Monday, 21 November 2011

Synopsis of this blog

Isa 17:1  The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. 
Isa 17:2  The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. 
Isa 17:3  The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Aram shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts. 
Isa 17:4  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. 

The very first word of the prophecy declares "behold". This word is only used when something is about to happen as the  keil & delitsch commentary shows below:-
“Behold,” etc.: hinnēh followed by a participle indicates here, as it does everywhere else, something very near at hand.
The reason for the prophecy is that the Lord always tells the prophets first before He does something. He had already declared His intention in Isaiah 7 concerning Rezin some years before. Now, perhaps to also reassure the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah, the Lord says that Damascus will be literally "turned off" (the actual meaning of the translation "cease") just as one turns off a lightbulb.
Isaiah 7 also includes the sign of Emmanuel, the virgin birth. This is the reason for the judgement from heaven upon Damascus - they were going to ally with Ephraim against Judah which would have meant no Christ if no Judah!

When the prophecy has been fulfilled in such intricate detail as history attests to I cant see why anyone would say it has not been fulfilled. Even the " heap of ruins" translation misses the mark - the keil and delitsch commentary shows that this is written such that its true meaning is nearer to " mutilated". This is the condition of Damascus after tiglath Pileser II's destruction in the 8th century B.C. The prophecy nowhere says that Damascus would "cease/be turned off" forever as is said of the desolations of babylon.

There has to be a reason for the judgement on Damascus -  the reason is, simply, it was threatening the line of David from whom would come Emmanuel, the saviour. Rezin and Pekah (the son of Remaliah) intended to replace Ahaz of the line of David with the "son of Tabeal".  There is also an element of irony/humour in the prophecy. Damascus is widely regarded as being the most ancient city on earth. The Lord, however, seeing it was going against His plans, says "ok, switch it off then" and probably caused Him no more trouble to do this than it troubles us to switch off a lightbulb.

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