Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston tragedy raises questions of media bias, spiritual condition of US

Boston tragedy raises questions of media bias, spiritual condition of US
As the authorities untangle the horror of the 2013 Boston Massacre, we want to first reach out to the families who are touched in any way by this terrible terrorist event.  May the peace of the one true YHVH God be upon them and the healing, lovingkindness, grace and spirit of Jesus Christ envelop them that they might know His presence and His salvation. The bombings occurred on the celebration of Patriot's Day (marking the beginning of the American Revolutionary War that started in Lexington, Ma)--originally April 19, but celebrated on the third Monday of April. The mainstream media is trying to associate the bombings with American patriots--right wing extremists. But look again...
Yahoo News wrote of the extremist uprisings that have occurred in America during the third week in April--1993 when under Bill Clinton's Attorney General Janet Reno's orders, the FBI attacked cultist David Koresh's Waco, Texas compound; 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; 1999 Columbine; 2007 Virginia Tech. Time Washington correspondent Alex Altman tweeted that Patriot's Day has significance to the "militia movement." Despite the "Let's do all we can to pin this on right wing, Christian-oriented, extremists" attitude of the news media, there is an entire other track of investigation that is ongoing in Boston, according to news sources.
The New York Post reports that police have taken a 20 year old Saudi national into custody and have raided his home in nearby Revere, Ma. The Post reports that the man smelled of gunpowder when he was apprehended and was asking if people died and if there was a second bomb. AP is reporting that FBI searched a Boston suburban apartment, but gave no details. The Post says the Revere bomb squad was called in while the Saudi national's apartment was searched. The UK Daily Mail reports that police are also searching for a "dark skinned or black male" who may be a foreign national based on his accent. The FBI held a news conference this morning. Nothing new, except they are hunting worldwide.
Besides the obvious and tremendous media bias against conservatives, the "stupid" remark of the day also comes from the leftist ranks--Homosexual Democratic former Congressman Barney Frank, who sang the praises of expansive government being the hero of the attack, said, "No tax cut would have helped us deal with this or will help us recover." Remember too, that the Senate is considering a gun disarmament bill to conduct extensive background checks on law abiding citizens who want to purchase a gun. Perhaps an amendment to the bill should come today--background checks on people of a certain religion or ethnic background that openly conducts violence against the United States and Israel.
Of Babylon, which behaved in Biblical times much like America behaves today, the Lord said in Jeremiah 51:14, "Surely, I will fill thee with men, as with locusts,; and they shall lift up a battle cry against thee." Judgment comes as a result of disobedience to God. Catastrophe often comes on the heels of man's lack of common sense. America has an abundance of both disobedience to God and a lack of common sense these days.  
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!
Bill Wilson

Sunday, March 24, 2013

God’s Judgment On America — Part 2

God’s Judgment On America — Part 2
Continued from Part 1….

5. End-time Supernatural Revelations. Acts 2:17 promises “visions” and “prophesies” in the last days. I have become aware of and have collected records of visions and prophecies from various believers over a period of years. Some visions have clearly seen a surprise nuclear attack on America from Russian submarines. I also know of an older, respected pastor who had an apparent angel visit in his home, in his study late at night, with the same message of a Russian surprise nuclear attack from submarines. The being just suddenly appeared and disappeared out of nowhere. Also, George Washington reportedly had a vision in his day of America’s major wars and a final military attack on America. Read about A.A. Allen’s 1954 vision of an attack on America: click here

The idea of a submarine attack is exactly in line with Russia’s present defense policy. According to the Wall Street Journal (August 25, 1995), “One puzzling aspect of Russia’s defense policy is its emphasis on submarines….is still completing construction of submarines begun in the Soviet era, on about the same timetable as the Soviets produced them….(they) will enter the next century with the largest nuclear submarine fleet in the world.” Submarines are basically an offensive weapon. Why are they doing this? It must be part of God’s plan. For years, high-tech and missile-carrying Russian subs have shadowed U.S ships or invisibly and silently patrolled the U.S. coast under the radar/sonar cover of their fishing trawlers.

