Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
When Will Christ Return? (Sooner vs. Later) - Pete Garcia -
I walked home from work yesterday, which I am not prone to do often. Not because of the distance, but usually I am much too hurried either coming or going to bother with it. However, the weather was just so good I could not resist taking advantage of it. The last portion of my walk is approximately a half-mile, and I decided instead of taking the road, to take the sidewalk path that leads behind the base housing. As I started down it, I noticed an anthill along the side of the path. A thought immediately popped into my head, if I were an ant, I wonder how long it would take me to travel this same distance?
Well, it takes me about 15-20 minutes to walk it at a normal pace. I reckoned that an ant travelling a half mile (without stopping) would take hours, even possibly a full day to make the same trek. But what if I were twenty-feet taller? Of course, being twenty-five feet (and change) tall, my pace would be considerably faster. I bet I could do it in under five minutes. Naturally, I began to ponder the "deeper" prophetic implications of size versus distance as it relates to time. I know I know...I am weird like that.
That got me thinking of an article I read a long time ago from Don Koenig's The Prophetic Years. He is one of the most pragmatic, astute, and prolific prophecy writers still writing today. Several years back, he did a comparison study of the different times when the Lord could return at the Second Coming. Admittedly, I was somewhat discouraged with the models he showed that extended our time into the 2040's. Mind you, this was 2007, and looking at the possibility of the Second Coming happening some thirty to forty years into the future was not very appealing to me.
Now the year is 2018, and I have revisited this particular article and have seen how accurate his assessments have been pertaining to what he thought would arise in the years to come since 2007. It is uncanny. I believe his prognostications then were far more accurate than just about anyone else's I have read anywhere. Where 2034-2047 seemed a lifetime away to a young man who was fired up about prophecy, these dates do not seem very far away to the older, more tempered version of myself.
However, he has since revised that scenario to a much closer window (admitting that he erred on the side of caution with the 2050 setting), showing that he could not see the Second Coming extending any later than 2035. I tend to agree with him. If you back that up by a minimum of seven years, that puts the Rapture "window" around 2027. Barring a gap of time between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week, the Rapture could be much sooner.
If anyone else had come out and said it, I suppose I would have just chucked their opinion in the "wait and see" category. However, regarding the timing of the Second Coming, Don has always presented a very cautious and studied view, which is what got me excited. If he is revising his views on this to be sooner (rather than later), I think there is probably a great deal of prudence built into that revision. However, not only Don, or myself see this Second Coming sooner rather than later (which implies a sooner Rapture as well), but many other orthodox and studied prophecy experts, ministers, and watchers everywhere are seeing the same thing. Is that a coincidence, or is it divinely inspired? What we are witnessing is the rapid, intentional dismantling of all the current natural, cultural, religious, political, and economic orders, into one (a new world order) that the Bible says is coming. Especially since the elections of both Obama and Trump.
I imagine that from God's perspective, the sea of humanity can at times; resemble a freshly stirred and angry Fire Ant mound (this hearkening back to Psalms 2). We rush about attacking anything we can with no discernable pattern of advance. We frenziedly crawl over each other and when we do discern that the threat is gone, we retreat into our darkened tunnels doing pretending that the outside world does not exist.
For most of human history (o/a 6,000 years), man has been limited to the speed of horse, in that the masses were generally limited to archaic technology [not including the antediluvian era]. In other words, for most of human history, we were trudging along at an ant's pace down the timeline of God's prophetic path. Fortunately, our humanistic ambitions were tempered by our own lack of technology, which limited the amount of damage we could do to ourselves. Imagine if Alexander the Great had M-1 Abram tanks, or if Hitler atomic bombs at their disposal at the beginning of their European expansionism?
Along that same timeline for mankind, we have had what military historians refer to as a RMA's, or a Revolution in Military Affairs. These inventions/tactics/etc. significantly changed the nature of battle and warfare. For example;
14th century-the longbow
16th century-architectural fortifications
17th century-European tactical reforms
17th and 18th centuries-naval warfare introduced
18th century-British financial revolution
18th and 19th centuries-industrial revolution
19th century-American Civil War
20th century-World War I
-World War II
-Strategic air war
I would add that the rate of change has only intensified going into the 21st-century with the development of: Cyber, Nano, space warfare, robotics, information processing, genetic editing, digitized crypto-currencies, quantum technology, electromagnetic pulse weapons, artificial intelligence, and unmanned systems creating whole new markets and arenas with both civilian and military applications. RMAs have significantly changed how nations conducted warfare, which has affected the rest of the course of human affairs.
