Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” (Isaiah 17:1)

As the unrest/murder in Syria reaches catastrophic proportions, I am reminded of the famous prophecy of Isaiah 17, which says that one day, Damascus will be destroyed.

Since the city is very ancient—and the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city—this must be an event far into the future from the prophet. In fact, I believe it is a prophecy meant for our day.

As I’ve written before, the idea that Bible prophecy is real, and relevant to our lives is considered to be absurd by most.

Note, though, that doesn’t make the prophecy wrong.

Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has proven to be as ruthless as his father. Thousands of citizens have been killed in uprisings sparked by the “Arab Spring” of last year. The question for our discussion, however, is, “What could spark the Isaiah 17 scenario?”

Middle East dictators are notorious for diverting attention from their own domestic troubles by targeting Israel, either with propaganda or in outright attacks.

The Israelis will not allow neighbors with lethal intentions to carry those intentions out. It is possible (this is only a speculation) that if Assad tried to divert attention and “unite” his people, by attacking Israel, the Israelis would respond with withering attacks.

Despite the fact that Bible prophecy has been marginalized in our culture, there are good reasons to believe it is true and plausible.

The end of Isaiah 17 offers a compelling look at what might transpire:

“And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.” (Isaiah 17:14).

Damascus will disappear overnight. For some reason.

Syria bears watching.

Syria, 2012

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