For a nation near collapse, on the brink of fascism, this is not a picture of peace and stability. Yet foolish American leaders continue to give billions of dollars to Russia (which they are using on armaments) and shrink our own military, crying, “peace and safety” according to 1 Thessalonians 5:3, “then sudden destruction shall come upon them.” With uncanny timing, just moments after I wrote this paragraph, Dateline NBC aired a report that the secret nuclear shelter built in West Virginia for our Congress is now closed and being dismantled — because it is no longer needed, since the “Cold War” is now over!
“Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you,” God says. Russian submarines? He says to Magog, “You will devise an evil scheme….You will say, ‘I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people’” (Ezekiel 38:10). America, instead of Israel, or both?

Other Revelations. Highly esteemed missionary pioneer Hudson Taylor had a vision in 1855. He saw both world wars, followed then a spiritual awakening in Russia, Europe and elsewhere, as we are seeing, followed by the coming of Christ. Also, in 1930 a prophecy was reportedly given in Russia that a future leader named Mikhail, with a birthmark on his head, would bring open doors for the gospel, which would remain open “only for a short period of time, then it would end and the repression would begin again.” Plus, there were reportedly several prophecies in Russia in 1988 that “the door would stay open for about seven years.” The doors began opening in 1989; however, the Soviet Union did not officially dissolve until late 1991, which + “about” 7 years = “about” late 1998. (As this 1995 article is being updated in late 1998, Russia is in shambles, in economic collapse and political turmoil, and a soon return to tyranny is highly possible.)

At the present time, Islamic terrorism, possibly using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), poses the greatest immediate threat to America. The other dangers mentioned are still applicable.]


There are three witnesses to the above scenario that seem to confirm one another: (1) Scripture, (2) contemporary world events, and (3) agreeing supernatural revelations, such as visions and prophecies. God will answer and honor prayers for revival, even though judgment on the nation has already been decreed. Revival and harvest will come — but possibly as a result of judgment, and not instead of, a typical biblical pattern. Where is the Rapture in the above scenario? We cannot be sure, and must not be presumptuous.

With amazing timing, as God often confirms things to me, the same week this was first printed, NBC News reported new Pentagon alarm at Russian submarines lurking just off the U.S. coasts! Also, just as I was finishing this report, two different audio tapes came to me, both unsolicited, from two people I have never met, both with the message of God’s coming judgment on America! Months later I received a similar message the very same day I received a newsletter headlined, “It’s Time to Weep for America.”
Message to the Church. It is time to boldly “blow the trumpet.” The warning should be greatly sharpened to more of a Jeremiah-type warning, that actual destruction is coming, not just deteriorating social conditions or loss of freedoms. “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8). The trumpet call should be to God’s own people, since “judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). God’s message to His people today is to humbly walk with Him in obedience and to come out of the world’s value system. Christians should get ready to joyously meet their soon-coming King, and tell as many others as possible about God’s grace and salvation.

* * * * * * *

(Final Note: In one U.S. Air Force assignment, I was a “Minuteman” — the commander of a Minuteman ICBM nuclear missile launch crew responsible, if so ordered in the event of attack, for vaporizing ten Russian cities/targets, and in personal possession of the top secret war code. Always “on alert,” I was only seconds away from the President’s launch command, unsealing the code, and ending civilization as we know it. America’s leaders have now dismantled many missiles and reduced other defense systems, but oddly, in a spiritual sense, and in one of God’s “coincidences,” I am still a “Minuteman,” still on alert, and still only seconds away from the King of king’s shout and command, with His code (from His Word) already being “unsealed,” and with civilization as we know it soon to end.)


God’s Judgment On America

God’s Judgment On America
Jim Bramlett

Is the United States of America mentioned in biblical prophecy? If we are, indeed, in the “last days” before Christ’s return, as the overwhelming evidence indicates, is it possible that the greatest Gentile power in history would have been overlooked, or is irrelevant? Or, are references hidden, as are many other prophecies, to be “unsealed” to seekers in the last days according to Daniel 12:4?
I believe there are passages that do not name but do infer America. Interestingly, these passages are compatible with current geopolitical developments, and also visions and other supernatural revelations reported by several believers over the years. The message is of severe judgment, and is ominous.

