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Books by Tom Kovach

Dec 2006
Slingshot

Aug 2008
Tribulation: 2008

About the author

Tom Kovach lives near Nashville, is a former USAF Blue Beret, and has written for several online publications. In December of 2006, he published his first book, Slingshot. Tom's second book, Tribulation: 2008, was released in August of 2008.

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an inventor, a horse wrangler, a certified paralegal, and a former network talk-show host. (He would like to lauch another talk show -- perhaps on your station.)

One highlight of Tom's career in the Air Force was serving on a protection detail for US President Ronald Reagan. Tom has also run for Congress (and might run again).

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January 2009

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Does diplomatic deal drive Damascus destruction?

Saturday, 20 December 2008, at 0123 hours
Central Time -- Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Shortly after I wrote the recent column, "Divine deadline for destruction of Damascus?", a news story in WorldNetDaily reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is negotiating with Syrian President Bashar Assad to work out a foreign-policy "legacy deal".  In an apparent attempt to pursue "peace in our time", Olmert seems intent on brokering an Israeli retreat from the strategic Golan Heights.  I believe this would be an error "of truly Biblical proportions".

Bible prophecies make clear that, during the End Times, Israel will occupy the borders that God established in ancient times.  Those borders mostly affect modern-day Syria, and include the current Syrian capital of Damascus.  As I wrote recently, the Bible says that Damascus will be utterly destroyed from being a city.  The language of the 17th chapter of Isaiah implies that the destruction will be sudden.  I believe that the destruction will be caused by an asteroid strike.  Such an act would carry a "divine signature".  It would also make people wonder about the reason.  This column attempts to explain the "why" behind the destruction of Damascus, based upon clues from the Bible and from history.

The previous column referenced above explains the links between the ancient Assyrian occupation of Israel, the pagan sacrifice in the Hebrew Temple by the occupying commander (Antiochus Epiphanes), the miracle of Hanukkah, and the eventual destruction of Damascus.  But, is there more to God's anger than "merely" having a pig sacrificed upon His altar by pagan Antiochus?  Yes.  As bad as that insult was to God, something else happened.  And, that something else is remarkably parallel to the current plans of Prime Minister Olmert to give away the Golan.

That "something else" can also be described as "something worse", and it is recorded in the Bible in 2nd Kings 16:1-20.  The reason that it is worse is because the pagan sacrifice of Antiochus was made by a foreigner.  But, when a king of Judah removed the required items of God from the Temple in Jerusalem, in order to make room for an altar to a foreign god, that was even worse, because he should have known better.  King Ahaz had a bad record regarding his spiritual life, as we shall now examine.

In verse three of the above-cited chapter, we learn that King Ahaz "even made his son pass through the fire".  That is Bible language for offering a child sacrifice to the demon idol Molech.  (There is a spiritual connection between political power, abortion money, genetic experimentation, and sacrifice to Molech.)  And, the same verse expands the concept by making clear that Ahaz killed his own son "according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out from before the sons of Israel". In other words, Ahaz practiced "appeasement diplomacy" by adopting the spiritual ways of the enemy, and thus insulted the One True God.   But, wait, it gets even worse.

Not long after the reign of King David, the nation of Israel had become divided.  The northern kingdom was the land of the "ten tribes", while the southern kingdom was the land of the tribe of Judah.  (The twelfth tribe was the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe.  They had no tribal lands of their own, and were thus scattered to serve among the other tribes.)  In addition to fighting the enemy nations that surrounded them, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah began to fight each other.  King Ahaz found himself in such a situation, and his response to that situation earned him (and his nation) the wrath of God.

The northern kingdom came to be called Samaria, after its capital.  The king of Samaria at that time was Pekah.  He had made an alliance with the king of Aram, and they jointly attacked the land of Judah.  In a diplomatic end-run, King Ahaz then made an alliance with the king of Assyria, whose name was Tiglath-Pileser.  (His name means, "Thou will uncover the wonderful bond".  Keep that in mind.)  In order to secure the alliance, King Ahaz took gold and silver out of the treasury of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, and gave it to King Tiglath-Pileser.  Now, here is where the story gets bumpy.

