Bible prophecy links Damascus destruction, Second Coming, some say
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter August 30, 2013 4:00PM
Updated: August 30, 2013 5:53PM
Some Christians believe Old Testament references to a destroyed Damascus and the Second Coming may very well come true as the United States prepares for a possible attack on Syria.
In The Holy Bible, the prophet Isaiah warns of a prophecy: “‘Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin,” the passage Isaiah 17:1-3 reads.
The capital of Syria, destroyed and uninhabitable, the Bible says.
In light of Syria’s escalating civil war - including allegations that the government unleashed a chemical attack on civilians and the United States contemplating an air strike in return - several Christian blogs have linked the events there to the end of the world. In one, the author recommends to “keep watching the Middle East as we head towards the end of the age.”
“We don’t know the timing of those verses and passages, but Isaiah 17, it could be tomorrow, it could be in 10 years, in 100 years,” said Jan Markell, founder and program host at Olive Tree Ministries. “To say what’s happening now [in Syria] is going to lead to that would be pretty reckless but I think it’s safe to say what’s happening could lead to that.”
Markell, whose radio show discusses current events and their link to end of world Bible prophecies, believes a chemical weapon could level Damascus for the first time in its history, and could refer to the Bible’s reference of the city being uninhabitable.
Markell also believes the destruction of Damascus in the Bible is linked to Jesus’ Second Coming: “Yes, it [Damascus] is all [connected to] an end of time scenario.”
Others believe the ancient text has nothing to do with current times. It was written thousands of years ago and concentrates on ancient cities that in some way threatened Jerusalem.
But some local Bible scholars say Isaiah’s prophecy has already happened. Damascus was captured in 732 BC — and is unrelated to the Muslim-majority Syria’s current struggles, according to Dr. Daniel Block, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College.
“There are certain oracles against Damascus, but they are all BCE [Before Christ Era] oracles, and I’m not sure that they have anything to do with what’s going on there now,” Block said, adding, “just because events are parallel doesn’t mean there are any connections. Parallel lines don’t meet.”
Dr. Charlie Dyer, a Bible professor at Moody Bible Institute, said Damascus was destroyed in the 7th and 8th centuries: “Isaiah 17 predicted the destruction of the city, along with the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel…Damascus was captured by Assyrians in 732 BC and the northern kingdom of Israel fell when the capital city of Samarai was captured by the Assyrians in 722 BC.”
And 100 years later, he says, the prophet Jeremiah also predicted the fall of Damascus, which had been rebuilt.
“His message was fulfilled when the city was captured by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,” Dyer said.
Dyer questioned those who are awaiting Damascus’ destruction, as described in the Bible: “God has the ability to predict future events, and a number of events predicted in the Bible still need to be fulfilled in the future. Perhaps the most significant is Jesus’ promise to return. But those prophecies that were completely fulfilled in the past don’t need to be fulfilled a second time.”