This City Doesn’t Exist

TyreStreetThis might look like your typical city street, but don’t be fooled. This city street doesn’t really exist. Confused? Let me explain.

This city street has the misfortune of being built in a spot that the Bible says would remain desolate forever. Ezekiel 26 and the next two chapters prophesy that the city of Tyre would be destroyed and never be rebuilt. This is why we can’t be misled by pictures like these. Despite their seeming undeniable hold upon reality, Tyre can’t really be there. After all, many Bible apologetics books have stated that Tyre is just a bare rock where fishermen spread their nets. That’s all fine and good, but we probably shouldn’t tell that to the people living there. Imagine how disorienting it would be to find out your city isn’t there!

TyreCondosHow do we explain this anomaly? I can only think of two possibilities. Perhaps we are witnessing a tear in the fabric of reality. This might simply be a glimpse of a reality in which Ezekiel did not prophesy that Tyre would never be rebuilt. Somehow we’re able to see it, but it’s obviously not our reality, because Ezekiel said Tyre shouldn’t be here.

However, there is another possibility. There’s a remote chance that Ezekiel was wrong about Tyre. A ludicrous proposition, I know, but technically, it is a possibility.

TyreSidewalkWe may never come to a true resolution of this ambiguous issue. Is it really there, or isn’t it? It seems that each individual will have to come to his or her own conclusion. One thing is certain, however. The apologists have definitively staked out the position that Tyre doesn’t exist, while the residents of Tyre disagree.

If you’d like to learn more about this issue, you can read this article.
TyreMapTyreHarbor

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100 thoughts on “This City Doesn’t Exist”

  1. Thanks for sharing and I really enjoyed how you handled the topic in your previous blog post (which you linked to).

    I look at the bible now and everything in it makes sense – not because it’s true – but because it sounds exactly like something written by people who came from those time periods.

    It reminded me of this post from Greta Christina about how religious people are constantly engaged in a game of Twister:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2007/08/19/a-self-referent/

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  2. Interesting observation, Brenda.

    @Nate – I love Ezekiel. He’s got the best imagination. His zombie army is magnificently described.

    I’ll check out both your links.

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  3. @tmso — Zombie army! He conjured a friggin zombie army!?! I must hear/read more about this army. That sounds great, and highly entertaining!

    @Nate — This is pretty funny stuff. I never took these stories literally, like you did back in the day, and I never studied the majority of them. It’s fun to read about these prophecies…keep em coming. It’d be fun to hear some responses from the citizens of Tyre. They’d probably just sigh…maybe chuckle, before declaring their undying devotion to beheading all of us infidels.

    Also, if you end up doing a story relating to Samson (sp?) killing a gazillion folks with a bone, please, I’m begging, you’ve got to figure out how to encapsulate some great imagery to show the last guy wading through the sea of his fellow soldiers’ bodies to fight this barbarian madman…who I always thought of as Hercules growing up.

    Great stuff!

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  4. This is a great find! I love finding little situations like this where people evangelize a statement only to be made a fool.

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  5. Does it not give you guys the least bit of pause that they ancient kingdom of Tyre was destroyed repeatedly exactly was Ezekiel describes? It was so thoroughly destroyed by both armies and nature that we don’t even know where it is. The mainland part may or may not be beneath the modern part and the island part is completely lost. So yes it is gone and was never rebuilt. The modern city bears no connection with the ancient one. It is a provincial, inconsequential city. The ancient one controlled a vast trade network and commanded the respect of the ancient world. Now we don’t know where it was.

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  6. But if you still want to say they are the same city, you cannot deny the accuracy of Ezekiel’s predication concerning its fall. Many scholars also widely note the use of literary hyperbole as a sort ancient “trash talking” in various parts of the HB which does not discount its accuracy.

    What I am saying is whichever way you want to go, Christians are fully aware of modern Tyre and are not stupid and ignorant for continuing to believe in Ezekiel’s integrity.

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  7. @bburleson
    But I think that is the island. The isthmus you see is the causeway that Alexander the Great built to reach the island – well after the Babylonians. Is that not right? And I think Nate did a pretty good job of showing how the prophecy was not accurate. Plus, Jesus himself mentioned the city as being in existence when he was alive (which was well after Alexander)- if it’s good enough for Jesus…

    Tyre may have been destroyed or sieged or sacked, but it was most definitely rebuilt and didn’t Ezekiel said it would never be rebuilt?

    I don’t quite understand this one.

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  8. Ok let me be more clear.

    First, I was saying the hyperbole argument is an option that some take. I personally think the prophecy is literal here.

    Second, I know we know the rough location of ancient Tyre, the peninsula where the modern one exists. What I am saying is the kingdom prophesied against, the Phoenician one, is gone, was never rebuilt, and the ruins are now underground or underwater. That is what I meant by we don’t know the location. You cannot go and see the ruins of Phoenician Tyre. You can I believe see Roman and Byzantine ruins, but Phoenician Tyre is buried. Travelers in the middle ages reported seeing the ruins of what they called “old tyre” underwater off the coast. Now it is lost. Today’s city is a part of another country entirely, not the powerful independent kingdom that sneered at Jerusalem and grew spiritually corrupt because of its riches and thus drew Ezekiel’s wrath.

    Peace,

    Ben

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  9. @bburleson
    I can see that reasoning. To me, though (and I can only speak for myself), it seems like it Ezekiel would have cleared up a whole lot of misunderstanding if he had said that Phonecia would be destroyed and never rebuilt.

    As it is is written now, it says Tyre, but i can see where you’re coming from. It’s these easy fixes that weren’t made that give a lot of people pause.

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  10. Ben,

    Do you think Jerusalem has been destroyed and never rebuilt? I’m just curious, because many of Jerusalem’s ruins lie beneath the surface. In fact, that’s the case with every major city. Did a prophecy need to be given for that?

    Ruins do litter Tyre. They’re visible in Google Maps. They might be from a later time period — I don’t know. But I don’t see how that really changes anything. All cities go through those kinds of changes. And it’s just not true that we don’t know where ancient Tyre was. I think that’s something that’s been spread around by apologists. Some of its ruins may lie beneath the water, or underneath later ruins, but that’s not very surprising either. Modern Tyre now covers both the original island and the mainland that was the site of Paleotyre. So the prophecy fails no matter which part Ezekiel was prophesying about. I’ve heard apologists say that Tyre is now just a bare rock that fishermen spread their nets on. As these pictures show, that’s just not true.

    Did you know that Jerome was bothered by Tyre’s existence? He really had trouble squaring it with Ezekiel’s prophecy.

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  11. The following is directly from Gleason Archer, a respected Old Testament scholar, not an “apologist.”

    Ezekiel 26:3–14 contains a striking series of prophecies that foretell the complete downfall of the proud merchant city of Tyre, to be brought about by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar. Yet from 29:18 it is clear that Nebuchadnezzar had not succeeded in capturing the island city offshore from the mainland port of Tyre. Undoubtedly the inhabitants had removed their most valuable possessions from the old city when they saw that its defenses could not hold out against the Chaldean siege engines. They had conveyed these possessions by ship to their island fortress, which was securely protected by Tyre’s formidable navy against the landings attempted by Nebuchadnezzar’s sea forces. Thus he had experienced years of frustration in the vain attempt to capture that prize. By way of compensation the Lord promised the king a successful venture against Egypt.

    A careful examination of 26:3–14 indicates a two-stage level of punishment for Tyre. Verses 3–4 predicted that “many nations would come up against” it and would break down its towers and walls. This fits in well with the Chaldean campaign and its thorough destruction of the mainland city. Verses 5–6 go on to speak of the removal of all the bricks and rocks and everything movable from the site of that ruined city—a most unusual procedure in dealing with a city taken by storm. Generally such locations would be left a chaos of rubble rather than being swept clean.

    Verses 7–11 specify that Nebuchadnezzar will capture, plunder, and thoroughly destroy the parent city on the shore. But v.12 seems to usher in the later phase, using an unspecific “they” as the subject of “shall make a spoil of thy riches.” Continuing through vv. 13–14, the specifics point very strikingly toward the later attack on the island city of Tyre that was successfully carried through by Alexander the Great (ca. 332 B.C.). History tells us that after Alexander’s naval forces proved incapable of storming the island (due to the determined resistance of the superior Tyrian fleet), he resorted to an ambitious engineering effort, consisting of a mile-long mole built out from shore to the east wall of the island. In order to get material for this causeway, the Greek invaders used every movable piece of rock or stone to cast into the sea, until and the city sacked. Exasperated by the long delay in his invasion schedule, Alexander resolved to make a fearsome example of Tyre; so he had the island city totally destroyed so that it should never be rebuilt (v.14).

    In point of fact, the mainland city of Tyre later was rebuilt and assumed some of its former importance during the Hellenistic period. But as for the island city, it apparently sank below the surface of the Mediterranean, in the same subsidence that submerged the port of Caesarea that Herod had built up with such expense and care. All that remains of it is a series of black reefs offshore from Tyre, which surely could not have been there in the first and second millennia B.C., since they pose such a threat to navigation. The promontory that now juts out from the coastline probably was washed up along the barrier of Alexander’s causeway, but the island itself broke off and sank away when the subsidence took place; and we have no evidence at all that it ever was built up again after Alexander’s terrible act of vengeance. In the light of these data, then, the predictions of chapter 26, improbable though they must have seemed in Ezekiel’s time, were duly fulfilled to the letter—first by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century, and then by Alexander in the fourth.

    Peace,

    Ben

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  12. I’m with you right up till the last paragraph. I have not seen any actual evidence for this claim. I have The History of Tyre by Wallace Bruce Fleming, and I’ll pull some information from it for you. As far as I can tell, the assertion that the island just “broke off and sank” is myth.

    Also, the “Hellenistic period” is the same period in which Alexander the Great lived. There was very little time between his sacking of Tyre and its rebuilding.

    I’ll get back to you on it.

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  13. From The History of Tyre page 64:

    Alexander then left the city which was half burnt, ruined, and almost depopulated… The siege had lasted from the middle of January to the middle of July, 332 BC. The city did not lie in ruins long. Colonists were imported and citizens who had escaped returned. The energies of these with the advantages of the site, in a few years raised the city to wealth and leadership again.

