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Author Topic: Israel and Syria - Several news items that look towards Isaiah 17  (Read 27908 times)
Shammu
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2007, 04:08:00 PM »

Israel scrambled jets toward Syria

By LAURIE COPANS, Associated Press Writer Sun Sep 23, 3:55 AM ET

JERUSALEM - Israel dispatched several fighter jets toward its border with Syria after a Syrian aircraft disappeared from Israeli air force radar screens, Israeli military officials said Sunday, reflecting the state of heightened tensions between the two sides over a reported Israeli air strike in Syria earlier this month.
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The Israeli jets, which did not enter Syrian airspace, returned to their bases minutes later when it became clear the Syrian airplane had crashed. The incident took place on Saturday, which was Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday, when Israel's air force does not send any fighter craft into the air unless absolutely necessary.

The day also marked, according to the Jewish calendar, the 34th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1973 Mideast war, when the armies of Syria and Egypt launched a sneak attack on Israel on the holiday.

The Israeli army did not comment on Saturday's incident. The officials who spoke to The Associated Press did so on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss classified military information with the media.

On Thursday, Israeli fighter jets were dispatched to the northern Golan Heights, along the border with Syria, when "suspicious activity" was reported in the area, the military officials said. Later it was discovered that the objects were migrating birds, the officials said.

Great numbers of migrating birds can look like drones on air force radar screens, the officials said.

Tensions between Israel and Syria heated up this month over reports of an Israeli airstrike in northern Syria on Sept.6. Foreign media say the Israeli target was either arms meant for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon or a joint Syrian-North Korean nuclear project. Syria has denied both but announced an incursion, but Israel has refused to comment.

Israel considers Syria one of its greatest enemies and accuses Damascus of backing the militant organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, which has bases there. Despite the recent tensions, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week called for the reopening of peace talks, without conditions, between the two adversaries.

Past negotiations broke down over Syria's demand for the return of the Golan, a strategic plateau Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel offered to go back to the international border, but Syria insisted on also controlling another small strip of territory — the east bank of the Sea of Galilee, which Israel captured during the 1948-49 war that accompanied its creation.

Talks also faltered over the extent of peaceful relations Syria would offer.

Israel scrambled jets toward Syria
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« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2007, 04:10:23 PM »

'I'm not going to comment,' says resolute Bush on Syria attack
hilary leila krieger, jerusalem post correspondent
THE JERUSALEM POST
Sep. 20, 2007

US President George W. Bush emphatically refused to address reports of an Israeli attack on Syria despite persistent questioning during a White House press conference Thursday.

"Saying I'm not going to comment on the matter means I'm not going to comment on the matter," Bush said after David Gregory of NBC News tried various formulations to get him to discuss the controversial event.

Gregory began by noting Binyamin Netanyahu's recent comments on the subject, which contrast with the unusually tight-lipped stance taken by Israeli and American officials in connection to the incident.

Bush also didn't answer a question on whether he believed the North Koreans are aiding Syria with a nuclear program.

He did say of the North Koreans and the talks aimed at ending the country's nuclear program as well as its international isolation, "We expect them to stop that proliferation, if they want the six-party talks to be successful."

He also said that ending proliferation was as important in the eyes of the United States as getting rid of a nuclear weapons program.

Regarding a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program, Bush made it clear that "the free world is not going to tolerate the development of knowhow in how to build a weapon, or at least gain the ability to make a weapon."

The reason for that, he said, is because of the importance of taking the threats made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seriously. "He's a person that is, you know - constantly talks about the use of force ... on Israel, for example, and Israel is our very firm and strong ally."

He also lent his support to the New York police who determined Ahmadinejad would not be allowed to visit the site where the Twin Towers once stood. "I can understand why they would not want somebody who is running a country who is a state sponsor of terror down there at the site," he said.

Bush began his comments on Iran, made in response to a question if whether the heating up of rhetoric was likely to lead to war between the two countries, by saying, "I'm hopeful that we can convince the Iranian regime to give up any ambitions it has in developing a weapons program, and do so peacefully.

