An Examination of Ezekiel’s Prophecy of Tyre: Part 1

In the last few weeks, I’ve had to delve back into a subject that I haven’t spent much time researching since my initial deconversion. Ezekiel’s prophecy of Tyre, which can be found in Ezekiel 26-28, was a major piece of evidence for me in showing that the Bible was not as accurate as I had always thought. I’ve written about it twice before: first in a rather matter-of-fact manner, and later with a touch of sarcasm. The blog Thomistic Bent has recently done a 3-part series on Ezekiel’s prophecy of Tyre (1, 2, and 3), and my own posts on the subject have seen a lot of recent activity as well, so I think it’s time that I do a new series on the prophecy in as thorough a fashion as I know how. This will be a lengthy study, so I’ve decided to break it up into several parts.

At Face Value

I think it’s important to state up front that this prophecy simply fails at face value. To me, that’s significant, since God would be powerful enough to ensure that no matter what the prophecy stated, events would unfold exactly as predicted. In the prophecy, Ezekiel states that Tyre would be destroyed:

3 therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. 4 They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers, and I will scrape her soil from her and make her a bare rock. 5 She shall be in the midst of the sea a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. And she shall become plunder for the nations, 6 and her daughters on the mainland shall be killed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
— Ezek 26:3-6

13 And I will stop the music of your songs, and the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more. 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.
— Ezek 26:13-14

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.”
— Ezek 26:21

And as you can see, in addition to being destroyed, it’s prophesied that Tyre will never be rebuilt or found again. But this is simply not true. We’ll get into the details later, but the simple fact is that once Tyre was finally destroyed, it was immediately rebuilt. Instead of being a bare rock, or even a ruin, it remained an extremely important trade hub in the region for centuries. And it’s the 4th largest city in Lebanon today.

So the events haven’t worked out exactly as the prophecy claimed they would. And for many people, myself included, that’s enough. I view this prophecy as a failure. Nevertheless, there’s much more that can be said by digging into the details of this prophecy, as well as the geography and history of Tyre and its surroundings. A number of people have found ways to claim that this prophecy has been fulfilled by focusing on the minutiae. I don’t find their arguments persuasive, however, and the next several posts will go into my reasons why.

Part 2

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165 thoughts on “An Examination of Ezekiel’s Prophecy of Tyre: Part 1”

  1. I look forward to further posts wherein you deal with specific counter-arguments and why you don’t find them persuasive…though I’m tempted to call PETA on account of you continuing to beat this dead horse (lol), but I’m too curious to see what crops up, so I’ll let you slide on this one.

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  2. Prophecy always makes me laugh. Take a step back. If an omnimax godfellow wished to provide evidence for its greatness i’m pretty sure there are better ways to deliver on that desire/need than via hopeless, pathetic ambiguity.

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  3. Thanks Eric. You’re right that this horse is quite dead. 🙂

    Still, there were some comments made on one of my older posts that I wanted to address more fully than I could do in a comment. Plus, my friend Ryan (portal001) asked me to comment on those posts at Thomistic Bent that I referenced.

    The stars aligned, so to speak. We’ll see how well it pans out. 🙂

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  4. Yeah, I have to agree with you John. There was a time when I thought it was excellent evidence, but I note see just how weak it is.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment!

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  5. I also think this horse is dead, but i am surprised at how often believers still try to ride it.

    I disagree with UnkleE’s link, in that I don’t think both sides have equal footing, but it is correct in that the jury is still out on which side is right in the eyes of many.

    Regarding the “many nations” from Ezekiel and discussed in EnkleE’s link, i think it could be said that the many nations refers to Neb’s army – but admittedly, it’s ambiguous. Either way, I think this “prophecy” fails.

    If in fact this is a true prophecy and if in fact god was the ultimate author of it, it obviously wasnt intended to convince the nonbelievers, so no one should be astonished at the naysayers.

    If it were meant to convince the nonbeliever it would have been written in very specific language, with very specific timelines and dates. It would have been written in a way that would be indisputable as to when it was foretold, which to convince the nonbeliever would require it to be written ahead of time. It would have named Alexander or at least the Macedonians.

    Without specifics and without literal fulfillments, i just do not see how this is any more convincing or miraculous than the prophecies of Nostradamus.

    In light of current events, I think a similar prophecy could me made for Baghdad. I foresee that it will be attacked by ISIS and nations will sack Baghdad because god is angry with them Baghdad will be no more and the president of Iraq will be crucified and shamed.

    Of course, since ISIS is attacking all sorts of cities (similar to babylon) it’s a reasonably safe prediction that they will at least try to attack Baghdad at some point. Since I didnt give a timeline or any dates, no one can say i’m wrong, as i’ll just say it hasnt happened yet… and if it happens 800 years later, by anyone who has any type of tie to ISIS, or any similar ideology to ISIS, i’ll claim victory, or I would if i werent dead.

    Also, if Baghdad is attacked at all, whether destroyed or not, i’ll claim victory by saying that “destroyed” was a figurative term and meant Baghdad’s will or status, or whatever.

    And the president? if he dies, then i was speaking literally and if he doesnt die, it was of course figurative. If anyone asked me which it was now, i’d only say that i can only recite the words of god – they mean what he wants them to mean.

    it’s just far from convincing to me. But you’re all welcome to join my cult when Baghdad is attacked – except if you lack the faith to believe me now, you may only join after castration. Your balls are required to atone for your lack of faith.

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  6. William – while it’s certainly a possibility that you or your God (or perhaps You and Him are one and the same) may eternally punish me for not joining your cult I’m thinking the better choice at this point is to keep my balls and never join your cult even if absolutely everything you said about Baghdad happens. And it’s not just my balls. My life here on earth along with that of my wife and kids are very meaningful to me and even if your prediction coming true may raise the probability a little that the very meaning I have is actually derived from You I still think it’s better not to waste those lives we have here and now chasing after something that doesn’t seem very likely. Capisce? So sorry to offend you. 😉

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  7. Howie, you disappoint me. my god loves you so much that he was willing to accept you now with your balls, or later without them… and this is how you repay his invitation? Such arrogance.

    I hope you and your balls will be happy in hell…

    oh wait… I guess now I can see that threats of castration and eternal damnation may be off putting… and besides that, i guess I even outlined how ambiguous, and therefore meaningless, my prediction was…

    Now I wish i had not castrated myself and thought this through before I signed on… oh well, it’s not like I was using them.

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  8. But you’re all welcome to join my cult when Baghdad is attacked – except if you lack the faith to believe me now, you may only join after castration. Your balls are required to atone for your lack of faith.

    I’m guessing you didn’t intend for women to join at any point. It’s just as well. I’m done with cults.

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  9. True. And perhaps William was implying that women don’t need faith to join his cult? *shrug*

    I don’t have the required sacrifice. 😉

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  10. Ruth, women have no balls, so you’re welcome at anytime.

    I would continue this joke further but i’d hate to detract anymore from the real issue and i’d like to avoid stepping over more lines – and i would if this continued…

    In all seriousness, my tongue in cheek ball/cult remark was really just trying to illustrate another take on the “consequences for not believing something that has little evidence” as being believable.

    I think these threats are attempts at compelling a person to act on little evidence out of fear; and not based on knowledge or reason, but fear which is then spun into really being love.

    Of course in my illustration I deliberately tried to make it more evident to display the absurdity of it all. But since I’m half idiot, it may not have worked as well as i had hoped.

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  11. I dont know howie, only the very faithful will have balls and there will be an over abundance of women, so only the faithful would reproduce – and that can be a big incentive for a lot of people to walk the staright and narrow.

    Plus, I’ll think about allowing concubines – of course, god wants me to have the first selection…

    It’s not me. I dont even want that, but I’d do it for god.

    aw, man, i’m doing… crossing lines… I’ll just stop.

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  12. I think these threats are attempts at compelling a person to act on little evidence out of fear; and not based on knowledge or reason, but fear which is then spun into really being love.

    I agree with you, William. It is extremely difficult to think objectively or clearly about reality when you are being threatened or are afraid.

    This exact thing kept me from delving into the questions I had for a very long time. My fear of being disloyal to the God who supposedly created me, my fear of disappointing this God, my fear of being literally tortured, all kept me from examining the the questions and doubts objectively. Anytime a doubt or question would arise, I’d find some way it was possible for God to still be right, and file it away in my mind.

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  13. Oh it’s definitely a Friday! Not sure about you but I do notice that I tend to get a bit more sarcastic on Fridays. Probably the energy of looking forward to a good weekend.

    Even if your analogy may have crossed some lines, we all know that no analogy is perfect – I think sometimes these things are good to come up with just to at least illustrate some part of why we don’t see the reasoning of some religions as useful enough to become followers. The vast majority of believers won’t see from these analogies but every once in a while some open minded ones might at least get some gist of why we feel the way we do, even if it doesn’t convince them to change their minds at all.

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  14. I’m going to call this one 50/50. It WAS destroyed by many different groups, but it then it WAS rebuilt which wWASN’T supposed to happen. I think that is a fair assessment. Now wether this makes an infallible god and his word fallible that is a better question and one that requires more thought.

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  15. aye, ruth. That’s one reason I often refer to the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” I loved that story as a kid and as i discovered the truth of religion, I realized I had been living it.

    yes, was I questioning god? Was i turning my back on him? was he disappointed in me? was he testing me? was i going to hell?

    I once read someone describe it as waking up out of the matrix. I agree. It was such a shock, but at the same time it made the most sense and I actually felt like I was really “seeing” for the first time.

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  16. well, some people may find a 50% correct god to be good enough for a god that’s supposed to be perfect. I just dont.

    I wonder how many christians would give that sort of benefit of the doubt to prophecies of other religions?

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  17. Great point for sure William, most Christians cling to prophecy as 100% correct and make the argument that other religions have no fulfilled prophecy as proof that they are fake.

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  18. And it’s the 4th largest city in Lebanon today.

    It was interesting that one of those articles that unklE referenced said of today’s Tyre that it’s industry(tourism) is somehow less noble than the industry it had at the time of Neb’s invasion. As if that somehow made today’s Tyre less-than. The point is that it’s still a city.

    If Yahweh did not intend “all” when he had Ezekiel pen this prophecy he sure did engage in a lot of seeming smack-talk. Which seems kind of petty of a god.

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  19. Nate, I’m far, far from being a bible scholar, plus my interest is more in the NT than the OT. That being said, I personally don’t think ANY of the writings of the OT were meant as “prophecies,” at least as defined today (knowledge of the future; a prediction uttered under divine inspiration).

    Wikipedia says this (and I tend to agree) about the word “prophet”: In religion, a prophet is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity. It further states: “The English word prophet comes from the Greek word προφήτης (profétés) meaning advocate.

    Deuteronomy 18:18: I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

    In simplest terms, IMO, the “prophets” were simply individuals (notably men …) who believed they had an inside connection with Yahweh. I believe their utterances were not so much foretelling the future as they were warnings to the Jewish people to mind their P’s and Q’s if they hoped to please Yahweh AND/OR to warn surrounding nations that if they tried to stomp on Yahweh’s people, they would be squashed. When Ezekiel wrote about Tyre, I believe it was an example of the latter.

    After Christianity was established, everything changed and the prophets of the OT were seen as “seers” (An authoritative person who divines the future) and were used, as unkleE wrote, to make an argument for the divine authorship of the bible.

    Like I said, this is just my take on things.

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  20. nan, you may be right, but i’m having a difficult time understanding how this would help ezekiel’s case regarding tyre.

    whether he’s relaying god’s punishment for tyre or foretelling events, he is still speaking about something that he claims god intends to do; and a perfect, all powerful god at that.

    Since this did not happen as ezekiel stated it would, I think it still points to ezekiel being a false prophet – or either the spokesman for a god with limited powerful or foresight.

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  21. But William … was he (Yahweh) talking to future generations or the people of the time? And was it simply a warning or, as many believe, a prediction?

    To me, this is the defining factor. IF one considers Ezekiel’s words as an actual foretelling, then the arguments for and against its fulfillment are understandable. But what if it was simply a warning to the nation of Tyre?

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  22. We who live in the 21st century tend to see things considerably different than those who lived during biblical times. And further, as I mentioned before, the establishment of Christianity changed a LOT of things related to scripture.

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  23. Honestly, I think Ezekiel was just talking out of his butt, because he was angry that Jerusalem had fallen and Tyre had not. I don’t really think he was trying to warn them. In fact, as one of my future posts will point out, there’s reason to think Tyre was already under siege when this was written.

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  24. You’re much more into studying the OT than I am, Nate, so your outlook is probably closer to the “truth.” My perspective has always been that the OT writers were talking to their own people, not to future generations. Of course, as is obvious, not everyone agrees. 😉

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  25. In fact, as one of my future posts will point out, there’s reason to think Tyre was already under siege when this was written.

    I wondered about that, myself. As far as Ezekiel talking out of his butt, he doesn’t seem to be warning Tyre. He seems to be taking pleasure in/gloating over the fact that they were going to meet their demise. That’s just my opinion, of course, based on the way it reads.

    The rest of that scripture from Deuteronomy is this:

    19And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

    From this I deduce that even if a prophet was predicting some future event it must be some near future event. How would the audience know not to be afraid of a prophet if the prophecy did not come true in the prophet’s/audience’s lifetime?

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  26. Nate, I’ll be looking forward to this series. What strikes me about analyzing prophecy is that we can be biased towards making its meaning so rigid that it presents logical contradiction in almost all possible histories or the opposite towards making its meaning so loose that it could fit basically any possible history. There’s got to be a balance.

    If I had any input, I would hope that you address two things:
    1) If Ezekiel’s prophecy did not come true, why was it not edited by religious scribes to force it to be true? This presents a dilemma for atheist arguments. Some atheists hold to theories that the Pentateuch contains many levels of editing. However, if religious scribes were so biased that they would significantly edit scripture, why not edit prophecy to fit history? This anti-prophetic bend is a leading reason that scholars argue that the gospels were written after the temple was destroyed (no stone left unturned) in Jerusalem. The point is, we can’t have our cake and eat it.

    2) I haven’t looked into this prophecy in depth, but I have read an article on biblicalarchaeology.org that responds to criticism. I would hope that these arguments are examined.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to sound irreverent, I’m seriously looking forward to your series. -B

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  27. and even if ezekiel never meant it as evidence of divine foresight, i believe we can still use it as suck, right? Much like arrowheads and human bones are evidence of an old battle – even when no one was fighting in order to provide evidence of a battle.

    am I over simplifying this?

