Further thoughts on Syria

First, I would once again ask everyone to pray for the people of Syria. Also pray that the Lord would give our leaders wisdom. This is, after all, commanded in Scripture. Far too frequently, I myself am guilty of becoming snarky or overly critical and not turning first to prayer and placing my full trust in God and His plans.

That said, I would like to begin by asking this question: What if it turns out that Assad did in fact use chemical weapons? Even if the US and her allies, including Israel, claim that he did, I will remain skeptical. Knowing that the crux of the war in Syria is largely one of winning the battle in the court of world public opinion, the whole thing simply seems way too fishy to me to just accept that Assad would be so self-destructive. However, what if he did? What if Assad really did use gas against some of his own citizens? Does it then stand to reason that people of conscience must act militarily? Must we truly respond?

Consider the simple fact that Assad is fighting a group that is primarily comprised of foreign al-Qaeda affiliated jihadis. How is it possible to teach Assad a lesson without somehow hurting his capacity to fight against the jihadis in his own nation? And how would such an act not send a message to the so-called rebels that we are providing them with support?

The fact of the matter is that if the Assad regime falls, as evil as he may be, any victory for the rebels in that nation will bring about a far greater loss of life long term than even those who have died to date (over 100,000). In Baghdad just today (August 28, 2013) for instance, 80 people died in a bombing. This kind of loss of life has been common place for years in Iraq and it will continue for many more. As bad as Saddam may have been, life was far more stable before the US removed him. Of course I do not support anyone who uses nerve gas on civilians. But is a military strike truly a proper response? Is it wise? Or is it simply an answer to those who feel as though they simply must do something, anything?

Of course, there are no easy answers in this present situation, but I remain absolutely firm that the US should do what it can to keep Assad in power in his fight against the Jabhat al-Nusra jihadis in Syria. Regardless, we as the Church need to pray.

On another note, I want to state how grieved I am in my spirit as I have read several “prophecy” reports and comments on various prophecy sites. I have seen many comments that have actually expressed excitement and borderline glee about what may be about to unfold. I want absolutely nothing to do with anyone whose interest in Biblical prophecy leads them to take such a disconnected spectator approach to events unfolding around us. We all need to be asking God to give us His heart in this matter and also asking Him what we can do for those who are presently being or will be affected.

I will bring some further updates soon.

Blessings all,
Joel

24 Comments
  • barasheet
    Posted at 01:10h, 29 August

    Agree wholeheartedly…

  • Karen Hosier
    Posted at 03:43h, 29 August

    I, too read one “prophecy” website that said if we attack it could spark a war that would give Iran and Syria an excuse to attack Israel. Then Israel will bring about the end of Syria and most of the Arab nations. The next leap said this would put an end to Islam. There was no mention on this site about the fate of the millions of Muslims living in Indonesia, Pakistan and other nations. How the destruction of Syria and most of the Arab nations will cause the destruction of Islam is reckless conjecture. Sadly, there was no encouragement to pray to avoid this “war” as if it was a foregone conclusion that this is about to happen.

    I join with you Joel in encouraging all of us to pray that the Lord brings some clarity and a halt to the headlong rush into military action. I also continue to pray for the Syrian Christians and other persecuted groups throughout the region.

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    Posted at 09:41h, 29 August

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  • James
    Posted at 12:00h, 29 August

    Joel,

    I couldn’t agree more with this thoughtful and reflective post.

    We need to put in practice the call in Timothy to pray “for” our leaders. I notice that the word is to pray “for” and not “against”.

    It also grieves me that a lot of christians continually pronounce judgement on America and prophecy disaster against her. It reminds me of Jesus words to the disciples “you don’t know what spirit you are from”.

  • Davy
    Posted at 13:47h, 29 August

    Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, pray for us. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-25 ESV)

  • BJ and Alisa
    Posted at 14:24h, 29 August

    I’m sure the Prophets did not enjoy the Judgments they had to announce (on any of the Nations), but it was something they had to do. We may not like it either but Judgment is coming regardless of our reasoning.

  • chris
    Posted at 19:17h, 29 August

    Dear,joel
    you may not remember me my old name for posting was tearsofjerusalem I lived in cali and ks,we use to debate if russia was gog ect lol, but on a serious note God bless you and your family and protect you I also pray for syrians and our troops as well as all involved who are on the right side of history I admit I to have gotten excited at world events im ashamed of this but I know evil is coming so I know it will reach us here in usa far to long we have watched on tv being not close to events but I think we will get our shock and awe sad though it seems some will fall for it some wont hug love your families cause times are changing yes some are waking up at least pray prepare and do something bush obama they all hold the salifist hands and israel holds there hand to only to be fooled and caught in a trap !

