“THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS”
Today, December 30, 2004, the Fox News Channel had a lengthy discussion with military leaders and pundits regarding Syria’s persistent encouragement of the current insurgency plaguing Operation Iraqi Freedom. It appeared they had been reading virtually all the contents of this four-part series!
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to check out the geopolitical tea leaves and come up with that one; does it? Yet, the next geopolitical development prophesied in Holy Writ should come as no surprise; not if you understand the message of Isaiah 17 and 18.
Scoffers, however (and we include amongst the secularists many a “dear brother and sister in the Lord”), insist that the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent Tsunami Waves which struck throughout the Indian Ocean region are just a happenchance phenomenon that occurs every 100 years—and that such occurrences are made worse by population growth, etc.
Likewise, do they scorn the notion that “wars and rumors of wars” have occurred from time immemorial. Further, that “false Christs” and the “spirit of Antichrist” have plagued humanity for centuries. Indeed, the Biblical prophecies are simply a hodgepodge of generalities that fit whatever situation you desire!
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26). Little do these “antidepressants” realize that they are fulfilling prophecy by maintaining such a superlative attitude!
But can the prophets so clearly forecast the immediate demise of Syria? Speak of Israel’s military alliance with the pre-positioned forces of “the prince who is to come”—leader of the “Mystery Nation/People” of Isaiah 18?
Do Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jesus, Paul and John (among others) tell of the upcoming and imminent “Syrian Regime Change” (affecting Lebanon and the disillusionment of the Palestinian Authority)?
We contend that they do and that the struggle within Christendom once again revolves around the theological tectonic plates which collide with each other time and again: “Spiritualization” methods of hermeneutics, popularized by Origen and Augustine, and embraced by both the Catholic Church and most Reformational Churches, as well as Liberal Christianity and “Kingdom Now” Evangelicalism—stands in stark theological contrast to evangelicals who embrace “Biblical Literalism” which de facto ascribes to the Messianic Scenario by D. R. Shearer and recently released through the tribnet blog.
Yes, the battle lines have always been drawn—but Israel’s MATERIALITY changes the eschatological equation! That’s what disturbs so many “spiritualized brethren” among us.
This series will bring you face to face with the immediate upsurge of Radical Islamic Fundamentalism/Nationalism which will take place shortly after Syria’s demise: The Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (as well as Isaiah 17:12 and Daniel 11:40-45).
The occupation of virtually the entire Levant by the USA-led “Coalition of the Willing” will join with Israel in a DEFENSE PACT that will precipitate this conflict and/or immediately thereafter what once stood as a “Memorandum of Understanding” between Israel and the USA, will become a full-blown TREATY WITH DEATH AND HELL (Isa. 28:15, 18; Dan. 9:27).
The All-Islamic Federation of both nations north of Israel (“King of the North”) and south of Israel (“King of the South”) will mount a concerted PINCER ATTACK on BOTH the forces of the West and Israel and will be resoundingly defeated! The Bible makes it abundantly clear that in this onslaught, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and virtually all nations in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula will NOT align themselves with this All-Islamic Federation. Instead, Iran, Turkey, and other Islamic peoples south of Russia, as well as Egypt, the Sudan and Libya will head up the “Southern Islamic Federation” of peoples allied with the “King of the North.”
You will more clearly understand the prophetical timing of these events and the theological debate surrounding the interpretation of the Scriptures . . . we encourage you to study the Word of God yourself to see if these things be so . . . God bless you in your pursuit of the Truth!
“THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS . . . .
CATALYST FOR THE GOG-MAGOG WAR
MOSUL ATTACK HIGHLIGHTS SYRIAN CONNECTION
As the full report of American casualties came in from Mosul’s al-Ghizlani military camp (a.k.a. Forward Operating Base Marez) on Dec. 21, 2004—with the death toll now at 22 and figures of the wounded soaring—resemblance of Israel’s trauma stalked the American military: SUICIDE BOMBER! SHADES OF THE SUICIDE BOMBING BY HEZBOLLAH IN LEBANON (the Marine Barracks, 1983)!
The Taliban-style/linked terrorist group, Ansar al-Sunnah—the same fundamentalist group responsible for beheading 12 Nepalese hostages—claimed responsibility. But the dirty little story behind all this is Syrian involvement—alleged or otherwise, SYRIA WILL TAKE THE RAP!
Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, and every neocon “out there” (and, of course, the Israelis) have been decrying Syria’s funding, training, “warehousing,” and coddling of the Iraqi insurgents, Iraqi Baathist leadership, and, most certainly, every Osama, Abu, and Yassir terrorist clique in the world! The “Road to Damascus” is paved with terror—and America will not easily forget the source from whence it flows:
“‘The people of the region will receive [America] with rifles, blood, arms, martyrdom and martyrdom operations,’ Nasrallah (Shiite Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah) said in a speech delivered a week before the war (in Iraq) began. His remarks were broadcast on Al Manar, the group's Beirut-based satellite television station.
“‘In the past, when the Marines were in Beirut we screamed, ‘Death to America!’ Nasrallah said. ‘Today, when the region is being filled with hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, ‘Death to America!’ was, is and will stay our slogan.’
“Hezbollah's renewed focus on America has sharpened the long-standing debate among U.S. officials over whether the United States can, and should, go after the group. Some believe that a showdown has been overdue since 1983, when the group blew up the U.S. Embassy and a Marine barracks in Beirut. The attacks killed more than 300 people (Note: Hezbollah is based in Syrian-occupied Lebanon and is supported “officially” by both the Shiite Mullahs of Iran and Syrian largess.).”
Sooner, rather than later, SYRIAN STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM must be stopped—so why not NOW? These two articles will unravel—from a geo-political construct and an eschatological paradigm—the Gordian knot of Syria’s entanglements and how the West (primarily the USA and her anxious ally, Israel) intend to—once and for all—free the Middle East from Islamic terrorism’s grip! Also, we will examine just why the US deems such an immediate endeavor plausible and why Israel’s enthusiasm—along with her neocon/Christian Right allies—demand it.
IRAQ = SYRIA = GOG-MAGOG = “TREATY WITH DEATH AND HELL” – A Biblical backdrop . . .
Note: These series of articles will confirm that Syria has and will become the catalyst that will set off the Gog-Magog multi-national conflagration. Syrian’s complicity in allegedly harboring, training and funding the Iraqi insurgency will be the reason used by both the Bush Administration and the Sharon Government as the next step in DEMOCRATIZING THE MIDDLE EAST (i.e., “Subduing Syria”).
Israeli/USA outrage over Syria’s tolerance and support for virtually all major terrorist organizations in the region (Including: Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Al Fatah, AMAL, and scores of other terrorist cells/orgs. like Ansar al-Sunnah, who receive training, refuge, funding, directly or indirectly through Syrian “official complicity”) can no longer be tolerated by “the civilized world.”
In particular, Israel will play a MAJOR ROLE in eliminating Syria’s military and, ipso facto, the elaborate network of terror organizations through Lebanon and Syria. The “Palestinian Authority” will be consigned, as a result of the collapse of Syrian “resistance” against Israel, to irrelevance and possible expulsion from Israeli “territory” or face humiliating compliance to all Israeli political aspirations in the region.
A cacophony of “incidents” and “confirmations” against Syria will enflame anti-Syrian rhetoric until THE SYRIAN CARD DROPS! Once Syria is “democratized,” the US will formalize a DEFENSE PACT with Israel, guaranteeing her security in the event of further “efforts to destabilize the region.” This AGREEMENT will act as a MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING whereby nations who concur with its principals and procedures will be invited to initial THE ACCORD, thereby supporting a new status quo for the Greater Middle East.
This will immediately exacerbate Islamic passions throughout the Middle East. A “Northern Alliance,” headed by Iran (including Turkey), and a “Southern Alliance,” headed by Egypt (and known in the Bible in the north as Gog-Magog (“King of the North”) and in the south as the “King of the South”)), will “come up against” US forces in Iraq, as well as the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) primarily in Israel (although both USA/IDF forces by then, will virtually be under joint command and scattered throughout Syria/Lebanon (i.e., the whole of the Levant)).
Furthermore, the United States of America, in accordance with Isaiah 17 and 18, as well as Daniel 11, will lead the primary assault against these Islamic nations/armies in a stunning military CAMPAIGN that will decisively altar the geo-political equation throughout the Greater Middle East (cf. Ezekiel 38 and 39). This spectacular victory for “The West” will demand an OVERALL PEACE SETTLEMENT for the region, akin to the Yalta Agreement for all of Europe. This agreement will be heralded by the “Free World” (and, in particular Israelis) as the greatest achievement for World Peace for the Modern Era. It will be BASED UPON THE ORIGINAL ACCORD signed after the “Syrian Engagement.”
However, its implementation will be fraught with considerable unrest and continued violence, as other Islamic nations throughout the world continue to explode in “rebellion” against the West’s “democratic designs,” and as China and other Asian nations manifest their concern for American hegemony throughout the world.
Now . . . bear with us . . . this is NOT as farfetched as you might think. We’ve been saying most of this for years now . . . and we affirm that the Bible’s been declaring it for millennia; but, we’ll get to the Biblical aspects of the “Syrian Card” a little later, but first, let’s take you on the “Road to Damascus.”
THE PLOT THICKENS—“AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING”
“Conflict of Civilizations”
The “democratic takeover” of the Middle East began in earnest (in so far as a deliberate geo-political reshuffling of the region is concerned) in the early ‘90s. Its ideological raison d’être, oddly enough, was propounded by Harvard Prof. Samuel Huntington’s published essay, “The Clash of Civilizations.” Here, he contended that conflicts around the globe would no longer be waged over “ideology,” but over culture (Israeli correspondent Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz, November 14, 2002).
Huntington subscribed “bloody borders” to Islam. For example, “fault lines of conflict” run through Kashmir, Bosnia, Nigeria, Sudan, Mindanao in the Philippines, etc., and Israel is lumped with the West (i.e., a “Western creation”) and centered on the fault line.
The Israeli “right” took to Huntington’s analysis, but so did Ehud Barak’s “left”, who described Israel as a “Western fortress” in the region. Israeli’s Aluf Been in the cited Ha’aretz article postulated: “Israel is the only country to absolutely support the American decision (to go to war with Iraq), and has urged it to act, and quickly . . . the tangible result of the change in consciousness has been deepening Israel’s dependence on American defense and economic support . . . Sharon led that policy.”
