Now, What’s Next? :: By Randy Nettles

In March of last year, I wrote an article entitled “What’s Next?” (What’s Next? :: By Randy Nettles – Rapture Ready), in which I said I believed the next major biblical prophecy to be fulfilled is the one found in Isaiah 17, the total destruction of Damascus, Syria. “Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid” (Isaiah 17:1-2).

Because of Isaiah 17:9, it is believed that Israel will be the cause of this destruction. “In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation.” Of course, Israel will only commit this extreme act of war if it perceives there is an existential threat coming from inside Syria, or in retaliation for a W.O.M.D. (weapons of mass destruction) attack by Syria or Iran’s proxies inside of Syria.

However, before any of this takes place, I think the next end-time event to occur will be Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities and military complex, which could cause a nuclear disaster like Chornobyl, Russia. Israel has vowed never to allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon by whatever means is necessary. Iran is getting extremely close to having enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon. Here is a recent update from the Security Council Report for the month of July 2023, as taken from this website:

“With negotiations stalled, Iran has increased its production of highly enriched uranium. In its February quarterly report, the IAEA said that Iran’s stockpile of 60-percent enriched uranium had grown by 25.2 kilograms to 87.5 kilograms over the previous three months. Notably, the report also said that the agency had detected traces of uranium enriched to 83.7 percent—just below the roughly 90-percent level considered weapons-grade—at Iran’s Fordow facility. At a US congressional hearing on 28 February, a senior defense official in the Biden administration said the US government estimated that Iran’s “breakout capacity”—the amount of time it would take to produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon—was about 12 days.”

The Bushehr nuclear power plant is located in the southwest section of Iran, where the ancient kingdom of Elam was located. Just as Israel struck Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and Syria’s nuclear reactor in 2007, Iran’s Bushehr nuclear site could be next on the list. If Israel were to strike this site, it might cause a disaster of biblical proportions, as it could cause massive radiation fallout or a major earthquake. Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, being crossed by several major faults that cover at least 90% of the country, including Bushehr. As a result, earthquakes in Iran occur often and are destructive.

Jeremiah 49:35-37 speaks of a great disaster that will cause the Elamites (modern-day Iranians) to flee their homeland and cause them to be immigrants throughout the world.

“Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the Lord; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them.”

Once this catastrophic event occurs, Iran’s proxies located in Syria, Lebanon, and the surrounding area will attack Israel, possibly with weapons of mass destruction. Israel will fight back, and this is when Damascus will be utterly destroyed, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 17:1. I believe Syria will be judged by God for its part in trying to destroy His chosen people, the Jews. Most scholars believe Israel will be the cause of Damascus’ demise in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack by Bashar Al-Assad, the tyrant of Syria; or Putin could do it and blame it on Assad or Hezbollah.

It is believed that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, tyrant of Baghdad, did, in fact, have huge stockpiles of chemical weapons all along, but they were never found because he secretly smuggled them into Syria days before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. If Syria were to use weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical weapons, against the Jewish people, Israel would respond with their own W.O.M.D., such as a tactical or neutron bomb. A weapon of this magnitude could certainly cause Damascus to cease being a city, thus fulfilling Isaiah 17:1-2.

Evidently, many nations will join in the battle at this time. “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! 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. And behold at evening tide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us” (Isaiah 17:12-14). This could be the confederacy of Psalm 83 consisting of Arab nations and Iran’s proxy forces.

According to Bill Salus, “Psalm 83 deals with a climatic, concluding Arab-Israeli war. The Middle East wars between the Arabs and Jews in 1948, 1967, and 1973 have served as a precursor to this final war. The growing consensus among many Bible prophecy experts that believe Psalm 83 is an impending prophecy is that Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, and possibly Al Qaeda confederate one final time to wipe Israel off of the map.” {1}

Israel will win the war, but the victory will come at a great cost in terms of life, property, and munitions. Isaiah 17:4-7 describes the end result for Israel in a metaphorical sense: “And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. And it shall be as when the harvestman gathers the corn, and reaps the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathers ears in the valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the Lord God of Israel. At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.”

