Future Prophesies - the Stage is Set (Can Happen Any Day)
DESTRUCTION OF DEMASCUS (ISAIAH 17)
Isaiah 17:1-3, 9 - Proclamation Against Syria and Israel
Is 17:1 The burden against Damascus.
“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap.
2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken;
They will be for flocks Which lie down, and no one will make them afraid.
3 The fortress also will cease from Ephraim,
The kingdom from Damascus, And the remnant of Syria;
They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,” Says the Lord of hosts.
9 In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken bough
And an uppermost branch,
Which they left because of the children of Israel; And there will be desolation.
14 Then behold, at eventide, trouble! And before the morning, he is no more.
This is the portion of those who plunder us, And the lot of those who rob us.
Isaiah 17:1 and 14 tell us that Damascus will be destroyed in a single night
Isaiah 17:9 suggests that the children of Israel are the ones who caused this desolation, possibly with a nuclear weapon.
Jeremiah 49:23-27 - Judgment on Damascus
Jer 49:23 Against Damascus.
“Hamath and Arpad are shamed, For they have heard bad news.
They are fainthearted; There is trouble on the sea; It cannot be quiet.
24 Damascus has grown feeble; She turns to flee, And fear has seized her.
Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor.
25 Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy?
26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day,” says the Lord of hosts.
27 “I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.”
Pastor JD talks about the prophecy against Damascus, Syria in the verse-by-verse study through the book of Isaiah and how it relates to what’s happening today in the Middle East.
About the time of the end the biblical prophet Ezekiel tells of a future invasion of Israel by a vast coalition of nations, known as the battle of Gog and Magog, we find this in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. As we read the headlines in the newspapers of today, and witness the conflicts in the Middle East, it’s not hard to imagine that this invasion prophesied over 2600 years ago, could be fulfilled in the immediate future. Ezekiel 36-37 predicts a gathering of the Jews to the nation of Israel, which will be followed by this massive invasion. For 19 centuries, the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world, and until May 14, 1948, there was no nation of Israel to invade. With the nation of Israel now a reality, the stage seems set for the war that will usher in the tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist; a war that will end with the destruction of Israel’s enemies by God Himself, and lead to the signing of a peace treaty with the Antichrist.
As you read Ezekiel 38 and 39, it isn’t just the creation of the nation of Israel that makes this prophecy seem likely to be fulfilled in the near future. The nations that God tells us will form this coalition against Israel seem more likely now than perhaps ever before to form just such an alliance.” The leaders of this coalition will be Russia and Iran, and currently both of these nations are right on Israel’s doorstep, under the pretense of battling ISIS in Syria. I believe that there are a couple of unfulfilled prophecies that will lead-up to this massive invasion of Israel, and as we read today’s headlines, we find that the fulfillment of these two prophesied events, could happen very soon…
Destruction of Damascus & the Coming Invasion :: By Vanessa Panas
In part one of this series, I wrote about the coming Psalm 83 war – Edom (Palestinians/Jordanians) attacking His brother Jacob (Israel). This will no doubt leave the rest of the Muslim world enraged. I believe the destruction of Damascus will be very close to the Psalm 83 war prophesied. As the Edomites come closer to entering Jerusalem, Erdogan comes closer to entering Damascus, with Iraq in his sight. This is part two of my series, the destruction of Damascus and the coming Ezekiel 38 war.
Damascus is the world’s oldest continually inhabited city in the world. The Bible says Damascus will be destroyed overnight. Since this has never happened, we know it’s a prophetic future event. There has been a war raging in Syria for 7 years, and yet the city of Damascus has gone relatively unscathed. Assad still runs his government from Damascus.
Isaiah 17:1-3 “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; They will be for flocks which lie down, and no one will make them afraid. The fortress also will cease from Ephraim, the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Damascus was one of the first cities to receive Christianity during the ministry of Apostle Paul. There were more Christians in Damascus than anywhere else in the world at the time of the apostles. It was on the road to Damascus that Paul was blinded by Jesus. He saw and heard Jesus ask him why he was persecuting Him.