THE ROAD TO MIDDLE EAST PEACE RUNS THROUGH BAGHDAD—THEN TO DAMASCUS!
Former CIA political analysts, Bill and Kathleen Christison, point out that the pro-Israel neo-conservative policymakers in the Bush administration make little effort to hide their real intentions in going to war with Iraq (“and later perhaps against Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and the Palestinians”). Likewise they point out that the hypocritical “left” denies Israel’s complicity in US “domination of the Middle East” or “the U.S. drive to assure global domination and guarantee security for Israel.” Christisons said:
“Some leftists who otherwise oppose going to war against Iraq will trot out charges of promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the old czarist forgery that asserted a Jewish plan for world domination.”
But is there Israeli complicity for the US war in Iraq? Sure seems that way—listen to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in mid-1996 through Israel’s “Institute for Advanced Strategic and Politic Studies” (and, remember, our little friend, The Scaife Foundation, (Richard Mellon Scaife), et al, has contributed over $584,000 to this “Israeli Think Tank” in helping to formulate and propagate this policy):
“Since Iraq’s future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq. Israel’s new agenda can signal a clean break by abandoning a policy which allowed strategic retreat, by reestablishing the principle pf preemption, rather than retaliation alone and by ceasing to absorb blows to the nation without response. Israel’s new strategic agenda can shape the regional environment in ways that grant Israel the room to refocus its energies back to where they are most needed: to rejuvenate its national idea. Ultimately, Israel can do more than simply manage the Arab-Israeli conflict; it will transcend it. As a senior Iraqi opposition leader said recently: ‘Israel must rejuvenate and revitalize its moral and intellectual leadership’. It is an important, if not the most important, element in the history of the Middle East.’ Israel—proud, wealthy, solid, and strong—would be the basis of a truly new and peaceful Middle East.’ (Written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mid-1996, by the Scaife-funded Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.).
Scaife’s think tank implicates Syria in the mix—after the Iraqi vacuum is “formulated” (i.e., Saddam is removed, and regime change takes place); to wit:
“The vacuum tempts Iraq’s neighbors to intervene, especially Syria, which is also driven to control the region. Iraq’s chaos and Syria’s efforts simultaneously provide opportunities for the Jordanian monarchy. Jordan is best suited to manage the tribal politics that will define the Levant in the wake of failed secular-Arab nationalism. If Jordan wins, then Syria would be isolated and surrounded by a new pro-Western Jordanian-Israeli-Iraqi-Turkish bloc. It would be prudent for the United States and Israel to abandon the quest for ‘comprehensive peace,’ including its ‘land for peace’ provision with Syria, since it locks the United States into futile attempts to prop-up local tyrants and the unnatural states underneath them. Instead, the United States and Israel can use this competition over Iraq to improve the regional balance of power in favor of regional friends like Jordan.” (“Coping with Crumbling States: A Western and Israeli Balance of Power Strategy for the Levant” 1996)
The “Syrian Card” was analyzed by Ben Lynfield of the Christian Science Monitor (nearly seven years after the aforementioned Israeli think tank proposed as much); to wit:
“The installation of a pro-American government in Iraq would help Israel vis-à-vis another enemy: SYRIA. ‘After Iraq is taken by US troops and we see a new regime installed as in Afghanistan, and Iraqi bases become American bases, it will be very easy to pressure Syria to stop supporting terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, to allow the Lebanese army to dismantle Hezbollah, and maybe to put an end to the Syrian occupation in Lebanon,’ he says. ‘If this happens we will really see a new Middle East. It might be enough not to invade Syria but just to have an American or UN blockade so that no one can ship weapons to it,’ Steinitz adds. Mr. Ezra predicts a US strike would ‘calm down the entire region’ by eliminating ‘the extremism of Saddam.’” (Note: Deputy Interior Minister Gideon Ezra of Israel and Yuval Steinitz, a Likud party member of the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; Christian Science Monitor, August 2002). (All highlighting my emphasis.)
The BAGHDAD-DAMASCUS NEXUS was laid out by the administrations neocons as elucidated by the Boston Globe’s John Donnelly and Anthony Shadid on September 10, 2002:
“As the Bush administration debates going to war against Iraq, its most hawkish members are pushing a sweeping vision for the Middle East that sees the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq as merely a first step in the region’s transformation. The argument for reshaping the political landscape in the Mideast has been pushed for years by some Washington think tanks and in hawkish circles. It is now being considered as a possible US policy with the ascent of key hard-liners in the administration, from Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith in the Pentagon to John Hannah and Lewis Libby on the vice president’s staff and John Bolton in the State Department, analysts and officials say. Iraq, the hawks argue, is just the first piece of the puzzle. After an ouster of Hussein, they say, the United States will have more leverage to act against Syria and Iran, will be in a better position to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will be able to rely less on Saudi oil . . . .” (John Donnelly and Anthony Shadid, Boston Globe, September 10, 2002).
Yes, so ends the old “Soviet sphere of influence” and Baathist Socialism (i.e., Arab Nationalism). And, in its place, Islamic Radical Fundamentalism—take your pick!
OIL FOR PEACE—NOT “LAND FOR PEACE”
The reconfiguration of the Mideast and the thick fog which enshrouded the actual intent of this Administration’s policies surrounding the war in Iraq—is now becoming quite clear:
· The main objective of the American economy (and therefore of American policy) is the oil of the Caspian Sea.
· The existence of a secure American base in the heart of the Arab world will also enable Washington to bully all the Arab regimes, lest they stray from the straight and narrow.
· The new situation will destroy the last remnants of Arab independence. Even today, almost all the Arab countries are dependent on America (Uri Avnery, September 10, 2002)
UC Berkeley journalism professor Sandy Tolan, in a Los Angeles Times piece on December 1, 2002 (“Beyond Regime Change”) took elevated notice of the Oil/Israeli link (and, consequently, the ultimate ROAD TO DAMASCUS; to wit:
“The new map would be drawn with an eye to two main objectives: controlling the flow of oil and ensuring Israel’s continued regional military superiority. (Patrick Clawson, policy analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy) . . . quoted during a Capitol Hill forum on a post-Hussein Iraq in 1999: ‘U.S. oil companies would have an opportunity to make significant profits,’ he said. ‘We should not be embarrassed about the commercial advantages that would come from a re-integration of Iraq into the world economy.’ But taking over Iraq and remaking the global oil market is not necessarily the endgame. The next steps, favored by hard-liners determined to elevate Israeli security above all other U.S. foreign policy goals, would be to destroy any remaining perceived threat to the Jewish state: namely, the regimes in Syria and Iran.”
The Tolan piece is rather up to date, wouldn’t you say? Arch-Neocon Michael Ledeen puts it right out front in so far as focusing on Mideast terror networks after the Iraqi incursion (April 2002):
“This is the head of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Commission (going after Brent Scowcroft)? Doesn't he read the newspapers? He doesn't seem to realize that Saddam is actively supporting al Qaeda, and Abu Nidal, and Hezbollah.
“However, nobody is perfect, and Scowcroft has managed to get one thing half right, even though he misdescribes it. He fears that if we attack Iraq ‘I think we could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a caldron and destroy the War on Terror.’
“One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, (my emphasis) and either bring down the Saudi monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young terrorists.
“That's our mission in the war against terror.”
ENTER CONDOLEEZZA RICE—ARCHFIEND OF HEZBOLLAH . . . THE ADMINISTRATION’S CURRENT PUSH AGAINST SYRIA . . . building its case . . .
Timing is everything. Just when Secretary of State Colin Powell vanishes from the scene and the Syrian Card is about to drop, enter the likes of Condi Rice. As Rice enters the arena of international diplomacy, she does so with a background in Soviet expertise on how the Evil Empire once clawed away at the Middle East. She is well aware of the Bear’s incursions into the region and those who still remind her of that influence.
Again, reaching into the past and bringing us into the immediate, Robert Novak, in a Washington Post piece on December 26, 2002 picked Rice to “go after Syria” by going after Hezbollah:
“National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has insisted that Hezbollah, not al Qaeda, is the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. How could that be, considering al Qaeda’s global record of mass carnage? In truth, Hezbollah is the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization from Israel’s standpoint. They are viciously anti-American in rhetoric; and, the Lebanon-based (Syrian supported) Hezbollah is focused on the destruction of Israel. Thus, Rice’s comments suggest that the U.S. war against terrorism, accused of being Iraq-centric, actually is Israel-centric. That ties George W. Bush to Arik Sharon. What is widely perceived as an indissoluble Bush-Sharon bond creates tension throughout Islam. On balance, war with Iraq may not be inevitable but is highly probable (well, that’s happened!)” (Novak, Washington Post, Dec. 2002).
Imagine, Condi to the rescue and in the nick of time—just as the following takes place on the Road to Damascus via this Washington report:
“Iraqi interim president Ghazi al-Yawar said officials suspect that Syria is harboring the insurgents who are fomenting unrest in Iraq . . . ‘I think we’re having insurgents coming from Syria,’ Yawar told CNN television . . . the insurgents ‘have a lot of cash, which they stole from the Iraqi Central Bank before the collapse of the old regime,’ he said. ‘They’re using their own money.’
“The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing US military intelligence officials, that Iraqi insurgents are being directed to a greater degree than previously suspected by loyalists of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein living in Syria . . . the sources told the daily that a handful of senior Iraqi Baathists are collecting money from private sources in Saudi Arabia and Europe for the insurgents and are managing some of their operations from Syria . . . in separate interviews with the Washington Post, Yawar and Jordan’s King Abdullah II (interesting?) also raised concerns about Syria’s role in Iraq . . . Abdullah, meanwhile, noted that the governments of both the United States and Iraq believe that ‘foreign fighters are coming across the Syrian border that have been trained in Syria.’ ‘There is a sinister campaign to create an atmosphere of hostility against Syria,’ he told the daily (i.e., Imad Moustapha, Syrian ambassador to the US).”
