Damascus Will No Longer Be a City
By Paul Robertson.
Copyright 1997, 1998, 2004
"An oracle concerning Damascus: See, Damascus will no
longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins."

The Prophet Isaiah - Chapter 17, verse 1 NIV


"Go, Daniel! For the matters are obscured and sealed until the time of the End. They will be elucidated and clarified and refined by many [people]; the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand; but the wise will understand." Daniel 12:9-10 1
   

Introduction

Many who study Bible prophecy believe that the world's next imminent prophetic event is the destruction of Damascus prophesied in Isaiah 17. This document presents a hypothetical scenario for the fulfillment of this prophecy based on biblical research and current events. Please note that Isaiah made this prophecy approximately 2800 years ago. It is possible that this prophecy will not be fulfilled for many centuries. It is also possible that God relented or will relent from fulfilling this prophecy, depending on the actions of the people of Damascus. In studying Bible prophecy, times and dates generally elude us, and 20/20 hindsight is the general rule. However, it is interesting to speculate as to our current location on the prophetic timeline as presented in the interwoven prophecies of the Bible. With that in mind, I present this document. Please do not take my reasoning in this document too seriously, as my premises may be incorrect; please test and refine this document with your own study of the scriptures; and please remember that one of the primary duties of all believers is to spread the good news that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross so that we can live forever in the presence of God.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20, New American Standard Version)

Bible Prophecy

With perfect accuracy, the Bible predicted such events as:

The 70-year Babylonian captivity of the Jews.

"And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years." (Jeremiah 25:11 NKJ) 2The military campaigns of Alexander the Great. "And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power." (Daniel 8:5-6 NKJ)

"The ram which you saw, having the two horns -- they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king." (Daniel 8:20-21 NKJ)

The crucifixion of the Messiah. "For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots." (Psalms 22:16-18 NKJ)The destruction of the second Temple after Messiah's first appearance. "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." (Daniel 9:26 NKJ)The international exile and dispersion of the Jews. "So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds." (Ezekiel 36:19 NKJ)The spread of the good news of the Messiah to all nations. "Indeed He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'" (Isaiah 49:6 NKJ)Jewish persecution, the Holocaust, and related events. "And I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence; and I will deliver them to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth -- to be a curse, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, because they have not heeded My words, says the LORD, which I sent to them by My servants the prophets." (Jeremiah 29:18-19 NKJ)The dispersed Jews' return from the nations to the land of Israel. "In the latter years you will come into the land of those ... gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations..." (Ezekiel 38:8 NKJ)

Three Chronological Prophetic Events

Although many Bible prophecies have happened, others have not. Can we determine when prophecies will happen chronologically with respect to other prophecies? Many prophecies give clues that appear to link them to other prophecies. Isaiah 17, an oracle concerning Damascus, is such a prophecy. It gives clues that link it to Ezekiel 38-39, the prophecy of the 'Gog/Magog war,' a multinational attack against Israel. Ezekiel, in turn, seems to have written chapters 36-43 in the sequence the events in those chapters will happen.3 That sequence indicates that the third Temple will be standing after the Gog/Magog war. Let us now look at these three future events: the destruction of Damascus, the Gog/Magog war, and the construction of the third Temple. These events appear to be chronological and, perhaps, imminent.

Event 1. Isaiah 17: An Oracle Concerning Damascus

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"Among ancient cities of the world, Damascus is perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited. Its name, Dimashq in Arabic ... derives from Dimashka, a word of pre-Semitic etymology, suggesting that the beginnings of Damascus go back to a time before recorded history."4Isaiah, however, prophesied that in the future Damascus will no longer be a city. Isaiah chapter 17 reads: "An oracle concerning Damascus: 'See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer* will be deserted..." (Isaiah 17:1-2 NIV)5
  * Aroer is in south central Jordan.6

"...and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid. The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,"* (Isaiah 17:2-3 NIV)
 

* The land of Ephraim is the central West Bank.7 Currently, Palestinian Arabs populate this area."...and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram* will be like the glory of the Israelites," declares the LORD Almighty." (Isaiah 17:3 NIV)
  * Aram refers to the Syrians.8"In that day the glory of Jacob will fade*;…" (Isaiah 17:4 NIV)
  * 'Jacob' represents the Israelites.

"...the fat of his body will waste away. It will be as when a reaper gathers the standing grain and harvests the grain with his arm— as when a man gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs," declares the LORD, the God of Israel. In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made. In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites*,9 will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth." (Isaiah 17:4-9 NIV)
  * This highlighted statement indicates that the Israelites are combatants in this prophecy.

