With the world watching the terrible situation in Syria unfold, a photo going viral among Spanish-speaking Christians makes an incredible claim: that it was all predicted in the Bible.
But is that really true?
First, here’s the viral post:
The underlined verse is Isaiah 17.3. A rough English translation of the Spanish version in the photo is:
“The whole kingdom of Syria will cease to exist, as will the city of Damascus; In addition, the northern cities, which are the pride of Israel, will remain without walls. I am the Almighty God, and I swear it will be so.”
The comment with the picture says: “The Bible explains what’s happening in Syria. God is coming.” The implication is that the verse describes the current civil war in Syria.
Since the post has been shared over 20k times (at the time of this writing), it would seem a lot of people agree!
But is the verse really about the current Syrian conflict?
First, I’ll note that English translations of that verse are somewhat different. Here’s Isaiah 17.3 as it appears in the NRSV-CE:
“The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the children of Israel, says the Lord of hosts.”
We can leave it to biblical scholars to determine what the correct translation is, but it seems important to point out that part of the reason the verse appears to reference the current situation may be due to a faulty translation.
But most importantly, the verse simply isn’t talking about the present-day. The event Isaiah is foretelling is likely an event that happened long ago – several centuries before Jesus – and is described in 2 Kings 16.9.
Also, note that the same chapter also foretells calamity against Israel – something that doesn’t appear to be happening to the same degree as in Syria. So, no, the Bible didn’t predict the current situation in Syria.