And, from the President himself prior to the Mosul attack on Sunday, December 19, 2004:
“Hinting at another possible showdown in the Middle East, President Bush warned Syria on Sunday it could face serious consequences for harboring fleeing members of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s regime. His threat came as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there was new evidence that some top Hussein deputies had escaped across the border into Syria. ‘The Syrian government needs to cooperate with the United States and our coalition partners and not harbor any Baathists, any military officials, any people who need to be held to account,’ Bush said.”
But, it gets better . . .
“Bush would not say whether he was prepared to take military action if the Damascus government refuses to turn over top Iraqi officials (and, of course, they won’t because they claim they don’t have any) seeking safe haven in the country. But he leveled a new charge at Syria: POSSESSION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS. The allegations, contained in a recent CIA report, have been vociferously denied by the Syrian government. However, Bush said, he believes the country has chemical weapons, and U.S. officials are weighing how to respond.”
And, in conclusion . . .
“The Bush administration has long viewed Syria as a threat to American interests in the region and to staunch U.S. ally Israel. Syria has become a permanent fixture on the State Department’s list of countries that sponsor terrorism because it has given sanctuary to groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, all of which have staged terrorist attacks on Israel . . . on Sunday (Dec. 19, 2004 and before the Mosul attack) Rumsfeld said there was evidence the Syrian government might be paying fighters to kill U.S. and British troops in Iraq.”
Rumsfeld said in this same Washington (AFP) report:
“‘On one of the buses, they found something like several hundred thousand dollars and a number of leaflets that suggested that people would be rewarded if they killed Americans,’ Rumsfeld said on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation.’”
“The materials were found after what the defense secretary described as a fierce firefight with U.S. troops in which a number of the Syrian-backed fighters were killed. Rumsfeld said some fighters had been sent back to Syria, while others had been taken captive as prisoners of war. Rumsfeld said it would be up to Bush and Congress to decide what action to take against Syria, but added that the Damascus government had already damaged its reputation by intervening in the conflict in Iraq.”
“Rummie” piles on more “evidence” to wit:
“Rumsfeld said Sunday that some (Iraqi Baathist officials) were most likely staying in Syria while others had traveled to other countries. One of Saddam Hussein’s half brothers was captured in northern Iraq on Sunday (December 19, 2004); U. S. officials believe he was planning to cross the border into Syria. Asked what the United States would do if it learned Hussein (half brother of Saddam) had taken refuge in Syria, Rumsfeld said: ‘I think Syria would have made an even bigger mistake.’”
“White House and Pentagon officials believe the U.S. war in Iraq could help persuade other U.S. adversaries—from North Korea to Syria to Iran—to limit their links to terrorist groups and their development of weapons of mass destruction to avoid being next on Bush’s hit list . . . the President was asked by a reporter: ‘Now that there’s a vacancy on the axis of evil (Iraq is “off the list”), is Syria a good candidate?’ Bush replied: ‘We will deal with each situation as it arises.’”
ROMANS STAND TOGETHER AS ONE!
The last spat of information on our Road to Damascus came as a result of a rambling series of exchanges between the President and the media during the week of December 20, 2004. Some of these exchanges took place in the presence of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, America’s staunchest “Old European” ally.
President Bush enumerated a litany of charges against both Syria and Iran in the War on Terrorism at a joint news conference with Berlusconi. The PM had recently regained some credibility, having been exonerated by the Italian courts on charges of corruption (Note: The wheels of Italian justice move exceedingly slow.).
Al Jazeera spelled out the “Roman Empire” identification that PM Berlusconi exhibited during the press conference with President Bush; to wit:
“Berlusconi, Washington’s closest ally in Europe, pledged wide-ranging support for a second-term Bush agenda that calls on all European nations to back the U.S. position in Iraq.
“‘I wanted to reassure President Bush that I will do any possible effort to strengthen the relationship between the United States of America and Europe, because I agree with him: THE WEST IS ONLY ONE,’ Berlusconi said.” (my emphasis)
On December 22, 2004 the US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, warned Syria that Washington was prepared to impose stiffer sanctions if she failed to clamp down on fugitive Iraqi officials and end its involvement in Lebanon.
On May 11, 2004 the U.S. imposed sanctions on Syria for its support of militant groups including Hamas and Hezbollah. These sanctions called for freezing assets of certain Syrian individuals and the launching of an investigation into the Commercial Bank of Syria as a “money laundering institution.”
. . . a slight detour from the Road to Damascus . . . but we’ll get back on track soon
My last tome centered on what I called, “The Road to Damascus” and how the politics of the “Syrian Card” is being played out by the West. But, before I get on that road again from a “Biblical perspective” I must address a few skeptics and scoffers who scorn the “Messianic Scenario” written by D. R. Shearer and featured during this past week on www.the-tribulation-network.com.
You see, you really can’t appreciate contemplating a Biblical reflection relative to the “Syrian Equation” without understanding the impact of this small dissertation . . .
CHRISTIAN LIBERALISM IS CONFUSED
I find it altogether refreshing, in some ways, to read the ranting of the Rev. Rich Lang of Seattle’s Trinity United Methodist Church in the Ballard District rail on the “Antichrist” elements within the Religious Right in his open letter to President George Bush featured in Real Change:
Dear President Bush:
“You claim Christ but act like Caesar. There is blood all over your hands with the promise of even more blood to come. You sit atop the nations like the Biblical Whore of Babylon openly fornicating with the military men of might.”
“The power and seduction of this administration emerges from its diabolical manipulation of Christian rhetoric . . . the mirror opposite of what Jesus embodied. It is, indeed, the materialization of the spirit of Antichrist: a perversion of Christian faith and practice.”
Further, Lang is absolutely right on regarding the Christian Right’s quest for Dominionism (although he does NOT understand the nuances between evangelical Premillenialism and Postmillenarian Dominionists . . . somehow he lumps the whole lot of them together . . . and I’m leading up to the “Syrian Card” . . . eventually):
“The progressive church (a.k.a. “Liberal Church”) should bring back—and this sounds so crazy—the word ‘heresy.’ The end times theology and this other thing called Dominionism or Christian Reconstruction—those are heresies.’ Lang says not to believe Christian Coalition leader–turned–Whore of Enron–turned Bush/Cheney campaign lieutenant Ralph Reed when he claims the Christian right has no plans to upend the Constitution and impose its religion on civic life. ‘He’s a liar,’ says Lang. ‘Dominionism is the notion that God has given the dominion, the governance of the world, to the church. And so Christians literally are born to rule, by force if necessary, to bring the Kingdom of God on Earth. I believe that the theology that drives the Bush administration affirms this.’ When Falwell preached, ‘We must take back what is rightfully ours,’ his ambitions did not stop at U.S. borders. This is a Church of a Law Unto Itself.”
Now, after the brilliance of Rev. Lang’s analysis facing America’s religio-political scene, he commits spiritualized suicide by these ludicrous remarks which are oxymoronic (I’ll explain):
“‘It’s so ludicrous!’ laments Lang. ‘Such a twisting of scripture (Note: Lang refers to Darby’s ‘Dispensational Truth’ and ‘Biblical Literalism’ juxtaposed to Augustinian ‘spiritualization’ of Scripture.). That history is scripted is something that it seems to me Christians ought to have an instinct to be repulsed against. You follow a code, there’s magical meanings in the text.’
“But Lang knows why people cling to millennial dreams—like Dubya’s, his life was saved by a fundamentalist church. ‘It attracted me because I came out of chaos. Alcohol and drugs; 19 years old and I was dyin.’ I needed a strong fence around my life and people who cared for me, and I got both. But after about a year of reading what they taught me, I started to raise questions.’
“Further study convinced him that Augustine was on the right track, after all, in reading apocalyptic literature as spiritual advice, not a sneak preview of tomorrow’s headlines. ‘Revelation is written to the churches in its time, not to the churches in the 21st century. It’s written to seven churches in Turkey.’ As for the Antichrist warnings in John, he reads them not as a literal prediction of Bush but as a warning against the eternal danger of his hypocritical, Mammon-worshiping, proudly elitist, heartless, narrowly legalistic spirit. ‘I John seems to be obsessed with language like this: ‘How can you say you love God, who you have not seen, if you do not love your brother and sister, who you have seen?’ Who are in need of food, clothing, shelter? The implication of the doctrine of the Antichrist is that there is an economic disparity in the community, and people are using their religion, not practicing it.’” (Article by Tim Appelo in The Seattle Weekly, December 8-14, 2004, “Is Bush the Antichrist?”)
So, Lang really doesn’t see the Bible with a classical prophetic message for our time . . . simply a book of moral and spiritual lessons—powerful, but not prophetically predictive.
Lang’s inane and oxymoronic comment here betrays a profound ignorance on his part regarding the current debate taking place within the Church. D. R. Shearer’s Messianic Scenario brought out that the same Dominionists despised by Lang are the same ones who, like Lang, EMBRACE AUGUSTINIAN HERMENEUTICS. Lang excoriates these DOMINIONISTS, thinking they are Darbyites—akin to the Left Behind Series of Tim LaHaye! WHAT DECEPTION IS THIS!
What on earth does the Rev. Lang (apparently saved in an Evangelical Church and now a turncoat liberal . . . and a confused one at that) think Augustine was doing “back then” when he attempted to justify the Roman Catholic Church’s KINGDOM NOW marriage with the Kingdoms of this world? Does he not have any historical sense of theology? Shame on him!
Yet Lang’s “right track” Augustine thinking will prevent Christians from committing a “sneak preview of tomorrow’s headlines” and from personifying the Antichrist; instead, they’ll be protected from worshiping Mammon and commence loving their brothers and sisters? They will then live out the gospel by addressing the issues of “economic disparity in the community” as they embrace the spiritualization of Augustinian theology, while denying the future Antichrist! And, excuse me; dare Lang condemn the Mammon of the Evangelical wing of the Church when the United Methodist Church’s pension funds and subsequent investments into all things Babylonian reach into the billions of dollars? I don’t think you want to go there—something about throwing rocks from glass palaces.