The city of Damascus was (and still is) the capital of the kingdom of Aram (also known as Syria; the language is Aramaic).  After the Judean-Assyrian alliance defeated the Samarian-Aramean alliance, the two winning kings met in Damascus.  There, King Ahaz saw a large altar to the pagan gods of Damascus.  King Ahaz sent instructions to Urijah the priest to build a duplicate altar at the Temple in Jerusalem.  Verse 15 documents two important points.  First, Ahaz commanded Urijah to burn regular sacrifices upon this new altar to another god.  Second, Ahaz reserved the use of the bronze altar to God "for me to inquire by".

You might ask, "So what?"  The answer is, "Plenty."

According to the laws of God, as passed down to the Levite priests in the book of Leviticus (and thus known as the Levitical Law), only prophets and priests were allowed to inquire of God.  A king could only make direct inquiry to God if that king were also a prophet (as was King David).  Otherwise, it was forbidden for a king to inquire of God.  The king was required to ask a prophet, and the prophet could then ask directly of God.  Despite having just built an altar to a foreign god in the Temple of Yehowah (the "proper name" of the One True God), King Ahaz still wanted to make direct inquiry to God via the bronze altar.  In modern terms, King Ahaz would be considered a "universalist", who hedges his spiritual bets by worshipping every god that he can think of.  Such practice is very insulting to the One True God.  But, wait, it gets even worse.

Not only did Ahaz build a foreign altar in the court of the Temple of God, but he also later moved and defiled other items in the Temple court that were dedicated to God.  He put the foreign altar on the north side of the Temple.  (The north side is considered holy to God the Father.  The east side is holy to the Messiah — whom Christians believe is God the Son, namely Yeshua [Jesus].)  Ahaz also took the bronze Sea (where the priests performed ritual washings) off its custom-made stand (four bronze oxen), and "put it on a pavement of stone".  In other words, he brought it low.  If an occupying foreign king had done such acts, it could at least be understood in terms of psychological warfare.  But, because an Israelite king did it, it can only be understood in terms of spiritual and national treason.

So, kings have defiled the Temple of God twice.  Once was by a treasonous Israelite king (before the Babylonian exile), and the other was by an arrogant pagan king (during the "inter-Testamental period", after the return from Babylon, but before the birth of Jesus).  Both of the defilements were caused by the worship of foreign idols that had been previously worshipped in Damascus.  In both cases, these defilements led to much bloodshed.  (Ahaz begot Hezekiah, whose weak foreign policies mimicked those of his father.  That eventually led to the Babylonian captivity.  The defilement by Antiochus led to the Maccabean Revolt.)  Further, in the early days of Christianity, the Sanhedrin issued a written order (given to Saul of Tarsus) to kill all of the Christians living in Damascus.  Apparently, the Sanhedrin had "agents in place" that would assist Saul upon his arrival there.  (Otherwise, why would Saul have needed a written order?)  Therefore, God has three long-standing reasons to be angry toward Damascus.

But, wait, there's more.

Fast-forward to modern times, and the plans of Prime Minister Olmert to give away the hard-won Israeli territory in the Golan.  The plan is to give away the Golan to neighboring Syria, whose capital is Damascus.  Israel captured the Golan in the Six-Day War, and that victory is considered part of God's miraculous protection of Israel.  And, now, Israel wants to give away this strategic high ground?!  That certainly sounds like a fourth insult toward God.

The prophet Amos wrote, "Thus says the Lord: "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron."  (Amos 1:3)  The language of the verse indicates that the fourth transgression is separated from the other three.  As the paragraph above shows, the first three transgressions were committed in ancient Israel, before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  The fourth transgression takes place after Israel was revived in 1948.  God has sealed the destruction of Damascus; it will happen.  The only question is when.  My previous column on this topic suggests that it will happen during Hanukkah, possibly this year.

As it turns out, the connection to Hanukkah goes not only through Antiochus, but also through Ahaz.  How?  In 2nd Kings 16:18, we read that Ahaz "... removed the Sabbath pavilion which they had built in the temple, and he removed the king's outer entrance from the house of the Lord, on account of the king of Assyria."  In my previous column, I pointed out that this area, known as Solomon's Portico, was the very place where Jesus told the Jews plainly that He is the promised Messiah.  When the Temple was later refurbished under Nehemiah, after the return from Babylon, he apparently repaired the damage that Ahaz had done.  But, there is still the matter of the insult to God's authority.