Even though these wars still haven’t happened yet, I believe they are likely to occur in the very near future. On Tishri 10 (Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement), 2023, the Jewish people will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. The date on the Gregorian calendar will be September 25, 2023. Of course, nine days earlier, on September 16, 2023, the Feast of Trumpets occurs. Many Bible scholars and students believe the Rapture could occur on this Feast of the Lord day, and many think/speculate it could be this year. Only time will tell, and the time is nearly upon us.

The Yom Kippur War, also known as the Ramadan War (the war started on the 10th day of the ninth month of Ramadan), was an armed conflict fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. The war started when the Arab coalition jointly launched a surprise attack against Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

Egypt attacked from the Sinai Peninsula, while Syria attacked the Golan Heights territory. Israel defeated the coalition in about 19 days and gained more territory from the Arab countries. Israel wound up eventually returning the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt after a peace treaty was signed with them but kept the Golan Heights territory from Syria.

Today, Israel is in conflict with Syrian forces trying to smuggle weapons from Iran into the country. Iran is also fighting a proxy war with Israel, which is using Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. I believe it is only a matter of time (very soon I.M.H.O.) before the conflict goes into a full-fledged war.

Isaiah 17 is a duel reference prophecy that jumps back and forth between the two fulfillments of the eighth century BC and the upcoming 21st century AD. Part of it concerns the defeat of Damascus, Syria, and the Northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 730-720 BC. The rest of it concerns the still future End Times because Damascus has not ceased from being a city and has never become a heap of ruins, as Isaiah 17:2 declares. In fact, Damascus makes the claim of being the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

Also, the defeat of the northern kingdom of Israel and Aram (Syria) by the Assyrians didn’t result in a return to God by either of them, as foretold in Isaiah 17:7-8. Isn’t it interesting that all three kingdoms involved were descended from Shem’s sons? Noah’s son, Shem, is the father of the Semitic peoples. He fathered five sons: Elam (Persia and/or Elam, Media), Asshur (Assyria), Arphaxad (Chaldeans, including Ur, the birthplace of Abraham who is the father of the Israelites), Lud (the Lydians of Asia Minor), and Aram (Arameans, who lived in the area of Syria. Aram’s son was Uz. Job lived in the land of Uz).

Isaiah 17:9 says the inhabitants of Syria will leave their strong cities to become desolate because of the Israelites. This didn’t happen in the past, as Israel wasn’t involved in this desolation, and is what leads scholars to conclude that Israel will cause the future destruction of Damascus. The strong cities could include the largest cities of Aleppo, Damascus, and Horns.

Jeremiah 49:23-27 is another End Times prophecy concerning Damascus. “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. Damascus is waxed feeble and turns herself to flee, and fear has seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, says the LORD of hosts. And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben Hadad.” Hamath could be Horns, and Arpad could be Aleppo.

These military actions by Israel against Iran and Syria could be the fuse that ignites the Gog-Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39. It will be the excuse that Russia, Turkey, Iran (their remaining armed forces), and the rest of the coalition will use to invade Israel “to take plunder and to take booty” (oil and gas reserves, minerals, etc.) as Ezekiel describes in Ezekiel 38:12-13. Israel will be powerless to defend itself, as the country will have depleted its stockpile of weapons and will be low on manpower after fighting against the neighboring Arab nations and Iran’s proxies.

No country, including America, will come to the aid of Israel. After the Rapture (and maybe even before), the United States of America will no longer be a dominant world power. Russia will continue exerting its military might (as it is doing now) in reclaiming lost territory that was part of the old Soviet Union until God puts hooks in the jaws of Gog and turns him and his host around towards Israel. “I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army” (Ezekiel 38:4).