No, this does not excuse those Biblical literalists who “say and do not”—for they profess a heavenly citizenship but act as if they lived in the KINGDOM NOW that Lang allegedly despises. St. Augustine read the Revelation as “spiritual advice” for one reason only: TO PERPETUATE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S RULE AND REIGN UPON THIS EARTH—the same “rule and reign” that the Rev. Rich Lang so deeply resents in his fellow Methodist, President George Bush! Rev. Lang renounces Biblical Literalism which has been hijacked by the same damnable theology that has condemned the Church to the Kingdoms of this World! Instead of the loving and caring community of fundamentalist believers who brought Rich into the SPIRITUAL KINGDOM ON EARTH, he despises his birthright, deprecates theology (that’s the only conclusion I can derive from his self-hating confession) and places his trust in the road to Augustinian destruction; the same theology embraced by every SOCIAL JUSTICE DENOMINATION on the globe.
D. R. Shearer is absolutely correct: REVIVALISM (getting people saved from alcoholism like the Rev. Rich Lang) is the mission of the Church. REFORMING THE SOCIAL STRUCTURES is “inconsequential” to the Gospel Message. Here’s the real “separation of Church and State” that Lang desires . . . but he can’t have it both ways.
Yes, the Bible is a book of “spiritual truth” which is unique and utterly profound—but it is a book with a real WELTANSCHAUUNG (“world view”). We’re called to be “salt and light” in this world. We’re told to love one another as Christ loved us and to “lay down our lives for the brethren” and to extend ourselves and our resources to a dying world . . . but first and foremost we are told that we are “in this world, but not of this world!”
What Lang and the liberals are so pushed out of shape about is the FACT that the conservatives have finally caught up to their game and are taking over the same TEMPORAL REIGNS OF POWER that were once the exclusive purview of the National Council of Churches! It was fine and dandy when the fightin’ fundies were “not of this world,” but once they got engaged in the “process” and tried to exert their influence like the “Progressive Christians” (and what a putdown is this term “Progressive” Christians” juxtaposed to those who apparently are not “Progressive?”) they became what Lang calls of “the spirit of Antichrist.” Now isn’t that convenient?
I guess the reason I’m so pushed out of shape, and “conflicted” over someone like Lang is this: The same deception afflicting the once stalwart Biblical literalists who despised the Kingdoms of this World; who, like Abraham, “looked for a city whose builder and maker is God,” yet are now being sucked into the vortex of Mammon and Political Power, is the same deception afflicting the Liberal or so-called Progressive Wing of the Church. They will not endure “sound doctrine” but will “spiritualize” the Bible to fit their social agenda and call it “righteousness” (a.k.a. “justice”), while denouncing the prophetic message of the Word of God for our time—not knowing that it is that very LITERAL, PROPHETIC PREACHING that is precisely what will save them and this generation for whom they are concerned!
Listen, Rev. Lang, drugs and alcohol were sending you straight to hell—some people came along who cared for your soul, you apparently got SAVED and DELIVERED (from drugs and alcohol) . . . so why didn’t you see the worth of it all . . . and what’s wrong with SOUP, SUDS, AND SALVATION?
“And in his brilliant 1997 book, Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, author Bruce Bawer is quoted as saying:
“‘It's deeply dismaying that millions of Americans who call themselves Christians are believers in something that has virtually nothing to do with the gospel message,’ mourns Bawer. ‘Darby, Scofield, and company have been a disaster for Christianity in America. Millions of people think they are adherents of ‘traditional Christianity’ when, in fact, they have been roped into a newfangled religion based on bizarre theological propositions that Jesus would never recognize.’” (From Tim Appelo’s article)
WHAT DO RED CHINA AND AUGUSTINE HAVE IN COMMON?
The more I “get into” the mind of Liberal Christianity, the more bewildered I become . . . and to think I came out of the same Lutheran Church that Tim Appelo did! The “gospel message” that Bawer advocates is the same milquetoast, powerless Christianity of liberalism that’s been fading from the American scene for the past fifty years! The same Norman Vincent Peale’s attraction to New Age positive thinking, which, for a while when dynamic liberalism led the charge for Civil Rights, had a message but forsook that message for nearly every bizarre and cultic stunt that the American Cultural Circus could muster!
Sure, Darby and Scofield got goofed up when it came to their apocalyptic scenario of the Church’s total escape from any future witness to the Kingdoms of this World; but at least they embraced a fervency of the gospel so impassioned and deliberate, that it preserved and rescued millions of those same Christians from the DEAD FORMALISM OF TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY whose roots were in this world, and not in the world to come! And, saved scores of alcoholics and drug attics!
O.K. – end of detour . . . because I’m going to get real LITERAL now, real big into apocalyptic literature that Augustine doesn’t want me to read, and, by the way what DO Red China and Augustine have in common? Well, neither one of them wants their readers to include John’s Apocalypse in the publication of Mandarin Bibles. I’m sure Rev. Lang, who concurs with Augustine’s assessment of the Revelation, would appreciate the People’s Republic ban of the Revelation.
Also, I’m big into possible headlines you might be seeing in tomorrow’s papers! And, yes, THAT THE ANTICHRIST IS TO COME (I John 2:18) is an absolute fact, a fact that the Rev. Lang, Tim Bawer, et al, should take note of—because the same “spirit of Antichrist” they bear witness of in the world today (and I don’t deny that they have), shall one day VERY SOON, PERSONIFY himself and deceive the same masses for which Lang and Bawer express their concern.
Indeed, may the Lord who saved them, keep them from this final deception that ravages the Church at large, especially in these United States of America. The “LITERALISM” they allegedly fear, is (God forbid!) the same literalism which could actually save them from the deception sweeping the nations, especially this one!
THE FRENCH AND THE WEST vs. SYRIA
Meanwhile, the French, finding common cause with the “West” (i.e., the USA), and, no doubt in an attempt to get back into the good graces of Uncle Sam, co-sponsored with the USA a UN Security Council resolution (9 to 0, Resolution 1559) demanding that Syrian troops be withdrawn from Lebanon.
Syria, whose long history with French interference into its internal affairs is well known, responded in kind:
“Syrian officials followed up by calling for stronger ties between Syria and Lebanon . . . Foreign Minister Farouq al-Sharaa said the issue of the resolution was over, and Syria and Lebanon were now focusing on ‘strengthening relations’ . . . according to Murhaf Jouejati, a professor of political science at George Washington university and a Syria specialist, Syrian concessions on Iraq have gone unheard.” (The Daily Star, A Bangladesh Daily, Dec. 20, 2004)
“SYRIA IS AT THE CENTER OF THE PROBLEM”
By now, the “Road to Damascus” is all but paved with Abrams tanks, and it won’t be long before that actually happens, if Jeffrey White, a former Middle Eastern analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency gets his way:
“The Syrian role is part of what many intelligence officials believe are the increasingly organized attacks on U.S. forces. ‘In the last two months or so, this notion that this is a Baathist insurgency has gained dominance in the [intelligence] community,’ he said. Coupled with that, he said, ‘there is an increasing view that Syria is at the center of the problem.’” (my emphasis)
Yes, the PLOT THICKENS, and the Road to Damascus is paved with Hamas, Hezbollah, Amal, dead Marines, dead Israelis, and, now, dead soldiers and contractors from Halliburton in Mosul. It’s almost time for GAME OVER and, as Gary Leupp in Counterpunch stated:
“Even if Israeli action provides the context (Leupp conjectures the IDF attack Hamas bases in Syria as a result of a horrific suicide bombing incident in Israel, perhaps as a result of Hamas leader Izz al-Din al-Sheikh who was assassinated by Israel in Syria in September, 2004), Israeli forces won’t be needed, and U.S. action will be lent some thin international legitimacy if a few hundred ‘coalition’ troops participate. Thus a second Arab nation will become Americanizedly ‘free,’ while Palestinians infuriated by these events will commit acts that will justify the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the West Bank.”
So, just in case you’re not aware of the “West’s” justification to eliminate the “Syrian Problem” – think no further. The Bible is NOT silent about all this . . . we’ll get into that part of the “equation” in Part II of our two-part article on the ROAD TO DAMASCUS.
“DAMASCUS WILL CEASE FROM BEING A CITY”
CATALYST FOR GOG-MAGOG
ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Syria has become a priority target of US/Israeli preemption in the War on Terrorism. The recent Mosul homicide bomber only validates the Syrian connection, as far as US military strategists are concerned. Our last blog highlighted how neocon policy makers and think tanks (both in America and in Israel) have sought to “deterrorize” the region.
The effort at Mideast reconfiguration on the part of these strategists has been to defang Saddam Hussein first, thereby encircling Syria; and from thence, to neutralize Iran. Although Israelis have brought the Hashemite monarchy into the equation (i.e., as a “tribal strategy” after Saddam’s demise for Iraq), that particular “gift to Jordan” may not be necessary, given the fact that a “working democracy” is all that matters in Iraq in any event—notwithstanding Osama’s calls for Iraqis to boycott the January 2005 elections.
How Syria’s overthrow can be justified by these policy makers was repeatedly demonstrated in the last article; so now, as promised, we will discuss the Biblical ramifications of the equation—and this is the part that the Left just loves to hate (whereas they most likely enjoyed our initial “secular analysis”); but, we’re not out to please either the Left nor the Right—we’ll settle for the ABSOLUTE TRUTH (don’t you just love that expression—it sounds so final and almost pompous; don’t mean it to be that way, but if you want to take it that way, be our guest).
DETOUR ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTED LIBERAL CONFUSION & BIBLICAL HEREMENEUTICS (i.e., “interpreting methods in Bible Study”)
While taking our excursion down the Road to Damascus, we encountered a most troubling and confusing theological phenomenon known as “Augustinian Malaise”—a not so subtle immune deficiency disorder afflicting both the Liberal wing of the Church (throughout the world), as well as Evangelical Dominionists who are “theologically allied” with their Liberal foes. Both wish to reform the current governmental social order—whether they wish to admit it or not. At least the Evangelical Dominionists (THIS IS AN EXCELLENT SITE) admit it; whilst their erstwhile liberal allies, who abhor anything that bespeaks of inerrancy, denounce their theologically allied Dominionist “compatriots.”
These Liberal foes have no theological idea to whom they are theologically united—instead they abhor the barbaric fundamentalists who ascribe to a more Biblical hermeneutical eschatology. These Scofield-Darbyites, along with their total distortions of the real Jesus, have been (in “liberalism’s progressive dialect”) a disaster to American Christianity, whereas PROGRESSIVE and, therefore, enlightened Christian Liberalism’s embrace of Augustinian spiritualization of the Revelation text, demonstrates the real intent of the “prophetic Scriptures” which is far and away the true spirit of Christianity and its gospel of love and social justice!
