A prophecy against Damascus:
“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
but will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted
and left to flocks, which will lie down,
with no one to make them afraid.
3 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
like the glory of the Israelites,”
declares the LORD Almighty.(Isaiah 17:1-3)
Damascus is known as the oldest continuously occupied city in the world. The prophets Elijah and Elisha went there to minister to Assyrian Kings, Saul of Tarsus stayed there on Straight street, which is still there.
This Ancient city has a rich history spanning millenia, encompassing the influxes of Assyrians,Babylonians, Romans,Crusaders, Byzantines,and Muslims. The population of Damascus currently is about 85 percent Muslim, 10 percent Christian, and 5 percent other.
But according to scripture, the city is doomed to utter destruction in the last days, as are other Arab cities.
Presently Damascus is the capital of Syria, which is ruled by Bashir Assad, a secular Arab leader, but also an implacable enemy of Israel. Assad’s Ba’athist ruling party is a relic of the Pan Arabist, fascist, secular experiments of the 1960’s and 70’s. The other notable Ba’athist government was Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist Iraq, which has since been dismantled.
Perhaps part of the Judgment coming upon Damascus has to do with its implacable enmity with Israel. Every major Islamic terrorist group is allowed to headquarter openly in Damascus . Syria is an ally of Iran, Israel’s bitter enemy and of Russia. In September ,2007 Israeli warplanes took out a Syrian Nuclear reactor.
There is constant tension over the Golan heights, seized by Israel in the 1967 6 day war. The Syrians had been using the heights to shell Jewish villages in the Galilee.
A dreadful thing which has not ever happened in history is about to occur, Damascus will cease from being a city, no longer will it be a seat of Government, a heap of rubble is it’s future.
Jeremiah implies that before her destruction, Damascus will be surprised that Jerusalem is not “deserted” as she expected, this causes Damascus to lose heart herself.
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.”( Jeremiah 49:24-27)
Whatever the provocation, the destruction of Damascus will reflect badly upon Israel in the court of world opinion. The world will turn on Israel, blaming her for what happens to Damascus. What little favor Israel had enjoyed up till then will shrivel up, it will resemble the last few olives left after the shaking of the olive tree by the reapers.
“ In that day it shall come to pass
That the glory of Jacob will wane,
And the fatness of his flesh grow lean.
It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain,
And reaps the heads with his arm;
It shall be as he who gathers heads of grain
In the Valley of Rephaim.
Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it,
Like the shaking of an olive tree,
Two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough,
Four or five in its most fruitful branches,”
Says the LORD God of Israel.(Isaiah 17:4-6)
Damascus shall be obliterated in the context of a wider war, which will be destructive of other Arab cities as well, such as the area we call Gaza, which is a terrorist state designated as part of the U.N.imposed “two state solution”, but which God calls, “the nation not desired”…
Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together,
O undesirable nation,
Before the decree is issued,
Or the day passes like chaff,
Before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you,
Before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! (Zechariah 2:1-2)
For Gaza shall be forsaken,
And Ashkelon desolate;
They shall drive out Ashdod at noonday,
And Ekron shall be uprooted.
Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast,
The nation of the Cherethites!
The word of the LORD is against you,
O Canaan, land of the Philistines: (Zephaniah 2:4-5)
The one positive aspect of these terrible times,is that even the hardest of men will begin to seek the living God,
In that day a man will look to his Maker,
And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 17:7)
Zechariah echoes Isaiah,
The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.(Zechariah 9:1)
The international outcry that will be raised against Israel will be unprecedented. The nations line up to register complaint in the U.N., newspaper headlines will scream, pundits will wax eloquent with moral indignation, religious leaders will pontificate against Israel, her former lovers will leave her, and it will be extremely unfashionable to stand with God’s chosen people in that day.
Woe to the multitude of many people
Who make a noise like the roar of the seas,
And to the rushing of nations
That make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; …(Isaiah 17:11-12)
But the outcry will merely be the prelude to the outpouring of Divine wrath upon all nations . Tribulation such as never occurred upon the earth, the wind and the sea raging, and men’s hearts failing them for fear…
But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away,
And be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind,
Like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.(Isaiah 17: 13-14)
But it is as in the evening, which seems always darkest before dawn, such is the tribulation and time of Jacob’s trouble, as Isaiah says,
Then behold, at eventide, trouble!
And before the morning, he is no more.
This is the portion of those who plunder us,
And the lot of those who rob us.(Isaiah 17:14)