Prophecy and Fulfillment
Judeo-Christian scripture is unique in its historical claims which readily opens itself to scrutiny. The external evidence test mentioned last week is used to prove the reliability of scriptures. Closely related to this are the prophecies of the Bible and how they stand up to the archaeological evidence and current status of the object (city) concerned. The Bible makes some astonishingly specific and detailed prophecies. These can and have been tested. Time and again, where they have been doubted, it has been due to knowledge as yet undiscovered at that time.
A very good example of a specific prophecy and its fulfilment is the prophecy concerning the ancient city of Tyre. In Ezekiel 26, the following is said of the ancient prosperous city of Tyre:
- Nebuchadnezzar will destroy the mainland city of Tyre.
- Many nations would come against Tyre.
- Tyre would become a bare rock; flat like the top of a rock.
- Fisherman would spread their nets over the site.
- The debris of the city would be thrown into the water.
- The city would never be rebuilt.
- The city would never be found again.
Needless to say, the prophecy was realised over time to the smallest detail. The ancient city consisted of a mainland portion. Nebuchadnezzar came against Tyre shortly after the prophecy and laid siege to it for 13 years. In this time the majority of residents moved off to an island half a mile off the coast and fortified a city there. Tyre did however make terms with Nebuchadnezzar and the mainland city was destroyed.
Alexander the Great was responsible for the fulfillment of many of the other prophecies 250 years later. He was at war with the Persians and demanded that the coastal Phoenician cities (which then included Tyre) deny access to the Persian fleet. Tyre refused to oblige. Possessing no fleet of his own, Alexander demolished what was left of old Tyre, and made a 60m wide peninsula across the straits separating the old and the new cities. He used the debris of the old city to do this. Historians note that the causeway still exists. The city was taken after a seven month siege. Eight thousand people were slain and thirty thousand sold into slavery. A secular historian makes the following comment: "Alexander the Great…reduced it to ruins (332 B.C.)…The larger part of the site of the once great city is now bare as the top of a rock - a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry."
Another historian says the following: "The history of Tyre does not stop after the conquest of Alexander. Men continue to rebuild her and armies continue to besiege her walls until finally, after 1600 years, she falls never to be rebuilt again."
The armies of Antigonus (314 B.C.), the Moslems and then the Crusaders (1300 A.D.) were among those who ‘besieged her walls’. Altering shipping routes and other developments resulted in the economic demise of Tyre.
There is a city of Tyre today. However, this is in name only. It is not the original site. The existence of a small fishing village on the ancient site has caused some sceptics to question the last two points of the prophecy. However, compared to being the trade and commercial centre of the world for centuries, it is obvious that Tyre was never rebuilt or ‘found’ again. For there to be fishermen, there needs to be a village. Thus the prophecy made 2500 years ago still holds true to this day. What a remarkable testimony to the integrity of scripture!
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