    In other words, regardless of why or how Ezekiel was saying what he said, he said something and something else transpired. I think this can be significant evidence, no?

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  28. Ruth — How would the audience know not to be afraid of a prophet if the prophecy did not come true in the prophet’s/audience’s lifetime?

    Great question — and I agree.

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  29. No, I actually do agree, Nan. I just don’t think he was taking to Tyre as much as trying to explain why God let Jerusalem fall.

    But I could totally be wrong. 🙂

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  30. And it is interesting that in chapter 29:18-20, God is supposedly talking to Ezekiel talking about “Nebby did a great Service in sieging Tyre, but he didn’t gain anything from it and considerably weakened his army in the effort, so I’m going to give him Egypt as an atta-boy prize for trying so hard to do what I wanted him to do”.

    I mean, really? God prophesied that Nebby will destroy Tyre forever and then later uses Ezekiel to prophecy that Nebby will fail, but he’ll give ol’ Neb Egypt as consolation prize? That’s the only interpretation if Ezekiel is held to have lived before Nebuchadnezzar, otherwise it has to be seen as contemporaneous news reporting w/ the “goddidit” explanation added.

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  31. anaivethinker,

    I’d disagree that if priests edited the scriptures, then they’d have edited every problem or none at all, for a few reasons.

    1) Until google earth came about, i believed that tyre was gone for good. modern technology makes research and proofing so much easier and more convenient now that ever before. Perhaps the alleged editors were unaware of the literal failures, or simply had bigger fish to fry and skimmed over it, in order to address what was pressing in their time… and because they didnt have the internet or search engines, their resources were just very limited…

    2) god is said to be perfect – not people. people make mistakes and miss things despite their best efforts. maybe they just missed a few…

    3) and, “it’s too big on an error to be a real error, or else it would have been fixed” just seems like a last ditch effort in trying to say that something that is plainly erroneous, actually is not.

    and I’m not trying to be rude or short at all, but from my point of view, it’s the religious who try to have it both ways; whether it be selecting what’s literal and what’s figurative without any consistent standard for doing so. Plus, there’s all the “evidence that is so strong for Christianity,” but when other religions provide similar evidences, “well, that’s differnt…”

    But again, that’s only my perspective.

    Ezekiel said certain things, did those certain things come to pass? And considering god’s greatness, should everything that was said was going to happen, actually happen, or does partial fulfillments count?

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  32. @ anaivethinker,

    I think that one possible answer to you first question is that this isn’t meant to be prophecy in the sense that we view prophecy. If we try to understand it from the viewpoint of the audience it was initially intended for it is possible that it was meant for just them for just that time – not something that would be coming true in future generations.

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  33. Brandon, that’s a great question — thanks for the comment. And I’ll check out the link you posted and try to address those points as well.

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  34. I think it all makes no difference one way or the other as when the Midden hits the Windmill all these Christians are going to be knee deep in it just like the atheists – they seem to have forgotten that prophecy or no prophecy they are not part of the 144,000 Jewish virgins who are earmarked as ticket-holders for heaven.

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  35. um, it was nothing clever… just that they’re probably expecting hot and young nubile chicks in paradise, but in reality, the virgins they’ll get are the dweebs, dorks and nerds…

    I, uh, i saw it on a family guy…

    then, coupling that with Ark’s point on jewish virgins, I laughed… what a downer for those guys. jews, whom they hate, and nerds whom they dont lust after…

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  36. @william: I agree with you that editing (redaction) may have been selective rather than broad-based, but on something contradictory, the editors must have realized this was not God’s word. I think the skeptic’s interpretive goals (edited versus contradictory) are at tension, and because both of them are in the arsenal, they can appear to be special pleading. The skeptic is tempted to say that the gospels are contradictory yet certain prophecies that appeared to have come true were just later edits or even happened after-the-fact. Because both interpretive goals are in the arsenal, it raises concern for special pleading. Of course, theists are not free of these kinds of problems either. Your point about theists also appearing to go at great lengths to defend the accuracy of these is absolutely true. Both sides are subject to confirmation bias. So, it’s the hard data that is most important, I think you would agree. We’ll see what we can think of throughout the rest of Nate’s series.

    @Ruth: I agree with you that maybe “prophecy” doesn’t always mean accurately predicting the future, but it sure seems like it is in the case of Ezekiel’s prophecy against Tyre!

    @Nate: yeah, that’s the article! I’m looking forward to a good series and discussion.

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  37. You’re right, anaivethinker, using both arguments can at least give the appearance of evil (suspicion of special pleading, as you say). This is why it is important to know exactly when the book (Eze in this case) was written as compared to when the events happened.

    As I mentioned earlier, Eze 29:18-20 has god telling Ezekiel that even though Nebby failed to destroy Tyre, that Nebby still did a great service for God by trying, so God would give Nebby Egypt as spoils for reward. However, Eze 26:7-11 specifically says it is Nebby who will destroy Tyre. So, this brings up the very question–are these two contradictory prophesies, or has there been editing? Was Eze written many years before any of this happened, or was it contemporary writing that noted Nebby’s failure and just attribute’s his eventual success in Egypt to god?

    Why would god prophecy through Eze that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyre and then prophecy later that he would fail but that god would give him egypt as recompense?

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  38. @Eric Sell: I’m waiting to see Nate’s breakdown of the issue before I give my detailed opinion. That said, I think there is a reasonable way to conclude that the prophecy was fulfilled. Don’t worry, this is certainly not proof of divine inspiration that would force skeptics to convert! But, it will not something that can just be dismissed as confirmation bias (even if it is). The questions that you raised focus mainly on Nebuchadrezzar entirely fulfilling the prophecy, but I think we all agree that he did not entirely fulfill the prophecy. Some key questions we have to answer are: who are the “many nations” of 26:3? Does Tyre only refer to the island city or could it be both the island city and mainland suburbs? Or, could Tyre refer to the culture? Could the absolute destruction of the walls and towers and sinking of the island into the ocean be hyperbole or metaphor?

    It gets even more complicated from here. If you read chapter 28, which is contiguous with chapter 26, you will find the reason YHWH is judging Tyre is because its culture is committing the sin of hubris and they have corrupt trading practices. This raises the possibility that an abrupt and violent end of the culture itself will be YHWH’s judgment, not necessarily the destruction of its buildings which have no moral agency. We also find a key little verse, 28:7, that states “strangers against [Tyre], the most terrible of the nations” will bring the fulfillment of the entire prophecy. At face value it seems irresponsible to equate the “many nations” (26:3) and “strangers. . . the most terrible of the nations” (28:7) with Babylon. Could this be the Greeks and their military allies?

    So, all of these considerations (and more) need to be weighed to have a comprehensive opinion about whether the prophecy was fulfilled or not. But, it does not seem like it will be a knock down drag out proof for either side. -B

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  39. @Brandon and Eric,

    Both of you raise good points. I’m looking forward to see how the next couple of posts strike you, since I do plan to cover much of what you’ve brought up.

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  40. @Nate: goody! This is exactly the stuff I’d like to see covered. B/c one question that has long bugged me (well, “long”…it hasn’t been that long that I’ve known about the prophecy of Tyre) is that god would prophecy Nebby destroying the city and then later prophecy that Nebby would fail; that kind of thing makes it look like a contemporary writing rather than something written 50+ years before the event and thus a Prophecy.

    So, looking forward to it!

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  41. Hi Brandon,

    After going back through your most recent comment, I realized that you’ve raised a point that I don’t currently have in my drafts for this series. And I probably won’t add it, because I’m not sure how to work it into the flow of what I’m already covering. Mostly, I’m referencing your point about the “strangers against [Tyre], the most terrible of the nations.”

    Why do you feel this couldn’t refer to Nebuchadnezzar? That passage specifies that the king will die by this nation’s hand, but that didn’t happen to Tyre’s king when Alexander took Tyre. And if it had been referring to that future king, does it cause problems for the notion of free will to list out all the sins he’s guilty of before he was even born?

    I’m not sure if it’s better to discuss this here, or wait until the series is done, in case there are additional points that might be relevant. I just wanted to go ahead and let you know that this particular issue probably won’t be covered.

    Thanks again!

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  42. 1. Chiastic structure is a thing. Google it. In this passage there are other chiastic structures, such as gloating and triumphing to weeping, but that’s another concern. The important thing to note here is the metaphor of ‘waves’ of nations that will come up against Tyre. Chiastic structure shows us how. Chiastic structure typically mirrors on a central figure. For instance, in the story of Noah, Noah being UP safe in the ark is a picture of salvation. The journey into the Ark is mirrored exactly by the journey out of the ark. (Interesting side note: the picture of being UP on the waters is also used to describe the safety of Christians on Judgement Day: we’ll be ‘UP’ with the Lord Jesus, not ‘down’ there where Judgement is happening on the earth. As this is some kind of multidimensional event, the normal rules of ‘up’ and ‘down’ don’t apply! But the picture language that describes it does.)
    2. So what does the chiastic structure of the main actors in this story reveal? The pattern runs “God, nations, Neb, nations, God”. God will cause waves of nations, Neb will start it all attacking the mainland (‘he’), but then the nations will eventually finish the job. Is it a unified force of many nations all arriving at once? Not really. Hebrew metaphors for very large numbers include sand on the beach, stars in the sky, and other metaphors like that. Waves? They repeat. The point here is that Ezekiel, that ‘maker of metaphors’, does not expect any one person or nation to do the job. He specifically chose the metaphor of waves to express the repeated nature of just how nation after nation after nation would take over Phoenician Tyre until it was totally wiped off the face of the earth.
    3. “You”. Note: The Hebrew here moves from land and buildings and architecture to more culturally significant events like music and economics. The “You” here is personal, not impersonal. It’s not tied to a place, but a people. Sure, Tyre will end up like a place to spread nets, and it did, especially in a very dark medieval period. But “You” often addresses a people, not a place. “You” followed Israel, wherever she travelled! Israel moved out of Egypt, into Israel, was then exiled, and then eventually went back home again. The term “you” applied to Israel and followed her, no matter her geographic location. Because it was about a people, not a place! In the same way, “You” will never rebuild again does not specify Tyre the geographic location, but Tyre the people. Yes, when Ezekiel specifically mentions Nebuchadnezzar attacking the mainland settlements, that’s a place. Yes, when the barren rock is mentioned, that is eventually fulfilled. (Middle ages). But “You” will never rebuild is about the Phoenician regime that scoffed at the downfall of God’s people. God is not antagonised by places! His judgement is not against places. It’s against people. He loves this earth, His world, and has sent the gospel out to the ends of the earth, including Tyre! Which leads me to point 4.
    4. The New Testament writers were not embarrassed by the existence of Tyre, and they *really* knew their Old Testaments. Indeed, Jesus went there and healed a demon possessed girl. Jesus extends God’s grace to all people in all lands, and bore God’s wrath against sin so that even people from Tyre could be forgiven. Even people like me downunder! So it does not surprise me that God is letting Tyre prosper today. Some of his people probably live there! Indeed, there are even hints in the Old Testament, in Isaiah, that God’s verdict against Tyre is more nuanced than blanket annihilation for all time. Isaiah 23:15–18:

    “15 At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

    16 “Take up a harp, walk through the city,
    you forgotten prostitute;
    play the harp well, sing many a song,
    so that you will be remembered.”
    17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes.”

    As the Bible Archaeology site says:
    “Isaiah prophesied that after 70 years of devastation, Tyre would be restored to worldwide economic prominence (23:15–18). Her trading profit, however, would be set aside for Yahweh. This may refer to the fact that by New Testament times, only Tyrian coinage was allowed for the temple tax. It went to “those who live (sit) before the Lord” to give them food and fine clothes (high priest’s vestments?) (Is 23:18). Interestingly, the phrase “before the Lord” often refers to acts done with a solemn sense of Yahweh’s presence, many times at a sanctuary (Brown, Driver Briggs 1979: 817).”
    http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/12/07/Ezekiel-261-14-A-Proof-Text-For-Inerrancy-or-Fallibility-of-The-Old-Testament.aspx#Article

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  43. Hi Eclipse Now,

    Thanks for the comment. I’ll have to look further into your Isaiah reference. On the surface, it doesn’t seem to be saying very much to me. He doesn’t say when this is supposed to happen, and he doesn’t specify what he means about their profits being “set apart for the Lord.”

    To the many nations vs Nebuchadnezzar point, my conclusion about this prophecy doesn’t hinge on it being one way or the other. Maybe Ezekiel was just talking about Nebuchadnezzar — maybe he was talking about many different sieges by many different nations. Either way, I don’t think the heart of the prophecy ever came true, as the rest of this series goes on to show.

    Finally, I’m not sold on the prophecy really only being about the people of Tyre. If that were the case, there would be no need to continually use the “rebuild” language — you don’t rebuild people, and people don’t come back to life. All he would have needed to say was that they would be killed or destroyed. No one would ever assume that people who are massacred in an attack could come back in any way, so it doesn’t make sense to claim that this was Ezekiel’s intent.

    Really, the prophecy is actually very simple when you break it down: Tyre would be utterly destroyed and never rebuilt. But that’s not what happened. The other articles go into more detail, but that’s just in an effort to cover all the bases.

    Anyway, thanks again for the comment — I’ll take some time and look through the Isaiah angle a bit more. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

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  44. I’m sure Nebachadnezzar was not meant to head the one nation that ‘waved’ against Tyre, because Ezekiel himself says Nebuchadnezzar did not get all the treasure he wanted in Ezekiel 29.

    2. Nations are tricky concepts. Individuals in a nation can be massacred but enough survive to rebuild their nation, their culture, their economy, their arts and their traditions again. I’ve yet to talk to a Professor in Old Testament I know to verify this, but the “people, not place” argument comes from this Bible Archaeology link, and traces the use of gender grammar references with regards to nations. See the heading “You will never be rebuilt” about 2/3rds of the way down this long page. Build is discussed first, then the gender grammar.
    http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/12/07/Ezekiel-261-14-A-Proof-Text-For-Inerrancy-or-Fallibility-of-The-Old-Testament.aspx#Article

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  45. Hi Eclipse Now,

    Thanks for the follow up comment. To your point about Nebuchadnezzar and chapter 29, I actually address that in this post:
    https://findingtruth.info/2014/09/09/an-examination-of-ezekiels-prophecy-of-tyre-part-4/

    According to Ezekiel’s own chronology, he wrote that section of chapter 29 about 15 years after he wrote his prophecy against Tyre. In other words, he had already seen that Nebuchadnezzar’s siege against Tyre ended without much to show for it. I think it would be difficult to prove that this was the outcome Ezekiel expected when he made his prediction. In fact, I think the context strongly indicates the exact opposite: that Nebuchadnezzar’s failure was a surprise to him.