"That ought to be the objective of any diplomacy. And to this end, we are working with allies and friends to send a consistent message to the Iranians that there is a better way forward for them than isolation." During the press conference, Bush also took aim at the possibility of Americans choosing isolation as well.

"You'll find isolationists are those who say it's not our business what happens overseas; it doesn't matter if there's a free society in the heart of the Middle East, as far as our long-term security and peace. I just strongly reject that," he said towards the end of the questioning.

"I think it does matter a lot that the United States is working with other nations to promote liberty and freedom. I believe liberty is a change agent. Liberty can help hostile parts of the world become peaceful parts of the world."

He said the best way to change the conditions that led to September 11 was "to be active with foreign policy." He concluded, "Isolationists would say it's not worth it, doesn't matter to the United States of America. Well, I think it does matter, and I think it matters a lot."

'I'm not going to comment,' says resolute Bush on Syria attack
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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2007, 04:12:25 PM »

Quote
Regarding a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program, Bush made it clear that "the free world is not going to tolerate the development of knowhow in how to build a weapon, or at least gain the ability to make a weapon."

The reason for that, he said, is because of the importance of taking the threats made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seriously. "He's a person that is, you know - constantly talks about the use of force ... on Israel, for example, and Israel is our very firm and strong ally."

He also lent his support to the New York police who determined Ahmadinejad would not be allowed to visit the site where the Twin Towers once stood. "I can understand why they would not want somebody who is running a country who is a state sponsor of terror down there at the site," he said.

All I can say is................................

AMEN!!
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2007, 04:21:27 PM »

Amen to that also. Those that don't take President Mahmoud I'm-in-a-jihad seriously are in for a big surprise.

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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2007, 04:26:31 PM »

Amen to that also. Those that don't take President Mahmoud I'm-in-a-jihad seriously are in for a big surprise.



I'manutjob does need to be taken seriously brother as you know.  I wouldn't be surprised that a terrorist attack happens while I'manutjob is here.
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« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2007, 04:45:15 PM »

The Whispers of War
By Dan Ephron and Mark Hosenball
Newsweek

Oct. 1, 2007 issue - Sam Gardiner plays war for a living. A former Air Force colonel who helped write contingency plans for the U.S. military, Gardiner has spent the 20 years since his retirement staging war-simulation exercises for military and policy wonks within and on the fringes of government (he keeps his client list confidential). Lately, more of his work has focused on Iran and its nuclear program. Gardiner starts by gathering various experts in a room to play the parts of government principals—the CIA director, the secretary of State, leaders of other countries—and presents them with a scenario: Iran, for example, has made a dramatic nuclear advance. Then he sits back and watches the cycle of action and reaction, occasionally lobbing new information at the participants.
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In Gardiner's war games, the conduct of Iran's nemesis, Israel, is often the hardest to predict. Are Israeli intelligence officials exaggerating when they say Iran will have mastered the technology to make nuclear weapons by next year? Will Israel stage its own attack on Iran if Washington does not? Or is it posturing in order to goad America into military action? The simulations have led Gardiner to an ominous conclusion: though the United States is now emphasizing sanctions and diplomacy as the means of compelling Tehran to stop enriching uranium, an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities could end up dragging Washington into a war. "Even if Israel goes it alone, we will be blamed," says Gardiner. "Hence, we would see retaliation against U.S. interests."

How far will Israel go to keep Iran from getting the bomb? The question gained new urgency this month when Israeli warplanes carried out a mysterious raid deep in Syria and then threw up a nearly impenetrable wall of silence around the operation. Last week opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu chipped away at that wall, saying Israel did in fact attack targets in Syrian territory. His top adviser, Mossad veteran Uzi Arad, told NEWSWEEK: "I do know what happened, and when it comes out it will stun everyone."

