A recent survey has shown that nearly one in three Americans believe that Syria’s ongoing civil war is part of the Bible’s plan for the end times. One in four believes that a possible U.S. attack on Syria could lead to the Battle of Armageddon. And one in five believes the world will end in their lifetime. So says an article published on the Christian Post website.
Much of the speculation comes by way of prophecy writers who claim that the prophecy found in Isaiah 17 about Damascus has not been fulfilled yet. There are others, but this is the one that’s getting all the attention at the moment.
Anybody who knows anything about the history of Damascus knows that it was reduced to a heap a number of times. Soon after the Isaiah 17 prophecy was made, the capital city had been destroyed by Tiglath-pileser in 732 BC.
“The conquest of Damascus by Tiglath-Pileser III (733-732 BC) is the final result of the Assyrian intervention against the anti-Assyrian coalition of Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Israel against Ahaz of Judah. . . . After the conquest by Tiglath-Pileser III, Damascus was no longer the capital of the independent and rich kingdom of Aram.”1
For a more complete study of this issue, see my article “The Isaiah 17 Damascus Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled.”
Then there’s the claim that the Colorado floods are another sign that we are getting perilously close to the prophetic end times. People have short memories. Flooding is a common worldwide phenomenon going back centuries. Here are just three picked at random, and they’re not even some of the biggest floods in recorded history:
- The 1931 Huang He flood caused between 800,000 and 4,000,000 deaths in China, one of a series of disastrous floods on the Huang He River. It was one of the worst floods in history.
- The Ohio River flood of 1937 occurred in late January and February 1937, causing damage along the Ohio River and several smaller tributaries from Pittsburgh, Illinois, to Cairo, Illinois. This flood left close to one million people homeless, 385 dead, and $50,000,000 worth of damage.
- The Los Angeles Flood of 1938 occurred from late February to early March 1938, causing the Los Angeles River and the Santa Ana River to overflow, causing $40,000,000 worth of damage and causing 115 lives to be lost.
If you get enough people to believe that the end times are around the corner they become complacent. Evil is inevitable. There’s nothing that can be done to stop it. They give up on any hope of affecting social, moral, and political change in America. There are millions of Christians who have no interest in the state of the nation because they believe it’s just a matter of time before time will run out.
They are content to wait out the end for a new beginning. For nearly two thousand years Christian end times prognosticators have made similar claims with the same results: They were wrong.
What people believe about the future impacts how they live and act in the present.
- Davide Nadali, Sieges and Similes of Sieges in the royal Annals: The Conquest of Damascus by Tiglath-Pileser III, KASKAL, vol 6. (2009), 138. [↩]