The answer to the first part of that question is a definite yes. The Prophet Isaiah was very clear in Isaiah 17 that Damascus will be left a ruin and uninhabitable. Here are verses 1-3:
1 The burden against Damascus.
“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city,
And it will be a ruinous heap.
2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken;
They will be for flocks
Which lie down, and no one will make them afraid.
3 The fortress also will cease from Ephraim,
The kingdom from Damascus,
And the remnant of Syria;
They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
Is this something that will occur in our lifetime? That we cannot say and the Bible doesn’t specify a time. We do know that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. According to Wikipedia, Damascus is one of the oldest, if not THE oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world. There are nearly 2 million people living within the city limits and around 5 million in the metropolitan area.
When I first learned of the prophecy in Isaiah 17 that Damascus will be utterly destroyed I wondered what could cause such a thing to occur. IF it’s something that will occur in our lifetime it is reasonable to assume a nuclear strike would be the instrument of destruction. Who would nuke Damascus and why? For me I think it’s possible that a Syrian chemical attack on Israel could prompt Israel to respond with such force. All nuclear capable nations already reserve the right to respond to a chemical attack, a weapon of mass destruction, with a nuke. It is scary to think that we could be watching this scenario unfold.
The United States claims that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on it’s own people in it’s civil war with Islamic Jihadists. Others claim that the rebels may have used chemical weapons as well. The United States says it will respond with a military strike and rumors are that could occur on Thursday, which is tomorrow. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime is on record saying if the U.S. attacks Syria, Syria will attack Israel. Iranian officials say that Israel will be “First Victim” if the west attacks Syria. It’s also reasonable to expect that there would be acts of terror waged against western targets as a result. Israel says that if they are attacked they will respond with great force.
It’s clear to me that a U.S. strike is much more likely to fan the flames of war and cause it to spread across the region rather than settle the Syrian Civil War. Could escalation lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 17? I pray not. Such catastrophic events would certainly lead to world war and possibly nuclear war. Scary to imagine.
One final word on Isaiah 17. The rest of the chapter describes the toll on Israel. While Israel will not be destroyed, there will be devastation.
4 “In that day it shall come to pass
That the glory of Jacob will wane,
And the fatness of his flesh grow lean.
5 It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain,
And reaps the heads with his arm;
It shall be as he who gathers heads of grain
In the Valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it,
Like the shaking of an olive tree,
Two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough,
Four or five in its most fruitful branches,”
Says the Lord God of Israel.
The good news is, Israel will turn back to the Lord as a result.
7 In that day a man will look to his Maker,
And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.
8 He will not look to the altars,
The work of his hands;
He will not respect what his fingers have made,
Nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.
Be watchful. Be prayerful. Ask God to help us to discern the times. Give to Joel Rosenberg’s Joshua Fund which is helping all people in the Middle East.
For more on this subject check out an article published on June 17th at TheBlaze.com featuring an interview with Joel Rosenberg and Hank Hanegraaff. They have opposing views on the meaning of Isaiah 17.
Now you know mine.
UPDATE: Cross post at EmbraceGrace.org