Official silence has prompted a broad range of speculation as to what exactly took place. One former U.S. official, who like others quoted in this article declined to be identified discussing sensitive matters, says several months ago Israel presented the Bush administration with reconnaissance images and information from secret agents alleging North Korea had begun to supply nuclear-related material to Syria. Some U.S. intelligence reporting, including electronic signal intercepts, appeared to support the Israeli claims. But other U.S. officials remain skeptical about any nuclear link between Syria and North Korea. One European security source told NEWSWEEK the target might have been a North Korean military shipment to Iran that was transiting Syria. But a European intelligence official said it wasn't certain Israel had struck anything at all.

While the Bush administration appears to have given tacit support to the Syria raid, Israel and the United States are not in lockstep on Iran. For Israel, the next three months may be decisive: either Tehran succumbs to sanctions and stops enriching uranium or it must be dealt with militarily. (Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.) "Two thousand seven is the year you determine whether diplomatic efforts will stop Iran," says a well-placed Israeli source, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak for the government. "If by the end of the year that's not working, 2008 becomes the year you take action."

In Washington, on the other hand, the consensus against a strike is firmer than most people realize. The Pentagon worries that another war will break America's already overstretched military, while the intelligence community believes Iran is not yet on the verge of a nuclear breakthrough. The latter assessment is expected to appear in a secret National Intelligence Estimate currently nearing completion, according to three intelligence officials who asked for anonymity when discussing nonpublic material. The report is expected to say Iran will not be able to build a nuclear bomb until at least 2010 and possibly 2015. One explanation for the lag: Iran is having trouble with its centrifuge-enrichment technology, according to U.S. and European officials.

Twice in the past year, the United States has won U.N. Security Council sanctions against Tehran. More measures might come up at Security Council discussions later this year, and recently French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned that European nations might impose their own sanctions. One U.S. official who preferred not to be identified discussing sensitive policy matters said he took part in a meeting several months ago where intelligence officials discussed a "public diplomacy" strategy to accompany sanctions. The idea was to periodically float the possibility of war in public comments in order to keep Iran off balance. In truth, the official said, no war preparations are underway.

There are still voices pushing for firmer action against Tehran, most notably within Vice President Dick Cheney's office. But the steady departure of administration neocons over the past two years has also helped tilt the balance away from war. One official who pushed a particularly hawkish line on Iran was David Wurmser, who had served since 2003 as Cheney's Middle East adviser. A spokeswoman at Cheney's office confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Wurmser left his position last month to "spend more time with his family." A few months before he quit, according to two knowledgeable sources, Wurmser told a small group of people that Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz—and perhaps other sites—in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out. The Iranian reaction would then give Washington a pretext to launch strikes against military and nuclear targets in Iran. (Wurmser's remarks were first reported last week by Washington foreign-policy blogger Steven Clemons and corroborated by NEWSWEEK.) When NEWSWEEK attempted to reach Wurmser for comment, his wife, Meyrav, declined to put him on the phone and said the allegations were untrue. A spokeswoman at Cheney's office said the vice president "supports the president's policy on Iran."

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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2007, 04:45:45 PM »

In Iran, preparations for war are underway. "Crisis committees" have been established in each government ministry to draw up contingency plans, according to an Iranian official who asked for anonymity in order to speak freely. The regime has ordered radio and TV stations to prepare enough prerecorded programming to last for months, in case the studios are sabotaged or employees are unable to get to work. The ministries of electricity and water are working on plans to maintain service under war conditions. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also sent envoys to reach out to European negotiators recently, in the hopes of heading off further sanctions or military action.

The question may not be whether America is ready to attack, but whether Israel is. The Jewish state has cause for worry. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows regularly to destroy the country; former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, considered a moderate, warned in 2001 that Tehran could do away with Israel with just one nuclear bomb. In Tel Aviv last week, former deputy Defense minister Ephraim Sneh concurred. Sneh, a dovish member of Israel's Parliament and a retired brigadier general, took a NEWSWEEK reporter to the observation deck atop the 50-story Azrieli Center. "There is Haifa just over the horizon, Ben-Gurion airport over there, the Defense Ministry down below," he said, to show how small the country is. "You can see in this space the majority of our intellectual, economic, political assets are concentrated. One nuclear bomb is enough to wipe out Israel."

