Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Part 1

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Bible Prophecy Fulfilled - Part 1

Rick Moffett​​ 


Note​​ - It will be most helpful if you read​​ Understanding​​ Bible Prophecy​​ before reading this article.​​ 


Fulfilled prophecy is a powerful way to demonstrate the reliability of the Bible. The fulfilment of the detailed prophecy that God spoke through His prophet Ezekiel about the nation of Tyre gives testimony to that truth. Liberal critics have certainly tried to discount it, but even secular history acknowledges what happened to Tyre several thousand years ago - just as God said it would. ​​ 


As I continue in the​​ Defending Your Faith Series, let’s look at a series of prophecies detailed in chapter 26 of the book of Ezekiel.​​ 


Historical Context of Ezekiel’s Prophecy


Here is the chronology of the major events around the time of Ezekiel’s prophecies -​​ 


  • 722 B.C.​​ - Assyria attacked the capital city of Samaria and thus conquered Israel (divided kingdom).

  • 612 B.C.​​ - The Babylonians defeated the Assyrians.

  • 605 B.C.​​ - The Babylonians defeated the Egyptians.

  • 605 B.C.​​ - The Babylonians (under Nebuchadnezzar) attacked Jerusalem and the Jewish exile to Babylon began (divided kingdom). Daniel was part of this exile.

  • 597 B.C.​​ - Nebuchadnezzar returned to Jerusalem and more Jews were exiled to Babylon. Ezekiel was part of this exile.​​ 

  • 586 B.C.​​ - Under Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians finally destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple; and even more Jews were exiled.​​ 


About Ezekiel


Ezekiel along with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel was one of the four major prophets in the Old Testament. Ezekiel was a prophet as well as a priest to the Jewish exiles. According to​​ Ezekiel 1:1, he was called to begin his ministry while he was in exile in Babylon at age 30, which was the age at which he would have been qualified to enter the priesthood​​ (Num. 4:3). He, along with about 10,000 other Jews was exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. King Joaiachin (King of Judah) was also among those exiled to Babylon at that time.


Ezekiel’s visions and prophecy began in the fifth year of King Joaiachin’s exile which would have been 592 B.C.​​ (Ezek. 1:2). Throughout the book of Ezekiel, the occurrence of many of the significant events are dated from King Jehoiachin’s exile as it is here in​​ verse 1:2, as well as​​ Ezek. 8:1; 20:1; 26:1, etc. ​​ Because of the many dates contained in the book of Ezekiel, his prophecies can be dated fairly accurately. His prophecy regarding the city of Tyre began the eleventh year of King Joaiachin’s exile (586 B.C).​​ (Ezek. 26:1)


Ezekiel lived at a time of severe spiritual decline and as a result, he, like many of the Old Testament prophets, foresaw God’s judgments coming on his people and their enemies. Ezekiel remained in Babylon until his death.​​ 


Note​​ - Ezekiel prophesied both before (ch. 1-32) and after (ch. 33-48) the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.


About the City of Tyre


According to Herodotus (the first historian), Tyre was founded around 2700 B.C. Tyre was located in the ancient civilization of Phoenicia which covered much of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Tyre’s mainland was located about 25 miles north of Jerusalem.​​ 

Tyre also consisted of a small rocky island about half a mile off its mainland site which supplied food, water, and lumber for the island. There were heavily fortified walls that surrounded the entire island. Because of the force of the water and the wind that prevailed around the island, any construction of a bridge or causeway connecting the two would have been very difficult. Furthermore, the island of Tyre had natural defences on all sides that deterred most potential attackers! All this combined with their powerful navy and Tyre became known as the “Queen of the Seas”. It would have been unimaginable to think Tyre could be brought down by any other nation.​​ 


“As early as 1400 B.C. Tyre was not only a great city but was considered impregnable”.​​ The History of Tyre;  Fleming, Wallace B.; 1966 


