Damascus, the capital city of Syria, is one of the oldest cities in existence. The 1.67 million people who inhabit Syria’s largest city today are sitting on a wealth of history claiming as far back as Noah’s son Shem. Inhabitants like Abraham and the Apostle Paul at one time were residents. Though ruled over time by a plethora of tribes and empires, the city’s history perseveres in an unbroken chain to this day. And yet, the Bible says that Damascus will finally come to a quick, devastating and permanent end.
Isaiah 17:1-14 contains an oracle against Damascus. In no uncertain terms verse 1 says “See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.”
Who will cause the desolation to the city? It will be Israel. Verse 9 states, “In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.”
The Bible even tells how quickly and during what time of the day this will occur. Verse 14a states, “In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone!”
The prophet Jeremiah reiterates this prophecy in Jeremiah 49:23-27. Verses 26 and 27 state, “‘Surely, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘I will set fire to the walls of Damascus; it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.'”
What Israeli man-made weapon could cause a city to be totally annihilated in less than one day? In this modern day and age the answer is well known — a nuclear warhead.
Why would Israel have to use a weapon of last resort on the city of Damascus? The answer is survival. When the United States used the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was to force an end to the bloody conflict of World War II. Israel will see it has no military alternative but to use such a weapon for the same purpose – to prevent its own annihilation.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated this point when he declared in August 2008 that Israel “would not hold back” in the face of renewed attacks on northern Israel by Syrian-supplied Hizbullah weapons designed to target civilians. “There will no longer be a situation of distant fighting, where major cities continue with life as usual. The war will reach the cities and homes of Israeli citizens and our enemy’s objective will be to target the home-front,” he elaborated. At that point, “we will be forced to bring an end to hostilities quickly, at the smallest possible cost, using our comparative advantage” which is “massive capabilities and tools during the Second Lebanon War that it refrained from using, because it was fighting a terror organization, not a state” (“Olmert: No holding back against Hizbullah” by Roni Sofer, YNetNews, Aug. 19, 2008, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3584938,00.html).
Even the most appeasement-policy-supporting Israeli leaders know that when their citizens are attacked in their very own cities, Israel will be forced to use “massive capabilities” to end the conflict quickly. The Bible foretells that scenario will indeed take place, and Damascus’ long history will finally end.