  • Channie Gittens
    Posted at 23:34h, 29 August

    I really like your insight! Trying to see if you Are on Facebook. Thank you.

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 16:21h, 30 August

    One option has the door closed on it. Then, would people look at other
    options?

    One is, to end the charade of maintaining lines on maps.

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/08/29/lawrence-solomon-kissingers-good-option/

  • Harrison
    Posted at 18:54h, 30 August

    I just listened to a female describe living conditions in the Ghouta region of eastern Damascus. She related that for 10 months prior to the chemical weapons attack on August 21, all electricity had been cut off. There were some generators, but when the fuel supplies were depleted, the area population was without any electricity. The Syrian army was blocking the roads. Food supplies were critically low and eventually there was no bread. This went on for 10 months and then came the gassing of people. I can’t imagine living under these barbaric conditions without an escape plan. Could we maybe get a cease fire and evacuate these families?

  • good4u
    Posted at 02:48h, 31 August

    I just don’t understand…why punish the Syrian people when the war is between Islamist radicals (Jabhat al-Nusra, MB and their ilk) and the Assad regime? That just makes no sense to me. It does make more sense that some how the radicals, as Joel asserts, is “faking” the alleged chemical attack in such a way as to promote their agenda to take over Syria and establish a radicalized Islamic State which DOES have chemical weapons. Why wouldn’t the Obama administration consider that this could be a cleverly disguised ploy to pin the blame on Assad and let the Americans do the dirty work for the radicals and all they would have to do is stay out of the way. To me that seems way more plausible than some possible female plant who doesn’t have corroboratory independent evidence of her testimony. You must be very careful here as we do not want to be dragged into the Syrian civil war.

  • David Roberts
    Posted at 01:54h, 01 September

    To listen to the recent video put out by Obama where he lies click here: http://youtu.be/QeYDhMmVLXI

    The president of Russia, Putin, did an awesome speech today on the topic. I highly recommend it: http://youtu.be/oUyPpT0_8Gg

  • jean dean
    Posted at 05:48h, 01 September

    Joel, thanks for your words. I love your heart. It shows the true compassion of God!

    Things that are transpiring moment by moment before our very eyes by the president of the U.S. is stunning! His narcissistic arrogance is showing, that’s for sure! It is indeed, all “political,” as he makes his announcements that he’s getting ready to strike Assad’s Regime!

    What would be a better commitment from our president is that he plans to use military force to not only crush the Assad regime, BUT ALSO, to crush the “Syrian Rebels” (whom he supports) and are determined to take over Assad’s regime, bringing to power the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda’s regime.

    Obama, when you say, “I plan to crush Assad AND the Syrian Rebels,” I will become a believer. Until then, we’ll be watching! So will Almighty God! The Rebels have chemical weapons they are using, too. They are busy killing Christians, and innocent people, too! Let’s get serious, Obama! jd<

  • Daniel C.
    Posted at 14:48h, 01 September

    I appreciate your thoughts here and I agree. I have been thinking about this the last couple of days and I can not see how starting another war in the middle east will solve anything. If Assad is as “evil” as they paint him to be, I can not see how a jihadist rebellion winning power will actually be better.

    I like what you said about this war is being fought in the court of public opinion, in this that is a very true statement. Like Glenn Beck said if Vladimir Putin is making more sense then the US government then we know something is very wrong.

  • Vernon
    Posted at 16:49h, 01 September

    Hi Joel,

    I am new to your blog after reading Islamic anti-Christ and currently reading Mid-East Beast. I must admit after being introduced to your work, I approached it with a healthy dose of skepticism. It seemed impossible to me that there could be any other explanation worth studying, concerning the fourth beast of Daniel”s prophecy, other than the traditional teaching of a revived Roman Empire. I tried desperately to refute your claims, using ever bit of the eschatology traditionally taught to make the case for a European anti-Christ.

    After reading and studying what you have presented thus far in both books, I have renounced my original position supporting a European anti-Christ and fully support your research. I now consider myself a student of your work, which has also encouraged me to be even more careful in studying the word of God.

    Clearly, all eyes are on Syria right now and the big question is, will the US launch an attack? If so, the potential for an even wider conflict is enormous. Threats from both Iran and Syria is that they will attack Israel if Syria is attacked by the US. President Obama has already authorized a military response, but surprisingly, he is seeking Congressional approval before any offensive is launched.

    My observation is this: I don’t see the US as being specifically mentioned in scripture as being an invasive western power in Syria. Prophecy websites are exploding everywhere, many of them practically rejoicing as they herald the pending fulfillment of Isaiah 17:1 with confident assurance.

