The 17th chapter of Isaiah is a stern warning to Damascus, the capital city of modern-day Syria. Before we look at the prophecy, though, let’s consider some of Syria’s allies.
- According to the articles you read, are you able to identify Syria’s allies?
- What dangers do you see in the alignment of those allies?
- What activities are taking place between Syria and her allies?
It is believed that several terrorist groups and other jihadist organizations have either established headquarters in Damascus, Syria or have strong ties to Syria. There are very clear ties between Syria and Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim terrorist group whose presence in Lebanon is a very real threat to Israel. What are your thoughts about Syria and Hezbollah’s partnership?
You may have read about weapons being supplied by Russia to Syria, or Russian equipment and troops operating in Syria. (If not, here are examples: Russia Boosting Arms Shipments to Syria, Russian Troops Join Conflict in Syria.) What other Ezekiel 38 nation is supplying arms to Syria? Does that cause you concern?
Today’s news is clear. Syria has aligned with some of Israel’s greatest enemies, and except for the current civil war, is otherwise plotting to destroy Israel. However, that fact is not a new one. Syria has been a curse to Israel since early Biblical times. For that reason, God spoke a catastrophic prophecy about Damascus Syria in Isaiah 17. Take time to review that chapter. Has Damascus ever been “removed from being a city?” Has the prophecy been fully fulfilled?
Though the Arameans took over Damascus in 732 BC, Damascus was not left in a heap of ruins. In fact, evidence suggests that Damascus has been continuously inhabited for the past few thousand years. (For further details, read Isaiah 17: An Oracle against Damascus by Jack Kelley) “Cities of Aroer” in verse 2 may refer to areas that are today’s Hezbollah strongholds, located between Beirut, Lebanon and Damascus, Syria.
Verses 3-6 seem to reference Damascus’ defeat in 732, yet Damascus still stands today. This is an example of a prophetic passage that has been partially fulfilled.
Re-read verses 7-9. Do you know of any time in history since 732 BC that the eyes of Damascus looked to the Holy One of Israel? Have their cities been abandoned before the sons of Israel? They have not! Here’s a clue to determining the time of this fulfillment: what are the first three words of verse 7 and verse? What does “in that day” refer to? Indeed, “in that day” refers to the end of days!
Isaiah 17:10-11 reminds us that, though the people may have at one time known God, they have forgotten Him, thus succumbing to the persuasion of false gods. Today, having failed to turn from false gods, the nation of Syria is almost completely Muslim. Turning to the God of salvation and the Rock of Refuge is their only hope. Notice the first three words of verse 11.
Isaiah 17 also gives us indication of how quickly Damascus will be destroyed. Carefully read verse 14. How would you describe the sudden destruction of Damascus?
Jeremiah 49:23-27 also references the destruction of Damascus. Read that passage and The Prophetic End to Damascus by Nathan Jones. Who will likely be involved in the destruction of Damascus, and why?
Verse 26 makes reference to “…in that day.” Based on that, when do you believe the destruction of Damascus will take place?
Just as true for us personally, surely the only hope of Damascus is in the Rock of Salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, God’s Word prophesies a catastrophic end to a city and a people who once turned to false gods and never turned back. In the end, Jesus Christ will be lifted high!
Nice work today! Let’s cruise again tomorrow and explore another fascinating end time prophecy. Before that, though, stop and pray for Israel and her enemies, including Syria. See you tomorrow!