Syria Conflict & Bible Prophecy

Sarin gas victim, Syria
Sarin gas victim, Syria (Photo credit: Ninian Reid)

O.k., first let me say that I am by no means a Bible scholar.  I just wish to shed light on a subject that has come to the the forefront as of recent, even making its way to national news outlets such as Fox News:  Whether the recent activity in Syria points to the impending fulfillment of Bible prophecy or not.

Let me preface my thoughts by saying that I grew up with a healthy or unhealthy fear of the “end times.”  I used to feel afraid when I saw my dad watching the world news.  Some of the things I saw happening in other countries just seemed very scary.  And I knew that these events were analyzed in my immediate sphere of influence as a sign of the end times.  It also seemed that the election of certain presidents throughout my childhood hinted at the demise of “Christianity” and the final judge and rule of God.  But I’m not quite sure where I picked up that idea.  So no pointing fingers.

At a young age, I just wanted all of the scary stuff to go away.  I wanted to live in hope for my future and believe that I’d live a full and happy life regardless of what was happening around the world.

Somewhere in the span of my “finding a mate” years, my attention was never drawn to subjects such as Biblical prophecy and my mind was mainly focused on building a family and making money to support that family.

Fast forward to an irreversible adulthood and the awareness of my existence has shrunken to a meaningless speck of dust on the world map.  And it seems impossible to ignore all the signs of something happening- that surround me.  My point of reference keeps shifting though–like I’m getting jerked back and forth by one of those unfriendly roller coasters that may or may not be safe.

One day, I’m living on the surface, aware that I need to take my daughter to school, make sure a few shirts are ironed, cook dinner for my family, go to bed only to wake up and do it again.  On another day, I come across videos of children (who are my children’s ages) in Syria choking from some sort of chemical weapon attack.  And on yet another day, to my spirit’s regret, I waste my time watching one of the Hollywood movies that to me, makes light of some of the most gruesome acts of violence against humanity one could think to commit- all in the name of entertainment.

Amidst all of this, I read articles about the latest “trends” in worship and how it affects a Christian’s “experience” of God.  In-between I get stuck on some message boards of naysayers who are making self-assured fun of the Biblical nuts who keep getting their prophecy timelines wrong.  And then I sporadically think, well even if I’m nuts, perhaps it would be advantageous for me to at least call attention on Twitter and Facebook to the recent correlation between the latest happenings in Syria and the possible fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

So then I Tweet.   And I wonder if the “Christians” who “follow” me on Twitter will re-tweet, so that they may be a conduit of some “warning” that ‘all may not be well in the world’ and in fact that ‘Jesus may be coming soon, so don’t worry so much about what to eat or drink or post on Twitter.’  That the next worship retreat may be a little less relevant in the scheme of global news.  But not one person has re-tweeted me yet.  And not one person on FB has shared my update or liked it, for that matter.

What is interesting, or at least to me, is that it isn’t the current events that led me to explore my Bible.  It was my Bible that led me to explore current events (I was reading some prophetic passages in the Old Testament and remembered something about Syria that had passed my mind in the form of a dream, so I Googled Syria and Bible prophecy).  The more I read my Bible, the more the culture in which I live seems extremely irrelevant and almost sinisterly laughable.  But don’t get me wrong, I do question my sanity and the way that I process Scripture.

I assume that the reason Bible passages seem in such stark contrast to how I’m currently gauging my life’s meaning, is because my reading of the Bible is biased toward the way I was raised–to believe that the Bible is actually true and not just a book from which to pick random passages to recite on Sunday morning.  Call me crazy, but what is the point of believing in God, if we do not at the same time, believe we are a part of the history or future of things prophesied in God’s Word?

I absolutely hate the fact that the Bible inconveniences us in such a way that it doesn’t exactly align with the fairy tales we tell our children.  But how can we go to church Sunday after Sunday (or stay at home Sunday after Sunday), purporting to be Christians, yet disassociating ourselves with the reality of the tragic events that are ACTUALLY happening across the world?  And by disassociating, I mean continuing to live the same lifestyle, the lifestyle that by all outward appearance gives witness to the fact that we do not actually believe God is an active agent in the world.  Our moments of silence will only take us so far.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not sure what I believe.  I say I believe in Jesus because I think I believe that’s what will save me from hell.   I say I believe in God’s Word because it’s what gives testament to the other things which I also say I believe.   But my days are more concerned with my life from the angle of my lifetime on earth, NOT with my life from the perspective of eternity.  Half of my time is spent languishing the fact that I’m not more popular or that I’m not one of those “cool” people who easily attracts friends.  The other half of my time is spent regretting the inconvenience of knowing there are others who have less than me.

For those who say the Bible should be completely written off as a collection of fables, they only say that from the comfort and safety of their own couch.  I guarantee you that if they were a little closer to the happenings in the major parts of the world where war and famine reign, they would think a little bit harder about “choosing this day who’d they serve.”  They’d spend a little less time laughing at Hollywood’s sick disregard for humanity and a little bit more time fighting for life, fighting to find the Truth about life and death because death seems a wee bit more inevitable.

