Or is history's final conflict just around the corner?
Many Christians grew up hearing that the Bible foretells of one final war between Israel and many of the nations of the world. Popular interpretations of Old Testament prophecies filling the Internet leave little doubt that Israel – as “God’s chosen people” – will win.
The Prophet Isaiah by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
For example, Isaiah 17 tells of a war that results in the capital of today’s revolt-torn Syria, Damascus, the world’s oldest continually inhabited city, ceasing to exist and becoming a “ruinous heap.”
So, is this the beginning of the end?
A number of Internet commentators have also thought it relevant to report strange, trumpet-like noises heard around the world, citing such scriptures such as Ezekiel 7:14: “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.” They cite a number of such trumpet reports on YouTube, that do-it-yourself video website where anybody with a video camera can post their homemade news report, movie or a video of their baby dancing with their cat.
They also pass along Bible prophecy tidbits, such as a 2009 report by Campbell Robertson in the New York Times: “The Euphrates is drying up. Strangled by the water policies of Iraq’s neighbors, Turkey and Syria, a two-year drought and years of misuse by Iraq and its farmers, the river is significantly smaller than it was just a few years ago.” Even the Times acknowledged the biblical relevance, calling the river “so crucial to the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesied its drying up as a sign of the end times.” Indeed, Revelations 16:12-14 foretells: “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
But does a lack of water in Iraq’s main waterway mean Armageddon is on the horizon? And do the much-cited Bible prophecies foretell a nuclear Iran wiping Isreal off of the map? For that matter, is the
Islamic Republic of Iran even mentioned anywhere in, say, Isaiah 17, Psalm 83 or Zechariah 12?
The Prophet Daniel
The prophet Daniel describes Persia as having a major role in world events. Iranians will tell you they are modern-day Persia. But there’s no Persia in such key end-of-times prophecies as Psalms 83:8, which tells us that “even Assyria has joined them; they lend support to the sons of Lot.” Assyria? It ceased to be a world power about 2,500 years ago. But, get out your atlas of the ancient world and you’ll see that it included parts of Iran.
Psalm 83 predicts defeat for those who will attack Israel, particularly those intending to “wipe her off the map.” Iran’s president, Mahmoud Amadinijad has repeatedly made that specific promise. In fact, he has repeatedly lectured the General Assembly of the United Nations during his annual addresses to that body, telling them that the Shi’ite messiah, the “Hidden Imam” is about to return to Earth to establish worldwide Islam – but cannot return until Iran has eliminated Israel.