Paul, who was Saul before his conversion, was a fierce persecutor of Christians. He also approved the first stoning of a Christian, Steven, whom the apostles appointed as a deacon in the early church.
Acts 7:57:58 “…they all rushed at him (Stephen), dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul….” And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
After this event, Saul began his persecution. Saul began to seek out Christians from house to house, dragging off men and women to put them in prison.
Who does this today – drags Christians from their homes to imprison or kill them? Muslims. Saul was no different than a Muslim who persecutes Christians today, until he was blinded and truly able to see by the Messiah Himself. Saul, like Muslims, took up the sword to punish Christians. So it’s not hard to see Jewish men in the first century having a fierce hatred towards Christians. The Jews felt that the Christians were blaspheming their God by claiming Him as the Christians’ God, not only for the Jewish people but salvation for the Gentiles.
Acts 22:4-5 “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.”
Saul’s persecutions led to the death of Christian men and women living in and near Jerusalem. His hatred was fierce. While these men and women were imprisoned, he went through their letters and found other Christians living in Damascus. So he decided to set out. But something happened. God chose Saul, the persecutor of His people, to spread His Word. Jesus came to him, asking why he was persecuting Him. Saul’s conversion began.
He was blinded, but then he was truly able to see when he reached Damascus. When God removed his blindness, He removed his hardened heart. His hatred for Christians left with his blindness. The fierce hunter of Christians became a fierce warrior for Christ. The hunter also soon became the hunted. Saul was now Paul, fearless in the eyes of all men in his pursuit to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts 9:20-22 “At once he (Paul of Tarsus) began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, ‘Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?’ Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.”
The Jewish people could not understand this. A Jew that hunted Christians is now telling them he is a Christian?
Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus changed the course of human history. Paul was both Roman and Jewish. God chose him to begin teaching salvation through Jesus Christ to all men, Gentile and Jew. Much of what Paul wrote in the New Testament is believed to have been written while he was imprisoned. About 25% of the NT is written by Paul. It was through Paul that the Gentiles were first hearing the gospel, and it was Paul that admonished the other apostles for not including the Gentiles in all things Christ.
The Christian roots of Damascus have long been forgotten. Unlike today, where people question the very existence of Jesus, the disciples weren’t trying to prove the existence of Jesus; they were proving the divinity of Jesus. They were proving He was the Messiah, the living Son of God. There was no question He existed and no question He changed the world. It wasn’t until the last couple of centuries that His existence really started to be questioned.
Syria played a vital role in the spread of Christianity. Today, it plays a vital role in terrorism. Today, there are many “Saul’s” persecuting Christians.
Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, has been under siege and held by the rebel forces since 2011, until this month. The Syrian army recently defeated the rebels and took Eastern Ghouta back. This is the first time Assad’s army has controlled Eastern Ghouta in six years.
Two weeks ago there was a chemical weapons attack that allegedly killed several dozen, including children. The question is why and who? Why would Assad, who just had a decisive victory, use chemical weapons? It doesn’t add up, I’m afraid.
The US, France and Britain strike on the chemical facilities in Syria, I’m willing to bet, is the spark that will lead to the destruction of Damascus and World War 3.
This gives Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan all the more reason to march towards Damascus in the name of rooting out terrorists. The rebels have been unable to seize Damascus and have just lost Eastern Ghouta. The Turkish military under Erdogan won’t be so easy to beat. Erdogan has his eyes on Israel. He has been very vocal about this, but is still a member of NATO. This leads me to believe this is why the other nations will suddenly stop and ask, wait, where are you going? He is going to Israel.
Ezekiel 38:13 “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all its villages, shall say unto you, Have you come to take plunder? have you gathered your company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”
Sheba and Dedan are in Saudi Arabia. Tarshish is believed by many to be Western Europe (think Brexit!), and the young lions I believe to be the United States. The U.S. has protected Israel and will continue to protect Israel and her interests. Surprisingly, Saudi Arabia is allied with Israel, just as prophesied.
