Podcast # 37 – What Time Is It? (Part Two)

My name is Mark Stevens.  I am talking today with Allan Colston. He is the author of The Last Days of Tolemac, which is a book dealing with prophecy and other end-time events.

For those listeners who may be new to this topic, this is another in the series “Signs of the Times”.  Welcome to this Podcast Allan. It’s good to chat to you again.

Thanks Mark.

Mark: In our last conversation, you said that Donald Trump might be the last President of the United States, and that his actions could lead to the destruction of America, and the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Could you tell us a little more about this?

Certainly Mark. I said that the test would be whether he followed through with his election promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from its present location in Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem. And as we all know by now, he went ahead and announced his plan to do so late last year.

Not surprisingly, Trump’s decision was met with fierce opposition, not just from Muslim and Arab countries, but from many western nations as well. In fact, at the United Nations, 128 countries voted to condemn his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

While this overwhelming condemnation was entirely predictable and should have been foreseen, the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, told The Jerusalem Post that the Palestinian response was “overly emotional”, and that its rhetoric was “ugly, needlessly provocative and anti-Semitic”.

It is clear from the ambassador’s response that Donald Trump either overlooked, or deliberately chose to ignore, the degree to which the city of Jerusalem has become an emotional lightning rod that ignites Muslims and Arabs everywhere.

Furthermore, because he lacks a classical education, Trump had probably never even heard of Pegasus, the pure-white divine stallion of the ancient Greeks, or of its later incarnation in Islamic mythology, where it was referred to as Buraq, the heavenly steed that transported the prophets.

For according to Islamic teaching, it was Buraq that carried Muhammad on his famous night journey to Jerusalem, where he met with earlier prophets (including Jesus), as well as with God (Allah). In fact the Dome of the Rock was built on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem to commemorate this very meeting.

For Muslims everywhere therefore, Jerusalem is not just another city. It is integrally tied to one of the most significant events in the life of the prophet. So the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem was not just an affront to the Palestinians, it was a direct challenge to all Muslims.

Just to give you an idea about how Muslims feel about this issue Mark, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Sheik Mohammed Badie, has called for a Jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. He had this to say to his followers:

“Jerusalem is Islamic and nobody is entitled to make any concessions about the fate of the city. The Jihad for the recovery of Jerusalem is a duty for all Muslims“. He went on to say: “The liberation of the Holy City will not be done through negotiations, or at the United Nations”.

Another prominent campaigner for the conquest of Jerusalem, has been the Egyptian Imam and television preacher by the name of Safwat Hegazi. Hegazi is on record saying: “Our capital shall not be in Cairo, Mecca or Medina. It shall be Jerusalem with God’s will”.

And to a crowd of his supporters in the Gaza Strip he added: “The United States of the Arabs will be restored. The capital of the Muslim Caliphate will be Jerusalem with God’s will. Our chants shall be: millions of martyrs will march towards Jerusalem”.

So the rallying cry amongst Muslims, not just in Palestine but throughout the entire Middle-East, has long been “Next year in Jerusalem!” Naturally, all of this is lost on Donald Trump. But had he been conversant with Bible prophecy, he would probably have acted with a little more caution.

Mark: What does the Bible have to say about this?

The Bible is full of hints about the things that will come to pass during the end-times Mark, if we know where to look and what to look for. And one of the clearest signs of the time of the end can be found in the writings of the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel.

If anyone doubts the significance of prophecy, they need look no further than Ezekiel. Although he lived six centuries before Jesus was born, at a time when the Jewish people were living in exile in Babylon, he described events that would occur in Israel 2,600 years later with uncanny accuracy.

For example, in Chapter 37 of his book of prophecy as recorded in the Old Testament, Ezekiel predicted that a time would come when the scattered tribes of Israel would return to the land of their forefathers, and that they would become a nation once more. As he wrote:

“And say unto them, thus saith the Lord God: behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them up on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel”.

And as you know Mark, this actually happened on May 14, 1948, when the state of Israel came into being, following the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly. Ezekiel then went on to predict that in the “latter days”, Israel would be attacked by a “mighty army”.

Mark: Did he say what sort of army this would be?

Yes Mark he did. In chapter 38, Ezekiel explained that this army would consist of a coalition of forces, ranging from Gog in “the north parts” (an obvious reference to Russia), as well as Gomer and Togarmah (places in modern Turkey), together with Persia (Iran), Ethiopia and Libya.

“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, thus saith the Lord God; in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army.

“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes”.

