Why Isaiah 17 Unlikely Will Be Fulfilled During the Current Syria Conflict

I wrote an article over a year ago about how the situation in Syria could resemble a proxy war, which is a conflict where major powers on opposing sides utilize a third party/parties to fight on their behalf.  I mentioned that a major risk in a proxy war is the potential for a conflict to escalate over time. The recent introduction of chemical weapons in Syria has now escalated the conflict to the point where we may possibly soon see countries like the United States directly intervene militarily.

I recently published an article where I attempted to pinpoint the general timeframe of Isaiah 17’s fulfillment. I attempted to demonstrate that the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 most likely will come in the latter portion of the end times near the time of the end time siege of Jerusalem, the coming of the Lord, and the arrival of the fullness of the Gentiles. I asked near the end of that article the following question:

What will motivate a significant military force comprised of troops from many nations to attack a presumed ally of Antichrist (Syria) on their way to Israel?

A reader pointed out in a comment to my article about Isaiah 17 that the use of chemical weapons could draw a significant number of nations against Syria. I imagine there is great concern about the current situation in Syria and the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 now regardless of what I wrote about the timing of Isaiah 17’s fulfillment. Therefore, I will again address the topic of Isaiah 17 by discussing why I think it is unlikely for the current Syria situation to result in the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 and what I think could happen if military intervention does occur in Syria.

By now it should be obvious that I do not see the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 until the latter portion of the end times (my article on the topic should provide a reason why Isaiah 17 will unlikely be fulfilled during the current Syria conflict). However, let’s assume for the sake of argument that this Syria situation will soon result in the fulfillment of Isaiah 17.  The following things will need to happen in the near-term future if this Syria situation will result in the fulfillment of Isaiah 17.

  • Widespread Desolation & Israel’s Involvement in a Costly War: Isaiah 17:1-3 suggests that Damascus, other parts of Syria, Aroer (which is a city located in modern day Jordan), and northern Israel will be desolated and/or forsaken.  In addition, the glory of Jacob will be greatly diminished according to Isaiah 17:4-6, which could include a dramatically reduced population in the land of Israel (Isaiah 6:9-13). Therefore, Israel would have to be drawn into the conflict and the result would have to be devastating to both Syria and to Israel if the current situation in Syria results in the fulfillment of Isaiah 17.
  • A Major Ground Invasion Thwarted: Isaiah 17:12-14 depicts a large, multinational military force comprising of ground troops being destroyed by the Lord. This military force is likely connected to those who desolated Damascus and other locations given that it is depicted shortly after a long description of the aftermath of the desolation of Damascus and other locations. The parallels between Isaiah 17:12-14 and Isaiah 29:5-7 suggest that this military force will be a serious threat to the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, you would likely see a large, multinational military force not only intervene in Syria but also seek to attack Jerusalem as well if the current situation in Syria leads to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17.

I do not believe either of these scenarios is realistic in the current situation. I acknowledge that the possibility exists for Israel to get involved in the Syria conflict if Syria retaliates to an attack by the West by attacking Israel, but a war between Israel and Syria that results in a major decline in the population of Israel and major destruction in northern Israel seems a bit extreme at the present time (I’m not saying such a war now is impossible, but it’s unlikely). Furthermore, it is hard to imagine many nations supporting the deployment of a large number of ground troops in Syria in the midst of a bloody civil war and then using these troops to launch an assault against Jerusalem when the leaders of some prominent countries are having a difficult time convincing the public to support even low-level military intervention in Syria (David Cameron failed to win parliament approval to get Britain militarily involved in Syria). A ground attack against Jerusalem is completely out of the scope of the main objective of the West’s potential military involvement in Syria, which is to punish the Assad regime.

Nevertheless, military intervention in Syria could bring consequences that have Bible prophecy ramifications. The potential exists for direct military intervention in Syria by the West to lead to a larger-scale Mideast war that destabilizes the Mideast to the point that oil prices skyrocket; causing major economic and political instability around the world (the latter is a condition associated with birth pangs-Luke 21:9).

  • As I mentioned, Israel could get involved if Syria strikes them in retaliation to military intervention by the West. In addition, Iran has a major interest in the outcome of what is transpiring in Syria given that the Assad regime is a key regional ally, so they could step up their commitment to support the Assad regime if the West intervenes and/or if Israel is drawn into the conflict.

Another development that could eventually arise from military intervention by the West is a Syria that is more hostile towards Christians and even more hostile towards Israel in the future.  Historically, Syrian Christians have supported the Assad regime because they have been protected by the Assad regime (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad comes from a minority group in Syria, the Alawite, that historically has tolerated Christians living in Syria). Military intervention by the West could eventually help the Syrian rebels bring regime change, and the regime that takes over Syria may not be as tolerant towards Christians as the Assad regime has been.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying whether I think military intervention should take place in Syria or not. It doesn’t matter what I think in regards to that. I’m just trying to give some perspective to this situation.  Also, I’m no prophet so I could definitely be wrong about what happens in the Middle East if military intervention does take place in Syria.