The nations with the most hatred against Israel are now fully engaged in Syria. If the world was a Risk board-game, we would see one giant buildup in Syria from every nation in the world. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is leading the anti-Israeli rhetoric.
After recent remarks by Erdogan about marching to Jerusalem and accusing Israel of murdering Palestinian children, Benjamin Netanyahu replied, “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran get around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people.”
“That is not the man who is going to lecture us,” he added.
Erdogan is reviving the Ottoman Empire. He is threatening Israel. And his invasion of Syria has also put Iraq on his radar. The Gog Magog war will be led by Turkey.
Magog was the son of Japheth, who was the son of Noah. After Noah’s flood, Magog and his brothers settled in modern-day Turkey, not Russia. Gog is simply the name of the land that Magog settled. The name is in the genealogies of Genesis 10:1-3 and 1 Chron. 1:5-6.
In Bible prophecy, Magog represents the leader of Turkey.
When Assyria attacked Israel, there were two separate kingdoms within Israel. Northern Israel was headquartered in Samaria, and southern Israel, or Judah, in Jerusalem. The proposed peace plans have all included two separate “kingdoms” – a “two-state” solution. The last time Israel was divided within itself, the Jewish people were invaded, slaughtered and carried off into slavery by the “Assyrians.” Israel is going to divide again, in the name of peace, and the “Assyrian” has just invaded Syria again. Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Assyria included parts of Northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran. Erdogan is gaining power and is planning his united “Islamic army” to invade Israel. Not only are we seeing the nations of the Ezekiel 38 war starting to build up all over Syria, the Psalm 83 nations are amassing on the Israeli border in what they are calling “the right of return.” May 15 is approaching, and the riots on the Gaza border are getting more violent. Will the 70th anniversary of Israel’s rebirth be the beginning of Daniels 70th week?
If the inner circle of nations do indeed invade Israel’s border fence, there will be a massive response from Israel. The world doesn’t seem to care what is happening in Syria. The U.N. doesn’t care how many children die in Syria. One Palestinian death, Hamas related or not, is worth more to the international community than all of the dead children in Syria.
I strongly believe the Psalm 83 war will precede the Ezekiel war. The destruction of Damascus may very well happen in the coming days. Whatever peace covenant Israel makes will be canceled.
Isaiah 28:14-16, 18 “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, O scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.’
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed… Your covenant with death will be canceled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand; When the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you become its trampling.”
I believe the Psalm 83 war is what brings a false, temporary peace to Israel. It will halt Erdogan now, but this simply gives him more time to acquire his Islamic army from many nations, as mentioned in the Bible. Israel being victorious will enrage much of the Muslim world.
Ezekiel 38:11 says Israel will feel secure and be living in safety when they are attacked by this coalition. This cannot be said right now. In EZEKIEL 38:13 is where the other nations will question the true motives. The Palestinian motives are already known.
In Ezekiel 39:9, Israel (IDF) is clearly victorious because they will burn their enemies’ weapons for seven years as energy and fuel. If this was Armageddon, then you have to explain why they would burn these weapons for energy and fuel when God’s presence, in all His glory, is what illuminates the new Holy City. Ezekiel 39:9 is a reference to nuclear energy Israel will use as their own. Are these seven years the same as the tribulation’s seven years? The first half is safety and peace, and the second half brings destruction.
1 Thess. 5:3 “For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
Turkish President Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met together this month over Syria. The pope has met with all three. Why is a religious leader meeting privately with world leaders that call for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people? These are not average world leaders. These are the strongest military forces in the region. Two are anti-Christianity, Iran and Turkey, as they both deny Jesus Christ and imprison Christians!
These wars are going to be something we haven’t seen in our lifetime. What better time is there for a one-world religion than after two massive “religious” wars? To bring all religions and nations together in order to prevent another slaughter in the Holy Land.
Ezekiel 39:11-12 says that the dead will be buried over a period of seven months. There would be no need to bury the dead if this war is what brings Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.
