Destruction in Syria
A damaged building is pictured in Aleppo's Bustan al-Basha district Tuesday. (Reuters/Molhem Barakat )

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, says he believes Syrian rebels are responsible for the chemical weapons used in the attacks on Aug. 21 that killed an estimated 1,400 Syrian civilians, including children. Western nations, including the United States, debunk those theories by pointing to the United Nations inspections, which are said to prove that the Syrian government is, indeed, responsible for gassing its own people.

I don’t wish to oversimplify the situation in Syria, but I do want to look at the events that are unfolding there from a biblical prophecy perspective and what part the United States could play within those prophecies.

The United States has been acting as the world cop for some time now. This has built up resentment toward America, and the day has to come when America will be reduced from being the world’s No. 1 superpower. According to biblical prophecy, America is not going to be a major player in the coming tribulation years.

So the question I must pose is, “What would be a worst case scenario if America attacks Syria?” Syria and its ally Iran are enemies of Israel, and these two nations have pledged to support each other in the event of war. Iran has many times threatened to bomb ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. This shipping lane has 20 percent of the world’s oil supply passing through it daily. This event alone could cause the price of oil to double and would be a serious blow to an already weak economy in the U.S. Syria has threatened that if the U.S. attacks it, it is prepared to retaliate and is prepared to attack Israel. These threats could spill over as terrorist attacks on our soil.

The next question is, “Does Syria or Iran have the capability to launch a successful attack against our naval fleet and against Israel?” I have read many reports saying that Russia has equipped Syria and Iran with S200 and S300 cruise missiles. If these were launched against our fleet, it could mean the biggest bloody nose since the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The second facet to all this is that if we launch an attack against Syria, Syria will launch an attack against Israel. It’s possible that, if attacked, Israel could be pushed far enough against a wall that it would use what is called the “Sampson Option,” which refers to the use of nuclear weapons to push an adversary back.

The Bible predicts that the day will come when Damascus will be destroyed, never to be inhabited again. Damascus is the hub of all that is happening in Syria today. Isaiah 17:1 says, “See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins” (NIV). This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.

The third facet of all of this is the most frightening. If the biblical prophecy that says Damascus will be destroyed is fulfilled in the coming weeks or months, the effect this could have on the world will be devastating. When a nuclear bomb goes off in the Middle East, whether it is released by Israel or the U.S., it will cause the world to believe World War III is about to start. Based on biblical prophecy, this will not be the timing for the Battle of Gog and Magog, nor will it be the timing for the Battle of Armageddon.

What will happen, however, is that people around the globe will believe it is one of the last-day wars or just the beginning of World War III. Christians in America will start to wonder, Where is the Rapture? These same Christians and non-Christians will realize a storm is coming and that they need to stock up on food and supplies for what is soon coming. Think about what happens when a snowstorm or even hurricanes are forecasted. Your grocery stores are slammed with customers, and the shelves are emptied in hours.

I have read that only 3 percent of Americans are what you would call "preppers"—people who are now preparing for the hard times that could lie ahead. All the millions of people on food stamps would not be able to get food—and neither would the average American.

If what I am describing makes sense, then you will realize it won't take long for all that we hold dear in America to collapse. Every major city would be placed under curfew and martial law. From here, I see this as the first domino to fall that will lead to other dominoes falling that will lead the world into joining a one-world government, and this will lead us into the Great Tribulation and what I call in my book “the window of the Lord’s return.”

John Shorey is the author of The Window of the Lord’s Return, 2012-2020: Are We the Tribulation Generation?

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