Judgment Already Decreed

First, a few words about our beloved country. This is hard for me to say about America. When World War II started, I was age 11. My father fought with the infantry in Europe; my uncle with the Air Corps in North Africa. I went to a top military prep school. Later, at a large university, I practically majored in Air Force ROTC, becoming the highest ranking cadet officer and Corps Commander. I devoted my career to the nation’s military service, retiring early — before I was eligible for promotion to full colonel — only because of a higher priority, a call into full-time Christian service. I laid that promotion at the cross. But now, even retired, as a regular officer the government has a claim on me as long as I live. I love my country. The flag can still give me goose bumps. I have always been extremely patriotic. I have researched and lectured on America’s Christian heritage. I know how God’s hand has been on America, starting with Columbus. Yet to God the nations are but a grain of sand, and as a nation America has rebelled against God, insulted Him, and declared Him “not wanted.” Some believe America will get away with it because God “needs” America to fulfill the Great Commission. He doesn’t. We won’t.

Many are praying for revival in America according to the promises of 2 Chronicles 7:14. God will surely honor the prayers. There will be revival, and there will be a great harvest, the greatest the world has ever known. However, based on the parallel of Jeremiah’s warning to Israel and God’s answer to him, the part of 2 Chronicles 7:14 about “heal their land” — as relates to the secular culture — will not be answered until Messiah returns. As with Israel in Jeremiah’s day, I believe judgment on America has already been decreed. God’s moth-like judgment (Hosea 5:12) is in progress, eating at us slowly, but His lion-like judgment (Hosea 5:14) will soon pounce, devouring us suddenly and completely.

Applicability of 2 Chronicles 7:14? Even though 2 Chronicles was not written for probably over a hundred years later, Jeremiah may have tried to implement the principles of it. As a priest, he was surely aware of the promise to Solomon several hundred years earlier, either from the oral tradition or written records. But three different times (three for divine emphasis), God said to Jeremiah, “Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you” (7:16, NIV). Also see 11:14 and 14:11. In the latter, God says, “Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry….I will not accept them. Instead I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”
In another passage, God reiterates His willingness to show mercy and urges Israel to repent. “Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions” (18:11). But in His omniscience and foreknowledge, God then says, “But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart’” (v. 12). God knew what their reaction would be; thus, judgment was decreed beforehand. (And even Solomon, after God’s clear promises and warnings in 2 Chronicles 7, fell into sin, soon died and the kingdom was split.)

Why This Probably Applies to America

1. The End of the Gentile Age. The evidence is overwhelming that the “times of the Gentiles” referred to by Jesus (Luke 21:24) — the same as the age of the “Gentiles” referred to by James (Acts 15:14-16), and Paul (Romans 11:25) — is in the final seconds. We are in the final countdown to what God revealed to Daniel as “the appointed time.” It is no accident that America, the largest and most powerful Gentile nation, has been in a precipitous cultural decline in the last half of this century (as Israel, the fig tree, has blossomed) as measured by numerous statistical indicators. And our global cultural influence is taking the world with us, as we daily export worldwide our anti-God and perverted national values.
God’s prophetic plan and timetable will not be stopped, and it takes precedence over everything. For example, Israel is still in rebellion, largely a godless nation. But God promised to regather them in the last days. He has, in spite of themselves, and with no effort on their part to comply with 2 Chronicles 7:14, but simply because of His plan. “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone….Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct” (Ezekiel 37:22, 32). Israel does not deserve mercy, and a further chastening lies ahead. Yet God will honor His covenant with their fathers, which Paul strongly reminds us so that we will not be “ignorant” or “conceited” as saved Gentiles, wild branches grafted into the natural olive tree (Romans 11:24-25).

2. The Pervasiveness of Evil. As before the Flood, and with Sodom and Gomorrah, and with the idolatrous occupants of the Promised Land before Joshua entered, evil is now so deeply pervasive and entrenched that it must be purged by judgment. Such seems to be a clear message of the prophets and the New Testament writers. The world is rushing madly toward the prophesied Tribulation, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