But can the Israelis destroy Iran's nuclear program? Gardiner, the war-gamer, says they would not only need to hit a dozen nuclear sites and scores of antiaircraft batteries; to prevent a devastating retaliation, they would have to knock out possibly hundreds of long-range missiles that can carry chemical warheads. Just getting to distant Iran will be tricky for Israel's squadrons of American-made F-15s and F-16s. Danny Yatom, who headed Mossad in the 1990s, says the planes would have to operate over Iran for days or weeks. Giora Eiland, Israel's former national-security adviser, now with Tel Aviv's Institute of National Security Studies, ticked off the drawbacks: "Effectiveness, doubtful. Danger of regional war. Hizbullah will immediately attack [from Lebanon], maybe even Syria." Yet Israelis across the political spectrum, including Eiland and Yatom, believe the risk incurred by inaction is far greater. "The military option is not the worst option," Yatom says. "The worst option is a nuclear Iran."

The idea of a pre-emptive strike also has popular support. When Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the raid on Syria earlier this month, his approval rating was in the teens. Since then, it has jumped to nearly 30 percent. And though Olmert may not believe Israeli warplanes can get to all the targets, he might be willing to gamble on even a limited success. "No one in their right mind thinks that there's a clinical way to totally destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities," says the well-placed Israeli source. "You strike at some and set the project back. You play for time and hope Ahmadinejad will eventually fall."

Alternatively, Israel might count on Tehran to retaliate against American targets as well, drawing in the superpower. To avoid that outcome, Gardiner believes, Washington must prevent Israel from attacking in the first place. "The United States does not want to turn the possibility of a general war in the Middle East over to the decision making in Israel," he says. Does not want to, certainly—but might not have a choice.

The Whispers of War
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2007, 04:46:44 PM »

Quote
"Two thousand seven is the year you determine whether diplomatic efforts will stop Iran," says a well-placed Israeli source, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak for the government. "If by the end of the year that's not working, 2008 becomes the year you take action."

2008 just may be an interesting year.
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« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2007, 01:39:46 AM »

First, I plainly want to state that I don't claim any special knowledge of any kind, nor have I been given any kind of revelation from any source.

Second, I also want to plainly state that many conditions and events indicate we could be looking at the unfolding of Bible Prophecy for the end of this AGE OF GRACE! If so, nothing will slow or stop it.

Now - just to some personal feelings and OPINIONS:

Iran must be disarmed at any cost.

There will be war in the Middle East.

Israel will be the target for destruction by many nations.

ONE FACT: Damascus will cease to exist either soon or in the future.
__________________________________

Brothers and Sisters, it should be clear to just about anyone that the world is a powder keg right now, and the fuse is already lit. Common sense would tell most people that big things are going to happen soon, and I think they MOST CERTAINLY will.

The big question is:  Is this Bible Prophecy unfolding or just another dangerous time of unrest in the world? If it's Bible Prophecy unfolding, everything will happen according to GOD'S Will, GOD'S Time, and GOD'S Purpose. No power will be able to stop it, and GOD'S Schedule of events will unfold perfectly and according to what's been written in the Holy Bible for thousands of years.


If this isn't Bible Prophecy unfolding, I would frankly be surprised. If not now - it will be soon. The interpretation of "the generation" living in Israel since it became a nation is one of the keys to the timing of Bible Prophecy. I doubt that anyone really knows the specific interpretation, but Israel became a nation again in 1948. Could it refer to the rebirth of a nation and a "generation" in specific reference to this rebirth? YES, but who really knows? However, the rebirth of Israel as a nation is thought to be a key by many Bible Scholars. So, we might put the term "generation" with the year "1948", and that might be one reasonable and possible interpretations for Bible Prophecy. So, how long might a generation be related to Bible Prophecy, and what specific entity does generation refer to:

1 - A generation since the rebirth of Israel?

2 - The generation who established the rebirth of Israel?

3 - The first generation born after the rebirth of Israel?

Could the most Biblical definition for generation be 70 years? I don't know - what do you think?

