Now, back to the current events. What is going on in the Middle East is not saber rattling. Israel has been fighting since the day it became a nation again in 1948, and Syria has been engaged in a civil war for several years. When the sabers are thrusting people through, it is no longer saber rattling.
Last week, the United States launched a Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian airfield in response to Syria using chemical weapons on its citizens.
These recent events and the uncertainty of how it will all pan out has sent many questions my way about Syria, Bible prophecy, the United States, Israel and the future.
Prophecy would have been a lot easier if God had only written a list. No. 1 – date – event; No. 2 – date – event; but He did not do that. Instead, some prophecies are tucked away in a single phrase – compare Hosea 11:1 with Matthew 2:15 – while others consist of whole books. The book of Nahum is a prophecy concerning the city of Ninevah, modern-day Mosul.
Some prophecies need events not prophesied to happen before they can take place. Daniel 9:27 tells us the Antichrist will stand in the Temple and cease all the sacrifices. For that to happen, we must see the Temple rebuilt. Not mentioned in the Bible, but the reconstruction of the Temple must happen for that particular prophecy to come to pass.
We know part of the sequence. The book of Revelation is pretty much in sequential order. The book of Daniel gives the order of progression of the world’s great empires. By the way, America is not one of them.
There are many prophecies we do not know where they fall into the timeline. Ezekiel 38-39 tells of an invasion of Israel by Russia, Iran, Turkey and several other nations. Where does this belong in the sequence of events? It depends on who you ask. Some believe it happens before the Tribulation, some during, and some believe it is the last uprising of Satan coming after the millennium.
With all that said, there is one thing sure – regardless of when, irrespective of the order of events – we do know what many future events will be.
Was our recent missile strike on Syria prophesied? No, it is not part of Bible prophecy. The Syrian civil war? No, it is not in the Bible either. However, with Israel, Syria, Russia, Iran, the Palestinians and so many others in the area all part of upcoming prophetic events, it would be unreasonable to think that current events in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world are not the moving of chess pieces by God to bring the final events into place.
As far as Syria is concerned, we know that she will confederate herself with Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinians in a surprise attack on Israel (Psalm 83). At the moment, Syria and Jordan do not see eye to eye; so we know something must happen. Does ISIS take over Syria and later Jordan? Does something happen to King Abdullah and another leader take a more anti-Israel stance? God only knows, and He did not tell us; but again, something must happen before what He did tell us, Psalm 83, can be fulfilled.
We are aware of the future destruction of Damascus; the words of Isaiah 17:1, “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Is the destruction of Damascus a result of Psalm 83 when Syria invades? That would seem the most likely, but it could be that the turning the city into rubble and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people is the trigger to the invasion. Then again, the destruction of Damascus could have nothing to do with Psalm 83 at all.
Jesus tells us on numerous occasions, in regard to end time events, to “watch.” Although specific things in today’s newspaper may not be specifically mentioned in scripture, they are events leading to particular prophecies. Therefore, in the words of Jesus, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, watch” (Mark 13:37).
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Email him at [email protected] and visit preacherjohnson.com.