of The First Baptist Church of Dallas, introduced Texas governor Rick Perry. In his remarks, Dr. Jeffress noted that Governor Perry was a born-again evangelical Christian. He called him a "genuine follower of Jesus Christ."
Though he named neither of them, the press considered the remark an obvious reference to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., both Mormons. When questioned about it later, Dr. Jeffress told reporters that the Mormon Church is a "cult" and that Romney is "not a Christian."
The pastor later clarified his remarks by explaining that, theologically speaking, Mormonism is not Christianity. Mainstream Christianity has long considered the Mormon church to be a "theological cult," as opposed to a sociological cult.
I suppose you can guess that Governor Romney considered the remark a personal attack and condemned it as "poisonous language."
Governor Perry is caught in a tough spot. I was disappointed that he later tried to distance himself from Dr. Jeffress' comment and, to a degree, repudiated the idea that Mormonism is a cult. But I was pleased that, when later pressed to go further, Governor Perry refused to equate Mormonism with Christianity.
On this week's program, I'll explain why, no matter what you call Mormonism, it is not Christian. I'll explain why mainstream Christianity has always regarded it as a "cult." I'll also tell you why this incident represents a dangerous new development regarding our rights as Christians and American citizens.
I believe that it is NOT hate speech or intolerance to declare what Jesus Christ Himself declared. It is NOT bigotry to say that a religion that denies the most basic of all Christian doctrines is not Christian. Refusing to change one's own basic beliefs in order to be "politically correct" is not bigotry, either. But this is nothing less than what is being demanded of us now. And daily we see the Left, the media, and anti-Christian forces very effectively using charges of 'hate speech', intolerance, and bigotry to silence Christian voices.
And it will not get better or easier. So my advice is to begin now to prepare for that day. Search your heart to see what you really believe and begin to define what you're willing to lose your friends, your freedom, and maybe your life for.
That day is coming and probably sooner than we think.
The Arab Spring has yielded a bumper crop of dethroned leaders. The latest bad apple to fall from the tree is Muammar Gaddafi. Libya’s autocratic leader came into power forty-two years ago in 1969. Graphic blood-stained and scantily-clad images displaying the longstanding leader dead with a bullet to the head evidenced that according to NATO and his Libyan countrymen, he had long since overstayed his welcome.
Libyan protests began in February the day after Gaddafi vocalized his anti-Israel sentiment and eight months later the dictator winds up dead. Is this a coincidence or is there a Biblical lesson to be gleaned by those bent on cursing Israel? Genesis 12:3 warns those that curse the Jews invoke divine judgment upon themselves.
The graphic Gaddafi images presently circulating around the globe should send a strong signal across the Mediterranean pond to Syria’s president Bashar Assad to beware of a similar fate. Assad has been undergoing a comparable crisis of his own since protests began on January 16, 2011 and uprisings commenced on March 15, 2011. On October 4, 2011 the Syrian leader threatened that if NATO intervened in his country similar to Libya, then Tel Aviv would be struck by Syrian and Hezbollah missiles within six-hours.  This threat pales Gaddafi’s February remarks in comparison.
Threats between Syria and Israel are commonplace, so there is a general tendency in the mainstream media to chalk such rhetoric off as mere rumors of war. However, with the instability created by the Arab Spring and the deaths or departures of those listed below, it appears to be time for the liberal pundits to come to grips with the stage-setting in the Middle East for a potentially imminent war.
Tunisian President – Zine al Abedine Ben Ali was ousted January 14, 2011.
Egyptian President – Hosni Mubarak resigned February 11, 2011. Who can forget the images of him on trial with his two sons caged in a Cairo courtroom lying on a gurney with an I.V. in his arm? Certainly these images didn’t set well in the Syrian capital of Damascus to a regime struggling to maintain power.
Al-Qaeda – Osama Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011.
Al-Qaeda – Terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a drone attack on September 30, 2011 in Yemen.
Yemen – President Ali Abdullah Saleh tendered his resignation in April of 2011, but is still negotiating the terms of his departure.