What was the average age of the people who fought for the rebirth of Israel? I don't know - could we guess 20s? Is it their generation being referred to? I don't know - what do you think? Regardless, can't we say that we are living in the general time period?  YES!

No man really knows, but these are the keys for timing in the Holy Bible. It is more than sufficient for us to know that the time is MOST DEFINITELY SOON!


SO, my general opinion:  There will be horrible times soon, and the worst of those times will last 7 years. Those 7 years will be called the Tribulation Period!


Love In Christ,
Tom

   
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« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2007, 10:15:24 AM »

Quote
So, how long might a generation be related to Bible Prophecy, and what specific entity does generation refer to:

The word generation is used in English for the word genea which is better described as "an age", unlike the Greek word genos which means  “kin”,  nation, offspring, stock that is used in other places in the New Testament indicating the lifespan of a family group. The closest thing we can get to the length of this age is in the verses prior to where Jesus said that. (Mat 24, Mark 13 and luke 21 )  What indication is that? It is a series of events that most have not yet come into being even though we may be seeing some of these events unfolding as we speak. Why is it so vague? Jesus gave us the answer to that also,

Mat 24:36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Luk 21:34  And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
Luk 21:35  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Luk 21:36  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

God wants us to remain vigilant at all times, to be watching (aware) of what is happening, to stay strong in Him and ready for that time.

I personally do believe that we will be seeing much more of these events unfolding soon and when they do it will be quite quickly.

Quote
It is more than sufficient for us to know that the time is MOST DEFINITELY SOON!

Amen! And for those that are not ready, now is the time to accept Him as your Saviour. Don't wait another day for that may be to late. He is calling, knocking at the door to your hearts. Answer that door now.


Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom 1:17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Salvation, salvation from death under the law by God's perfect grace.

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Rom 3:20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Rom 3:27  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Rom 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Rom 3:22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Rom 3:28  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Rom 4:21  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Rom 4:24  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Rom 5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
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« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2007, 10:55:04 AM »

Amen Pastor Roger!

Brother, I love those Portions of Scripture in Romans more each time that I read them. They are the invitation, power, and Promises of ALMIGHTY GOD!

I've read many detailed studies with "Generation" as a key focus for a complex Study in Bible Prophecy. I really think that the best answers are general in nature, regardless of what approach one wants to take. We share the same opinion about the best answer.

What concerns me is apparent apathy from many Christians who I talk to. In fact, it's as if the material is foreign to many. It also concerns me that many Christians don't seem to care much about Bible Study. Bluntly, it's disappointing that the riches of this world seem to be more important than the RICHES OF CHRIST for many. It's still disappointing if we take the soon potential for the end of this Age of Grace out of the discussion. Regardless, I'll just say that I wish all Christians had more concern for the things of GOD.

Love In Christ,
Tom

   
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« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2007, 11:29:30 AM »

I have noticed that about Bible studies also. I have heard many excuses for not getting into a Bible study but none of them amount to much especially when we are specifically told to study to show ourselves approved and to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you".

If we do not study His word we cannot truthfully abide by this.

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« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2007, 02:10:41 PM »

Add another AMEN Pastor Roger!!
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« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2007, 02:13:39 PM »

The demise of Damascus is prophesied in three different places in the Bible. Isaiah 17 is one of them. This prophecy is in the future, awaiting fulfillment, it could happen soon.

Damascus is a central hub of terrorism today. Several of the most prominent terrorist organizations have their headquarters there, and coordinate their operations from there. With the United States and Israel aligning against Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, it is not hard to see today how circumstances could quickly fall into place.

Isaiah 17:1 THE MOURNFUL, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning Damascus [capital of Syria, and Israel's bulwark against Assyria]. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins.

Looking at this, I see the prophecy is not only about the destruction of Damascus, but the thorough dissolution of its status as a city. The city will be taken away. After this scripture is fulfilled, there will never be a city called Damascus again. If Isaiah had only said "Damascus will be destroyed", then presumably, it could be rebuilt. But the impact is stronger than that. Damascus will be negated from being a city.