    I checked out the article you linked to. I didn’t really see anything in the verb gender arguments that stood out to me. The sections I found most relevant were these:

    The statement that Tyre will never be rebuilt means more than the restructuring of stones, wood and mortar. Tyre will never regain international prominence as a world trader and colonizer. She will never be a rich, prosperous, flourishing, world power as she was in Ezekiel’s day. The denial of rebuilding goes far beyond a mere architectural project. It must include making Tyre into the person she was in the early sixth century BC. It must be kept in mind that the meaning is “you will never be rebuilt,” not “the city will never be rebuilt.”

    I give a synopsis of Tyre’s history in this post. And in fact, Tyre did come to international prominence again. It was extremely important in the region for over a thousand years after Alexander’s defeat of Tyre. Even some of the same citizens who left during the siege came back once it was over. Even by the standards given in the above paragraph, I don’t see how it could be said that Ezekiel’s prophecy came true.

    The statement in 26:14 does not deny there would be buildings on the island. It means that Tyre would never be rebuilt into the commercial superpower she was in Ezekiel’s day. It means that the palaces and temples of Ezekiel’s day would forever lie deep underneath the ground (and the water!), never to be revived. It would in no way be rebuilt into the prosperous, powerful living entity she was at the time the oracle was given.

    Just as a reminder, let’s look again at 26:14:

    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.

    I’m not sure how the author of the article you referenced can unequivocally say that this verse “does not deny there would be buildings on the island.” Doesn’t look that way to me. As I said in my previous comment, I think the meaning of the prophecy is actually very, very clear. The only reason there’s so much equivocation is because what Ezekiel plainly prophesied didn’t happen.

    As I point out in this post, in the Old Testament, God performs all kinds of judgments against nations that are not at all ambivalent. He supposedly ravaged Egypt with 10 plagues that were complete in their totality. Every Egyptian was (supposedly) affected. When he grew tired of Sodom and Gomorrah, he obliterated them. Period. There was nothing left. When Elijah challenged the prophets of Ba’al on Mt Carmel, God (supposedly) left no question as to who the real god was. Yet we come to Ezekiel, who makes the same kind of bombastic claims as we find in earlier parts of the OT: Tyre will be utterly destroyed, scraped bare, no one will be able to find it, and it will never be rebuilt. But instead, Tyre’s history is much like every other ancient city: has some defeats, but is rebuilt and remains successful for the vast majority of its history. The prophecy simply doesn’t match the reality. At least, that’s how it seems to me.

    Out of curiosity, is this a topic you’ve been researching for a long time, or have you recently come across it? I’d just be interested in hearing more about your own personal outlook, faith history, etc — if you’re interested in sharing, of course! I checked out your blog’s “About” page, and you sound like a really interesting guy. And for what it’s worth, I’ve always been a big fan of Russian Blue cats! 🙂

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  46. “I think you know you are wrong on this,Nate. Do the right thing and pull it.”

    I think you got your name wrong.

    It should say conceitedsmith.

    Wow and seriously you sending the same comments on every single thread on Tyre?

    Maybe you should be determinedsmith.

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  47. OMG I can’t believe I forgot to add this line:

    “Do the right thing and pull it”

    Shit. L’esprit de l’escalier to the max.

    Pity there isn’t an edit function.

    Like

  48. Humblesmith left this comment on an earlier post I had done on Tyre as well. This is what I wrote there (and it applies to this thread too):

    I’ll post my comments on the other thread, but it might be a little while before I get to it. This is a topic I’ve studied pretty exhaustively (I’ve read your posts on it before too), so I don’t anticipate that I’ll come away with a different view of it, but who knows? It will take me some time to go back through it all, though. I’ll post a response as soon as I can.

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  49. Isaiah 23:15-18, Tyre represents Islam(Ishmael) being powerless for seventy years after which she is set free and commits fornication with all the nations of the world. And this is holiness unto the Lord because it is his will. Israel has been established as a nation since 1948 and in may 2018 it will fulfill its 70 years as a nation. But Islam(tyre) will be given her power again. The church is raptured. Israel will be invaded by islam. Islam will succeed in conquering Israel. They will kill the two witnesses Moses and Elijah in Jerusalem. But when the witnesses arise and ascend into heaven after 3 and a half days Islam will be destroyed. Jesus will return to earth with his saints and holy angels and destroy islam(the beast). Israel will be saved. Isaiah 24 is the destruction of the world. Isaiah 25 represents Israel as a nation being saved.

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  50. Sorry, but I continue to be amazed at how certain believers think they have it all figured out. This is going to happen, then that is going to happen, which will trigger the other thing happening.

    In any case, I hope I’m still around in May of 2018 so I can watch it all take place. HA!

    Liked by 2 people

  51. “They will kill the two witnesses Moses and Elijah in Jerusalem”

    That’s a bummer ! They both are either in Sheol or Heaven and now they have to go back to Earth and die ?

    Liked by 2 people

  52. Ezekiel’s says that tyre made fun of the jews that were carried away captive by Nebuchadnezzar. therefore Nebuchadnezzar would come and destroy Tyre, which he did. But then God said that Tyre would be destroyed by sinking into the sea. Which it did. and that part of Tyre is still under water to this day. The city of Tyre today was built up from the surrounding islands but the original city of Tyre is still under the sea. In Ezekiel 28, it is speaking of the immediate future(2016). The man who thinks he is God(the antichrist) and satan himself, the king of tyre, who pretends to be God. The are both judged by God and cast down.

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  53. Part of ancient Tyre is underwater. Part on ancient Tyre is above water, including the north harbor,

    Ezekiel speaks as if the destruction will be complete, absolute and everlasting, yet it was not complete, absolute, nor did it last very long.

    In order for this prophecy and others like it to be viewed as “fulfilled” one must ignore what Ezekiel said and have to maintain that while he used the words he did, he actually meant something less grand, that Ezekiel meant “this” instead of “that” and must beg that reader look it just right, because viewing at face value doesn’t work out so well.

    Ezekiel didn’t predict any specific or accurate timelines, so nearly anything that happened to Tyre, no matter the time period or year, could be said to be a fulfillment.

    I don’t know, Charles, it just seems that anyone could make any prophecy in such a way and could find a way to argue that it’s been fulfilled in such a way.

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  54. Why is Isaiah 23:15-18 the only place in the Bible that states that 70 years is the generation of one king? Why does every verse in Isaiah 24 speak of the destruction of the people on earth. Isaiah 24:20 states “The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” Why? because the antichrist will arise, who is the Islamic leader who shall unite the Sunis and Shias and tell the muslims that they should stop fighting amongst themselves and instead destroy the Christians and Jews. Christians and Jews believe that God is their father and that Christ is his Son. Muslims don’t. Muslims hate Christians and Jews.

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  55. Hi Charles,

    The claim about ancient Tyre sinking is simply unsubstantiated apologetics wrangling, as far as I’ve been able to determine. You might want to read the other articles in this series, because I feel like they answer some of the points you’re trying to make about Tyre.

    The stuff about an antichrist uniting all Muslims, etc, is along the lines of every failed “end of the world” prophecy that’s ever been. It doesn’t count for evidence, because you’re simply predicting things that will likely never happen. Instead, we would be far more interested in any actual evidence you have for Christianity being true. I think it would be best if we just left the future out of it.

    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  56. I guess we’ll see in another couple of years.

    If 2018 comes and goes without the coming of Jesus, and all that, what would that mean to you?

    I’ve been a little sarcastic, and I shouldn’t be. I had been a fervent believer at one time; very active in the church, and studied often, prayed without ceasing. I don’t mean to be rude or dismissive. So let me apologize for that.

    But happens if your understanding of it all falls flat?

    Will you consider that that bible may just be a mere collection of claims that men wrote down about a god, or will you just reinterpret what’s there, shift it all around as needed to keep it going some how?

    Liked by 1 person

  57. >>”Ezekiel speaks as if the destruction will be complete, absolute and everlasting, yet it was not complete, absolute, nor did it last very long.”<<

    We do need to appreciate that we are modern sceptical people reading an ancient document, and sometimes we moderns have an agenda, and so push our style of literalistic reading onto a passage that is full of metaphors. Ezekiel was accused of being the 'maker of metaphors'. We need to respect that. Otherwise, don't we risk sounding a little bit ridiculous, like someone ranting in a Shakespeare play that "Juliet is *not* the sun! No light emits from her or her window!"

    What else do we see in Ezekiel's writing that indicates long and highly theological metaphors? Well, what about Ezekiel's super-sized temple? This prophecy goes for a few chapters, and outlines in great detail a perfect temple. Then Jesus comes along and says he will destroy Herod's temple and build it again in 3 days, and of course this turns out to be his resurrection. His body is the perfect temple. Then of course, in 1 Corinthians the church is also the building of God as He dwells in his people.

    Metaphors are a thing. Ezekiel used it. We have to deal with it if we're going to have anything sensible to say about the passage.

    Again, we need to remember that Jesus and the apostles visited Tyre and did not even flinch at its existence. They *knew* their Law and the Prophets! They did not flinch, or equivocate, or excuse, or explain away. They just accepted the Tyre they knew. Why?

    First, ask yourselves whether God cursing his creation sounds like something He would do? He made it, and declared it good. Is a bit of *ground* really bad? Or was it the regime Ezekiel was talking about?

    Second, note how *personal* the passage becomes. Ezekiel describes the *nations* coming on Tyre like waves (one after another after another) which is exactly what does happen. But in a highly metaphorical book of the bible, in a section of highly metaphorical verses and chapters of that highly metaphorical book, in prophetic judgement language that is usually full of apocalyptic symbolism anyway, what "you" is being described here? Is it the ground? Who offended God? The ground? That's just silly! This offence is personal. Please note how the language moves from walls and pillars to more personal, cultural matters. Destruction moves from *their* pillars, *their* walls to more personal items like *their* fine houses, *their* harps, *their* music, *their* noisy songs. They will 'dwell in the earth below', in the underworld, the place of the dead. Their people "will not return or take your place in the land of the living". They will never rebuild *their* Tyre.

    But here's the thing that others have already noted. What actually becomes of Tyre? Totally abandoned? No! It's a place to spread fish nets. Compare that to a prophecy against my home city of Sydney becoming a 'place to raise sheep'. That means there *are* people there. Someone has to be there to fish and care for their nets and spread them out and go home to sleep and then get up to do it all over again. So can we really say that the prophecy against Tyre declares no one will never ever, ever live there again, ever? Seriously? Fish nets.

    Thirdly, here's one last item for consideration. The Old Testament prophets often speak of profound political events, like the fall of Israel or eventually the death of the Christ, as world ending events. Stars falling, moon turning to blood, earth shaking events. I used to read all such language far more literally as about some future end-of-the-world Judgement Day catastrophe. But the Old Testament professor I know has assured me that in many instances it is the apocalyptic symbolism that is speaking of profoundly theological events as I just described: the changing nature of God's relationship to Israel and then the fulfilment of Jesus resurrection. If this is the way Hebrew prophets speak of Israel going into exile, or the temple system being fulfilled and done away with by Jesus death and resurrection, then how objective are we really being when we stamp our feet and insist that our modern, hyper-literalistic English reading of a 2500 year old document *must* be the way to read it? Maybe we actually need to humble ourselves and do a little bit more hermeneutics and respect the culture of the time!

    "I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord." Turning around and insisting that means the rock or mainland itself will never be resettled not only ignores the fish-nets, it ignores the very personal and people-focussed nature of the prophecy, and forces our own interpretative grid on this passage.

    Tyre's special brand of royal homes, music, songs, etc all came to an end. Other regimes wiped them out and threw them into the sea. The only place archaeologists can see parts of ancient Tyre is on the sea floor, exactly as this prophecy predicted. Indeed, go to google scholar and try to find papers on the archaeology of Phoenician Tyre. They can't even dig it up, because it was so thoroughly wiped out and lies under the sea or under Roman ruins that are themselves historically valuable. "You will be sought, but you will never again be found, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

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  58. Equating Tyre with Islam seems extremely tenuous to me.

    It is like the Book of Revelation, modern folk seem to think the Books were written primarily for their benefit and forget the original audience. Why ‘God’ give people books where most of the material did not apply to their time?

    Revelation was all about what was happening at the time it was written, modern folk might like to think otherwise, but no. As Nate suggested every Christian generation has thought the prophecies of Revelation apply specifically to their generation, it is human nature, but they were all wrong. But of course it is always different this time.

    Liked by 2 people

  59. Hi Eclipse Now,

    Out of curiosity, do you think God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from the sky? And do you believe the 10 plagues in Egypt were literal?

    Thanks

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  60. While I seem to remember scholars I respect saying early Genesis 1 to 11 has a lot of symbolism in it (I’m a Theistic Evolutionist), they think that differentiated chunk of Genesis is moving towards more historical narrative after 11. So, in a word, yes-ish. I remain open to new arguments about the style of literature.

    PS: I didn’t tie in my “stars falling, blood moon” paragraph properly. The reason I mentioned those prophecies is that it doesn’t just mention the end of the world, but appears to describe the end of this *universe*. Yet we’re still here after the fall of Israel, death & resurrection of Jesus, end of the temple, etc. A hyper-literalistic reading of a highly metaphorical prophet like Ezekiel is simply not doing justice to the text.

    So with a highly symbolic, metaphor rich piece of writing, how do we identify the ‘you’ of Tyre? Is it the mainland? The rock out in the sea? The people? The culture? Or all of the above? It definitely describes the city structures being thrown down, buried under both land and sea. But what about “I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of long ago. I will make you dwell in the earth below, as in ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, and you will not return or take your place in the land of the living.”

