TO those not familiar with Isaiah 17, the chapter foretells the utter destruction of the Syrian city of Damascus, the suffering of Jacob (Israel), and the remnant of Israel returning to God their Savior.
Subsequently, because of a possible Middle Eastern regional war looming, Isaiah 17 is getting a tremendous amount of attention from theologians, scholars, prophecy buffs and analysts like me. The questions many are asking are; do conditions exist to facilitate such a devastating attack on Damascus, and what might occur after Damascus falls?
To begin with, Syria can purportedly deliver bio/chemical warfare by way of aircraft, missile and artillery, and Israeli analysts believe the current ruling party is capable of using the weapons against Israel. In preparation, Israel has had many national training drills on bio/chemical warfare emergency recovery (and is still ongoing). In addition, they are updating domestic bomb shelters and providing the public with gas masks.
Therefore, if Syria, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey or any single country or a combination of countries strikes Israel with bio/chemical/nuclear weapons, for any reason whether it is rebels, terrorist, or retaliation of Israel preempt strikes, most analysts believe Israel will immediately counter-retaliate with a nuclear assault (Despite that it is not confirmed Israel has nukes, most believe Israel does). This Israeli military behavior pattern of action is partially supported by past history as supposedly verbal warnings of a nuclear strike were issued by Israel to certain enemy combatant countries in the height of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It is rumored that Israel threatened to level both Cairo and/or Damascus with nuclear weapons during the conflict.
Consequently, it is not a stretch by any means to suggest or expect Israel to follow their same formula of clandestine nuclear deterrence or potential usage against an enemy who poses a threat of mass destruction particularly during this dangerous, destabilizing, ongoing Arab anarchy. In other words, if Syria uses bio/chemical weapons against Israel, I have a strong opinion Israel will instantaneously nuke Damascus which is where a substantial Syrian government/military command structure is located.
Now that a plausible nuclear strike scenario on Damascus has been established how might the rest of prophesy be fulfilled?
Well, the precise locations hit by bio/chemical and nuclear weapons, and the immediate area would be contaminated for some time. But, not necessarily the whole region, possible just the areas hit, and then the land would take time to heal. This in turn would easily explain the death, ruins, unoccupied locations and relocated populations in Isaiah 17 as bio/chemical/nuclear weapons would pollute impacted land areas for years.
As a result, the natural aftermath of a bio/chemical/nuclear conflict whether in Syria or Israel (or in the whole region) most likely would grossly affect water supplies, crops and health in general. In turn contribute to pervasive famine and pestilence (which is Biblical). Much of the land would lay idle as some people would steer clear of the infected areas until it recovered and it was safe to return.
Likewise, the Damascus destruction prophesy may also correlate with Ezekiel 34-38:8, 11, and 12 as this predicts widespread Arab punishment from the Lord, Israeli leadership incapacitated, someone in the ancestral line of King David ultimately ruling Israel, Israelis returning to the Lord, Israelis returning to the land, rebuilding the ruins, and the land eventually recovering from war becoming like a garden of Eden (which in due course is followed by an attack from Gog and Magog).
Yet, some suggest the King David ancestor is actually Jesus Christ. Although, at this point in my research I disagree because in Ezekiel 34:24 the word prince begins with a small ‘p’ (although translations over the years could be corrupted), but most importantly, Ezekiel chapters 40-42 describes in detail the altar and the Temple (the Third Temple) and the priests sons of Zadok ministering to the Lord. Besides, in Daniel 12:11, Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 the abomination of desolation, the Beast (commonly known as the antichrist), stands in the Temple to set himself up to be God. This happens before Christ returns.
As for the Third Temple, this is also highly debated but we know this; there is a building (most accept as the Third Temple), there are priests and sacrifice. But why God allows sacrifice when Jesus Christ died as the final sacrifice when he said “it is finished” (John 19:30), we don’t know.
The rest of this proposal is speculation but may be an explanation as we do not know the mind and ways of God. Nonetheless, the sacrificing may have something to do with God’s new covenant with the house of Judah and the house of Israel in Jeremiah 31:31 and Hebrews 8:8. Possibly because, as the Lord accused some of the Jews as being a ‘synagogue of Satan’ (Revelation 2:9 & 3:9), too much of our Christian leadership has decayed and corrupted into an alleged ‘church of Satan’ for the sake of public acceptance, popularity, money, satanic powers and self satisfaction.
However, returning to Isaiah 17, if in the near future a remarkable miracle happens and the Arab mayhem subsides for a few years I would then re-evaluate the ‘Damascus destruction’ timetable, and would also re-evaluate the aftermath.
Don Davis has over 20 years experience in analytic research particularly regarding Israeli, Middle Eastern culture, behavior and historical patterns. Don is based in Israel, from where he monitors and evaluates worldwide information on finance, technologies, industries, and the military/political environment for a US consulting company.