Sunday, August 26, 2012

Another Week, Another Threat

The burden against Damascus. "Behold, Damascus will cease from [being] a city, And it will be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer [are] forsaken; They will be for flocks Which lie down, and no one will make [them] afraid.
Isaiah 17:1-2 NKJV

Syrian envoy: We'll destroy Israeli nuclear facilities with 20 missiles

Jordanian media report that Syria's ambassador in Amman, Bahjat Suleiman said that his country is capable of destroying Israel's nuclear facilities should Damascus come under attack      Roi Kais

Speaking during a meeting with a Jordanian-Syrian delegation at the embassy in Amman, Syria's Ambassador to Jordan Bahjat Suleiman said that Syria is capable of destroying Israel's nuclear facilities with 20 missiles, should Syria be attacked, in spite of the many casualties Syria would incur over such a move, Jordanian media reported Thursday. The delegation arrived at the embassy in order to wish the ambassador and his country a happy Eid el-Fitr holiday and express support for Bashar Assad's regime.
"What the Zionists have, nuclear weapons-wise, could cause us major casualties should they attack Syria. In contrast, we could cause massive losses to their nuclear facilities and we wouldn't need more than 20 missiles," the ambassador told the delegation.

According to Jordanian reports, the ambassador said that in spite of the disparity in the number of casualties, Israel would not be able to bear the loss of life and the significant strategic losses. He explained that this would lead Israelis to emigrate elsewhere and would symbolize the beginning of the end of the State of Israel.

According to the Ambassador, Syria would not stand idly by if attacked, but would not be the one to launch a war. Suleiman also commented on the defection of Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, claiming that he fled the country and joined the rebels in exchange for $20 million.

Meanwhile, tensions between Syria and Jordan remain high following the firing four Syrian missiles in Jordan's northern region, injuring a child and several others. This led to a strong response from the Jordanian government which summoned the top Syrian diplomat in Amman to protest the attack. A Jordanian government spokesman said that he believed the missile fire was unintentional but a government official warned that Jordan would take the appropriate measures should the missile fire be repeated.,2506,L-4272386,00.html

Another week, another threat against Israel. If you are like me, you probably begin to wonder when the threats will actually result in action, or if ever. Well I submit the answer to the question “if ever” has already been answered by the prophet Isaiah. It's the “when” which seems to be unanswerable, yet it would certainly appear we are about as close as we can get without it actually happening. The article this week from Ynet prompted me once again to revisit the Isaiah 17 prophecy and suggest an explanation for the events we are told about there.

Something I think we should notice from the article above is that the Syrian envoy is very specific as to what they would target if they were to attack Israel. Any attack on Israel, especially to it's nuclear facilities, would certainly invite a response by Israel. Something else to consider is the fact that there is ample evidence that the Syrians have already armed the missiles capable of hitting that far into Israel with their chemical warheads. As for the suggestion that they would attack Israel's nuclear facilities as a “response” to an Israeli aggression, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has already said he would start a war with Israel if he feels his rule is threatened.

One of the questions most people have when they consider the possibility that this prophecy from Isaiah seems to describe a future nuclear attack on Damascus is “why”? The use of nuclear arms is certainly abhorrent to most, yet most agree that this is exactly what is described in these passages. I believe that the clue to the answer to that question lies in the identification of the “cities of Aroer”.

In all of the research I have done up until now, the one consistent fact has been that most people who have studied and written about this prophecy place the location of Aroer in the country of Jordan. Unlike Damascus, Aroer no longer exists, so we are left to try to identify its location by studying past references, and looking for archaeological evidence that might support a conclusion as to its whereabouts.

Aroer is mentioned three times in the Bible, and all occur in the Old Testament. Unfortunately for us, however, each describes a different location, so we are left to examine what the Bible says about each and see if we can decide which location Isaiah is attempting to describe. The first mention of Aroer is found in the book of Deuteronomy where it says;

"From Aroer, which [is] on the bank of the River Arnon, and [from] the city that [is] in the ravine, as far as Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us; the LORD our God delivered all to us.
Deuteronomy 2:36 NKJV

This site has been identified as being on the northern bank of the Arnon ravine located in the modern country of Jordan, just east of the Dead Sea. The second mention of Aroer we find is in the book of Joshua, where Moses is allotting land to the twelve tribes and describing their boundaries. In this verse he describes;

Their territory was Jazer, and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the Ammonites as far as Aroer, which [is] before Rabbah,
Joshua 13:25 NKJV

Joshua describes Aroer as being "before Rabbah". This city or any ruins of it have never been located, but by the description we know it would need to be situated be some twenty miles or so north of Jerusalem. The final time Aroer is mentioned before Isaiah’s prophecy is in the book of Samuel, where we find it listed among a group of cities that David is sharing spoil with from his defeat of the Amalekites. We find when we read that;

[those] who [were] in Aroer, [those] who [were] in Siphmoth, [those] who [were] in Eshtemoa,
1 Samuel 30:28 NKJV

This location has been identified as being in the Negev, twelve miles southeast of Beer-sheba. We also see from reading this passage that it was one of many cities located in the same area which helped and supported David in his battle with the Amalekites. Ruins of this city have been found, and you can even locate it on a map if your Bible has maps in the back. Simply look for a map of Israel in the time of David, and you should be able to see Aroer located in the south of Israel, southwest of Beer-sheba.

So we have three different locations to choose from, and no help from the Isaiah passage to identify which one he is referring to. Is it possible to find a way to know for sure exactly which one of these locations is the one that Isaiah describes as being "forsaken"?

First of all, I think it may be logical to assume that Isaiah is referring to the location southeast of Beer-sheba for several reasons. The first is that if you compare the dates that these three books were written, you find that the Samuel passage was written closest to the time of Isaiah, as opposed to the others which were written much earlier in Israel’s history. Also, if you look closely at these three locations, you see one of them is in Jordan, not Israel. Since Isaiah is describing a conflict between Syria and Israel, I think we can dismiss the Jordan location as a possibility. So we are left to choose between two locations, one which has never been positively located, and one which not only has been located, but may have some military significance as well.

If we look at a map of Israel during the time of the twelve tribes, we can easily see where Aroer is located. Now compare that map with a map of Israel today and you may be surprised to find that a very significant complex has been constructed in the same approximate location of ancient Aroer, and that is the nuclear research facility known as Dimona. Since Isaiah is describing a future conflict between Israel and Syria, obviously there must be a good reason that Israel chooses to completely destroy Damascus. Is it possible that it is in response to an attack of some sort on Dimona? I think it is not only possible, but logical as well if we examine the situation that exists today in the Middle East.

In the past few months we have seen the unrest occurring in Syria, and most are familiar with the threats being made against Israel from the president of Syria. He seems to believe that the only way to save his own rule is to start a war with Israel. Will an attack on Iran give him reason to respond by launching his own missiles? Those missiles are known to be armed with chemical warheads, which are also considered to be weapons of mass destruction. If they are launched in an attack on Dimona, it could easily explain why the cities of Aroer are described in Isaiah as “abandoned”, and not destroyed.

The use of WMD's against Israel would invite, if not justify a response using Israel's own WMD's, which are nuclear and not biological. I am constantly amazed at how the prophecies of the Bible written over two thousand years ago describe exactly what is occurring in the Middle East today. It certainly is beginning to look like the stage is set for the fulfillment of what the Bible describes as the “end of days”, and the completion of the prophecies concerning Israel's future written by the prophets so long ago.

Keep watching.