Christian liberalism (now that their brand of Christianity has been wholly given over to “higher biblical criticism” and the “historical Jesus” can only spiritualize their “prophetic voice” and speak in metaphors and symbolisms from the Revelation—hardly a tangible reflection of where most American Christians position themselves today!
Furthermore, what really irks the spiritualizing Liberals is the current Administration’s total embrace of evangelical literalism’s Armageddon scenario—man, does that one get their Liberal goat or what! Anyway, just as the liberals ignorantly and simplistically lump all evangelicals into one camp (i.e., the “Biblical inerrant/literalist camp”); they do so at their own peril by “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” In sum: Not all literalists are your enemies—in point of fact: Biblical literalism that does NOT subscribe to Tim LaHaye’s triumphal Christianity MAY be your ultimate anecdote within America’s current Southern brand of “resurgent evangelicalism.”
THE “BURDEN OF DAMASCUS”
The passages found in Isaiah 17 and 18, Joel 2, Ezekiel 38-39 (including chapters 36-37), Daniel 11, as well as the temple passages in Ezekiel 40-43, Zechariah 9-14; and, finally, Amos 1:3-5, will be covered in our eschatological intrusion along the Road to Damascus.
The Apostle Paul’s conversion on the Road to Damascus turned the fledgling Christian faith, and the world at large, upside down! The question abides: Amongst all the external manifestations of fulfilled prophecy in the Bible (e.g., Israel’s rebirth in 1948; along with Jerusalem’s recognition as the Capitol of the Jewish State and its 1967 take over by the Jews; and, the ever-advancing incursions of the West vs. Islamic fundamentalism) is there another “Syrian Connection” that will turn the world upside down? I believe so . . . . let us examine these passages and the immediate eschatological implications of what we now face (Liberal Christianity hang in there . . . ).
THE “SYRIAN ESCHATOLOGICAL SYNTHESIS”
Throughout these eschatological discoveries, we shall adhere to the following (and, just because it makes rational sense doesn’t mean that the Bible is happenstance in its “prophetical conjectures”):
(1) Syria/Damascus will be the NEXT major prophetical happening among the Gentile nations—she shall find herself in a major conflagration with both the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and, secondarily, USA-led coalition forces. This shall primarily be an Israeli orchestrated, but USA-approved, military endeavor. Its primary purpose will be to:
(a) Eliminate insurgent funding and general participation against USA-coalition led efforts to “democratize” Iraq.
(b) Destroy “at the head” organized terrorism against Israel—making her the West’s (a.k.a., USA’s) uncontested ally in the Middle East and poised to “democratize” the entire region, including Egypt and Iran—all this in fulfillment of American neocon/Christian Evangelical efforts to “subdue the region” (particularly Lebanon, although Syria as well).
(c) SIMULTANEOUSLY, the political equation in Lebanon will be transformed (i.e., Terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, Hamas, Amal, Islamic Jihad, et al) will be made inoperable. Likewise, the Palestinian Authority will become utterly subservient to “Greater Israel” aspirations, i.e., anticipate Gaza’s “political irrelevance” and the West Bank’s “reallocation of Palestinian people” to commence in earnest (e.g., repositioned to other Arab lands now under Israeli-USA auspicious).
(2) THE GOG-MAGOG CONFEDERATIONS: Iran in the North (i.e., “King of the North”), along with a resurgent and radicalized Turkey and miscellaneous Moslem states north of Jerusalem/Israel (Ezekiel 38:2-3, 5-6; 39:1) will immediately coalesce (after Syria’s devastating demise) to form an “Islamic Resistance” to Western incursions into the sacred lands of Islam. This “Northern Alliance” will find affirmation for their purposes to overthrow “Western Incursions” (i.e., the USA-led Coalition forces THROUGHOUT the Islamic region, not just Iraq) with a “Southern Islamic Confederation” primarily led by Egypt, but including the Sudan (representing Islamic nations south of Egypt) and Libya (representing Islamic nations to the immediate west of Egypt). Biblically, this will be known as “The King of the South.”
(NOTE: Syria, Lebanon (i.e., “Tyre & Sidon”) Iraq, Jordan, nor nations within the Arabian Peninsula are mentioned as part of either the Northern or Southern Confederation of nations in the Bible.)
(3) THE GOG-MAGOG CONFLAGRATION: The Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39, and amplified in both Isaiah 17-18, and Daniel 11, will ensue after the “Syrian card falls.” The unfolding of this massive campaign of “Islamic annihilation” and resultant Western supremacy in the region will Biblically unfold as follows:
(a) Immediately after the Israeli-Syrian-USA War (a.k.a., “Syrian Regime Change”) AND as Islamic Jihad is “declared” by both nations north and south of Israel/Iraq (i.e., north of Israeli/USA “influence” and south of it) the USA will FORMALIZE her “safety net” over Israel: This is known in Scripture as “your covenant with death, and hell (Sheol) (Isaiah 28:15, 18) and orchestrated by the “prince who is to come” (Daniel 9:27: “He shall confirm an agreement (i.e., an “accord, treaty, defense pact” or “a covenant” –not “the covenant” but “a covenant”). This “defense pact” MAY necessitate a two-fold implementation: (1a) A “Memorandum of Understanding” primarily between the USA and Israel immediately following the Syrian War; and (2a) A FORMAL ACCORD which would be considered the actual DEFENSE PACT that will, after the Gog-Magog/USA-Israeli War result in an “International Agreement” wherein all parties of the Middle East and the “Coalition Forces” allied with the USA, concur with this Comprehensive Middle East Peace Settlement. This Accord will allow Israel to finalize implementation of her “Temple Aspirations” (which aspirations have already commenced upon the conclusion of the Israeli-Syrian-USA War). Whether this AGREEMENT is a two-fold or singular diplomatic effort by the West, is irrelevant to the equation/scenario.
(b) The radicalization of the Islamic World will commence in earnest after the defeat of Syria (let alone USA hegemony in Iraq/Jordan/Saudi Arabian Peninsula nations). Likewise, International-based Terrorism within the Levant, as well as “Palestinian Aspirations” will have been terminated by this war. Furthermore, a possible preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities may occur (this will be accomplished by USA-IDF cooperation, simultaneously with the Syrian defeat and/or immediately thereafter). This MAY (in addition to the Syrian/Lebanon/Palestinian defeat) lead to the immediate rise of Turkey Islamic radicalism and the forging of the “Northern Alliance” between the Iranian Islamic State and Turkey. (NOTE: The Syrian/Lebanon/Palestinian defeat is clearly spelled out in Isaiah 17:1-11: Damascus/Aroer/Valley of Rephaim are Syria/Lebanon (Tyre and Sidon); the “Fortress of Ephraim” and Gaza (the Palestinian Authority, cf. Zechariah 9:1-6)
(c) The initial THRUST of the “Southern Alliance” (a.k.a. “King of the South”) will be against USA-led coalition forces in the Levant (including Iraq/Kuwait, etc.) and Israel (primarily in Syria/Lebanon) (Daniel 11:40a).
(d) After the “King of the South” launches its attack, the “King of the North” (i.e., Gog-Magog) will sweep down in a collaborative PINCER MOVEMENT to encircle the Israeli/USA-led Coalition forces. The subject of the Gog-Magog attack in Daniel 11:40 are the forces of Antichrist (i.e., the leadership of Western Civilization); whereas, the focus of the conflagration in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is against Israel.
(e) Both the “King of the South” and the “King of the North” will suffer virtual annihilation by the combined forces of “the prince who is to come” (Ezekiel 38 & 39; Daniel 11:40-43).
(f) Jordan (i.e., Edom, Moab, and Ammon) will NOT endure the wrath of Antichrist’s forces (nor, for that matter, the IDF) (Daniel 11:41); however, the West will for the first time station its forces within “the Glorious Land” (i.e., Israel proper, Daniel 11:45) as a result of this horrific struggle among the nations of the region. Jordan’s “escape” will undoubtedly be due to her alignment with the West in these confrontations.
(g) Saudi Arabia (ancient “Dedan”) and other Arabian Peninsula nations (e.g., Sheba/Yemen, the “southwest part of the Arabian Peninsula, ref. P. 1100, The Spirit Life Bible, NKJV, Thomas Nelson) are aligned with “The Ships of Tarshish” – i.e., the International Trading Empire of “Tyre and Sidon” which was incorporated into the Roman Empire (Alexander the Great defeated Tyre in 333 B.C. in the Eastern Mediterranean and Rome defeated Carthage in the Western Mediterranean in successive “Punic Wars” culminating in the devastation of Carthage itself in 146 B.C.). Ultimately, “The Ships of Tarshish” became synonymous with the West’s economic hegemony. It is the contention of this author that behind “The Ships of Tarshish” and its international trading empire (a.k.a., the ancient Canaanites of “Tyre and Sidon,” the Phoenicians (Greek name for these peoples) and/or the Punic people (Latin name for the same people)) is the King of Tyre (Ezekiel Chapters 26 through 28)). The “escapades” of the King of Tyre are wrought into merchandise, trade, and economic hegemony and bear remarkable parallels in his/its judgment in Revelation 18.
(h) Shortly after the “Victorious West” defeats the “King of the North” and the “King of the South” (i.e., Gog-Magog) a general uprising will prevail in both the “North” and in the “East” which will cause the triumphant West to pursue these “hot spots” and continue waging preemptive strikes (cf. Daniel 11:44). (Note: The absence of any “Western thrust” is noteworthy in that “The West” is unified in its victory.)
(1) The “Syrian/Lebanon/Palestinian” War with Israel/USA-Coalition Led forces is imminent. (cf. Isaiah 17 and Zechariah 9:1-6)
(2) The West/Israel will be victorious in (1) above. (Isaiah 17 as well as Daniel 11 and Isaiah 17:12-14; 18:1-7)
(3) A “Memorandum of Understanding/Safety Net” by the USA will “officially umbrella” Israel. (Isaiah 28:15, 18 & Daniel 9:27)—Israel will emerge from the Syrian “episode” in “safety” and “unwalled” (Ezekiel 38:8a, 11) primarily as a result of the “Treaty with Death and Hell” (Daniel 9:27; Isaiah 28:15, 18).