Nevertheless, what is routinely ignored by the world is the Revolution in Prophetic Affairs (RPAs). Just like the list above, before the 20th century, biblical prophecy progressed (seemingly) at a sluggish rate from the First Century. Once national Israel went into diaspora (circa AD70 courtesy of the Roman Legions), the Church in large part, lost its ability to understand where we were on God's prophetic calendar.
However, in the 20th-Century, Someone stirred the anthill and things have begun happening at a frenzied pace. The prophetic events along God's prophetic timeline can succinctly be summed up into three broad events/movements:
Whereas man could not know where he was on God's prophetic calendar pre-1897, we can definitively know where we are today, given all that has transpired over the last 120 years. We have gone from wondering where we are, to wondering when it (the Rapture) will happen.
We have been marching along the path of time making marginal progress as it relates to God's prophetic calendar. The length of the path has not changed, however, our size (size = our technological advancements, plus Israel, plus the geopolitical situation) is what has changed relative to it. It seems as if time is speeding up similar to how a kid and adult view time.
To a four-year old, a year seems like a lifetime away when they are looking forward to another birthday or Christmas. To a forty-three year old however, a year is not very long at all. This is the time-distance relationship. Simply put, a forty-three year old has lived through more years then a four-year old, thus the time (a year) is not as drastic in relation to perception, even though the year is still the same length of time.
The prophet Daniel was told that the end would come as a flood, before the final last seven years, and we can certainly see all these things happening with greater frequency and intensity. The increase of wars, rumors of war, natural disasters, pestilence, violence, wickedness, and apathy are just par for the course these days to the unbelieving world.
In 2007, Don Koenig set 2047 as the outer marker for the Second Coming. He did this only after consulting a variety of factors: Biblical patterns and cycles, Scriptural prophecies and signs, non-canonical historical texts, and many other resources from other learned-eschatologists. His conclusion was that the absolute no later than (NLT) time-frame 2024-2047 while still remaining consistent with Christ's own admonishment in Matthew's Fig Tree Parable (Matt. 24:32-35). In 2018 (11 years later), he adjusted that NLT to be 2035 for the Second Coming. If we subtracted seven-years for Daniel's 70th Week (aka...The Tribulation), then we are potentially at 2028 for the NLT time of the Rapture. Granted, that does not take into account any type of "gap" between the Rapture and the Tribulation.
For me, the gap will probably be around three and a half years...the same length of time for Christ's ministry while He was on the earth. Many eschatology experts have futilely tried to pin Hosea 6:2 either to the birth of Christ, or to His death. However, both of these exact dates have been in contention for millennia and likely will not get resolved this side of the Rapture.
What we do know definitively, is that of the length of His ministry (which transitioned the Old Testament into the New per Hebrews 9:16-17), was three and a half years. Is it possible that the gap of time between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week is also three and a half years? Especially considering that this would allow time for the Gog/Magog War cleanup (Ezekiel 39:9-10), the arrival of the Two Witnesses (Elijah and Enoch and/or Moses), the building of a new third Temple, and the confirming of a covenant? (Ezekiel 38-39, Matt. 17:1-3, Hebrews 9:27, Malachi 4:5, Revelation 11:1-14)
If that is the case and 2035 is a solid (best-theorized) date for the Second Coming, we would have to subtract seven-years (70th Week), plus another three and a half (gap), we would be somewhere around 2024...just six years from today.
Since so many have tried to predict when Christ would return, my opinion, as well as Don's (or anyone else's for that matter), are just educated shots in the dark. We look at Scripture, we look at the facts on the ground, and we try to piece together where they might point too. However, it is not as dark as it once was (2 Peter 1:19). The closer we draw to That Day, the more things fall into place and the clearer the picture becomes (1 Thess. 5:1-3). One thing we do know is that the time is growing exceedingly short. We may not know the day or hour, but we can definitely see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). So stay strong, stay watching, stay in the Word, keep the faith, and remember what Christ said to those of the Philadelphian Church,
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:10-11
Even So, Maranatha!