    Here’s the question: do geographic locations go to Sheol, the underworld place of death? Or do people? Having noticed this about the passage, I cannot take claims that Ezekiel was proclaiming a geographical location cursed, so that would never be rebuilt. Just as the offence is personal, so is the judgement. The poetic metaphors here are about a *culture* being judged, not a land. Once the waves of the nations have wiped Phoenician Tyre out, and thrown the town into the ocean and leaders into the grave, I don’t think it has anything more to say about what will happen to the *location* after that. From economic superpower punching well over her weight, Tyre went from being the civilisation that introduced the alphabet to the Greeks! and founding Carthage! (whose fight with Rome would militarise her, creating *that* ancient super-power!) to being a place to spread fish nets. Phoenician Tyre was no more. Judgement executed.

    Tyre today? No more a problem than the Tyre of Jesus day. They didn’t wince, and neither should we.

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  61. Eclipse now,

    It just seems to me that any position, religion, philosophy and position can be defended in the way that you’re defending Ezekiel and the bible.

    Any contradiction or problem can be excused in such a way.

    Maybe my modern agenda isn’t the problem, maybe the bible believer’s agenda is the problem.

    It’s just a thought.

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  62. Hi Eclipse Now,

    I appreciate what you’re saying. And for what it’s worth, I agree with you that various writers in the Bible sometimes use hyperbole to illustrate a point, and they never intended those things to be taken literally. And I do think that you’re correct in saying that some of what Ezekiel says in chapters 26-28 is supposed to be taken in that way.

    However, I think there’s still a clear, literal message that Ezekiel is trying to get across — that Tyre is simply going to cease being a factor. Its days of importance would be long gone. Now, I also think that Ezekiel is literally saying that Tyre would be utterly destroyed and never rebuilt. He says that very thing at least 3 times that I can think of.

    To me, there’s no reason to think that statement is hyperbole. It’s possible that a place could be destroyed and never rebuilt — it’s far different than the language about the moon turning to blood and stars falling from the sky. It’s also a far more natural occurrence than any of the 10 plagues of Egypt or the story about the sun standing still.

    So we have a situation where the text gives us no reason to think Ezekiel meant anything other than utter destruction with no chance for rebuilding. The only reason people would argue for a different interpretation is because events haven’t played out that way. And I suppose it’s possible to make the case for a different interpretation, but I would argue that those who do shouldn’t also try to use this as an example of prophecy fulfillment.

    Of course, I do think it’s important to stress that even those other interpretations have problems. Nebuchadnezzar never took Tyre itself, just its mainland settlements. Alexander did destroy Tyre, but it was immediately rebuilt, and it rocketed back into prominence. The only time in its long history that sounds anywhere close to what Ezekiel describes came after its destruction in 1291. But that army (which was Muslim) didn’t have to besiege the city — Tyre opened its gates hoping for mercy. After it was destroyed, it largely remained in ruins and kept a very low population, until the 20th century. So even its lowest point didn’t match Ezekiel’s prophecy.

    If we say that the prophecy was about Tyre’s culture, it still isn’t really true. Nebuchadnezzar did nothing to hurt it, and even though Alexander sacked it, many of its former inhabitants returned to help rebuild it. Now is the culture there different today? Sure. But that’s also what happens naturally in almost all places. Ezekiel wouldn’t have been saying much, if that had been his intent.

    I also think the point about its ruins is somewhat irrelevant. All ancient cities have experienced the same kinds of changes — newer layers on top of older ones. Plus, Ezekiel, even if he was using hyperbole, said “you will be a bare rock.” He couldn’t say such a thing if he had been focused on the buildings. He’s talking about the site, not what’s on it.

    You know, people have to make up their own minds about this, but I think skeptics have an incredibly strong argument with this prophecy. I understand that it doesn’t sway all Christians, but I truly feel like that happens despite the evidence, not because of it.

    Sorry this comment was so long…

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  63. I believe that there is one quick way to prove to Christians that all the prophecy and supernatural claims in the Bible are pure fiction:

    Where is the Empty Tomb?

    We have no record that the Christians of the first FOUR centuries venerated or even knew about the location of Jesus’ alleged tomb. If it existed, it would be the most important geographical location in the history of the Christian religion. It isn’t as if Jerusalem became a ghost town after 70 AD. People continued to live there. Are we to believe that Jesus’ Resurrection in circa 30 AD was accompanied by two massive earthquakes, the tearing down the middle of the curtain in the Holy of Holies, dead saints roaming the streets, appearances of the dead Jesus in Judea and Galilee to over FIVE HUNDRED eyewitnesses…and yet within a couple of decades, everyone, including Christians, forgot where this man was buried???

    NOT believable.

    We have no record that the Christians of the first four centuries venerated an empty tomb nor do they mention its location in any of their many writings. We can only guess why but I would bet that most probably it is because they knew that the Empty Tomb was a theological embellishment of the Gospel authors. Only after centuries had passed and the new religion had become thoroughly Gentile (pagan), did the Roman Empress enter Jerusalem in the fourth century and “discover” the Empty Tomb.

    The Empty Tomb is a legend. It is not historical. Christians can hypothesize about how probable it is that Pilate would have allowed Jesus to be given a proper burial by the Sanhedrin; how improbable it is that first century Jews would have stolen/moved a recently dead body from its tomb, etc., etc., but the fact is that there is no record of any Christian, Jew, or Roman, in the first FOUR centuries of Christianity, having any clue as to the location of the greatest event to have ever occurred on planet earth.

    It
    is
    a
    tall
    tale.

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  64. I am Charles. I had a stroke a little more than tree years ago. My right side, from the top of my skull to the bottom of the soul of my foot is about 80% worthless. I am typing this with my left hand, but I am right handed. So, I can’t type like I used to. But I believe that God made me a prophet and has shown me the interpretation of what many of the previous prophets had to say. About six or seven years ago God told me that I would live to be seventy years old. Since I turned 69 last November I am actually in my 70th year right now. I told God that even my mother lived to be 77, and my father’s mother lived to be 77, so could I live a couple of years longer if need be? He did not give me a positive yes or no answer. BTW my other parent and grandparents lived into their middle 80s and even 90s. So, I might not even live until May of 2018. I fell like I will die by May of next year. That’s my opinion. So let me say that I started believing in God back in 1974, when I was 27 years old. I had a younger sister that started believing in God about six months earlier in Alaska. We were both atheist since about 1958 because our older brother. We lived in Phoenix AZ at the time. We were born in Ohio, I, in Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Marilyn in Delaware OH, where we lived in the early 1950s. We moved to Prescott AZ, in Dec. 1957, and Phoenix AZ, in May of 1958. Lloyd became an atheist at that time, he was about three and half years older than I was. He said God did not make man but man created God. I went crying to my mom at that time and she didn’t give a good answer so I believed my brother. He was a gifted child. I mean really intelligent. He received his Doctors in behavioral psychology from Brown University in 1968, and was hired by Harvard in 1968. He was 24 at the time, and he replaced a man who was 39. He invented his own programming language called “the command line” language at age 22. My older brother invented genetic engineering with a friend at MIT in the summer of 1968. I went back to Providence in the summer of 1966 and worked for the psychology department of Brown University. I built equipment designed for students to run experiments on animals. Anyway I came back to Tempe AZ, and finished my degrees, BA in music, in 74 and BM in 76. BTW my brother Lloyd committed suicide Dec. 7th, pear harbor day, in 1968. After figuring out that with the use of laser beam technology he could alter the molecules of the DNA strand he could alter the way we could be born. Have purple eyes for example. He lost his draft status because he received his Doctors degree. He got divorced in the spring of 68. He had a mental and physical breakdown in Oct. of 68. His dean at Harvard would not support his research financially because of ethical reasons. He was not able to present his ideas at scheduled events in Houston and San Fransisco that fall because of his breakdown. He had his breakdown because he did not sleep for an entire week while speaking all of his ideas into a microphone and taping them. BTW, my Dad and younger brother Walter, who flew back to Harvard to identify the body and bring it back to Tempe, were denied access to his materials because Harvard said they belonged to them. Lloyd was given a closed casket burial because he was hit by a subway train while it came up to street level in Cambridge Square near Harvard.
    I was a Behavioral Psychology major when I first enrolled at ASU in 1965, but my love Classical music made me switch to music theory & composition in 1967. I got married in July of 68 and dropped out of college to work at a large cafeteria, which was bought by another large cafeteria chain called Furr’s Cafeteria in 1969. I went to work at age 22 making 90 cents an hour, in May of 1968. Was drafted a few months later because I had dropped out of college. I appealed being drafted and six months later I received a letter saying my “friends and neighbors” had decided that I should represent them in the US Army. I went in the army on Feb 20, 1969. I went to Vietnam July 20, 1969, landed in Long Ben, Vietnam the same day that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and said “One small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind.” I cooked for a helicopter company called the 282nd Black Cats. I still did not believe in God. In the summer 1971, I got out of the army and reenrolled at ASU, in Tempe AZ. In the fall of 73 I fell in love with a girl that was jail bait(17 years old) and in the spring 1974, she dumped me for a friend of mine who was working on his masters degree in music composition. That is when I broke down and cried out to God and told him that I didn’t even believe in him but my heart was broken into a million pieces. I had fallen in love with a girl (we were sleeping together) and I loved her with all my heart, mind and soul. Well, I’m going to cut this short at this time.

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  65. Hi William,
    it seems like now you’re saying “Let’s forget all this technical stuff about respecting genres, and actually coming to terms with what is in the text, and let’s just talk about something else now…”

    If you want to say something on topic, I’m all ears. Like, do you want to demonstrate that the island dirt of Tyre rose up and sneered at God so that He was forced to curse the island itself and send it to the place of the dead? Where else does the bible ever speak of sending *geography* to the place of the dead?

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  66. This is short? Not sure why you shared so much personal history. Were you leading up to something about Ezekiel, Tyre, or his prophecy?

    P.S. Sorry about your stroke.

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  67. Ex 34:14 “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:” God destroyed the Tyre that Ezekiel spoke of with king Nebuchadnezzar,and then sunk it under the ocean. Who cares about other Tyres that existed afterward. God was not mad at Tyre, he was mad at the people of Tyre that made fun of Jerusalem. He destroyed them forever.

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  68. “Tyre is simply going to cease being a factor. Its days of importance would be long gone.”
    Yes, that happened to the regime of Tyre that offended God. The waves of nations eventually killed their leaders, enslaved their people and threw their advanced culture into the sea.
    As Benjamin of Tudela said in the 12th century:
    “In the vicinity is found sugar of a high class, for men plant it here, and people come from all lands to buy it. A man can ascend the walls of New Tyre and see ancient Tyre, which the sea has now covered, lying at a stone’s throw from the new city. [ p. 31] And should one care to go forth by boat, one can see the castles, market-places, streets, and palaces in the bed of the sea. New Tyre is a busy place of commerce, to which merchants flock from all quarters.”
    https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/tudela.html
    With that quote from Benjamin of Tudela, many would be tempted to try and argue that Ezekiel was *literally* fulfilled here. But I’m saying I don’t think that does justice to the text. It’s lazy reading, importing our modern assumptions about what a city is. It’s like the argument that city sites endure, no matter the travesty: London burned to the ground in the great fire of London, and was rebuilt, and we still call that London; San Francisco was destroyed in an earthquake and rebuilt and we still call that San Francisco, so therefore Tyre was rebuilt and we still call that Tyre and the prophecy is wrong! Someone could argue that way, but it’s bad reading. Shakespeare is wrong: Juliet is NOT a sun, she doesn’t glow or emit any heat!
    For example, Nate wrote: “Now, I also think that Ezekiel is literally saying that Tyre would be utterly destroyed and never rebuilt.”
    Ezekiel did write that about the Tyre *he knew*, but was he thinking about some future Tyre ambivalent to the fortunes of Israel? Does he even care about that? You’ve ignored everything *personal* in the passage, and want to believe that the “You” is referring to the island only. The city of Tyre will never be rebuilt on that island. In that case, are you going to be consistent in your reading of the passage? Are you going to explain to us how an island goes down to Sheol?
    “…then I will bring YOU down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of long ago. I will make YOU dwell in the earth below, as in ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, and YOU will not return or take your place in the land of the living.”
    I didn’t realise islands can die? Come on mate, if you’re going to be hyper-literalistic and ignore generations of Hebrew’s *personifying* regimes and cultures in their writing, you’re going to have to explain how an island dies.

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  69. @Charles

    I’m sorry about your condition, but this is really reaching:

    “But I believe that God made me a prophet and has shown me the interpretation of what many of the previous prophets had to say.”

    This is exactly the type of line that make me think “nutcase” and skip the rest.

    I do sincerely hope you are better now though.

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  70. Hi Charles,

    I’m sorry about your stroke! And I hope that you get to live beyond 70, too.

    God destroyed the Tyre that Ezekiel spoke of with king Nebuchadnezzar,and then sunk it under the ocean. Who cares about other Tyres that existed afterward. God was not mad at Tyre, he was mad at the people of Tyre that made fun of Jerusalem. He destroyed them forever.

    Actually, that’s not what happened. It’s true that some Christian apologists claim something along those lines, but there’s absolutely no evidence for it. It even goes against the indications given within Ezekiel. I suggest you read the other articles in this series, because they’ll point out the flaws in those apologists’ arguments.

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  71. “Actually, that’s not what happened. It’s true that some Christian apologists claim something along those lines, but there’s absolutely no evidence for it. It even goes against the indications given within Ezekiel. I suggest you read the other articles in this series, because they’ll point out the flaws in those apologists’ arguments.”