    Like most ancient cities in that part of the world, Tyre has been defeated and rebuilt many times in its long history. But it’s always been rebuilt. And I’ve found no indication that the island portion “sank” in anything I’ve read, unless it’s apologetic in nature.

    The nice thing about the book I quoted is that it’s just a history. It’s not out to prove or disprove the Bible in any way. That’s no guarantee that it’s being objective, but it’s a decent indication. Gleason Archer was a well respected scholar, from what I can tell. But he was also a Christian that wrote apologetic material like The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. I’m not saying that disqualifies what he said, but I could see where he would probably prefer to present things in a way that puts the Bible in the best light possible.

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  14. The modern Tyre has ports. If the original island sank, and all that remained was Alexander’s causeway, ports seem unlikely. Artificial ports are a fete today, much more so in the distant past. Just a thought.

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  15. That’s a good point William. In fact, if the island broke off and sank into the sea (which reminds me of the Monty Python line: “it burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp…”), I’m not sure how the causeway would have remained anyway. It only built up over time because it was stretched between two land masses, so sediment was able to accumulate. Without the island, I think it all would have drifted away.

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  16. Nathan,
    I have been reading your exchanges with Ben, and I have a few observations. Some are general, and some are specific in regard to Tyre, the “city that doesn’t exist”.

    First of all, I think it is important to comment in a general way. It is obvious that you reject any argument that is in opposition to your view of atheism. As evidence of your mindset, you could look at your list of books that you have reviewed. on the Josh McDowell book you comment (I’m paraphrasing) that it is a good book that raises some good points, but he doesn’t include things that would be detrimental to his argument. You comment that you understand why, but it seems to me that this is included to impinge the author and his book. Maybe this isn’t intentional, but it seems to be said for that effect, as if this somehow detracts from his arguments. Can’t you say the same thing about the books written by skeptical authors? Yet you seem to gush about how great they are. I think this is telling evidence about your attitude concerning the Bible.

    Another thing that should be pointed out is the point of view of the other writers as well as yourself. You don’t want to accept the findings of “apologist” writers and scholars, because they (in your view) are prejudiced toward a belief in God and the Bible. How then can you accept the arguments of “skeptics”? Most of those writers and scholars approach an examination of the Bible with the predetermined mindset that there is no God, and therefore no inspiration of scripture nor any such thing as miracles. Obviously, if you begin with this thought, then the ONLY possible view of the Bible is that it is a myth written by humans out of their own imaginations. Therefore, there can be no consideration of Daniel, Ezekiel, or other prophets or books as inspired. They had to be written at a later date through hindsight and could not have been prophetical. As proof, theories are offered as to the unknown, the known is discarded, and the “fact” that there is no God and no Miracles is presented to deny the claims of the writer. It should be noted, however, that what is known of history doesn’t disprove what is claimed by the writers of the Bible, rather what is NOT known through secular history. To me, this is like telling the Wright brothers that man will never fly, because man has never flown. We might of thought it improbable, but it obviously wasn’t impossible.

    Here’s another thing. In talking about Daniel, or any of the other prophecies, it is unarguable that prophetic and often poetic language is used. Even Ezekiel 26, dealing with Tyre, contains this type of language. Can anyone say with certainty how much and which part of these prophecies are specifically literal? Which of them are more generic? Which parts are poetic statements meant to be applied in a broad way and not literally? We can argue over these things forever without totally knowing for sure, except where the Scripture makes specific reference to something as being fulfilled.

    My point in these general observations is that no matter what your view, skeptic, apologetic, or objective, faith is required. You either have faith that there is no God (you cannot prove He doesn’t exist), or you have faith that there is a God (I believe there is sufficient proof in all of the things around us, but that is another argument). We all choose where to place our faith.

    Now, specifically about Tyre. If you examine closely and objectively Ezekiel 26, I don’t believe you can make the specific literal interpretations that you have made. Rather, what I mean is that you can make the observations that yoy have made, but I don’t think you can limit the possibilities to them. Yes, certainly, there is a city of Tyre that exists today. However, it is also true that the ancient city has been destroyed, and according to reputable sources (such as the World Book Encyclopedia) there is part of the anciet city area that is just bare rock where fishermen spread their nets. It is also true that while there is a city of Tyre, there is no longer a kingdom of Tyre. IF the correct view is that it is only the city being refered to and that the prophecy is completely literal, then you have grounds to make the claim that the propheciy is in error or is unfulfilled. However, if it is possible that the prophecy could have a broader meaning, or if the language is somewhat poetic and not meant to be entirely literal, then you cannot claim that the prophecy is an error or that it is unfulfilled.

    Now, I know what what your view is and what your response will be. You refuse to acknowledge the evidence of an all powerful creator in the things of nature you see all around you, so of course you will look for anything you can to try to discredit the Bible or it’s claims. That is fine, you have the freedom to do that. I just wish you would recognize that you are just as prejudiced against the Bible as I am prejudiced for it. Since I believe in an all powerful God who has created everything, I have no problem accepting the idea of miracles or the claims of the Bible. Your faith is in your own ideas, based on the writings of those who are prejudiced against the Bible. My faith is in the recognition of God and the writings of the Bible itself.

    We both have faith., just in different things. I see the benefits of living a life prdicated on my faith in God and the Bible. I fail to see the benefits of living with your views.

    Love,

    Dad

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  17. If one can take the places of the Bible that do not line up with history and science, and excuse them or justify them by saying the the bible is figurative or poetic in those parts, then what contradiction or error could not be explained away in a similar fashion? And how then could know which parts to take literally?

    Does it really take the same amount of faith to believe in a man being raised from the dead as it does to believe that the Persians invaded Greece? I think there is an obvious difference.

    The issue of faith is interesting though. What is a persons faith in? I submit that it is always in ones self (experiences/observations) or other people – although this would technically fall within what you experience I would argue that a divine revelation from God would be another, but I doubt many here would argue that they have witnessed or have been contacted by such. If you have faith in the bible, then that is not faith in god, but in man. Man wrote it. Man copied it. Man passed it from one man to another. You must have faith that they were all honest. That they made no mistake. Sure there were miracles, man said so. Man said that God inspired them to write a book or a letter. Man said that only the righteous would believe them. Man told the emperor that he made the finest silks that only fools could not see…

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  18. William,

    To say that the Bible came about through man’s imagination is more miraculous than any of the miracles contained within it.

    The reason i have faith in the Bible is because of all the evidence that supports it. Should those things just be ignored? Yes, all the objections to the Bible can be explained away. Does being able to explain something mean it is not true? If so, then truth doesn’t exist. Why does it take less faith to believe the Persians invaded Greece? Did you witness it? Did you experience it? Just because you look at everything thru a denial of God doesn’t mean you are right.

    The Bible gives a concise and reasonable explanation for the creation of the world and the purpose of mankind. Why is it more reasonable for you to believe that the complexity of creation just “happened”?

    For the Bible to be false, the writers would have had to have been geniuses while at the same time being idiots. It just isn’t logical for it to be as cohesive a text when written by so many from different backgrounds and from different countries, speaking different languages, with all the obstacles of communication that existed from that time without some explanation other than man’s imagination.

    Jim

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  19. William,

    As for fools, well, Psalm 53:1 says “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God”

    Jim

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  20. Mr. Owens,

    I do not claim to be an atheist, although I would imagine that you would categorize an agnostic in the same lot. But again, Psalms 53:1 could also be an illustration of the point I made above. It could be true, it could be from God. How do we know this, or how could we be convinced of this? Because it says we should? Do you have faith in everything that claims to be from God or a god? Or are you largely skeptical, and if so why? Maybe your faith is mostly within the bible. If so, your faith seems to be in the men that wrote it and compiled it and delivered it to you, just as i suggested earlier.

    So you have faith in the bible because of the evidence that supports the bible. The best miracle that you point to as evidence for the bible is the fact that it was written. It’s not that I have an agenda of any type, but I just don’t think that would hold up as logical reasoning for anything.

    However, what do you do with the evidence against the bible? Explain it away by saying “there could be an explanation, so we’ll assume it’s true? The bible was written after all.” Toss them away because they were not written in your bible (use the bible to verify science/history instead of the other way around)?

    Some things are a literal contradiction in the bible. Somethings are plainly inaccurate. And to overcome those one must invent theoretical possibilities as to why they’re not really problems. I grew up in very small non-denomination church in Ontario – I even drank the kool-aid for most of my life – I know how it goes as i used to do it too. So I’m pretty sure how you’ll respond as well, but for me it got to be too much. Too much intellectual, metaphysical gymnastics to be sustainable anymore. There may be a god, but I am no longer convinced that it is the god of the bible.

    Some things are true and nice and verifiable, but “some” does not argue “all.” There are problems there, and the way in which they’re ignored or “answered” would be enough to explain any problem away. “we don’t know all the answers yet…” “it is speaking figuratively here, but not there…” “who are we to question god…” “God is wiser than man, so we cant understand all of his ways…” The list goes on as I am sure you know. I am certain that these are enough for any person to justify their faith, their god, and their book, or whatever they have. But the bible’s different because it was written?

    There used to be miracles but fortunately we don’t have them any more, we have something much better, “a book.” We all know that people cant write books.

    At some point it’s going to get harder to deceive yourself – that’s all you’re doing.

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  21. Hi Dad,

    Thanks for the comments. You make a good point about the brief comments I’ve made in my “Books” section. I’ve tried very hard to be objective in my research, but I’ve felt that by and large, the skeptical books made better arguments. I didn’t mean to give the impression that skeptics don’t make bad arguments, or that they don’t sometimes misuse passages, or that they always provide all the information. Sometimes, they fail in those things, and my most recent post actually talks about that a little.

    At the same time, most of the skeptical books I read do talk about the theories Christians sometimes use to explain the Bible’s issues. Then they discuss why those theories don’t pan out. So I do think you often get a fuller picture from the skeptics’ books. However, to get the fullest picture of the situation, it’s best to read books from apologists and skeptics. I don’t believe you’ve read any of the skeptical books yet, but you can borrow some of mine if you like.

