Why the Situation in Syria Has End-Times Fanatics On Edge

As the situation in Syria heats up and Congress prepares to vote next week on the authorization to use military force in the Middle Eastern nation, the prophecy of Damascus, which is detailed in the Bible in Isaiah 17, has taken on a new significance with the End Times industry in the U.S. Both writers and pastors contend that the world is now ever-closer to the return of Christ as forecast in the Book of Revelation.

The prophecy in question is known as the "burden of Damascus", an Old Testament prophecy that says that a war in the Middle East will leave Syria's capital city in ruins and move the world a step closer to Armageddon.

In Isaiah 17, the prophet explained that in the days leading up to Armageddon, "Damascus is about to be removed from being a city, and will become a fallen ruin." This implies that the Syrian capital will be destroyed by God on behalf of Israel as a part of the last major struggles for mankind on Earth.

Exactly how the destruction of Damascus comes about is not entirely clear. The Bible does not specify how it happens, only that it does.

Among those now beating the Damascus drum are best-selling novelist Joel Rosenberg, End Times radio host Jan Markell, and evangelist Hal Lindsey, among others.

Rosenberg has even consulted with an anonymous member of the U.S. Congress about the prophecies and how it relates to events going on in the Middle East, and is later this week travelling to Topeka, Kansas, at the invitation of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to talk about the situation in the Middle East.

Markell sent out an email to followers last summer warning that the "burden of Damascus" may soon be coming and last week reiterated her position last week.

Lindsey is no stranger to preaching about the Damascus problem, and addressed the issue in a 2008 column at WorldNet Daily when he was inspired by fears that Barack Obama, who was then president-elect, might move the world one step closer to a war between Israel and Iran. Lindsey further warned about the "burden of Damascus" during the spring and early summer, but on Friday offered up an even more dire warning, just one day before Obama announced that he was taking his case to make strikes on Syria to Congress.

Whether the "burden of Damascus" may soon be upon us or not, there's another thing the Bible says to consider when taking into account its end times prophecies:

"For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:2