Tyre​​ was one of the most ancient and prosperous cities in history, largely due to its advantageous geographical location and good ports. The Tyrians were recognized for their skill in timber cutting, as well as their outstanding ability to navigate the seas.​​ (2 Chron. 8:18)​​ Tyre was also skilled in building, manufacturing, and trade.​​ (Ezek. 27:4)​​ At the time of Ezekiel’s writing, Tyre was at the height of its commercial prosperity. Sadly, they were also well-known for their worship of many false gods.​​ 


Note -​​ In the 10th​​ century B.C., Tyre’s King Hiram was friends with both King David and his son Solomon. They also enjoyed good trade relations. It was Hiram who supplied both the cedarwood and carpenters to help build David’s palace.​​ (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kings 5:1-18)


The Reasons for Ezekiel’s Prophecy Against Tyre


1.​​ The inhabitants of Tyre were a proud and wealthy people due to what they believed to be their impenetrable city and their abundant riches. Due to their rivalry with Jerusalem, Tyre rejoiced over their downfall. In their greed, they saw this as an opportunity for their financial gain.​​ (Ezek. 26:2-3)​​ 


God’s Word is clear -​​ 


He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.​​ Proverbs 17:5​​ 


It is interesting to note that Tyre is listed in​​ Psalm 83​​ as one of God’s enemies who hate Him and conspire to destroy Israel.​​ 


2.​​ The leader of Tyre had become filled with pride.​​ (Isaiah 23:8-9; Ezek. 28:2, 6, 9, 17)


Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.​​ Pro. 16:18​​ 


3.​​ The leader of Tyre had also become corrupt, violent, and dishonest in his trading, and had defiled his sanctuaries.​​ (Ezekiel 28:16-18)​​ 


4.​​ And certainly the number one reason was so the people of Tyre and its leaders would know that the God of the Bible is the Most High over all the earth!​​ (Psalm 83; Ezek. 26:6)​​ 


While it is only speculation, the destruction of Jerusalem likely gave the pagan cities in Phonecia and the surrounding areas cause to believe their gods were more powerful than the God of Jerusalem.


Note -​​ Ezekiel was not the only one of God’s prophets to proclaim that God was against ​​ Tyre. Consider - the prophet Joel around 800 B.C.​​ (Joel 3:4-6); Amos in about 750 BC.​​ (Amos 1:9-10);​​ Isaiah​​ also records a prophecy against Tyre​​ (Isaiah 23:1); and again in about 520 B.C., Zechariah made a similar prophecy.​​ (Zechariah 9:3-4)


Ezekiel’s Prophecies Against Tyre


God spoke to Ezekiel about Tyre the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s exile, which would have been 586 B.C., which is also the year Nebuchadnezzar defeated Jerusalem. Let’s examine His words in the 26th​​ chapter of Ezekiel -​​ 


Ezekiel Chapter 26

V1-2​​ 1 Now in the eleventh year, on the first of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying,​​ 2 "Son of man, because Tyre has said concerning Jerusalem, 'Aha, the gateway of the peoples is broken; it has opened to me. I shall be filled, now that she is laid waste,​​ 


Ezekiel's description of Jerusalem as the​​ gateway​​ ...”​​ was likely due to its proximity to the major trade routes for three continents.


V3 therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves.​​ 


Prophecy #1 -​​ Because God is against Tyre, He will cause many nations to rise up​​ “against you”.

Ezekiel stated that God would​​ “bring up many nations against”​​ Tyre. He then uses​​ the​​ figurative language​​ “as the sea brings up its waves”​​ to project the image of the unrelenting violence that the seas can bring. Tyre had a mighty navy and they were certainly familiar with the power of the sea.​​ 


V4 They will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock.​​ 


“They”​​ in this verse refers to the​​ “many nations”​​ God would send against Tyre.​​ 

Prophecy # 2 -​​ One or more of the​​ “many nations”​​ “will destroy the walls​​ and​​ break down her towers”​​ that fortified Tyre. Both the mainland and island Tyre had walls around them.​​ 


Prophecy # 3 -​​ The remains of the walls and towers (“debris”) will be removed leaving Tyre as a barren rock. Interestingly, Tyre (Hebrew -​​ sor) means “rock”.​​ “bare rock”​​ could also be figurative language indicating that Tyre would no longer be a prosperous city of commerce.​​ 


V5​​ 'She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,' declares the Lord GOD, 'and she will become spoil for the nations.