A phrase in verse three also confirms this. The sovereignty, the royal power, the kingdom "will disappear from Damascus." Though it is the seat of government, capital of Syria, that status will be removed, and it will no longer function as such.

So I can see that this prophecy could not have taken place, or else Damascus would not now exist as a city. Yet some folks claim this was historically fulfilled in 732 BC by the Assyrians under Tiglath-Pileser III. However, neither the Bible (which records the incident in 2 Kings 16:9) nor the ancient Assyrian inscriptions found at Ninevah say the city was destroyed, just captured. It certainly did not cease to exist.

Also, it is important to note that the three Biblical prophecies about the doom of Damascus Isaiah 17, Jeremiah 49, Zechariah 9 were written over a span of 200 years. Therefore, even a fulfillment in Isaiah's day would not satisfy the requirements of the other prophecies, written later. Regarding Jeremiah's prophecy about Damascus, the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar did conquer the city in 605 BC, but there is no record of it being destroyed then. Neither did Zechariah's prophecy receive a fulfillment. Alexander the Great did also subsequently take Damascus in 332 BC, but without bloodshed or destruction.

Isaiah 17:2 The cities of Aroer [east of the Jordan] are forsaken; they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

This reference to "Aroer" it is a region on the northern bank of the Arnon River in what is today Jordan. At the time of Moses, it marked the southern boundary of the territory given to the two and a half tribes who received their land inheritance on the east side of the Jordan River. That Aroer was in the territory of Reuben. There was another Aroer in the territory of Gad as well, very near Rabbah. Rabbah is today called Amman, the modern capital of Jordan. So Isaiah may be indicating that the Jordanians will be involved as well. Either by accident, or

Does this mean that the nation of Jordan will be party to whatever conflict causes the destruction of Damascus? The textual proximity of prophecies against Moab and Ammon who resided in today's Jordan in Isaiah 15-16 and Jeremiah 48-49 to the prophecies against Damascus provide circumstantial evidence for this. In fact, Jeremiah 49:1-2 uses similar terminology when describing the fate of Rabbah, Amman as Israel regains possession of its land on the east bank of the Jordan. So it is possible that both Amman and Damascus will be destroyed in the same actions, and the "flocks that will lie down" there in safety are the Jews who will repossess that land.

Isaiah 17:3 His bulwark [Syria] and the fortress shall disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria will be like the [departed] glory of the children of Israel [her ally], says the Lord of hosts.

Just as in the previous verse we saw a possible hidden reference to Amman, Jordan, here we see a possible hidden reference to the Palestinian Authority. The territory allocated to the tribe of Ephraim sits at the very heart of the so-called "West Bank". So the "fortifications" described in verse 3 are probably a symbolic reference to the terrorist strongholds that will be eliminated. If Isaiah were writing it today, he might say, "The PLO forces will vanish from the West Bank."

This seems to hint that the Palestinians as well will be involved in whatever events lead to the destruction of Damascus. At the same time the governing authority disappears from Damascus, the military units of the Palestinians disappear from the West Bank.

The final phrase in verse 3, "the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the sons of Israel," is another emphatic statement about the scope of the judgment against Syria. Isaiah was writing in the days when the Assyrians had devastated the northern kingdom (ten tribes) of Israel. So Isaiah is saying that Syria's ultimate fate would be similar.

Isaiah 17:4-6 And in that day the former glory of Jacob [Israel--his might, his population, his prosperity] shall be enfeebled, and the fat of his flesh shall become lean.5 And it shall be as when the reaper gathers the standing grain and his arm harvests the ears; yes, it shall be as when one gathers the ears of grain in the fertile Valley of Rephaim.6 Yet gleanings [of grapes] shall be left in it [the land of Israel], as after the beating of an olive tree [with a stick], two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outermost branches of the fruitful tree, says the Lord, the God of Israel.

In the this section, the focus changes from Damascus to Israel. In fact, Damascus is not even directly mentioned in the rest of the chapter. However, because of the structure of this oracle, we surmise that the effects on Israel described in the remaining verses are in conjunction with the conflict with Damascus.

