Summary: Part 5 in a series on prophecy. Dealing with the prophecy of Damascus.
Last week we began looking at the Bible prophesies God gave to the Old Testament prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos concerning the destruction of Damascus, Syria. We know that this is a prophecy for the future, because it has never been fulfilled. Damascus is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world. In its 5000-year history, it has never been totally destroyed. And yet these prophecies declare that one day Damascus will cease to exist as a city.
We looked at the Old Testament passages concerning Damascus and saw that this judgment was going to encompass the cities and people in the areas surrounding Damascus as well as the old city itself. We also speculated, based on the few clues that God gives us, that this vast destruction will come about very possibly as a result of a nuclear attack - Israel being the source of this attack.
This morning (I hope you brought your handouts with you) we are going to continue our study of this future event and attempt to answer the questions: Why is this judgment going to come upon Damascus, and what is the world’s reaction to the destruction?
I. Why is this judgment going to come upon Damascus?
So, let’s take a look at question number three from your handouts and the passages of scripture under it, and see if we can figure out why Damascus and the surrounding area will be destroyed.
A. Amos 1:3
For three transgressions of Damascus and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they threshed Gilead with implements of sharp iron.
The prophet Amos makes it pretty clear that the reason for judgment upon Damascus is that they threshed Gilead with implements of iron. Now, every commentary and scholar I have read agrees that “threshing with iron instruments” is a picture of some kind of war campaign or military action. “Threshing” being the cutting down or laying to waste of an area and/or its inhabitants.
So, in this passage, Damascus is punished for attacking Gilead. (Map 4) Gilead is an area east of the Jordan River between the Sea of Galilee to the north and the Dead Sea to the south.
Though, historically, Gilead belongs to the Jewish people, today it is considered part of the kingdom of Jordan.
I have studied this prophecy from many angles and researched it extensively, but I can’t figure out why Syria would attack it’s fellow Arabic neighbor. Perhaps I’m missing something, or maybe there are some future events yet to take place that would easily explain this passage.
If you notice on Map 4, Gilead is located directly across the Jordan River from the Palestinian controlled West Bank and south of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. The Golan Heights were once a part of Syria that was annexed and occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967. Syria has always wanted this land back.
Just this week an exclusive from Debkafile , on online international news source, reported that “Syrian military intelligence agents detonated a bomb at the Golan border fence…For three weeks (since the beginning of the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict), Assad (the Syrian president) has been working up to provoking a limited war engagement with Israel.”
Because of the Golan Heights’ close proximity to Gilead and to where fighting is presently taking place, I wonder if maybe the fighting could spill over into Gilead for some reason? Could this be what Amos is referring to, or not? I don’t know, but keep watching the Middle East and see if we don’t soon have our answer. All I can say with any amount of certainty is that one of the reasons God gives for bringing judgment upon Damascus is that they “threshed” or attacked Gilead.
But God gives us another more veiled reason for destroying Damascus. It is found hidden in the Isaiah 17 prophecy. And I’ll tell you before we even read it that this is a personal interpretation of the passage and as such you can accept it or reject it. Although I was much surprised to find prophecy scholar, Hal Lindsey, accepts and teaches this interpretation as well. Let’s read Isaiah 17:3-8.
The fortified city will disappear from Ephriam, and sovereignty from Damascus and the remnant from Aram (Syria); they will be like the glory of the sons of Israel,” declares the LORD of hosts.  Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, and the fatness of his flesh will become lean.  It will be even like the reaper gathering the standing grain, as his arm harvests the ears, or it will be like one gleaning ears of grain in the valley of Rephaim.  Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives on the topmost bough, four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree, declares the LORD, the God of Israel.  In that day man will have regard for his Maker and his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel.  He will not have regard for the altars, the work of his hands, nor will he look to that which his fingers have made, even the Asherim and incense stands.