A. Hal Lindsey speaks on the destruction of Damascus, Syria. He also brings into his discussion comments on other prophetic judgments. Another of the judgments that Dr. Lindsey brought into his discussion is the Psalm 83 War, which we will examine in the next “Road To Tribulation” article. Credentials for Hal Lindsey can be found on my Page of theologians for this website. All other sources that are listed in this article can also be checked for credential information on that Page.
B. In this article we will consider information that relates to the past history, as well as to that which points to Now prophecy and to current day situations that exist in the nations and lands that we are discussing. We will also consider some of the sources of information whose writings helped to make the writing of this article possible.
C. NOW Prophecies deal with the most relative information for this present age. This is because they describe events that will likely find fulfillment during this generation’s existence. All unfilled biblical prophecy is important to understand, but of most value to any given group, past, present or future, is the information that was specifically provided through the ancient Hebrew prophecies for that generation’s benefit. The NOW Prophecies are the unfulfilled ancient biblical predictions that appear to be imminent, which means they could happen NOW. These foretellings have either minor or no remaining preconditions inhibiting them from happening. 16
II. Isaiah 17. Past History And NOW Prophecy.
A. Past History. 17:1–14 Damascus and northern Israel.
B. This (Isaiah 17:1-14) is evidently from Isaiah’s early days, when Syria and northern Israel were hand in glove (see ch. 7) and their kingdoms still intact. Damascus is briefly told its fate, but Israel has the brunt of the rebuke, as well as the indignity of being classed with the heathen, her oracle placed among theirs. 1
C. “Oracle,” as stated in 17:1, is translated from Hebrew as: “massa,” meaning, “the burden against.” Strong’s Lexicon shows the translation as being: “utterance, oracle.” Certain Biblical translations record: “oracle, prophecy, message, announcement, divine revelation.” 13
D. The Judgments upon Nations Adjacent to Israel. These predictions are set forth in various portions of the Old Testament, e.g., Damascus (Isaiah 17:1-14; Jeremiah 49:23-27). 14
II. A Now Prophecy. The Destruction Of Damascus.
A. Isaiah 17 (726 B.C.)
New American Standard Bible 2020 Update
1. Prophecy about Damascus. Text.
a. 17:1 The pronouncement concerning Damascus: “Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city,
And will become a fallen ruin.
b. 17:9 In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken bough, And an uppermost branch, Which they left because of the children of Israel; And there will be desolation.
c. 17:14 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.
a. Note 1. Another NOW prophecy involves the destruction of Damascus, Syria. This verse predicts that Damascus will be utterly destroyed as a city someday. The literal interpretation of the verse reads that the city will be reduced to a ruinous heap of rubble. Damascus is a strategic target for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to attack, and some Israeli leaders in the past have stated that Damascus would be destroyed if Syria ever attacked Israel. 2
b. Note 2. Consider the Good Samaritan of Luke 10:25-37, and the Samaritan woman of John 4:4-26 (mine).
c. Note 3. Ephraim was a member of the Northern Kingdom until the kingdom was conquered by Assyria in 723 B.C. and the population deported. From that time, the Tribe of Ephraim has been counted as one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Ephraim is often seen as the tribe that embodies the entire Northern Kingdom and the royal house resided in the tribe’s territory (just as Judah is the tribe that embodies the Kingdom of Judah and provided its royal family). 15
d. Note 4. In support of the Note 1 comment: Isaiah mentions Assyria, Assyrian, or Assyrians at least 41 times in his sixty-six chapters, but never once mentions any of the above in Isaiah 17. To the contrary, Isaiah 17:9 seems to suggest that Israel is responsible for this destruction. The verse states that the desolation is brought about by “the children of Israel.” This would allude to the IDF. Isaiah 17:14 informs that the destruction happens overnight and appears to be a retaliatory act in self defense. 4
e. Note 5. Additionally, Jeremiah 49:23-27, which was written more than a century after Isiah 17, also talks about a burden against Damascus. If Damascus was literally destroyed in 732 B.C. by the Assyrians, this means that it would have had to become restored subsequently for Jeremiah’s prophecy to find a future fulfillment. I think it is more logical to read Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49:23-27 in connection with each other to learn more prophetic details of the destruction of Damascus. 5