According to Ezekiel, this vast army would assemble on the borders to the north, south and east of Israel. Their goal would be to eradicate the Jewish state once and for all, and claim the land as their own under a new Caliphate, with Jerusalem as its capital.

What I find significant about this Mark, is that Ezekiel makes it clear that the goal of this mighty army is not to destroy everything in its path with tanks, rockets and artillery, but rather to protect the holy Islamic shrines in Jerusalem, and spare the lives of those Arabs living in Israel at the time.

This also makes a lot of military sense, for Israel would prefer to attack enemy forces on foreign soil rather than inside the country, where there would be far more Jewish casualties. Plus, they would be hard pressed to withstand enemy forces that advanced from all sides at the same time.

But according to Ezekiel, just when all hope seems lost and the entire nation seems doomed, the Jews will be saved by a supernatural event. A comet will appear suddenly in the skies above the earth, causing great earthquakes and destruction throughout the land. For as he goes on to say:

“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken. Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel.

“So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground”.

Mark:  So what will be the fate of those armies surrounding Israel at that time?

According to Ezekiel, the armies that are gathered on the borders of Israel will be caught on the open plains. They will be will be exposed to the full fury of the “hailstones, fire and brimstone” that will descend on them from the skies. As he writes:

“And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone”.

Anyway, as a result of the earthquakes on the land and the aerial bombardment from the skies, the armies that had gathered on the borders of Israel will be decimated. Those few who survive these disasters will either be unable, or unwilling, to pursue their assault.

Ezekiel writes that only “a sixth part” of the invading armies will survive the onslaught of the comet.

“Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, thus saith the Lord God; behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee.

“And I will smite the bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beast of the field to be devoured”.

Ezekiel goes on to write that, after the comet has passed, the countryside will be littered with the wreckage of the armaments and the bodies of the dead. So many people will die on the open plains on the eastern side of the Dead Sea that it will take the Israelis seven months to bury them all.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude. And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land”.

Throughout chapters 37,38 and 39, Ezekiel paints a graphic picture of a failed military campaign against the state of Israel, and of the devastating losses incurred by the invading armies because of the timely intervention of the comet that is called “Wormwood” in St. John’s book of Revelation.

So Mark, what it all boils down to is this. We know what Ezekiel has predicted. What we need to ask ourselves now, based on what is going on in the region today, is whether there is any chance of such a conflict happening, and if so, whether it could happen soon?

Mark: That’s an intriguing question Allan. You have been studying the situation in the Middle-East for many years. What do you think?

Well Mark, my own hunch is that the scenario described by Ezekiel could most certainly happen. And the way the situation in the Middle-East is deteriorating in this age of Donald Trump, it seems not only possible, but probable. And sooner rather than later. Consider the following factors.

Firstly, the coalition of countries described by Ezekiel already exists. Russia is closely linked with both Iran and Turkey, especially since their major strategic interests all coalesce in Syria. And secondly, rebel forces in places like Libya, Ethiopia and Sudan would quickly join them if called upon to do so.

Because Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based in the port of Sevastopol in Crimea, it suffers from the disadvantage of having to pass through the narrow strait of the Dardanelles before it can reach the open sea. That is why Russia has long sought a naval base located in the Mediterranean.

And since becoming involved in the Syrian conflict at the request of Iran and President al-Assad in 2015, they have done exactly that. They have taken over the Syrian port of Tartous, and are using it as a base for Russian ships. They have also established two permanent air force bases in the country.

Because of its proximity to Israel, Syria has long been of crucial value to Iran. Ever since it became an Islamic Republic in 1979, Iran has committed itself to the goal of the destruction of the Jewish state, and no national occasion passes without reminding its citizens of this fundamental objective.

Up until now, it has done this primarily by funding and providing military equipment to the Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza strip, who have already been involved in a series of wars with Israel. And it is through Syria that most of these military supplies are provided.

Although not directly involved in the Syrian civil war up until now, Turkey has nevertheless played a significant part in determining its outcome. At one point it even found itself in conflict with the Russians, when it shot down one of their fighters that strayed into Turkish airspace.

But since that time President Erdogan has mended his friendship with Putin, and just recently signed an accord for Moscow to supply Ankara with the latest S-400 surface-to-air missiles. Turkey also continues to be a harsh critic of President al-Assad of Syria, and actively campaigns to replace him.

Erdogan has also strongly criticized the American decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, telling members of his AK party: “God willing, the day is close when officially, with God’s permission, we will open our embassy in East Jerusalem”.

