In Part 2, we found that Ezekiel’s prophesy about the destruction of Tyre was correct. To summarize the findings:
1. The Tyre of today is a far, far cry from the Tyre of old, so much different that the comparison is ridiculous. The Tyre of old withstood attacks from waves of the greatest armies and held out for years. By the first century, Tyre had been reduced to begging their rulers for peace to keep their food supply.
2. Ezekiel, in fact, prophesied that people would continue to live in Tyre.
3. The ancient Jews, who understood the prophecies better than us, held that Ezekiel’s prophecies were true.
4. The proper boundaries of the old city are in fact in ruins today and have not been rebuilt.
5. Ezekiel 26:20, which is often translated “you will not be inhabited” is in a section that is, in context, speaking of the spirit after death, and is also translated “you will not return” to the land of the living. This verse is not speaking of the physical city, as was the case earlier in the chapter.
In Part 1, we discovered that while some people use Ezekiel’s prophecy about Tyre to deny the Christian faith, their conclusions are unsupported. Part 2 shows the prophesy is true, but Part 1 explains that even if Ezekiel was incorrect about Tyre, it is not logical to conclude that the entire Bible is false, God does not exist, and we should reject Christianity. The critics are saying, in effect, that if a small part is incorrect the whole should be rejected. For such logic to be accepted, the critic would have to prove that every writer of scripture had such errors, which they have not. Further, liberal Christians have long held that there are factual errors in the Bible, but nevertheless God exists, the spiritual teachings are true, and we should base our lives on them. The liberals and the critics are incorrect about the fact of the Bible, but at least the liberal Christians recognize the logic involved.
Here we will deal with a few loose ends. Some critics try to make Ezekiel say that Babylon alone will do all the damage to Tyre, when we know in history that it did not. But if we read Ezekiel carefully, he tells us in 26:3 that many nations will come against Tyre in waves, and they, the many nations, will break down the walls (v.4).
That Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not break down the island fortress is sometimes held to be evidence that he failed to fulfill Ezekiel’s prophecy. However, history does hold that Nebuchadnezzar did destroy the land-based city and killed its inhabitants, forcing the few that remained to hide in the island fortress. Further, 26:8-11 says “he” will attack the city, but in v.4 and v.12 ff, “they” will plunder and break down the walls. Whether Ezekiel meant the land city and the island, or only meant Nebuchadnezzar and not the other nations already mentioned in the same paragraph, is not entirely clear. At the very least, we again appeal to the ancient Jews who saw no contradiction, and we hold little credibility to the modern critics who seem to see contradictions that they are seeking to find.
Some critics have held that the prophesy of Tyre is important because it is one of the few Biblical prophecies that can be checked to see if it were true. Such a statement reflects a poor representation of Biblical prophecy, and is factually incorrect. J. Barton Payne’s great work, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, goes over each book of the Bible in detail, going so far as to give summary totals and statistical analysis of each prophecy in the Bible. Many of these prophecies can be accurately measured whether they are fulfilled, such as prophecies about Egypt, the wilderness march, the conquest of the promised land, the united and divided kingdoms, prophecies about Persian, Greek, Maccabean, and Roman peoples, and the life of Christ. To claim that there are only a few prophecies that can be measured is blatantly false.
Finally, the critic’s use of Tyre is a good example of how the modern skeptic and atheist movement works. It is quick and easy to throw out a criticism couched in rhetorical and persuasive language. It is much harder to do the research and present a factual case. Just to write this small refutation, it has taken me a great number of hours and three long blog posts. In the end, my reasons and facts are not nearly as emotionally appealing as the critics’ are. The modern critics tend to pass around a criticism among themselves, publish it for the world to see, call it a blatant contradiction, mix in a few ad hominems against Christians, and walk away smugly. Answers such as what I’ve presented in these three posts are not nearly as persuasive, but they are true.
To see Part 4 in this series, click here.