    If you do, you’ll see that their problems don’t stem from a presupposition that God doesn’t exist or that prophecies and miracles don’t occur. In fact, the majority of skeptics I’ve encountered were once believers themselves. Their initial presuppositions were ones of belief.

    Thanks

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  22. Ezekiel 26:14:
    14 I will make you a bare rock. You shall be a place for the spreading of nets. You shall never be rebuilt, for I am the Lord; I have spoken, declares the Lord God.

    Ezekiel 26:21:
    I will bring you to a dreadful end, and you shall be no more. Though you be sought for, you will never be found again, declares the Lord God.

    Ezekiel 27:36:
    The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;
    you have come to a dreadful end
    and shall be no more forever.

    So far, it sounds like we all agree that at the very least, these passages aren’t literal. After all, Tyre is definitely there today. So was Ezekiel just using poetic language to say that Tyre would be destroyed some during its long history? If so, I don’t understand why a prophecy would be necessary. That has happened to virtually every city throughout the world. So even if we said he was right, anyone could have made that prediction.

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  23. Finally, I’d like to refer back to this point:

    For the Bible to be false, the writers would have had to have been geniuses while at the same time being idiots. It just isn’t logical for it to be as cohesive a text when written by so many from different backgrounds and from different countries, speaking different languages, with all the obstacles of communication that existed from that time without some explanation other than man’s imagination.

    I just don’t believe that’s true. The different languages point is moot. When the New Testament was written, they had the Old Testament in Greek to refer to. Also, it really doesn’t fit together all that well. Some of it does, granted. But there are other places that appear to be completely at odds with one another. The NT has a totally different view of God from the OT — the Trinity is introduced, salvation happens differently and applies to different people, etc. It’s not hard to base later material off earlier material. People do it all the time. It wasn’t miraculous that the latest Star Trek movie had Kirk and Spock in it. They were based on the versions that came before. The writers of the Bible did the same thing.

    If the Bible had been written simultaneously across huge distances and through many languages/cultures, but still fit together seamlessly, then that would be good evidence of a miracle (provided they had no modern communications). But the Bible was put together sequentially, and men (as William has pointed out) decided what should be included and what shouldn’t. Nothing about that seems miraculous to me.

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  24. Nathan,

    Do verses 21 and 36 refer to the city or the kingdom? There is a city of Tyre, but as I understand it, it is adjacent to the old site. However, there is no kingdom or world power of Tyre as there was in ancient days. Why does the absence of a nation not fit with the prophecy? How does the prophecy exclude this?

    Dad

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  25. William,

    I have seen and heard a lot of supposed contradictions and errors in the Bible, but I’ve never actually seen one where there wasn’t a reasonable explanation for the supposed “error”.

    I don’t see the logic in the agnostic and atheistic arguments when I look at the Bible objectively.

    Thanks,

    Jim

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  26. Tyre was a city-state. I don’t think we can really try to separate the idea of the kingdom from the city. Tyre held a large sphere of influence, but Tyre itself was still just the city, as far as I understand it.

    Plus, I really do think that if Ezekiel’s point had been that the kingdom would fall and would never hold such prominence again, I think he would have said something like that. Too, from what I’ve read, Tyre did return to a great deal of prominence and continued that way for centuries. Its lowest point seemed to be at the end of the 12th or 13th century (I can’t remember which right now).

    Also, I don’t think it’s true that modern Tyre doesn’t sit on the same site as the original. I’ve heard that claim too, but I haven’t been able to find any actual evidence of it. I do think some of the western part of the island is now submerged, but most is not. Some of the island is still in ruins, just like you can see ruins in Athens or Rome. But modern Tyre still spans the island, the causeway, and the mainland.

    I really do feel like it’s a major issue. If Ezekiel was really inspired, then I think God would have had him write this just a little bit clearer. But his description of Tyre’s future is so extreme, I find it hard to read another meaning into it. Of course, that’s just the way I see it — other people certainly view it differently.

    Thanks

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  27. This is in reference to Jim’s (my Dad’s) earlier point that the reviews in my Books section seemed to lack objectivity:

    Let me add that I will take your point seriously and try to make sure that I’m not losing objectivity. I felt the need to make that caveat about Josh McDowell’s book because I didn’t want to only post positive comments about it and have people wonder why it didn’t change my mind. I guess I felt like I had to be clear that even though it was a good book, I had reasons for not finding it convincing. I probably should have been more thorough in that review (the others as well), but I was trying to do it quickly. I may go back and edit those at some point.

    Thanks again for your comment — I think it was well thought out.

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  28. @Jim Owens

    If you’re looking objectively, as I believe I am, then we just see it differently.

    But if your idea of being objective is to read only the literature that supports your desired conclusion, give no consideration to any other possibility, while simultaneously criticizing other religions for doing the same thing, then we disagree on objectivity. Not saying you do that – just offering a disclaimer.

    And I am curious, do you believe everything that is old and claims to be from god, or are you skeptical of everything except the bible?

    William

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  29. @Nate

    Could it be that only the ancient city of Tyre was destroyed, the ancient city, with its inhabitants and infrastructure. And destroyed to what extent. Do the scriptures say the city would be levelled completely? Is this a reference to the ancient city (the city of the time) or to future people and buildings?

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  30. William,

    I try to be objective about everything. However, when someone prefaces their material by telling me they don’t believe in God (as an article on Daniel that Nathan gave me to read) and that their intent is to prove their conclusion, I am going to be very skeptical. I believe for one to draw the conclusion that their is no God is to ignore the complexity of creation and is problematic on many levels. If someone claims to believe in God, and if they have some religious manuscript or document that they believe to be a “better” guide than the Bible, then I try to examine it objectively.

    It amazes me that the very ones who criticize people of faith for using circular reasoning or being close-minded or intolerant are guilty of the same things in their arguments and beliefs. Nathan is obviously intolerant of those who believe in God, because he is trying very hard to convince people to give up their faith (this blog is evidence of that). The evidence of close-mindedness is found in the dismissal of reasonable explanations for the “contradictions” and “errors” contained in the Bible. After all, presenting a reasonable explanation is seen as “explaining away” the problem and is not recognized as valid. However, if it is not explained, you would say that proves your point, while explaining it is not accepted. It’s a no win proposition.

    I believe most of the people blogging and posting on here are sincere, but obviously there is much disagreement. I think it boils down to choice. If one is convinced there is a God because of all the evidence around us, then the Bible and it’s stories and concepts are believable. The testimonies of the witnesses seem credible, and there is enough evidence in history to support it. If you don’t believe there is a God, then obviously the Bible has to be false, regardless of the evidence for it. The questions that can be raised, the lack of evidence for certain claims, etc. become the focus and are used to support the claims for the Bible being myth. It’s a choice, and in the words of a character from an Indiana Jones movie, we should “choose wisely”.

    One thing to keep in mind is that if I’m wrong, there is no God, then I’m no worse off to believe in God and the Bible and pattern my life after the precepts contained therein. I’ll actually be a better person for it. If you are wrong, and there is a God, then you will have missed out on the most important thing there is.

    It seems to me that if we make an error, it should be toward God, not away from Him, but that’s just my opinion and it seems logical to me.

    Jim

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  31. @Jim Owens
    I can see where you’re coming from, but I feel the need to dispel some of your preconceived notions.

    It’s not that I believe there is no God, it’s that I am unsure of ones existence. And I am sorry, but i just haven’t seen any reasonable explanation about all of the problems within the bible. Tyre’s prophecy being among them. the “you can’t take it literally” just seems like a cop out. I would imagine that you would say a lot of the bible should be taken literally (if i am wrong then feel free to correct me), but how do you determine which is literal and which is figurative? it would seem like your soul depends upon it. When there is a prophecy regarding a city, it just seems logical that in order fro it to be valid, in order for it hold any weight with the people it pertains to and those looking on, that it would be specific and unambiguous as to its meaning. When Ezekiel said that Tyre would be destroyed, never rebuilt, and never found again, yet we see it Tyre there today, and read where Jesus even acknowledged its existence, then I would would think you would even have to admit that you could at the very least see where people question it. Ezekiel cant be taken as literal – if he can be taken seriously at all.

    You wrote:
    “One thing to keep in mind is that if I’m wrong, there is no God, then I’m no worse off to believe in God and the Bible and pattern my life after the precepts contained therein. I’ll actually be a better person for it. If you are wrong, and there is a God, then you will have missed out on the most important thing there is.”
    But that isn’t completely accurate. If you’re serving the wrong god, then you’re toast too. There is more than just two choices. You seem to have no problem in discounting every other religion but your own, like most people (not an attack, but an observation).

    also, I hope you re-read what you typed above, especially the part where you talk about being objective. I know you say you’re being objective, the method you describe seems to disagree.

    And I am not trying to be rude or disrespectful, but you also mention where people on this blog have contradicted themselves, then could you please point to a specific instance or instances. I certainly don’t want o contradict myself.

    One last thing. If you said that if you start with the preconceived notion that god isn’t real, then it’s easy to find away to dismiss the bible or god. But isn’t the opposite just as true? If you start off by saying there is a god and the bible is his word, then couldn’t you (and I would argue many do) dismiss any reasonable argument to the contrary? And if God can do anything, if God can suspend the natural laws that we live in (meaning absurd sounding things are perfectly within God’s ability to perform), If some of God’s dealing are beyond our comprehension, then couldn’t any contradiction be “rectified” by saying “god can do what he wants,” or “we can’t understand all of God’s ways…?” The question is, what would people do when they just want to find the truth, when starting off in a neutral place? And, how can i be sure that I am following god, how can we be sure the bible is from god (it should be better than the bible tells us to, or that we have the bible)?

    Thanks,

    William

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  32. William, Obviously, determining what is literal and what is figurative is a challenge at times. We have to look at the context and let that indicate. Tyre was not just a city, but a powerful kingdom controlling trade and trade routes. It influenced many of the other kingdoms of the day. Which part of the prophecy deals with the physical city of Tyre, and which part deals with the Kingdom of Tyre and it’s influence on world affairs? I don’t know for sure, and neither does anyone else. Addressing this point ends up with a lot of speculation. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else, but it seems to me that when an authoritative source, which has a majority of it supported by known historical facts, has a portion where it is not clear as to the exact meaning, then I don’t automatically assume it has a meaning that would make it erroneous. I’m sure I’m not stating this very well.