Regarding where this invasion originates from, God tells Ezekiel to prophesy and say to Gog, “Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you” (Ezekiel 38:15). However, the American Bible Revised Edition Version says, “leaving your base in the recesses of Zaphon, you and many nations with you.”

Also, in chapter 39, the word/name Zaphon is also substituted for the far north. “I will turn you around, even though I urged you on and brought you up from the recesses of Zaphon and let you attack the mountains of Israel.” 10 times the word Zaphon is used in the Old Testament by the American Bible Revised Edition Version.

Zaphon is basically a mountain on the Syrian-Turkish border near what used to be the port city of Ugarit. It is now called Mount Aqraa or Jabal al-Aqraa, and Mount Cassius to the Greeks. The Canaanites in the region believed it was where the storm god Baal-Hadad lived. Zaphon became a metonym and then the word for the direction of ‘north’ in the Hebrew language.

The port city of Ugarit was originally located near what is now Latakia, Syria. Latakia has been the target of many Israeli air raids in recent years. Russia deploys large troops to this important port city on the Mediterranean Sea. It would certainly enrage Russia if Israel were to kill Russian troops by means of an airstrike in Latakia, Syria.

“Currently, Damascus and Homs are being protected by Hezbollah and other Shiite militias. Holding this territory is essential for the regime, Hezbollah, and their Iranian backers. Meanwhile, Latakia represents less of a strategic interest for Iran, as contrasted with Russia, which wants to maintain a presence along the coast more than in Damascus or the Golan Heights. As for the influx of Russian troops, they are needed to protect the city, given the present weakness of Syrian forces. Russia is also fortifying its position along the southern Turkish border, with the ultimate goal of preventing Sunni Syrian forces from gaining access to the sea.” {2}

Latakia, Syria, could be the location from where Russia will amass its coalition and “hook up” with Turkish, Iranian, and other nations’ military forces. Gog will then lead them to their ill-fated journey south toward Israel to start the Gog-Magog war. They will have to skirt around the destroyed city of Damascus, probably to the west, possibly entering Lebanon, and then entering Israel by way of the Judean mountains. Due to the rugged terrain, cavalry forces will be deployed in large numbers. In the mountains of Israel, they will meet their fate. “You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured” (Ezekiel 39:4).

This invasion to take booty or spoil will not work out exactly the way Gog envisions, as it will go horribly awry. On that day of destiny, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will fight for the children of Israel when no other nation will. Of course, when God fights for you, no one else is needed.

“And it will come to pass at the same time when Gog comes against the land of Israel, says the Lord God, that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: Surely in that day, there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

“I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains, says the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:18-23).

The defeat of the military might of Russia, Turkey, Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, and the other nations of Ezekiel 38-39 (notice there are no Arab nations named) will leave a power vacuum amongst the nations of the world. The 10 kings’ kingdom of Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12 will immediately fill this power vacuum and fill the void, becoming the dominant world power. Even China will become a part of this one-world order. The anti-Christ will emerge soon after this and will confirm a covenant with Israel and others, which will begin the seven-year Tribulation, aka Daniel’s 70th Week.

The Antichrist will kill three of the ten kings around the mid-point of the Tribulation. The remaining seven kings will then give him their power and authority, and he will become the king of the world. His evil reign will be short-lived, however, as it will only last for 3.5 years before the true King of the world, Jesus Christ, returns and “fires him.”

“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered to fight against the one riding the horse and against his army. The beast was caught and with it the false prophet who had performed in its sight the signs by which he led astray those who had accepted the mark of the beast and those who had worshiped its image. The two were thrown alive into the fiery pool burning with sulfur. The rest were killed by the sword that came out of the mouth of the one riding the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh” (Revelation 19:19-21).

God’s prophecies will always come true. It’s only a matter of “when” and not “if.” “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end, it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:3-4).

Randy Nettles


{1} Nuclear Showdown in Iran – Revealing the Ancient Prophecy of Elam – pg. 121

{2} – Latakia is Assad’s Achilles Heel by F. Balanche