" And all will be desolation. You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.*" (Isaiah 17:9-10 NIV)
 

* This may be the reason God allows the events of this chapter to happen."Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing* in the day of disease and incurable pain." (Isaiah 17:10-11 NIV)
  * This passage may give a clue to the time of year this prophecy will happen.
The next verses describe an ensuing uproar of many nations and God's judgment on those nations: "Oh, the raging of many nations— they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples— they roar like the roaring of great waters! Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us." ( Isaiah 17:12-14 NIV)The above final verses of the chapter transition Isaiah's oracle concerning Damascus into a prophecy of a multinational alliance that rises against Israel to "loot and plunder."

Event 2. Multinational Attack (Gog/Magog War)

Ezekiel 38-39

Isaiah's clues indicate that the multinational attack that follows the destruction of Damascus is the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39.

"The word of the LORD came to me: 'Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army--your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops--the many nations with you.'" (Ezekiel 38:1-6 NIV)"Gog" is a man. He is the political leader of the leading nation of the multinational alliance. The only clue we have concerning his identity is found in the book of 1 Chronicles. "...the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. The descendants of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son..." (1 Chronicles 5:4 KJV)10Gog was a descendant of Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob, the patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel. It is possible that the commander of the multinational attack is a direct descendant of Gog, a descendant of Reuben, son of Jacob.

Ezekiel describes Israel's condition at the time of the invasion, through God's prophetic words to Gog.

"Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hords gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety." (Ezekiel 38:7-8 NIV)The people of Israel now seem to fit the above description for the first time in history, but with one major exception: they do not yet live in safety. Terrorist attacks continue, and hostile neighbors border Israel. However, if the threat of invasion by Israel’s neighbors ceased, and if the Palestinian unrest ceased, Israel would probably fit the above description. This will may be Israel's situation after the prophecy in Isaiah 17 is complete (described in the previous section).

Gog, the leader of the multinational alliance, devises a scheme and will say:

"I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land." (Ezekiel 38:12 NIV)The reason for Gog's multinational attack is to plunder and loot Israel. At the time of Gog's attack, Israel will have recovered from war. After the war in Isaiah 17 in which Damascus is destroyed, many nations will rise against Israel to loot and plunder. These clues may indicate that Isaiah 17 transitions into Ezekiel 38 and 39. After Damascus is destroyed, the Gog/Magog war may happen next.

Isaiah 18's Mystery Nation--China?

Isaiah 18 gives further insight into the Gog/Magog war. Jewish commentators agree that Isaiah 18 concerns the Gog/Magog war.

"Isaiah... speaks to the nations involved in the wars of 'Gog and Magog.'"11After Isaiah summarizes the Gog/Magog war at the end of Isaiah 17, he further explains the war in chapter 18, discussing two nations involved. One is along (or beyond) the rivers of Cush (Ethiopia). This could be the Sudan. "Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush,* which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water." (Isaiah 18:1-2 NIV)
  * Cush is the upper Nile region, south of Egypt. The Sudan and Ethiopia are located there. Cush is an ally in the Gog/Magog war: "Persia [Iran], Cush [vicinity of Sudan and Ethiopia], and Put [Libya] will be with them..." (Ezekiel 38:5 NIV; the brackets [ ] are mine).
Isaiah then describes a mystery nation to which Cush will send messengers. Although the mystery nation is not named, a riddle is given that helps us deduce the identity of this nation. "Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers." (Isaiah 18:2 NIV)The above translation does not accurately translate the Hebrew text. Using a computerized Hebrew Masoretic Text, I did an exhaustive computer cross-reference of each word that describes the mystery nation. Here is a better description of the mystery nation: "...a nation led along according to someone else's will, smooth (or hairless), a people feared from himself and beyond, a nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated, whose land the rivers plundered." (Isaiah 18:2, translated by exhaustive computer cross-reference of the Hebrew Masoretic Text) 12Let us try to identify this 'mystery nation.' We will assume that the description of this nation is its condition in the future, when messengers from Cush arrive.

The first clue is based on the Hebrew word "mushach."13 This word means "led along according to someone else's will." It indicates that the people of this nation are led to do things not by their own free will, but by the will of someone else. The people of this nation are not free.

The second clue, "smooth-skinned" (or hairless), comes from the Hebrew word "morat,"14 This word probably means smooth, or hairless. The people of this nation are either clean-shaven, or, more probably, they do not naturally grow facial hair and body hair.

