By Bill Salus
According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, tourism in Israel has steadily declined in 2009 in comparison to 2008. There appears to be a developing concern among would be “holy land” travelers that a major Mideast war involving Israel, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and others is inevitable and soon to happen.
In a semi-related area, Israel’s concerns are further fueled by the genuine possibility that immigration into Israel will come to a complete halt the minute Iran possesses its own nuclear weapon. Ephraim Sneh, the former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister, was quoted by the Jerusalem Post on 9/16/2009 as stating:
“If the Islamic republic (Iran) completes its military nuclear program, immigration to Israel would stop, young men and women would emigrate to pursue their future in places seen as more secure and investment in Israel would be reduced.”
Legitimizing the above holy land concerns are the additional geopolitcal facts that Mideast Peace talks remain at a standstill, the international community is further isolating the Jewish State, and Israel has been preparing its citizenry and military for a massive multi-front war for the better part of 2009!
Has the Middle East become the world’s most dangerous travel destination?
Perhaps so; many end time’s experts are predicting war is presently gyrating upon the prophetic radar. Several of them believe Damascus, Syria will soon be the site of the world’s next deadliest disaster! Ancient bible prophecies foretelling the coming destruction of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city increasingly pique the attention of today’s top eschatologists.
They fevereshly sort through the geo-prophetical blueprints to see if they appropriately align with today’s turbulant geo-political Mideast events. The interrelated prophecies of particular interest are contained in the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Isaiah 17:1 declares that Damascus will someday cease to be a city. The prophecy suggests that it will be reduced to rubble in a matter of hours indicating that it becomes the target of a devastating attack. Only nuclear weapons could accomplish such destruction in a brief time period. Isaiah 17:9,14 encourages the possibility that such an attack is is conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (I.D.F.).
Several bible translations, like the King James Version, New King James Version, and American Standard Version, seem to suggest that Jeremiah 49:23-27 depicts an I.D.F. attack emanating from warships located in the Mediterranean Sea. Presently Israel has several such warships purportedly packing that type of powerful punch patrolling therein!
Although Damascus, (pictured here), was overtaken around 732 B.C. by the Assyrians and has changed sovereign hands several times since, it has never ceased entirely from being a city. In fact today it thrives as Syria’s capital city, housing a population within its connecting metropolitan borders of about 4.5 million people. This is approximately one quarter of the entire nations population.
Futhermore, it is considered by many to be the central hub from which every known Mideast terrorist organization finds safe haven. In light of these important facts and many others, several prophecy scholars have safely deduced that Isaiah’s damnation of Damascus has yet to find its final fulfillment!
In the event Israel strategically strikes Iran’s nuclear sites and in return receives a massive reign of retaliatory rockets from a hostile multi-front venue, Damascus becomes Israel’s most opportune return target. By decisively destroying Damascus, the I.D.F. demonstrates to its Mideast foes that it intends to act boldly, swiftly, and victoriously. Furthermore by dooming Damascus, the I.D.F. limits the mobilization capabilities of several key terrorist entities expected to engage in the anti-Israel confederacy.
Presently Syria is among a multiplicity of world nations that disallow normal diplomatic international relations with Israel. In fact they, like Iran, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinians, and many more, refuse to recognize Israel’s right exist as the sovereign Jewish State.
Syria, along with Egypt, Jordan, and others, has prominately participated in the major Middle East Arab – Israeli wars of 1948, 1967, and 1973. However, unlike Egypt and Jordan, who have developed a wholesome fear of the I.D.F., Syria still rattles its sabers and stakes its claims upon the strategic Golan Heights, land which Israel currently possesses.
Although Egypt and Jordan have formulated fragile peace treaties with Israel, Syria has refused to emulate their examples. Instead Syria has opted to befriend Iran, Hezbollah, and the Hamas, all of whom exist as Israel’s greatest military threats today.
In light of the fact that Syria has refused to learn its modern day lessons regarding Israel’s right to exist in the holy land, it appears as though they are about to descend from a condition of denial into a dreaded circumstance of destruction.
Jeremiah 49:25 asks – “Why is the city of praise (Jerusalem) not deserted, the city of My joy?” By asking this question of Damascus humanity is caused to consider that there comes a time when Jerusalem and Damascus become two central competing cities. Jeremiah suggests that Syria will someday seek the forced exodus of Jews out from Jerusalem. Presently the Syrians and many of their Arab cohorts seek this very thing. They desire that Jerusalem become the capital of an additional Arab State called Palestine.
According to Jeremiah’s subsequent concluding prophetic words to Damascus, we discover the Syrian army will mobilize in a final attempt to separate Jews from their holy city of Jerusalem. However, this futile Syrian attempt will prove to be fatal, and in the aftermath, Damascus becomes the world’s most dangerous destination!
“Therefore her (Damascus) young men shall fall in her streets, And all the men of war (Syrian army) shall be cut off in that day,” says the LORD of hosts.” (Jeremiah 49:26; nkjv)
Currently there is credible chatter that an unprecedented increase in Christian conversions is taking place in Syria. However, this window of opportunity to preach the gospel in a predominately Arab Islamic country may be about to abruptly shut! If Damascus is soon to become the target of mass destruction, then perhaps these converts ought to be incorporating a sound exit strategy out of Syria within their temporarily flourishing Christian message.