    And yet you still haven’t dealt with the personal nature of the YOU in the text you claim to examine so thoroughly. Once again,

    “Tyre is simply going to cease being a factor. Its days of importance would be long gone.”
    Yes, that happened to the regime of Tyre that offended God. The waves of nations eventually killed their leaders, enslaved their people and threw their advanced culture into the sea.
    As Benjamin of Tudela said in the 12th century:
    “In the vicinity is found sugar of a high class, for men plant it here, and people come from all lands to buy it. A man can ascend the walls of New Tyre and see ancient Tyre, which the sea has now covered, lying at a stone’s throw from the new city. [ p. 31] And should one care to go forth by boat, one can see the castles, market-places, streets, and palaces in the bed of the sea. New Tyre is a busy place of commerce, to which merchants flock from all quarters.”
    https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/tudela.html
    With that quote from Benjamin of Tudela, many would be tempted to try and argue that Ezekiel was *literally* fulfilled here. But I’m saying I don’t think that does justice to the text. It’s lazy reading, importing our modern assumptions about what a city is. It’s like the argument that city sites endure, no matter the travesty: London burned to the ground in the great fire of London, and was rebuilt, and we still call that London; San Francisco was destroyed in an earthquake and rebuilt and we still call that San Francisco, so therefore Tyre was rebuilt and we still call that Tyre and the prophecy is wrong! Someone could argue that way, but it’s bad reading. Shakespeare is wrong: Juliet is NOT a sun, she doesn’t glow or emit any heat!
    For example, Nate wrote: “Now, I also think that Ezekiel is literally saying that Tyre would be utterly destroyed and never rebuilt.”
    Ezekiel did write that about the Tyre *he knew*, but was he thinking about some future Tyre ambivalent to the fortunes of Israel? Does he even care about that? You’ve ignored everything *personal* in the passage, and want to believe that the “You” is referring to the island only. The city of Tyre will never be rebuilt on that island. In that case, are you going to be consistent in your reading of the passage? Are you going to explain to us how an island goes down to Sheol?
    “…then I will bring YOU down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of long ago. I will make YOU dwell in the earth below, as in ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, and YOU will not return or take your place in the land of the living.”
    I didn’t realise islands can die? Come on mate, if you’re going to be hyper-literalistic and ignore generations of Hebrew’s *personifying* regimes and cultures in their writing, you’re going to have to explain how an island dies.

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  72. Hi Eclipse Now,

    First of all:

    “Tyre is simply going to cease being a factor. Its days of importance would be long gone.”
    Yes, that happened to the regime of Tyre that offended God. The waves of nations eventually killed their leaders, enslaved their people and threw their advanced culture into the sea.

    That’s not actually what happened. The people that Ezekiel was talking to — the ones who “laughed” at Jerusalem’s destruction were never defeated. They withstood Nebuchadnezzar’s assault and weren’t defeated until several generations later. The actual people God was supposedly angry with never paid for their “transgressions.”

    The Benjamin of Tudela quote is interesting, but I appreciate that you aren’t trying to use it to argue for a literal fulfillment of this prophecy.

    For example, Nate wrote: “Now, I also think that Ezekiel is literally saying that Tyre would be utterly destroyed and never rebuilt.”
    Ezekiel did write that about the Tyre *he knew*, but was he thinking about some future Tyre ambivalent to the fortunes of Israel? Does he even care about that? You’ve ignored everything *personal* in the passage, and want to believe that the “You” is referring to the island only. The city of Tyre will never be rebuilt on that island. In that case, are you going to be consistent in your reading of the passage? Are you going to explain to us how an island goes down to Sheol?

    I agreed with you in my last comment that some of what Ezekiel says is obviously being used as imagery. The Sheol statement is probably the best example of that. And in chapter 27 (I think) when Tyre is compared to a boat, that’s another obvious example. But the bulk of chapter 26 doesn’t use that kind of language — at least, it doesn’t appear that way to me.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s say you’re right. Let’s say that Ezekiel was only talking about the Tyre he knew. As I said at the beginning of this comment, even that part of it fails. The people Ezekiel was so angry about were not destroyed.

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  73. Nate,
    there are *multiple* references to the YOU of Tyre going down to the underworld. Are you really going to insist that these are all metaphors for the personification of Tyre’s culture as a dead person, but that one YOU of never being rebuilt is literally referring to the city of Tyre, not a personification of it’s culture? Why? What in the passage makes you read it that way?

    …You down to the pit = personification of the culture as people dying
    ..to the people of long ago = personification of the culture as people dying
    …I will make you dwell in the earth below = personification of the culture as people dying
    …with those who go down to the pit = personification of the culture as people dying
    …you will not return or take your place in the land of the living = personification of the culture as people dying
    …I will bring you to a horrible end and you will be no more = personification of the culture as people dying
    …You will be sought, but you will never again be found = personification of the culture as people dying

    Now let’s look up the chapter a little.

    …I will put an end to your noisy songs = personification of the culture being silenced
    …and the music of your harps will be heard no more = personification of the culture being silenced

    …I will make you a bare rock = personification of the culture and town being wiped out
    …and you will become a place to spread fishnets = personification of the culture and town being downgraded to a fishing village. People remain. Some survive, and this is assumed by the passage. The sign God’s judgement has been carried out is that – for a while – Tyre is reduced to a fishing village. But they’re not the great wealthy Phonetician culture Ezekiel is concerned with.

    You will never be rebuilt = SUDDENLY, the way we’ve been forced to read this passage by the TEXT ITSELF has changed. Suddenly we need to come down on this like a ton of bricks and demand LITERAL! You LITERALLY said that scrap of land would never be rebuilt, and this is all about geography only, not the personification of a culture!

    For Pete’s sake, why? What on earth makes you swap your reading goggles around like that? Is this not Ezekiel? Is this not prophetic judgement against a culture / regime, personified as “YOU” in so many other parts of the very same passage? Yet suddenly, because it suits your purposes it seems to me, you suddenly want to change the metaphor Ezekiel is using all the way through the chapter and demand LITERAL!

    To which I reply, rubbish. Juliet is NOT the sun, she’s not even glowing!

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  74. At this point, it may be best if we just re-read Ezekiel 26 in its entirety. Eclipse Now, I feel like you’re over-selling the metaphor in the chapter. Here’s the chapter, in order, and I think it illustrates why so many people assume this is talking about a literal destruction of the city:

    Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. 4 They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers, and I will scrape her soil from her and make her a bare rock. 5 She shall be in the midst of the sea a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. And she shall become plunder for the nations, 6 and her daughters on the mainland shall be killed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
    — vs 3-6

    “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar[a] king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a host of many soldiers. 8 He will kill with the sword your daughters on the mainland. He will set up a siege wall against you and throw up a mound against you, and raise a roof of shields against you. 9 He will direct the shock of his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. 10 His horses will be so many that their dust will cover you. Your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen and wagons and chariots, when he enters your gates as men enter a city that has been breached. 11 With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. He will kill your people with the sword, and your mighty pillars will fall to the ground. 12 They will plunder your riches and loot your merchandise. They will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses. Your stones and timber and soil they will cast into the midst of the waters. 13 And I will stop the music of your songs, and the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more. 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.
    — vs 7-14

    That all sounds fairly literal to me. The bulk of the imagery seems to come in vs 15-21:

    “Thus says the Lord God to Tyre: Will not the coastlands shake at the sound of your fall, when the wounded groan, when slaughter is made in your midst? 16 Then all the princes of the sea will step down from their thrones and remove their robes and strip off their embroidered garments. They will clothe themselves with trembling; they will sit on the ground and tremble every moment and be appalled at you. 17 And they will raise a lamentation over you and say to you,

    “‘How you have perished,
    you who were inhabited from the seas,
    O city renowned,
    who was mighty on the sea;
    she and her inhabitants imposed their terror
    on all her inhabitants!
    18 Now the coastlands tremble
    on the day of your fall,
    and the coastlands that are on the sea
    are dismayed at your passing.’
    19 “For thus says the Lord God: When I make you a city laid waste, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you, and the great waters cover you, 20 then I will make you go down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you to dwell in the world below, among ruins from of old, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set beauty in the land of the living. 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.”

    Personally, I don’t see how those last 7 verses change all the ones before, but I’m okay conceding it for the sake of argument. The simple fact is that the people living in Tyre when Ezekiel made this pronouncement were not killed, nor was their city destroyed. Forget about the “never rebuilt” part of it — I’m not even addressing that. Aside from destroying the mainland settlements, Nebuchadnezzar did nothing else — Tyre itself was only moderately inconvenienced, and its people were not killed. So how was the prophecy fulfilled?

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  75. “Aside from destroying the mainland settlements,”
    Isn’t that what Ezekiel said he would do, where the “waves” would start their job?

    As for the ‘literal’ verses ‘metaphor’, is it helpful to distinguish between the rather literal description of the effects of the prophecy about the city versus the rather metaphorical effects of the prophecy against Tyre as a people. But here’s the thing. “You” can be consistently read all the way through as a personification of Tyre.

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  76. OK, so is the “you” the people God was angry at? Was it the Power of Tyre? Was it the Culture?

    But first things first: God gets angry at Israel for its sins and sends Nebby to punish them. Then God gets angry at Tyre for being like Nelson and saying “haw haw”? OK…

    As Nate has pointed out, Nebby failed. The people saying “haw haw” were not killed. He (Nebby) did not break down their gates, his axes didn’t destroy their towers, and his horsemen did not trample all their streets. There is a lot of talk about “you’re ignoring the personal aspect of this prophecy”; well, let’s talk about the personal aspect. It says “he” will do this, “his” axes will do that, “his” horsemen will do something else. **None of those things happened.**

    If we are saying the “you” is the power/culture of Tyre, even then, Nebby failed and it was many generations later that Alexander rolled through. So, what, God was saying “I’ll make you pay…eventually!” And if the “you” being “bare” and no more songs and such is the destruction of Tyre’s power and culture, then that has happened to literally every city. Rome is not the city it used to be before it was sacked and invaded by various Barbarian tribes; Baghdad was never the same after being invaded by the Huns/Mongols. London, Carthage, etc, etc. And in a couple thousand years the Power and Culture of the United States will be but a memory. That isn’t prophecy, that is history; it will happen because that’s what always happens.

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  77. Hi eSell,
    Neb went straight for the mainland Tyre as predicted.

    “The people saying “haw haw” were not killed.”
    1: It’s not that people sneered, but that the whole culture/regime/city-state was against God’s people, and that this came out in Tyre’s rejoicing in her downfall. This stuff can go on for generations. EG: Israel’s enmity with Babylon goes on for *thousands* of years. The very opening symbols of Genesis are a polemic narrative against Babylon’s own creation myth! To sneer that the people who said “Haw haw” in one particular generation misses the centuries long cold-wars and competition between some of these ancient nation-states. They have political and ideological and religious differences with blood feuds spanning the generations, centuries and even millennia; like the Palestinians versus Israel, like Babylon verses Israel, like Sunni versus Shia, like Tyre versus Israel.

    2: Let’s also remember who the “YOU” Ezekiel refers to is: a personification of Tyre’s culture and city and people as a person: “YOU” will go down to the grave, the place of the dead, “YOU” will have your music silenced etc, and “YOU” will never be rebuilt! The personification is the metaphor, the consequences quite literal. Tyre’s culture and rulers and people and music and way of life were destroyed: never to return to the land of the living. Even archeologists are still having trouble digging them up! (Google Scholar the archeology of Phoenician Tyre if you don’t believe me).

    3: How were the nations going to come against Tyre? In waves. It’s all there, at the beginning of the passage. The nations came against Tyre as waves from the ocean, one after another, as predicted.

    Siege of Tyre (724–720 BC) by the Assyrians under Shalmaneser V and Sargon II
    Siege of Tyre (701 BC) by the Assyrians under Sennacherib
    Siege of Tyre (671 BC) by the Assyrians under Esarhaddon
    Siege of Tyre (663 BC) by the Assyrians under Ashurbanipal
    Siege of Tyre (586–573 BC) by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II
    Siege of Tyre (332 BC) by the Macedonians under Alexander the Great
    Siege of Tyre (315–314 BC) by Antigonus I Monophthalmus
    Siege of Tyre (996–998) by the Fatimids
    Siege of Tyre (1111–1112) by the Crusaders under Baldwin I of Jerusalem
    Siege of Tyre (1124) by the Venetians
    Siege of Tyre (1187) by the Ayyubids under Saladin

    4: The judgement was going to *start* with Nebuchadnezzar. The entire mainland settlements were wiped out and enslaved and subjugated. You’re not saying that had no historical or economic impact on Tyre proper, are you? Neb kicked off the judgement on the mainland, exactly as predicted in a very prophetic, poetic piece.

    5: Neb didn’t finish the job and Ezekiel acknowledges that. Indeed, if we’ve been paying attention, Ezekiel *predicted* that! The nations would come against Tyre in waves, see above.

    6: Jesus and the apostles were not troubled by Tyre’s existence.

    7: Have you read Benjamin of Tudela’s tour of Tyre from the 12th century? (In the thread above).

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  78. Hi Eclipse Now,

    I’m saying that most, if not all, of your points on tyre have been addressed in the several articles nate has posted on tyre on this blog.

    I’m also saying that your excuses are just that, excuses.

    I’m saying that any problem, with anything, can be excused in the same way.

    What I’m saying now is that the bible is simply a collection of claims that other men have said about a god. Faith in that god is rooted, first and foremost, in faith in those men, that what they say about that god is somehow true, while all other people who make claims about that god or other gods are somehow wrong.

    I’ve lost interest. Tyre is there. despite what Ezekiel said. You said tyre was underwater, while only part of the old island is and other parts, including an original port is still in use. Ironically, the causeway that Alexander built to siege the island city has only added to its land mass is now an occupied and built up part of the city today.

    If forever doesn’t mean forever, and if desolate doesn’t mean desolate, and if utterly destroyed doesn’t mean utterly destroyed, if never found doesn’t mean never found, then yeah, you may be on to something.

    And do you really think that a threat of, “God will destroy that place completely and it will remain desolate forever” that the majority of people back then understood that to mean, “God will sack the place, but it will be rebuilt and back in order fairly soon?”

    If this were a prophecy in the Koran, you’d have no issue seeing how utterly weak it is.

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  79. Yes, Eclipse, waves and personification of a culture. I can agree with that. Also, that’s why I didn’t say anything about those aspects of the Prophecy, and why I didn’t say anything about the “they will plunder your riches” and “they will pull down your pleasant houses”. The “they” could likely refer to the other waves (not Nebby).

    But what about the bits that refer *specifically* to Nebby? His horsemen didn’t trample all the streets; his axes did not break down the towers; he did not enter the city. He destroyed the suburbs on the mainland only. Sure, the effort had a negative impact on the city proper (island), but not enough to destroy their power or culture.

    The argument that “he was prophesied to fail b/c there had to be other waves” is a bit awkward. “Nebby will kill your daughters on the mainland, his horsemen will trample all your streets, his axes will break down your towers, he will set a battering ram against your walls, he will enter the city”…but he clearly has to fail so there can be other waves. Seems that Alexander doing many of the things that Nebby *specifically* was supposed to do (but DIDN’T) didn’t stop subsequent waves, so the “Argument from Necessary Failure” appears to be invalid.