What about the people living in Damascus now?  Do they bear responsibility for the sins of generations long past, or for the actions of their current government?  Should they face destruction for things beyond their control?

Perhaps these columns will be used, in this age of instantaneous global communication, to warn those living in Damascus of the impending destruction.  God did the same for the people of Nineveh, and they avoided destruction by repenting.  But, this destruction was foretold thousands of years ago.  The only difference is that now, with the fourth transgression currently in progress, the people of Damascus have a slight degree of advance warning.

Is there any proof that God provides advance warning to the people of Damascus?  Yes.  Jeremiah 49:23-27 says, "Against Damascus. 'Hamath and Arpad are shamed, For they have heard bad news. They are fainthearted; There is trouble on the sea; It cannot be quiet. Damascus has grown feeble; She turns to flee, And fear has seized her. Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor.  Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy?  Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day,' says the Lord of hosts.  'I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.'"

The fact that the sea "cannot be quiet" indicates a natural disaster, as opposed to the Israeli nuclear strike opined by Hal Lindsey.  God asks why the city is not deserted, indicating that He expects them to flee in response to a warning.  He says that the destruction will occur "in that day", meaning that it will be sudden.  All of these points are consistent with an asteroid strike.
It is also interesting that God refers to Damascus as the "city of My joy".  Why?  Keep in mind that Saul of Tarsus became a Christian on the road to Damascus.  He was cared for by the very people that he was sent there to kill.  He changed his name to Paul, and became the greatest evangelist in the history of the Christian faith.  And, to this day, the headquarters of the Antiochian Orthodox Church is there in Damascus ... on a street called Straight.  (Paul stayed in the house of Ananias, in Damascus, on a street called Straight.)  Therefore, my belief is that God is sending a warning to the people of Damascus, so that the Christians and Jews can escape the coming destruction.  Sadly, the same text that confirms that such a warning will go out also confirms that many will ignore it.

The same happened in Sodom.

What will happen after the destruction of Damascus?  The areas south and east of there "will be for flocks, and no one will make them afraid".  That rules out a nuclear strike, because lingering radiation would kill flocks of sheep.  I believe the impact of an asteroid will have some dramatic effects that will benefit Israel.  Her borders will be increased, thus returning to their Biblical place.  (And, in a dramatic expression of divine authority, also doing the exact opposite of the Olmert land legacy deal.)  I believe that there will be other benefits to Israel.  I have described one such benefit to a high-level business executive in a private e-mail.  I do not have money to invest in his stock right now.  Perhaps that is a good thing, lest anyone accuse me of writing these words for money.  (See Acts 8:14-25 and 16:16-24)

Think back now to the name of the ancient Assyrian king with whom Ahaz made a deal.  His name means "Thou will uncover the wonderful bond".  What was that bond?  Was it a deal, made with the treasures of God?  If so, it only seems logical that the deal was for Ahaz and Tiglath-Pileser to divide the conqureed kingdom of Aram.  And, if that's true, then the dividing line would essentially return the border of Israel to where it had existed under King David.  Going in the direction of Assyria (on a modern map, eastern Syria and western Iraq), that border would be the Euphrates River.  That would greatly increase the "security zone" for Israel's population centers, provide them with more open land ("for flocks"), and provide Israel with new lands for oil drilling.  The only obstacle is the government of modern Syria.  But, if an asteroid destroys Damascus, then Israel can reclaim the lands of the "wonderful bond" that was purchased from Assyria by King Ahaz with God's treasure from the Temple in Jerusalem.  And, after seeing the capital of Syria wiped out by an asteroid, what nation would be foolish enough to dare dispute a claim enforced by God?

I am absolutely convinced that God will destroy Damascus at Hanukkah.  The only question that remains is whether it will be the Hanukkah that starts in a few days, or will it be another one in the next few years?  Bible history tells us that God sends warnings just in time.  It is always plenty of time, as long as it is heeded promptly.  In these days of Internet communication, cell phones, automobiles, and modern highways, there would be no need for God to send a warning months in advance.  A few days should be all that are necessary.  And, as it turns out, Hanukkah starts in a few days.

I hope that Prime Minister Olmert reads this, and thinks twice about giving away the Golan.  His political ambitions seem to carry more effect than he might have realized.  It seems to me that his daring diplomatic deal is driving the divine destruction of Damascus.

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