III. Jeremiah 49:23-27 (600 B.C.)
A. Past History. 6
49:23–27 Against Damascus. Cf. Is. 17:1–3; Amos 1:3–5. Hamath, a city on the Orontes River that marked the northern limit of Solomon’s rule (2 Chr. 8:4), 110 mi. N of Damascus in southern Syria, and Arpad, 105 mi. SW of the modern Aleppo in Northern Syria, were to fall, as well as Damascus, Syria’s capital. Nebuchadnezzar conquered them in 605 B.C.
B. A Now Prophecy. 7
1. Judgment on Damascus. Text.
23 Against Damascus.
“Hamath and Arpad are shamed,
For they have heard bad news.
They are fainthearted;
There is trouble on the sea;
It cannot be quiet.
24 Damascus has grown feeble;
She turns to flee,
And fear has seized her.
Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor.
25 Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy?
26 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.
27 “I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus,
And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.”
2. Summary Outline. 7
a. “Bad news” befalls Syria, making it become “fainthearted.”
b. The disturbing news is that there is “trouble on the sea.”
c. “It can not be quiet,” referring to the “trouble on the sea.” This could be alluding to lethal missiles launched from the Mediterranean Sea on route to Damascus.
d. “Damascus has grown feeble;” the entire city is shaken, probably from the severe missile strikes.
e. Everyone in Damascus panics and “turns to flee. Fear has seized the entire city, like a woman in labor.”
f. There are many civilian casualties as “young men shall fall in the streets.”
g. The Syrian army is destroyed as “all the men of war are cut off.”
h. “The Lord,” as the perpetrator of the attack, will kindle a fire” in Damascus.
i. The governmental buildings are like in Syrian history when “the palaces of Ben Hadad were consumed.”
C. The Interpretation of Jeremiah 49:23-27 in correlation with Isaiah 17. 8
1. Jeremiah 49:23-27 and Isaiah 17 are likely parallel passages of the same prophecy. Each provides separate details that cooperatively intertwine. It would be comparable to having two separate news reporters covering the same event from different camera angles. 8
2. Jeremiah doesn’t directly tell us who causes the destruction of Damascus, but Isaiah does. He identifies the IDF, (the children of Israel), as the cause of the desolation in Damascus and other fortified cities. 8
Isaiah 17:9, “In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken bough
And an uppermost branch, Which they left because of the children of Israel; And there will be desolation.” 8
3. Isaiah informs that strong cities will be forsaken, but apart from Damascus, neglects to specify which ones. Jeremiah provides those details. Jeremiah 49:23 says, ““Hamath and Arpad are shamed.” 8
4. Isaiah neglects to directly inform whether the IDF attack upon Damascus is by air, land, sea or any of the above. However, Jeremiah 49:23 says that there is “trouble on the sea; it can not be quiet.” The Hebrew word, “deagah,” which can also be translated as “anxiety, sorrow or heavy concern.” In essence, there is sorrow stemming out from some sea. This is the only place in the Scriptures where the adage, “trouble on the sea,” is used. It foretells of disturbing events occurring within, or coming from, some sea that will cause heavy sorrows to Syrians. 8
5. What Sea? What events? These are the logical questions to ask. Considering the severity of the military and civilian casualties predicted in Jeremiah 49:26, one might conclude that missiles launched from some sea results in at least part of the devastation. 8
6. The sea is most likely the Mediterranean Sea, which happens to be where several Israeli owned Dolphin class nuclear submarines patrol. These are ships that Israel obtained from Germany. They are capable of launching missiles, potentially nuclear, into the heart of Syria. As a matter of fact, Israel received its fifth Dolphin class submarine from Germany in January 2016. 8
7. How long is the attack that levels Damascus? Jeremiah 49 says that troubling news causes people to flee from the warzone. This suggests that some Syrians escape into exile. However, Jeremiah 49:26 says, “young men shall fall in her streets, And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day.” Does the phrase, “in that day,” allude to a 24 hour day? Concerning the length of time, Isaiah informs: “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.” (Isa 17:14). 8