Prophecy # 4 -​​ Tyre would become a place where, presumably fisherman, would spread their nets.​​ 


Prophecy # 5 -​​ Tyre was a wealthy city. Her great riches (“spoil”) would become the property of the conquering nations.​​ 


V6 'Also her daughters who are on the mainland will be slain by the sword, and they will know that I am the LORD.'"


Prophecy # 6 -​​ The mainland part of Tyre was surrounded by many settlements and communities (we might call them “suburbs” today). They were referred to as​​ “daughters”. These surrounding areas would also be destroyed (along with Tyre) in a​​ violent manner (“by the sword”)​​ by the nations that would come against Tyre, so they would know the one and only true God and His mighty power!​​ 


V7 For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, chariots, cavalry and a great army.


Prophecy # 7 -​​ Here the prophet Ezekiel specifically names the King (“Nebuchadnezzar”) of one of the nations (“Babylon”) who would be coming against Tyre.​​ 


V8 "He will slay your daughters on the mainland with the sword; and he will make siege walls against you, cast up a ramp against you and raise up a large shield against you.​​ 


Here there is a repeat of​​ v4​​ with a bit more detail (“make siege walls”) and of​​ v6​​ (“slay your daughters”).


V9 "The blow of his battering rams he will direct against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers.​​ 


Again, a repeat of​​ v4.​​ 


V10-11​​ "Because of the multitude of his horses, the dust​​ raised by​​ them will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of cavalry and wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city that is breached.​​ 11 "With the hoofs of his​​ horses he will trample all your streets. He will slay your people with the sword; and your strong pillars will come down to the ground.​​ 


These verses add more detail to Nebuchadnezzar’s attack. ​​ 


V12​​ "Also they will make a spoil of your riches and a prey of your merchandise, break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses, and throw your stones and your timbers and your debris into the water.


Here we see a shift from the singular personal pronoun​​ “he”​​ used in​​ v7-11, which described Nebuchadnezzar, to the plural personal pronoun​​ “they” ​​​​ which describes one or more of the​​ “many nations”. Again, Ezekiel repeats parts of the previous prophecies, adding more detail to​​ prophecy #3​​ stating what will happen to the debris​​ (v4)​​ - it will be thrown​​ “into the water”.​​ 


V13 "So I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more.


Figurative language indicates​​ the sadness that will come upon the inhabitants of Tyre as a result of the siege against their city.​​ 


V14​​ "I will make you a bare rock; you will be a place for the spreading of nets. You will be built no more, for I the LORD have spoken," declares the Lord GOD.


Ezekiel repeats​​ prophecy #3​​ and​​ #4. He also adds yet more detail -​​ 

Prophecy #8 -​​ Tyre would not be rebuilt.​​ 


V15 ​​​​ "Thus says the Lord GOD to Tyre, "Shall not the coastlands shake at the sound of your fall when the wounded groan, when the slaughter occurs in your midst?​​ 


Again Ezekiel uses figurative language to describe the fearful and painful effect on the surrounding maritime cities and territories as a result of the destruction of Tyre. There is little doubt this fear is for their own safety as well as the effect it would have on their commercial trade business.