3. Veiled References to America. While America is not mentioned by name in prophecy, some Bible students believe there are indirect references. For example, some believe we are the last-days Babylon of Jeremiah 50 and 51 and elsewhere. The reason is that a number of the references seemingly do not apply to ancient Babylon, or even to a possibly restored Babylon in Iraq, and that America is now the world’s major military and financial power. For example, the “rich” Babylon Jeremiah describes lives “by many waters” (USA, not ancient Babylon; 51:13). “She made the whole earth drunk….they have now gone mad” (our drug/sex/rock culture via MTV and other media pervades the earth; 51:7). Our soldiers “have become like women” (homosexuals, women in combat; 51:30). She will be attacked by “arrows” (missiles; 50:9), from “the north” (direction of Russia; 50:3), with her judgment rising “as high as the clouds” (nuclear; 51:9). NASA’s space program is implied in 51:53 (KJV), with Babylon mounting “up to heaven.” Also, “They sinned against the LORD….the hope of their fathers” (USA, not ancient Babylon; 50:7). Economic Babylon of Revelation 18, the commercial capital of the world, may be New York (the Babylon of chapter 17 may be Rome because of the reference to the “seven hills” in v. 9). Chapter 18:4 mentions that in one day, and verse 10 says in one hour, she will be destroyed, with the world’s government and financial leaders weeping and mourning (18:9,15). A one-hour destruction of a great city is something possible only in the past 50 years, and probable only this decade with the proliferation of nuclear weapons, recently spreading on the black market from the former USSR to terrorist organizations, according to intelligence sources. Only God is holding back Islamic terrorists and other radicals from setting off a nuclear explosion in New York, Washington, D.C., Tel Aviv and elsewhere, until “the appointed time.”

In addition, a strong case can be made that America and the 1991 Gulf War are referred to in Daniel 8, with Iraq the ram, and America the goat which “came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground” (verse 5, NIV), seemingly our massive intercontinental air and sea lift. In verse 8, the goat is later “broken,” or destroyed. We know from verses 20-21 that Media, Persia and Greece were the first fulfillments, but from elsewhere, such as verse 17, we know that the vision, in a dual fulfillment, is for “the time of the end.” The above seems more plausible when the following is considered….

4. Soon Fulfillment of Ezekiel 38. Another possible reference to America, by conspicuous omission, is in Ezekiel 38 and what most scholars see as an invasion of Israel by Russia and a confederation of Muslim nations. The geopolitical preconditions for this are rapidly forming. There are reasons to believe this may occur in the very, very near future (perhaps at the beginning rather than the end of the Tribulation as some believe). For example, there has been a recent security agreement between Russia (Magog, 38:2) and the leading terrorist state, Iran (Persia, 38:5). Russia is supplying Iran with nuclear materials and, on the black market, with nuclear warheads. I have a reliable report of a recent briefing by NATO intelligence that a nuclear war in the Middle East is feared probable! America would surely be involved, perhaps as below:

If Israel is attacked according to Ezekiel 38, it is strange that there is no hint of help from its security partner, the powerful USA. Oddly, we do not seem to even be a factor. I believe it may be because, from a military standpoint, America has been neutralized and rendered powerless by a surprise nuclear attack by Russia (see below). This would surely give Russian military planners an assumed and enticing cakewalk to a Middle East takeover, ownership of the oil fields, new mineral resources and an expansion to the Persian Gulf, a stated goal of at least one Russian radical, Vladimir Zhirinovski, whose autobiography is prophetically titled The Last March South! While Zhirinovsky may never rise to power, this territorial ambition is undoubtedly shared by other radicals. Of course, we know from Ezekiel 39:1-6 that God Himself will defend Israel and destroy the invaders, to make His holy name known (v. 7). Again, the above still seems more plausible when the following is considered….

See Part 2 following….

Passover and Palm Sunday – This Week’s Feature Article

Passover and Palm Sunday – This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelleyhttp://gracethrufaith.com/selah/holidays-and-holy-days/passover-and-palm-sunday/

The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29,34).
John the Baptist had been preaching about the coming Messiah, identifying himself as the forerunner Isaiah had promised over 700 years earlier. Quoting from Isaiah 40:3 John said, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord ‘ ” (John 1:23).

Introducing Jesus to Israel as the Lamb of God was no doubt meant to prompt a comparison between Jesus and the Passover lamb in their minds. Reading about the first Passover (Exodus 12:1-20) from a Christian perspective makes the similarity so clear we wonder how they could have missed it. In fact several hundred Old Testament Prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus and many of these came in the last week of His earthly life during the two events we’ll be celebrating in the next few days, Passover for Israel and Palm Sunday for the Church.

