Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Taken from a web site.

[Disclaimer: This is not a Christian Fundamentalist page and in no way promotes Bible. This article is being shared only to present some curious facts related to present day world events and is not meant to hype any doomsday theories or prophecies]
In the last days, the Bible tells us of a horrible series of events that will take place in the lands of Israel and Syria. One of these events is the disappearance of Damascus as one of the premiere cities in the world. The oldest continuously inhabited city on the planet, Damascus has witnessed at least 5,000 years of human history, and some historians believe the city actually dates back to the seventh millennium BC. In fact, Paul was on the road to Damascus when Christ first appeared to Him, an event that transformed not only his life, but the course of human history.

In the very near future, Damascus will once again play a major role in human events. The prophet Isaiah provides us with God’s commentary on a future conflict between Damascus and Israel, and in so doing, he reveals certain prophecies which have been partially fulfilled in the past. However, the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah 17 remains in the future. The current existence of Damascus, which will one day cease to be a city, as well as the historical absence of the coalition of nations prophesied to attack Israel and be destroyed by God, is proof that Isaiah 17 prophesies events yet future.

There are actually two key Biblical prophecies that explain that at unspecified time in the future, the city of Damascus will be completely destroyed — judged by God — and will not be inhabited again.

* Isaiah 17:1-3 — “The oracle concerning Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks to lie down in, and there will be no one to frighten them. The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and sovereignty from Damascus….’”

‘Look, Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted. Sheep will graze in the streets and lie down unafraid. There will be no one to chase them away. The fortified cities of Israel will also be destroyed, and the power of Damascus will end. The few left in Aram will share the fate of Israel’s departed glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah 17:1-3 (NLT)

* Jeremiah 49:23-27 — “Concerning Damascus. ‘Hamath andArpad are put to shame, for they have heard bad news; they are disheartened. There is anxiety by the sea, it cannot be calmed. Damascus has become helpless; she has turned away to flee, and panic has gripped her; distress and pangs have taken hold of her like a woman in childbirth. How the city of praise has not been deserted, the town of My joy! Therefore, her young men will fall in her streets, and all the men of war will be silenced in that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ’I will set fire to the wall of Damascus, and it will devour the fortified towers of Ben-hadad.’”

These prophecies have not yet been fulfilled. Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth. It has been attacked, besieged, and conquered. But Damascus has never been completely destroyed and left uninhabited. Yet that is exactly what the Bible says will happen. The context of Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 are a series of End Times prophecies dealing with God’s judgments on Israel’s neighbors and enemies leading up to — and through — the Tribulation.

This prophecy was only partially fulfilled when the Assyrians defeated the Arameans and Damascus, in 732 BC. Today Damascus is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city with a 5000-year history yet Isaiah 17:1 indicates that it will one day cease to exist. Some authorities believe the phrase “cities of Aroer” should be rendered “the cities thereof shall be forsaken.”

Let’s look at what is going on in Syria as of December 2012:

Residents say entire sections of mostly Sunni enclaves in northeastern Damascus have been bulldozed to the ground by government troops. WSJ’s Sam Dagher reports from the Syrian capital.

DAMASCUS—All that remains of Abu Mohammed’s ancestral home here in Syria’s capital are two small adobe brick rooms and a few fig, loquat and mulberry trees.

It was bulldozed as part of a government slum-clearance program that appears to have a political motive: isolate neighborhoods sympathetic to Syria’s armed insurrection, and then obliterate them, according to critics, human-rights groups and even some officials within the government itself. “We are like gypsies now,” says Mr. Mohammed, who took his wife and five children to another part of the city after sections of his neighborhood, Qaboun—one of the first to rise up against Syria’s regime—were flattened and ringed by military posts.

The campaign stands in contrast to the all-out urban warfare in the northern city of Aleppo. Here in the capital, Damascus, the strategy appears designed to cripple and disperse the rebels through the destruction and encirclement of communities where they operate.

For the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the stakes in Damascus are nothing short of retaining control of the nation itself. “If they lose Damascus, they lose the state,” says Patrick Seale, a British author and Syria expert.

Senior security officials within the Assad regime say partial demolitions of pro-rebel neighborhoods in and around Damascus are a key element of an ambitious counterinsurgency plan now unfolding.

On a recent morning in mid-October, soldiers from the Syrian Army’s Fourth Division, commanded by Mr. Assad’s brother Maher, oversaw demolition in Zulaikha, a patch of nearly 24 acres of apartments in the Tadamoun neighborhood on the capital’s southern fringe.

“Go, go!” shouted a soldier as a grim-faced family packed into a pickup truck weighed down with belongings—furniture, foam mattresses, a satellite dish—they salvaged from their apartment. “We are going to blow up a building now!” the soldier said as the truck pulled away.

