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Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

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

It’s time again for some Christians to imagine the end is near.

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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

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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