To summarise then Mark, the three main countries quoted by Ezekiel in this future war with Israel (Russia, Turkey and Iran), are more than capable of doing so. They all have forces close to the Israeli border, and are united in their opposition to recent moves involving the city of Jerusalem.

Although the decision to move the American embassy has the potential to destabilise the entire region, this by itself would not be justification for them to go to war. There would have to be something else – something far more serious – something the Israelis are certainly capable of bringing down upon themselves.

Mark: Why do you say that Allan?

No doubt emboldened by recent American support, the Israeli government has made even more provocative decisions in recent weeks. For example, it has accelerated plans to solidify its control over the city of Jerusalem, in a way that threatens the entire two-state solution to the Palestinian crisis.

In an all-night session, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed an amendment to Israel’s Basic Law, stipulating that any attempt to transfer sovereign control of Jerusalem to a foreign power, would now need a supermajority of 80 members out of 120, instead of the previous 61.

And in a move sure to enrage Palestinians even more, this same amendment authorised the Knesset to change the municipal borders of Jerusalem by a simple majority of 61. And if any Palestinian neighbourhood is later removed from city limits, it will still remain under Israeli control.

Just a few days earlier, the Likud Central Committee voted unanimously to apply Israeli law to all Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Although this vote was non-binding, it was a signal that the government might annex those areas of Palestinian land where over 600,000 Israelis now live.

Commenting on this vote the Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan gloated: “We will tell the world it does not matter what outsiders say. We will place Israeli sovereignty over towns in Judea and Samaria (the Israeli term for the West Bank), not because of our strength but because of our rights”.

And it is this continual flaunting of Israeli power in the face of Palestinian weakness, that may prove to be the final straw that will one day prompt the enemies of Israel to mount a military campaign against them. And then there is the mysterious Biblical reference to the city of Damascus.

Mark: What does the Bible have to say about that?

Again Mark, the Bible gives us a clue as to what might soon happen in the Middle-East. But this time it is not the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel who is the source, but another Hebrew prophet who lived about two hundred years before him. I am talking here about Isaiah.

Isaiah begins the 17th chapter of his book of prophecy with a simple verse. It consists of just twenty words. Yet they have prompted more debate among Biblical scholars than perhaps any other single sentence. And to this day no one really knows for sure what Isaiah meant. This is what he wrote:

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city and it shall be a ruinous heap”.

While some Biblical historians maintain that this prophecy was fulfilled when Damascus was conquered in 732 B.C. by the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser, other scholars insist that this verse must refer to the future, since this Syrian city has been continuously occupied for well over 3,000 years.

In other words, they claim that whatever might have happened in the past, Damascus has never stopped being a city. And it has certainly never been reduced to “a ruinous heap”. So if this verse does refer to the future, then what might cause it to be reduced to a pile of rubble?

This is important Mark, because Isaiah is not just referring here to heavy physical damage, such as we have seen recently in other Syrian cities like Homs and Aleppo, which have been devastated by tanks, artillery and barrel bombs. He is talking here about total annihilation.

Mark: Do you think Damascus might be destroyed by the Israelis, and that is why these countries would decide to go to war?

Well you raise an interesting point Mark. And some preachers have suggested exactly that. In fact, they have even gone so far as to suggest that Damascus will be attacked by Israel, and that the entire city will be wiped out by a nuclear bomb.

One of the most prominent supporters of this idea is the American author Tim McHyde, who now makes his home in Germany. McHyde has devoted the last twenty years of his life to what he calls his “ministry”, which is to reveal the real meaning of Bible prophecy as it relates to the “last days”.

One of the pages of his website carries the title Isaiah 17: When Will Israel Nuke Damascus?” As he explains, although Israel insists that it will never to be the first country to use nuclear weapons, it might be forced to do so if it felt that its survival as a nation was threatened. As he writes:

“Importantly, Israel also has the will to use these weapons. Because Israel’s enemies are so numerous and able to overrun the tiny nation so easily, Israel has adopted a nuclear policy called “The Samson Option”.

“The name comes from the famously strong judge of Israel who took his own life by knocking out the support pillars of the temple he was in to avenge himself on his enemies around him. According to this policy, Israel would nuke the cities of her enemies if she was overrun or about to be defeated. Hitting the leadership of Syria at Damascus would be part of this retaliatory attack”.

Now if the Israeli government ever did decide that the nation’s existence was threatened, and went ahead and destroyed the city of Damascus, I have no doubt that this would lead to war with the Arab nations, especially if they used a nuclear weapon to do so. But I don’t believe they will.

Mark: Why not?