Libya – Muammar Gaddafi takes a bullet above the brow on October 20, 2011.
The Billion-Dollar Man
Gaddafi had become the billion-dollar man to the Obama administration. With the war in Iraq costing approximately $1-trillion, and the Afghanistan war nearing the $500-billion mark, the U.S. war with Libya had surpassed the $1-billion price-tag for U.S. taxpayers.  The NATO led war commencing on March 19, 2011 that President Obama said would only last a short while, was threatening to become an embarrassment if it was prolonged much longer.
President Obama stated in a press conference Gaddafi’s death evidenced the “Strength of American leadership across the world,” and declared to the Libyan rebels “You have won your revolution!” Similarly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jokingly stated to a television news reporter shortly afterward, “We came, we saw, he died.” 
These bold statements coupled with Obama’s approval of Mubarak’s resignation and the death of the Al-Qaeda leaders, signals that Mideast regime changes and wanted dead-or-alive posters are the order of the day in Washington. In light of Gaddafi’s death in Libya, President Assad has to be concerned that he may be the next billion-dollar Arab leader.
Syrian President Assad’s recent intimidations toward Israel were not idol threats but were prompted by his genuine concern that NATO, at the encouragement of the member state of Turkey, might intervene in Syria like it did in Libya. The Syrian revolts have led to a deluge of refugees crossing the border between Syria into Turkey. From Turkey’s perspective, something, perhaps a regime change, must happen soon to squelch the oppression of the Syrian revolutionaries by the Assad regime.
What Does the Bible Predict Will Happen Next?
What happens next in Libya and Syria? Can the future of these two countries be known? CNN host Piers Morgan interviewed the esteemed news broadcaster Dan Rather on the day of Gaddafi’s death and asked him what the future holds for Libya in light of the pending regime change. Dan Rather quoted that living life around a crystal ball causes people to step on broken glass. In essence he avoided answering the question and insinuated that the future cannot be known.
I disagree with Dan Rather; there are some future events that can be known according to Isaiah 46:9-10 and elsewhere. In fact under the banner of ancient “Put,” Libya is listed in a Bible prophecy inscribed in Ezekiel 38.  The Ezekiel prophecy, commonly called the Gog of Magog invasion, involves a Russian-Iranian led coalition consisting of nine populations that attempt to destroy Israel in pursuit of great plunder. Many eschatologists believe this invasion could happen soon.
Due to Gaddafi’s death, he will obviously not participate in the pending prophecy; however, his countrymen will, which begs the question, “If Libya enters into a coalition with Russia, Iran, Turkey and several other countries to invade Israel according to Ezekiel; then what does that say about the character of the next Libyan government?”
If the eschatologists are right and Ezekiel’s prophecy is about to be fulfilled, will the next regime also be Anti-Semitic? The fact that a new regime will require some time to form in the vacuum created by Gaddafi’s death makes it doubtful that the Ezekiel 38 invasion is the next prophecy to be watching for.
Perhaps prophecies like Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83 involving Syria may be more imminent. Isaiah predicts the destruction of Damascus and Psalm 83 lists Syria as a member of an Arab confederacy predicted to attack the Jewish state in order to capture the land of Israel.
If NATO decides to intervene in Syria, Bashar Assad may make good on his recent threats to attack Tel Aviv swiftly to stave off a pending NATO invasion. Certainly Syria’s president is not interested in taking a bullet to the head like Gaddafi did only a few months after the NATO led charge into Libya. However, unlike Libya, Syria has a military ally in Iran that appears willing to fight alongside Syria and has threatened to wipe Israel off of the map.
It is all getting very dangerous in the Holy Land. The Gaddafi regime may not be the last Arab government toppled and he may not be the final Muslim leader assassinated. If Bashar Assad attacks Tel Aviv, he may lose his head like his former ally Saddam Hussein of Iraq did several years ago. Or, even worse for him and many of his countrymen, Israel may discharge a nuclear device in Damascus and incinerate a multitude of Syrians in retaliation.
