by Joel C. Rosenberg
June 28, 2012
Earlier this year, a prominent Member of Congress asked to meet with me in Washington, D.C. I thought the topic was going to be the possible coming war between Israel and Iran. Instead, the official asked, “What are your thoughts on Isaiah 17?” For much of the next hour, therefore, we discussed the coming judgment of Damascus according to Bible prophecy, and how this scenario could possibly unfold in the coming years in relation to other Bible prophecies and current geopolitical trends in the Middle East. Here is a brief summary of what I said.
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….'”
* 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.
How exactly will Damascus be destroyed? When will exactly it be destroyed? What will that look like, and what will be the implications for the rest of Syria, for Israel and for the region?