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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Mar. 19, 2008

  • 2008 Mar 19

The Oldest Continuously Inhabited City in the World

Let me give you a quick review of what has happened since the time when God said Damascus would be destroyed. Here is the record from any encyclopedia or history book you can find. Continuous and even magnificent “history” of habitation and accomplishment ever since God said it was going to be completely destroyed.

  • The Persians and the Seleucids ruled over a great city there: King Nebuchadnezzar 572BC; Cyrus 538BC; Alexander 333BC
  • The Romans and the Byzantines ruled over a great city there from 64 BC when Pompey conquered the region, through 395 AD when it joined the Eastern Empire and all the way to the Moslem conquest of 635 AD.
  • The Omayyads ruled over a great city there from 635-750 AD as Khaled Ibn al-Walid annexed to Muslim empire where Damascus remained a great Moslem commercial and religious center until 1516 AD. ( The Abbasids ruled over a great city there from 750-975 AD. The Fatimids ruled over a great city there from 975-1076 AD. The Seljuks and the Atabegs : 1076-1174 AD. The Ayyubids : 1174-1260 AD. The Memluks : 1260-1516 AD.)
  • Finally the Ottoman Turks ruled over a great city of Damascus from 1516 -1918. And on we go to the present day nation of Syria .

But Isaiah says that Damascus is going to be "Taken Away From Being a City.."

“Many who study Bible prophecy believe that one of the soon to be fulfilled events may be the destruction of Damascus as prophesied in Isaiah 17 . Damascus is the capital of Syria. Syria is finding their way into the News Headlines more and more lately because of their extremely harsh stance against Israel, and the fact that Damascus is the home to numerous terrorist organizations, and  because of the trouble they are stirring up in the Iraqi war. Suffice it to say, they are getting some attention. There are prophecies in God's Word concerning Damascus. The most obvious reason that we believe these prophecies are yet future, is because Damascus exists! It has NEVER ceased to be a city!”

"The Oldest Continuously Inhabited City"

So with very little effort you can establish conclusively that Damascus has been a city for quite some time, and indeed remains as such today. And what a strategic city for today in history. Located just 30 miles from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights— Damascus is a tinderbox in a volatile region .

Too Close for Comfort!

“For those of you who think this horrific event could not occur, brace yourselves.
On at least one occasion it almost did ... On February 16, 2001 ... There was a combined American-British air raid against the Command/Control center in Iraq, 20 miles North of Baghdad. The intention was to pre-empt Saddam Hussein.

A few days later U.S. satellites pick up 6 Iraqi divisions moving westward, including ground-to-ground missiles with launching equipment. The U.S. intelligence community estimated they would be ready for launch by Thursday evening, February 22, 2001. Israel placed their security forces and the Northern Israeli towns on alert.

Syrian President Bashar Assad granted permission for these 6 Iraqi divisions to be deployed on the Syrian-Iraqi border. He gave the Hizballah an OK to unleash a long-range rocket attack against northern Israel. The U.S. and Israeli governments issued grave warnings to the Syrian government. There were also massive Palestinian terrorists attacks being programmed as a signal for regional flare-up. Yassir Arafat arranged his personal evacuation contingences to Baghdad.

A message was sent thru Tony Blair warning Iraq that Israel was preparing a preemptive strike: There would be Neutron bombs on 6 Iraqi divisions and Nuclear strikes on Damascus & Baghdad. The button was to be pushed at 7:30 PM Thursday Evening. Iraqi surface missiles remained stationary; 7:30 PM: everyone stands down ... for the time being!”

But this time maybe Syria won’t back down. Russia is their ally, Russian troops are installing the most advanced air defense system in the world around Damascus, the new missiles can strike within 40 feet of any spot in Israel—and probably all of Saddam's WMDs are in the area we call Syria. Some of Israel’s 400 atomic weapons may be used and Damascus may be melted in a whirlwind. That is an 8th century BC description of a thermonuclear destruction if I ever heard one!

Because of Israel's nuclear attack on Damascus, it will become a pariah among the nations. Isaiah uses the imagery that its national status will become like an emaciated man. (Isaiah 17:4) He also describes the outbreak of intense criticism of Israel: "Oh, the raging of many nations-- they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples-- they roar like the roaring of great waters!" (Isaiah 17:12 NIV).


“Just last month, after a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad returned from Moscow with more than even he had dreamed of . . . Assad was able to bring his people the glad tidings that Syria and Russia were resuming the relationship Syria once had with the Soviet Union. The Russians agreed to joint energy exploration , developing oil and gas resources in Syria, and construction of several pipelines including the Syrian portion of the Pan-Arab pipeline project. (So now Russian military and commercial interests will be stationed in Syria.)

Syria's biological and chemical weapons capability are among the most advanced in the Middle East, and the acquisition of the Russian Iskander missile would give Damascus the ability to strike within 40 feet of a target anywhere in Israel.

Iskander's guidance system is significantly better than in previous Scud designs, and it is much better at avoiding Israeli air defenses than previous models. And there is no effective defense against the new SAM anti-aircraft missile that could protect Israeli warplanes overflying Syrian airspace. Leaving Israel with only the Sampson Option in the event of war.

The Sampson Option is drawn from the story of Sampson, who pulled down a temple on himself in order to kill his captors. And in any case, if the United States doesn't take action, the odds that Israel WILL are at least even.  Although Israel refuses to confirm or deny it, the Dimona facility is believed to house at least four hundred nuclear warheads and Israel's declared 'Sampson Option' says that they will use them.   Briefly stated, if Israel's existence is threatened, it will use whatever means necessary to retaliate, even if that retaliation means the destruction of Israel in the process.

The Bible says that Israel will survive, but Isaiah says that Damascus won't.

"The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap." (Isaiah 17:1)

Damascus is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world.  To this point in history, it has never been 'taken away from being a city' and has never become the 'ruinous heap' foretold by Isaiah - so his prophecy remains, to this point, unfulfilled.

In addition, Ezekiel warns that Russia will, in the last days, ally itself to Persia [ Iran] -- together with a grouping of other Islamic states, in an all-out invasion effort against Israel.

When Isaiah's vision of Damascus comes to pass, it is unlikely that Russia will sit idly by, particularly in light of the fact the only country more threatening to Israel's continued existence than Syria would be a nuclear Islamic Republic of Iran.

The alliance is in the process of being constructed before our eyes. The scenario that brings it all together is in the process of development. Bible prophecy has never been more relevant to current events than it is right now.”

So when God steps into our lives through His Word and says, Damascus is going to be burned, melted, destroyed, vacated, and completely destroyed into a heap of uninhabited ruins”. That is one of those things that when you see it coming—you know that end is near!

Jesus Preaches a Sermon About the End of the World

Luke 21:20—But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.”

We can learn these two powerful lessons:

  • Things are temporary—build for eternity.
  • Life is fragile—live for your true home.

·        All of the magnificent buildings of Solomon, including the Temple are gone.

·        All of the wonderful buildings of Herod are rubble.

·        The Pyramids are crumbling, the Tower of Pisa is leaning . . . nothing on earth ever lasts.

Jesus came to His disciples with an offer of something they could become a part of that never ends. And that is what you and I are doing today—worshipping God, offering our lives in service to His Son, and loving one another. Make today your offering anew of your life to Christ's control.


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