Immediately after Satan’s final rebellion, talked about in Revelation, is the Great White Throne of judgment (20:11-15)
I believe the Psalm 83 war will bring in the signing of a peace deal between Israel, Erdogan and an Islamic coalition. Who better to help negotiate a religion of peace than the pope? The signing of the peace deal will begin the seven-year tribulation.
After the Psalm 83 war and the peace treaty, Israel will remain a sovereign state, but they will feel safe. For a time. It’s during the time of safety that the temple will be rebuilt. Jews do not believe their Messiah can come without this temple. It’s hard to picture the Palestinians letting them build this temple peacefully. But for three and one half years they will have peace.
During this time Erdogan and surrounding nations will continue to plot against Israel.
There is one nation Jesus said held the seat of Satan, and that is Turkey. Psalm 83 must happen first because, during the Ezekiel invasion, Israel will be living securely. Right now, they are anything but secure.
Revelation 2:13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is….”
An interesting note is there’s no mention of Satan in Ezekiel 38-39, but he is in Revelation. Satan has used many kingdoms and kings throughout history to slaughter the Jews and Christians and to take the Holy Land.
The names may have changed but the people and places are the same. Antioch is where the first Gentile Church was built. The evidence for Christianity throughout Syria is evident. Syria was an important and vital country for the spread of Christianity in the first century.
During the Ottoman Empire, Christians were plundered and then killed or forced to convert. Once a major hub for trade, Damascus has indeed grown feeble.
Jeremiah 49:24 “Damascus has grown feeble; She turns to flee, and fear has seized her. Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor.”
My understanding of God’s word is that Damascus’ falling and Psalm 83 will happen relatively close together in time.
Ezekiel 35:10:11 “Because you have said, ‘These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess them,’ although the LORD was there, ‘therefore, as I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I will do according to your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them; and I will make Myself known among them when I judge you.’”
Israel being victorious over Jordan and the Palestinians will enrage the Muslim world; they are going to want blood and swift revenge. They will begin their plotting and planning, and then something happens. Pope Francis possibly steps in performing miracles and merges all religions. But the Muslims won’t do that, you say? The similarities between Islam and Catholicism are astounding. I have outlined these similarities in previous articles. These two religions make up almost 3 billion people worldwide. After the massive loss of life in Israel and Jordan, the people will beg for peace.
Daniel 9:27 “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”
Could it be that the pope will help broker this peace treaty? The pope is certainly shocking his fellow Catholics with the blasphemous things that he says, such as atheists can go to heaven without belief. This is not true, and they are being condemned to hell, by God, through a major religious leader’s words. I have a hard time accepting that Christians and Jews will bow down to Erdogan as God. I can see weak Christians and the Jewish people waiting for their messiah, believing in a false messiah though.
The false prophet and Antichrist will begin the worst persecution of Christians and Jews that the world has ever experienced. Christians throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East have been under a systematic Islamic genocide since the start of the Syrian war. As the world watches Syria, Nigeria has been slaughtering Christians by the thousands and demolishing villages.
Matthew 24:21 “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Pope Francis has slowly been delegitimizing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He is now denying the existence of hell. Pope Francis called Jesus Christ a failure, yet we know He is victorious.
One end-time Islamic teaching is that Jesus will return and will declare himself a Muslim. I can easily see the pope claiming to be a Muslim. They also believe all other religions will be destroyed. Crosses will all be destroyed. The Muslim messiah will pursue the Islamic “Antichrist” into Israel to defeat him. They believe a “great” beast will rise that calls the world to worship Allah. Their messiah (Mahdi) is our Antichrist; our Antichrist is their Messiah.
We don’t know exactly how things are going to unfold, but we know these things will happen. Since the moment President Trump announced the embassy move, prophecy has spiraled towards World War 3. As Christians, we know these things must take place before the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior. As Christians, we see the signs; we know Jacob’s trouble is near. Stay strong and faithful in God’s word. Be like Paul—a fearless warrior for Christ!
