Damascus and End Time Prophecy!

Bill Hitchcock September 9, 2013 1
Damascus and End Time Prophecy!

Damascus! End time prophecy! The apocalypse! It’s the end of the world!

What on earth is going on? All of a sudden national and international publications are pondering Armageddon!

The headline at USA Today read, “Some see biblical visions of doom in Syria trouble”.

Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze ran a story headlined, “Why Some Believe These ‘End Time’ Bible Verses Could Hold the Key to the Syrian Crisis”.

Even across the pond caught the end times fever. “Is Syria conflict the latest sign of Armageddon?” read the British headline at The Daily Mail.

end time armageddonDamascus and End Time Prophecy!

The reason for the international stir has everything to do with the fighting in the Middle East and the apparent attack the US is about launch. The prophet Isaiah wrote some 2,700 years ago of the ruination of the area:

“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

Let’s take a moment to catch our breath here. The apocalypse and fears of imminent destruction of the world only happen during times of stress and never during times of happiness and prosperity. The United States and the World are in a time of stress. Unemployment, the economy, disability claims, Interest rates, Benghazi, expanding government, war and rumors of war are affecting everyone-Perfect conditions for the “end of the world” fear to catch fire and spread.

The Devil takes advantage of the situation. When people are scared the Devil pushes the end time agenda and idea. Why? Because the Devil’s purpose is to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) us all. The fear of end times creates panic, havoc, dismay and heaviness of heart. It can push people to do things that they otherwise wouldn’t do in an even tempered state of mind.

End Time and the Mayan Calendar

Remember the Mayan calendar? Last December, 2012 there was great concern over the end of the world because December 21 marked the end of the many thousands of year old Mayan calendar. How did people react?

“Children sob. Teenagers contemplate suicide. Cultists travel to a flat mountaintop in France, hoping that when the world collapses, alien spaceships from another galaxy will miraculously arrive at the rendezvous point. The French government sends in the military,” reports Fox News.

“NASA has received thousands of letters concerned about the end of the world. David Morrison, a planetary astronomer and senior scientist for NASA who answers questions from the public about astrobiology, says, “At least a once a week I get a message from a young person as young as 11 who says they are ill and/or contemplating suicide because of the coming doomsday.” H/T US Gov

Rahm Emanuel the former Chief of Staff for president Obama once said, once said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.”

That’s exactly what the Devil does with mankind. He takes the fear of end times and creates panic and worry. These are two of his greatest tools to maneuver us to over react to almost any situation.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you,” (1 Peter 5:7). During times of crisis and worry we need to heed the advice of the Apostle Peter. We need to cast all of our care (worry and strife) upon him (Jesus Christ) for he careth (Loves) for you. Worry is what the Devil wants you to do. Give it all (not some, but ALL) to God.

This does not mean that everything will be rosy, for it will not. There will always be turmoil in the world. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)

“Be careful for nothing (Do not worry); but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Give it to God and don’t worry about it. In so doing the peace of God which goes beyond our own comprehension will keep, protect, guard our heart and soul and prevent any negative from invading our spirit. Pretty powerful stuff offered up only through Jesus Christ who strengthens us all.

How do we do all of this? How do we keep fears like the end of the world out of our lives? It’s simple, we keep Jesus in our lives at all times. We, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

And stop thinking about the negative stuff. Have you ever noticed that what you look at you head towards? Try driving down the road forward while looking out the back window. It doesn’t work too well does it? It’s the same thing in life. Concentrate on the bad and that’s how your life will be. So look at the good.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:7-8

All of these things from Philippians arrive at the same place; The peace of God.

But when it comes to end time prophesy people just look at the event foretold and not the cause of the event itself. People treat it like some cosmic series of events or some sequence arranged by God that will take place leading to the final days. Secular man never thinks in terms of what causes the event foretold.

Matthew Henry, the 17th century commentator begins his exegesis of Isaiah 17 with the cause when he wrote, “Sin desolates cities”.

Henry goes on to write, “Those who are partakers in sin, are justly made partakers in ruin.”

Secular man never thinks in terms of sin because that means personal responsibility. Man thinks in terms of cosmic events because that means he has no hand in the matter or control over it. He has a, “It’s not my fault or responsibility” attitude absolving himself of the crisis that he created.

There will always be judgment and justice for sin. That’s a good thing because sin is the sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:56). Judgment and justice are the course corrections to get us away from sin and back on the path of salvation. If not, then ruination is all that is left for us.

I do want to give a word of caution about end time prophecy. To pull a verse of scripture and overlay it onto a present day event can be very dangerous. No single verse or book in the Bible paints the end time complete. Books such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Matthew and of course Revelations all deal with in one form or fashion or another with the final days. An egg does not make a cake. You have to have all of the ingredients-milk, sugar, butter, flour, etc. and then bake it and frost it before you call it a cake. It’s the same thing when we pluck out a Bible verse and try to call it the end times.

Is this end time prophecy or has the prophecy already been fulfilled? Below is the scripture followed by commentary from some of the best biblical scholars of all times.

“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

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

“A “behold” is prefixed to the whole, as being very wonderful and remarkable, unthought of, and unexpected” John Gill

“Damascus was one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world, but the coming Assyrian judgment would reduce it to a heap of ruins.” David Guzik

“A heap – This was fulfilled by Tiglath – pilneser, 2Kings 16:9, although afterwards it was re – edified.” John Wesley

17:2 “The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”

They shall be for flocks which shall lie down; instead of houses, there should be sheepcotes and shepherds’ tents, and instead of men, sheep; and where streets were, grass would grow, and flocks feed and lie down; which is expressive of the utter desolation of these cities, or this tract of ground. John Gill

17:3 “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.”

Ephraim is the northern region of Israel.

“The fortress – All their fortresses; the singular number being put for the plural. Remnant – The remainders of Damascus and Syria shall be an headless body, a people without a king. Of Israel – Syria shall have as much glory as Israel; that is, neither of them shall have any at all.” John Wesley

“At this time, Israel and Syria were closely aligned against Judah. Since they are such close friends, God will announce His judgment against Ephraim, against Israel, at the same time He speaks to Syria! 2 Kings 15:29 and 16:9 describe the fulfillment of this prophecy.” David Guzik

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One Comment »

  1. Joyce Swimm September 10, 2013 at 7:25 AM - Reply

    Bill,Great article, good timing!Blessings!

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