The third clue is that its people are "feared from himself and beyond." The Hebrew phrase reads, "nora min-hu vahalea." The descriptive Hebrew root-words are "yare" and "min...halea."15 The people of this nation are afraid of their own government and the nation is feared worldwide. Their nation may be a world power.

The fourth clue, "a nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated," is from the Hebrew words "kav-kav" and "mevusa."16 he combination of these words indicates that this nation stretched measuring lines (like a carpenter does before he cuts a piece of wood) and then subjugated, or subdued [people].

The fifth clue, "whose land the rivers have plundered" is based on the Hebrew word "bazu." The verb "bazu" is found nowhere else in the Old Testament except in this chapter in Isaiah. The word, however, is similar to the noun "baz,"17 which means "loot," or "plunder." The verb "bazu," therefore, probably means "looted," or "plundered." The passage indicates that rivers will have plundered, or carried off the wealth of this nation's land before messengers from Cush arrive. The rivers of the 'mystery nation' will have severely flooded.

Let us review all the clues. When messengers from Cush go to this 'mystery nation,' the nation has the following characteristics:

  • The nation is not a free (or democratic) society.
  • The nation's people are smooth-skinned (have little or no facial and body hair).
  • The nation is a world power.
  • The nation stretched measuring lines and then subjugated or subdued [people].
  • The nation will have just experienced massive river flooding.
If this prophecy is imminent, China may be the modern nation that best fits the Biblical description of the mystery nation of Isaiah 18.

Isaiah 18 continues, giving further insight into the Gog/Magog war.

"All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it. This is what the LORD says to me: "I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches."* (Isaiah 18:3-5 NIV)
  * This sentence may give a clue to the time of year of the Gog/Magog defeat."They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter. At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers*— the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty." (Isaiah 18:6-7 NIV)
  * again the 'mystery nation' passage is better translated: "...a nation led along according to someone else's will, smooth-skinned (or hairless), a people feared from himself and beyond, a nation that stretched measuring lines and subjugated, whose land the rivers plundered." (Isaiah 18:2 & 7)
Isaiah 17 transitions into the Gog/Magog war at the end of the chapter. Isaiah 18 continues, giving further insight into the Gog/Magog war and describing a nation that may be China.

Event 3: The Third Temple

Ezekiel's Sequence

The prophet Ezekiel described a Jerusalem Temple in chapters 40-43. The passage opens with a vision.

"…I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand. The man said to me, 'Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see.'" (Ezekiel 40:3-4 NIV)As the vision unfolded, Ezekiel saw and described, in detail, a Temple that had never been built, nor has it ever been built. Two temples have been built in Jerusalem to date—Solomon’s temple, and the post-Babylonian exile temple that King Herod later renovated. Ezekiel had a vision of the third, future Temple. Modern Jewish Temple movement groups are currently planning to build this 'Ezekiel Temple' when the opportunity arises.19 (endnote #18 was omitted)

In chapters 36-43, Ezekiel gave a chronology of three major future events in Israel.20 The first is in Ezekiel 36-37. These chapters describe Israelite people coming out of all nations and returning to Israel. This prophecy has already happened and is still happening as Jews return to Israel.

"For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land." (Ezekiel 36:24 NIV)

"…'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel…'" (Ezekiel 37:21-22 NIV)

The second major event is in Ezekiel 38-39. It is the Gog/Magog war, discussed above. "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal…" (Ezekiel 38:2 NIV)The third major event is in Ezekiel 40-43. In these chapters, Ezekiel described the future third Temple in Jerusalem. Based on Ezekiel's chronology, Israelites will return to Israel (this has already happened and continues to happen), then the Gog/Magog war will be fought, then the third Temple will be standing.

The Prophet Joel: The Porch and the Altar

The prophet Joel, in chapter two, further describes the Gog/Magog invasion (see endnote 21 for an explanation). In Joel chapter two, Joel indicates that before the Gog/Magog war ends, two components of the Temple will exist: the porch and the altar. The altar is the brazen altar used for sacrificing animals.

"Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar..." (Joel 2:17 KJV)

This passage indicates that efforts to rebuild the Temple may begin before the Gog/Magog war ends.

How Imminent Are These Prophecies?

