Amidst the bloodshed engulfing Syria and the gridlock in the international community, major US news outlet, FOX News, gave national airtime to a fringe Christian view, represented on television by novelist Joel Rosenberg, that is enthused with the idea that the devastation in the Syrian capital Damascus is in accordance with a portent in the Bible that will mark the beginning of the apocalypse.
Christian Novelist “Weighs In” on Syrian Crisis
The enthusiasm of certain apocalyptic Christians is based on Isaiah 17:1, which states “Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins.” and Jeremiah 49:24-27, in which the “Lord Almighty” promises to set fire to the “walls of Damascus,” which will “consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.”
This fundamentalist view was given a platform on FOX News by anchor Neil Cavuto, who invited “Armageddon expert” Rosenberg, author of the Christian novel, Damascus Countdown, to weigh in on the Syrian crisis. The primary topic of conversation was their belief about how a continuation of the civil war and the total annihilation of Damascus could mean the “Second Coming” of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the end of the world. Cavuto and Rosenberg also discussed the political turmoil in Egypt with regard to further Biblical texts that mention the emergence of a powerful leader, a “fierce king.”
The Prophecy Hasn't Happened Yet But It Could
While Cavuto speculated if these are omens regarding current events or speaking of the sackings of Damascus in ancient history, he asked viewers to consider that these texts may indicate that these are the last days of the world. Rosenberg explained the view that the Biblical prophesy would demand that all of Damascus, home to millions of people, be “wiped out,” but still pointed out that it would be wrong for “Biblical scholars” to think it was happening now. However, as almost 7 million Syrians have been made refugees by the conflict, Rosenberg claimed that these Biblical events could still happen even though “they haven't happened yet.”
FOX and Cavuto were ridiculed by comedian Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central on September 18th. However, apocalyptic Christians are not an insignificant minority. While the number of Christians who agree with Rosenberg is unknown, the Pew Research Center reports that almost half of Christians in the United States, mainly evangelicals, believe that the return of Jesus is imminent.