I wrote an article over a year ago about how the situation in Syria could resemble a proxy war, which is a conflict where major powers on opposing sides utilize a third party/parties to fight on their behalf. I mentioned that a major risk in a proxy war is the potential for a conflict to escalate over time. The recent introduction of chemical weapons in Syria has now escalated the conflict to the point where we may possibly soon see countries like the United States directly intervene militarily.
I recently published an article where I attempted to pinpoint the general timeframe of Isaiah 17’s fulfillment. I attempted to demonstrate that the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 most likely will come in the latter portion of the end times near the time of the end time siege of Jerusalem, the coming of the Lord, and the arrival of the fullness of the Gentiles. I asked near the end of that article the following question:
What will motivate a significant military force comprised of troops from many nations to attack a presumed ally of Antichrist (Syria) on their way to Israel?
A reader pointed out in a comment to my article about Isaiah 17 that the use of chemical weapons could draw a significant number of nations against Syria. I imagine there is great concern about the current situation in Syria and the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 now regardless of what I wrote about the timing of Isaiah 17’s fulfillment. Therefore, I will again address the topic of Isaiah 17 by discussing why I think it is unlikely for the current Syria situation to result in the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 and what I think could happen if military intervention does occur in Syria.
By now it should be obvious that I do not see the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 until the latter portion of the end times (my article on the topic should provide a reason why Isaiah 17 will unlikely be fulfilled during the current Syria conflict). However, let’s assume for the sake of argument that this Syria situation will soon result in the fulfillment of Isaiah 17. The following things will need to happen in the near-term future if this Syria situation will result in the fulfillment of Isaiah 17.
- Widespread Desolation & Israel’s Involvement in a Costly War: Isaiah 17:1-3 suggests that Damascus, other parts of Syria, Aroer (which is a city located in modern day Jordan), and northern Israel will be desolated and/or forsaken. In addition, the glory of Jacob will be greatly diminished according to Isaiah 17:4-6, which could include a dramatically reduced population in the land of Israel (Isaiah 6:9-13). Therefore, Israel would have to be drawn into the conflict and the result would have to be devastating to both Syria and to Israel if the current situation in Syria results in the fulfillment of Isaiah 17.
- A Major Ground Invasion Thwarted: Isaiah 17:12-14 depicts a large, multinational military force comprising of ground troops being destroyed by the Lord. This military force is likely connected to those who desolated Damascus and other locations given that it is depicted shortly after a long description of the aftermath of the desolation of Damascus and other locations. The parallels between Isaiah 17:12-14 and Isaiah 29:5-7 suggest that this military force will be a serious threat to the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, you would likely see a large, multinational military force not only intervene in Syria but also seek to attack Jerusalem as well if the current situation in Syria leads to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17.
I do not believe either of these scenarios is realistic in the current situation. I acknowledge that the possibility exists for Israel to get involved in the Syria conflict if Syria retaliates to an attack by the West by attacking Israel, but a war between Israel and Syria that results in a major decline in the population of Israel and major destruction in northern Israel seems a bit extreme at the present time (I’m not saying such a war now is impossible, but it’s unlikely). Furthermore, it is hard to imagine many nations supporting the deployment of a large number of ground troops in Syria in the midst of a bloody civil war and then using these troops to launch an assault against Jerusalem when the leaders of some prominent countries are having a difficult time convincing the public to support even low-level military intervention in Syria (David Cameron failed to win parliament approval to get Britain militarily involved in Syria). A ground attack against Jerusalem is completely out of the scope of the main objective of the West’s potential military involvement in Syria, which is to punish the Assad regime.
Nevertheless, military intervention in Syria could bring consequences that have Bible prophecy ramifications. The potential exists for direct military intervention in Syria by the West to lead to a larger-scale Mideast war that destabilizes the Mideast to the point that oil prices skyrocket; causing major economic and political instability around the world (the latter is a condition associated with birth pangs-Luke 21:9).
- As I mentioned, Israel could get involved if Syria strikes them in retaliation to military intervention by the West. In addition, Iran has a major interest in the outcome of what is transpiring in Syria given that the Assad regime is a key regional ally, so they could step up their commitment to support the Assad regime if the West intervenes and/or if Israel is drawn into the conflict.
Another development that could eventually arise from military intervention by the West is a Syria that is more hostile towards Christians and even more hostile towards Israel in the future. Historically, Syrian Christians have supported the Assad regime because they have been protected by the Assad regime (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad comes from a minority group in Syria, the Alawite, that historically has tolerated Christians living in Syria). Military intervention by the West could eventually help the Syrian rebels bring regime change, and the regime that takes over Syria may not be as tolerant towards Christians as the Assad regime has been.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying whether I think military intervention should take place in Syria or not. It doesn’t matter what I think in regards to that. I’m just trying to give some perspective to this situation. Also, I’m no prophet so I could definitely be wrong about what happens in the Middle East if military intervention does take place in Syria.