IIn the 20th century, with the establishment of the state of Israel came the beginning of the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy that the Israelites would be gathered from the nations and would resettle the land of Israel, which had long been desolate (Ezekiel 36-37; Ezekiel 38:7-8). Now that this prophecy is being fulfilled, the following prophecies appear to be upcoming events. Here they are, in their probable chronological order:

  • Damascus will be destroyed (Isaiah 17).
  • The Gog/Magog multinational war will be fought against Israel (Ezekiel 38-39, transition at end of Isaiah 17, Isaiah 18, Joel 2).
  • The third Temple will stand in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-43).
How imminent are these events?

The Third Temple

The Red Heifer

Before Israel can hold ceremonies in the third Temple, an unblemished red heifer must be sacrificed when it is in its third year of life (between its second and third birthday).

"The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 'This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without blemish and that has never been under a yoke…'" (Numbers 19:1-2 NIV)The red heifer's ashes must be mixed with water, and this mixture must be sprinkled on Temple priests to purify them.

In the late summer of 1996, a red heifer was born in Israel to a black and white cow and a brown bull.22 This red heifer, named Melody, was not born as a result of red heifer breeding efforts. Its birth was a surprise. Initially, this heifer was thought to be the first flawless red heifer to be born in Israel in over 1,900 years, and the 10th in the history of the Jewish people.23 According to the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, to qualify as 'flawless' under Halacha (Jewish law), a red heifer cannot have two white or two black hairs growing from the same follicle. This red heifer was originally thought to meet this requirement. Melody, however was proven to be flawed and inappropriate for sacrifice.

Israeli Temple movement groups later set their hopes on a herd of Red Heifers bred in Nebraska, the United States.24

Are red heifer breeding efforts an indication that Temple construction is imminent? If so, then even more imminent are the two events that precede the third Temple's existence: the destruction of Damascus, and the Gog/Magog war.

The Temple Institute

In the mid 1980s, the Temple Institute was founded in Jerusalem. As of autumn, 1997, this institute has built a collection of...

"...vessels, implements and musical instruments associated with service at the Temple in Jerusalem. These artifacts are not mere models. They have been created in strict accordance with Halacha (Jewish Law) and historical sources. Each one represents close collaboration of the Institute's rabbis and scholars with respected artists and craftsmen. They have been reconstructed to be eligible for use in holy service at the Temple in Jerusalem, G-d willing. Of 93 artifacts used in the Temple service, 60 have been recreated."25The remaining 33 artifacts are being recreated. The Temple Institute expects the 93 artifacts to be used in the third Temple once it is built.

The Dome of the Rock

At the present, Israel cannot build the third Temple without sparking a war. This is because the third holiest shrine of the Muslims sits on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. That shrine is the Dome of the Rock. However, if the military forces of many Muslim nations are severely weakened, there will be little, if any, resistance to keep Israel from building the Temple.

On an interesting note, in January, 1998, I phoned the Temple Institute, Jerusalem, Israel and asked whether the brazen altar (the altar of animal sacrifice mentioned in Joel 2:17, and quoted in "The Porch and the Altar" section above) has been built. A representative from the institute told me that the altar has not yet been built because it must be built in place on the Temple mount, which is currently occupied by Muslim buildings. I then asked whether the Israelis now had the capability to construct the altar. The representative answered, "No problem." He also said that a metal replica of the future altar is currently being used for rehearsals.

Conclusion

It appears that one could argue that the prophesied destruction of Damascus, the prophesied Gog/Magog war and the prophesied erection of the third temple may be chronological events. If recent movements in Israel to prepare for the construction and dedication of the third temple indicate that its erection is imminent, then the destruction of Damascus and the Gog/Magog war may also be imminent.

Perhaps these events will take place soon. Perhaps they will not take place for centuries. Perhaps the reasoning in this article is flawed and the events are not chronological. Perhaps God will prevent the destruction of Damascus from happening if its people repent. Perhaps the city was completely destroyed at one time and the archaeological record has not yet produced the evidence. Through further prayer and Bible study, may the Lord help us to refine our understanding of the meanings of His prophecies.
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Appendix: Related Bible Prophecies That Need Further Research

A Related Damascus Prophecy?