Syria & The End Times - By Britt Gillette -
With all the events taking place in Syria right now, many people are asking, "What does the Bible have to say about Syria and the end times?
Is this the beginning of World War III and Armageddon?" Those are legitimate questions, but let me assure you, this is not the end. How can I be so sure?
Because the Bible says Armageddon takes place at the end of the seven year Tribulation (Revelation 16:16), and the Tribulation has yet to begin.
That said, I believe recent events in Syria have great significance when it comes to the study of bible prophecy.
This doesn't mean you're guaranteed to see the immediate fulfillment of any specific bible prophecy. However, it does mean you should pay close attention.
Why? Because, at the very least, these events are setting the table for the fulfillment of multiple bible prophecies.
Just look around you. The signs of the Second Coming are everywhere. The restoration of Israel (Isaiah 11:12)... The Jews back in Jerusalem (Luke 21:24-28)... The Gospel preached to the world (Matthew 24:14)... An increase in travel and knowledge (Daniel 12:4)... The rise of the European Union (Daniel 2:43)... And many more.
Jesus says once you see all these signs come together, His return is near (Luke 21:28). This means the Tribulation is close, and you should expect to see the fulfillment of many end times prophecies in the near future.
Below are two prophetic events especially relevant to the ongoing events in Syria. The first could take place at any moment.
I believe a careful study of the Bible reveals the second event will take place sometime after the war foretold in Psalm 83.
Either way, both events could be very close to fulfillment. While both could still be several years away, breaking events could lead to their fulfillment in this very hour.
The Destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17)
Chapter 17 in the Book of Isaiah paints a sobering picture. In it, the city of Damascus is a pile of rubble. The Bible says it will disappear from the face of the earth and become a heap of ruins (Isaiah 17:1).
At the same time, large parts of northern Israel will also lie in ruin (Isaiah 17:3). Now, before you say this prophecy was fulfilled during Old Testament times, keep this in mind... This passage says Damascus will cease to be a city (Isaiah 17:1).
It will be utterly and completely destroyed. Yet, Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on record. Its history goes back more than 5,000 years. At 2,600 years old, the Book of Isaiah itself is new compared to Damascus! This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
So how do current events in Syria relate to Isaiah 17?
Following the U.S. strike on the Syrian Syrian chemical weapons facilities, a statement was issued by the Russian ambassador to the US saying: 'Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences."
While this statement was clearly in response to a U.S. attack, Russia, Iran & Syria have made it clear they will respond to any nation they view as an aggressor.
This includes Israel and makes a much more likely target than Syria or Russia retaliating direclty against the US. Hezbollah is part of the Iran/Syria/Russian alliance and would be more than glad to launch targeted attacks into Israel with backing from these nations.
While it hasn't been a major news story, Israel has also been bombing Syria. They've attacked Hezbollah targets in Syria several times over the last year and last week bombed an airbase that resulted in several Iranian Republican Guard deaths, including a Colonel.
Hassan Nasrallah, The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah terror group said the Israeli airstrike on an air base in central Syria that killed seven Iranians was a "historic mistake" that has brought Israel into direct conflict with Tehran. "This is unprecedented in seven years of war in Syria that Israel directly targets Iran's Revolutionary Guard," Nasrallah said.
Israel issued it's own threats in response, with senior Israeli security officials saying that if Iran strikes at Israel from Syrian territory, "Assad's regime and Assad himself will disappear from the map." They continued, "Our recommendation to Iran is that it does not try to act because Israel is determined to continue on this issue to the very end."
If Syria and its allies view their situation as desperate, they may decide to use these bombing raids as an excuse to launch a chemical attack on Israel.
This is because drawing Israel into the war could rally the Muslim world to Syria's side. Saddam Hussein tried this same tactic during the first Gulf War. In 1991, he fired Scud missiles at Israel in an effort to draw them into the war and break up the coalition aligned against him.
If Syria, Hezbollah, or any of their allies managed to strike Israel with a weapon of mass destruction, the response would be swift. Israel would most likely respond in kind. If their intelligence revealed the Assad regime was behind such an attack, nuclear retaliation on Damascus would not be out of the question.