For Christ, Our Passover Lamb, Has Been Sacrificed … 1 Cor. 5:7

By now the Passover story should be familiar to us. The final showdown between God and Pharaoh was coming. Through 9 plagues God sent to demonstrate His power over the pagan gods of Egypt, Pharoah had remained just as obstinate as God had predicted. The 10th plague, the death of all the firstborn, would break Pharoah’s will and free the Israelites from their bondage, but first they had to be protected from the plague.

On the 10th day of the 1st month God had them select a male lamb for each household and inspect it for 3 days to be sure it had no blemish or defect. Then it was slaughtered, and its blood was applied to the door posts of their homes. That night, behind closed doors in their own house, each family ate the lamb quickly with some bitter herbs and unleavened bread, not venturing outside. At midnight the destroying angel came through Egypt and took the life of the first born of every family, except for those who had covered their door posts with lamb’s blood (Exodus 12:1-13, 21-23, 28-30).

The next morning the Israelites were released from their bondage and given the wealth of Egypt, beginning their journey to the Promised Land with God in their midst. They weren’t spared because they were Jewish, or because they had lamb for dinner, but because they applied the lamb’s blood to their door posts believing that it would protect them. They were saved through faith by the blood of the lamb.
Just as the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, we are slaves in this world, held in bondage to sin. On that first Palm Sunday, the 10th of the 1st month, our Passover Lamb was selected by allowing Himself to be proclaimed as Israel’s King for the first and only time in His life. When the Pharisees told him to rebuke His disciples for doing so, He said if they kept silent the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:39-40). This was the day ordained in history for His official appearance as their Messiah.

For the next 3 days He was subjected to the most intense questioning of His entire ministry lest there be any defects found in His words or deeds. Then on the 14th He was crucified, releasing us from our bondage to sin, and qualifying us to receive the wealth of His Kingdom. We are saved through faith by the blood of the Lamb. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The Son of Man Wept, The Son of God Warned

As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city He wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in from every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone upon another because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:41-44).

The prophet Daniel had laid out the schedule for them over 500 years earlier. From the time the Jews were given permission to rebuild Jerusalem after it had been destroyed by the Babylonians, to the coming of the Messiah, there would be 69 periods of 7 years each, or 483 years (Daniel 9:25). History tells us that this permission was given to Nehemiah by the Persian ruler Artaxerxes Longimonus in March of 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-9). The Sunday when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to the shouts of Psalm 118:25-26 was exactly 483 years later, but by then most of the Jewish leadership no longer took the Bible literally and the validity of predictive prophecy was being denied.

Regardless of their opinion, the Lord held them accountable for knowing when He would visit. Given that hundreds of additional prophecies of His coming had already been fulfilled in their midst, we can see His point. Remember, they were all fulfilled in the span of one lifetime, the one in which He came. There are hundreds more prophecies relating to His Second Coming, and again all will be fulfilled within the span of one lifetime, the one in which He comes (Matt 24:34). And just as it was then, our leaders no longer take the Bible literally and the validity of predictive prophecy is again being denied. But regardless of their opinion, the Lord will hold the people of our day accountable to “recognize the time of God’s coming” just like He did back then.

Who Was That Man?

A few days ago I got an email from someone I assume to be Jewish claiming that Jesus didn’t meet a single requirement to be Israel’s Messiah. I’ve received a number of these over the years and have come to realize they think this way because Israel was looking for a Messiah to fulfill what we know as second coming prophecies. They wanted the Lion of Judah, a powerful warrior king like David, who could throw off the Roman yoke and restore Israel’s kingdom, because that’s what they thought they needed. They didn’t think they needed a Savior, so when they got the Lamb of God who came to take away their sins they didn’t recognize Him.