Probably all Bible passages need further research, but another passage that may be related to Damascus' future destruction is Amos 1:3-5. That passage may provide further insight into the upcoming destruction of Damascus. I have not studied that passage, so I do not know whether it is about the past, future, or both. That is why I did not discuss it. Some people think that the passage indicates that if Syria offensively attacks Israel one more time, God will destroy the city of Damascus. Those people think that Syria's offensive attacks against Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973 are the first three sins mentioned in the passage below. Here is the passage:

"This is what the LORD says: 'For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth, I will send fire upon the house of Hazael53 that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.54 I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,' says the LORD." (Amos 1:3-5 NIV)Israel's Neighbors

Someone may want to study the chapters in Isaiah surrounding Isaiah 17. Those chapters prophesy against several of Israel's neighbors. Amos chapter 1 and Micah 5:5-6 also prophesy against several of Israel's neighbors. Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt are not mentioned in Ezekiel's prophecy in chapters 38-39 of the Gog/Magog multinational attack. Yet Ezekiel, in chapter 38:5, mentioned Libya (Put), Iran (Persia), and what appears to be the Sudan (Cush), all of which now have one or two nations between their borders and Israel. In Ezekiel 38:8 and 38:14, Israel is described as living in safety before the Gog/Magog war. Can this be possible unless Israel's hostile neighbors' military forces are neutralized? Why didn't Ezekiel mention Israel's immediate neighbors? Perhaps the chapters surrounding Isaiah 17 and Amos 1 give clues.

Further Gog/Magog Considerations

Someone may want to study Ezekiel 39:11. Here it is:

"Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up... For seven years they will use them for fuel." (Ezekiel 39:11 NIV)The above passage indicates that during the seven years after the Gog/Magog war, the Israelites will burn the weapons of the multinational alliance. This brings up some questions: Does this seven-year period continue through the final half of Daniel's 70th 'week,' or does it end before the 70th 'week'. In considering the prophecy concerning Israel's burning of Gog/Magog weapons for seven years, one must note that several prophecies indicate that a remnant of Israelite people will go into exile in the wilderness during the final half of Daniel's 70th 'week.' This may indicate that the Israelites will be unable to "go out and use the weapons [of the Gog/Magog armies] for fuel..." during that exile. The most famous prophecy that predicts this exile is in Revelation, and reads: "The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days." (Revelation 12:6 NIV)Another possibility is that the seven year period for burning weapons after the Gog/Magog war concerns a second Gog/Magog war that happens after the Messiah's millennial reign. "When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves." (Revelation 20:7-9 NIV)

After Two Days

Someone may also want to study the following two prophecies:

"After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us; that we may live in his presence." (Hosea 6:2 NIV)

"For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by..." (Psalm 90:4 NIV)

The passage above from Hosea mentions two things God does for us so that we may live in his presence: He revives and restores us. The portion that states, "…on the third day he will restore us,” was probably fulfilled when Jesus was resurrected on the third day. Perhaps the part that states, "After two days he will revive us,” combined with the above passage from Psalms indicates that He will resurrect ("revive") us after 2000 years from a start-point that needs to be determined. Could that start-point be the day Jesus ascended into heaven?

Or perhaps "after two days he will revive us that we may live in his presence" refers to the time when Jesus reigns on earth and we physically live in his presence here on earth. In trying to determine a start-point and end-point for a possible 2000-year interval, one may want to consider the following: around the Spring of AD 31, Jesus ascended into heaven. This event may have marked the beginning of a 2000-year period before the Messiah's physical return when we will live in his presence on earth. Of course, based on the words of Jesus, nobody but the Father knows the day or the hour in which Jesus will return. But it’s fun to speculate.

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For more information on prophecy and Damascus, browse the World Wide Web, using combinations of such keywords as 'Damascus', 'Isaiah', 'Syria', 'War', and 'Prophecy.' Please test every article with the Bible.
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http://www.geocities.com/athens/parthenon/3021

 truthresearch@hotmail.com

Endnotes

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1 The Stone Edition Tanach. Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications Ltd. 1996 (A Jewish Translation of the Bible).

2 NKJ: New King James Version. Biblical texts researched in producing this document were the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia BHS (Hebrew Masoretic Text), the Byzantine/Majority textform Greek New Testament, and the following English Versions: King James, New King James, New International, Revised Standard, the Stone Edition Tanach, and the New Jewish Publications Society Translation of the Tanakh. Many texts were accessed via Bushell, Michael S., BibleWorks for Windows. Big Fork, Montana: Hermeneutica Software, 1996 and Logos Bible Software 2.0c, The Logos Library System, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996. In several instances, vague translations were clarified by extracting certain Hebrew words' meanings through exhaustively cross-referencing the words throughout a computerized Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Tanach (Old Testament) and viewing the words in various contexts.

