The Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy Concerning Damascus?

The following is an excerpt from an upcoming book I am co-writing with Tom Horn:

It’s no secret amongst scholars, that early Syrian Christianity has a profound influence on the fledging pre-Quran Islam. McCants writes “In early Islam, Syrians were particularly partial to the Sufyani because his kin, the Umayyads, had ruled the caliphate from Damascus.”[1] The term Sufyani, a term referring to his descent from the progeny of Abu Sufyan, is yet another legendary character who will allegedly emerge before the Mahdi from Damascus. He is not the ally of the Mahdi nor the Dajjal, The hadith regarding the Sufyani specify that he is a tyrant who will spread corruption and mischief on the earth before the Mahdi.

A man will emerge from the depths of Damascus. He will be called Sufyani. Most of those who follow him will be from the tribe of Kalb. He will kill by ripping the stomachs of women and even kill the children. A man from my family will appear in the Haram, the news of his advent will reach the Sufyani and he will send to him one of his armies. He (referring to the Mahdi) will defeat them. They will then travel with whoever remains until they come to a desert and they will be swallowed. None will be saved except the one who had informed the others about them. (Mustadrak Al-Hakim)

This is from a five volume hadith collection written by Hakim al-Nishaburi. He wrote it in approximately 1003 AD. It contains 9045 hadith and al-Nishaburi claimed all hadith in it were authentic according to the conditions of either Sahih al-Bukhari or Sahih Muslim or both. What makes it especially germane to the present argument concerning Syrian influence on the Qur’an and Hadith, it connects the Sufyani to Damascus, Syria. Of course many dispensational theologians assert God still has plans to annihilate Damascus in an unpresented destruction that excludes all alleged past fulfillments:

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, And it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: They shall be for flocks, Which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, And the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: They shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 17:1–3)

Scholars we respect like Michael Brown and Craig Keener have concluded this was fulfilled by the Syro-Ephraimitic War which raged during the middle 730s, [BC].”[2] However Brown qualifies, “In principle, I have no problem with the concept that ancient biblical prophecies can refer to contemporary events, since it’s clear that there are many prophecies still to be fulfilled, including the future world war against Jerusalem. (See Zechariah 12 and 14.)”[3] While they might be correct about dual fulfillment, the past simply does not match God’s word spoken through Isaiah that “Damascus is taken away from being a city, And it shall be a ruinous heap.” Up until a week ago, the capital of Syria, reveled in its status as one of the oldest existing cities in the world, and evidence exists of a settlement in the wider Barada basin dating back to 9000 BC.[4] While we recognize apocalyptic symbolism when we see it, “taken away from being a city” does not seem like figurative language. We expect Damascus to be destroyed, and as of October 21, 2015  pro-Moscow internet news service, Russia Insider, has published what it says is footage of the battle raging between the Syrian army and US-and-Australian backed rebels in the Damascus suburb of Jobar

Damascus is a ruinous heap

See full story with a Russian drone flying over the devastation

Russia releases shockingly clear footage of the devastation surrounding Damascus 

 

[1] William McCants, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State, Kindle Edition, (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), Kindle Locations 1904-1905.

[2] Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Isaiah 17:1.

[3] Michael Brown, “Does the Bible Predict the Destruction of Syria?,” Charisma, September 11, 2013, http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/40946-does-the-bible-predict-the-destruction-of-syria Accessed October 19, 2015.

[4] Ross Burns, Damascus: A History, (London: Routledge, 2007), 2.

 

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Kenneth Heck says:

    In 734 B.C. Assyria attacked Syria’s chief city Damascus and put it under siege. King Rezin was slain, their nobles were impaled upon stakes and the city was burned and every city in the region was leveled. Over 800 citizens of nobility were led away as captives to Assyria.

    2 Kings 16:7-9 “So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and save me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who rise up against me.” And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and sent it as a present to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria heeded him; for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus and took it, carried its people captive to Kir, and killed Rezin.”

    Damascus recovered from the devastation from Assyria, just as Jerusalem recovered from the Babylonians. The prophecy doesn’t say Damascus will never be inhabited, as was said of Babylon (Jer 51:37, 43). If you believe that Damascus will never be inhabited in the future, you must also believe Jerusalem won’t also.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Of course many dispensational theologians assert God still has plans to annihilate Damascus in an unpresented destruction that excludes all alleged past fulfillments: “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, And it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: They shall be for flocks, Which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, And the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: They shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 17:1–3) Scholars we respect like Michael Brown and Craig Keener have concluded this was fulfilled by the Syro-Ephraimitic War which raged during the middle 730s, [BC].”[2] However Brown qualifies, “In principle, I have no problem with the concept that ancient biblical prophecies can refer to contemporary events, since it’s clear that there are many prophecies still to be fulfilled, including the future world war against Jerusalem. (See Zechariah 12 and 14.)”[3] While they might be correct about dual fulfillment, the past simply does not match God’s word spoken through Isaiah that “Damascus is taken away from being a city, And it shall be a ruinous heap.” Up until a week ago, the capital of Syria, reveled in its status as one of the oldest existing cities in the world, and evidence exists of a settlement in the wider Barada basin dating back to 9000 BC.[4] While we recognize apocalyptic symbolism when we see it, “taken away from being a city” does not seem like figurative language. We expect Damascus to be destroyed, and as of October 21, 2015  pro-Moscow internet news service Russia Insider has published what it says is footage of the battle raging between the Syrian army and US-and-Australian backed rebels in the Damascus suburb of Jobar… (READ MORE) […]

  2. […] [1] William McCants, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State, Kindle Edition, (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), Kindle Locations 1904-1905. […]

  3. […] [1] William McCants, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State, Kindle Edition, (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), Kindle Locations 1904-1905. […]

  4. […] [3] Michael Brown, “Does the Bible Predict the Destruction of Syria?,” Charisma, September 11, 2013, http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/in-the-line-of-fire/40946-does-the-bible-predict-the-destruction-of-syria Accessed October 19, 2015. […]

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