Syria in End Times Prophecy


Dr. John Hoole


Of the thousand or so prophecies in the Bible, more than half have already come true. Most of the rest will come to pass between now and the Second Coming of Christ.


The Lord God is sovereign. He will accomplish His purposes in His own time.


Isaiah 46:9-10 (NKJV)


9  Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,

10  Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.'


Syria has been in the news over the last several years. A recent chemical weapons explosion received a condemnation from the United Nations.


I will say more about their current activity later in this lesson.


As we have mentioned over the past few weeks, in the Old Testament “Syria” is the word translated from the Hebrew, “ARAM.” The people were called Arameans and the language they spoke was Aramaic.


The Greek word for this country is “SSURIA (Soo-ree’-ah).


Syria is about the same size as the State of Washington, though shaped differently. And its shape is relatively the same as during biblical times. It has a population of 16.9 million (Wash. St. = 7.8 M in 2019).


Syria is mentioned in the Bible 74 times, in both the Old (66) and New (8) Testaments.


So, what exactly can we learn about Syria and its people? What Biblical figures do we know who lived in or visited Syria? And what significant Syrians visited Israel.


Since its earliest times, Damascus was Aram’s/Syria’s capital city. Damascus is considered one of the oldest cities in the world.


Most large cities are either on a river, lake or an ocean. And, while that is not true of Jerusalem, it is true of Damascus.


Damascus is close to the desert, but ample supply of water comes from two rivers. The biblical name, Abana River (known today as the Barada) is the primary water source for Damascus. It flows from the northwest mountains through a deep ravine into the city.


The Pharpar River (now called el-A waj) runs on the southern outskirts of Damascus.


The Bible mentions both the Abana and Pharpar Rivers in a story many of you are familiar with. It is the story of Naaman, the Syrian commander-in-chief, the closest person to King, Ben-Hadad II. Ben-Hadad, one of the more powerful rulers of Aram mentioned in the Bible.


Naaman is also mentioned in the New Testament.


Luke 4:27 NKJV


27    And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."


Let’s also read some of the Old Testament account.


2 Kings 5:1 NKJV


1    Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.


Naaman is shown to be a very respected man, both to his king and the people.


Let’s continue by reading the second verse.


2 Kings 5:2 NKJV


2    And the Syrians had gone out on raids and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman's wife.


In this story, we are told Naaman had become afflicted with Leprosy.  At the time, it was considered an incurable disease. A little Israelite captive girl, mentioned in verse 2, tells his wife about the fame and skill of s the Hebrew prophet named Elisha.


The king of Syria told Naaman to go see the Israeli prophet, and he wrote a letter of introduction on behalf of Naaman. Naaman goes to visit Elisha, who gives him some instructions which he disagreed with.


When Elisha told Naaman to wash seven times in the muddy waters of the Jordan River to be cured of leprosy, he furiously objected.


2 Kings 5:12 NKJV


12  Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?"  So, he turned and went away in a rage.


But his servant convinces him to do as Elisha said, and he is totally cured and becomes a follower of Jehovah.


Let’s look at some other history. The Arameans fought against Israel frequently in the Old Testament. One of the earliest conflicts with Aram was during the time of the judges, when the king of Aram Naharaim was used by God to subject the Israelites for eight years because of their idolatry (Judges 3:7–8).


Once the Israelites repented, God raised up Othniel, Caleb’s younger brother, to free them from the Arameans (Judges 3:9–11).


During the times of the Jewish kings, the Arameans often fought against Israel. This was especially true during David’s reign (2 Sam. 8:3–1010:6–81 Chron. 18:3–4).


Interestingly, Apostle Paul’s conversion experience happened when he was on his way to Damascus in Syria, which was controlled by the Romans at that time. Paul saw the resurrected Lord Jesus on that road,  where he was traveling to persecute Christians (Acts 9:1–6). After the encounter, he is blind and is led into Damascus.


