I am not an end-times scholar and to be honest, despite the fact that I was a full-time staff member at the International House of Prayer for three years, my interest in end-times study was not as peaked as most of my colleagues. Despite various dreams in which Jesus was exhorting me to study Biblical prophecy, I find that it is difficult to hold my attention. I might even say it is boring (I shudder to think what some of my former leaders are thinking if they are reading this right now).
Yet with the events now surrounding Putin’s relationship with Syria in the news (read Joel Rosenberg’s blog here), it is hard to ignore that this may be a significant time post to the return of Jesus. Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 both point to the destruction of Damascus (in Syria) in the last days. As Rosenberg points out, Damascus is the oldest inhabited city still in existence but according to scripture it will eventually be obliterated and completely uninhabited, overrun with wild animals. Gog and Magog point to a Russian influence in the situation which I am still attempting to understand. The chapters that surround Isaiah 17 are all eschatological and speak of the destruction of the enemies of Israel. According to Isaiah 17, Syria is one of those enemies.
The truth is we can have a total understanding of all of the facts in the conflict and what they will look like to us as Believers but one thing that I haven’t come across as often is a people who are carrying the heart of God for the innocent children who have been slaughtered with chemical weapons. We can spout a litany of facts but in reality, we’re really talking about a whole lot of people that are going to die and who have already died (thousands and thousands of them), and most of them have never encountered God. Yeah, I want to be for Israel. I don’t want to gloss over scripture and replace uncomfortable theology for what makes me feel better. I want to know the purposes and plans of God and not assume that I know what they are already. But with every fact that travels it’s way through my understanding, I also don’t want my heart to be disconnected from the Believers in Syria who are struggling to stay afloat in an already hostile environment. I don’t want my heart to disconnect from the thousands that are being massacred and then going to hell.
So Jesus, for all of us that like to be in the know, let’s not forget that You have a plan. You love these people. Whatever it is that will ultimately come from such a heated political climate, help us to trust in your sovereignty and goodness in all of it.