    Yes, many nations have come against Tyre, so you could say that is fulfillment of part of the prophecy, but as I mentioned before, that is like “prophesying” that the US will one day cease to exist. Of course it will, given enough time. Of course many nations will come against Tyre, just like many nations have come up against every city throughout history (or every important city). And yes, their power and culture were eventually at an end…just like the power and culture of every nation/civilization through history.

    The things that could not fail to happen (attacked by many nations, eventual Fall of the culture), predictably did not fail to happen, while Nebby failed to do the things specifically set out for him to do (save only his successful destruction of the mainland “daughters”).

    Prophecy Fail.

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  80. Verses 7-11 are, without question, talking about Nebuchadnezzar:

    7 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar[a] king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a host of many soldiers. 8 He will kill with the sword your daughters on the mainland. He will set up a siege wall against you and throw up a mound against you, and raise a roof of shields against you. 9 He will direct the shock of his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. 10 His horses will be so many that their dust will cover you. Your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen and wagons and chariots, when he enters your gates as men enter a city that has been breached. 11 With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. He will kill your people with the sword, and your mighty pillars will fall to the ground.

    The only part of this that Nebuchadnezzar accomplished was the beginning of verse 8 (“He will kill with the sword your daughters on the mainland.”). I cover this in detail in parts 2, 3, and 4 of this series. The bulk of these predictions are against Tyre itself, not the mainland, and we know that Nebuchadnezzar didn’t manage to do any of this.

    So you’re saying that God decided to deliver an extremely slow judgment against Tyre that unfolded over many generations. You don’t see moral difficulties in knowing that God would punish people for the “sins” of their ancestors? How do we look on people who behave that way today? People who attack children in order to get to the parents?

    Furthermore, we should hesitate to take everything Ezekiel says at face value. He claims that Tyre was glad to see Jerusalem destroyed, and maybe they were. But it’s also possible that Ezekiel was jealous of Tyre’s ability to withstand Babylon. Misery loves company, after all.

    Tyre was a major trade hub. They traded with everyone including Israel and Judah, as Ezekiel says himself in chapter 27. With their prosperity, I have no doubt that they were prideful, but I’m a little skeptical that they actually took pleasure in what happened to Jerusalem. And even if they did, the blame for that should have been upon those people, not their descendants.

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  81. There are different ideas about it, but I tend to think it’s used in an effort to tie Jesus to some of the writings in Daniel.

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  82. What was Jesus referring to when he said, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” John 3:13

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  83. I’m not really sure, Charles. Does it tie into this discussion about Tyre, though? I don’t necessarily mind going into a tangent, but could you go ahead and lay out the point that you’re driving toward?

    Thanks

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  84. John 6:62 “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” and MarK 14:62 “And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” The Bible states in Ezekiel 3:26-27 26 “And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.” 27 “But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.” Does not this sound like, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” which is stated 7 times in chapters 2 & 3, in the Book of Revelation.

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  85. Is not this what Jesus was speaking about when he said, Rev 22:11 “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” The Word of God is the Son of man. And that is why it pertains to Ezekiel speaking about Tyrus in Ezekiel chapters 26-28.

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  86. I don’t know… that seems like a stretch to me. And I guess it seems a little irrelevant, too. I think the more pertinent question is “Did Ezekiel’s prophecies come true?”

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  87. When Ezekiel speaks of Tyrus in Chapter 26 and says that Nebuchadnezzar would come and destroy them, this was speaking of that time 550 years BC. But when he speaks of Tyrus in chapter 27 he may be speaking of a future time. And in chapter 28, he is definitely speaking of a future time. A time of the antichrist and of satan himself being judged by God. This is where Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 27-28 come together speaking about Tyrus or Tyre.

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  88. What I’m saying is that Ezekiel was speaking the word of God and what he said came true in the past as well as in “our near future.” That is why Ezekiel was a prophet.

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  89. It’s just that it’s little too convenient when the parts that came true were vague and/or obvious, while the parts that haven’t come true, just “haven’t come true yet,” with no specified timeline.

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  90. Also, I feel like we’ve shown pretty clearly that even most of the immediate things Ezekiel was prophesying about didn’t come true. It’s possible that Ezek 28 is talking about something beyond just the king of Tyre, but it would be very difficult to pinpoint exactly what else it might be referring to, considering its poetic language.

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  91. “And in chapter 28, he is definitely speaking of a future time.”

    And you know this how?

    I’m most definitely not the bible scholar that Nate (and others who contribute to this blog) is, but what I see in your comments, Charles, is nothing more than what the church teaches — and which you’ve swallowed hook, line, and sinker. I can’t help but wonder how much actual studying you’ve done on your own. Take a look at Nate’s “Books I’ve Read” page and you’ll see why his perspectives are evidence of intense reading and studying over the years. He is most definitely not speaking off the top of his head.

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  92. William said:

    >>>I’ve lost interest. Tyre is there. despite what Ezekiel said.<<<

    If you want to disagree with something, you have to do some work to understand it in the first place. This conversation is beginning to remind me of climate deniers that rant about CO2 levels not quite correlating with ice ages (having that famous 700 year lag) and yet not wanting to hear what the climatologists actually have to say! If you can't get your head around *the* most pertinent metaphor in the passage (the personification of Tyre) then you're not going to have a clue what the passage is actually saying.

    But not only that, the patronising tone of your last post reveals that your atheism's sneering disdain towards notions of God is also rubbing off on your attitude to all ancient literature. Your lack of respect for hermeneutics and literary forms almost sounds anti-semitic! Try to lift your game and post something a little more intelligent than a sneer. If you want to disagree with something, try understanding the terms of the debate first.

    "Juliet is NOT a star! She's not a sun! She doesn't even glow!"

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  93. I can see how William’s comment comes across as dismissive, but you should know that he’s been a commenter here for a very long time, and this is far from the first conversation we’ve had on this issue. In fact, we’ve had similar conversations about many issues surrounding the Bible.

    Just as you feel like the metaphor is clear and somehow makes Ezekiel’s predictions work out, William thinks Ezekiel’s failure is obvious, too. So I think his weariness is coming through. :/

    That being said, I don’t think his overall points are wrong. As my most recent comments have pointed out, no matter how you shake it, Ezekiel seems to have gotten a number of things wrong. Nebuchadnezzar simply didn’t do many of the things that Ezekiel said he would.

    So to William’s point: if you saw a similar prophecy in some other religion’s text, do you think you’d be trying so hard to make it work out? Not trying to be denigrating with that question — I mean, confirmation bias is something we all struggle with. Can you at least see why non-believers find this prophecy so problematic?

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  94. The just shall live by faith. I don’t think you men and women have enough faith. My 14 years as a non believer, age 13 to 27, and 43 years as a believer, age 27 to 69, gives me quite a bit of understanding.

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  95. I read where Nate said something about miracles. I have had so many miracles (God doing something outside the laws of nature) done for me I can’t even remember them all. Hundreds. I put a few of them on the internet on my web sites and Click on “Wellcome to Apostolic Fellowship” and then go down to “The making of a prophet.” I describe a few of them there.

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  96. I don’t think you men and women have enough faith.

    Ding! Ding! Ding! 😉

    That’s interesting about the miracles, Charles. Why do you suppose God needed to send you so many miracles… wasn’t he believable after the first one or two? And why do you suppose he’s never sent me any?

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  97. John 5:14* ¶ And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 5:15* And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
    Matthew 7:7* Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Hebrews 11:6* But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. John 15:7* If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

    I believe all these verses and love all these verses and therefore when I pray I get results. I have sought God, repented of my sins, been baptized in the name of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and had many of my prayers answered because I know when to pray and what to pray for. How about you?

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  98. If God doesn’t answer your prayers, what do you do about it? I fast until God gives me an answer. Many times His Answer is No. Many times His answer is Yes. But God answers all of my prayers.

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  99. And how do you know, Charles? How do you know things aren’t just happening naturally? When you get “no,” what you wanted didn’t happen. When you get “yes,” what you wanted did happen.

    I get the same results without prayer.

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  100. Little known fact: God Hates Amputees. Yep, b/c God can/does heal, God answers the prayers of the Faithful, and there are Faithful amputees, but His answer is ALWAYS “no”. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    How many double-blind, controlled studies on the effectiveness of prayer on sick people, or those recovering from surgery have shown no result? I grew up a believer and it was always “God answered my prayer for a new/better job”, or “God answered our prayers that the old, unreliable car didn’t break down on the way to church”, etc. But when someone did lose a job, or their car did break down (in spite of prayers), it was “this is a test of Faith from God” or “look at your life and make sure you do not have unrepented-of sin that is causing God to not bless you”. Basing everything on a list of assumptions (A Supreme Deity exists, the Holy Bible is the book inspired by that Deity and thus the Deity in question is Yahweh, he answers prayers, we are in the One True Church, etc), there was never the consideration of “or maybe it is Confirmation Bias combined with a failure to realize that Correlation is not Causation (I prayed for X, X happened, therefore Yahweh answered my prayer).
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2009/05/15/study-concludes-intercessory-prayer-doesnt-work-christians-twist-the-results/

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  101. The focus now appears to be moving to Nebuchadnezzar’s ‘failure’ to fulfil the prophecy. I feel a bit under-qualified to comment on this next bit, because I think I would need a Phd in Hebrew and OT theology. But here’s a start.

    If the passage starts “I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves,” then where do we see the first and second waves in the passage?

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  102. Hmm, I’m not sure it really matters. Verses 7-11, which are far more clear and specific, say that Nebuchadnezzar would defeat (and at least partially destroy) Tyre itself. We know that didn’t happen — Ezekiel himself later admits it.

    Forgive me if I’m being way too presumptuous, but since I don’t really know anything about your background, let me share something with you. When I was still a devout believer, the first thing I encountered that gave me pause was a series of articles on problems in Daniel. I didn’t expect them to say anything substantial, but I was surprised to find otherwise. I didn’t really know how to react to that information at first… but I ended up setting out on my own study to examine the problems in Daniel. And that led me to studying other issues, etc.

    I get the feeling that you’re starting to see the issue with Nebuchadnezzar in this chapter… again, forgive me if I’ve misread that. But if you are, let me suggest that you put this one to the side for a moment as just a possibility: maybe Ezekiel was inspired; maybe he wasn’t. Start looking into the other criticisms people bring against the Bible and try to honestly consider them. In other words, do what John Loftis calls “The Outsider Test for Faith.” The idea is that if a particular religion is true, then people who weren’t born into that religion should be able to find it through objective study. So step back from your own faith for a bit and try to consider it as an outsider would — someone who has no real incentive to want it to be true or false. Someone who can look at it as objectively as possible. If you can do that, and you become convinced that Christianity is true, then great! But if you come to another conclusion, that’s okay, too. Because while it’s painful and disorienting to have your worldview fall apart, it’s far better to be closer to truth.

    Just my two cents. And again, if I stepped way over the line, then I apologize!

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  103. Hi Nate,
    can you read Hebrew? Have you studied chiastic structure in Hebrew poetry? What about Chiastic structure in Beowulf?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiastic_structure

    Now, I’m not qualified to say there’s actually a Chiastic structure proper working on the pronouns of who-does-what in this passage. I don’t even know if this form of prophecy *cares* who does what. I’d have to hassle that Professor of OT I know again, but quite often biblical prophecy is not even meant to be all *that* predictive, but more theologically descriptive. For all I know, Ezekiel may have watched the oncoming storm of Nebuchadnezzar’s approach across the Middle East and put 2 and 2 together, and so described it theologically. Biblical prophecy is often a far more nuanced and layered thing than, say, the more literal type of prediction we see from Harry Potter’s professor Sybill Trelawney. The general vibe could be that Tyre would one day fall, and Nebuchadnezzar would kick this off on the *mainland*!

    The only Chiastic structure papers I’ve seen about this section of Ezekiel reveal Tyre’s happiness turning to mourning across the few chapters concerning Tyre, and it did not answer our particular questions. Indeed, the Tokyo Institute of Technology website shows a Chiastic structure working across the whole *book* of Ezekiel which I did not realise was there!
    http://www.valdes.titech.ac.jp/~h_murai/bible/26_Ezekiel_e_2.html

    But not only that, there’s some other Hebrew literary form that can confuse readers of the modern English translations where the subject turns on a pronoun. We’re used to the nouns in a paragraph dictating to the following pronouns. EG: “The cat sat on the mat. He was cranky”. We would never think that ‘he’ referred to someone else! But in Hebrew, sometimes the subjects are set up at the beginning of a poem, and then the following poem bounces back and forth between the subjects based on changing pronouns.

    This might all sound like an ‘excuse’ to someone hostile like William, but go read the Chiastic structure wiki, and ask yourself honestly: “What do I really know about Chiastic structure? Has my ignorance of this basic Hebrew literary structure hindered my understanding of the text?”

    Back to the text. The nations were coming on Tyre like the waves. Is it not feasible that somewhere in there the subject switches? Or that Ezekiel doesn’t even care to tell us when the subject switches, but just that Nebuchadnezzar will kick off the action against Tyre on the mainland (which happens) and then “they” take over and then “I” (God) takes over?

    Seriously, try and have a little respect for the power of ignorance! What might seem obvious to you in the English may be laughable to a Professor of Hebrew! Try this: who are the actors here?

    “I am against you, Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves. 4 They will destroy the walls of Tyre and pull down her towers; I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock.”

    God and the nations.

    How are they described?
    “I” (God) and “They” (nations).

    Agreed? Now try this:

    Where does Neb start?
    “I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army. 8 He will ravage your settlements on the mainland”

    Yup, the mainland. But when will Tyre proper be destroyed, and which historical figure will do it? I put to you that Ezekiel doesn’t even say! He leaves that up to God.

    Neb’s actions are described in the pronoun “he” and “his”, but I will capitalise for readability and focus.

    “The hooves of HIS horses will trample all your streets; HE will kill your people with the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground.”

    Good so far? Watch verse 12!!!!!!

    12 THEY will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; THEY will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea.

