I’m finishing writing my new novel, The Damascus Countdown, this week, but set aside fiction for a moment — the painful truth is that Syria is imploding. The bloodthirsty regime of Bashar al-Assad is slaughtering its own people, and steadily losing control of the country. The latest reports indicate that more than 20,000 Syrians have been murdered. Top Syrian officials are defecting. The rebels are steadily winning control of more and more of the country. Iran is sending forces to fight on behalf of the Assad regime against the rebels. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly sending naval warships and Russian marines to Syria as a show of support for Assad, though it’s not clear how far the Kremlin is willing to go to defend the dictator of Damascus. But the rebels are no friends of freedom. Should they topple the Assad regime and seize control, we could see a repeat of the Egyptian revolution last year where Radical Islamic jihadists end up gaining control of the country.
Looming over the entire catastrophe are Bible prophecies that Damascus will be judged and utterly destroyed in the last days. Please be praying for the Syrian people to renounce Islam and give their lives to Jesus Christ before it’s too late. Please pray for the persecuted Christians in Syrian that the Lord will give them courage and boldness to preach the Gospel, teach the Word of God, and care for those who are wounded, scared and desperate.
Here are the key developments in recent days:
- MAJOR DEFECTIONS — “Syria’s prime minister defected and fled to neighboring Jordan, a Jordanian official and a rebel spokesman said Monday, evidence that the cracks in President Bashar’s Assad’s regime have reached the highest echelons of government,” reports the Associated Press. “Ahmad Kassim, a senior official with the Free Syrian Army, said Prime Minister Riad Hijab defected to Jordan along with three other ministers. A Jordanian government official confirmed Hijab defected with his family but did not comment on the three other ministers. The Jordanian government official spoke on condition of anonymity, saying he was not allowed to make any public statements on the defection. Hijab is the highest-level government official to defect since the uprising against Assad’s authoritarian rule began 17 months ago. The other ministers’ identities were not immediately known.”
- RUSSIAN MARINES ARRIVING — “Interfax quoted an unnamed Defense Ministry source as saying three landing assault ships, an anti-submarine ship and four smaller vessels might call on Tartus by Sunday,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “The ships are carrying a contingent of about 360 marines and amphibious armored personnel carriers….’ am absolutely confident that most likely their task will be to evacuate the personnel and equipment of the base,’ Alexander Golts, a defense expert and deputy editor-in-chief of the popular liberal online publication Yezhednevny Zhurnal, said in an interview. ‘However, this group is not sufficient enough to evacuate from 30,000 to 60,000 Russian citizens working and living in Syria,’ Golts said, ‘unless the marines will be ordered to gain control of a landing strip at Damascus airport and help establish an air-bridge to take all Russians out….Whatever their task, it is clear that given the rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria the Kremlin wants to have some sort of military presence close to its shores,’ Golts added.”
- IRAN SENDING FORCES — “Iran is sending thousands of fighters to help the Bashar Assad regime in it’s ongoing conflict with rebel forces, according to a Syrian opposition leader,” reports the Times of Israel. “Col. Abdul-Jabbar Mohammed Aqidi, the commander of rebel forces in Aleppo province, was quoted in Al Arabiya on Saturday saying that 3,000 Iranians had already passed through Damascus International Airport in the last week.”
Henry Kissinger now believes Syria will implode.
As I have written before, there are actually two key Biblical prophecies that explain that at unspecified time in the future, the city of Damascus will be completely destroyed — judged by God — and will not be inhabited again.
* Isaiah 17:1-3 — “The oracle concerning Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks to lie down in, and there will be no one to frighten them. The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and sovereignty from Damascus….’”
* Jeremiah 49:23-27 — “Concerning Damascus. ‘Hamath andArpad are put to shame, for they have heard bad news; they are disheartened. There is anxiety by the sea, it cannot be calmed. Damascus has become helpless; she has turned away to flee, and panic has gripped her; distress and pangs have taken hold of her like a woman in childbirth. How the city of praise has not been deserted, the town of My joy! Therefore, her young men will fall in her streets, and all the men of war will be silenced in that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ’I will set fire to the wall of Damascus, and it will devour the fortified towers of Ben-hadad.’”
These prophecies have not yet been fulfilled. Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth. It has been attacked, besieged, and conquered. But Damascus has never been completely destroyed and left uninhabited. Yet that is exactly what the Bible says will happen. The context of Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 are a series of End Times prophecies dealing with God’s judgments on Israel’s neighbors and enemies leading up to — and through — the Tribulation.
How exactly will Damascus be destroyed? When will exactly it be destroyed? What will that look like, and what will be the implications for the rest of Syria, for Israel and for the region? The honest answer is that the Bible does not say. I’m currently writing a novel entitled, The Damascus Countdown that envisions how these prophecies could come to pass. This will be the third and last in the novel series that includes The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative (both out now in paperback and ebook). Lord willing, I will finish the manuscript in the next few days and it will release early next year (probably in March). In the meantime, I am tracking events in Damascus and Syria very closely [i.e, see blog posts: “Will Syria Implode?”; “More than 1,000 Syrian leaders attend premiere of Damascus film“]. I am also praying much for the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on the people of that great city. The innocent blood shed by the Assad regime is reprehensible, and heart-breaking and is setting the stage for a terrible judgment. The believers in Christ there are being horribly persecuted, but some are still boldly preaching the Gospel and teaching the Word of God. Let’s pray that they reach all of the people of Damascus and Syria before the judgment comes.
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