In a vision, God speaks to Ananais, telling him to go to the house of Judas, located on Strait Street to see a man named Saul of Tarsus, who later became the apostle Paul.


Today, the heart of the city of Damascus is the Old City.  Ananias was a Jew living in Damascus. Even today, under Islamic rule, the ancient heart of the Old City remains divided into three quarters, Muslims, Jews and Christians.


And between the Jewish and Christian quarters is a street mentioned in the Bible – Strait Street.


Today that street  is called Bab Sharqi. The name means “Eastern Gate” or “Gate of the sun.”


Jesus commissioned Paul to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, saying:


Acts 26:17-18 NKJV


17  I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,

18  to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.


It was also in a Syrian city, Antioch, that believers in Christ were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26).


Barnabas had taken Paul to Antioch to spend time at the church there, and they both taught “great numbers of people” during their stay (Acts 11:25–26).


Also, “the church at Antioch was destined to become the base of operations for Paul’s missionary journeys” 




Let’s talk for a moment about what has been happening in Syria more recently.


Over the last couple of decades, the unrest between Syria and Israel has continued to escalate.


In July 2007, a chemical warhead exploded at a Syrian missile facility while being fitted to a Scud missile, killing several dozen Iranian and Syrian technicians. The only significant target within the range of the Scud would have been Tel Aviv.


Just two months later, in September 2007, the Israeli Air Force bombed a secret Syrian nuclear facility deep inside the country.


Here is how the attack took place.


•  5 F16 & 5 F15 left  Israel flying north along the coast.

•  3 turned around, going south.

•  The remainder turned over Turkey space without permission.

•  As they entered Syria, the took out a radar site near the border (Tall Al-Abuad)

•  They flew east to bomb the nuclear reactor at Al Kibar, on the Euphrates River.

•  They flew back going west through Turkey air space, then south.


This demonstrated Israel’s ability to render the Russian state-of-the-art anti-air defenses ineffective. The bombed Syrian nuclear facility was being operated in conjunction with North Korea.


Syria followed by spending more than 3 billion dollars to strengthen their military, anticipating an eventual conflict with Israel. Much of this has been aided by support from Russia.


For the past eleven years – since January, 2011, there has been a serious on-going uprising in Syria.  The uprising began by a group of dissidents in the city of Homs. And people began to support whichever side they thought was correct, and it turned into a civil war.


More than 400,000 have been killed, and more than  5.6 million Syrians have fled the country. And about 6.7 million are displace internally. And more than 200,000 people are missing.


I am not supporting either side in the civil war in Syria, not knowing that the members of the uprising are any better than Bashar Assad.


The Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda were strong players in the current uprising some 7-8 years ago (2014-2015). They are less influential today, although they still exist in small pockets.


Today, Hezbollah is  involved on the other side in support of Bashar Assad.    Russian troops and military assets are also located in Syria.




Biblical prophecy, at times, gives us the result without explaining how the world gets there. But there is always enough detail so when it come to pass, only God could have announced it in advance and also brought it to fulfillment.


Example: the restoration of Israel. Israel did not exist from AD 70, when the Romans destroyed it, until May 14, 1948. Ezekiel wrote of Israel’s rebirth in the prophecy of the dry bones (Ezekiel 37). In writing that Israel would become a nation again (the end result), he did not tell us of the Balfour Declaration, World War II, the Holocaust, and other events that impacted the restoration of Israel (how the world got there).


Bible prophecy is more than what happens with Israel and Christians. It also speaks of other nations. Syria is one of those nations.


As with many other prophecies, the Bible tells us the end result of Syria …but does not give us much information on how Syria arrives there.


A major prophecy concerning Syria is about its capital city, Damascus. Although Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, one day, according to Isaiah 17:1, it one day will cease to be a city.


Damascus will one day become a heap of rubble. If you think about it, this prediction is perhaps without precedent in modern times.


The topic of the destruction of Damascus will be considered in our next lesson.  God has a plan for Damascus and you can find it in Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49.