Well Mark, I believe that interpreters of events of the “last days” like Tim McHyde have completely misunderstood the nature and sequence of events that are described in the 17th chapter of the book of Isaiah, and the 38th chapter of the book of Ezekiel.

The reason I say that is because I am convinced that both chapters refer to the same event. Both Ezekiel and Isaiah are describing an event in the future where God’s wrath is visited upon the enemies of Israel, in which their armies are overcome, and the city of Damascus is completely wiped out.

As I see it, the first verse of chapter 17 of the book of Isaiah should read as follows: “Behold the fate of Damascus. It will no longer be a city, just a heap of ruins”. In my view, the destruction of Damascus will not be the cause of this future war, it will be the result of the war – i.e. collateral damage.

And the key to understanding this lies in the meaning of the words “fire, hail and brimstone”. People like Tim McHyde interpret these words as the fall-out from nuclear weapons, whereas Ezekiel makes it perfectly plain that the armies are not destroyed by human action, but by “Divine” intervention.

The words “fire and brimstone” are mentioned fourteen times in the Bible, including six times in the book of Revelation. The most famous example was the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven”. (Genesis 19:24)

In a similar way, Damascus will be destroyed by fiery hailstones raining down upon it from the skies. This “fiery hail”, or what we would call today “incandescent meteorites”, will not only devastate the city with the power of their impact, but will set fire to the surrounding areas as well.

But that is not all. This fiery hail will be accompanied by a mighty earthquake that Ezekiel says will shake the entire land of Israel. And since Damascus is just over thirty miles from the Israeli border, there is every likelihood that it will be devastated by this earthquake as well.

Let me remind you again of the words in chapter 38 of the book of Ezekiel.

“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face. …Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel….And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground”.

We need to remember that Damascus is not only a historic city, it is an old city. By that I mean “old” in terms of construction. So if an earthquake is strong enough to cause “mountains to be thrown down”, then buildings made of bricks and mortar will inevitably collapse into “a ruinous heap”.

Mark: Well I must admit Allan, you make a convincing case. So that raises my original question. Do we have any idea when all this will happen?

Well as I said before Mark, the Bible doesn’t give any dates. But there is another clue in prophecy which I think shows that it cannot be more than a few years away. This time the prophecy doesn’t come from the Bible, but from a 12th century Christian saint.

In my Blogpost entitled The Last Pope, I discussed how in the year 1139, a young Irish priest named father Malachy decided to undertake a pilgrimage to Rome to seek an audience with Pope Innocent II. But as soon as he got a glimpse of the Holy City, he fell to the ground in a trance.

During this trance, Malachy had a vision of the future of the Church, starting with his own time, and leading up to the return of the Christ. His vision included a sequence of all the Popes who would reign in Rome up until the time of the end. According to St. Malachy, there would be 112 of them.

According to St. Malachy, the last Pope (Number 112) would be the Pope who would witness the collapse of the Church and the rise to power on the world stage of the man who would come to be known as the Anti-Christ. This would be followed by the return of the Christ.

In describing the last Pope to hold the Office of Peter in the Church of Rome before the return of the Christ, St. Malachy ended his description with these chilling words:

“In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the end of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End”.

Now compare this Mark with the words of the “third secret of Fatima” that I spoke about earlier, that were included in the official version that was released to the public by the Vatican in the year 2000.

“And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it ‘a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark;

“Before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him,

“And in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God”. (View Source)

Mark: So how does this help us understand when these things are going to happen?

Well Mark, according to the sequence of Popes quoted by St. Malachy, the present Pope Francis is the 112th Pope. That means that he will be one who will experience “extreme persecution” and endure “many tribulations”. And he will be the one who will see the destruction of Rome, the “city of seven hills”.

And this is where the rubber meets the road, as I like to say. On December 17th of last year, Pope Francis celebrated his 81st birthday. So if he is the last Pope, who has to endure all those things that have been prophesied about him, simple common sense tells us that they would have to start soon.

So there you have it Mark. We now know what to look out for. We know where to look. We know who is going to be involved. So if we are to be guided by the words of Jesus, who told his followers to watch and pray, then this is the time to watch. And this is the time to pray.

Mark:  Well Allan, once again I want to thank you for your amazing insight into what is happening in the world today, and how this ties in with Bible prophecy.

You have been listening to Allan Colston, author of the book The Last Days of Tolemac.  Do join us for our next Podcast, which will be another in the series titled “Signs of the Times”.

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Allan, AUDIO, Signs of the Times, January 3, 2018, 4:07 pm

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