(4) The Gog-Magog War will ensue shortly after the “Syrian Regime Change” (Ezekiel 38 & 39; Daniel 11:40-45; Isaiah 17:12-18:1-7)
(a) The “King of the South” will initiate the conflagration but immediately followed by . . .
(b) The “King of the North” in a massive “PINCER MOVEMENT” to destroy the pre-positioned forces of Antichrist (i.e., THE WEST) will sweep in against the USA/Israeli Coalition (Daniel 11:40-43)
(c) Gog-Magog/King of the South will be annihilated by the Western Alliance/Israel (Ezekiel 38:18-23 & 39:1-16)
(d) Jordan, as well as other Arab nations on the Arabian Peninsula will NOT be allied with radical Islamists (i.e., Gog-Magog/King of the South) but will have allied themselves with the “Ships of Tarshish” (a.k.a., Western Civilization and, in particular, the “King of Babylon/the USA.” (Daniel 11:41; Ezekiel 38:13)
(e) Further “incursions” and “wars of liberation” will ensue after the aforementioned conflagrations and include areas beyond the Northern Alliance (i.e., “the North”), as well as “elements in the East” (cf. Daniel 11:44).
(f) Note: The above chronological sequence of eschatological events occur immediately prior to and immediately after the 70th Week of Daniel’s Prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27a) but do NOT include events which occur in the midst of the 70th Week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27b) on (cf. Revelation 11, 13-16).
………..to be continued
The aforementioned verses can be found on these sites:
Ezekiel 36 through 43
Isaiah 28: 15 & 18
“DAMASCUS WILL CEASE FROM BEING A CITY”
CATALYST FOR GOG-MAGOG
“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places . . . all of these are the beginning of sorrow.” (Matthew 24:7).
News trickling in from the nations affected by the monster earthquake (9.0) and subsequent Tsunami Waves depicts a latter-day apocalyptic occurrence beyond belief and rifles our attention onto the words of Jesus in the introduction of His Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24 prior to his crucifixion.
In the same breath He declared the incessant wars among the nations and then simultaneously announced that famines, pestilences, and EARTHQUAKES would take place in various places around the globe—as if there were a direct link between and among them! Without warning (some estimate) 150,000 lives were snuffed out . . . how could this be? Another 150,000 lives (for a total of 300,000) will die from disease caused by what the nations declared will be the "world's greatest relief effort in history" as well as the greatest financial disaster of all times! The devastation is UNPRECEDENTED IN THE ANNALS OF HUMAN HISTORY! Meanwhile, the intensity of the struggle for “Middle East” PEACE continues unabated!
DOWN THAT ROAD TO DAMASCUS
The last two blogs, along with a minor detour, introduced the “Damascus Synthesis” (both “secular” and “Biblical”). We also discussed why “hermeneutics” (i.e., “Bible interpretation”) was absolutely mandatory in the unfolding of eschatology. Christian liberalism, along with Dominionism, embrace a “traditional” (especially since Constantine embraced Christianity which was eventually made the State Religion of the Roman Empire) interpretation of eschatology (the study of “last things”); whereas, “Biblical literalism” is embraced by the majority of American Evangelicals. However, not all “Biblical Literalists” concur . . . and that’s what Christian Liberalism simply cannot endure! It would be much easier to “lump” the whole lot of those inerrant types into the same lot—aberrant Christianity.
DAMASCUS WILL NO LONGER BE A CITY
We now expand upon the “Damascus Synthesis” on a verse by verse exposition.
Firstly, the most potent prophetic diatribe against Damascus (i.e., Syria) takes place in Isaiah 17.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:
“Among ancient cities of the world, Damascus is perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited. Its name, Dimashq in Arabic . . . derives from Dimashka, a word of pre-Semitic etymology, suggesting that the beginnings of Damascus go back to a time before recorded history.”
The prophecies of Isaiah 17 have NOT been completely fulfilled. Shelia Macvicar, CNN Senior International Correspondent, on CNN Presents, March 15, 2003 (“Lines in the Sand”) traveled to the Middle East with the intent to see how a war would play itself out in the Arab world; to wit:
“When you talk about civilization, Syrians like to remind you their capital Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, an old culture that has slowly started to embrace reform. For nearly 20 years Syria has been on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror and it has not yet made peace with Israel . . . .”
“Damascus is known to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. There is firm evidence that in the third millennium BC, Damascus was a population center of a civilization that was considerably prosperous and economically influential. The earliest reference to the city was found in the archaeological site of Ebla in 1975; where the word “Damaski” was found on one of the clay tablets. Some historians believe that the city actually dates back to the seventh millennium BC…” (damascus online)
ASSYRIAN DEFEAT OF DAMASCUS DID NOT FULFILL PROPHECY
The late Dr. John Walvoord appears uncertain in the fulfillment of the “Damascus Oracle” when he says:
“The coming destruction of Damascus, one of the ancient cities of the Middle East, the capital city of Aram, was predicted (vv. 1-2). Damascus was allied with Israel in fighting the Assyrians, but it would all be to no avail because the Assyrians would triumph. Jacob would be like a person with a fat body that wasted away (v. 4). The destruction of Damascus was fulfilled in history and prophecy.” (P. 101, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, Victor Books, cir. 1990).
This somewhat ambiguous announcement simply defines the description of the text and does not seek to go much further; although, perchance there’s an opening within the context of his “fulfilled in history and prophecy” remark? However, be it duly noted, the good theologian sees, I believe, little, if any relevance to a future prophetical fulfillment regarding Syria.
The finality and intensity of the Damascus destruction is so horrific, that to surmise an initial fulfillment was the “conclusive prophecy” would do great disservice to Isaiah’s forecast. One of the truly mysterious elements of the Hebraic prophets is to find an “immediate smaller or partial fulfillment foreshadowing a larger or complete fulfillment yet to come” (http://www.harpazo.net/Damascus.html).
In sum: Damascus awaits destruction (sorry to say):
“The burden against Damascus. ‘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’” (Isaiah 17:1-2).
Again, the “burden against Damascus” will be fulfilled by a joint military assault against her by the IDF/USA (i.e., the Israeli Defense Forces and the current leadership of the Western World: The United States of America, who has pre-positioned her forces in the region (Iraq and elsewhere)). This overwhelming military display will knock out the current insurgency in Iraq by elimination of Syrian/Lebanese complicity with these International Terrorist organizations which are “officially sponsored” by Syrian compliance (directly and indirectly supporting Hamas, Hezbollah, Amal, Islamic Jihad, et al, and, overall, the insurgents in Iraq).
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY WILL BE DISSOLVED
In order to achieve a Middle East free from terrorism, the United States and her ally, Israel, will once and for all, during the upheaval with Syria and Lebanon (as well as ultimate “democratization” of Iraq—all prior to taking on the “Iranian Problem”) SIMULTANEOUSLY destroy the terrorist network of the Palestinian Authority, and ipso facto, the Palestinian Authority will be reduced to a mere symbol of conquest—scheduled for “transference” from the West Bank to either Gaza and/or throughout the Arab world, along with a complete take over of the Temple Mount area.
This will take place SIMULTANEOUSLY with Syria’s demise; to wit:
“The fortress also will cease from Ephraim (the tribe of Ephraim was/is virtually the “Command Center of the PLO” today), 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” (Note: The “remnant” referred to here has to do with the tiny remnant of Jews still living in Syria.)
Likewise, the “Messianic Scenario” given in Zechariah Chapters 9 through 14 clearly initiates judgment against Israel’s enemies in the immediate area of Syria, and lands now occupied by Lebanon, and the PLO; to wit:
Against Syria proper:
1 The burden[a] of the word of the LORD
Against the land of Hadrach,
And Damascus its resting place
(For the eyes of men
And all the tribes of Israel
Are on the LORD);
2Also against Hamath, which borders on it,
Against Lebanon proper:
And against Tyre and Sidon,
though they are very wise.
3For Tyre built herself a tower,
Heaped up silver like the dust,
And gold like the mire of the streets.
4Behold, the LORD will cast her out;
He will destroy her power in the sea,
And she will be devoured by fire.
Against the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Area:
5Ashkelon shall see it and fear;
Gaza also shall be very sorrowful;
And Ekron, for He dried up her expectation.
The king shall perish from Gaza,
And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
6"A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod,
And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
7I will take away the blood from his mouth,
And the abominations from between his teeth.
ISRAEL’S POPULARITY AND MILITARY STRENTH WILL BE DIMINISHED AS A RESULT OF THE SYRIAN ENGAGEMENT
Clearly, Israel’s pivotal role in the “Syrian Regime Change” is noteworthy, as well as her “exhaustion” in the conflict; however, there will still be some strength remaining in her forces AND a revival amongst the Israelis will commence, as well as (quite possibly) the “initial stirrings” of the TESTIMONY OF THE TWO WITNESSES (Revelation 11) wherein the “final ingathering of the harvest of the earth” shall take place (Revelation 14:14-16).
“In that day their strong cities, which they (the Syrians) left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth” (Isaiah 17:9).
“In that day the glory of Jacob will fade . . . the fat of his body will waste away. It will be as when a reaper gathers the standing grain and harvests the grain with his arm—as when a man gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs (Note: The “olive tree” is the SYMBOL of Israel), declares the Lord, the God of Israel. In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made” (Isaiah 17:4-8).
Though victorious, the “victory” will leave Israel exceedingly vulnerable, while at the same time diminishing her “earthly popularity,” she and the nations of the world will look upon this victory as a demonstration of the Lord their Maker INTERVENING in the affairs of man and “turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.”
Syria’s distrust toward Israel exceeds in intensity virtually the combined anger of the Islamic World; to wit:
“As long as Israel exists, the threat exists. As long as there is aggression against an Arab country, and as long as there is a war close to our borders, the danger continues. Anyone who does not worry in such circumstances does not see reality. Worry does not mean fear, but readiness for the confrontation . . . .”
“ . . . None of us and none of the Arabs trust Israel. It is natural that we should always expect an Israeli attack, even when it does not threaten. It should be known that Israel is based on treachery. This is a point to be considered thoroughly. We are dealing with treachery and threats, which accompanied the establishment of Israel. Since its very inception, Israel has been a threat. It is the Israeli nature, and for that Israel was established.” (Syrian President Bashar Assad)
The above link emphasizes Syria’s current military buildup of some 600,000 troops since mid-2003.