Today, because of a similar denial of the validity of prophecy, much of the world is looking for some version of the Lamb of God. They want a gentle teacher who will accept us all and promise to show us the way to peace and plenty. They won’t think they need a conqueror, so when the Lion of Judah comes to utterly destroy His enemies and restore God’s Kingdom, they won’t recognize Him (Matt. 24:30). Like the man said, “Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus

Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus - Jack Kelley - http://www.raptureready.com/featured/kelley/jack123.html
In the past couple of years it has become even clearer that Isaiah's prophecy of the destruction of Damascus will soon come to fulfillment, perhaps being part of the Psalm 83 scenario I've written about. If so, it would explain why Syria is not included among the coalition of Moslem nations who will gather against Israel in the Battle of Ezekiel 38. Updating our study of Isaiah 17 seems a fitting conclusion to our recent reviews of Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83.
 Emboldened by the outcome of the 2006 Hezbollah Israel war, Syria has become ever more bellicose in it's behavior toward Israel, as if inviting confrontation. Aggressive acts have included moving large military forces onto the Golan, opening the crossing that gives Syrians access to Israel for the first time since 1973, forming and training a Syrian terrorist force to infiltrate Northern Israel, and openly helping Hezbollah re-arm in violation of UN resolution 1701. Now Hezballah and Syria are building a massive fortified wall, 22 kilometers long, that promises to be one of the biggest fortified structures in the Middle East. It is designed as an obstacle against any Israeli tank forces heading through Lebanon toward the Syrian capital, Damascus. And most recently, Syria has moved 800 long range missiles into firing position and updated targeting coordinates for specific locations in Israel in preparation for war.
 It's been known for some time that Syria has one of the world's most advanced chemical weapons programs, even though such things are illegal, and is probably in possession of the bulk of Saddam Hussein's WMDs that the MSM (main stream media) delights in telling you never existed. Recent satellite imagery suggests significant efforts to update Syria's known chemical weapons facilities. They've also mobilized reserves, set up alternate communication centers, and moved all official historical and legal documents out of Damascus. They did this because they believe that Israel will respond to a chemical attack by destroying Damascus with nuclear weaponry. They've recalled all their citizens living in Lebanon. They've purchased Russian arms and defensive systems costing hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to protect Damascus.
 Going Nuclear
 In July 2007, a chemical warhead exploded at a Syrian missile facility while being fitted to a Scud missile, killing dozens of Iranian and Syrian technicians. The only likely target within range of the missile was Tel Aviv. Then, just 2 months later, the Israeli bombing of a secret Syrian facility deep inside the country made headlines and demonstrated Israel's ability to render the Russian state-of-the-art anti-air defenses ineffective. These systems were sold to both Syria and Iran to protect against US or Israeli attacks by air. The presence of nuclear materials at the Syrian base has been confirmed, so it might have been the location of at least a dirty bomb assembly plant and perhaps even a clandestine nuclear weapons facility. The North Koreans were heavily involved in this, and are suspected of still helping Syria to develop some kind of nuclear weapons capability.
 More recently Syria has purchased untold millions of dollars' worth of offensive and defensive weaponry from Russia and Iran, making every population center in Israel a viable target. Passing a portion of this weaponry through to Hezbollah, they've all but transformed this terrorist organization into a regiment of the Syrian army, and made Lebanon their first line of defense against Israel.
 While some of this is more than the MSM has been willing to share with you, it is a matter of public record. My guess is that there's a lot more going on that we don't know about, making matters even more urgent. So let's take another look at Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus, while it's still prophecy.
 An Oracle Concerning Damascus:
"See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid. (Isaiah 17:1-2)
Because of the language of these verses, many scholars believe that this prophecy was only partially fulfilled when the Assyrians defeated the Arameans and overran their capital, Damascus, in 732 BC. To this day Damascus is thought to be the world's oldest continuously inhabited city with a 5000-year history and a population close to 2 million, yet Isaiah 17:1 indicates that it will one day cease to exist.
 Some believe the phrase "cities of Aroer" refers to Aramean territory east of the Jordan River around the Arnon River, which flows into the Dead Sea in southern Jordan. However, the Jewish Encyclopedia claims that this phrase in Isaiah 17:2 is probably translated incorrectly because the geographical distance from Damascus is too great. While they say it's possible that there may have been another Aroer near Damascus, it is more likely that the passage should be rendered "the cities thereof shall be forsaken." If that's the correct translation, it would include the Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, which was part of Aramean territory in Isaiah's time, and is in a direct line between Beirut and Damascus.
