The Destruction of Damascus On the Horizon?
TGP Prophecy Letter – June 14, 2022
It seems that at least once a week, we hear about another “alleged” Israeli strike in Damascus, Syria. Just the other day, Israel struck the ancient city and damaged the Damascus International Airport significantly enough that flights were suspended (Yahoo! News). Why did Israel target the airport, and why is it that Israel keeps striking this city? As the article from Yahoo! News explains,
“The airport is located south of the capital Damascus where Syrian opposition activists say Iran-backed militiamen are active and have arms depots.”
Iran is smuggling weapons into Syria via passenger plane through the Damascus airport and is building their stock of weapons nearby. Iran is increasing its presence in the region, happily filling the void that Russia is leaving by pulling her troops to fight in the Ukraine War (The Jewish Press). Israel sees this and is vastly advancing their plans to strike and neutralize Iran before it is too late.
For the past year or so, we have expected the Psalm 83 war between Israel and her immediate Arab neighbors to potentially ignite as a result of an Israeli strike on Iran. Recent months have shown that Iran is either very close to or already has reached the Uranium enrichment levels necessary to create a nuclear warhead. Israel has made it clear that they intend to strike all of Iran’s positions and neutralize them at once. They acknowledge the enormity of this task and plan to strike hard and fast (The Jerusalem Post). From Israel’s standpoint, they must strike hard and fast, for if they are unsuccessful in stopping the threat quickly, Iran will certainly respond with the full power of their arsenal. This would likely spell the end of the tiny state of Israel (something which we know from Scripture will not happen).
These events are building and building, and our present thoughts are that when Israel finally pulls the trigger on the operation, Iran’s arms depots in Lebanon and specifically Damascus, Syria will be primary targets along with the Iranian home front. We believe that the prophecy of Isaiah 17 may bear heavily upon this operation. We here reproduce the first 8 verses, and we call your attention to the emboldened phrases that speak to its future relevance:
Isaiah 17:1-8 – 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. (4) And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. (5) And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim. (6) Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel. (7) At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. (8) And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.
The picture is of a Damascus that is no more and an Israel that is greatly weakened. We believe this prophecy may specifically describe the aftermath of Israel’s planned strike on Iran. We might wonder, If this is true, then why is the strike on Iran not mentioned? Recall that most of the time, what we are given in prophecy is merely a snapshot. The cause for the mentioned events is not always given to us in the text, and so we must watch for what might cause them. We believe this is the case for this passage. From Scripture, we do know precisely how Damascus will be destroyed and Israel will be weakened, we merely learn such will occur. It does, however, seem a logical conclusion that the destruction foretold is the result of fighting between Israel and Syria. In any case, it is certain that Damascus is destroyed, Israel is weakened, and Israel will thereafter look to the Holy One of Israel!
The destruction of Damascus is referred to in at least one other prophecy, one which is actually the focus of this letter:
Jeremiah 49:23-27 – 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.
Herein, we find the same type of prophecy “concerning Damascus,” and we believe this directly correlates to Isaiah 17:1-8. Here, however, it seems we are given slightly more detail concerning the demise of the ancient city. Verse 27 says, “And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.”
Who is this “Benhadad”? The name Ben-Hadad means “son of Hadad”; Hadad being the Babylonian god of storms. An article on GotQuestions.org explains,
“Since Ben-Hadad is a title much like Pharaoh or President, the term can refer to different individuals at different times. The context of each passage must be studied to determine just who is involved.”
The title Ben-Hadad refers to whoever rules in Syria at the time. The identity of the individual must be ascertained by surrounding evidence. Whoever it is, the Scriptures say that their palaces will be destroyed in this conflict. If the prophecy has any present relevance, this would refer to the current President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. If our understanding of Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 is correct, and if they are to be fulfilled in the near future, we then expect Bashar al-Assad’s palaces to be destroyed as a result of Israel’s strike on Iran.
Just this morning, we arose to find this spine-chilling article: Israel warns Assad, will bomb palaces if Iran operations continue - The Jerusalem Post. The article says,
“Israel has threatened to bomb Syrian President Basher Assad’s palaces if he does not cease or reduce military cooperation with Iran within his territory.”
Incredible! Israel is warning Assad that if he allows Iran to continue increasing their forces and weapons in the region, his palaces will be destroyed. This is precisely what the Lord foretold! The article is almost a quote of the Scripture! Little do these leaders know that the words coming from their mouths were foretold ages ago by the God of Heaven.
This sequence of events has been our understanding and expectation for some time, but previously, it was merely an educated guess. While this simple news article is certainly not proof that it will happen as we expect, it is nonetheless wonderfully encouraging and comforting to see that the situation in the region appears to be headed in that direction. We anxiously await further information and fully believe that these events, if our understanding is correct, are clear heralds of our Master’s return and our soon gathering to him, which could be at any moment! At the risk of redundancy, please allow us to show why we believe we could be gathered so soon:
The sequence of latter-day prophetical events bear heavily upon the general timing of when we will be gathered for a simple reason: Scripture shows Christ with his immortalized saints at a specific time and fighting in a particular conflict. It is clear, then, that before said conflict occurs, Christ must have already returned, gathered his saints, judged them, and enjoyed with them the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Therefore, if that prophesied conflict appears to be on the horizon and the stage for it seems to be nearly set, we can logically conclude that we will be gathered very, very soon. Such, we believe, is the case with this upcoming and final Arab-Israeli conflict.
A Suggested Sequence of Events
As to the possible sequence of events, our thoughts are presently as follows:
Israel will pre-emptively strike Iran, resulting in a sharp, incredibly heavy exchange of fire between the two countries. Israel will be successful in their endeavor to temporarily neutralize Iran, who will eventually recoup from the damage and come against Israel when Gog comes down at a later date. Through their pre-emptive strike, Israel will also have destroyed Iran’s militias and arms depots in Lebanon and Syria, resulting in the decimation of Damascus and Bashar Assad’s palaces per Jeremiah 49:23-27 and Isaiah 17:1-8.
Though successful, Israel will not have gone unscathed. They will lose the “fortress of Ephraim” which we believe may refer to the Golan Heights in the north. “The glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean” (Isaiah 17:3-4). Israel will be weakened and vulnerable, her weapons stores significantly depleted from the strike and her most strategic defensive position (the Golan Heights) lost. We believe that it is this weakened state of Israel that will cause her Arab neighbors of Psalm 83 to immediately and voraciously rally together under their prophesied and presently held goal, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psalm 83:4). Iran, now “out of the game”, will almost undoubtedly call for this alliance to be formed.
These Arab nations of Psalm 83 will come up against Israel at once, but as the rest of the Psalm and countless other prophecies clearly show, they will be destroyed by an immortalized host. Recall again that once Damascus is destroyed and Israel is weakened, it is said, “At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 17:7). We all know the identity of the Holy One of Israel! It will be the Lord Jesus Christ who comes! We read in Zechariah that Christ and the saints will deliver Israel from these aggressors “round about: “the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee… And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.” (Zechariah 14:5,14).
Do we see how tangibly close our Master appears to be? Who is ready for him? Even as we write this article, we must admit that we are not as ready as we desire to be. It can be difficult for our small, finite minds to absorb the enormity of the events we see, but we must give our very best efforts to do so! Thankfully, our readiness is strictly determined BY US. It is not something that is out of our control. You and I alone determine whether we are prepared for our Bridegroom when he comes! Now – today – is certainly the time to lift up our heads, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). If the things we are presently witnessing do not cause us to look and prepare ourselves now, what will?
Luke 12:35-36 – Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; (36) And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.