    Does the absence of any mention of the US in prophecy have any baring on the probability of a US attack on Syria? Isaiah’s prophecy is much more involved than verse 1. The destruction of Damascus by a western power which the bible doesn’t mention, and which leaves other parts of Isiah’s prophecy unfulfilled, is quite confusing.

    Vernon

  • Bryan
    Posted at 22:10h, 01 September

    Joel, I was just wondering if you had seen these claims on the reporting coming out of Syria. It is hard to know if this is accurate but seems to be real. Any thoughts?

    http://friendsofsyria.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/cnn-caught-staging-news-segments-on-syria-with-actors/

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  • Michael
    Posted at 22:18h, 03 September

    Joel,

    Do you think Assad could be the anit christ?

  • Joel
    Posted at 23:25h, 03 September

    Michael,

    Any genuine speculation concerning who the Antichrist is right now is certainly premature. As I have said for some years, I tend to believe that the AC will come out of Turkey. The primary basis for this is the overwhelming emphasis on Asia Minor by Ezekiel as the location from where the AC, whom he calls Gog, will be ruler over. Beyond this, the seventh head that suffered the fatal head wound, suffered that wound in Istanbul. So it is certainly arguable that the head will be revived in the same location. That said, Syria is certainly within the Scriptural boundaries of where we should look per Daniel 11 and the prophecy concerning the King of the North. I stood once on the platform some years ago with a teacher who stated that he knew for a fact that Basshar al-Assad is the AC. I am personally highly doubtful of this, but then again, one thing that has always guided my own analysis of end time Biblical prophecy is the fact that we all see through a glass darkly. God knows best and only time will tell.

    Blessings

  • Miriam Dimitry
    Posted at 10:39h, 04 September

    I admit i’m one of those who try to understand prophecy from the current events and sometimes not even take into consideration the huge losses incurred with such expectancies. I need more insight from His heart.

    Having said that, as someone who comes from this very region, I cannot blatantly say that having a stable regime was better off as it spared many lives. Millions were ding silently without even media shedding light on them; they were dying in the darkness from poverty, oppression, negligence and loneliness.
    I’m not with the US military strike either, they over and over prove to condone whatever is of their own interest even if double standard is conspicuous. I understand that international relations is bout one’s interest but when they flagrantly attack others with diminishing consideration to justice-even with human standards- than they seem to be losing it altogether.
    So the US is not the saviour in such matters, not even politically. Nevertheless, I’m having real difficulty in saying that it was better to maintain the stability to save the lives of millions. Under the ME totalitarian regimes, people where doomed- only silently. I don’t want to sound in-compassionate to people dying because I’m praying for mercy, but is in it sometimes true, that, it’s better for a building to crumble down instead of trying to patch it together for so long- it is destined to fall anyway? Who determines the “enough” the “breaking” of injustice? Isn’t it the Sovereign God? I don’t know how to pray other than seek mercies from the God of heaven.
    These are just thoughts. please let me know what you think

  • Joel
    Posted at 11:08h, 04 September

    Miriam,

    Thank you for your post. I should be clear that I am not a supporter of Assad. I agree he is a scoundrel. BUt it is a far stretch to say that millions have died in Syria because of his rule. Certainly many are oppressed. And of course many are impoverished etc. But given the present options, Assad is by far the best choice. He is clearly the lesser of two evils. Between Assad and the rebels / Jabhat al-Nusra who will make every effort to institute Shari’ah law, divide the country, establish a Caliphate, and ultimately kill or drive out millions of Christians, Alawites, Druze, Shi’a and moderate Sunnis, we should support Assad. I am convinced that this is our only option right now if the lives of millions are truly our concern.

    Blessings!

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 16:31h, 04 September

    As long as we are dealing with a Gordian knot (thanks, in no small part to Putin, because of his deal with oligarchs [they don’t encroach on his turf, and he won’t encroach on theirs], but it only goes so far, because a Russian warship has shown up in the Mediterranean Sea.) I submit the best options available to governments are partition, and a shrunken Syria to be a kingdom.

    For, what is Assad fighting for, other than the privileges that he, and others, have?

    As for Jabhat al-Nusra, we know what they are about.

  • Joel
    Posted at 19:30h, 04 September

    David,

    If we partition Syria, we are simply giving al-Qaeda a home base of operation. While there are no ideal options, a much better option in my view, is to simply support the man who will put them under his boot, as is now being done in Egypt. The best solution for radical Islam is containment and suppression. My opinion.

    Blessings

  • James Holben
    Posted at 12:56h, 09 March

    Well said Joel….well said

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