Perhaps eschatologists should be looking at the prophecies in Isaiah 17 more closely in light of all the above. My new book Revelation Road – Once Upon an End Time, presents an exhaustive verse-by-verse study of Isaiah 17 and is due out by December, 2011. It will be available for presales soon at www.prophecydepot.com. Hopefully the Damascus study included in the book will be regarded with pending prophecy rather than a history lesson. Keep your eye on Mideast events meanwhile, as Mideast war may be looming on the horizon.
Syria remains Israel’s principal immediate military threat. In the past three years, Syria has spent more than $3 billion on weapons, up from less than $100 million in 2002. Even as reports disclosed that Syrian and Israeli officials were engaged in peace talks mediated by Turkey, the Syrian Defense Minister was in Iran discussing strengthening military ties. “Iran and Syria share the same viewpoint regarding regional issues and efforts will be made to strengthen our shared interests and bilateral relations," said Hassan Turkmani, who was dispatched to Tehran after Iranian officials condemned the resumption of negotiations with Israel.
Syria has reportedly received $1 billion from Iran in 2007-8 to buy surface-to-surface missiles, rockets, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft systems. According to Haaretz (March 21, 2008), “Israel has learned that Syria is buying more missiles than tanks, on the assumption that attacking the Israeli home front would deter Israel on the one hand, and help to determine the war on the other.”
A Syrian delegation visiting Moscow in May 2008 was reportedly seeking a variety of new weapons systems that Israel views as threatening. Israel is particularly concerned with a Syrian request for long-range S-300 surface-to-air missiles that could threaten IAF jets flying on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. Syria also reportedly wants MiG 29 fighter jets and the Iskander surface-to-surface missile system, which is a longer range and more accurate missile than the ballistic missiles currently in Syria's arsenal. The Syrian navy, which currently has no submarines, is apparently also looking to purchase two Amur-1650 submarines from Russia. The dramatic increase in military spending and effort to significantly upgrade its military capability is one more reason Israelis are skeptical about Syrian intentions. Weapons of Mass Destruction
On September 6, 2007, Israel bombed a site in northern Syria. Initial news reports suggested the raid was designed to either interdict a weapons shipment intended for Hezbollah in Lebanon or to destroy a site suspected of containing materials for a nuclear weapons program set up in collaboration with North Korea. The CIA subsequently said it was a plutonium reactor being built with the help of North Korea (NPR, April 24, 2008). The possibility that the site was related to a nuclear program is also supported by a U.S. intelligence report issued in May 2006 that said Pakistani investigators confirmed reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the covert Pakistani supplier group headed by A.Q. Khan “offered nuclear technology and hardware to Syria.” The IAEA also reported in February 2009 that samples taken from the site revealed traces of processed uranium.
Syria denied the site was for a nuclear facility. The IAEA sent investigators to Dair Alzour, but they were given restricted access to the area. Nevertheless, a report was issued on November 19, 2008, which said the team found a “significant number” of uranium particles and concluded, “While it cannot be excluded that the building in question was intended for non-nuclear use, the features of the building...are similar to what may be found in connection with a reactor site.”
In February 2011, commercial satellite photos published by Washington's Institute for Science and International Security identified another suspect nuclear installation in Syria. The photos provided evidence that Damascus may have been pursing atomic weapons prior to the 2007 Israeli strike and increased pressure for demands for a new round of expansive inspections of suspect Syrian facilities. Another IAEA report issued in May 2011, which cited both physical and photograhic evidence, confirmed that the Syrian project destroyed in the the Israeli air raid was a nuclear reactor intended for making material for nuclear bombs.
Syria was already known to conduct nuclear research at three facilities located at Dayr, Al Hajar and Dubaya. “In 2004, Syria continued to develop civilian nuclear capabilities, including uranium extraction technology and hot cell facilities, which may also be potentially applicable to a weapons program,” the report said. As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Syria is required to submit to IAEA safeguards and inspections. In January 2007, the United States froze the assets of three Syrian entities involved in the development of nonconventional weapons.
According to Gregory Schulte, former U.S. envoy to the IAEA, Syria may be operating more nuclear sites.