3 The central themes of each of the major events in (1) Ezekiel 36-37, (2) 38-39 and (3) 40-43 appear to be in chronological order. Those central themes are, in sequence, (1) the repopulating of Israel by the Jewish people, (2) the Gog/Magog war, and (3) the existence of the third Temple in Jerusalem. There appears to be overlap between events. Event (1) appears to overlap into events (2) and (3). Joel 2:17 ("…porch and the altar…") indicates that event (2) may overlap into event (3). Event (3) appears to overlap into future prophecies that are beyond the scope of this document.

4 The Encyclopedia Britannica on the World Wide Web, at http://www.eb.com/cgi-bin/g?keywords=Damascus+is+the+oldest+continuously

5 NIV: New International Version

6 Achtemier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary. San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc., 1985.

7 Unger's Bible Dictionary. Chicago, Ill: Moody Press, 1985, map 4.

8 Achtemier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper's Bible Dictionary. San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc., 1985.

9 Bold, underlined and italicized print in this and other passages in this document are added for emphasis.

10 KJV: King James Version

11 The Stone Edition Tanach. Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications Ltd. 1996, p. 984 (a footnote on Isaiah 18:1).

12 Hebrew Masoretic Text accessed via: Bushell, Michael S., BibleWorks for Windows. Big Fork, Montana: Hermeneutica Software, 1996.

13 The word "mushach" is found in Genesis 37:28 "So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him..." (NIV); Exodus 12:21 "Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover." (KJV); and Deuteronomy 21:3 "...take an heifer, which hath not been wrought in, and which hath not drawn in the yoke." (KJV). (These passages are quoted from the NIV or KJV as annotated. They are cross-references for the Hebrew word "mushach" in the Hebrew Masoretic Text).

14 The Hebrew verb "morat" means to remove hair (shave): Ezra 9:3 "When I heard this, I... pulled hair from my head and beard...". The Hebrew adjective "morat" means "polished", "smooth", or "burnished": 1 Kings 7:45 "the pots, shovels and...bowels...were of burnished bronze" (These passages are quoted from the NIV. They are cross-references for the Hebrew word "morat" in the Hebrew Masoretic Text). Therefore, when the adjective "morat" is used to describe a person, it probably means "clean-shaven", "smooth-skinned", or "hairless" (little or no facial or body hair).

15 Cross references for "yare:" Genesis 28:17 "And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place!"(KJV); Exodus 15:11 "...who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises..."(KJV). Cross references for "min...halea:" 1 Samuel 20:22 "...the arrows are beyond you..."; Ezekiel 39:22 "From that day forward..."(NIV) (These passages are quoted from the KJV or NIV, as annotated. They are cross-references for the Hebrew words "yare" and "halea" in the Hebrew Masoretic Text).

16 Cross references for "kav:" Isaiah 44:13 "The Carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker...;" 2 Kings 21:13 "I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria..."; Job 38:4-5 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?." Cross reference for "mevusa:" Isaiah 22:5 "The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day of tumult and trampling and terror in the Valley of Vision..." (These passages are quoted from the NIV. They are cross-references for the Hebrew words "kav" and "mevusa" in the Hebrew Masoretic Text).

17 The word "baz" is found in Isaiah 10:6 "...I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder..."; and Isaiah 33:23 "Then an abundance of spoils will be divided and even the lame will carry off plunder" (These passages are quoted from the NIV. They are cross-references for the Hebrew word "baz" in the Hebrew Masoretic Text).

18 Omitted.

19 An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi (name withheld) in Wheaton, Maryland (the United States), informed me that there is a strong push within current Temple movement groups to build the Ezekiel Temple. Some people, however, disagree, and want to build a replica of one of the ancient versions of the Temple.

20 Please see footnote 3.

21 Since the focus of this document is to show why Isaiah 17 (Damascus' destruction) may be imminent, I do not want to discuss in detail why Joel 2 further describes the Gog/Magog invasion. Here is a summary of Joel 2: A huge army (verse 2), with aircraft (verse 5), invades Israel using battle tactics currently used by Russia and Russia's allies (verses 3, 7, 8). The army originates from the north (verse 20), attacks from the west (deduced from verse 20), and retreats after an act of God (verse 20). The army's leading forces retreat east toward the Dead Sea (verse 20), and its trailing forces retreat west toward the Mediterranean (verse 20). God defeats the army when the nation of Israel returns to God, which happens during this invasion (verses 12-20). After the war, God pours his Spirit onto the people of Israel (verses 28-29) and performs wonders in the heavens and on earth (verses 30-31). Then the Day of the Lord begins, and God judges the military forces of all nations in a final end-of-the-age battle in the Middle East (chapter 3). By comparing Joel chapter 2 events with other prophecies, and by noting the Joel chapter 2 invasion's setting with reference to the surrounding sequence of prophetic events, one can deduce that Joel 2 describes the Gog/Magog invasion. This war appears to be extremely important in God's eyes, perhaps because it marks the time when the Israelite nation finally returns to God forever. Perhaps this is why the war appears in several prophecies.