 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites," declares the LORD Almighty. "In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away. It will be as when a reaper gathers the standing grain and harvests the grain with his arm- as when a man gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. (Isaiah 17:3-5)
 This segment speaks of the defeat of Damascus in 732BC and the destruction of Samaria 10 years later (722 BC). Damascus continued to exist as part of the Assyrian Empire and is still here today, but the ruins of Samaria are just now being excavated out of the sandy soil of Israel. The systematic relocation of the ruling classes to the far reaches of the Assyrian Empire is also in view here, symbolized by the fat of Jacob's body wasting away. This was standard Assyrian policy to reduce the likelihood of subsequent rebellion among their conquered peoples.   Jacob and Ephraim are alternate names for the Northern Kingdom, and Samaria was its capital.
 Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs," declares the LORD, the God of Israel. (Isaiah 17:6)
 Not all the people were dispersed. Farmers were left behind to tend the crops and protect the harvest for their new rulers. They were joined by refugees from other parts of Assyria and their combined descendants were known as the Samaritans in the time of Jesus. (A quick reading of 2 Chronicles 11:16 shows that all the faithful from the 10 northern tribes moved south at the time of the civil war that divided the nation after King Solomon's death 150 years earlier. From then on, all 12 tribes were represented in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, so the 10 tribes from the North weren't totally lost. The Lord has always preserved a believing remnant from all the Tribes of Israel.)
 In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made. In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation. (Isaiah 17:7-9)
 This is another passage that's problematic for those who try to consign the whole passage to history. There is simply no reason to believe that the Assyrians turned to God following their conquest of Aram and Israel. And far from abandoning their cities because of the Israelites, it was the Israelites who were defeated and dispersed. The yet future Jewish attack on Damascus causing the destruction and abandonment of Syrian cities, and the eventual return of the survivors to their God is a much more likely fulfillment. And it could happen soon.
 You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. (Isaiah 17:10-11)
 Asshur, father of the Assyrians, and Aram, father of the Arameans were both sons of Shem. Aram's son Uz is the traditional founder of Damascus. (The setting for Job, the Bible's oldest book, is the Land of Uz.) The knowledge of God in the memories of these patriarchs cannot be questioned. It wasn't that they never knew Him, but that they had forgotten Him, abandoned Him in favor of the Canaanite gods of the region, Baal and his consort Ashtoreth (aka Asherah, Astarte, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus.) Currently Syria is almost totally Moslem.   Until they return to their Maker and Savior none of their plans and schemes will prosper in the long run, no matter how promising they seem at the beginning.
 Oh, the raging of many nations- they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples- they roar like the roaring of great waters! Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us. (Isaiah 17:12-14)
 Having conquered most of the Middle East including the Arameans and the Northern Kingdom, the Assyrians set their sights on the Southern Kingdom, Judah. Assyria's King Sennacherib brought his armies almost literally to the gates of Jerusalem, so close his commanders were within speaking distance of the Jewish defenders. On the night before they were to attack, the Lord sent His angel into the Assyrian camp on Mt. Scopus to slaughter 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Before dawn they had packed up and fled, ending 44 years of conquest. (Isaiah 37:36-38) This time in Israel's history so parallels the Jewish view of the End Times that Sennacherib is seen by them as a type of the anti-Christ, while Judah's King Hezekiah models the Messiah.
 But notice that Isaiah speaks of many nations raging against God's people, not just Assyria, leading us once again to consider Sennacherib's defeat to be a partial fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.
 The phrase "rushing of many waters" is often used to describe the sound of loud voices and today many nations are stirred up.   The cry of anti-Israeli sentiment can be heard around the globe. The various Mid-East "peace" conferences combined with the Gaza war and the recent boarding of the Turkish/Terrorist flotilla have left Israel standing alone against all but irresistible pressure to negotiate away its very existence. Syria and Iran are dead certain that Israel will attack soon, and are preparing accordingly. Israel's other next-door neighbors are also preparing for war, and indeed many nations are taking sides.
 Israel is not blind to these mounting threats, but until lately seems to have been ignoring them. That's about to stop. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has told the world he will not apologize for defending his country and will continue to do so even if it results in more confrontations. We can easily envision a scenario that escalates into the final fulfillment of Isaiah 17, the destruction of Damascus. Once again there will be sudden terror in the evening, and before morning they will be gone. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.