Unless one has one’s head stuck in a hole the depth of the Grand Canyon, it’s as plain as daylight in July at high noon that conditions are rapidly reaching a boiling point in the Middle East. When once reached, prophetic events will spill over into the coming Tribulation. The world right now is on the cusp of the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39.
The Biblical support for both of these conflicts (Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39) occurring PRIOR TO the beginning of the Tribulation are these:
(1) The stranglehold of radical Islam must be broken BEFORE the Tribulation begins so that Israel can be able to rebuild her Temple on the Temple Mount where currently the Al Aqsa mosque now stands.
This does NOT mean that Islam itself will be destroyed, but that the stronghold of radical Islamism in the area of the Middle East, at least, must be curtailed in that region.
(2) The event that BEGINS the 7-year countdown is the “confirmation” of a covenant made between Israel and the man who will be the Antichrist. This man CANNOT come onto the scene until the Church is taken out and conditions in Israel and the surrounding area are stable so that the Muslim threat from all factions in that area is greatly curtailed. That can only happen AFTER the Isaiah 17 (complete destruction of Damascus) and the Ezekiel 38-39 conflict is over.
The aftermath of these two events will create a power vacuum in the Middle East – in fact in the entire world. With the Islamic threat greatly curtailed, and with Russia being resoundingly defeated and the USA completely missing in action, that power vacuum will be filled with a new leader – the Antichrist whom the Bible calls “the Man of Sin.”
According to the Ezekiel prophecy, NO NATION will come to Israel’s aid; this includes the United States. Exactly what will prevent America from being able or willing to come to Israel’s defense, we do not know but can only speculate. However, it’s this writer’s OPINION that the rapture itself and the subsequent aftermath of it will likely cause the complete collapse of the United States almost immediately – but that is opinion only. Something else may occur to remove the United States from global power and prominence. Only God knows.
When the Ezekiel invasion occurs, it will be God Himself alone who will destroy, not only the stranglehold of Islam in the Middle East, but also utterly annihilate Russia and greatly destroy all of the Ezekiel coalition forces who will be part of this invasion: Russia, Iran (Persia), Turkey, Libya, Sudan, et al.
This destruction, along with the complete absence and inability of the US to ever again be a power player on the global stage, will leave a HUGE, worldwide power vacuum into which the Antichrist will step and begin his rise to global power.
In the beginning, the Antichrist, with the backing of the 10 kingdoms of a revived Roman Empire, will have the requisite strength to ensure a false “peace” in the Middle East. The Antichrist, backed by these 10 “kingdoms” who are likely conglomerate parts of the old Roman Empire from both the Eastern and Western “legs,” will have the power to make and enforce this covenant (Daniel 7:24; Revelation 17:12).
The Antichrist will begin his meteoric rise to power by guaranteeing Israel peace for a 7-year period of time (Daniel 9:27), also making it possible for Israel to rebuild her temple, thus allowing the religious sacrifices and oblations to resume in the rebuilt Temple according to Judaic law.
These things MUST be accomplished BEFORE the Tribulation begins, because it is the confirmation of the covenant between the Antichrist and Israel that ALLOWS FOR and GUARANTEES the construction and protection of the Temple.
(3) The entire Tribulation only lasts for 7 years; and at the midpoint (31/2 years in), the Antichrist, now the undisputed global leader, breaks his covenant with Israel and defiles the Temple. Therefore, the Temple MUST be built and in operation for the entire 7 years.
This means that the destruction of Damascus and the defeat of the Ezekiel invaders must occur BEFORE the Tribulation begins, because it is the aftermath of the defeat of the Ezekiel invaders that sets up the power vacuum that will enable the Antichrist to appear and “confirm the covenant with many” (Daniel 9: 27).
When the entirety of scripture is put together, both dispensationally and chronologically from scripture – that is taking ALL of the prophetic scripture and putting the pieces into their proper chronology from BOTH Testaments – it becomes clear that the rapture of the Church and the preparatory events of Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39 must happen PRIOR TO the beginning of the Tribulation, NOT after the Tribulation begins.
The Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th week aka The Time of Jacob’s Trouble) itself CANNOT begin until the covenant is made and confirmed, and the confirmation of that covenant cannot happen until Israel is made ready for it after God will have destroyed the Ezekiel coalition.
The Church CANNOT be here when this covenant between the Antichrist and Israel is made because, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10, it is the Holy Spirit INDWELLING the collective body of Christ (the Church) that is RESTRAINING (hindering, holding back) the ability for the “Man of Sin” to be revealed.
Although we cannot be dogmatic on this next point, it is easily inferred that the rapture will happen either just prior to or (as this writer thinks) simultaneously with the two prophetic events of Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39.
We KNOW from Ezekiel 38-39 that it is God’s supernatural intervention in saving Israel that opens secular Israel’s eyes to their God, even though she (Israel) will not yet, at that time, recognize Jesus as her Messiah. That ultimate recognition and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Israel’s Messiah is God’s main purpose for taking national Israel through the Tribulation. God’s ultimate purpose is for Israel to come to realize the Messiah she has shunned and has refused to accept (Zechariah 13:8-9).
These three preparatory events: the rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-19; 1 Corinthians 15:50-56), the destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17), and the Russia/Turkey/ Iran invasion of Israel on the Golan heights (Ezekiel 38-39), MUST occur BEFORE the Tribulation which, again, begins with the confirmation of the covenant between the man (yet to be revealed) who will become the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27).
So, looking at where we are today – right this minute, the stage is already set for ALL of these preparatory events to occur. If the rapture does take place simultaneously WITH these two conflicts, as this writer grows more and more convinced will be the case, then we, the Remnant Church, are right now on the threshold of glory!
On May17, 2019, Israeli forces hit several strategic strongholds in Damascus, Syria; and although Damascus has yet to be utterly destroyed in one night (made a “ruinous heap”), not to be habitable as per Isaiah 17:1, the utter destruction of Damascus that either precedes the Ezekiel 38-39 invasion into the Golan, or occurs together with the Ezekiel invasion, is already in the works. It’s just a matter of time.
So get ready Church! Our Deliverer is standing by and our evacuation from the hell-hole, this fallen world, has become closer than “imminent.”
Keep your eyes on Damascus, Syria, because the destruction of Damascus and the Ezekiel invasion are VERY close at hand; but before that (or in concert with these two events), WE GO HOME!!