While this is all speculation, and not necessary how Isaiah 17 will be fulfilled, it shows how realistic a near-term fulfillment of this prophecy could be. With current instability in the region, and so many warring factions in Syria, events could spiral out of control very quickly.
At this point in time, it's not difficult to imagine a scenario in which Damascus is completely destroyed.
The Gog of Magog War (Ezekiel 38-39)
Current events in Syria are also setting the stage for the Gog of Magog War. More than 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel warned of a future time when a vast coalition of nations will attack Israel.
Ezekiel identifies these nations as "Magog, Rosh, Meschech, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah" (Ezekiel 38:1-6). These nations have since come to be known as the Gog of Magog alliance.
Now, with the exception of Persia and Cush, I realize most people have never heard of these nations.
But keep in mind Ezekiel used the names of these nations as they were known in his day. Each one is a clearly identifiable nation today. So who are these nations in our day and time?
Below is a list. The Old Testament name is listed first, followed by its modern day equivalent:
Rosh = Russia
Magog = Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan
Persia = Iran
Cush = Sudan
Put = Libya
Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah = Turkey
Collectively, these nations have never attacked Israel. In fact, in the history of the world, such an alliance of nations has never existed.
But today we see it coming together right in front of us. Since 1989, Russia and Iran have gradually strengthened their diplomatic, military, and economic ties.
Yet, in the first 2,600 years after Ezekiel recorded his prophecies, the nations of Russia and Persia (Iran) had never been part of any alliance of any sort. Never. Cooperation between Russia and Iran, especially military cooperation, didn't take place.
This led many people to claim Ezekiel's prophecy was symbolic. Why? Because the idea of the Gog of Magog war seemed absurd. After all, at the dawn of the 20th Century, Russia was an orthodox Christian nation and Israel didn't exist!
But those who believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible knew otherwise. They knew all prophecy would come to pass. Because bible prophecy doesn't come from mere humans. It's God's Word (2 Peter 1:19-21).
In the years since, the stage has been set for the literal fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39. A 1917 communist revolution transformed Russia from a Christian nation to an atheist nation.
In 1948, Israel once again became a nation. And earlier this week, Russia and Iran issued a joint statement vowing to respond with force to any aggressor.
And Turkey? For decades, people have wondered how Turkey could be a part of this alliance. After all, Turkey is a member of NATO.
And in late 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian jet when it strayed into Turkish airspace. Russia and Turkey seem to be at odds.
So how could Turkey be a part of this alliance? At first glance, it seems unlikely. But in the summer of 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jailed thousands of political opponents. And recently, Turkey voted to eliminate its parliamentary form of government and give expanded powers to Erdogan.
Ultimately, this could be what pushes Turkey into the Russian sphere of influence. Erdogan is an anti-Western, pro-Islamist leader, and he's worked hard to strengthen Turkey's ties with Russia.
He has had several heated exchanges with Israel's Netanyahu in the press and has shown support for the Hamas uprising along the border in Gaza. Turkey has clearly shifted from friend to foe over the past decade and presents a direct threat to Israel having one of the largest militaries in the region.
In light of these developments, we can see the Gog of Magog alliance coming together for the first time in history.
For the first time since Israel re-emerged on the world scene in May 1948, the main players of the Ezekiel 38-39 alliance are all working together.
Even more important, they all have military personnel close to Israel's border. The stage is set for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39.
What Will Ultimately Happen?
While terrible destruction awaits Damascus (Isaiah 17:1), northern Israel (Isaiah 17:3), and the entire Gog of Magog Alliance (Ezekiel 38:19-22), we have reason to be hopeful.
Because of these events, the Bible says people will soon look to and acknowledge their Creator - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Isaiah 17:7).
When He strikes down Israel's enemies, the whole world will know He is the God Israel (Ezekiel 38:23).
In the days and weeks ahead, we can't be certain what will happen in Syria. But in the long run, we can be absolutely certain the events of Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39 will be fulfilled.
Damascus will lie in ruin, and the Gog of Magog Alliance will be destroyed. These events are certain.
Because whatever He has declared, God will bring to pass (Isaiah 14:24). And when these things happen, the world will no longer be able to deny Him. He will destroy the enemies of Israel in plain view of the entire world.