THE RAGING OF THE NATIONS—GOG-MAGOG ARISING
The multinational Attack known as the Gog-Magog War found in Ezekiel 38 and 39 immediately follows the destruction seen in the initial verses of Isaiah 17; to wit:
12 Oh, the raging of many nations—they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples— they roar like the roaring of great waters!
13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumble-weed before a gale.
14 In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us.
And, compare this with Ezekiel 38:1-6:
1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him
3 and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army— your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords.
5 Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets,
6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops— the many nations with you.
Gog is clearly a Principality—a cosmic figure of ghastly proportions whose usurpation identifies so closely with Satan himself that his similarity is altogether feasible, if not actual; for why do we hear of Gog’s final revival at the close of the 1,000-year millennial Reign on the earth where the final forces of evil converge against Jerusalem? (cf. Revelation 20:7-10)
Without controversy, for Israel to be attacked by the forces of the “King of the North” and the “King of the South” she must be in the land. Well, today she most assuredly is in the land! Now let us take careful note that Israel’s state prior to the onset of the Gog-Magog conflagration shows her in relative SAFETY. Yet, today, she is threatened by invasion by her hostile neighbors (though they are now very much on the defensive) but most assuredly she is faced with daily threats from numerous terrorist organizations bent on her destruction.
“Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety” (Ezekiel 38:7-8 NIV)
Everything seems in place; however, Israel’s current “safety” and her “unwalled” defenses seem totally contrary to the initial text in Ezekiel 38. Most definitely there is no safety and there is a huge wall separating the Palestinians from the Israelis, drawing the consternation of the whole world!
Gog, who heads the multinational force will find that the wall separating Israel proper from “Greater Israel” will have been either removed or rendered useless for she now dwells in SAFETY.
GOG DEVISES A PLAN OF ATTACK
Gog has amassed his confederation (Magog) and has devised a plan of attack against both Israel (Ezekiel 38 and 39) and against the allied forces of the West headed up by the “HIM” of Daniel 11:40-45.
“I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land” (Ezekiel 38:12 NIV).
Yes, at the time of Gog’s premeditated attack, Israel will be recovering from her immediate conflict with Syria. After the Isaiah 17 description of the destruction of Damascus, the multinational force, under Gog’s leadership, will arise to loot and plunder. By observing the “transition” in Isaiah 17 from the Damascus conflagration to the multinational emphasis found in Isaiah 17:12 onward, we can see Jewish commentators clearly see Isaiah 18 transitions into the Gog-Magog war:
“Isaiah . . . speaks to the nations involved in the wars of ‘Gog and Magog.’” (The Stone Edition Tanach. Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications Ltd. 1996, p. 984 (a footnote on Isaiah 18:1).
UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY NATION OF ISAIAH 18
One of the most significant portions of Scripture to erupt upon the contemporary prophetical scene of the 21st Century is found in Isaiah 18 . . . the entire portion is read:
1 Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush,
2 which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water.
Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers.
3 All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it.
4 This is what the LORD says to me: I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling-place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.
5 For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches.
6 They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter.
7At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty
from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers—
the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.
With eschatological affirmation that mystery nation is none other than that nation which shall contest the forces of Gog-Magog already mentioned in Isaiah 17!
And who might that nation be? Let us carefully discern and examine the claims of Isaiah in his description of the people who constitute this “aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers”—for most definitely, it is NOT Cush (i.e., ancient Sudan, parts of Egypt and Ethiopia).
After Isaiah briefs us on the Gog-Magog War (which is also discussed in Daniel 11:40-45 and, of course, Ezekiel 38 and 39), he goes into much greater detail discussing TWO nations involved in the confrontation mentioned in Isaiah 17.
Clearly, one of them is ancient Cush:
“Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush [Cush is the upper Nile region, south of Egypt. The Sudan and Ethiopia are located there. As an ally of Gog-Magog, Cush (which is in the vicinity of both Sudan and Ethiopia) along with Persia (Iran), and Put (Libya) will be with them . . . .” (Ezekiel 38:5 NIV)] which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the waters.” (Isaiah 18:1-2) (Note: my [ ] )
After Isaiah elucidates Cush’s involvement, he describes an UNNAMED PEOPLE or NATION . . . almost like a riddle, designed to help one discover who that nation might be:
“Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers” (Isaiah 18:2 NIV)
or . . . let us consider the NKJV:
“Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin, to a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide.”
Here we discover that Cush is prepared to settle, as one of the members of the Southern Confederated nations aligned with Gog, directly with this mystery nation—no doubt some form of peace.
The Masoretic Text gives even a more detailed analysis of this mystery nation/people; to wit:
“. . . a nation led along according to someone else’s will, smooth (or hairless), a people feared from himself and beyond, a nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated, whose land the rivers plundered.” (Isaiah 18:2) (Hebrew Masoretic Text accessed via: Bushell, Michael S., Bible Works for Windows. Big Fork, Montana: Hermeneutica Software, 1996.) (Also, special appreciation for the wonderful work of Paul Robertson of Portland, Oregon)
Thusly, this unnamed, mystery nation is known and described as follows:
1. A nation whose will has been usurped.
This strange and unusual description goes beyond normal bounds of human description. First, they are a nation . . . clearly a nation that has caused Cush to be concerned for its own sovereignty.
She is a nation, who by the time of this description, has lost her freedoms and are somehow “led along according to someone else’s will” –we affirm that “will” to be none other than that of Antichrist; to wit:
“23When these rulers have become as evil as possible, their power will end, and then a king who is dangerous and cannot be trusted will appear. 24He will gain strength, but not on his own, and he will cause terrible destruction. He will wipe out powerful leaders and God's people as well.” (Daniel 8:23-24)
The sheer force of his will will lead many astray: “Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes” (Daniel 8:25a).
How readily are we reminded of the WILFUL ONE found in Isaiah 14:12-14:
12"How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer,[a] son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13For you have said in your heart:
"I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.
Surely, the WILL of this nation has been usurped by this despicable one whose frame we are well aware! Finally, we confer this verse to his charge;
“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done” (Daniel 11:36).
2. A “smooth-skinned” (or clean shaven) people.
This phrase/word (i.e., “smooth-skinned”) is derived from the Hebrew word “morat” and connotes “smooth” or “hairless.” Therefore, we conclude that they have purposefully removed their facial hair and/or body hair. The history of a people who has done this is most fascinating. The art of barbering dates way back; however, in the modern era, it is the USA that laid claim to the earth’s first schools of Barbering (1893) and to this day prides itself as a nation of the clean shaven! How odd to describe this mystery nation as CLEAN SHAVEN! Of course, this custom is highly prized by the US military and is, almost across the board, REQUIRED BY THE MILITARY.
3. The third “clue” as to this nation’s identity lies in the phrase: “feared from himself and beyond.”
Although it appears from the Hebrew that this nation’s people could be “afraid of its own government,” it is far more likely that she is a nation feared throughout the world and obviously, therefore, she is a WORLD POWER of the foremost order! No doubt, those “within her” are fearful, on the one hand, but on the other hand, everyone “outside her” is also full of terror at this nation’s leadership and people.
These verses of Antichrist’s power come to mind:
“A king shall arise, having fierce features . . . he (i.e., Antichrist) shall destroy fearfully . . . so they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Daniel 8:23, 24; Revelation 13:4).
4. “A nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated”
Rarely has there ever in the history of humankind been an emerging nation state who measured its conquered lands and then, subjugated its native peoples like that of this nation! In point of fact, the very art of surveying on a massive scale was literally founded by this nation! And, what of its subjugated peoples . . . the tragic history is unparalleled in the annals of human history!
5. “Whose land the rivers have plundered”
This phrase comes from the Hebrew word “bazu” and is singularly found only in this passage of the Bible. However, the word is similar to that of its noun form: “baz” (to “loot” or “plunder”). Therefore, the verb “bazu” means “looted” or “plundered.” Apparently, this land which is divided by rivers is literally FLOODED by these same rivers and that flooding is extensive!
The legendary dividing of the USA by its formidable currents is known throughout the world. Furthermore, the incessant flooding of those same streams is without precedence; especially, because of the many cities which line their banks and are exposed to the ravages of their floods!
DO WE HAVE A VERDICT!
It is the conglomeration of evidence that convinces this author, and many others, that Isaiah’s description of this end-times’ nation and people, can be none other than these United States of America. To conclude otherwise, is sheer nonsense and literally preposterous. No, purposefully it is UNNAMED! Why? Because it wasn’t even in existence at the time of Isaiah’s writings—so its peculiar and convincing description is given.
One nation, and one nation alone, can command the fear of all the other nations of the globe! This people’s will is being usurped as we speak. Blindly do they follow their leadership until all will is subservient to their commander. They are a militant people whose clean-shaven character fits their military motif. They are today’s SOLE SUPER POWER. Their land was surveyed and their native populations were subjugated. Indeed, their rivers may have wrought massive flooding but by dent of their imaginative will have they overcome their adversities.
Listen now, listen and see who is this nation:
“All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: When HE (this nation) lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; and when HE blows a trumpet you hear it” (Isaiah 18:3).
Now, do you see and hear who HE is?
The transition in Isaiah 17 is now completed. Damascus is destroyed. Gog and Magog gather together against “him” at the close of Isaiah 17. But this fearful and terrible nation, and its awesome and fearsome leader, shall defeat mighty Gog and his allies, Magog.
And, how shall HE defeat his foes who have mounted such a massive assault against HIM? Daniel 11:40-45 spells out his tactics and strategies. At this stage, Israel’s foes are vanquished AND “In that time a present will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth of skin, and from a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide—to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, to Mount Zion” (Isaiah 18:7).
This finale, this conclusion of Isaiah 17 through 18 is beyond comprehension . . . or is it? Imbedded within these mysterious and strange descriptions is a final depiction which amplifies the Almighty’s sovereignty over all things earthly and heavenly. Could we be witnessing the Lord’s USE OF HIS FOE FOR HIS OWN ENDS? Absolutely!
This “nation powerful and treading down,” this one “which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, treading it down and breaking it in pieces” (Daniel 7:23) shall yet be used by the Almighty for His Own designs!
