With all the end times excitement going on right now in the Middle East, a quick Bible study on the prophet Isaiah and his 17th chapter dealing with Damascus could not be more timely.
“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 17:1-3 (KJV)
Just last night, Iranian Quds forces launched a barrage a missiles across the Syrian border and aimed at Israel. In under an hour, the Israeli Air Force began responding with a blistering barrage of airstrikes up and down northern Syria in and around Damascus and other areas. In fact, Syria in general and Damascus in particular have been in the news quite heavily in recent months. Lots of military action going on there.
So naturally people began posting Isaiah 17:1 (KJV) everywhere you looked, and just today an NTEB reader asked me a great Bible question about Damascus and Israel. This is what NTEB reader Dawn wanted to know:
“How will Israel be able to destroy Damascus overnight when the city is surrounded by its own defence systems to intercept missiles from Israel? Is Israel now destroying the Syrian defence systems?”
Great question, and her assumption is that of most prophecy watchers who believe Israel will wipe out Damascus in one of the many upcoming battles. Certainly 2018 Israel, with one of the world’s best air forces, could easily wipe out not just Damascus but the entire Syrian nation if it chose to, no problem at all. But is that what the Bible teaches about the fall of Damascus?
With all the end times excitement going on right now in the Middle East, a quick Bible study on the prophet Isaiah and his 17th chapter dealing with Damascus could not be more timely. And as is our custom here, I am putting it in easy-to-digest bullet points, so let’s pay a visit to Isaiah and his amazing book of prophecy!
- CONTEXT IS KEY: Isaiah 17 starts off with the destruction of Damascus, with little to no explanation of how and why it happened, and who destroyed it. But when we go one chapter back to chapter 16, we are able to establish a context accurately and immediately. “Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.” Isaiah 16:1,2 (KJV). Regular visitors to NTEB who have read our article entitled ‘THE REAL MEANING OF THE WORD SELAH IN THE BIBLE‘ know exactly to Whom Isaiah is referring to in the opening of chapter 16! The ‘lamb’ of course is Jesus Christ at the Second Coming, returning on the backs of white horses with His redeemed army of Church Age saints that we read about in Revelation 19:11-16 (KJV). And His first stop is to pick up the Jewish remnant who have fled to Selah Petra the moment the Antichrist sat down in the rebuilt temple. We read about that in Matthew 24 and Revelation 12. The Jewish remnant is dwelling in Selah with the Moabites and Edomites, where God is keeping them safe for a time, times and half a times (3.5 years). The prophet Daniel tells us in chapter 11 of his book that this geographical area is the one place where Antichrist cannot take hold of. “He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” Daniel 11:41 (KJV).
- KING JESUS ON THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM: So the context of Isaiah 16 is the very end of the time of Jacob’s trouble, where we see Jesus returning with His Church army (us) to pick up the Jewish remnant that God has kept safe in Selah Petra. “Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.” Isaiah 17:4 (KJV). The very next verse tells us why Jesus has returned. “And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.” Isaiah 17:5 (KJV). Having been declared to be King in Revelation 19:11-16 (KJV), the King is now coming to receive the Kingdom that has been prepared for Him from the foundation of the world. Along the journey from east to west, there is a war being fought. We call this the Battle of Armageddon.
- DAMASCUS IS FALLEN: As King Jesus and His redeemed army of Church Age saints travel to Jerusalem, the battle is raging hot and thick. Matthew 24 and Revelation 19 give us some very wonderful granular details of this battle, but suffice to say that Syria in general and Damascus in particular get wiped out by the Lord’s Army in the process. “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” Isaiah 17:1,2 (KJV). Who destroys Damascus? King Jesus and His Army of saints. When does it happen? At the end of the time of Jacob’s trouble, during the Battle of Armageddon, at the Second Coming.
- AND SO ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED: As the Bible says in multiple places, at the Second Coming the eyes of the Jews who are left will be opened and they will finally recognize that Jesus of Nazareth really was the promised Messiah, really is the promised Messiah, and really will rule and reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years! “At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.” Isaiah 17:7,8 (KJV). The key end times phrase of ‘that day’ also alerts us to the fact that all this is happening at the time of the Second Coming. This is exactly what Paul had in mind when the Holy Spirit had him write this: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11:26,27 (KJV). Isaiah shows how exactly how the ‘Deliverer’ comes ‘out of Sion’, and saves His chosen people and removes the scales from their eyes in ‘that day’. John referencing this in Revelation as well. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Revelation 1:7 (KJV).
There you have it, the entire prophetic timeline dealing with the destruction of Damascus. It will not be destroyed by Israel, who is hiding for their life in the red rock city of Selah Petra. It will not be destroyed at anytime before the Rapture of the Church takes place.
Damascus will only become a ‘ruinous heap’ at the Battle of Armageddon which will take place at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and us, His redeemed army of born again saints at the end of the time of Jacob’s trouble.
I hope this study is a blessing to you!
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