Matthew 24:4-9 “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
Isaiah 17 & Ezekiel 38 in the News :: By Todd Hampson
The Stage Won’t Be Un-Set: Isaiah 17 & Ezekiel 38 in the News
Bible prophecy has significant relevance to our life today—to gently wake the bride (the church) to the season in which we find ourselves.
Many prophecy experts think that the sudden destruction of Damascus will be the catalyst that triggers Ezekiel 38. These 2600+ year-old prophecies have not been fulfilled as of yet. Damascus, though ravaged by the Syrian Civil War, still stands and still has people living there.
In fact, recent news reports inform us that Iran is setting up shop in Damascus and has been laying the groundwork for a highway from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea—in essence building a caliphate with clearly stated plans to destroy Israel.
Recent (within the past year) airstrikes by Israel against weapons convoys (gifts from Iran to Hezbollah) and an Iranian-built missile factory near Damascus, along with the recent news of an Iranian buildup in Damascus, makes one wonder how close we are to Isaiah 17. We’re not told who destroys Damascus and how it is destroyed, but surrounding verses suggest it’s during conflict with Israel.
Given the current events we see unfolding and the knowledge that caches of chemical weapons are very likely stored in and around Damascus, the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy seems to be nearing. With ISIS contained and the Syrian Civil War brought to a low simmer, Russian and Iranian attention seems to be turning southward toward the mountains of Israel.
For my fellow prophecy students and ministries, here’s what I’m getting to. I had always wondered about the logic behind the fact that Ezekiel 38 involved nations that were at least one country removed from Israel’s borders, yet they attack with ground forces from Israel’s north.
In other words, the attack would have to come from Syria, but Syria is not listed as one of the attackers. If the stage is indeed being set for Isaiah 17 (Vs. 1, Vs. 14) and Ezekiel 38 (and I believe it is), then the Syrian Civil War has served to allow Russia and Iran to form their long-prophesied and unprecedented partnership and presence in the mountains north of Israel. Syria is not listed as an attacker because she is powerless and a puppet regime being held up only by Russia and Iran, who are calling all shots.
Another interesting thing is that Russia’s “hook in the jaw” now takes many possible forms. Trying to establish her presence in the Middle East has been sheer pragmatism by Russia, who desires to reassert her former strength. But in order to maintain her grip, she would instantly be pulled into major conflict if Israel preemptively strikes or retaliates against Iran’s growing presence in Damascus. Russia’s need to control the area may also give her greedy eyes related to Israel’s recent massive oil and gas discoveries. These and several other factors could serve as the hook in the jaw that drags Russia into leading the attack.
We can speculate about the nature of the hook in the jaw, but there is no doubt we are seeing the ground work laid for the relatively soon fulfillment of these ancient prophecies.
When you stop and think about the possibility of current events taking shape exactly as foretold in Scripture, and that they (particularly Ezekiel 38) are end-time prophecies, you realize how close we may be to the rapture—which I believe will happen just before or during these coming events.
I don’t see any way possible that current conditions could deescalate. In other words, the stage will not be un-set. Developments may move quickly, or slowly, but at some point the fulfillment of these prophecies will occur—and we are watching the stage being set daily.
Add this to the convergence of other signs (i.e. mass shootings, record-breaking natural disasters, etc.) and you may find yourself looking up a bit more often. For the watching eye and the waiting heart, it’s clear we’re in the season of the Lord’s return.
The Slow Motion Fulfillment of Isaiah 17 :: by Jack Kelley
“See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid” (Isaiah 17:1-2).
Isaiah 17 is an oracle concerning Damascus that was partially fulfilled when the Assyrians conquered Aram in 732 BC and 10 years later conquered the breakaway Northern Kingdom of Israel.
It’s the portion of Isaiah 17 that were not fulfilled that concern us today, and the most obvious one is the fact that Damascus has never been reduced to a heap of ruins. Although the city has been conquered several times it has yet to be destroyed like the prophecy of Isaiah 17:1-2 requires.
