(1) The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. (2) The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. (3) 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)
A worrisome prophecy has supposedly been identified in the bible in Isaiah 17:1-3, „Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Furthermore, the prophecy notes that “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. The land of Israel will be without strength and will lose all their riches.
According to some political analysts, the scenario is very likely. “If the Syrian government falls and the Islamists come to power, the security of Israel will be significantly harmed,” argues Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko.
It is noteworthy to mention that there are different views on the verses of the Bible.
Some argue that the prophecy was already fulfilled, at least partially, when the Assyrians defeated the Arameans and occupied their capital, Damascus, in the year 732 BC.
The context makes clear that the city falls into the hands of the Assyrians, today’s Iran, whereas today these two countries are faithful allies, explains Robert Mulholland, retired professor of Asbury Theological Seminary, USA.
However, there are several websites and blogs which speculate that the verse written down in the bible speaks of the future.
Interestingly, at no time during the 5,000 years of its history was Damascus depopulated: it is the oldest city in the world continuously inhabited.
“The situation in Syria described in the verses of Isaiah could be something we are seeing now,” says Pastor Gary Cristofaro of Melbourne, but warns that it is necessary to be very cautious with a literal interpretation of the biblical texts.
The exact cause—or causes—of the ‘destruction’ of Damascus is not explicitly stated in in Isaiah 17:1-3, however, if we take a look at Jeremiah 49:23-27, we find a passage that potentially has doomsday predictions, as it suggests that Damascus may be target of a military invasion.
(23) Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet. (24) Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. (25) How is the city of praise not left, 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, saith the LORD of hosts. (27) And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad. (Jeremiah 49:23-27)
Furthermore, author Joel Rosenberg, who has has pointed to Old Testament scriptures like Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 to potentially assess the current events unfolding inside Syria wrote in a blog post: “The Hebrew prophet Ezekiel wrote 2,500 years ago that in the ‘last days’ of history, Russia and Iran will form a military alliance to attack Israel from the north. Bible scholars refer to this eschatological conflict, described in Ezekiel 38–39, as the ‘War of Gog & Magog.’ Are these sudden and dramatic moves by Moscow and Tehran…simply coincidental, or [do they] have prophetic implications?”