    In my opinion, the best approach for me is to start with a big picture and then narrow the focus. In other words, is it more reasonable to say intelligence was involved in creation than chaos and random happenings? In view of the complexity and consistency in nature, it seems to me that intelligent design is more logical. If there is a being powerful enough to create the universe, then is it unreasonable to accept that He could do what He wanted, and that His knowledge and power far exceeds man’s? It seems reasonable to me.

    There are many things about the Bible that cause me to believe it’s authenticity. Just the fact that it was written over so many years by people from so diverse backgrounds, languages, and cultures and yet is so cohesive and long-lasting is a tremendous thing for me. It strains credibility (in my mind) to try to believe in a conspiracy as massive as would be required to pull this off. It is much easier for me to believe the Bible is what it claims to be. I have examined other religious texts, but thus far I have not seen any as impressive, coherent, and with as much external evidence to support it as the Bible.

    I cannot disagree with some of your last comments. As I said, I believe it comes down to a choice as to what you will put your faith in.

    Jim

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  33. Ryan,

    I’d recommend reading chapters 26-28 of Ezekiel and see what you think. The prophecy was given to the city of Tyre at the time Ezekiel lived, which was during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign in Babylon. Ezekiel says that Nebuchadnezzar would attack Tyre — there’s some disagreement as to whether Ezekiel meant for later nations to attack as well. If he did, he didn’t specify who they would be or when they would attack. History (and the Book of Ezekiel) tells us that Nebuchadnezzar failed to take Tyre itself, though he did destroy its suburbs on the mainland.

    To me, the key isn’t so much whether Tyre was ever destroyed — it was taken many times throughout its history. I think the biggest issue is that Ezekiel says more than once that Tyre would never be rebuilt, yet it always has been.

    Thanks

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  34. I’d like to add that I think referring to the “kingdom of Tyre” is overstating things a bit. Tyre, Sidon, and the other cities of Phoenicia were much like the Greek city-states of Athens, Sparta, and Thebes. We don’t normally speak of those as kingdoms. They were independent cities with a lot of influence, but I think calling them kingdoms is going a bit too far.

    I understand the tendency to make these kinds of distinctions because it helps muddy the water a little bit. If we can think of Tyre as not just a city, then we can try to fit Ezekiel’s prophecy in a little better. But it seems to me that it’s just making things unnecessarily complicated, and I also think it’s taking us further from the truth.

    Simply put, Ezekiel prophesied that Tyre would be destroyed — I won’t get into the details about who would do it or when it would happen. He also prophesied that it would “never be rebuilt,” “be no more forever,” and would “never be found again.”

    But Tyre has been rebuilt many times since then. It’s still there now. So I just don’t see how someone can still say the prophecy is true. However, some do, and I think we’re quickly coming to the point where we’re just repeating ourselves. I’m not sure that there’s much more of value we can say about Tyre.

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  35. I think confining a meaning to something the writer didn’t intend would be leading further from the truth. Can you say positively that it is only the city being referred to? Is the prophecy limited to the physical confines of the city itself? If so, then if the footprint of the rebuilt city is outside of or adjacent to the ancient city, then is it the same thing? Isn’t your view somewhat like saying Isaiah 53, when saying Jesus would be led and be “like a sheep before the shearers is dumb”, that he would literally be sheared of all the hair on His body? Since there is no record that this happened, then is this another example of an error?

    I agree that there is really nothing else to say. It is obvious we have all made our choices.

    Dad

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  36. @Jim Owens
    Isaiah 53 is a bit different. he said that “he” would be led like like sheep before his shearers is dumb…” this is clearly talking about the manner in which “he” (doesn’t say Jesus) would be led. Quietly, without a word. Even if taken literally, I don’t think it says he would be sheared and removed of wool.

    Ezekiel says Tyre wouldn’t be rebuilt or found again. Why wouldn’t one assume that Ezekiel is talking about Tyre? And have you seen the pictures of Tyre? There isn’t room for a city to sit beside it… Modern Tyre takes up all the land with the exception of a space big enough for a few back yards.

    I don’t know, Jim. Would you say that Atlanta or Stalingrad were destroyed and never rebuilt too because the literal bricks were not re-stacked and the political structure is now different? or because those inhabitants no longer live there. It does seem like a stretch.

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  37. Dad,

    I think the reason we haven’t been able to reach any kind of consensus is that you have some presuppositions that you aren’t willing to reconsider at all. Earlier, you mentioned that when someone tells you up front they don’t believe in God, you don’t think you have to listen to them. But why? How can you know they’re wrong if you aren’t willing to listen to their point of view?

    You’ve closed yourself off in this never-ending feedback loop where ideas different from yours have no chance of getting through. You believe there is a God based on the intricacies of creation. Okay, but that doesn’t mean it’s the God of the Bible. You also believe this God would definitely give us some kind of revelation. But why? Who are you to say what God would or would not do? From there, you decide that revelation must be the Bible because (from a high level) it seems to fit together, some of its history has been verified, and it claims to be inspired. Because of this high level decision, you elevate it to an AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE. Once it reaches that status, it can apparently only be disproved by another authoritative source. So if some history disagrees with the Bible (by the way, despite your claims to the contrary, there is historical information that directly contradicts the Bible), then it can be dismissed because it’s not from an “authoritative source.” Or if a book points out a contradiction in the Bible, that book can’t be right because it’s not an “authoritative source.”

    In other words, you’ve built this bullet proof bubble around your beliefs, but it’s all based on a Jenga tower of presupposition: you assume God exists because of nature (despite never really investigating the evidence for evolution, the big bang, etc), you assume he would communicate with us because… well, just because!, and you assume that communication is the Bible because you think it makes sense at a high level (disregarding the many problems with details, like the prophecy of Tyre). So you’ve got this conclusion that’s impervious to any other point of view, but you didn’t really get there through rational investigation. You were raised with this set of beliefs, and whenever you “examined” something to the contrary, it was probably by reading another Christian’s explanation of why some people don’t believe. Anything written by an actual skeptic has been avoided like the plague. No wonder you don’t find it persuasive!

    Instead, I think you should be willing to examine anyone’s claim, regardless of their position. Truly convicted people are not afraid of other points of view. If you’re right, then further examination should only give further credence to your views. If you’re wrong, then wouldn’t you want to know that?

    From there, I think you just have to examine the Bible for what it is. It claims to be inspired — maybe it is, but there are many religious books that claim to be inspired. So far, we would both agree that none of them are. So perhaps we should test the Bible before we just accept it. History agrees with some of what is recorded. That’s a mark in the Bible’s favor. However, that doesn’t seal the deal. Lots of books record history accurately, but that doesn’t mean they’re inspired. As we continue, we also see that some history actually disagrees with the Bible (evidence indicates that David and Solomon, if they existed, did not control kingdoms nearly as sophisticated or powerful as the Bible indicates; Jericho seems to have been long abandoned when Joshua was supposed to have sacked it; there’s no real evidence that the Israelites were ever in bondage in Egypt or wandered the wilderness for 40 years; Belshazzar was not Nebuchadnezzar’s son despite Daniel’s claims; Tyre is still here despite Ezekiel’s prophecy, etc). That doesn’t mean the Bible is wrong, but it should get our guard up a little further. Maybe history is incomplete or incorrect, but this is still a mark against the Bible. Many things in the Bible are in agreement with one another. That’s a mark in its favor. However, there are somethings that are not in agreement — even worse, some passages seem to directly contradict others. That’s a pretty bad sign that should start making us quite skeptical. Some prophecies in the Bible seem to have come true, which is a great mark in the Bible’s favor. However, upon closer examination, most of those prophecies seem to have been written about after the events in question occurred. And some prophecies don’t seem to have come true at all. That’s a severe problem.

    Obviously, it would take forever to go into each of those things individually, and there are many more considerations too: doctrinal and philosophical issues, the history of the canon, etc. But I think this is the only objective approach to take. Any time you short-circuit it by saying “but creation proves God’s existence,” then I think you’ve failed to remain objective. The question isn’t really whether or not God exists, it’s whether or not the Bible is inspired by him.

    The Bible was put together by men who compiled letters that were copies of letters written by men who claimed to be men that received divine revelation from God. Most Christians today don’t believe God speaks directly to anyone anymore. Nor do they think he spoke to the compilers of the Bible, or the people who copied the texts. William is right — our faith in God sure does require an awful lot of faith in man.

    Sorry this comment is so long, and I hope it hasn’t offended you. That’s honestly not my intent — but I do think this sums up one of our biggest areas of disagreement.

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  38. Nathan,

    As you are aware, there are many areas concerning this where we disagree. We have talked about some of these at length as they relate to “errors” and “contradictions” within the Bible. You know my stance and reasons for believing the Bible account, and there isn’t time or space here to revisit them.

    However, let me correct some misconceptions you have about me. You say I have never investigated other theories of creation other than the Bible account. This is an erroneous assumption on your part. I believe I have had much more instruction in college in biology and chemistry than you have, and I found much to look further into during that period of education. I had indepth conversations with professors who had PhD’s in their fields, and I did a lot of research on my own into science as well as history to answer some questions that had been raised because of this. My faith in God and the Bible is not because of what someone told me, but rather a result of many things that I have examined and observed over my life. The fact that you would think you are the only one to have questions or to examine the claims of the Bible or the existence of God is absurd and insulting.

    One of the problems is that when you see a passage that SEEMS to contradict something, you assume it is a contradiction. It seems to me that if a contradiction is suggested, you accept it whether it is the only possibility or not.

    You say our faith in God requires a lot of faith in man, but I think your view requires much more. The Bible text hasn’t changed through the years, while scholars and scientists have changed their views on their disciplines often through the years. You bring up David and Solomon, for example, and at one time no evidence outside of the Bible had been found at all to suggest they were real. However, at this time there is evidence that has been discovered that mentions them ( I can’t think of the specifics off the top of my head, but I can find it if you need it). There are other examples similar to this. My point is that you must be careful about saying the lack of evidence proves the Bible claims are false. It just isn’t true.