10 comments: (+add yours?)

Chris said...

Thanks for your meaningful reply. I am happy to read your
careful and sound arguments regarding the current situation in Syria.
I think you have a good point in stating that a major
destruction in Israel (and, consequently, the fulfillment of Isaiah 17) would seem to be irrealistic at the moment. My only concern is that this „moment” could change very rapidly at any time now, and any intervention in Syria may affect Israel’s national security really seriously. The main ally of Al-Assad’s regime is Iran, which seems to be very determined to retort militarily if Syria is attacked (e. g. http://www.dailypaul.com/297239/ww3-syrian-iranian-officials-say-israel-will-be-set-on-fire-if-us-strikes-video
or http://freebeacon.com/iranian-official-israel-to-be-first-victim-of-u-s-attack-on-syria/ ). They can’t really do any harm to the USA, but to Israel they can and they definitely would love to. So I suppose that either a vengeful Persian attack on Israel or even a preventive Israeli attack on Iran is possible as a consequence
of any foreign intervention in Syria. The latter could make a number of nations engage in a war against Israel.

One can easily see the current state of Israel as a country which „has forgotten the God of her salvation” and planted pleasant plants with strange slips. I admit I may be wrong in this, but I see Isaiah 17 as a prophecy which is set in a time when Israel does not enjoy too much supernatural protection of God yet, but the „rushing of the nations” make Him rise against the attackers of Israel. I think it’s worth looking once again, from this point of view, at the parallel with Sennacherib, the Assyrian king that you pointed out very interestingly in your last article (Isaiah 17:14 vs 2Kings 19:35).

But, I’m no prophet either :), I’m just thinking. And I will be happy if it turns out that I am wrong. Currently, after reading your thoughts on the topic, I tend to think your theory has better scriptural evidence and this is what matters most. The near fulfillment of Isaiah 17 is only possible if Israel suffers a serious loss and I really don't wish that to happen.

Prophecy Proof Insights said...

The time period following the sounding of the sixth trumpet is full of conflict in the Mideast. My belief at this present time is that Isaiah 17's fulfillment best fits in that time frame because of the Mideast conflict at that time and Israel will not be in good shape at that time as well. It's also the period when I expect the end time siege of Jerusalem to take place.

Laukakmens said...

"Furthermore, it is hard to imagine many nations supporting the deployment of a large number of ground troops in Syria in the midst of a bloody civil war and then using these troops to launch an assault against Jerusalem"

it's very easy to imagine these "many nations" - you almost reached the point at the end of your article yourself.

"Many nations" not necessarily mean "many countries". The rebels fighting against Assad are consisting of many ethnicities, from chechens to iraqis, afghans, etc. a bunch of islam radicalists.

If Western gives military strikes to Assad, and starts provide more weaponry to these rebels (as they plan to do, today almost all congressmens supported such type of actions in the hearing), they will get upper hand in the conflict with Assad. The fight will be harsh, of course, and Damascus will be in ruins.

But these islamists, empowered by Western weaponry, will not stop at that point. Al Qaeda has no sympathy for Israel either and it's very easy to imagine they will march further, to the northern Israel (Ephraim) and make it isolated there, then goes to sieging Jerusalem. Then West intervenes and together with Israelis defeat them.

In such a scenario, all is fitting perfectly.

Prophecy Proof Insights said...

I disagree that "all is fitting perfectly" in that scenario. The Israeli military is no slouch. It's highly unlikely that the West would arm the Syrian rebels to the extent that they would be able to overpower the Israeli military.

CD said...

What really fits perfectly is that if you consider the USA is the one country that is the Antichrist,deceiving all the people in there to believe that Assad launched a chemical weapons attack against it's own people.

The Assad regime has never persecuted the christians in Syria,but now,the so called rebels backed by Antichrist are murdering priests and they even sawed off some poor bishops head.

Can't people see which countries always are the aggressors,
are they really that ignorant?
"no one is as blind as he who do not want to see"


Prophecy Proof Insights said...

The Antichrist isn't here yet unless you are talking about the spirit of Antichrist.

Richard Spendiff said...


Isaiah 17 was fulfilled a long time ago. My blog deals with all this.

look at this:-

Isaiah 17:14, ¶ A At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us.

This was fulfilled to the letter when The Lord struch sennacheribs army with angelic power, killing 185,000 overnight. My blog details the rest of the historical background. Or see my review of bill salus' book, yeah, read that one :)


Chris said...

Dude, don't look at only the last verse of Isaiah 17 and say it "was fulfilled a long time ago". Also look at Isaiah 17:1: "The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."
Sennacherib's army was defeated by the Angel of the Lord in their camp around the walls of Jerusalem. The Angel did nothing like destroying the city of Damascus!

Chris said...

Thanks for your reply. I'm thinking about this a lot and hope you are right. God bless you & the people of Syria.

Prophecy Proof Insights said...

Prophecy can have dual fulfillment

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