Another soldier nearby said the residents were among the lucky ones. “Not everyone is being allowed in to take their possessions,” he said. Security and army checkpoints now ring Tadamoun.

Is Syria slowly being demolished?

Today many believe that Syria will soon try to provoke a Jewish response, and if that escalates things further it can easily result in the destruction of Damascus in the final fulfillment of Isaiah 17.

We all assume Israel will do the deed but it really could be anyone, even God as He smote Sodom and Gomorrah. It could be NATO. It could be Turkey. It could happen as rebels get a hold of chemical weapons of mass destruction and unleash – accidentally or on purpose – a holocaust that destroys the city.

It could be that rebels with Libyan weapons that had gone missing from Libya make an attack and things get out of hand. No matter, the fact is, as Damascus becomes increasingly belligerent and the Middle East hotbed that is the epicenter of last days prophecies climbs over the horizon and hurtles toward us, we are closer than ever to that final obliteration of the city of 6 million Isaiah prophesied 2700 years ago. The city of Damascus will become a heap of ruins, utterly destroyed. Few, if any, buildings will be left standing. The once great city will be devoid of human life and will become home to all manner of wildlife in the absence of humans to chase them away.

National Geographic Photo Contest 2012, Part II

Gathered below are 50 images from the three categories of People, Places, and Nature, with captions written by the individual photographers