    Woah, hold on there. THEY? Really? Who’s this THEY? To an English reader surely it has to be the horses of Neb’s army? I mean, who in their right minds shifts subject on a pronoun? It’s just *not done* in English. This is where I’m not qualified to state what *has* happened in the text, and I cannot find a commentary that delves on this ‘problem’ of yours this specifically. Basically, the commentaries have probably missed that this is even a problem for some people! But I’m just telling you what I suspect is going on in the Hebrew because I’ve heard this sort of thing before in other passages. I *suspect* that Ezekiel is linking pronouns to the setup at the beginning of the passage where he shifts between God and THEY, the nations. Pronoun shifting is a thing in Hebrew literature as much as Chiastic structure, but I just cannot find the wiki’s to *prove* it at this stage.

    Then what happens in 13? It shifts again! It’s not Neb, but GOD who does the rest, and finishes off Tyre’s more personal aspects of culture and songs and harps, and degrades Tyre (that “YOU”) to a fishing village.

    “13 I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more. 14 I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

    Not Neb, but God! “I”.

    Pronoun shifting. It’s a thing.

    Also, who’s to say Tyre didn’t have fine palaces and towers and defensive ramparts and main walls on the *mainland?* Who’s to say specifically when the subject shifts from the mainland to Tyre proper? Don’t both settlements have both? Even the ‘bare rock’ sounds like Tyre out in the sea, but it might not be. It could be that Ezekiel saw something of Alexander wiping the mainland off the face of the earth and leaving *that* patch a bare rock in Alexanders EPIC (I mean, they really should make a movie of this!) siege of Tyre, building a causeway out of mainland Tyre.

    But, after all my rambling about Chiastic Structure and Pronoun Shifting, the main point is this:

    GOD will make Tyre a bare rock, not Neb. It says so in the passage!

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  104. Eclipse Now,

    I appreciate what you’re saying, but do you really believe what you’re laying out here? And I don’t want that to come across as condescending — I’m honestly asking you. To tell you the truth, it reminds me a bit of the questions I was asking myself when I read those articles on Daniel.

    Let’s think through some of your points.

    1) Let’s say that “he” in the passage suddenly changes to a different antecedent. It’s impossible to determine that from the English, and while I don’t read or speak Hebrew, I’m inclined to think that it would be very difficult to determine it there, as well. And in Hebrew, would the text suddenly become unintelligible if the writer had just used the proper noun again? I doubt it… which means had God actually inspired this, he probably could have done it in a way that would make sense in Hebrew as well as later languages. If, on the other hand, it’s impossible to do that for some reason, then why would God have used Hebrew in the first place?

    2) Maybe the prophecy doesn’t care who actually does what? Do you think other biblical prophecies work that way? Could the prophecy about Josiah have been about anyone else? When there are prophecies about a descendant of David, would a descendant of Saul or Jeroboam or Ahab work just as well? And if it is that fluid, why should we believe any of them? Wouldn’t it mean that the Bible’s prophecies are less specific than Nostradamus’s?

    3) Pronoun shifting at verse 12 and beyond. Yes, here you’re absolutely right. The pronouns shift. That’s actually why I was only focusing on verses 7-11. While I think “they” probably means Nebuchadnezzar’s army, I acknowledge that it could be referring to the later nations that Ezekiel says would come against Tyre. But verses 7-11 don’t do that.

    To your points about what may have been on the mainland, I’ve addressed all of that in this series. I have to think that you haven’t read these other articles. I suggest you check them out, because I go into much more detail in the rest of them than I could do in this one comment.

    The bottom line is that verses 7-11 are definitively talking about Tyre (the island city), not the mainland settlements, which were typically called Ushu or Sazu, never Tyre. And Nebuchadnezzar never made it into Tyre.

    Really, please read these other articles. They’re not all that long, and since you’re interested in the subject, I think you’d find them interesting.

    In other words, “this whole Tyre prophecy thing failed” could be an epic strawman based on ignorance of Hebrew poetry.

    I think that’s extremely unlikely.

    Let me ask you this: do you think there’s any possibility at all that you could be wrong? Because most of the statements in your last two comments sound like someone who’s determined to hang onto a position no matter what. Please don’t be offended by that — we all have the tendency from time to time. But I think you’d agree that it’s something we should try to be aware of and avoid at all costs…

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  105. PS: “Because while it’s painful and disorienting to have your worldview fall apart, it’s far better to be closer to truth.”
    I appreciate that you’ve experienced some profound changes in your life, and want to blog about them. But here’s the rub: am I going to discover the ‘truth’ about Hebrew prophecy from a blog where the author and his blogging mates can’t describe Chiastic Structure and other pronoun-shifting literary forms from the ancient world, and can’t even really read Hebrew? Isn’t that a bit like a climate denier assuring a newbie to the global warming debate that they will find the ‘truth’ if they just take off their goggles of respect for peer-reviewed science, and read only their special list of other climate-denying blogs?

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  106. Do you think God would expect people to believe in his word if it takes scholar-level understandings of ancient languages and literary styles to keep the message from looking false?

    But by all means, don’t feel like you need to come here to find truth. I’m just a guy trying to understand this stuff to the best of my ability. I encourage you to dig into all the sources you can find.

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  107. “1) Let’s say that “he” in the passage suddenly changes to a different antecedent. It’s impossible to determine that from the English, and while I don’t read or speak Hebrew, I’m inclined to think that it would be very difficult to determine it there, as well. And in Hebrew, would the text suddenly become unintelligible if the writer had just used the proper noun again? I doubt it… which means had God actually inspired this, he probably could have done it in a way that would make sense in Hebrew as well as later languages. If, on the other hand, it’s impossible to do that for some reason, then why would God have used Hebrew in the first place?”

    Do I honestly believe what I’m saying? I’m not *smart* enough or qualified enough to invent Hebrew textual analysis. That assumes I’m just making all this up to justify the text, and says far more about your own assumptions towards believers than anything about the text itself. You assume that we’ll grasp at straws, and just cannot understand the sheer magnitude of the ‘problem’ you see here. But now it appears that you don’t know *anything* about Hebrew poetic structure, and are asking me if I really believe in this stuff? Seriously? I only know enough to begin to scratch at the surface but have friends who can *dream* in ancient Hebrew. It’s like you’re asking if I believe in Shakespeare and his use of iambic pentameter.

    I’m sorry I left any doubt for you, but as I said, I’m not qualified in this stuff. The pronoun swapping or shifting is not what it was called, so I didn’t know how to google it. The passages I have heard discussed before with pronoun shifting were probably a longer form of Hebrew Parallelism.

    Here is an example of “close knit” parallelism. It analyses Genesis, the classic opening sequence in chapter 1 with the parallelism. This is an easier to understand example because the subjects shift from the creation of the forms to the filling of the forms. It’s close knit and one easily fulfils the next. In stages. 3 days for forms, 3 days for filling of forms, 1 day for enjoyment of the creation: the classical number 7 respected and repeated multiple times throughout the passage! (Multiple times: the first sentence opens with 7 Hebrew words, the second 14 Hebrew words, and “God said” and other phrases are repeated in other multiples of 7. Number symbolism is a thing as well!)
    http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/language_poetry.html

    No I did not make this up: the Hebrews did, and it is a widely respected genre of poetry. But Hebrew Poetry is a vast and extensive universe of literature, and I’m not really qualified to analyse it. Here are the various subjects the wiki covers.

    1 Characteristics of Ancient Hebrew poetry
    1.1 Rhyme
    1.2 Unusual forms
    1.3 Parallelism
    1.4 Quantitative Rhythm
    1.5 Accentual rhythm
    1.6 The Dirges
    1.7 Anadiplosis
    1.8 Acrostics
    2 Division of the poetical portions of the Hebrew Bible
    2.1 Poems that deal with events
    2.2 Didactic poems
    2.3 Lyrics
    2.4 Poems that urge action
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_poetry

    The Ezekiel passage does not appear to me to be strict “parallelism” like the tied in, neatly bundled of the Genesis 1 poem. But the subject switching by pronouns through a longer text is a rhythm I have encountered too many times by too many highly qualified OT lecturers to just forget. No, I did not imagine this or make it up.

    As to the mainland versus, I’ve got family stuff tonight (we watch Marvel’s Daredevil over food, and it’s great family time! I highly recommend it if your kids are in their teenage years). I’ll try to get my head around your problems with the mainland versus island thing, but my initial comment is going to sound like a HUGE cop-out to a hyper-literalist like yourself, but here goes.

    Hebrew poetry is often more about the VIBE of the thing than the details! The feel, the imagery, the terror, the substance of an event, but not the details. And that’s from a head lecturer at Moore College, the Sydney Anglican bible college. So while we’re scraping through this in forensic detail, Ezekiel may have been saying no more than “Waves of badness is going to hit Tyre, and it all starts with Nebuchadnezzar on the mainland”. He might have been perplexed at the level of analysis we’re going through now. Tyre was destroyed. Waves of nations came against Tyre. Jesus and the apostles were not in the remotest bit freaked out by the existence of Tyre. And experts I know in Hebrew poetry have said that the details are sometimes *just* not as important as the vibe! Cop out much? Only if it isn’t true! I’ll ask some of my contacts if they’re at church tomorrow.

    PS: I may have sounded a bit snappier than I really am on the Ezekiel 2 thread just then. Please note that while I question your knowledge of Hebrew, I do appreciate the effort you’ve put in to reading about these questions: but maybe not some of the more flippant conclusions.

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  108. “Do you think God would expect people to believe in his word if it takes scholar-level understandings of ancient languages and literary styles to keep the message from looking false?”
    At the time and to the original audience it was probably just not as misunderstood as it is now. We’re in a different culture. That’s where hermeneutics comes in, and respecting how an original audience would have received something and what they made of it. Your misunderstandings of this text really are a fringe issue compared to the overall narrative of the bible. From your more autobiographical posts, it seems the problem of suffering and God judging were of more emotional importance than this particular text.

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  109. So, unless you live in the 20th/21st century (and thus have access to almost everything thanks to the Internet), or are a Learn-ed Scholar (and thus born into the Upper Classes) in some previous centuries, you could easily think that the Ezekiel prophecy is false because you wouldn’t have access to knowledge about ancient Hebrew poetic forms.

    Too bad God couldn’t be bothered to make the translations accurately represent the original, or inspire the original to be less confusing…IF that is what is happening. Prophecy is for the future. God knows that future generations and cultures won’t share the same linguistic or literary concepts as the one he is inspiring. He knows that the lack of knowledge of the original style and intent would create the “illusion” of a failed prophecy when people looked back to see if the prophecy is fulfilled. But he does it anyway?

    “You see, the prophecy isn’t wrong just b/c it looks wrong–you have to understand that “he” could mean anybody, and it isn’t meant to be that specific or predictive anyway…that is just our modern literalist interpretations and expectations. It is the same thing as Genesis–clearly the 7 days of creation weren’t meant to be literal, it was was just a literary device.”

    These are Modern Arguments based on modern knowledge. It is now common knowledge that neither the earth nor the animals/plants on it are as recent as Genesis describes. Before the 1700s nobody knew that, or maybe only a select few geologists had any hint of it. They believed Genesis literally and had no reason not to. (Remember Galileo? “Literalist interpretations” are anything but a modern development.) Perhaps a few erudite scholars cloistered away in their, well, Cloisters, or Monasteries, knew of the literary structure of Genesis, but would that have been informative? No. They would have seen the 7 Days of Creation matching this 7 pattern of poetry as just evidence of God’s perfection or whatever. Nobody needed to say “well, clearly that isn’t meant to be taken literally”; they would have said “to not take it literally is Heresy!”

    It is easy for anybody to find out that Nebby didn’t perform the tasks specifically assigned to him in this prophecy. There is enough history to show that the *eventual* downfall of Tyre (by waves of nations) was as inevitable as the downfall of Carthage, Rome, and Babylon in the same manner. But no, you see, b/c I know the Bible is true, so if it appears to not be true it is because you are not reading it *correctly*. Why? Because God wants unquestioning, blind faith…or highly intelligent scholars of theology and ancient literature. Nothing in-between makes him happy, otherwise he would have ensured the scriptures were undeniably clear.

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  110. Sorry, I haven’t had a chance to reply until now, but I think eSell has said everything I could have said, and he’s probably said it better. I do know about chiastic structures, though I’ve never heard anyone argue that Ezekiel’s prophecy is an example. But I’ll look into that further. It’s certainly interesting, though it doesn’t make sense to me that an actual god would use it, for the same reasons that eSell laid out.

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  111. esell,
    nearly 2000 years ago Phil the Jew was asking why God couldn’t make everything in an *instant*, and why he was so weak that it took 7 days! As a Theistic Evolutionist (TE) I see Creationism as simply poor reading. I personally feel sorry for modern day Creationists, not just because they have to live in such terrible fear of everything ‘sciencey’ that indicates an old earth, but because they’re missing out on the theological *gold* that is in Genesis 1 because of their literalistic reading of it! Try this piece by Dr John Dickson with a Phd in history as well as being a theologian. Yes, the middle ages saw a rise of literalism, but John covers that and explains it as a reaction to other ‘liberal’ forces in Christian thought at the time.
    http://www.iscast.org/journal/articlespage/Dickson_J_2008-03_Genesis_Of_Everything

    Meanwhile, the OT Prof I know was not at church on Sunday and to be honest, is probably tired of me hassling him. (I’ve been on his case about more than Tyre). I’m trying other avenues to identify the style of writing here, and strongly suspect it’s all to do with the nature of metaphor. After all, he *was* accused of being that “maker of metaphors”!
    I hope to get back to you in a week or so.

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  112. “It’s certainly interesting, though it doesn’t make sense to me that an actual god would use it, for the same reasons that eSell laid out.”
    Well Nate, when you’ve got your own universe that you command you can compare notes with Him. But also note that it doesn’t make much “sense” that He would become incarnate as a human being and let Himself be crucified, taking the punishment we deserve and all that gospel stuff. He made the Word of God become flesh, so I guess it follows that for us Christians, it isn’t that big a jump that he would allow His words to flow through human language and culture, being both “God breathed” and yet integral to the speaker’s personality and culture and language styles. Nope: no *logical* contradiction here at all! Just a matter of your personal preference.

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  113. Wow, Eclipse, I have never seen that view before–I read the link. Yeah, really! *gasp*

    It really makes a lot of sense. I’ve always been a fan of history and so this historical/cultural/literary look at Genesis really speaks to me. The “subversive theology” idea is compelling!

