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Syria and Iran and Jerusalem, oh my — Is Armageddon near?

Published April 11, 2012 12:46 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's time again for some Christians to imagine the end is near.They see the escalating tensions between Israel and Iran as the buildup to Armageddon, the cataclysmic final battle described in the Bible.Such conspiracy-minded believers are assembling disparate global facts and fitting them into a prophecy-laced scenario, according to Beliefnet senior editor Rob Kerby, and spreading their theories in various online settings.For example, the biblical prophet Isaiah predicted that Syria's capital, Damascus, would be destroyed and ultimately abandoned. Today it is the site of ongoing tensions and potential devastation.The Book of Revelation predicted that the Euphrates River would dry up as a sign of the end times, and, according to several studies, it is, Kerby writes.Psalm 83 describes an unsuccessful attack on Israel by those intending to "wipe her off the map," which is precisely what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said."So, are we dancing around the edge of the abyss? Is Armageddon around the corner?" Kerby asks. "Internet prophecy enthusiasts are certain of it."Such anxious Christians point to Luke 21:20, he writes, which tells us "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh."It is not, of course, the first time Israel was surrounded by enemies, but could it be the last?Peggy Fletcher Stack