Nursing Mama: This female brown bear came into the Lake Clark National Park area in late July with her triplet Spring cubs and seemed quite relaxed as she sat nursing two of her cubs. (© Ruth Steck/National Geographic Photo Contest)
The Matterhorn: Night Clouds #2 -- The Matterhorn, 4478 m, at full moon. (© Nenad Saljic/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Waterfall Fisherman of Si Phan Don: Around the turbulent waterfalls of Si Phan Don in Southern Laos a select few fisherman risk their lives daily to catch fish from the swollen Mekong River. The fisherman use small bamboo traps to catch migratory fish making their move through the falls. Here the fisherman holds on for his life knowing that one mistake here would result in certain death. The raging Mekong pulls at his body as his weary arms cling desperately to hold him on the rope. Times like these rely on full concentration and both hands on the rope at a time, any extra luggage has to go in the mouth, knives included. (© Jacob James/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Swimming with a Turtle: After observing this turtle, I swam with him for a few minutes. (© John Peterson/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Water Magic: In a world of a million water pictures, it's easy to dismiss this as "just another reflection shot". Still, this unedited image proves how unreal water can behave under certain circumstances. Here I stand at the narrowest point of a small lake, and as usual I have thrown objects into the water to see how it behaves visually. Because the lake was so narrow, only a few meters, the circles start to recoil from land. The effect is called, to my knowledge, interference, but I have yet to see anything similar, even after all these years of throwing rocks into the water. (© Jorgen Tharaldsen/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Catching Fish: Fishermen use fire to draw fish close to the boat and then catch them. (© Chang Ming Chih/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Libyan Rebel at the Old Shipyard of Benghazi: During the Libyan revolt against Moammar Qaddafi, the city of Benghazi was liberated early on, and became the base for the rebels and the transitional governing body. Armed rebels were seen all over the place. Many of them had no previous war experience but joined the revolt willingly to get rid of the regime. This rebel, with his spick & span boots and outfit, was guarding the old shipyard. (© Mohannad Khatib/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Glacial Cave: Hikers under the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. When conditions are right, streams melt holes into the glacier. At times they are large and stable enough for exploration. The ice filters out most colors of light except for the blue wavelengths leaving a stunning blue glowing from the ice above. (© Mark Meyer/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Leaping Hare at Sunset: For a couple of weeks a year the sun sets over this hill near where I live. I knew the field was favored by a few hares and had previously photographed them on this ridge with the sun setting behind. For this particular image I had been tracking this individual hare as it wandered along the ridge and was set up to capture it as it leaped in the air. (© Kevin Sawford/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
The Godfather: He is big -- 4 meters tall and over 4 tons in weight. He is the "Godfather". I have visualized this scene many times. I have checked and rechecked my equipment and decided upon the camera and lens combination. I now relax and control my breathing as they come in to view. The next ten minutes are a bliss of forgetfulness as I zone in to the task at hand; only one moment stands out. He stands still before me in all his magnificence, raising his trunk filled with the red Kalahari dust. In one fluid movement he sprays his forehead and for one brief moment he is covered in the magic of dust and light. (© Peter Delaney/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Guardians of the Forest: Deep in the Colombian Amazon, Yucuna indians stand dressed in traditional tribal attire for the Baile del Muñeco, or puppet dance, a celebration of the abundance of the Chontaduro fruit. While traditional indigenous customs are fast being lost throughout the Amazon jungle, here, far down the Caqueta river and few miles from the Brazilian border, traditions are still very much intact. The costumes are still made entirely from natural materials, predominantly tree bark, during this three day festival. (© Piers Calvert/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Rolling Coals: I went on a kayaking camping trip with my best friend on a remote lake in NW Ontario, DeCourcey Lake. Staying on a little, rocky island we listened to the waves, and watched the stars, sitting by the fire. When it was time to put the fire out, my friend began kicking the coals down the rocky slope to the water below. I ran down to the waters edge to catch the motion of the burning coals. Little comets streaming to the lake to be extinguished with a hiss. (© Christopher Merkley/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Charging Black Drongo: The Black Drongo selects a good perch near a water body, and takes off when an insect is sighted on the surface, skimming across the water and back to its perch. I spent almost 10 days (1 hr daily morning -- sitting quietly and motionless) and on October 25, 2012, this was clicked. I was lucky to get this just before any skimming action started. I like the concentration level in its eyes, wing position and wide open mouth ready to catch the insect by surprise, and the same action in reflection. (© Vinayak Parmar/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Ventisquero Colgante Falls, Chile. (© Dario Caballes/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Red Land: Sunset Cloud Village is one of the most picturesque places in Red Land, China. As its name indicates, it's best to see before sunset. The reddish brown soil turns redder after rainfall and after farmers plow the land. (© Peng Jiang/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Luzmila: Luzmila, 12 years old, carries to her house the barley that she harvested by herself on her family's little farm situated on the mountain behind their house in a rural village in the Andes Mountains called Sotopampa, in Peru. Once a year, they harvest the barley and then they consume it during the following year. In these communities of indigenous peoples, children work helping their families. It is very hard for the government to maintain a balance between child labor laws and the ancient traditions of these populations that include some difficult tasks for kids. (© Alejandro Kirchuk/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
The Location: The iron and steel bars are located in their correct position. Perhaps it is not deliberately made by somebody, but naturally positioned unknowingly by the shop owner over time. (© Noh Keun Park/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Hello World: A tiny mantis larva in an American poppy flower. (© Fabien Bravin/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Silence Voice: Sunset time, a peaceful burnt woods just surround you quietly. Together with your heart beating, you can feel the smooth breeze and hear the sounds of emerging exuberance underneath. The perfect ending is in the endless. The picture was taken in Yellowstone National Park. Turning themselves into such strong remainders, the woods have given hopes to their next generation through a wildfire. (© Chaoying Zhao/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Lucky Bay: Beautiful Lucky Bay in Esperance, Western Australia, is home to many kangaroos. Not only is the turquoise water and white sand a sight to see but at sunset the kangaroos bounce their way across the sand looking for dinner. (© Mandy Wilson/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Chapel on Klimsenhorn: I took this picture while I was in an aerial cableway going down from the Mt. Pilatus in Central Switzerland. It was the end of a nice day spent hiking, including a stop by the beautiful little white chapel on Klimsenhorn on the way to the top. (© Agne Subelyte/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Bats at Golconda Fort: This is the third shot with a flash, waking all of the bats up and seeing them all stare at the camera. (© Bill Thoet/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Early Morning Sunrise Flamingo: Lake Manyara, Tanzania - early morning game