I’ve been watching, mostly quietly lately. The responsibilities of my wife and children and being asked to take on new areas of ministry in my local church have kept my time for writing to an absolute minimum. All for good I guess, we should all be pouring into the families and local fellowship as much as we can and sharing the Gospel at every opportunity, since we know the time grows short that anyone in this world will have left to come into a relationship with our Lord and Savior.
Before reading anything I have to say – read Pastor Brian’s post from today:
As usual, I am very much in agreement with what he has to say. We parse out Ezekiel 38 a little differently – but the future events we believe it predicts are very much the same. When I read Ezekiel 38 I see many of the descendants of Noah mentioned there as having settled in the area that is now Turkey – seen in the map above. I strongly believe that Turkey will be a major factor in the Ezekiel 38 invasion, and will likely suffer some of the greatest losses when God strikes them down along with Iran and others who are there now.
How does this relate to Isaiah 17? I’m glad you asked. We can all see the headlines from the last year or so as Syria descends into an all-out civil war. Approximately 70,000 by some estimates have already been killed by the Assad regime – but those that have died are not necessarily innocent freedom fighters, but when the military targets the fighters – the are often striking out at Islamist revolutionaries and Jihadists that have flocked to the area as they have in many other conflicts to participated in their satanic holy war. The government there is teetering on oblivion – but to date has had two powerful benefactors – Iran and Russia. The power dynamic there is that Syria is sandwiched between two rising middle east powers – Iran on the West, and Turkey on the East. As it has happened these past months, I think it will continue that Turkey will be increasingly drawn into this conflict as the rebels become bolder and are brutally put down by the remaining Assad forces and an increasingly bold Iranian Revolutionary Guard (and its Hezbollah proxy). At this point the wild card is Russia – who has been somewhat passive mostly blocking diplomatic actions and aid by the US and Europe. At some point they will be dragged more actively into this since they won’t tolerate losing access to the Mediterranean via their Syrian port and other strategic concerns. Another wild element here is the Kurdish minorities that span across Iran, Syria and Turkey – who I think are seeing this as an opportunity to join with the Syrian opposition to further their own cause – something the Turks especially (since they have the largest kurdish population if I recall right) cannot tolerate.
So as the situation in Syria grows more dire- and more weapons and men are funneled into the region in support of the Jihadis we will certainly see Damascus reduced to a ruinous heap – either by the Assad Government, the rebels or some action by Iran or Russia (the least likely). That destruction will either bring the conflict to a head or force a stronger alliance between Turkey, Russia and Iran – which brings us directly to the doorstep of Ezekiel 38.
I’ve had some discussions recently about Ezekiel 38 where those that have doubted that its fulfillment is very near have suggested that Israel must be living at peace, something that has clearly not happened mostly due to phrases about “unwalled villages” in verse 11. I would suggest that this HAS been fulfilled. Look at the history of how the people of Israel have lived in many places for the past several centuries – in segregated neighborhoods and ghettos often with walls, bars and gates. Look at how they live today – yes with a wall and barbed wire along some borders – but mostly in unwalled villages, with prosperity and in a relative peace that is unlike what they ever experienced during the diaspora. I would look to those people – and ask them what their lives are like in the land compared to what it was like to live scattered across the nations that largely didn’t want them and looked on them with suspicion and prejudice.
So we watch and wait – I for one expect to be surprised frequently because even though we know everything that God has said will come to pass – my understanding of it is imperfect, and I and all of us watchers here are certainly no prophets ourselves.