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Ipswich Christadelphians

"Prove all things, hold fast what is good" 1Th 5:21

Bible Exhibition Ipswich 2011

 


assad and putin

(Reuters)  ‘Russian warnings to the West and its Arab allies to keep their hands off Syria hide a slight chance for compromise on a U.N. resolution aimed at halting bloodshed in the country, but a demand for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside could be a deal-breaker.

With Prime Minister Vladimir Putin facing the biggest protests of his 12-year rule and planning to return to the Kremlin in a March presidential vote, Russia wants to avoid stamping its approval on any regime change engineered from outside.

Moscow has been busy drawing "red lines" as it comes under pressure to stop shielding its old ally Assad and to use its power as a veto-wielding U.N. Security Council member to push Damascus into ending the crackdown which has killed thousands of civilians.’

(AFP) ‘The Arab League said it had agreed to open contacts with Syria's opposition and ask the United Nations to form a joint peacekeeping force to the nation, moves swiftly denounced by Syria.’


Syria in History

From the above we see that Syria appears to have few friends at present and history shows that relations between Syria and Israel have always been hostile. The Old Testament records that King David had a number of victories over the Syrians who finally became his subjects. In Solomon’s time Zobah was, "an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon ..... and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria." (1Ki 11:23-25)  In  the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam, Syria revolted and eventually became part of the Assyrian empire, then passed to the Babylonians, the Persians and finally to Alexander the Great. After his death, in the power struggles between the rulers of Syria and Egypt, Syria was given the name ‘The King of the North’ in Daniel 11. Later Syria was Ruled by Rome, then the Byzantine Empire and in AD637  it fell to the Islamic conquests.

Syrian independence came in 1946, then followed a series of wars with Israel - the Arab-Israeli War (1948- the last Arab country to sign an armistice agreement with Israel) - The Six Day War (June 1967) - the Yom Kippur War. (Oct 1973).

Relations with surrounding nations improved in the 1990s when they joined the Coalition in the war against Saddam Hussein. However, the Government’s violent oppression of demonstrators against the regime has caused most nations to turn against them. The United Nations estimates that around 6,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011. The United States, Turkey and Jordan, as well as the members of the European Union and the Arab League have all called for Mr Assad to step down . Russia, however, remains a staunch defender, providing Damascus with a political lifeline as well as arms and ammunition. The reason seems plain, Russia sees democracies on the rampage, and feels that a line has to be drawn against any further regime change. Apart from Mr Putin appearing to his people to have been wrong footed over this matter, Russia’s concern is not ideological but economic. They lost tens of billions of dollars in arms contracts with Libya when Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and don’t want to lose Syrian arms contracts for weapons and fighter planes worth up to $6 billion. Also Syria, where Russia maintains a naval base, is the only ally Russia has left in the Middle East.

Syria became the head of a great Empire after Alexander’s death, a great contrast with her present status. And while Russia and China wish to bolster up this regime, Bible prophecy indicates that Syria may not just lose its President but also disappear as a nation shortly before the Return of Christ.

Syria in Prophecy

Here is what Amos and Jeremiah have prophesied concerning the fate of Syria..

Amos 1:

3   Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:

4  But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad**.

5  I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah  49:

23  Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.

24  Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail.

25  How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!

26  Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.

27  And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad**.

**The royal title of the Kings of Syria ( the country’s authoritarian leader President Bashar al-Assad?)

Isaiah also predicts the downfall of Damascus and the destruction of Syria in his 17th chapter.

1  The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

2  The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

3  The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria:

Later on in this chapter a prophecy is made concerning an invasion of the land of Israel.

12  Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!

13  The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.

 

These words speak of the invader being thwarted in his plans and this links with Ezekiel 38 which speaks of the time of the end and the invasion of the land by a Northern host. These verses are part of the ‘burden’, or prophecy, Isaiah gave concerning Damascus at the time of the end. Isaiah goes on to show the outcome.

14  And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not.(he being Gog- the Northern host) This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.

Evidently we are seeing the culmination of the struggle that brings the Day of the LORD, when the rushing nations under the command of Gog (Russia- Ezekiel 38) will overrun Syria. Then, as Syria was known as the King of the North, the aggressor Gog in taking the land will take over this Title and will attack the land like a whirlwind as we can see in  Daniel 11:

40  And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

A Christadelphian writer Dr Thomas wrote many years ago of Isaiah 17: “The rush of the roaring hosts of the nations is to Jerusalem under the King of the North, who at that time is lord of Syria and Damascus, holding all that country against his enemies”.

 As we await the return of Christ we can see signs which point towards this event. Syria, Israel’s bitter enemy is on the ropes.  Will the Arab League and a UN peacekeeping force step in and deliver the knockout blow fulfilling the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos? Will this cause Russia to invade Syria ostensibly to ‘protect’ the regime ; or, with Syria neutralized, will the other Arab Nations agree to a form of peace with Israel. Which would allow Israel to feel safe and confident and drop her guard so that Russia  attacks, reasoning  “I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (Ezek. 38:11).

We know the world is in safe hands, God’s hands. He sets up Kings and brings down Kingdoms according to His will. King Nebuchadnezzar realised this and stated in Daniel 4:17  ‘the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men’.

Whatever the present outcome for Syria, it cannot be long before the Lord God closes for good the rule of men, good or bad and brings back His Son, the Lord Jesus. Daniel 2:44’  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.’

May that time be soon!

 

photo: AP / RIA Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press service,

 

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