drive. (© Sheila Jones/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Under the Sacred Place: Under the sacred mountain of Muqattam lives a population of Coptic Christians dedicated to recycling of garbage in the city of Cairo. (© Nacho Guadaño/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Dusty Hands: Aluong lives in Duk Payuel, a small village in South Sudan. The dust on her hands is from shoveling maize from one bag provided by WFP, into another to take for her family. Her mother has been diagnosed with Tuberculosis. As part of a feeding program the family receives a small amount of food to supplement the temporary loss of a care giver. In between cupped hands full of maize, as sweat grew on her forehead, Aluong looked at me cheekily with her hands pressed together. In the face of such challenges for her family, the spirit of determination and excitement still flashed in her eyes. (© Kristopher Schmitz/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Trapped!: In summer of 2012, I saw these reindeer on a very small sand island... but not to worry, they are excellent swimmers, and they certainly escaped any mosquito bites! (© Meniconzi Alessandra/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Freaky Fungi: Hiking in pitch darkness within the dense forest undergrowth, one might encounter one of mother nature's awesome creations. A scene which many thought only belongs to the Sci-fi Movies. Filoboletus Manipularis is a fungus which naturally produces a faint eerie glow in the night by a natural process known as bioluminescence, shown in this 3-minute long exposure of these elusive little mushrooms. (© Zong Ye Quek/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Desert & Mountains: Photo taken from a balloon above the Namib Dessert at dawn. (© Ignacio Huarte/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Tunnel Vision: While on a night drive in the Sabi Sands game reserve in South Africa I decided to try something different, using the flood effect from the vehicles headlights and the motion from the trackers spotlight. (© Bradley Leontsinis/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Locusts: I've always wondered if a "plague of locusts" could block out the sun. They come close. (© Anthony Mercer/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
80 Year Old Sea Gypsy Spear Fisherman: When he was young he remembers the Japanese passing through during WWII. He was a spear fisherman then, and still today at around 80 years old, he remains a spear fisherman. He earns little from his catch, maybe 2-3 dollars a day for spending hours in the water. This time in the water is keeping him young though, he is able to hold his breath for 2 minutes while chasing fish with no fins. I could barely keep up with him and I had fins on. (© Caine Delacy/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Hagia Sophia Museum: Hagia Sophia is the one of the most visited museums and most prominent monuments in the world in terms of art and the history of architecture. It has also been called "the eighth wonder of the world" by East Roman Philon as far back as the 6th century. It was used as a church for 916 years but, following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into mosque. Under the order of Atatürk, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935. (© Melih Sular/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Hunting at Dusk: A wild barn owl hunting over the Norfolk reeds, the evening light lit up the owl and the reeds to give them both the same colour and warmth. (© Mark Bridger/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Human Nest: High up in thin air, somewhere between Ladakh and Zanskar Himalayan range, among arid mountains of rocks, granite and sediments, some human beings manage to grow life. (© Vincent Bonnin/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Young Girl Drinking Mares Milk: Fermented mares milk (Airag) is the traditional national beverage of Mongolia. The amount of milk produced by one mare averages about two litres when milked six times per day, so in order to make enough Airag for the family and any visitors, it is necessary to have at least a dozen mares. To get good quality Airag, it is necessary to stir the milk mix no less than 1,000 times each day! Produced during the summer months in a specially made hide skin bag, fresh Airag is quite mild but if kept for long enough it turns sour and acidic which is how many Mongolian's prefer it. (© Andrew Newey/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Piece of Heaven: Jamnik, small village in Slovenia. One morning in in autumn, fog was just at the right height at the right time. The atmosphere was heavenly, unforgettable. (© Janez Tolar/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Immersion: The sheep drowned while trying to cross a small canal in the meadow-swamp "Tøndermasken", in southern Jylland in Denmark. Birds had eaten every part above the surface, and everything under was left totally untouched. (© Johannes Bojesen/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Straw Meteors Field Forever: Thinking about perspectives that could make the difference, I mounted my reflex on an RC helicopter and shot at sunset above this field full of straw bales after the midsummer harvest. (© Michel Giaccaglia/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
The Great Escape: During a lovely morning in July I was out photographing Great White Sharks in False Bay, South Africa. We had two days when the sea was so still you could barely see a ripple. (© Tonya Herron/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Golden Road: A glorious road of gold through the aspen woods of Snowmass, Colorado. (© Ron Azevedo/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Acrobatic: This small red eye frog playing at the edge of the leaf looks a bit like it's making some acrobatic move. It can blend well with the leaves, disguised from predators. Those big red eyes really caught my attention, drawing me to observe and photograph its moves. (© Shikhei Goh/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Lightnng Storm: The coast in the midst of a storm. (© Anna Ross/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
The Congo River, deep in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Downstream from the infamous "Gates of Hell" rapids on the Congo river, this was the view from my camp during my five month canoe trip from source to sea. The grass covered hills were being burnt down for farming in the background. (© Phil Harwood/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
A mentally handicapped man of 62, beside his dying 92 year old mother, on the last day of her life. (© Eric Robben/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Gelada Charge: Easily identified by their "bleeding hearts", Gelada baboons are endemic to the Ethiopian highlands and can be found in large troops foraging the grasslands of the Simien Mountains. Here, a group of three young males had infiltrated a group of females and begun grooming them. On detecting this intrusion the alpha male charged the interlopers, reasserting his dominance over them and protecting his harem. (© Thomas Alexander/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Farmers' Wisdom: Farmers who live in Hokkaido invented this in their wisdom. Their potatoes, which pass the winter sleeping under snow, increase their sugar content. The part which remains visible here is a t-shaped pipe for releasing gas emitted by the potatoes. (© Kent Shiraishi/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Bold Ram: This rocky mountain big horn sheep ram was bold enough to allow me to approach him and snap this shot before he lost interest in me and rejoined his herd. (© Scott Trageser/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Pacific Northwest Black Wolf: A black wolf on the mudflats off Meares Island in Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island. The photo was taken shortly before sunset from a sea kayak. (© Sander Jain/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Two Fishermen: The shoal is one of the most fascinating places in Xiapu, China. Fishermen farm fish, shrimp, and oysters and plant seaweed along this coast area. (© Peng Jiang/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
I Like My House! This is Gandalf the Great Grey Owl and he gets scared flying out in the open so his owners have built his aviary inside a brick shed. He now loves spending his days watching the world go by out of his window. (© Mark Bridger/National Geographic Photo Contest) #