8. Isaiah says, one night you see Damascus, but in the morning it no longer exists. Perhaps, the military conflict between Syria and Israel extends beyond a single day, but in only one night Damascus gets toppled. Israel already possesses the advanced weaponry capable of destroying a major city. This is one of the reasons that the destruction of Damascus is a very viable NOW Prophecy. 8
9. Why Damascus? The answer to this question is provided by Jeremiah. Isaiah 17:14 ends with, “This is the portion of those who plunder us, And the lot of those who rob us.” Syria, represented by its capital city, is guilty of plundering and robbing Israel. This appears to be why the IDF wages war against Syria. 8
10. Jeremiah 49:25 asks the question, “Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy?” Herein, lays another important clue as to why Damascus gets downed. The praiseworthy city of the Lord’s joy is Jerusalem. The question should be askes as follows: “Why is Damascus under attack, while Jerusalem remains intact?” 8
11. This implies that Syria’s judgment is retaliatory in nature. Something sinister coming from Syria against Jerusalem is likely at issue. Syria, in the process of plundering and robbing Israel, is probably provoking Jews to flee from Jerusalem. “Why is Jerusalem not deserted,” is the rhetorical question? Jeremiah predicts that Damascus will be deserted, but then inquires, “why isn’t Jerusalem?” 8
12. This question makes more sense if there is a conflict taking place between Syria and Israel. If Syria was attacking Saudi Arabia unsuccessfully, then the appropriate question would be, “why isn’t Mecca deserted?” 8
13.This curse-for-curse-in-kind clause in Genesis 12:3 finds application in this Syrian-Israeli conflict. This clause determines a like reaction for any foreign power that affects Israel. If a nation blesses Israel, they will be blessed by the Lord. If they curse Israel, they will be cursed in like manner. Syria wants to harm Israel militarily, so the Lord empowers the IDF to reverse the curse militarily. Syria wants Jews to desert from Jerusalem, so the Lord has Syrians desert from Damascus. Syrians seemingly want to overtake Jerusalem, as soon as possible, so in direct retaliation, the Lord has Damascus destroyed overnight. 8
14. The destruction of Damascus cold be an event that correlates with Psalm 83. Syria participates in Psalm 83 under the banner of Assyria. However, when Psalm 83 was written about 3000 years ago, Assyria did not include all of modern-day Syria. It mostly covered parts of northern Syria and northern Iraq. In 732 B.C., the Assyrian Empire took control of Damascus and the rest of what is presently modern day Syria. This means that the destruction of Damascus could occur independently from Psalm 83, because Damascus was not part of Assyria when Asaph authored Psalm 83. 8
15. Whether or not Isaiah 17 is part of Psalm 83, both events appear to be NOW prophecies. This is partially determined by the fact that the IDF participates in each event. The IDF is the tool utilized by the lord to destroy Damascus (Isaiah 17:9), and to end the Arab-Israeli conflict (Psalm 83:9-11). Both prophecies deal with a similar Arab-Israeli scenario. 8
16. This ethnic struggle is deeply rooted in an ancient Arab hatred of the Jews. Ezekiel 35:5 and 25:15 are a couple of Scriptures that allude to this adversarial disposition. Some Bible versions translate it as a “perpetual enmity.” It is a cancerous condition that must be surgically removed. According to the Bible, it will come to an end, but only when its Arab hosts are soundly and finally defeated. 8
17. A passing note about today’s IDF: they exist today in fulfillment of Bible prophecies in Ezekiel 25:14, 37:10, Obadiah 1:18, and several others. Their primary purpose is to protect and preserve the modern day Jewish state. They are biblically relevant for several NOW prophecies. However, they are not instrumental in the NEXT prophecy of Ezekiel 38 or the LAST prophecy of Armageddon. The Lord stops the Ezekiel invaders and Christ stops the Armageddon campaign of the Antichrist. Neither of those major events are NOW prophecies. 8