    I don’t mean to offend you either, but I wish you would wake up and recognize your error and correct it.

    Love,

    Dad

    P S I’ll try to not clog up your blog. Honestly, I shouldn’t even look at it. I always get upset by the things I read that you write. I just thought your attitude on the whole “Tyre subject was inappropriate.

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  39. I’ve been following this discussion for the past few days and I’ve really wanted to contribute something to the discussion. But I haven’t found anything to add that hasn’t really been hit on the head. I left the church out of many frustrations and it was only after being disassociated with that worrld that I finally gained a clearer perspective. I fully believe that what Nate has found IS the truth and having known him for 25 years, I don’t believe for one second that the line of reasoning that brought him here was anything short of a sincere pursuit of the truth. We arrived at the same conclusion independently, from different angles. In fact, we went a couple of years without contacting each other as we were both unaware of the other’s deconversion.

    I find that I now feel foolish for my fervent belief for 12-15 years. Mr. Owens, you essentially ask “if I’m wrong, what have I lost?” You’ve lost a chunk of your family and branded your son a heathen and a fool. Is it worth it? Is it what God would really want? Does withdrawing from him stand ANY chance of encouraging him to return to the fold? Absolutely not. In fact, I’ve long questioned the CoC doctrine of withdrawal. I’m not sure the biblical precedent exists in the way you apply it. And even if it does, surely you find yourself questioning its effectiveness right now. Though I feel certain you won’t concede your stance, I hope you will eventually reconsider shunning your son and his family.

    Graham

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  40. Thanks Graham.

    Dad, I hope I didn’t offend you in any way — I’m sorry if I did. I know this situation is difficult, and I know we’re both just doing what we think is right. Love you too.

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  41. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the question. I think it would be best to answer this in a new thread, so I’ll make a new post about it. Should have it up today or tomorrow.

    Like

  42. […] would it take for you to believe in God again?” This is what Ryan asked me recently. It’s a really good question, and it’s one I’ve thought about a lot. I’ve […]

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  43. I’m a little confused–unless simply because the prognostication was given in The Bible we must assume it was correct. But was the Christian prediction of the Year 2000 correct? Like the Mayan predictions, including December 21 of this year, ancient Vedic predictions and prophecies, Michael Nostradamus, etc., some are so vague it’s easy to ascribe any meaning you want, and some are just flat wrong. Why do we worry so much about some of these silly things?

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  44. Hi Don,

    Thanks for the comment! I agree with you. I think this prophecy is no different than any of the other ones you mentioned. But a few years ago, I was a fundamentalist Christian who believed in biblical inerrancy. So when I became aware of the issues with this prophecy, it was a major blow to me, and it would be to many of the people I still come into contact with. That’s the only real reason I posted about it.

    Thanks!

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  45. Nate, I haven’t read all the comments, but I think your post was a little harsh on Ezekiel, just as some christians are a little blinkered.

    After I investigated this (see The fulfilment of Old Testament Prophecy, I concluded that Ezekiel was about 75% correct, not too bad (if we base our judgment on a literal interpretation of such a prophecy, which I think is a slight mistake). His main points were correct but some details were not.

    Best wishes.

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  46. Thanks Unklee (I wrote Don here the first time — sorry!). I’ll check out the link.

    I do agree that I was a bit harsh toward Ezekiel in this post. It’s hard to do levity when religion is concerned. 🙂 A while back, I wrote a more complete treatment of it here: Prophecy Part 6: Tyre

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  47. On March 28, Jim wrote: “You don’t want to accept the findings of “apologist” writers and scholars, because they (in your view) are prejudiced toward a belief in God and the Bible. How then can you accept the arguments of “skeptics”? Most of those writers and scholars approach an examination of the Bible with the predetermined mindset that there is no God, and therefore no inspiration of scripture nor any such thing as miracles. Obviously, if you begin with this thought, then the ONLY possible view of the Bible is that it is a myth written by humans out of their own imaginations.”
    I’m sorry, but in my experience this is exactly the opposite. I was raised in a Christian family, and my mother remains a devout believer in spite of our talks, which are very friendly. Only after many years of study, questioning (which TRUE BELIEVERS are NOT allowed to do!), and thinging, did I come to doubt and then discard that mythology, as the monotheists of the world discarded previous mythologies. Most children born into a religious household are inculcated from their first few days into the rituals, and then the ideologies of that religion. It takes a lot of study and then confidence in your own intelligence and thoughts to break with your parents, your social group, and your religion. You actually have to break preconceptions.
    My children were raised in an athiest household. Not only did we not force our beliefs on them, we encouraged them to attend church if they wanted, and paid for trips and other events with religious groups. They eventually decided religion was false all on their own. Oddly, neither one writes or talks about it. As with other children who were raised in non-relilgious households, they just don’t care. It’s the “born again” athiests, such as myself, who spend the time and energy to keep investigating (yes, I still have a fairly open mind, and am willing to be convinced), and then write or speak on the subject. And I don’t study “atheisism” — I study relilgion! it is the absurdities of religion itself that have driven me away, not Darwin or Einstein or any other great thinker (although I certainly studied their writings). It is the religious people who have the preconceptions and the closed minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. @unklee

    I just wanted to let you know that I read the article you wrote on Tyre, and I think you did an excellent job. You were very fair in your presentation, and you provide some excellent links to further reading (Christian and skeptic alike). I definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading further about this prophecy. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll repost the link here:
    The Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy

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  49. Don said: “questioning (which TRUE BELIEVERS are NOT allowed to do!)”

    I’m afraid this is a myth Don. It may be true of the christians you grew up with, but it certainly isn’t true of all. I have spent 50 years as a christian, questioning all the time, and we brought our children up to think for themselves – and they are all now adult christians. And our family is not alone, though I don’t doubt that many are as you describe as well. I suggest it would be safer not to make such generalisations. Best wishes.

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  50. @unklee
    very true. Too often both sides seem to assert what the other is, or what the other thinks, or how the other is or isn’t being objective.

    But in the context of this particular prophecy, is it a win or a loss for the bible, if taken solely on its own word? I think Nate has done a good job of pointing out which it is. Ezekiel said that Tyre was going to be destroyed, never rebuilt, and never found again.

    It may have been destroyed, so i guess that could be a win. Yet is was rebuilt which would be a loss, and has been found again which would also be a loss. True, one can only come to this conclusion if taking the bible at its word, or by taking it literally. If this prophecy is not to be taken literally, just because of the outcome that has actually happened, then it seems like nothing in the bible is to be taken literally for certain. That is unless you believe this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled literally, but will.

    It’s what we do with the evidence we have, i guess. How the evidence is handled does shed light on one’s character and true willingness to question. Even Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruits. If reasonable evidence is tossed out merely because of faith, then isn’t that faith then blind? So then how could one blind faith be better than someone else’s blind faith?

    Reasonable evidence is the evidence based upon reason, based upon what is testable, or upon what can be or has been witnessed, or experienced. The same type of reason that helps one excel and advance in every other aspect of life. Work, or whatever. In my own experience, i realized that I was suspending the reason that I applied to do well in school and work when it came to religion. I realized that the bible didn’t hold up to that reason when i tried to apply it. And discussing these issue with other christians, hearing their explanations and excuses only validated my doubts.

    And Unklee, I can agree with you, but pointing out that you’ve remained a christian and all of you children have remained christians could be taken as evidence for either your point or Don’s, right?

    I would be interested to see how you or any other christian answer whether Ezekiel’s Tyre prophecy, when taken how the bible presents it, is fulfilled or unfulfilled.

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  51. G’day William, nice to ‘meet’ you.

    “If this prophecy is not to be taken literally, just because of the outcome that has actually happened, then it seems like nothing in the bible is to be taken literally for certain.”

    I have two problems here. The first concerns the word ‘literally’. There is clearly much in the Bible that isn’t ‘literal’ – e.g. no-one pretends that metaphors are ‘literal’ or that the parable of the Good Samaritan actually happened, and the Song of Songs is clearly poetry, and contains many poetic metaphors. Furthermore, when the NT writers and Jesus quote the OT, they often don’t quote it in a ‘literal’ manner, but what we may term figuratively.

    So one needs to ask whether prophecy was ever intended to be fully ‘literal’, or whether it was something a little different. I did a study of prophecy a long time ago, and I don’t think you can pin the literal label on it.

    Secondly, I think it is an amazing jump to say because some parts in a compilation of 66 writings is not literal, then we can’t take any of it as literal. Just take the gospels. Surely it is easy to take the Good samaritan as parable and the statement “Jesus died” as literal history?

    ” I realized that the bible didn’t hold up to that reason when i tried to apply it.”

    Secular historians nevertheless conclude the the gospels are valuable historical documents from which we can know a lot about Jesus.

    “I would be interested to see how you or any other christian answer whether Ezekiel’s Tyre prophecy, when taken how the bible presents it, is fulfilled or unfulfilled.”

    I go along with the Robert Bratcher view, that the Jews who included the prophecy in their sacred writings mustn’t have looked at it as you do. If the point of the prophecy was to predict historical events, than he got it about 75% right. If the point of the prophecy, in context, was to pronounce judgment on Israel and surrounding nations, then he got it right.

    This prophecy is a poor argument either for sceptics or believers, in my view.

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  52. @unklee
    Unklee,

    You are right that some things are obviously figurative and some are obviously literal. the presence of figurative language doesnt preclude literal language being used as well, and vise versa – we use context clues to know the difference.

    what I am saying, is that in the case of this prophecy, the context clue seems to be in the outcome of the prophecy, if I’m undertsanding the believers correctly. Had Tyre never been rebuilt, and never been found again everyone would have taken the prophecy as being literal, and not one thing would had to have changed in the wording. But as it is, believers will say it was figurative only because it literally failed to come true.

    I would like to echo the thoughts of Nate, If the prophecy was meant to be taken figuratively, then why give it? virtually all of the old cities and nations had been taken by another at one time over the past thousand years or two. It seems pointless to give a specific prophecy, that is really intended to be figuratively vague, about events that would likely happen everywhere to everyone. It does seem to lose it’s splendor.