Damascus has proved to be a most resilient city. It was conquered by the Israelites (1000 BC), the Assyrians (732 BC), the Babylonians (606 BC), the Persians (530 BC), the Greeks (330 BC), the Nabateans (85 BC), the Romans (63 BC), the Byzantines (634 AD), the Mamelukes (1250 AD) and the Ottoman Turks (1516 AD). But the city itself has always survived and is now claimed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world with a 5,000 year history. Its current population is close to 2 million, yet Isaiah 17:1-2indicates that it will one day cease to exist.
Maybe This Time?
Ever since the Syrian civil war began in 2011 students of prophecy have been looking for the complete fulfillment of Isaiah 17. Several times in the 4 years since then it has appeared as if the destruction of Damascus was imminent, but each time the city was spared.
It’s important to remember in all of this that as far as Isaiah 17 is concerned, it’s not enough for the Assad government to be deposed. For Isaiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled, Damascus has to become an uninhabitable ruin.
In the current go around, it’s being said that the only reason Isaiah 17 has not been fulfilled is because of the support it enjoys from Iran and its client Hezbollah, and the indecisiveness of the Obama Administration. Pres. Obama has wavered back and forth, sometimes favoring the Assad government, sometimes helping the rebels, establishing red lines, and then failing to act when those red lines were crossed. Middle Eastern allies are understandably upset by this inconsistency and there are rumors that the US has been told to stay on the sidelines while they sort the Syrian situation out.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, who are determined to see Assad gone, have been providing massive support to the rebel Jabhat al Nusra Front (freshly renamed the Muslim Army of Conquest to disguise their al Qaeda affiliation) who are fighting against both the Syrian army and ISIS.
Being forced to fight on five different fronts simultaneously, the Syrian Army is losing heart and battlefield desertions are on the increase. Beleaguered on all sides and having just given up another major airbase, the army no longer has the mobility necessary to maintain the defense of the country and is regrouping around Damascus.
DEBKAfile reports that just a week after losing the big Palmyra air base to the Islamic State – and with it large stocks of ammo and military equipment – Syrian military and air units have began pulling out of their base at Deir ez-Zour, Bashar Assad’s last military stronghold in eastern Syria.) Some observers say if the current trend continues Assad will soon have insufficient troops to even defend Damascus.
Watch for Something Big
Therefore we are once again at a point where it looks as if the Assad government is about to fall. But just this week Iran alerted the world to look for “major events” in Syria in the days to come. This has been interpreted as an announcement that a large scale intervention by Iran on Syria’s behalf is coming soon. Iran has apparently been persuaded that, without direct Iranian military involvement, its ally could go under at any moment.
Some sources speculate that Iran may have asked its client Hezbollah to re-direct some of the 80,000 rockets and missiles it claims to have pointed at Israel and use them instead against the Syrian rebels and ISIS to halt their progress against the Syrian Army. It also appears likely that a significant deployment of Iranian troops will soon be airlifted to Syria to bolster the disheartened Assad forces. Reports out of Lebanon indicate that up to 15,000 Iranian troops are already on their way to Syria.
So it appears the next round in the slow motion fulfillment of Isaiah 17 will involve Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey actively supporting the rebels, with Iran, what’s left of the Syrian Army, and Hezbollah defending the Assad regime. Then there’s the wild card ISIS, that actually controls about half the country, against all of them. (Russia has evacuated the personnel it brought in to support the Syrian Army. This has been seen as their disengagement from a deteriorating situation. Time will tell.)
It Won’t Be Over Until It’s Over
Most observers believe that even if the Assad government is toppled, fighting among the various factions will continue for the foreseeable future. So unless there is some kind of unexpected major escalation we’re probably not going to see the total destruction of Damascus any time soon.
But on a day when the Lord has determined, Damascus will be destroyed. He who knows the end from the beginning and from ancient times what is still to come will bring about what He has said, and will do what He has planned (Isaiah 46:10-11).
At this point, that seems to be the only certainty in the slow motion fulfillment of Isaiah 17. But while He knows the future we don’t, and He could choose to act any day, so we’d better stay tuned.