<< Start at Isaiah 1
The "ER" numbers below reference an Exhaustive Reference which will be made available when completed.
So far in this narrative Isaiah has told us about desolation coming to three distinct lands at the opening of the day of the Lord. He now ties these together as he elaborates on the first day of Tribulation. In this chapter we are given the first hint of the time of year the Tribulation begins. We are also told the time of day the fortress of Ephraim, America, will cease to exist.
Summary by Section
1. (v.1-3) [ER 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206, 3.5.2, 8.1.2]
“The burden against Damascus.” The day spoken of here is when the oldest inhabited city in recorded history ceases to exist. Damascus, Syria will be utterly and completely destroyed on this day. We already saw this discussed in chapters 7 through 9. There we learned that Syria and America will form an alliance to threaten the sovereignty of national Israel. But Gog of Magog will end those plans on the first day of Tribulation by destroying both America and Damascus. He will then take the spoil of both lands.
Connected to this event is the desolation of Aroer. While some have tried, unsuccessfully, to locate a city or region in Syria by that name, I believe others are correct in identifying this as the Arnon River in Jordan. That river is located in the land we just finished discussing in Isaiah 15 and 16. Those cities along the Arnon will be forsaken and turned over to the flocks (the returning remnant) and no one will make them afraid. As we learned from Daniel, the people living in Jordan will escape from the hand of the anti-Christ.
“The fortress also will cease from Ephraim.” As we saw earlier, the fortress of latter-day Ephraim (the house of Israel) is America. She is their Sela or fortress (Is. 16:1) in the latter days. The daughter of Zion dwells with the daughter of Babylon at the end of the age. From there she shall be delivered. (Mic. 4:10)
These three locations suffer the same fate on the same day. They are all completely decimated by the weapons of modern warfare. America attacks the Middle East (including Jordan) and Gog attacks Damascus and America. What I find interesting is the role Syria plays in the coming years. Currently she is a strong ally of Russia, whom I believe to be Magog. But the “great company” with Gog does not seem to include Syria. However, Isaiah speaks of an alliance between Ephraim (America) and Syria. He goes on to indicate Gog (who he refers to as the king of Assyria) will destroy Damascus and America. With the current (2012) uprising in Syria, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years.
We would do well to note the other prophecies concerning the judgment of Damascus. After making the connections we can then overlap the messages to gain a clearer picture of that day. Regarding Damascus, Zechariah 9:1 says, “For the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the LORD.” A parallel verse is found in this chapter. (v. 7) Amos 1:5 also speaks of the time when her gate will be broken. In Jeremiah 49 we can read about Damascus and also discern the sequence of some events.
2. (v.4-9) [ER 3.1.6, 3.2, 3.5.2, 7.1, 7.2]
“And the fatness of his flesh grow lean.” We saw this in Is. 10:16 when God said he is bringing leanness to his fat ones. “As when the harvester gathers the grain .” The thought here is the complete harvest of the land. The entire land is being made desolate, yet some ears of corn or heads of grain are left for the gleaners. “Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it.” Those that are left are the holy remnant whom we began reading about all the way back in chapter one. “Gathers heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim.” Rephaim means giants. The giants of the earth, figuratively, are the inhabitants of America.
“His eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.” Compare Zec. 9:1. What would cause man to turn his attention away from his idols except for the promised great destruction of that day?
“In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken bough and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel.” The thought here is the same as that which we saw in chapter one. “So the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.” (Is. 1:8) The “strong cities” are the fortified encampments of Zion. These are the ones pardoned and supernaturally preserved in the midst of nuclear holocaust. Among those ruined cities will remain the holy stump. (Is. 6) These then set their faces towards Zion. (Jer. 50:4, 51:10)
3. (v.10-11) [ER 2.2, 3.2, 3.5.2]
As we have seen many times thus far, the nation no longer serves Jehovah and many who do have become defiled with the idols of the land. Therefore, spring will arrive, you will set out seedlings and plant your lovely gardens, but the figurative harvest will be “grief and desperate sorrow.” I devote a chapter of “Quenched” to discuss the time of year, time of month, day of week and time of day these events will commence. Just as we are told here that it begins in the spring, we are given the other details as well. This spring time clue is repeated in the next chapter just in case we miss it here.
4. (v.12-14) [ER 1.1.4, 2.3, 3.2, 3.5, 6]
“The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters.” The word rush also means to desolate. This could be said, “the nations will desolate like the desolation of many waters.” Consider this day of great, sudden destruction, this World War III in one day, is like the overflowing flood waters of Noah. Just as water destroyed the earth before, now the fire of modern warfare destroys much on that first day of Tribulation.
But it’s not over. The whirlwind is coming. That celestial “cloud” coming to blot out the sun, moon and stars is almost here. The gravitational pull will cause great earthquakes. The rushing warfare of that day will be chased away by that great figurative whirlwind.
“Then behold, at eventide, trouble!” Though that “cloud” blots out the sun around midday, trouble comes to Babylon in the early evening. We saw this in Isaiah 13. This is the focus of my book “Quenched Like a Wick.”
“This is the portion of those who plunder us.” How does God feel about his people who live in America? Is he pleased with us? He has no pleasure in a people who have drawn back. (Heb. 10:38) God considers us captives who have been plundered and robbed. Viewed from another angle we can see this is all the nations who Babylon has oppressed, especially those she attacks on the first day of Tribulation.
1. Damascus, America, and Jordan fall on the same day.
2. The remnant is pardoned and preserved.
3. You left your God and would not return. Springtime clue.
4. WWIII begins and ends. Sun is blotted out. America is destroyed.
End of Age Context
The day being spoken of here is when Damascus ceases to exist. Her destruction is connected to the end of Ephraim’s fortress. Isaiah began discussing this in chapter 7.
End of Age Themes
- Judgment against Damascus, America, and Jordan.
- A remnant from America is pardoned and preserved.
- America refuses to repent and is made wholly desolate.
- Sudden and world-wide destruction on the first day of Tribulation.
Sequence of Events
Verses 12 through 14 confirm the destruction in the Middle East occurs before the “whirlwind” arrives at noon over America. The destruction of Damascus, Jordan and America is linked to the same point in time. These events occur during the springtime.
“In that day a man will look to his Maker.” Why wait until that day? The call to righteousness from chapter 1 echoes down to us even now. "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." (Is. 1:16-17)
“Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation.” Remember him today. Seek him today and he will be found by you.