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  53. @William
    …and I guess this why I said what I did about making everything suspect. If there is something like this, that appears to be literal as it is written, but turns out to be in fact figurative, then where would that end?

    Hell, is it figurative or literal? How about heaven, or anything else? See what I mean?

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  54. “If the prophecy was meant to be taken figuratively, then why give it?”
    I think it is easy to sit here in the twentieth century and apply inappropriate modern western concepts to a prophecy two and a half millennia old. We need to understand the context and the nature of prophecies or oracles generally. I suggest we can say:

    * judging by the content of their writings, the prophets were much more concerned about obedience and social justice than prediction;
    * many oracles were couched in cryptic and metaphorical words, some even in actions; the ‘vagueness’ was presumably deliberate;
    * many either had double fulfilments (then and in Jesus) and/or they were re-interpreted by Jesus and the NT writers in often non-literal ways;
    * the purpose of the oracles was to communicate God’s purposes and provoke change, not to prove God knew the future;
    * many of the oracles were conditional on certain actions and not absolute.

    So even if I believed the Bible to be inerrant, I would still not expect the prophecies to be absolutely literal. You, in talking about ‘splendour’, and believers who use them as proofs, are both misunderstanding them and using them for a purpose that they weren’t intended for.

    <i?"If there is something like this, that appears to be literal as it is written, but turns out to be in fact figurative, then where would that end?"
    Do you really think that it appears to be literal? Have you ever read Ezekiel?

    Read just the first chapter and you’ll see how wrong this view is! Or read about his symbolic enacted prophecies given while he couldn’t speak (ch 3-4), including acting that he was not grieving when his wife died (ch 24). Or his descriptions of the temple (ch 40-48). Or the valley of dry bones (chapter 37). Then read the whole of his oracle against Tyre, not just the prophecy (ch 26) but the lament (ch 27-28). I would say of all the prophets, Ezekiel is the strangest and the one we most clearly can see was a far from a literal person. I fear those who criticise this prophecy have never really entered into his life and character. I think he was a fascinating and probably quite abnormal person.

    <i?"Hell, is it figurative or literal? How about heaven, or anything else? See what I mean?"
    No, I’m sorry William, but I don’t see what you mean. These questions would be asked whether Ezekiel was literal or not, the two are not related. I suggest you and many christians make a common mistake about the Bible and expect it to be like a modern textbook rather than what it is – a bunch of ancient documents through which God reveals himself to those who want to know and conceals himself from those who don’t. (That is an idea taken from the prophet Isaiah and taken up by Jesus, not just my own idea, though I have extrapolated.)

    While it is designed to give us information, it isn’t so much designed to give us answers as to provoke us to ask questions and consider. So I suggest you now have a choice – how you will respond. If you want to understand, I hope you will try to read the Bible with different eyes and see if what I say makes sense.

    Best wishes, and thanks for the opportunity to discuss.

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  55. Hi unklee,

    I think you make some really good points here. They’re definitely things that should be considered. In fact, you’ve encouraged me to go back and study Ezekiel in more detail now.

    I will say that I think this prophecy would have been a great opportunity to add some major credibility to the Bible, but it just seems to fall flat to me. The only unusual thing — the only thing that it might have taken inspiration to predict — was the claim that Tyre would never be rebuilt. But it obviously was.

    Also, I agree with you that the main thrust of the prophets was to call people to repentance. They were much more concerned with that than prophetic accuracy. But I just see this as another clue that the Bible is merely the work of men.

    Anyway, I’m not saying any of that to change your mind or argue with you. I just wanted to give my current perspective on your points. As always, thanks for weighing in. I appreciate your comments even though we don’t always agree.

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  56. Nate, thanks for your comment. I want you to know I really do appreciate the tone of your replies – I think you may be the friendliest atheist I have discussed with on the web. : )

    “I will say that I think this prophecy would have been a great opportunity to add some major credibility to the Bible, but it just seems to fall flat to me.”
    I guess all I can say is that adding credibility was probably not Ezekiel’s, or God’s, purpose! I think you are seeing things with 20th century eyes and mindset, and while it is hard to change the eyes, I think it is necessary to be more sceptical about the mindset.

    “But I just see this as another clue that the Bible is merely the work of men.”
    I think this is really a strange statement. I cannot see how that conclusion follows from the “premises” you started with.

    ” I appreciate your comments even though we don’t always agree.”
    Ditto. At least I can understand how you approach these things, which is interesting and worthwhile, even if I find it strange sometimes. Best wishes.

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  57. @unklee

    Deut 18:22… What Ezekiel said didn’t come true. You even admit as much by saying he was 75% correct, which means he was 25% incorrect.

    I believe I have looked at the bible objectively and I did believe it fervently for many years, but I never thought that a little error was alright. If I’m mistaken about what you’re saying then I apologize.

    “* judging by the content of their writings, the prophets were much more concerned about obedience and social justice than prediction;”

    then why give predictions? Especially ones that don’t come to pass – whether in part or in whole.

    ” I suggest you and many christians make a common mistake about the Bible and expect it to be like a modern textbook rather than what it is – a bunch of ancient documents through which God reveals himself to those who want to know and conceals himself from those who don’t. ”

    were you saying that it should be taken as God’s revelation to those want to see it, but is hidden to those who dont want to see it? That sounds like the story of the emperor’s new clothes. And what about those like me, who just want to know the truth and not be duped by a lie? Plus, John 20:30-31, jesus at least was trying to convince people…

    John 20: 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    When it’s hard to explain, the solution becomes “you’re not looking at it right” or “God will reveal himself if you want to see.” I have scripture for my issues, and it’s always easy to say that “you’re just not looking at it right, or you dont have the best understanding…” well I can say that too. You’re obviuosly confused by spending your time reading prophets that dont make a lot of sense, when you should have been reading the whole bible to see the issues within it. You’ve decided that god is in it, and so you see him in every page only because you’re trying too, much like looking for a shape in the clouds. Now, what I just said may or may not be true, and the fact that I said it has no bearing on whether it’s true or not. We might ought stick to the bible itself and let it speak for itself, and avoid prescribing each other’s intentions.

    If the prophecy wasnt meant to mean that Tyre would be destroyed, never rebuilt and never found again, then why say it that way? And of course I’m looking at things from the era I am in, because I’m not from another era and the bible is supposed to be for all people for all time. If Ezekiel convinced the jews thousands of years ago, then that’s great. Why should I consider their thought process when Ezekiel didnt consider ours?

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  58. @unklee
    ““But I just see this as another clue that the Bible is merely the work of men.”
    I think this is really a strange statement. I cannot see how that conclusion follows from the “premises” you started with.”

    I think it’s because you cant take Ezekiel at his word. he said something would happen, but didn’t. This would mean the prophecy failed, if it were a prophecy, and it does look like one to me. Deut 18:22.

    I think it also comes from the idea that a perfect and all knowing god wouldnt mess up a prophecy, so if it were a prophecy, then it wasnt from God because it failed… or at least appears to.

    does that make sense?

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  59. @unklee
    Hi Unklee — thanks for the kind comments!

    I guess all I can say is that adding credibility was probably not Ezekiel’s, or God’s, purpose!

    You may be right about that, but that’s one of the things that bugs me. As William pointed out, John 20 says that his purpose was to persuade people. And the New Testament is filled with people quoting the Old in order to build a case for Jesus’s divinity. When Jesus was tempted, he responded by quoting scripture. When Moses and Gideon needed convincing, God patiently provided multiple miracles to convince them. When the Israelites were in Egypt, God provided plagues to show the Israelites who he was and to convince the Egyptians to “let [his] people go.”‘

    Today, most Christians believe that people of other religions (or no religion at all) must come to Christ in order to receive salvation. If so, what evidence will convince them to do that? An unquestionably fulfilled prophecy would go a very long way, in my opinion. So if it wasn’t God’s or Ezekiel’s purpose, what does that say about the amount of concern they have for people today? Many people in the Bible received multiple miracles to help convince them — we don’t even get an internally consistent or accurately prophetic book?

    “But I just see this as another clue that the Bible is merely the work of men.”
    I think this is really a strange statement. I cannot see how that conclusion follows from the “premises” you started with.

    I’m sorry — I wasn’t very clear there. You said that the prophets were more concerned with calling people to repentance than with prophetic language. I agree with you. But to me, this indicates that they weren’t much different than other people of their time. They were trying to convince people to listen to them; just like any other religious leader tries to do. The fact that they spoke in hyperbole and made sweeping pronouncements that may or may not come true makes them indistinguishable from “false prophets,” in my opinion. Also, the fact that these books weren’t written in a modern mindset, but in an ancient one further shows that they’re not divinely inspired, in my opinion. They look just like what we’d expect from someone of that time period. So why should we think they were anything more?

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  60. William said: “What Ezekiel said didn’t come true. You even admit as much by saying he was 75% correct, which means he was 25% incorrect.”

    I think I was being generous to your viewpoint when I said this. I am glad you have pursued this because it has caused me to re-read and reconsider.

    Ezekiel prophesied many details against Tyre, and most of them clearly came true – that is why I said 75%. The main (only?) detail that seemed to be untrue was the one that Nate used to title his post – it will never be rebuilt.

    Now this all comes down to questions about whether the city is the people or the location, and whether a name is the same as the thing it names. Ezekiel was clearly addressing the people who lived in Tyre, and they certainly didn’t rebuild their city, and the city today has the same name but isn’t the same city in any way.

    Now we could argue about all that, and I am not about to use this example as an argument for Biblical accuracy, but I think my re-reading shows me that Ezekiel plausibly got it 100% right according to his purposes, and better than 75% right by our standards.

    I think this was a remarkable achievement, and lends more support to the accuracy of the Bible than it does to the charge that it was inaccurate. I think I will amend my assessment on my blog accordingly.

    ” I never thought that a little error was alright”
    Most christians, in my experience, don’t hold to the doctrine of inerrancy.

    “then why give predictions? Especially ones that don’t come to pass – whether in part or in whole.”
    Strictly speaking, these oracles are not predictions but judgments which have some predictive elements. The judgment is what is important.