IV. The Syria Israel tension, now. 9
A. Israel’s modern interaction with Syria is interesting, and a potential hot-spot for future conflict. When Syria occupied the Golan Heights, a strategically crucial high plateau above the whole region of Galilee, Israel was under constant threat of invasion and shelling from Syrian placements on the Golan. But when Syria eventually made a full-on invasion of Israel from the Golan, Israel miraculously beat them back and captured the Golan Heights. Now, Syria insists that this strategically crucial region is theirs and must be given back. The Israelis are adamant that they will never give back land that belongs to them and is necessary for their security. In the meantime, Syria fights Israel through terrorism and their support of militia groups in Lebanon. The dream of a “Greater Syria,” encompassing Syria, Lebanon, and parts of northern Israel is a powerful influence in the Syrian leadership. https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/isaiah-17/
B. Israel was attacked by Syria from the Golan Heights in 1967. 10
C. Israel was attacked by Syria from the Golan Heights in 1973. 11
D. Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, intermittent hostilities centered on the demilitarized zones, water issues and shelling and infiltration from the Golan Heights. 12
V. Video Information.
A. Hal Lindsey. Isaiah 17 and Psalm 83 Destruction of Damascus.
B. Divine Intervention Ministry. Apr 29, 2008.
C. Carlos Sandoval. Sep 5, 2013.
VI. Sources Of Information. I will put this statement of sources of information on each of my future articles.
A. Footnotes. The following sources of information provide great teaching ideas; I encourage everyone to purchase these materials. Of the footnoted sources, I am blessed by Bill Salus and his search for prophetic information. I have seen Bill in many interviews, where he is questioned about “end times and last days subjects” by authors, pastors and theologians, whom are well known for their expertise in such areas of God’s Word. I have been greatly blessed by Bill’s research that has brought about his teaching on the “NOW, NEXT, LAST and FINAL” Prophecies. Through “You Tube” videos I have watched, hours upon hours, of Bill Salus being interviewed, and have found his knowledge of God’s Word to be very “credible.”
1. New Bible Commentary, Isaiah 17:1-14, Note
2. Bill Salus, The Now Prophecies, pg 123
3. Bill Salus, The Now Prophecies, pg 124
4. Bill Salus, The Now Prophecies, pg 124
5. Bill Salus, The Now Prophecies, pg 124
6. MacArthur Study Bible, Jeremiah 49:23-27, Note
7. Bill Salus, THE Now Prophecies, pg 125
8. Bill Salus, The Now Prophecies, pg 126-130
9. Enduring Word, ISAIAH 17 – THE BURDEN AGAINST SYRIA AND ISRAEL
10. Six Day War, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War
11. Yom Kippur War, aka Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War, aka 1973 Arab–Israeli War
12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93Syria_relations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93Syria_relations
13. Bible Hub https://biblehub.com/isaiah/17-1.htm
14. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, pg 314
15. Tribe of Ephraim. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Ephraim#:~:text=Ephraim%20was%20a%20member%20of,Ten%20Lost%20Tribes%20of%20Israel.
16. Bill Salus, The Now Prophecies, pg 9
B. Everyone reads something that someone else has written. Therefore, it is important to choose authors whom have proven to be knowledgeable of the things that they have written, and also have a high degree of acceptance of their peers. In addition to the sources of information that are footnoted in the above paragraph, there are many other theologians for whom I greatly respect, and whose works I use for reference in the articles that I write. A list of such theologians, along with their credentials, can be found on this website’s Page of my sources of information. On that page you can also find linked information that tells of ministry works of many of those trusted theologians.
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