Isaiah uses several metaphors to describe the consequences on Israel. Some of those consequences are very negative, but they lead to a positive spiritual revolution described in verses 7-8.

But first, the negatives. Verse 4 describes a process of enfeeblement and emaciation for Israel. Then verses 5-6 depict visuals of privation and desolation. This desolation seems to effect Israel's "strong cities", according to verse 9. This would be a reference to Israel's population center on the Mediterranean coast, where the major cities are. Later on in the chapter, Isaiah calls it "a day of grief and incurable pain."

How might we interpret these scenes, given the context?? It seems plausible that the destruction leveled against Damascus is God's response to devastation it has wreaked upon Israel's population center, the "strong cities".

Isaiah 17:7 In that day will men look to their Maker, and their eyes shall regard the Holy One of Israel.

God will use the desperate circumstances to turn the gaze of Israel to Himself. This seems to be the answer to the question "what will it take for the nation of Israel to come back to their God?" It is confirmed in Zechariah 9 as well, one of the other places where doom is declared upon Damascus.

Zechariah 9:1 THE BURDEN or oracle (the thing to be lifted up) of the word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrach [in Syria], and Damascus shall be its resting place, for the Lord has an eye upon mankind as upon all the tribes of Israel,

What happens to Damascus, and the misery for Israel, will be a very effective attention getting world wide.
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« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2007, 02:15:39 PM »

Syria: No chance for peace

In first clear reaction to reported IDF air strike, Syrian officials say Damascus wary of retaliating against Israel given military superiority of Jewish state, lack of Arab support

Reuters
Published:    09.24.07, 15:18 / Israel News

A reported Israeli raid on Syria has all but finished off chances for resuming peace talks between the two foes, Syrian officials said on Monday.

In the first clear reaction to the September 6. Israeli air strike, officials told Reuters Syria was wary of retaliating against Israel given the military superiority of the Jewish state and because of lack of Arab support.

Another reason was Damascus's changing relationship with Russia, an ally during the Communist era.

The officials were dismissive about any new peace talks, which collapsed in 2000 over the scope of an Israeli pullout from the Golan Heights, a 1,750 square kilometers (676 square miles) plateau which the Jewish state captured from Syria in 1967.

"After this raid, you can forget about peace. It is no secret that our forces have been on alert for some time, but Syria will not be the first to start a war," said one of the Syrian officials, who asked not to be named.

"Arab states have not exactly rallied in our support. As for peace, the international picture could start changing late next year with a new administration in Washington," another official said.

Even Moscow, a strong backer of Syria in the days of the Soviet Union, did not directly condemn the Israeli action, in which Syria says planes bombed an empty area after air defence systems confronted them. Israel has not disclosed the target.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Sultanov advised Syrian officials not to go after Israel at the United Nations beyond a protest letter, according to a diplomat familiar with Sultanov's recent meetings in Damascus.

During last year's war between Hizbullah and Israel, Russia told Damascus not to use Russian missiles to target Israel if the war extended to involve Syria.

'Syria does not take Olmert's statements seriously'

Diplomats say at least four Israeli warplanes crossed deep into Syria in this month's operation. They suggest the intended target may have involved missiles supplied by North Korea but played down reports of a nuclear link.

Days after the raid, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dropped Israel's insistence that Syria abandon support for the Lebanese movement Hizbullah and the Palestinian group Hamas before any peace talks could start.

Western diplomats in Damascus said Syrian officials told them Syria did not take Olmert's statements seriously.

"Peace with Israel is not a priority for Syria when it has Lebanon and the Hariri investigation to deal with," one said.

The diplomat was referring to upcoming Lebanese presidential elections and a United Nations investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri.

The probe implicated Lebanese and Syrian security officials in the killing.

Another diplomat said the Israeli raid has made it difficult for Syria to use channels it had previously used to relay peace messages to Israel, especially Turkey.

"Syria would appear very weak if it approaches Israel anytime soon. On the other hand Syria knows that any war with Israel would set it back decades," he said.

Syria: No chance for peace
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