Friday, March 7, 2008

The Destruction of Damascus - Part 1

The next event in prophecy that has my attention concerns a message from the prophet Isaiah. It stands out in light of the previous study from Ezekiel. Noticeably missing from the coalition of Gog are several neighboring nations that are hostile to Israel, and one can’t help but wonder why. This prophecy might hold the answer to that question.

In chapter 17 of Isaiah the prophet foretells a coming destruction of the city of Damascus. Damascus is the capital of Syria and proudly claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. The prophet pictures the result of its destruction to a pile of garbage. History records Damascus being conquered and its people carried away captive, but never its complete destruction. This prophecy is yet future.

One thing that makes the study of prophecy such a challenge is realizing that the prophets didn’t always understand that their message often referenced events from different time periods. One of the best examples of this truth is illustrated when Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah as recorded in Luke 4.

Luke 4:16-20 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

When compared to the actual section of Isaiah from which He read, we can see that He stopped in the middle of a sentence.

Is. 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Jesus stopped where He did because the rest of the prophecy is yet future and addresses the Day of the Lord in which He will pour out His wrath on His enemies in preparation to establishing His earthly kingdom.

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