"In this way," says the Lord. "I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel 38:23 (NLT)
The Feasts of the Lord - By Daymond Duck -
In Lev. Chapter 23, God identified seven feasts that He wanted the Jews to observe in their seasons. Three of those feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits) occur in the spring season; one of those feasts (Weeks or Pentecost) occurs in the summer season; and the remaining three feasts (Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles) occur in the fall season.
God told the Jews to proclaim these feasts to be "holy convocations." This means God wanted these feasts to be set apart for a special purpose.
The purpose was twofold: 1) The feasts were gatherings that remember past events, and 2) They were gatherings that reveal future events.
The Lord's Supper is a good example. Paul said, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death (a past event) till he come" (a future event; I Cor. 11:26).
The past events that God selected for the feasts of the Lord are not haphazard choices or coincidences. God selected the past events that He wanted to be remembered because they are "a shadow of good things to come" (Heb. 10:1).
The Jews were meticulous about remembering the past events, but only a handful (called Messianic Jews) understand that they reveal future events.
One reason for this lack of understanding could be that certain Scriptures (Isa. 53 is an example) are omitted from regular Jewish Scripture readings.
Many Jews make themselves willingly ignorant of the future events because they don't read certain Scriptures.
Before one condemns the Jews for this, it should be noted that some publishers of Christian Sunday school lessons often omit prophetic passages from the Sunday school lessons. These publishers are guilty of doing the same thing the Jews do.
Anyway, Jews celebrate the feasts of the Lord in the spring, summer and fall.
Think about it! God gave the Jews three spring feasts that reveal the Gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus), one summer feast that reveals the church (believing Gentiles and Messianic Jews), and three fall feasts that reveal the return of Jesus and His reign on earth.
The three Spring Feasts - Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits - reveal the gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus).
Concerning Passover, it is no coincidence that the Jews remember the past by selecting a lamb without blemish on Nisan 10 (Jesus, the unblemished Lamb of God, made His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Nisan 10); that the Jews killed a lamb on Nisan 14 (Jesus was killed on Nisan 14); that the Jews killed the lamb at 3 pm (Jesus died at 3 pm); that the Jews didn't break any of the lamb's bones (none of Jesus' bones were broken); and the Jews didn't leave any of the lamb for the next day (the body of Jesus was removed from the cross before the next day).
Concerning Unleavened Bread, it is no coincidence that the Jews remember the past by eating unleavened bread on Nisan 15 (Jesus was the unleavened, sinless, Bread of Life whose body was in the grave on Nisan 15); that the Jews ate unleavened bread with stripes on it (Jesus was beaten with 39 lashes), that the Jews ate unleavened bread with holes in it (Jesus' hands and feet were pierced).
Concerning Firstfruits, it is no coincidence that the Jews remember the feast of Firstfruits on Nisan 16 (the first time their ancestors ate food that was raised in the Promised Land was on Nisan 16, exactly 40 years after they left Egypt), and because Jesus is the Firstfruits of those to be raised from the dead.
The one Summer Feast reveals the church.
It is no coincidence that the Jews remember the birth of Judaism on Sivan 6, exactly 50 days after Firstfruits, because that reveals the birth of the church on Sivan 6, exactly 50 days after Firstfruits. That's right; the Jews received the Ten Commandments and came under the Law on the same day the church (120 believers) was to receive the Holy Spirit and come under grace.
The Three Fall Feasts - Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles - reveal the return of Jesus and His reign on earth (the Rapture, Second Coming and Millennium).
Concerning Trumpets, among other things, God told the Jews to use trumpets to assemble the people, announce feast days, etc. (Num. 10:1-10). The trump of God will sound to raise the dead, assemble the Church and announce the Rapture (I Thess. 4:15-17).
Concerning Atonement, the Jews offer two goats (one a sin substitute, the other a sin bearer) to be a temporary atonement for their sins during the year (Lev. 16), and this reveals that Jesus would be the believers' sin substitute, sin bearer and permanent atonement (Isa. 53:4-6; I Pet. 2:24; Heb. 8:12).
Concerning Tabernacles, the Jews remember that their ancestors dwelled (or tabernacled) in temporary housing (tents) in the wilderness, and God dwelled with them in a temporary house (the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle); but a time is coming when God will permanently dwell with His people (Jewish and Gentile believers).