Israel's attack raised tensions along the Golan Heights where Syrian actions had already provoked concern about the possibility of conflict. In March 2007, it was reported that Syria has positioned along the border with Israel thousands of medium and long-range rockets capable of striking major towns across northern Israel, including Haifa. A division was added to the Syrian army’s forward deployment on the Heights and the production of Scud missiles has been accelerated. Many of the rockets are hidden in underground chambers and in camouflaged silos. This deployment, coupled with other reports of Syrian troop mobilization and television broadcasts during May 2007 dedicated to “Golan Month,” may be an indication that Damascus is preparing for a future war.
Syria also continues to expand its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. The Syrians can now manufacture several hundred tons of chemical warfare agents per year at four separate production facilities. In late 2005, Jane's Defence Weekly reported that Iran is providing technical assistance to help Syria develop the means to produce VX and Sarin nerve agents and mustard blister agent. According to a February 2009 report by Jane's,
Syria has been constructing a new chemical weapons facility in Al-Safir, the home of an existing chemical weapons production facility and a missile base with long-range Scud D ballistic missiles. Syria and Iran
Under a mutual defense pact signed between Syria and Iran in 2005, Syria agreed to allow the deployment of Iranian weapons on its territory. On June 15, 2006, Syria’s defense minister, Hassan Turkmani, signed an agreement with his Iranian counterpart for military cooperation against what they called the “common threats” presented by Israel and the United States. “Our cooperation is based on a strategic pact and unity against common threats,” said Turkmani. “We can have a common front against Israel’s threats.” In December 2009, Syria and Iran signed an additional defense agreement aimed to face “common enemies and challenges.” In praising the agreement, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, “it is natural for a country like Syria - which has an inhumane and menacing predator like Israel in its neighborhood - to be always prepared [against possible foreign aggression].”
UN officials said in June 2007 the Iranians were preparing to transfer medium-range Shahab-3, Russian-made Scud-C missiles and Scud-B missiles in preparation for military action if it is attacked over its nuclear program. Many of these missiles can be fired from mobile launchers and are capable of hitting targets throughout Israel. Syria has already received, via Iran, hundreds of extended-range North Korean Scud-C missiles, and is reportedly building its own ballistic missiles from imported technology. North Korea has supplied complete Scuds and production equipment to Syria. In 2003, Syria was said to have a new Scud-D missile, developed with Korean assistance, which has a range of 300 miles (sufficient to cover all of Israel). The missile is also capable of carrying chemical weapons. The May 2006 U.S. intelligence report said Syria continues to seek help in building solid-propellant rocket motors, and that North Korea supplied equipment and assistance to the missile program. Syria is building its own liquid-fueled Scud missiles and is developing a 500-mile-range Scud D and other variants with help from North Korea and Iran, the report said.
“Syria test-fired three Scud missiles on May 27, 2005, including one that broke up over Turkey,” the New York Times reported. “These were the first such Syrian missile tests since 2001, and were part of a Syrian missile development project using North Korean technology and designed to deliver air-burst chemical weapons. The missiles included one Scud B with a range of 185 miles, and two Scud Ds with a range of 435 miles.” Months later, Western experts who examined the remains of the missile that fell in Turkey concluded Syria had introduced significant changes in the advanced model of the Scud D missile that gives it greater guidance capability and accuracy.
Over the objections of Israel and the United States, Russia announced plans in early 2005 to sell Syria advanced SA-18 anti-aircraft missiles. Russian President Vladimir Putin told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that the weapons were not shoulder-missiles favored by the terror organizations, but rather they would be mounted on vehicles, and therefore they would not endanger Israel. Putin also said Syria's placement of the missiles would be designed to avoid a change in the balance of power in the area, but would prevent Israeli war planes from being able to fly over Syrian President Bashar Assad's presidential palace in Damascus. Israeli defense officials still expressed concern that the mounted version could be modified into a shoulder-held version in a relatively simple process. From that point, the officials said, the missiles could easily reach insurgents in Iran or Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon.
