Friday, August 22, 2008
Isaiah 17 -- The Fulfillment?
In the previous post, I said that I would comment on a few highlights from Isaiah 17, otherwise known as the oracle of Damascus. The prophet is predicting the future destruction of Damascus, which has not yet been fulfilled. Damascus is among the oldest cities in the world, and it's sudden removal would be global news, to say the least.
In the first few verses, Isaiah talks of the city being a "fallen ruin." Toward the end of the chapter, we see Isaiah penning these sobering words: "At evening time, behold, there is terror. Before morning, they are no more."
Another interesting part of this chapter is its prediction for Israel: "Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, And the fatness of his flesh will become lean."
Various prophecy students today interpret Isaiah's prophecy to mean a war breaking out between Israel and Syria -- and perhaps some other nation-states. This war will result in the destruction of Damascus, possibly by Israeli nuclear weapons. If Israel's back was pushed against the wall and her very survival threatened, there is little doubt that Israel would use her nuclear weapons. Behind the scenes, this is called the "Samson Option." If you remember the biblical account of Samson, the strongman was captured by his enemies and blinded, then was shackled between two huge columns holding up a building. In one last prayer to Yahweh, Samson asked that his strength might be returned long enough to avenge himself on his enemies. His prayer was granted, and Samson pulled the two columns down, killing everyone in the place, including himself.
What would be the reaction of the world if Israel did indeed launch such a strike? Given the global attitude toward the Jewish state right now, one can well imagine. Outrage, condemnation, and no doubt severe economic sanctions. It wouldn't matter if Syria used poison gas or other weapons of mass destruction on Israel. It wouldn't matter if Israel's destruction was threatened. A significant mass of the planet could care less if Israel was wiped off the map. So, the fat of Jacob would indeed be sharply curtailed . . . a genuine time of belt-tightening.
Another point of note in this chapter. Note what God says through the prophet the world: "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. In that day their strong cities will be like forsaken places in the forest, Or like branches which they abandoned before the sons of Israel; And the land will be a desolation. For you have forgotten the God of your salvation And have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants And set them with vine slips of a strange god."
Today, Syria and much of the Middle East follows the false prophet of Islam, and a strange god named Allah. A good part of Israel is agnostic or atheist, with only a minority of Jews truly practicing their faith. The Western world, including the United States, is turning aside from the true God to a watered down gruel of nebulous spirituality. Even previously faithful evangelical churches are embracing nonsense, if not outright apostasy, in growing numbers.
The world stage is indeed ripe for a move of God. I pray that it will be one of repentance and revival, rather than one of judgment. Unfortunately, the experience of history is that it takes a good dose of the latter before the former can take place.