The reader should know that there is much more to the Feasts of the Lord than has been said, but the point of this article is that the feasts reveal the Gospel, the Church and the return and reign of Jesus.
Wouldn't it be great if publishers and pastors would stop making themselves willingly ignorant of these things?
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
US-Russia Military Encounter in Syria: Implications for Israel - By Louis Rene Beres -
For the most part, Israel has always been able to identify and manage its own particular involvements with Syria, regarding both the incessantly criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad and the sub-national groups in-league with the dictator or opposed to him. Nonetheless, the increasingly belligerent rhetoric of the American president toward both Assad and his principal mentor in Moscow now suggest some potentially imminent and far-reaching conflict transformations in the entire region. In turn, such changes could quickly produce very grave hazards to Israel, risks that lie ominously beyond its own national scope of operational competence or political influence. Ultimately, of course, the most serious of any such transformations would concern a nuclear war between the superpowers.
In those notably unprecedented circumstances, virtually all traditional geopolitical models that were once au courant in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem would summarily become moot.
For the United States, the corresponding "trick" will be to meet both military and legal objectives without simultaneously generating a nuclear war. Significantly, at least on the military side, there are no available experts on the subject of nuclear war - not in Washington, not in Moscow, not in Jerusalem. This is the case, moreover, whether we are presently concerned with deliberate or inadvertent nuclear war.
Arguably, in this particular geo-strategic context, the latter would appear more portentous than the former, at least from the standpoint of plausibility or presumptive likelihood.
For US President Donald Trump, it will be necessary above all to avoid any direct military confrontations with Russian forces or identifiable weapon system assets. In this connection, it is entirely possible that Russian President Vladimir Putin would deploy Russian soldiers to some of the areas most likely to be targeted by the United States. These Russian deployments could be undertaken for purely tactical reasons, or instead for less conspicuous purposes of enhancing credible deterrence.
In essence, the latter purposes would be to erect a suitable "trip wire." Accordingly, the purpose of the deployed Russian troops would not be to actually fight against the Americans, but rather to "trip" certain expectedly desirable escalations with the United States. Naturally, drawing an exact line between desirable and undesirable escalations here would prove very difficult in practice, and could have a broad variety of possible conflict outcomes.
To be sure, these murky and historically unique circumstances could slowly or suddenly escalate out of control, triggering either an inadvertent or very deliberate nuclear war. In either case, most other states in the Middle East could be more-or-less directly impacted, Israel, of course, in particular. Significantly, because true probabilities can only be calculated according to the discernible frequency of pertinent past events, there would be no reliable way to figure out how it would end.
In the obviously worst-case scenario, the ending would involve multiple firings of nuclear missiles and/or bombs - issuing from both superpower combatants.
What about the Russian soldiers? Their only predictable function in such an inherently ambiguous scenario would be to die. Plainly, they could serve no other ordinary military function.
Furthermore, even if Vladimir Putin would not purposefully introduce a trip wire force into the conflict, his already deployed S-400 advanced surface-to-air missile systems could readily elicit identically perilous consequences. In essence, because the Americans would necessarily strike these missile targets first, Russian military personnel could plausibly be among the first casualties of any impending superpower military engagement in Syria.
Then what? For Israel, the answers would depend, in large measure, upon the actual physical and human costs being inflicted upon the Jewish State, whether intentional or as "collateral" harms.
Quo Vadis? Where might President Trump and the United States go now? It's a question for Israelis, as well as for Americans.
Insofar as Mr. Trump has already announced an allegedly irrevocable decision to employ armed force against Syria, the president's operational choices are probably foreseeable in Moscow. In response, Mr. Putin could take various prompt military steps to counter the growing American preparations or to best avoid any forms of superpower military engagement altogether.
For Israel, that decision taken in Moscow could produce manifestly different but still decisively consequential outcomes.
All things considered, US President Donald Trump's available policy options could lead incrementally and/or inexorably to certain direct US-Russian military encounters. Among other things, Mr. Trump's most advanced strategic thinkers (not ordinary tactical planners) would then need to work very quickly and capably through the hideously complex dialectics of virtually all possible nuclear attack scenarios.
