|Vatican warns of 'global conflict' over Syria|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Monday, 02 September 2013 19:47|
Monsignor Mario Toso, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has warned that the situation in Syria could explode into a war of global dimensions and that armed intervention was not the answer to the problems of the region. He made the comments as both the United States and the Russian Federation continued their military build-up in the Mediterranean Sea ahead of an expected Western intervention in the two year old conflict...
Quote: ““The Syria conflict has all the ingredients to explode into a war of global dimensions,” Monsignor Mario Toso, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told Vatican radio. “The solution to Syria's problems is not in armed intervention. Violence will not decrease and there is a risk of a conflagration that extends to other countries,” he said.
So far the fighting has claimed the lives of over 110,000 people and shows no signs of abating. Sunni Muslims backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and the West, are fighting against the Syrian government, which in turn is being propped up by Russia, Hezbollah and Shi'ite Iran. The British Prime Minister and US President Obama had planned to undertake a series of limited strikes against military targets in the country after reports surfaced that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against its people. But without conclusive proof that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack, both countries have had to shelve the prospect of an immediate strike.
Israel and Saudi Arabia, both allies of the United States, have expressed dismay over Obama's hesitation to strike Syria. Israel has so far carried out a couple of strikes against weapons convoys travelling from Syria to Lebanese territory but has not become embroiled in the Syrian conflict itself. But President Assad has threatened to strike Israel should the West try to intervene in Syria, and has already published a list of targets he intends to hit. Although so far the fighting has not spilled over Syria's borders, Israel is presently on high alert, and Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu has warned that any attack against Israel will be met with a strong response. Israel fears that American hesitation will mean that they will be on their own if Syria decides to strike out at Israel. Like Israel, predominately Sunni-led Saudi Arabia also fear the Iranian nuclear bomb, and the fall of Assad would go some way towards reducing Iranian influence in the region.
It's hard at a time like this not to think of that passage in Isaiah 17, which speaks of the destruction of Damascus. Syria likes to boast that Damascus is the oldest inhabited city in the world, but the prophecy of Israel foretells a time when it will be “taken away from being a city, and shall be a ruinous heap”. The chapter goes on to tell how “the glory of Jacob shall be made thin”, but that Syria's strong cities shall be “as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation”. The last verse seems to indicate that this calamity will happen to the city of Damascus in one night, “and behold at eveningtide 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”.
I don't like to speculate what may or may not happen as a result of this possible conflict. That's why I haven't said much about it up until now. But it is very interesting that the Scriptures do have something to say about what may now be coming to pass in the Middle East. Even Saudi Arabia's vehement opposition to Iran seems to fall into line with Ezekiel's prophecy, which states that Sheba and Dedan (countries that were once located south of ancient Israel) would oppose a future invasion of Israel by the Persian hordes. Could it be that conflict in Syria will be one of the 'hooks' that God will use to draw the Islamo-Russian confederacy against His people at the time of the end? (Ezekiel 38:14). Only time will tell.
It is also interesting to note that Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Iran are all countries that once formed part of the old Babylonian, Medo-Persian and Greek empires (Ezekiel 38:13).
Babylonian Empire - Medo-Persian Empire - Greek Empire
These three empires mentioned in Daniel's prophecy all ruled over the Jewish people when they were in the land. The empires are symbolized by three wild animals. Babylon was the lion with eagle's wings, a popular depiction in ancient Babylon and figurative of its ruler. Medo-Persia was the bear. And Greece was the leopard (Daniel 7:4-6, 10:20). The fourth beast, which was different from the rest (it also occupied a slightly different geographical area than the others), we know to be the old Roman Empire. It's interesting that the Apostle John also refers to these three animals when speaking of the final world empire that would arise at the time of the end (Revelation 13:2). I do believe that Daniel 7 foretells that the final world empire would be a revived form of the fourth world empire. But perhaps somehow this final world empire will incorporate some of the countries that once formed part of these old world empires? Just a guess. Already, the Union for the Mediterranean, a body that was set up in 2008 by the European Union to bring peace and stability to Europe's neighbours, incorporates many of the regions that once formed part of the old Roman Empire. And the nation of Israel was one of the first countries to sign up to it. It's definitely interesting days.
Daniel's prophecy states that in the days of this final world empire, the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44). We are now living in these days. Jesus Christ is coming back soon. Are you ready to meet Him? Turn away from your sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today.