22 The Boston Globe, 4/6/97, p. A1. Article by Ethan Bronner, Globe Staff. http://users.aol.com/mkneisler/noah/naredhef.htm

23 Hatikva 1997 Shavuot Update. "Has the Red Heifer Appeared in Israel?" http://www.hatikva.org/nlshvt97

24 The Messianic Times, Volume 8, number 4, Winter, 1998, page 12. Rosen, David. "Unblemished" Red Heifer will be shipped to Israel. The Messianic Times, P.O. Box 1180, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. http://www.messianictimes.com/

25 The Temple Institute's home page on the Web, at http://www.temple.org.il/

26 Jesus' answers can be found in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

27 Cross reference: Revelation 6:13 (NIV) "and the stars in the sky fell to the earth..." Note that two verses later, Revelation 6:17 indicates that these events mark the time of God's wrath: "For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

28 Cross references: Isaiah 13:13 (NIV) "Therefore I will make the heavens tremble...;" Haggai 2:6 (NIV) "...In a little while I will once more shake the heavens..."

29 Cross reference: Daniel 7:13 (KJV) "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven..."

30 Cross references: Leviticus 23:24 (NKJ) "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation;" 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NIV) "...we will all be changed--in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;" Revelation 11:15-14:20 (NIV), beginning with "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet..."

31 Cross references: Revelation 14:16 (NIV) "So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested;" Joel 3:13 (NIV) "Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe;" Mark 4:26-29 (NIV) "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows...All by itself the soil produces grain...As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

32 Jesus was quoting Psalms 118:22-23

33 Josephus, Flavius, The Works of Josephus (Wars of the Jews, 6:3:4). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.

34 "Messianic" means "Christian." Both words describe a people who are "followers of God's Anointed One." "Messianic" is an anglicized Hebrew word. "Christian" is an anglicized Greek word.

35 Greene, William Ph.D. The Ascendance of "Messianic Judaism" in the Context of "Hebrew Christianity" http://mcu.edu/papers/mess_jud.htm and Chernoff, Yohanna. Born a Jew… Die a Jew. Hagerstown, MD: EBED Publications, 1996, page 131.

36 Greene, William Ph.D. The Ascendance of "Messianic Judaism" in the Context of "Hebrew Christianity" http://mcu.edu/papers/mess_jud.htm

37 Many Messianic Jewish Congregations are listed on the Internet at http://www.messianic.com/pchome.htm

38 Martin Chernoff passed away on October 27, 1985 (Chernoff, Yohanna. Born a Jew… Die a Jew. Hagerstown, MD: EBED Publications, 1996, page 231).

39 What is Beth Messiah Synagogue? Beth Messiah Web site

40 Zechariah 11:4 (NIV)

41 See endnote 45, below, for a description of the exact calculation. On the Gregorian (modern) calendar, an average year is 365.2425 days. This accounts for one leap year every four years minus three leap years every four centuries. The mean solar (tropical) year is actually closer to 365.24219878 days long (see The Babylonian Calendar, The Proceedings of the Friesian School, Fourth Series, at http://www.friesian.com/calendar.htm paragraph 7).

42 Achtemier, Paul J., Th.D. Harper's Bible Dictionary. San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc., 1985 (Accessed via Logos Bible Software 2.0c, The Logos Library System, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).

43 The Cambridge Ancient History, Second Ed., Vol V, The Fifth Century BC. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992 (Library of Congress card #75-85719), "…the death of Xerxes, recently firmly dated to August 465…" (page 13) "…somewhere between 4 and 8 August" (page 13, footnote 47). See also Stolper, M. W. "Some Ghost Facts About Achaemenid Babylonian Texts," Journal of Hellenic Studies 108 (1988), pp. 196-8. See also Parker, Richard A., and Dubberstein, Waldo H., Babylonian Chronology 626 BC - AD 75. Providence, RI: Brown University Press, 1956 (Library of Congress Catalogue # 56-10735), "(Aug. 4? - 8?, 465), Death by murder of Xerxes…" "The day number is imperfectly preserved…" (page 17).