    “were you saying that it should be taken as God’s revelation to those want to see it, but is hidden to those who dont want to see it? “
    Jesus said (Luke 8:10, quoting Isaiah): The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ I extrapolated that idea. God gives us genuine freedom to choose, so Jesus presents his message in a way that allows people to hear and choose whether they believe or not. Entering his kingdom is not so much dependent on intelligence, education or what we know, as on our “heart” attitude.

    “And what about those like me, who just want to know the truth and not be duped by a lie?”
    Jesus promises that those who seek and keep on seeking will find. But we have to be willing to let go of our assumptions if necessary, and not demand to know on our terms. I encourage you to keep on seeking, and asking questions.

    “When it’s hard to explain, the solution becomes “you’re not looking at it right” or “God will reveal himself if you want to see.””
    I’m sorry William, I don’t mean to be evasive or difficult or offensive, I am just saying what I believe to be true. I don’t just make up my answers to try to answer your questions – they mostly come from 50 years of asking myself similar questions and pondering on the realities of life.

    “a perfect and all knowing god wouldnt mess up a prophecy, so if it were a prophecy, then it wasnt from God because it failed… or at least appears to. does that make sense?”
    It makes perfect sense. It just doesn’t appear to be the way that it is. God appears to have allowed human beings to have their freedom, and hasn’t tried to over-ride them about minor “errors”. And surely that makes sense also, and it seems to fit the facts better.

    Best wishes.

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  61. Nate, I think it may be time to take a broader view, for I think we will gain little from further discussing the details. See what you think of this ….

    1. If we took this oracle out of its context and considered it as just a piece of history, I think we would say that Ezekiel foresaw the coming events pretty well. But no-one is being urged to believe in Ezekiel, the only reason people raise it in a negative way is because it purports to come from God. And on the basis of this oracle alone, I don’t think we would be entitled to conclude either that God existed or that he didn’t. That being so, we need to look at the wider context of God and the Bible.

    2. I am a christian. I believe the NT has been shown to be sufficiently reliable to trust, and I believe the Jesus affirmed by the majority of secular scholars can reasonably be believed to have told the truth and to be inaugurating God’s kingdom. And when I look at the philosophical arguments, the lives of christians, and my own life, I find all these reinforce that conclusion. So that is my firm conclusion, and my starting point for discussing Ezekiel and the OT generally.

    So I take the OT as I find it. It doesn’t look like it is inerrant and it doesn’t claim to be, Jesus and the apostles often quoted from it in a non-literal way, and there is clear evidence of progression in the revelation. And so that is the conclusion I come to. It makes sense, it is consistent, and it builds on what I “know”.

    3. You and William, on the other hand, presumably don’t believe in Jesus, so you bring a completely different set of assumptions, and that is where our main difference lies, not with Ezekiel. So you bring expectations that God should do things in a different way, he should be more obvious, and the Bible should even be inerrant.

    I think those are unnecessary and unjustified assumptions. I can see that you could reasonably have those expectations, but I cannot see how you can maintain those expectations in the face of the evidence to the contrary. If you believe the God of Jesus exists, then the logic I outlined above applies. If you believe he doesn’t, then your real objections lie elsewhere. Either way, Ezekiel is not a crucial matter, in my opinion, and those expectations shouldn’t influence your conclusions.

    So that, I think, is the bigger picture. Best wishes.

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  62. Hi unklee,

    I see what you’re saying. I do have a minor quibble with this line:

    I can see that you could reasonably have those expectations, but I cannot see how you can maintain those expectations in the face of the evidence to the contrary.

    For me, the evidence to the contrary is just further indication that the Bible isn’t inspired. But I’m not trying to argue that point with you — I understand you look at it differently. Even though we come to different conclusions about it, I appreciate that you don’t make excuses for the places in the Bible that aren’t exactly right.

    I think the main presupposition we disagree over is inerrancy. I was raised to believe that the Bible was word for word from God and completely error-free. When I discovered that it wasn’t, my faith didn’t have much more to hang on to. Some might say that’s just a sign of a weak faith, but I don’t think it is. I think it’s just a sign of a different approach to scripture.

    I currently still believe that if God were going to send us a message that our souls depended on, he would provide a great deal of evidence — miraculous evidence — to help us believe it. The Old and New Testaments are filled with examples where people were given astounding evidence to help them believe. Even the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 was given the sign of Phillip’s disappearance, and the eunuch had already professed belief at that point. When people asked for signs, they typically received them. Paul said that he became all things to all people so that he might win some. In the story of the prodigal son, the father ran out to meet the son as soon as the son showed signs that he wanted reconciliation.

    Considering all of that, I think it’s reasonable to believe that God would have amazing evidence for us today as well. In my opinion, this amazing evidence doesn’t exist. I’m not aware of any verified miracles in modern times; I don’t believe God has any inspired prophets today that could show us the way. I used to think that the Bible was our piece of extraordinary evidence. How could such a document be completely perfect in all its claims and accounts? How could it have made wild predictions that were later fulfilled exactly? God’s inspiration was the only explanation that made sense. That’s why I believed. But now that I see the Bible doesn’t fit that description, I have no more reason to believe its claims.

    I understand that you take a different approach — I have no problem with that. We just look at this differently.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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  63. Yes, I think we have identified our differences reasonably well. It is clear you have a binary approach to the possibility of God existing. If the Bible was inerrant then you could believe, if not then you can’t. You seem unable to accept a middle position of if the Bible is historically accurate you could consider believing that bit.

    And this quote sums up your expectation, which I think is too uncertain to be definitive:

    “I currently still believe that if God were going to send us a message that our souls depended on, he would provide a great deal of evidence — miraculous evidence — to help us believe it.”

    So I guess we can leave it there for now. Thanks again.

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  64. @unklee
    I get you, I think. But I still disagree. Even if Ezekiel’s point was merely to place judgement (and Agree that is what he was doing), his full judgement didn’t come to pass, at least as I see it… And the parts that did happen, happened to most places during that time.

    And are we looking at all of Ezekiel’s judgement on Tyre the same? Was all of it figurative or just the part about never being rebuilt and never being found again? When Ezekiel said it was going to be attacked again and again, was that literal, or figurative for something else, like trade embargoes?

    My only other thought is that if the bible obviously is not inerrant, then why think that is is anything more than a product a man, since man can write things down and do it all the time without god’s influence?

    I think I am being objective and am constantly seeking the truth. I try to give myself to self examination to keep myself on that path. At the moment I feel like I left my presuppositions when I quit being a christian. I think my presuppositions that the bible was God’s word and the biblical authors were telling the absolute truth is what held me within that religion. Only when I finally opened the door to the consideration that the bible may not be from god, and that its authors may have been mistaken, did I realize my faith had been built upon what other men had told me, and that all the “hard to understand” parts of the bible were really just mistakes, errors and contradictions. In other words, it looked just like people put it together.

    But I admit, I could be wrong. I have been before.

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  65. The only thing I’d like to clarify is that I only hang the existence of the Christian god on the accuracy of the Bible. I still admit that some other god may exist. But I find the god of the Bible to be improbable for a number of reasons; the Bible is just what helps seal the deal, in my opinion.

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  66. William, I think we are understanding each other better, which is good, though of course not agreeing.

    “And are we looking at all of Ezekiel’s judgement on Tyre the same? Was all of it figurative or just the part about never being rebuilt and never being found again?”
    I don’t know, and I honestly don’t care all that much. I wonder have you ever read Ezekiel right through? I have, though a while ago. There are almost 50 chapters of very strange stuff, with oracles against about a dozen nations or cities, and even oracles against “the south” and the mountains. I don’t profess to understand what it’s all about, what was in Ezekiel’s mind, and certainly not how literal it was meant to be. And I can’t see how it matters, if we don’t assume inerrancy. I’m not even sure if it mattered to Tyre et al back then – did they ever hear or read the oracle against them? I doubt it.

    “My only other thought is that if the bible obviously is not inerrant, then why think that is is anything more than a product a man, since man can write things down and do it all the time without god’s influence?”
    I can’t see how we should simply assume from the start that the Bible is inerrant. Thinking it is just a human collection of writings is surely the correct place to start. But not the correct place to end, IMO. Human writings still tell us stuff that is worth knowing, and the historians can help us decide what we can believe. As human writings, the gospels still tell us enough about Jesus to believe in him (again, IMO). Once I believe in Jesus, I can decide whether I think it is all inerrant, or what – surely that is the logical order? And once I believe in Jesus, what does it really matter if Ezekiel got it all right or not?

    “I think my presuppositions that the bible was God’s word and the biblical authors were telling the absolute truth is what held me within that religion.”
    But those same presuppositions led to your losing your belief. All I am suggesting to you and Nate is that the presupposition isn’t necessary. Start with the Bible as a human collection and see where it leads.

    Best wishes.

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  67. Hi unklee,

    I’m really glad you posted that. With my background, it’s been hard for me to completely identify with the type of Christianity you espouse. So hearing your recommended approach to the Bible is very interesting to me — I really feel like I learned something right there!

    As luck would have it, I do currently look at the Bible as a human collection. I’ve gone through the evidence for the resurrection before, but this was just as I was on my way out of Christianity. I’ll look at it again soon and keep your suggestions in mind.

    Thanks!

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  68. Nate, I don’t want to drag this out any longer, but I think it is worth while outlining the process I think we can (should?) follow, with references to where I’ve set each point out at greater length.

    1. Treat the Bible as any other historical text. It is a good historical text – Are the gospels historical>.

    2. From this, because there are so many independent texts, scholars conclude Jesus was a real historical figure and we can know quite a bit about him. Of course not all agree, but this is a reasonable consensus.

    3. Using parts of the gospels that are well attested, a good case can be mounted that Jesus claimed to be divine.

    4. Likewise using ‘facts’ agreed on by a majority (but not all) scholars, a good case can be made that the resurrection actually occurred (unless one rules it out on non-historical grounds).

    5. If we study the NT, we find a Jesus who is somewhat different to that proclaimed by most churches.

    I think the evidence stacks up, and I think that historical Jesus is someone I can believe in.