So how is Syria and Biblical prophecy related to us?  Why does it matter if we believe in God’s Word or not?  Are world events relevant to us and our children?  What is the safety, the assurance that you hold in your heart today?  From firsthand experience, having been exposed to International politics in some round about ways, I can tell you that America is a stack of cards.  I love the fact that I was born in America and that I’ve been safe up to this point–that I have freedom to write what I’m writing and that my children weren’t just gassed to death by our government.  But don’t be fooled, God is not mocked.  America is not our Savior and peace is only God’s to give.

I don’t understand why so many Americans and even Christians laugh off the talk about “impending doom.”  But yet they love to watch movies about aliens and disease that threaten to destroy humanity in a final showdown after which only TWO humans will survive thereafter to populate the earth again.  Do you see the irony in millions of dollars being spent to give moviegoers the high of watching criminal activities take place on a big screen, when the evil is ACTUALLY alive and well in our world, killing the lives of many?

Maybe the reason we’re so slow to believe, is because we’ve never been face to face with death.

Perhaps the reason Christianity is becoming more and more irrelevant is because it’s become the religion of marginality.

If in fact, we spent a few days up against famine and sword, our hearts and minds would turn to finding answers beyond our own reason and imagination.

Some will say it’s selfish for others to “focus” on impending doom, stealing the “quality” of life away from their children by turning into apocalyptic nuts.  And I used to feel the same, as a child who still felt or hoped that I had a lifetime to live.  But what about all the children who were just gassed?  Is it fair to them that we evaluate life only by our own sense of “national security?”

I could go on.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. I also was raised with the urgent quest to figure out the prophecies, decode the end of time, correlate current events and so on. Fifty years ago. I remember my parents and aunts and uncles arguing over this or that disturbing sign of the end. And it was all fruitless. Now I avoid it. Not to avoid Syria and the tragedy there, or for that matter a hundred other tragedies equally bad but not televised. Sometimes seeing an event as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy just allows us to not see it as a horror than should involve us. Calling Syria a prophecy may be a way to avoid calling it a moral crisis that God wants us to sacrifice for. I don’t know. Whether the events in Syria are prophesied or not, they shouldn’t change anything about the way I am living right now. If they do, then I haven’t been living right and should have changed long ago any way. In either case, I should keep my focus on pleasing God now and trust Him with the future.
    The other thing that bothers me is that I fundamentally feel it is a hindrance to understanding to look at the Bible as if it were a code that we had to decipher. It is a revelation, not a puzzle. He seeks to explain, not confuse. This all amounts to saying that for me, it is better for my spiritual growth and health, to avoid all the Bible prophecy controversies. I have wasted so much time on such things.
    Sorry. This has become something of a rant. Your post though was a good one that raised the right issues. Good job.

    1. godanalytics says:

      Thank you for your point about how we should be living as if Christ could return at any time, not based on whether he might be coming sooner rather than later.

      So do you feel that your reading of the Bible has changed to the perspective of trying to “hear” what God is saying instead of discovering the “hidden” meaning? If so, how did you make the transition?

      Perhaps from the perspective of an educated person whose main “talent” is to automatically decipher meaning in what they read barely noticing they do so, it might not seem to them like such a purposeful quest to discover the meaning. As you read you see things more clearly than those with narrow minds might see it?

      I, more often than not, have a hard time taking the Biblical text at literal face value and constantly feel like I’m “striving” to understand what has (already) been revealed.

      Yes, I get weary of the apocalyptic mindset, and work really hard to re-shape my thinking about salvation as a completion to what has already begun—not a complete do-over.

      Thank you for your comments, compliments and for reading critically.


      1. I think when we try to discover the hidden meaning in Scripture, it warps our relationship with God. Instead of being our Father who loves us and wants us to know Him and know His will and actively seeks to inspire us, He is somehow playing games with us and hiding from us in riddles. I suppose it is true that Jesus did that when He went to Israel, but it was so they wouldn’t understand. When we look for hidden meanings we put ourselves in the place of the Pharisees; I think it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees by saying, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life and it is they that bear witness about me…” John 5 something-or-other. Eternal life and secrets and schemes are not hidden in the Bible and we shouldn’t study it to find such things. We study it to find Jesus and know Him.
        I don’t know if I made a transition in my approach to the Bible or not. I am old enough now that my youth seems very far away. I grew up hating the church and Christianity and being afraid of the Bible and God. Now I never speak to my non-Christian acquaintances about Jesus’ return because that would be to misuse it. His second coming is our hope and it seems to me that it is used to try to scare people into faith. We should be talking about His first coming and try to capture people’s faith by His love. It seems disrespectful of Jesus to use Him as a threat.
        Obviously this is one of my pet peeves and I do hope I haven’t overstated myself here or said anything too strongly.

    1. godanalytics says:

      Thank you for the linkback!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s