Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, a top executive at the influential Family Research Council, has joined the chorus of religious conservatives touting the Syrian conflict as a prelude to Armageddon. On Wednesday, Boykin appeared on Prophetic Perspectives on Current Events, a talk show hosted by dominionist preacher Rick Joyner (see the video above). The pair discussed a passage in Isaiah 17, which predicts Damascus will be reduced to "a ruinous heap."
"One of the scriptures that has never been fulfilled and has to be fulfilled before this age can end is that Damascus will be destroyed, never inhabited again," Joyner explained. "What in the world could cause a city to be destroyed and never inhabited again?" Boykin didn't hesitate. "One of the ways Damascus could be destroyed, never to be re-occupied, would be through a chemical attack," he replied. " So let's just take a scenario: The Free Syrian Army takes Damascus and Bashar al-Assad is in a desperate mode now….What would be his final act? Well it may very well be to unload all his chemical weapons on the population center there in Damascus. Destroy the city and destroy it in a way that he just kills maybe millions of people. But the byproduct is that he has residue there that could make Damascus uninhabitable and for a very long time."
This isn't the first time Boykin has embraced the notion that war would obliterate the Syrian capital, paving the way for Jesus's return. He recently wrote an endorsement for Damascus Countdown, a fictionalized account of the looming biblical conflict by best-selling author Joel Rosenberg. And he has spoken at several of Ronseberg's annual Epicenter Conferences, which plumb the Middle East's role in biblical prophesy.
While many End-Times enthusiasts subscribe to the so-called "burden of Damascus" theory, few of them have Boykin's pedigree. Before joining the Family Research Council—the political arm of evangelical heavyweight James Dobson's empire—Boykin spent 36 years in the military, where he led a number of key operations, including several against radical Islamists. Here's a rundown from Time magazine:
As a captain in 1980, Boykin vainly tried to help rescue the 53 U.S. hostages held by Iran, a secret mission that ended in flames at Desert One, killing eight U.S. servicemen. Three years later, as a major, he helped invade Grenada. In 1992, as a colonel, he led the manhunt in Colombia for drug lord Pablo Escobar... But the experience that perhaps marked him most came six months later, in October 1993, in downtown Mogadishu. He and his troops were there when 18 soldiers died in an effort to snatch a Somali warlord—a tough day immortalized in Mark Bowden's book Black Hawk Down.
Boykin also served as undersecretary of defense for intelligence under George W. Bush. During this era, he touched off a firestorm and earned a presidential rebuke by likening the War on Terror to a religious crusade against an enemy "called Satan."
As the American Conservative has noted, Boykin continues to believe that "Satan is gathering his forces through Islam, and in particular through Sharia law which, via Muslim agents of deception, is slowly infiltrating the United States seeking to 'destroy the Constitution.'" He said as much in a September 2010 video for the Rick Joyner-led Oak Initiative, a radical dominionist group, which counts Boykin among its board members. In another Oak Initiative video, Boykin claimed the Affordable Care Act allows President Barack Obama to launch a personal army akin to Hitler's Brownshirts so he can "control the population."
These comments reflect Boykin's view that the world is a spiritual battleground. The retired general sees his political activities at the Family Research Council, and with the secretive conservative confab known as Groundswell, as a continuation of the spiritual warfare he waged in places like Baghdad. And he plans to continue fighting until the very end. "Here's the way I want to enter the gates of Heaven: I want to come skidding in there on all fours," he told the crowd at the 2008 Epicenter conference in Israel. "And I want to be standing there with a ragged breastplate of righteousness and a spear in my hand. And I want to say, 'Look at me, Jesus. I've been in the battle. I've been fighting for you.'"