V16​​  "Then all the princes of the sea will go down from their thrones, remove their robes and strip off their embroidered garments. They will​​ clothe themselves with trembling; they will sit on the ground, tremble every moment and be appalled at you.​​ 


Ezekiel continues to use figurative language, this time describing the chief maritime cities (​​ “princes of the sea”) as royalty that has lost their exalted position (“down from their thrones”) and the riches that accompanied such a position (“robes and embroidered garments”). Now they are wrapped in fear (“clothe themselves with trembling”) and left humiliated (“they will sit on the ground”)​​ and devastated at the fate of Tyre.​​ 


V17​​  "They will take up a lamentation over you and say to you, 'How you have perished, O inhabited one, From the seas, O renowned city, Which was mighty on the sea, She and her inhabitants, Who imposed her terror On all her inhabitants!​​ 


These maritime cities would lament as at a funeral over the destruction of the formerly proud and powerful city of Tyre who once struck terror in all that encountered her. Perhaps they would realize that if mighty Tyre could be defeated, then they too were vulnerable to a similar destiny.​​ 


V18  'Now the coastlands will tremble On the day of your fall; Yes, the coastlands which are by the sea Will be terrified at your passing.'"​​ 


Ezekiel restates his proclamations from​​ v15 - 17.


V19​​  For thus says the Lord GOD, "When I make you a desolate city, like the cities which are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you and the great waters cover you,


Prophecy #9 -​​ Tyre would become uninhabited and desolate.​​ 


Prophecy #10 -​​ Ezekiel​​ indicates that the Lord will bring deep and great waters over Tyre to cover it. Is this figurative language or is it to be taken literally? Possibly both. In​​ v3​​ Ezekiel speaks figuratively of the many nations that would come against Tyre describing them as​​ “the sea bringing up its waves”.​​ It is also true that parts of both the island and mainland parts of Tyre eventually became covered with water and remain underwater to this day.​​ 


V20​​  then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you dwell in the lower parts of the earth, like the ancient waste places, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set glory in the land of the living.​​ 


“The pit”​​ and​​ “the lower parts of the earth”​​ is figurative language for death, which at that time, was thought to be a place of no return. This death is contrasted with Ezekiel’s proclamation of the glory of God in life

This verse also repeats​​ prophecy #9.​​ 


V21​​  "I will bring terrors on you and you will be no more; though you will be sought, you will never be found again," declares the Lord GOD.​​ 


Ezekiel continues to describe the destruction of Tyre as well as the fear that would be invoked on its inhabitants.

Prophecy #11 -​​ Tyre will never be found again.​​ 


The Fulfillment of Ezekiel’s Prophecies


As you read the history of Tyre below, you will see that the prophecies against it have been fulfilled. Be sure you understand​​ item 5​​ under​​ “Basic considerations for interpreting prophetic writings”​​ before proceeding with this section. Also, keep in mind that Tyre was comprised of two parts, a mainland part, and an island part.​​ 


In 586 BC, God spoke through His prophet Ezekiel declaring that He was against Tyre. He proclaimed that He would bring​​ “many nations against”​​ Tyre​​ (v3). These nations would come up against Tyre like the waves of the sea. A study of history shows us that “many nations”​​ did indeed attack and wreak destruction on Tyre in the coming centuries.​​  


​​ “many nations”

History of Major Attacks Against Tyre (Some dates are approximated)

586-573 BC​​ - Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to the mainland part of Tyre for 13 years and eventually destroyed the mainland of Tyre, but the island part was not significantly affected. The Jewish historian Josephus, quoting “the records of the Phoenicians,” says that Nebuchadnezzar “besieged Tyre for thirteen years in the days of Ithobal, their king” (Against Apion, 1.21). This fulfilled one aspect of Ezekiel’s prophecy​​ (v26:7)​​ of which I have labeled​​ “prophecy #7”. ​​ 

About 525 BC​​ - the Persians successfully attacked Tyre.​​ 

332 BC​​ - After a seven-month siege, Alexander the Great destroyed the island city in just the manner described.​​ 

219 - 216 BC​​ - Antiochus III, ​​ the Seleucid king of the Hellenistic Syrian Empire subjugated Tyre.