Syria now has more troops and tanks, and nearly as many aircraft as Israel. The Assad regime fields armed forces totaling more than 380,000 men, with another 130,000 troops in reserve. Syria's arsenal includes approximately 3,700 tanks and some 510 combat aircraft.
Though the quality of Syrian forces is regarded as inferior to that of Israel, the deployment of these forces facing the Golan indicates Assad is keeping his military options open.
Nevertheless, Syria continues to exercise great influence in Lebanon. Syria and its allies are believed responsible for a series of assassinations to undermine Lebanese democracy that have eliminated anti-Syrian members of the Lebanese parliament, the most recent attack coming in September 2007. Syria supplied Hezbollah with weapons used in the war fought with Israel in July 2006 and has been resupplying the organization in defiance of the UN since the war ended. Those rockets used in 2006 had ranges of 20 to 60 miles. In April 2010, the U.S. and Israel accused Syria of delivering shipments of long-range Scud missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Scuds have a range of more than 435 miles - placing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel's nuclear installations at risk.
In the last days, the Bible tells us of a horrible series of events that will take place in the lands of Israel and Syria. One of these events is the disappearance of Damascus as one of the premiere cities in the world. The oldest continuously inhabited city on the planet, Damascus has witnessed at least 5,000 years of human history, and some historians believe the city actually dates back to the seventh millennium BC. In fact, Paul was on the road to Damascus when Christ first appeared to Him, an event that transformed not only his life, but the course of human history.
In the very near future, Damascus will once again play a major role in human events. The prophet Isaiah provides us with God’s commentary on a future conflict between Damascus and Israel, and in so doing, he reveals certain prophecies which have been partially fulfilled in the past. However, the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah 17 remains in the future. The current existence of Damascus, which will one day cease to be a city, as well as the historical absence of the coalition of nations prophesied to attack Israel and be destroyed by God, is proof that Isaiah 17 prophesies events yet future.
This is what God revealed to the prophet Isaiah:
“This message came to me concerning Damascus: ‘Look, Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted. Sheep will graze in the streets and lie down unafraid. There will be no one to chase them away. The fortified cities of Israel will also be destroyed, and the power of Damascus will end. The few left in Aram will share the fate of Israel’s departed glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah 17:1-3 (NLT)
These opening verses paint a bleak picture. The city of Damascus will become a heap of ruins, utterly destroyed. Few, if any, buildings will be left standing. The once great city will be devoid of human life and will become home to all manner of wildlife in the absence of humans to chase them away.
According to these verses, the cities of Aroer, which are located on the northern bank of the Arnon River just east of the Dead Sea, will also be deserted. However, the passage doesn’t say they will be destroyed in the same manner as Damascus, just that they will be deserted. It may be that people simply flee these cities out of fear.
In addition, many of the fortified cities in northern Israel will also be destroyed. Those few who remain in Aram, 38 miles south southeast of Damascus, will share the fate of these northern Israeli cities.
“‘In that day the glory of Israel will be very dim, for poverty will stalk the land. Israel will be abandoned like the grain fields in the valley of Rephaim after the harvest. Only a few of its people will be left, like the stray olives left on the tree after the harvest. Only two or three remain in the highest branches, four or five out on the tips of the limbs. Yes, Israel will be stripped bare of people,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel.” Isaiah 17:4-6 (NLT)
The breadth and scope of destruction is clearly illustrated as God describes the Israeli landscape as stripped bare of people. Only a small fraction of people either choose to stay in the land or else survive what is a massive holocaust, leaving only a few inhabitants who struggle in poverty.
“Then at last the people will think of their Creator and have respect for the Holy One of Israel. They will no longer ask their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or burn incense on the altars they built.” Isaiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
As a result of this event, the people of Israel will once again turn to God Almighty. Currently, the nation of Israel is predominantly secular in nature. Other biblical passages infer that this will change as the prophesied rebuilding of the Temple in the last days indicates a spiritual resurgence among the Jews of Israel. Nevertheless, this passage clearly indicates the people of Israel will turn away from all false idols and gods.
