Just reading where the United States is recalling its ambassador to Syria. This comes in the wake of the bomb assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minster Rafik Hariri yesterday.
And more people than you might want to know are right now cackling and grinning and rubbing their hands with anticipation over this news.
I've already written on a few occassions about the end-times beliefs that drive most of the supporters of the current administration in the White House. It can be safely said that those who consider themselves "Christians" and fall into line behind Bush can be divided into two categories: those that want to take over the world before Christ comes, and those who want Christ to destroy the world so that "if we can't have, nobody can!" The pre-tribulation Rapture folks are this latter group. They're the ones that buy the Left Behind novels in droves and keep that franchise's masters milking it for everything they can get out 'cuz they know the pre-tribbers will just come on back for more. Rabid Pre-Tribbers are the Judeo-Christian version of the Trekkies, when you think about it. But they're also the ones that, I tend to believe anyway, will vote for any candidate, nod approval for any policy, and refuse to stand against anything that actually violates the teachings of scripture, if they believe that these thing will hasten the onset of Armageddon. I heard one Christian tell me recently that George W. Bush was God's chosen instrument to trigger the events that will lead up to the Second Coming.
She was serious.
And there are millions more like her in America. That don't give a flip about the apostle Paul's teachings to the Thesselonians about occupying themselves with the work of Christ, and let Him worry about how and when He'll come. If redemption draweth nigh, doesn't it make sense as a Christian to try to love one another even more so that others will find that redemption too?
But that's not the mindset at work here with too many professing Christians. They want the supreme pleasure of knowing that their name will forevermore be stamped upon the peak of human history, because there will be no more human history at all: the ultimate mode of narcissism.
As a Christian I know that someday the Lord does come back. But as one without divine knowledge and understanding, I have no idea how exactly that will take place. I can see some evidence for their being a pre-trib Rapture... but I can see just as many indictations that it will be a post-trib Rapture too, where everyone has to endure the terror of the Antichrist. Might be a good thing too, 'specially for Christians in industrialized nations: we've gotten too soft and comfortable in our belief that we die, He comes, end of worry and that's it... so we don't do anything in the here and now. It's about time we start knowing the pain and persecution that most believers have had to endure for these two thousand years. You don't see any "Christian Epicureans" described in scripture, y'know.
So here's where I'm getting with all this: one of the chief tenets of Pre-Tribulation Rapture is that the city of Damascus is to be utterly destroyed. The timing of this is important: most Pre-Trib adherents teach that this comes before the Rapture, based on several other prophecies and mentions of countries that are found in Isaiah and Daniel and a few other books of the Old Testament (and Revelation in the New one 'course). Isaiah 17:1 is the chief source of the Damascus prophecy:
The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.Damascus is the oldest city in the world. It has never been laid waste or otherwise made inhabitable. So this means its a prophecy that has not been fulfilled yet.
Its fulfillment will be taken to mean that the Second Coming is soon.
Don't you think it would be within human nature of some people to try to destroy it - or at least hasten its destruction - so that their unique perspective of a religion will be the one that wins out over all the others that have ever existed in human existence? Doesn't having that capability suggest the temptation to use it, at least?
Don't think for a moment that at least one of the more prominent "Christian leaders" hasn't whispered this into the ears of President Bush: that God wants him to be the one to turn Damascus into a ruinous heap. Doesn't even matter if that's Bush himself or not they're whispering to: this is something that's been practically openly desired for the past quarter-century. Why shouldn't we believe that they wouldn't want to act on this kind of opportunity?
Just posing the possibility out there.