    I’m sorry to use your blog for blatantly christian purposes, but it seemed an appropriate way to conclude this part of the discussion. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  69. No problem unklee. I’m glad you posted all the links. They should be helpful to anyone else who’s interested in this issue.

    Like I’ve said, I didn’t find the historical evidence strong enough to make me think an actual resurrection took place, but I do plan to go through all of it again soon. When I do, I’ll use these links you’ve provided and try to approach everything with an open mind.

    Thanks again!

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  70. I’m being lazy, and cant recall, but was it ever mentioned that Jeremiah made a similar false prophecy of the Medes destroying Babylon?

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  71. There is actually a third possibility. The prophets saw all of history at once, as we may look at a mountain range from a far distance,we are able to see many mountains when far away and describe what we see, but if we were standing on a particular mountain our view would be more limited. We live in that limited view and we err when we try to discern their description from our vantage point; so the third possibility is that the full completion of this prophecy is not YET fulfilled. A perfect example of this is when Jesus was reading in the synagogue from Isaiah 61. Though the Torah portion was supposed to be that whole portion, and when we read through it we could be tempted to lump all of it together as ONE prophecy, Jesus stopped in the middle and said, “Today, in your hearing, this prophecy has been fulfilled” This is when they then wanted to stone him, but the relevant part to our conversation, is that Jesus knew in his first coming that his mission was to, “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (this was all accomplished through the cross for those who will receive) he stopped there- in the middle of the verse and essentially the beginning of the prophecy -because it is not until his second coming that the day of vengeance of our God and the rest of the prophecy will be fulfilled.
    Plus it is not uncommon for prophesies to have multiple fulfillments, in deed the Eastern culture and mindset thinks this way…and the Bible is an Eastern book. I would expect a future fulfillment where it’s completion is carried out exactly as it states.

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  72. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for the comment. I suppose your suggestion is a possibility, but it requires people to assume Christianity is true from the outset, even if the evidence doesn’t support it. I have a hard time thinking God would operate that way. Doesn’t seem fair to those who are raised outside of Christianity.

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  73. Just an FYI. The Bible is correct. It must re-exist but it can’t be rebuilt so there is only one true way around that. Place a lie out there, to fool the masses while the Truth occurs without those witnessing it. This is how Tyre will come back to be without being rebuilt.
    First of all it will be in an unobvious place. It will come from a city with a similar name, but will be changed once a destruction of parts of the world and remapping is done. The Day of destruction to start Tribulation and release Satan from the pit, the city of Tyler Tx, will be spared from an upcoming destruction that will tear up the USA, and create a sea from the exploding oil well Deepwater Horizon and it’s nearby trigger points causing the greatest tsunami the world has seen. This tsunami will be around 2000 feet high and create a great sea from Parts of Texas, Louisiana and a lot of the Gulf Coast passing up towards parts of the central but then angling then towards the Great lakes. This great tsunami will carve the land and make some deep seabeds. Also quakes in Texas, Oklahoma, New Madrid area’s and such will cause the land to sink even more. Now for me, Tyre will be spared from one destruction, by the parting of the Waters around it as the man of God in the New Testament is the Restrainer and will hold and part those waters around it. The City of Tyler had the image of the 7 headed dragon Satan embedded in it’s layout from looking from above as a spiritual or an aerial view. This is the key that releases Satan, as I found the key, and its almost complete. Then on that eventful day will be created the widows that will have lost husbands and families if they came into town to work or if other family went out of town to work. Also around this area is where the White Horseman, the son of perdition garden of eden serpent have been found on maps. I am not kidding. This stuff is real. You can see fr yourself on my community page if you dare to want to see the Truth. Amen. https://www.facebook.com/TheLostFlockOfJesusChrist/

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  74. yeah, It reminds me that any contradiction or error or falsehood can be supported, defended and upheld if one has the imagination and fortitude to press on.

    No one likes a quitter, I suppose.

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  75. TMS — are you serious??!!?

    Amazing how individuals can come up with stories/events/happenings and attempt to put them all together to “confirm” what they think the bible says. SMH

    Fantasy at its best.

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  76. I keep wanting to read Tim’s comment as satire, but after skimming over his FB page, I’m not really sure…

    For the record, if it is satire, it’s pretty great. Some of the most imaginative I’ve ever seen!

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  77. You are not understanding but the world history vouches for the bible. World history will tell you that Alexander took all of the stones, the ruble and the timber of the land tossed it into the ocean, just as the bible said (and he did this to build a bridge, and he called upon many nations to help him) Just as the bible said “I will send many nations against you”

    atheist think that it is a failed prophecy because they think it is the city of tyre but actually the entire city of tyre is buried under sand and water just like the bible said, the new city that they are look at is on a different piece of land and is an entirely different city.

    It is confusing, for atheist to understand this as they are historically illiterate, but any history book will tell you the same thing, the entire city of tyre was burried underwater and sand.

    just last century you would have been able to see the entire city and its streets just a stones throw away from the entirely new city that they built that is not the city of tyre that God destroyed, the one that God destroyed is irreperable, the new city that they built are not a rebuilding of the ruins that are buried under the water, it is an entirely different city made at an entirely different time on the other half of the piece of land. but other wise the entire city of tyre is resting on the bottom of the ocean.

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  78. @William that is another fulfilled prophecy, not a failed prophecy and it wasnt jerimiah it was Isaiah during the time of king Uzziahs death (roughly 400 years before it happens)

    Babylon was prophecied to be destroyed by the medes, Alexander the Great was the macedonian king (A.K.A. the Medes) silly willy.

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  79. Neither the prophecy of the City of Tyre, nor the prophecy of babylon are failed prophecies, both of the prophecies are fulfilled prophecy, the history will tell you so. City of Tyre, and babylon prophecy is some of bibles most notorious fulfilled prophecy.

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  80. “It is confusing, for atheist to understand this as they are historically illiterate”
    “Alexander the Great was the macedonian king (A.K.A. the Medes) silly willy.”

    Statements like these don’t make you any more credible. Just sayin ………..

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  81. I think another blogger Kris Johnson got it right, “The prophecy is unambiguous. Tyre will be barren, like the top of a rock. Tyre will be a place to spread nets on. This never happened. Tyre shall never be re-built. Even if you are able to argue that Tyre was destroyed (it wasn’t), there is no way to argue that Tyre was never re-built. And the destruction was to be carried out by Nebuchadnezzar. With the constant repetition of “he will…”, “he will will…”, it is clear that the prophecy will be done by Nebuchadnezzar, not by another leader long after Nebuchadezzar’s death. Some apologists claim that Alexander the Great fulfilled the prophecy some 200 years after Nebuchadrezzar’s death. While Alexander the Great conquered Tyre and in the process razed parts of the city, even he did not fulfill the specifics of the prophecy. And Alexnader the Great is clearly not Nebuchasrezzar. The prophecy does not allow room for any leader besides Nebuchasrezzar. Nebuchadrezzar did lead a siege on Tyre for 13 years, but withdrew his forces in failure.”

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  82. Hi Jesse,

    Thanks for your comments. I honestly appreciate your interest in this, and I think it’s admirable that you’ve researched it. However, you should know that the evidence doesn’t stack up as neatly for the Bible as you might think. This particular post is something I wrote as a bit of satire — it’s not my most serious treatment of the topic. If you have time, check out the series I did on the prophecy of Tyre. It starts here:
    https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/an-examination-of-ezekiels-prophecy-of-tyre-part-1/

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  83. Btw, the bottom of each post has a link to the one that comes next, but you can also easily reach each post if you refer to my home page.

    Thanks

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  84. @Jesse Sao,

    Look at Jeremiah 51. Jeremiah is saying that the Lord will Bring the Kings of the Medes to destroy Babylon. Interestingly, there’s similar language in Jeremiah 51 against Babylon as there is in Ezekiel against Tyre; both reference being covered with water, wave after wave, and that it will remain desolate forever, etc, etc.

    Maybe it was the cool thing to say back then?

    But the Macedonians weren’t Medes. The Median Empire wasn’t in Greece, but the Middle East, northern Iran area, and the Medes were conquered by the Persians and the Persians conquered Babylon (without burning it), and Alexander the Macedonian, leader of the Greeks, overthrew the Persians. Alexander’s kingdom split after his death into 4 parts (just thinking of Daniel there).

    And a thing to note regarding Ezekiel saying nations would attack Tyre is that Nebuchadnezzar’s army was composed of multiple nations since he and the Babylonian’s had conquered and conscripted multiple nations, being an Empire and all.

    The only way that someone can actually argue that these prophecies were fulfilled, is by saying that the prophecies cant be taken literally. The thing with that is, is that you can make a case for anything, you can defend anything by saying, “well, he didn’t literally mean that, but now, only after it happened differently than what he said, he must have meant this…”

    It seems like precision may be important in validating prophecies – or is that only when it comes to prophecies that are in religions other than your own?

    If a similar prophecy came from the Koran, or some other religion, you wouldn’t be saying it was fulfilled, you’d be doing what I’m doing now, and point out the obvious problems with it.

    And as Tyre is today, the north harbor is one of the ancient harbors. Alexander’s causeway just added landmass to the city – the entire ancient land area for ancient Tyre is not buried and again, the old north harbor is still in use and is not buried by water or sand.

    You may as well say that Jerusalem was destroyed, is desolate and was never rebuilt, since it has newer buildings now and all the inhabitants from ancient times don’t live there anymore – if that’s what the prophet meant, then there’s no need for prophets, since that’s just what happens every where.

    Even Jesus is quoted as referencing Tyre a few times, and never once said, “well, you call yourself Tyre, but you’re not really Tyre, since Tyre was destroyed forever, so you’re just a city with the same name, in the same location, but still not really Tyre…” No, he just said Tyre.

    But don’t take my word for it. Read Jeremiah 51, use google to search for the Median Empire, the Persian Empire, Macedonia and Greece and Alexander the Great, also use google maps to view the city that was never rebuilt, the city that would forever be a desolate, bare rock, the infamous city of Tyre – it’s surprisingly populated and developed to be non-existent.

    Signed,

    silly willy

    I cant sleep at night because I’m too busy giggling with silliness

    Liked by 2 people

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