The one who treads down shall one day face the following:
“But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:26-27).
There is reason and evidence to affirm that the PRESENT given by this “treading down nation” shall be given to Israel and that it would be connected to the rebuilding of their THIRD TEMPLE. The “sequence” of events followed in Ezekiel indicate that this very well could be the case—for immediately concluding the demise of Gog-Magog is the elaborate account of the building of the Temple found in Ezekiel Chapters 40 through 43.
Yes, some have concluded, due to its unusual measurements, that it must be that of the Millennial Temple; however, there is nothing in the Scripture which would negate the “possibility” that the description borne in Ezekiel is not the PRESENT given by this mystery nation; and yet, is not this dreadful one who allows such rebuilding the same one who BREAKS THE AGREEMENT with Israel in the midst of the 70th Week of Daniel? Indeed, he is “prince who is to come” (Daniel 9:27).
Much more can be said of this frightful figure to arrive shortly upon humanity’s scene.
This concludes this FOUR PART series on the immediacy of future events facing the nations of the world and, in particular, the nation of Israel.
HOW ABOUT YOUR ROAD TO DAMASCUS?
Friend, this has been a journey on the “Road to Damascus.” There was another one, by name of Saul, whose sole habit was his addiction to silence the early faith of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, did he seek them out to torture and martyr the followers of the Lamb, until divine intervention met him on that Road to Damascus where he had intended to slay more of those who followed in “The Way.”
1“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.[a] It is hard for you to kick against the goads." 6So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." 7And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:1-9).
Saul’s name was eventually changed to “Paul.” Paul had no idea that traveling down that Road to Damascus from Jerusalem his entire life would be turned upside down—forever changed by the Lord Jesus. The question abides: Have you met this One down your Damascus Road? If you haven’t you can do so right now . . . surrender your life to Him now . . . no, you can’t see Him (neither could Saul), but He’s there, He’s talking, do you hear His voice? Once you encounter Him, you’ll never be the same; your whole life will be turned upside down and around . . . eventually you’ll see again, but this time everything will look differently; strangely the world will lose its allure and what once motivated you to “earthly success” will grow strangely dim “in the light of his glory and grace.” Your only retort shall be: “What shall this man do?”
May the Lord come to you now along your Damascus Road . . . bless.
“THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS”
CATALYST FOR GOG-MAGOG
By: Doug Krieger
THE THEOLOGICAL BACKDROP
This four-part series highlights the immediate prophetic chronology facing the nations, Israel and the Church. Crucial to the Biblical understanding of eschatology (i.e., the theology of “last things”) is hermeneutics—interpreting the various texts.
Essentially, there are two schools of hermeneutics prevailing within Christianity: (1) “Spiritualizing” the Scripture—systemized by Origen, Augustine, and institutionalized by the Roman Catholic Church; as well as “inherited” by the Reformers (e.g., Calvin, Luther, Knox, Zwingli); and (2) “Biblical Literalism” which pervaded the early Church Fathers, but fell out of use as the Roman Church sought to justify her political/spiritual dominion. Shortly after the Reformation, Biblical Literalism gained popularity among British and American theologians and Bible students, especially in the early 1800s.
Ultimately, these two schools of interpretation clashed during the incursions of liberalism and higher Biblical criticism in the late 1800s—the debate went public during the infamous Scopes’ Monkey Trial. Not all evangelicalism in America embraces “literalism” as their main hermeneutic. Evangelical Reform churches and seminaries most assuredly do not. The theological consternation today in America is NOT between a dead and dormant liberal Christianity but the major theological struggles occur within the framework of a resurgent American Evangelicalism itself!
Those Christians who embrace “Biblical Literalism” will, in most cases, affirm what D. R. Shearer calls: The Messianic Scenario. It is this “Scenario” which drives the earnest student of the Scriptures to conclude a more “futuristic” interpretation of prophetical events in the Revelation, as well as eschatology found in nearly fifty percent of the Bible. Part II in the series is a necessary “detour” on our Road to Damascus. It highlights the current “Battle for the Bible.”
THE DAMASCUS SYNTHESIS
Encapsulated in three of the four articles is the unfolding of events which will catapult the earth into the Seventieth Week of Daniel, and ultimately the Second Coming of Christ. What you are about to enter on the Road to Damascus is a journey which is precisely calculated by the Messianic Scenario and substantiates Biblical Literalism as the relevant eschatology for the “End of Days.”
The salient prophetical schematic of the Last Days will unveil:
(1) The USA is the “Mystery Nation” spoken of in Isaiah 17 and 18 and is the Babylon (i.e., “King of Babylon”) of the Revelation, as well as Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah.
(2) “The prince who is to come” in Daniel 9:27 is the prophesied Antichrist who leads the “Mystery Nation” of Isaiah 17 and 18 and the one who will “preposition” his forces near the “Beautiful Land” (i.e., Israel) and that most likely, ancient Babylon (Iraq) is the immediate fulfillment of that prophetical phenomenon.
(3) Israel and the USA-led Coalition will imminently move toward “Regime Change” in Syria; not only as part of the Administration’s policy of “preemptive strike” but of military necessity. They have little alternative but to strike at the head of international terrorism and simultaneously eliminate the insurgency in Iraq, as well as dissolve the political legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and put in place a decidedly pro-Western government in Lebanon—again, all of this is “prophesied” in Scripture (Isaiah 17, 18, 24; Daniel 7-11; Ezekiel 26-28, 38-39; Zechariah 9-14; Revelation 11, 13-20)
(4) Immediately following the “Syrian Card,” Israel will find herself militarily “exhausted” but in relative “safety” as a “Memorandum of Understanding” between Israel and the West (i.e., the leadership of the West, the USA) will allow her a “sense of safety” (“unwalled” and in “safety” according to Ezekiel 38-39). This MOU could easily initiate the infamous “Agreement with Death and Hell” or “a covenant with the many” (Isaiah 28:15, 18; Daniel 9:27a).
(5) Gog-Magog (a.k.a., Radical Islamic Fundamentalism/Nationalism) will sweep the remaining Middle Eastern/North African nations following “Regime Change” in Syria. Iran and Turkey will lead the “Northern Alliance of Nations” (a.k.a. Gog-Magog or “The King of the North”); and Egypt, Sudan and Libya will form a Southern Confederacy (a.k.a., “The King of the South”). Most notably, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and nations on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula are NOT allied with the forces of Gog-Magog (Ezekiel 38-39) but manifest their concern regarding Gog’s economic intentions (for “spoil” and “plunder”) with those of the “Ships of Tarshish” (i.e., the designation for the famed “International Trading Empire” of the Canaanites/Phoenicians/Punic people of antiquity). The Ships of Tarshish are that “Mystery Nation” of Isaiah 18 (a.k.a., the leadership of the West; the USA).
(6) The Gog-Magog War will commence with the “King of the South” making a decisive thrust “against him” (i.e., “the Antichrist” or “The King that shall arise with fierce features” - Daniel 8:24; 11:40-45). This will be followed by a pincer movement led by Gog and his allies (Magog) from the north against Israel (Ezekiel 38-39); therefore, the “focus” of the “campaign” will be the West’s pre-positioned forces throughout the Levant in Daniel; and, the focus of Gog’s strategy will be Israel as emphasized in Ezekiel 38-39. Gog and Magog are referred in Isaiah 17 as “the multitude of many people/the nations.” Both Israel and the “Mystery Nation” are mentioned as well (Isaiah 17 and 18).
(7) The outcome of the Gog-Magog War will be the annihilation of both the King of the North and the King of the South; however, it appears that “elements” within the Southern Confederacy will “sue for a separate peace” with the “Mystery Nation” and the immediate victory over radical Islamic fundamentalism/nationalism will be short-live as “hot spots” in the far North (of Jerusalem) and the “East” will cause the West’s leadership to commence further “preemptive action” (Daniel 11:40-45).
(8) The FORMAL “Peace Accord” (a.k.a. “Agreement with Death and Hell”) with Israel (“with the many”) will be “enforced” by “the prince who is to come” (a.k.a., the Antichrist and/or the West’s Leader) immediately following the defeat of Gog-Magog. The “Middle East Peace Settlement” will place forces of Antichrist throughout the region, but, in particular, in “the Beautiful Land” (Daniel 11:40-45). The “Agreement” will be for seven years with the West providing Israel a PRESENT which appears to be full assistance and support for the on-going rebuilding of the TEMPLE (which occurs immediately after Ezekiel 38-39, from Ezekiel 40-43 is “not necessarily” the Millennial Temple but the actual Third Temple).
(9) The “Seven Year Agreement” “with the many” (i.e., Israel and those nations which “concur” with the “settlement package” will be abruptly terminated “in the midst” of Daniel’s 70th Week (i.e., after 42 months or 3 ½ years).
(10) Immediately following the Seven Year Agreement the empowering ministry of “The Two Witnesses” of Revelation 11 will commence, resulting in worldwide revival and evangelism (Revelation 11 and 14:14-16).
(11) The implications of this termination bode ill for all peoples of the earth—especially Israel and the Church (i.e., “the tribulation saints” of Revelation 7 and/or the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11) for the next 1,260 days or 3 ½ years; however, simultaneously with persecution of “the saints” there will be miraculous preservation for both peoples akin to Israel’s initial preservation in the midst of the plagues wrought against Egypt under Pharaoh. This period of time in Daniel’s 70th Week is known as the time of “Jacob’s Trouble” or “The Great Tribulation” (Rev. 7:14) and is inaugurated by the “Abomination of Desolation” spoken of by Jesus in reference to Daniel’s prophecy and introduces the figure of the BEAST from the Abyss, the False Prophet (Second Beast) and the institution of the worship of the Image of the Beast.
(12) For 42 months “The Holy City” shall be “trodden under foot of the Gentiles” (Revelation 11) and the final “Messianic Scenario” will eventuate, leading to the Armageddon Campaign, the Rapture and Resurrection and the simultaneous outpouring of the “Bowls” of Revelation upon “the earth dwellers” (i.e., THE WRATH OF THE LAMB) and, finally, the actual Second Coming of Christ, ushering in His Millennial Rule and Reign (a.k.a., “The Proclamation of the Kingdom” – Revelation 11:15).