Around 720 BC Isaiah prophesied that in the fullness of time (end times), Damascus, the Syrian capital, would cease to be a city and become a ruinous and useless heap of rubble. In the wake of the wider Arab Spring – a wave of upheaval throughout the Arab world – are we really going to see the fulfilment of this damning prophecy in our lifetime?
In Isaiah 17:1–3 the Bible declares: “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city. And it will be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken. They will be for flocks which lie down and no one will make them afraid. The fortress also will cease from Ephraim, the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria. They will be as the glory of the children of Israel.”
Whether in our lifetime or not, these words will surely come to pass because they were declared by God Almighty. Damascus is the capital city of Syria. It is the world’s oldest and continuously inhabited city, with first settlements recorded about 2000 BC.
Due to its old age, Damascus was chosen as the Arab city of culture (2008). Without doubt, Damascus is a major cultural, religious and political centre, and has an estimated population of two million inhabitants. Today, it is the seat of the Syrian central government.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, the existence of Damascus is at stake. Public demonstrations which began on January 26, 2011 have developed into a nationwide phenomenon.
Protesters have adamantly demanded the resignation of President Bashar al–Assad, the overthrow of his government and an end to nearly five decades of his party’s rule.
As a counter measure, President Bashar’s government deployed the Syrian military to quell the uprising, and several cities were besieged and have been pounded with rockets, plus nonstop gunfire ever since.
According to press reports, soldiers who refused to open fire on civilian protesters and their hideouts have been summarily executed. Some international media portals have reported heavy rocket shelling in Damascus, its suburbs, and major cities.
Bashar has shown no remorse towards the heavy loss of lives and vows to cling on to power. Bashar’s remorseless behaviour has instigated international outrage and has deepened calls for his resignation.
In another interesting turn of events, Russia has clearly reiterated that whoever touches Syria, will have to answer to her directly. The Chinese and Iranians seem to hold the same position.
And media reports have alleged that they have lately serviced Bashar’s government with fresh military arsenals, in order to quell these daunting protests. But why the Russia–Iran–China support in favour of the Syrian government at this point in time?
It is pretty clear that Russia has taken the lead in this tag–team, as big brother. For those of you who are familiar with Bible prophecy, Ezekiel 38 and 39 predict that in the last days, these four nations would come into alliance to engage Israel into war.
Because of space and time, I am not able to clearly articulate this interesting phenomenon here. It is important to note that most Bible prophecy rotates around the nation of Israel.
Sadly, the United States is nowhere directly mentioned as a superpower in the biblical last days, and we are currently seeing that play out as it consistently weakens economically – into oblivion.
Also, the Bible reiterates that in the last days, Russia, China and Iran would become economic and military powerhouses. But how, one might ask? Just for the record, God gave 70% of the world’s gas deposits to Russia, with significant deposits of crude oil as well.
Additionally – in the wake of the global economic downturn – Iran produces a significant amount of crude oil globally (5% in 2008), and it has the second largest oil reserves in the world.
Iran also controls the Strait of Hormuz with roughly 35% of the crude oil shipped through it. When it gets to Red China, things get tighter. As of May 2012, the US public debt was at $11bn, and they owe China $1.33 trillion.
With this huge debt, China has been threatening to blackmail America through what they dubbed “nuclear economics.” What is the key message in all this? In Matthew 24, our Lord Jesus said that during the end times, there would be famines (brought about by economic hardships), wars and rumours of wars, earthquakes, etc.
Exactly what is happening now. He also said that nobody would know the day or hour (Matthew 24:36), but we would see the signs. For those with casual relationships with God Almighty, it is high time you repented (Acts 3:19, Jeremiah 2:13), asked for God’s forgiveness and began living a Christ-centred life. Time is really short and all of us will stand before God to give an account of our deeds, words and thoughts.
Dr Kalibbala is a pastor and works with the International Water Association in the Hague, Netherlands.