Breaking News From 701 BC

Breaking News From 701 BC
Vol: 129 Issue: 23 Saturday, June 23, 2012

The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. – Isaiah 17:1 c. 701 BC

US Concerned About Israeli Strike on Damascus”  – The Drudge Report, June 23, 2012

According to the report by Bill Gertz, US intelligence agencies are expecting Israel to attack Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons in order to keep them out of the hands of Hezbollah or al-Qaeda.

Gertz quotes an unnamed official who said Syria’s arsenal is vulnerable to capture by Syrian rebel forces.  Is that a bad thing?

Here in the West, we tend to pick sides with one side being the bad guys and the other side being the good guys.

Bashar al Assad is responsible for the deaths of more than ten thousand of his countrymen, women and children, most of whom were murdered in cold-blooded massacres.  Bashar al Assad is a very, very bad man heading a very, very bad regime of corrupt murderers.

But because Assad is a very bad man, it does not necessarily follow that Syrian rebel forces are the good guys. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” only works until the mutual enemy is defeated.

The rebel forces fighting Assad include what we’d think of “good guys” side-by-side with a veritable Who’s Who of Islamic Terror Groups from across the region. 

So a victory for the Syrian rebels does not necessarily mean good news for either Israel OR Syria.  It all depends on who ends up in charge. 

We have one OL member presently living in Damascus who keeps me updated on events from his perspective.  

In summary, it is this: Assad is a brutal monster.  Our brother has had to move around to avoid the massacres, since he is from Hom.  So he has no love for the Assad regime, but Assad kept the peace.

For him — and for his family — life was better before the uprising than since.  What comes after is unknown, but it is almost sure to be worse, especially for Christians.

That said, Israel is looking across the Golan at Syria’s immense stockpile of chemical and biological weapons in Damascus, a mere 135 miles away.

“Recent statements by senior Israeli military officials prompted U.S. concerns over an Israeli strike on Syria. Senior officials in Israel told the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that if Syria’s army gave chemical weapons to Hezbollah or other terrorists an Israeli attack would be needed.

The newspaper reported May 31 that Israel failed to prevent Syria’s transfer of M-600 rockets to Hezbollah and the weapons can now threaten central Israel. One military source was quoted as saying that mistake would not be repeated.”

But Israel is not the only country putting a bulls-eye around Damascus, following the Syrian shoot-down of a Turkish warplane.  Syria confirmed that the plane was taken down by Syrian antiaircraft gunners after the Turkish plane entered Syrian airspace.

Published reports suggest the US-made F4 Super Phantom was brought down by a Russian SA-11, a Russian made  self-propelled medium range missile Damascus recently acquired from Moscow. 

A report in Debkafile suggests that the Turkish plane may well have been shot down by a Russian gunner:

“Since the sophisticated weapons were delivered to the Assad regime in recent weeks, it must be assumed that local missile crews had not finished training in their use and would have had to rely on help from their Russian instructors to fire one.”

“This would be the first instance in the 15-month Syrian uprising of an advanced Russian-supplied weapon hitting the military target of a NATO member. Hence the comment from Washington by US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland who said: “We’ve seen the reports… We have obviously been in contact with our Turkish ally…. To my knowledge, they haven’t raised this at NATO at this point.”

Turkey is a full member of NATO.  Under NATO’s Article Five, an attack on any NATO member state is deemed by treaty to be an attack on all member states. 

When the United States was attacked in 2001, it invoked Article Five, which obligated NATO to take part in the War in Afghanistan and against al-Qaeda.

Should Turkey invoke Article Five, it would bring NATO into the conflict with Syria.  And bring the United States face-to-face with Russia.


 “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.” (Isaiah 17:12-13)

The UN sent in Kofi Annan with instructions to implement a ceasefire between the rebels and the Syrian government.  It sent in 300 UN monitors to prevent the wanton massacre of civilians. 

Last week, Major-General Robert Mood suspended their work and withdrew the monitors before they became victims.

The Russians are supplying Damascus with weapons and material support and full of bluster.  Iran is supplying Hezbollah in support of Assad.  

But in the end, Moscow isn’t going to go to war with the United States over Syria.  Neither is Tehran.

How do I know?  The Bible tells me so.

The Bible forecasts two distinct and separate conflicts involving Israel in the last days.  From our perspective, they are conflicts.  From the Bible’s perspective, they are judgments against the participants.

The first conflict we’ll call the Psalms 83 or, Edomite War.  The second is the Gog Magog War.  The first settles the conflict between the descendents of Jacob (Israel) and the descendants of his brother, Esau (Edom).  

The Bible says that God will use this conflict to judge Edom for his treatment of Jacob.  War is messy and tends to escalate far beyond its original boundaries.  But God’s judgments are controlled and precise and specific to those under judgment for a specific reason.

Note the combatants in the Edomite War:

“Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot” (Psalms 83:6-8)

We outlined a Who’s Who of the Psalms 83 conflict in this OL report from 2010.  But in quick summary, every single combatant against Israel in this conflict is an Edomite facing God’s judgement.  The Prophet Isaiah said that when it comes, it will come swiftly.

After the UN has been routed and all the nations flee the scene, “like a rolling wind before the whirlwind”,  Isaiah says of Damascus’s destruction;

“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.” (Isaiah 17:14)

The Bible forecasts a second conflict involving Israel in the last days — this time, a judgment against an entity that Ezekiel calls Gog, “and all his hordes.”  This is an entirely different conflict than the one forecast by Isaiah or in Psalms 83.  

In this conflict, one finds Gog (Russia) allied with Persia (Iran) and Togarmah and Gomer (Turkey) and the various Muslim ‘Stans of the old Soviet Union.  There are three things I want to highlight at this point.

Note first that ALL the combatants in both wars are predominately Islamic — except Russia, which is officially godless.  There are no culturally Christian nations listed among them.  

Secondarily, notice that there are no Arab (Edomite) states numbered among the Gog-Mago allies.

Third, the Edomite War comes as a culmination of years of sustained conflict and constant attacks leveled at the children of Israel, primarily over possession of the Temple Mount.  There is no sense of a sneak attack under the guise of peace.   

The Gog Magog war is a sneak attack upon Israel at a time when Israel is a land of unwalled villages, living in peace and safety.  The only Edomite nations mentioned as still standing, Sheba and Dedan, decide to sit this war out.

The whole purpose of today’s column is to highlight the incredible accuracy of Bible prophecy together with the comfort that understanding its message is intended to bring.  The thing we humans fear the most is the unknown. 

Will Russia and America go to war over Syria? (No)  Will humanity survive? (Yes)  Will Israel win? (Yes) We have the answers to these questions right at our fingertips. 

We know that BECAUSE Bible prophecy is unfolding precisely as outlined, it means that we are eyewitness/participants in the unfolding Plan of God for the Ages.  So none of this is random chance.

God is still on His Throne, and He is still in total control.  Bible prophecy assures us that no matter how crazy things seem, we have THIS certain knowledge:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

The “called according to His purpose.”  That would be us.

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” (Proverbs 3:25-26)


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About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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