READ: Ezekiel 25-27
THINK: Reread the prophecy against Tyre in Ezekiel 26:1-7.
There is a phrase in these prophetic verses that God uses over and over again: “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” His prophetic judgments and his justice metered out as he followed through on those judgments are intended as a clear sign of his sovereignty and his lordship over all creation. Now, we have faith that the Bible is true in all that it teaches. And if you asked many Christians, they’d say that they believe that every Biblical prophecy that God gave to his prophets has come true or will come true in the future. But sometimes we’re at a disadvantage when reading the Bible in our context because we are separated from the recorded prophecies by multiple millennia and by culture, among other things so we don’t have the historical, contextual knowledge of how these prophecies actually were fulfilled. We assume they probably were, but we’re not properly amazed by the definitive knowledge that they definitely were!
Today I want to do something a little bit different. And my intention is very simple. I want to give you a little bit of history about how just 1 of the 1200+ prophecies in the Old Testament was fulfilled. It is especially fitting and exciting that this passage happens upon us during Holy Week as we approach Easter, because Jesus – in his life, death, & resurrection – fulfilled over 300 of those prophecies. For what it’s worth, one man fulfilling each and every single one of the 300+ prophecies about the Messiah is mathematically impossible. Scholars have calculated that the odds of Jesus fulfilling even 9 of the major Messianic prophecies are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. That’s not a typo!
What’s the point of all this? So that you will KNOW that HE IS LORD!
So, Ezekiel lays out a pretty awesome and powerful condemnation prophecy against Tyre – a once-great coastal city which could be found in modern-day Lebanon just north of Israel. In this prophecy Ezekiel guarantees no less than 7 definite things will happen to Tyre. Secular & Christian statisticians agree that the probability of all seven happening is conservatively 1 in 400 million, likely greater. The 7 things are these:
1. Nebuchadnezzer would conquer the city.
2. Other nations would help fulfill the prophecy.
3. Tyre would be flattened like the top of a rock.
4. It would become a place where fishermen would spread their nets.
5. Tyre’s stones and wood would be thrown into the sea.
6. Other cities would have great fear because of Tyre’s fall.
7. The old city of Tyre would never be rebuilt.
All 7 happened! in 585 BC Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Tyre for over a decade. In 537 he broke down the gates only to find that the people had moved everything in the city to a fortified island a half-mile offshore. So, he laid waste to the mainland city and flattened it. But the island city remained and flourished for 250 years until a young 22 year-old Macedonian general named Alexander drove his army east. He was marching toward Egypt, and as he arrived in Phonecia he demanded that all cities open up their gates to him. The citizens of Tyre, feeling secure on their island, refused. Alexander the Great didn’t have a naval fleet with him that could match Tyre’s fleet so he ordered that the ruins of the city – the stones and the wood – be thrown into the sea to create a land-bridge to the island. His army leveled the bridge as they went along, throwing the rubble into the water until it piled high. To cover his army in the attack, he sent messengers to other nations he’d conquered and required them to send ships and fight the naval forces of Tyre. Within 7 months Alexander’s army was over the walls and the people of Tyre were slaughtered. The bridge he built can still be seen today. On land, the city has never been rebuilt, but the flat rock surface where it once stood still provides a great place for Mediterranean fishermen to lay out their nets to dry.
That’s pretty much how God rolls. He is in total control, and he keeps his word. Know that he is Lord!
PRAY: Worship God today for his sovereignty. And for his outrageous grace in sending his Son to fulfill all of the amazing Messianic prophecies so that we could be forgiven and restored.