    And I am surprised to know that “Genesis isn’t really literal” is a really OLD idea. The whole “your god is so weak it took him several days to make everything; why didn’t he do it instantly?”

    “Uhhh…He DID do it instantly, Genesis is just using several days to illustrate Order and Productivity!”

    Honestly, I never would have thought of that!

    This is very interesting territory and I might just have to read more into it. And yes, I can see the “you don’t have to reject the Bible b/c Genesis is inaccurate–it was never meant to be accurate” argument. But, at the moment, I don’t see any reason to accept the Bible, just one less Factual Objection.

    And I recognize that this paper that is focusing on Genesis is supposed to be applicable to the central argument of this thread, namely the Prophetic Accuracy of Ezekiel’s pronouncements against Tyre.

    OK, so it was Prophecy about the eventual destruction of Tyre as a Culture and Power on the world scene. “He” doesn’t mean Nebby b/c it is poetry and it would break the poetic flow to accurately reference the correct antecedent.

    So now we are left with “I am God and I will punish you, Tyre, for rejoicing at the destruction I brought on Jerusalem b/c of the sins of Israel. I will send waves of nations against you, starting with Nebby, and over the course of these waves of nations one/some/all of them will take down your towers, ride cavalry through your streets, and put battering rams against your walls and gates; I will bring you so low that you are naught but a fishing village. Your culture and World Power status will not recover. I am the Lord”.

    Even if we take it as poetry, and say that this poetic structure means that Nebby wasn’t supposed to do anything in particular except attack once, we are left with a Prophecy as profound as “one day the Culture and Power of United States of America will be at an end. There will be civil strife, external attack, great winds shall blow and the earth shall shake and destroy your cities, and the great power of your Coin shall fail you. I am the Lord”.

    Saying that something will happen that cannot fail to happen is not Prophecy. If we discount all the failures of specifics due to “it wasn’t supposed to be specific b/c it was poetry/literary devices”, we are left with an almost meaningless pronouncement of Judgment.

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  114. “Saying that something will happen that cannot fail to happen is not Prophecy. If we discount all the failures of specifics due to “it wasn’t supposed to be specific b/c it was poetry/literary devices”, we are left with an almost meaningless pronouncement of Judgment.”
    OK, granted. But here’s the thing. I’m no expert in this area, and may change my mind on what I am about to say with new data, but Ezekiel may not have been *all* that interested in *predicting* the future at all but interpreting the present trends! It might be more about interpreting Neb’s march across the ancient world as God’s judgement than being predictive. However, let’s also remember the stuff about the ocean covering them. To my knowledge no commander in history had ever thrown an entire town into the sea to get at an enemy! The verses about the sea covering Tyre really are remarkable when one considers Alexander built his famous causeway two centuries later!

    For the life of me, I don’t know why there isn’t a whole movie about this one event. There are enough twists and turns in the battle that actually happened that, combined with an illicit romance and some personal rivalry between Alexander and the King of Tyre, and there’s a whole movie right there!

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  115. Esell, one another comment about Genesis (although I’m loathe to dwell on it too much in a thread about Tyre).

    First, I’m glad you enjoyed the John Dickson paper. He’s not just a great historian but a personal friend. I’m glad I know him. I really appreciate not just the material about the ancient authorities that read it metaphorically, including St Augustine!, but also the number symbolism and especially the contrast with the Enuma Elish. I went and read the Enuma Elish after reading John’s paper, and love some of the characters and stories. I mourned when ISIS destroyed so many valuable Babylonian statues of Marduk and the other heroes of Babylon’s mythology. They’re important for the ‘compare and contrast’ exercise that is built into Genesis!

    So while the first 11 chapters of Genesis are recognised as a more poetic & structured genre of writing, at some point around there the writing changes to become more of a historical theological tale, following the evolution of God’s chosen family into a nation. Only liberals would write off the whole of Genesis as some sort of constructed fable, and I think John Dickson would reject that. Just a comment.
    Cheers.

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  116. I went out on the south side of the firing ranges on Ft. Huachuca on Sunday and read Ezekiel Chapters 26 – 28 again. I realized that chapters 27 and 28 are not talking about chapter 26. Chapter 27:3 ends with “I am of perfect beauty” and verse 4 reads “Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty.” And then it speaks of over 25 groups of people, many are nations, as of Egypt, Persia, Lud, Phut, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Dedan, Judah, Damascus, Dan, Javan, Dedan, Arabia, Haran, Canneh, Eden, Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad. And many others are mentioned as all being merchants of, or soldiers of Tyrus. And the in verse 26 it reads ¶ “Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas.” which is a quote from Psalm 48:7, “Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.”

    Do you know what the east wind is. The bible speaks of the four winds of heaven as being for legions of angels. And the east wind is Michael and his angels and even Judah (Jesus) in this case. So when Tyre (Muslim armies) gains full control of the nations surrounding Israel, and attempts to wipe Israel from off the earth(psalm 83:4) “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” then Jesus with his saints and angels will come and destroy Islam and her armies, (muslims) because all that has ever been written in the Old Testament has been written about Isaac and Ishmael, and Jacob and Essau. The children of promise and the children of cursing.

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  117. Really? You realized that? Cool! Now, is there any way to be a little more specific? I don’t mean to sound dismissive, it’s just that, well, the Muslim nations surrounding the current state of Israel have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” three times already.

    First was the War of Independence in ’48. One would think that they were defenseless and that the armies of several nations around them would destroy them. But no…

    Then the famous Six Day War in June of ’67. Again, all (or at least most) of the Muslim Arab nations around tried to sweep Israel into the sea. Didn’t work.

    The Yom Kippur War of ’73 was lead by Egypt and Syria, but most of the nations around there contributed troops and/or supplies.

    No victory for the Muslims, and no East Wind of Jesus’ intervention. But maybe that is the fault of the Israelis. Maybe they’re just too tough. Probably Jesus is waiting until they actually need His help, meaning he has to wait until someone starts lobbing Nukes at Tel Aviv…so the *next* Arab/Israeli war.

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  118. I think you’re wrong, Charles. The first 4 verses make it very clear that this is a continuation of the proclamation against Tyre:

    The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Now you, son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, 3 and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord God:

    “O Tyre, you have said,
    ‘I am perfect in beauty.’
    4 Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
    your builders made perfect your beauty.

    Now, you can read whatever symbolism you want into the passage, but a straightforward reading clearly makes it a prophecy about Tyre. And any other interpretation is conjecture that can’t be supported by any real evidence. The lists of other nations merely talk about all the trade that came through Tyre, as well as the different nationalities of people who had come to live there. Not surprising in a prosperous city.

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  119. Charles,
    Nate is (sadly) not a believer any more, and I as an evangelical, bible-believing Christian have to side with him on this one! As an Amil, I think any attempt at predicting when the Lord will return is utterly fruitless, especially when wrenching historical prophecies out of their context of being clearly fulfilled thousands of years ago! Seriously, what do you think you’re doing? There is as little justification for marching across this text with your futurist presuppositions as there is in going hyper-literal on a poetic metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

  120. Like I said, God made me a prophet, and he gave me a prophecy in oct of 2009, the number of the beast was actually saying the “multitudes of the beast” with the writing of “in the name of allah, crossed swords” on theirs foreheads and on their hands. The mark of the Beast is the Mark of Islam. And Islam is a false religion and Allah is a false God. Allah is Satan and about 1.5 billion people are worshipping satan and thinking that they are worshipping the true God which is really the God of the Jews. Malachi 1:2-3 “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” Genesis 225:22-26 “And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.”

    As it says in Romans 9:13 “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
    God loves Israel and hates all the Islamic nations. God loves Israel now but hates the way they are living. He will protect a remnant of Israel until they say as a nation “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And they won’t say that until they have been defeated by the Islamic nations of the world. Then will the east wind blow on Tarsus and they will be defeated.

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  121. @charles, “God loves Israel and hates all the Islamic nations.”

    Does this include Egypt, Charles ?

    Isa 19:25 “The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

    Also, John wrote that the number “is the number of a man’s name; and his number is 666.” This tells us that those who received the “mark” were actually in allegiance with a “man,” an actually person of the first century. So, who was he? Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus! Better known as Nero Caesar. (http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/beast.html)

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  122. Charles,

    Like I said in another thread last night, I’d like for you to stop making pronouncements. Instead, actually demonstrate why the Bible should be believed. And if you want to bring your own “prophecies” into the mix, you’ll need to demonstrate why we should believe you’re a prophet. Until then, you just come across as delusional. I’m not trying to be insulting — I just think you should know that most atheists are going to view you that way (honestly, a lot of Christians will too). It’s in your best interest to focus on evidence right now.

    Thanks

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  123. in response to kcchief1, Have you read Ezekiel chapter 29 where he states ” 29:1* ¶ In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt: Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself. But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales. And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven. And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.”

    and “29:8 ¶ “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee. And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it. Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia. No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.” and in Ezekiel 2912, “And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.” and Eze 30:23 “And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.” and Eze 30:26 “And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

    And in Daniel where he states 11:42-45, “He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.”

    This is the man who thinks he is God in Ezekiel 28:3-10 “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.”

    This has not happened yet.
    kcchief1, have you ever read about Gypsies? Some of the Gypsies came from Egypt, not India as many people think. And God said that they would be scattered in all nations.

    Yes God will destroy the Egypts that he is speaking against and love the other Egypts that he is speaking of.

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  124. So…he will like OR destroy the Egyptians just like he will all the rest of us.

    Yes, I have read the entire Bible cover to cover multiple times.

    What about 666 the mark of the beast ?

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  125. The problem is, Nate, to Charles the bible IS evidence. It’s pretty obvious he’s unable to see anything but scripture … most likely because he’s never looked beyond “god’s word.” In fact, tor many believers, it’s practically blasphemy to research other sources. But you probably already know that.

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  126. The Greek letters of the alphabet that represented the numbers 666, are actually arabic letters for “in the name of Allah, crossed swords.” go to http://www.mindspring.com/~marlowe777/af.html/
    look for RevelationSynopsis and scroll down to the end of chapter 13. There is a graphic representation of the symbols there. And a link to a site that explains what Walid Shoebat discovered about 15 years ago. The end of Rev. 13 should read “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath an understanding consider the multitude in the name of the beast: for it is the multitude of a man; and his multitude is “In the name of Allah, crossed swords.”

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  127. “Like I said, God made me a prophet”
    I stopped reading after that. This thread is about Tyre, not you. If you really want to rave about you and all *your* special Holy Spirit insights into a prophecy that was actually fulfilled thousands of years ago, I’m sure these people would be glad to discuss it with your at length. I’ve heard all kinds of crazy (and contradictory) theories about the ‘end-times-tables’ made up over here.
    http://www.christianforums.com/forums/eschatology-endtimes-prophecy-forum.14/

    Right now I think you’re kind of embarrassing the gospel by confirming with all the atheists here that Christians are either gullible, super-subjective, or just make stuff up all the time. For example, what if I replied to you… “OH yeah!? Well the Holy Spirit told me in a dream last night to ignore everything you say!” What then? What would we do then? What if I said I also had a ‘word of knowledge’ or ‘spirit of prophecy’ and completely contradicted all your strange futurist interpretations about an ancient prophecy?

    So what do we do? How about actually trusting God’s word when He says it is enough!!

    Hebrews 1 says: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,”

    2 Timothy 3:16 (yes, another 3:16 to memorise) says we are *thoroughly* equipped to do God’s work through his word.

    We don’t need anything else. If the bible doesn’t say it, it’s not that important. Jesus was the ultimate Word of God, doing away with the need for ‘prophecy’. It’s a classic doctrine of the Reformers called Sola Scriptura (Martin Luther) or “Sufficiency of Scriptures”.

    “We also stand opposed to any view that rejects the Bible’s sufficiency by claiming access to new or fresh revelation—whether by ecstatic experience, words of knowledge, meditative contemplation, church councils or liturgical ritual.”
    http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/information/our-convictions

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  128. I saw nothing from the link you provided that proved anything.

    Nate is a very nice man. When he gets upset with you, it is time to put up or shut up. Just sayin

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  129. I like how Greek letters are actually Arabic letters. Reminds me how Chinese is actually ancient Phonetician Cuneiform.

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  130. eSell, I was enlightened with this revelation too ! 🙂 When I read it, I thought for a moment, then decided , nah , it’s not worth the effort. How do you argue with a Prophet ? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  131. “I like how Greek letters are actually Arabic letters. Reminds me how Chinese is actually ancient Phonetician Cuneiform.”

    OK, OK, give the guy a break! 😉 He probably forgot his meds. (That’s not real nice, coming from a Christian, but I guess I don’t get to choose who’s in this club with me. You can’t pick family.)

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  132. What Charles is referring to can be read about here and it has illustrations.
    http://tulisanmurtad.blogspot.com/2011/04/mark-of-beast.html

    But to me, it’s a matter of, “…could be, as long as you turn this word this way or that way, etc”

    Still interesting though.

    Maybe revelation’s 666 is God inspired but is still just a figurative a poetic way of saying “the wicked will be known” without any more significance being had.

    of course, It also may not be true and then still, actually means nothing at all.

    Charles, are you the old prophet or the young prophet, and how could we trust you unless God let us know that we should?

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  133. Sorry, I was referring to the story of the old and young prophet in 1 Kings 13, where the young prophet was killed because he listened to the old prophet.

    I was trying to use the reference to ask, “how can we trust that you speak for god on any matter?”

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  134. Charles said… “I’m in my 70th year, but what the Bible says is true.”
    But you’re walking all over this passage, and making it say something completely bizarre and alien to Ezekiel’s concerns. So yes, what the bible says is true. But you? That’s something else entirely. Charles, it’s time for you to do some homework.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_scriptura

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  135. Oh, but doncha’ know??? He’s a “PROPHET” … so god talks to him directly. And all those scriptures he keeps posting? From god’s mouth to Charles’ ears.

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  136. William, it has been 35 years since I discussed1 Kings 13. God did not sen me from Judah to prophecy against the King of Israel. And God did not send me from Israel to intercept the prophet from Judah. But God did tell me that his Word will last forever and yours will not.

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  137. “But God did tell me that his Word will last forever and yours will not.”
    That’s funny, because God told me the same thing about you.
    In his word.

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