44 A lunar month is the time from one new moon to the next. It is approximately 29.53059 days. The Jewish Passover, which happens on 14 Nisan, cannot fall before the spring (vernal) equinox. The spring equinox falls around March 21 at the moment the sun passes directly over the equator, moving from South to North. At that time, the length of time in a day and night are approximately equal. The first 'fourteenth day of a lunar cycle' on or after the spring equinox is Passover, and its lunar month is Nisan. For further reading, see Bushwick, Nathan, Understanding the Jewish Calendar. Brooklyn, NY: Moznaim Publishing Corporation, 1989, p. 106.

45 On the Gregorian (modern) calendar, adding 173,880 days to a date in the spring of 446 BC is the same as adding 476 years and 24 days. This accounts for 116 leap years (from February, 445 BC to February, AD 28). On the Gregorian calendar, 101 BC, 201 BC, and 301 BC were not leap years. 1 BC and 401 BC were leap years. One year passed between 1 BC and AD 1. The calculation is (7 'weeks') + (62 'weeks') = (69 'weeks') X (2520 days-per-'week') = 173,880 days = (376 years) X (365 days-per-year) + (116 leap-year-days) + (24 additional days).

46 I plan do an astronomical computer calculation to determine the new moon of the month of Nisan at the time of Artaxerxes' decree, and the new moon of Nisan 476 years later. These calculations would allow us to obtain a one-month range for the time of "Messiah the Prince" by adding 476 Gregorian years and 24 days to both the first and last days of Nisan, the year of the command. The calculations and values obtained must account for and show scientific error.

47 Jesus was crucified in the spring, Passover, 14 Nisan on the traditional Jewish lunisolar calendar upheld by the Pharisees.* The spring equinox is around March 21. Passover falls between the spring equinox and 29 days later. Passover fluctuates from year to year with reference to the equinox because Passover is the first 14th day of a lunar cycle after the spring equinox. *A calendar discovered at Qumran suggests that a minority Jewish first-century sect used a 364-day solar calendar. This may account for the Passover discrepancy between the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the gospel of John. The minority sect always held Passover on a specific Tuesday, regardless of the majority's Passover day. I do not know how the minority sect dealt with the approximately 1.25-day discrepancy between their year and a true solar year. Nor have I found any information that interpolates their new years days to the Gregorian calendar. (see Talmon, Shemaryahu, The World of Qumran from Within: Collected Studies. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1989, pp. 147-185; see also The Calendar (Mishmarot) of the Community at Qumram, Baltimore City Community College, at http://www.erols.com/bcccsbs/dsscal.htm).

48 Tanakh The Holy Scriptures. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1985.

49 According to the rules of grammar, a pronoun refers to the noun that is the nearest antecedent.

50 "Most evangelical scholars affirm that Revelation was written in AD 95 or 96. This is based on accounts of the early church fathers that the Apostle John had been exiled on Patmos Island during the reign of Domitian who died in AD 96. John was then allowed to return to Ephesus." Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc., 1983, 1985.

51 One month equals 29.53059 days, the amount of time in a lunar cycle.* Therefore, 42 lunar months equals 1,240.28 days (about 3 years and 4 ¾ Gregorian [modern] months). Note also Revelation 13:5 (NIV): "The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months." *Some have hypothesized that before the Flood, an ancient month (lunar cycle) may have been exactly 30 days, based on the following passages: "...on the seventeenth day of the second month...all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened." (Genesis 7:11 NIV); "The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days." (Genesis 7:24 NIV); "At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat." (Genesis 8:3-4 NIV) Based on the above three passages, some think that 5 pre-Flood months passed in 150 days, thus an ancient month may have equaled 30 days. This may mean that during the Flood, the earth's rotational period slightly decreased and/or the moon's orbital period slightly increased. For a theory that may lead to a logical explanation for these possible phenomenon, see the Hydroplate Theory at www.creationscience.com, and consider the physical effects on the earth of the Genesis 7:11 event: "...on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth..." (NIV).

52 This rabbi lives in Wheaton, Maryland, in the United States. His name is withheld.

53 Cross reference: 1 Kings 19:15 (NIV) "The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram" (Aram refers to the people of Syria.).

54 Cross references: 2 Kings 6:24 (NIV) "Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria" (Aram refers to the people of Syria); Jeremiah 49:27 (NIV) "I will set fire to the walls of Damascus; it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad."



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