In the final analysis, what will be needed in Washington will be exceptional intellectual skills, not just the far more usual and orthodox operational talents. For the United States, the overriding task must not be to merely maximize target damage in Syria, but also to prevent any grievously destructive nuclear war in the area. Depending upon the precise extent to which US President Donald Trump can keep this sensitive equation correctly in mind, the resultant outcomes will be more or less welcome in Israel.
For the moment, less seems far more plausible.
Daily Jot: Syria Bombings and Prophecy - Bill Wilson -
President Donald Trump did what he said he would do: Bomb Syria for its participation in gassing its own civilians. In doing so, the president also made it very clear what he thought of Russian President Vladimir Putin, tweeting: "President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing animal Assad. Big price to pay." In announcing the missile response, Trump said, "Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with the civilized nations as a force for stability and peace." Interesting that many of the prophetic players on the world stage are gathered in Syria where the prophet Isaiah wrote, "Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."
Turkey and Iran are there in Syria. Turkey has been, at least publicly, supporting the removal of dictator-president Bashar Assad. Iran is supporting Assad because Syria is essentially a vassal state of Iran. They have a mutual defense pact. Russia, Turkey and Iran recently met to develop a peace plan, not only for Syria, but for all of the Middle East. Russia supports Assad and Iran in this conflict. But Turkey, Russia and Iran appear to be working together more than just in the public relations/propaganda world. The entire conflict arose out of the immediate past US "president's" support for Arab Spring uprisings where the US supported various terrorist groups connected with al Qaeda to overthrow Assad.
There has been a lot of talk that this is the time that perhaps Isaiah's prophecy will be fulfilled. Damascus, after all, is hardly a city nowadays. It is maintaining a heartbeat after years of civil war and fighting that includes various al Qaeda terrorist groups, Hezbollah from Iran, Russian interests, American interests, Turkey, the Islamic State, and, of course the Assad government. The ingredients are there for the total destruction of Damascus. Damascus may be devastated by this massive gathering of many forces, but it is not the total destruction prophesied by Isaiah. As with most prophecy, it often appears to be fulfilled, but in types and shadows, layers, and signs before it is ultimately fulfilled.
The context of Isaiah 17 is judgment on nations that come against Israel, beginning with Assyria in Chapter 9 and continuing with Palestina, Moab, Ethiopia, Egypt, Shebna, and Tyre through Chapter 24. The phrase "In/At that day" is mentioned no less than four times in this short chapter of 14 verses. This phrase is an indicator for the Day of the Lord, meaning when the Lord returns to judge the nations that came against Israel. Verse 7 says, "At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel." Verse 11 speaks that the harvest shall be a day of grief and of desperate sorrow. Context is key. It's dangerous to take just one verse and develop a scenario or doctrine around it. In Syria, we are seeing prophetic movement, but we will know when God fulfills the prophecy. It will be clear.
Daily Devotion: Walking Epistles - By Greg Laurie -
Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. -2 Corinthians 3:3
Sammy Mason was a stunt pilot and a committed follower of Jesus Christ. He also was a flight instructor at the Santa Paula Airport in California. One day a man came to see him about some flight training, because he had recently purchased an antique Stearman biplane. The man's name was Steve McQueen. Having conquered auto racing and motocross, the world-famous actor wanted to learn how to fly.
McQueen had been raised by an alcoholic mother who had little to no time for him, and he had spent time at the Boys Republic in Chino Hills. He had ascended to the top in Hollywood and was making millions of dollars, yet there was a big hole in his heart.
McQueen spent hours in the cockpit with Sammy Mason, and he admired him. One day he asked his instructor what his secret was, and Mason told him about his faith in Jesus Christ. Then McQueen asked if he could attend church with him. They went to Ventura Missionary Church, where Pastor Leonard DeWitt preached the gospel and invited people to come to Christ at each service. After a few weeks passed, McQueen had an extended conversation with the pastor, which resulted in McQueen's committing his life to Jesus Christ.
We have heard of Steve McQueen, but we probably hadn't heard of Sammy Mason. One person can make all the difference. We all have something to do. We all have a sphere of influence. We want to do what we can while we can.
If you're a believer, then you are a representative of Christ. You may be the only Christian some people ever will know. It's been said that Christians are walking epistles, written by God and read by men. You may be the only Bible that some people ever read.
FROM THE HEART
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