64 BC​​ - Rome ruled over Tyre.

1291 AD​​ - The Saracens took control of the city of Tyre and brought it to utter ruin.



History reveals that in 586 BC,​​ Nebuchadnezzar​​ defeated Jerusalem shortly after Ezekiel’s prophecy about Tyre. That same year, Nebuchadnezzar also attacked Tyre just as Ezekiel has prophesied.​​ Ezek.​​ 26:7-11​​ describes this attack.​​ 


Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to the well-fortified mainland part of Tyre for 13 years.​​ (Josh.19:29)​​ Nebuchadnezzar’s use of “siege walls”​​ and “ramps”​​ (v8)​​ would indicate that mainland Tyre was at least partially, if not fully surrounded by a wall (also​​ v10). Nebuchadnezzar would break down both its walls and its towers​​ (v9), as well as the surrounding settlements (“daughters”​​ -​​ v8). Nebuchadnezzar’s powerful cavalry rode​​ through the streets of mainland Tyre in a cloud of​​ “dust”​​ (v10)​​ killing the inhabitants and destroying its many building structures​​ (v11). Since Nebuchadnezzar had no navy, he was unable to mount a successful attack against the island part of Tyre. Despite this destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, he was unable to plunder the treasures of Tyre​​ (Ezek. 29:18), because many of the people along with Tyre’s material riches were moved to the island part of Tyre before mainland Tyre was eventually demolished.


To liberal critics, this obvious failure by Nebuchadnezzar to successfully attack the island part of Tyre, rendered Ezekiel’s prophesy unfulfilled. But remember, Ezekiel declared that “many nations” like the waves of the sea would be brought up against Tyre. Is it a single wave that​​ causes the ultimate destruction or is it the constant pounding of many waves? Nebuchadnezzar was certainly one of the “waves” used by God to bring destruction to Tyre. Furthermore, we must keep in mind the central message of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Namely, Tyre would be humbled by God as a demonstration of His great power so that they would​​ “know that I am the Lord”! This phrase or a similar one is used frequently throughout the book of Ezekiel.​​ (Ezek. 26:3; 28:22, 23, 24, 26; 29:6, 9, 16, 21,​​ etc.)​​ Thus, Nebuchadnezzar was just one part of God’s overall plan. And, as stated earlier, God’s prophets often did not know exactly when and in what order their prophecies would take place when they spoke them.​​ 


Let’s now consider another of the “waves” God sent against Tyre. In 332 BC, the young King of Macedon,​​ Alexander the Great​​ would come against Tyre in a most remarkable fashion. Having just defeated the Persian army led by King Darius lll in southern Turkey, he headed south down the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Along the coast, he quickly subjugated Byblos and Sidon before coming to the heavily fortified island of Tyre. It was here that Alexander did something no one before had done (See​​ video​​ for details).​​ 


He took the debris from mainland Tyre and scraped it into the sea to build a causeway from the mainland to the island Tyre​​ (v4, 12). Although it took him seven months, Alexander was successful in destroying the island’s strongholds and acquiring the treasures of Tyre​​ (v12). Ezekiel prophesied about 250 years earlier that the debris from the destruction of the walls and buildings of Tyre would be scraped into the sea. I doubt that anyone understood this at the time and they certainly could not have imagined that a causeway would be built using this debris. No man could have predicted this, but God knew and foretold this through His prophet, Ezekiel.​​ 


The historian Diodorus Siculus attested that Alexander used the stones from the Old Tyre destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar to build his mole​​ <causeway>​​ (Diodorus, 17.40; Wells 1936).

The rubble from Old Tyre was so thoroughly cleaned out by Alexander’s engineers that no trace of the ancient city can be found today. Thus, according to historian H. J. Katzenstein, the precise location of mainland Tyre is a point of controversy. According to this specialist on the history of Tyre, it was “totally dismantled by Alexander the Great in his famous siege...and disappeared totally” (1997: 15).

Taken from​​ Ezekiel 26:1-14 - A Proof Text For Inerrancy or Fallibility of The Old Testament?