Knowing that this will happen, we must ask: why does it happen? The answer is found in the verses that follow:
“Their largest cities will be as deserted as overgrown thickets. They will become like the cities the Amorites abandoned when the Israelites came here so long ago. Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you – the Rock who can hide you. You may plant the finest imported grapevines, and they may grow so well that they blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and incurable pain.” Isaiah 17:9-11 (NLT)
The devastation that overshadows Israel will come about because Israel has “turned from the God who can save them.” All the hard work performed prior to this event will be lost. Those who have been distracted by the things of this world will be disappointed, for they have forgotten God, and by putting faith in the things of this world, they will ultimately be disappointed. Their only harvest will be “a load of grief and incurable pain.” This grief will be brought to a climax when, in the midst of their suffering, the nation of Israel faces an imminent invasion:
“Look! The armies rush forward like waves thundering toward the shore. But though they roar like breakers on a beach, God will silence them. They will flee like chaff scattered by the wind or like dust whirling before a storm. In the evening Israel waits in terror, but by dawn its enemies are dead. This is the just reward of those who plunder and destroy the people of God.” Isaiah 17:12-14 (NLT)
While Syria and Israel lie in ruin, the enemies of Israel will view her suffering as an opportunity to invade, their ultimate goal to destroy her forever. However, God has a different plan in mind, and He will destroy these invaders Himself. A more in depth illustration of this attack is foreseen in Psalm 83:
“O God, don’t sit idly by, silent and inactive! Don’t you hear the tumult of your enemies? Don’t you see what your arrogant enemies are doing? They devise crafty schemes against your people, laying plans against your precious ones. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence.’ This was their unanimous decision. They signed a treaty as allies against you – these Edomites and Ishmaelites, Moabites and Hagrites, Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites, and people from Philistia and Tyre. Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot. Do to them as you did to the Midianites or as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River. They were destroyed at Endor, and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil. Let their mighty nobles die as Oreb and Zeeb did. Let all their princes die like Zebah and Zalmunna, for they said, ‘Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!’ O my God, blow them away like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind! As a fire roars through a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storms; terrify them with your tempests. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord. Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Make them failures in everything they do, until they learn that you alone are called the Lord, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth.” Psalm 83 (NLT)
So how do we know that Psalm 83 describes the same scene envisioned in Isaiah 17? Let’s compare the two. Here’s how the intentions of Israel’s enemies are described:
Plunder & Destruction
“This is the just reward of those who plunder and destroy the people of God.” Isaiah 17:14 (NLT)
“They devise crafty schemes against your people, laying plans against your precious ones. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence.’ This was their unanimous decision.” Psalm 83:3-5 (NLT)
“for they said, ‘Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!” Psalm 83:12 (NLT)
Here’s how the fate of Israel’s enemies are described:
“They will flee like chaff scattered by the wind or like dust whirling before a storm.”
Isaiah 17:13 (NLT)
“O my God, blow them away like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind!” Psalm 83:13 (NLT)
From the description of their fate alone, it is reasonable to conclude that the armies of Isaiah 17:12 are the same nations who sign a treaty against the Lord in Psalm 83:5-8. Below is a list of those nations and their modern geographical equivalents:
Edomites = Jordan / Parts of the West Bank
Ishmaelites = The Arab people
Moabites = Jordan / Parts of the West Bank
Hagrites = Jordan / The Arab people
Gebalites = Lebanon
Ammonites = Jordan
Amalekites = Southern Israel / Gaza
Philistia = Gaza
Tyre = Lebanon
Assyria = Syria / Parts of Turkey and Iraq
The Descendants of Lot = Jordan
By studying the geographical history of these ancient people and places, we can uncover which nations they currently compose. According to Psalm 83, in the aftermath of the destruction of northern Israel and Damascus, Israel will be invaded by armies from Jordan, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza. All of these locations are heavily populated by the enemies of Israel today.
An Expanding War?
But are the nations cited in Psalm 83 the only nations involved in this attack? It’s quite possible that additional conspirators are named in the Book of Ezekiel. Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83 might well foreshadow the war of Gog and Magog.
In Ezekiel 38-39, an enormous coalition of nations, “a vast and awesome horde” – will roll down on Israel “like a storm and cover the land like a cloud” Ezekiel 38:9 (NLT). This prophesied future war in Ezekiel has many similarities to Isaiah 17:12-14. Both prophets foresee a time when enemy armies rush toward Israel while she awaits unprepared. Both prophets foresee God’s instantaneous destruction of Israel’s enemies. And in both scenarios, the marching armies intend to plunder and destroy the people of Israel:
“You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence!” Ezekiel 38:11 (NLT)
“But Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish will ask, ‘Who are you to rob them of silver and gold? Who are you to drive away their cattle and seize their goods and make them poor?’” Ezekiel 38:13 (NLT)
Plunder & Destruction
“This is the just reward of those who plunder and destroy the people of God.” Isaiah 17:14 (NLT)
Could the events predicted in Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83 be a catalyst for the war of Gog and Magog prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39? Although it is not a certainty, the possibility can not be completely ruled out.
Looking at today’s geopolitical landscape, it’s not difficult to envision the scenario outlined in Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83. Syria has been adamant in its demand that Israel surrender the Golan Heights, threatening war if Israel fails to comply. Meanwhile, the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah has apparently convinced leaders in Damascus that Syria can be victorious in a conflict with Israel by simply overwhelming the tiny nation with rocket attacks. From a greater perspective, it has convinced the entire Islamic world that Israel isn’t the militarily invincible nation they once thought.
Syria’s rocket technology is far more advanced than that deployed by Hezbollah, and Syria is known to possess chemical weapons, including the highly lethal VX and Sarin gases. If Syria miscalculates and attacks Israel with these weapons, the Israeli response will be swift and devastating. Israel is armed with nuclear weapons, and if its survival is put in question, it will not hesitate to use them.
If this happens, a mortally wounded Israel will become an irresistible target for her enemies. The surrounding Muslim nations will see an opportunity to destroy her, while Russia will see an opportunity to seize the upper hand in the oil rich Middle East.
Today, the most virulent enemies of Israel reside in the very places named in Psalm 83 – Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jordan, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Syria leadership and its Axis of Evil partners in the city of Damascus.
As of this writing, the conditions are ripe for the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83, paving the way for the rapture of the church and the beginning of the tribulation. In light of such developments, we should zealously preach the Gospel of Christ to all who will listen. For the hour is late, and the return of Christ is near.
Britt Gillette is founder of BrittGillette.Com, a website examining the relationship between bible prophecy and emerging trends in technology. For more information or to sign up for his email alerts, please visit http://www.brittgillette.com
The media buzz claiming Israel is preparing an attack on Iran's suspected nuclear installations has reached a fevered pitch. My information, however, indicates the Jewish state is prepping for a different war, an international effort that could potentially escalate into a direct confrontation with Iran.
If Israel were indeed on the brink of launching air raids on the mullahs, it would not first hold such a public discussion on the matter or leak to the news media the debate about the subject from within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet.
The visible Israeli military preparations, including this week's missile tests, most likely are related to the strong possibility of a U.S.-NATO-led campaign against Israel's Syrian neighbor to the north. The regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad - a key partner to Iran - has been accused of major human rights violations, including "crimes against humanity," in clamping down on a violent insurgency targeting Assad's rule. That uprising is in large part led by Muslim Brotherhood-oriented militants, some reportedly armed by Turkey.
The same "Responsibility to Protect" global doctrine used to justify the U.S.-NATO airstrikes in Libya could be applied to Assad. Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act, as cited by President Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of "war crimes," "genocide," "crimes against humanity" or "ethnic cleansing."
Mass demonstrations were held last week in Syrian insurgent strongholds calling for the international coalition in Libya to deploy in Syria. Damascus officials claimed to me that NATO troops are currently training in Turkey for a Turkish-led NATO invasion of Syria. Separately, informed Middle East security officials said Iran has been inspecting Syrian forces and has been advising Syria about possible Syrian military responses should NATO attack Assad's regime.
The same officials also said Russia recently sold Syria a large quantity of Iskander ballistic missiles and that, in light of the NATO threat, the Russian government renewed its pledge to sell Syria the advanced S-300 anti-missile system.
A Turkish-U.S.-NATO strike would have immediate implications for Israel. The Syrian president has publicly warned foreign intervention in Syria would cause an "earthquake" across the region and create another Afghanistan, while directly threatening the Jewish state.
Assad reportedly made similar comments in a meeting in early October with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu. He was quoted stating, "If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv."
Assad also reportedly warned that "all these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack the U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. and European interests will be targeted simultaneously."
The Syrian president's threats are not empty. His military possesses tens of thousands of rockets and missiles capable of striking every zone within the Jewish state. The Syrian and Iranian-backed Hezbollah is similarly armed and can rain rockets and other projectiles in a combined onslaught with Iran's proxies in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Syria's military is not entirely capable of standing up to NATO. Its strategy, therefore, is to immediately target Israel to create a wider regional offensive that would greatly complicate an international effort to dispel the Assad regime.
Iran could become directly involved in any war. Its Shiite fundamentalist influence in the region is now challenged by the Sunni-led Turkey, which is on the march, attempting to become the Islamic superpower in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Turkey is being aided in its pursuit by the Obama administration.
Iran rightly views the possibility of a Turkish-NATO effort in Syria as a thinly veiled attempt to check its own power by changing the Iranian-backed leadership in Damascus to a Muslim Brotherhood-oriented Turkish partner. If Tehran feels Syria is losing the war effort, Iran could escalate the conflict by attacking U.S. or Israeli interests. In turn, Israel or the U.S. could retaliate by striking Iran.
A "Responsibility to Protect" war in Syria likely would translate into a larger regional war, a clash of Shiite and Sunni superpowers, backed by larger international players, all seeking to remake the Middle East in their interests.
Israel is wise to prepare for the possible coming storm.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the United Nations report on Iran's nuclear program only documents what can be proven, but in reality the terrorist sponsoring nation is far closer to having a nuclear bomb than the report confirms. Reuters reports that Netanyahu said,
"Iran is closer to getting an (atomic) bomb than is thought. Only things that could be proven were written (in the report), but in reality there are many other things that we see."
The UN report has went further than any other in the past decade to confirm that Iran is indeed weaponizing its nuclear program. These are facts that the US and Israel have known for years, but have only been revealed by the UN since a change in leadership.
In 2009, Japan's Yukiya Amano was elected to serve as the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. He replaced Islamist Mohamed El Baradei, who was considered soft on Iran's nuclear development, often emphatically denying that Iran was developing a weapons system, despite intelligence contrary to his position. Amano won the IAEA position over another Islamist, Abdul Samad Minty from South Africa. Minty was positioned to challenge the US and other nuclear powers to disarm. Minty was supported by Arab states. The Jerusalem Post reported in July 2009 that Israel was relieved that Minty did not win the position.
The Post said that Israeli officials thought Minty's relationship with Iran was too cozy. South Africa, where Minty is from, supported Iran because of historical and business relationships, which included Iran providing cheap oil. Under Minty's guidance, South Africa abstained from confirming the 2006 IAEA report on Iran, siding with Islamic nations and Iran by withholding its vote. MSNBC reported in March 2009 that "Support for Amano from the US, Canada, the European Union and others was to an extent less because he was the ideal candidate and more 'because of fears that Minty would become a second El Baradei.'"
It is no coincidence that the recent report on Iranian nukes by the UN's nuclear watchdog had more of the truth in it than El Baradei would have allowed. But according to the Israeli Prime Minister, it still doesn't disclose all that Israeli intelligence knows.
An Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities could have Biblical impact. On one hand, it could devastate Iran's nuclear intentions. On the other hand it could invite counter strikes from Iran or Iran's vassal state, Syria, just North of Israel. A very important end time prophecy is found in Isaiah 17:1, which says,
"Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."
Given the state of circumstances, the world is far closer to this prophetic fulfillment than it was before the UN report on Iran.