Did the prophecy in Ezekiel 26 fail?

Atheistic argument:

>Ezekiel 26:3-36 explains at length that
>Nebuchadnezzar will lay siege to Tyre and destroy it, that he will take its
>money and goods, that the city will “be built no more” and “be no more.”
>Any history book about the period will explain that Nebuchadnezzar’s
>thirteen year siege was unsuccessful. The city was later conquered by
>Alexander the Great, but it was rebuilt and is currently inhabited

Answer
Atheist frequently quote this passage as evidence so let’s dispel this myth. This argument uses half-truths to back up the atheists claim of unfulfilled prophecy. I have seen this on several atheist websites and newsgroup postings. The real tragedy with atheism is that they take as truth what is hear only from these sources and never validate these claims to find out if they are true. I have done a little research and here is the historical evidence about the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy:

Indeed Ezekiel did prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar shall lay siege and destroy Tyre. Verse 3 of the passage you cited also says that more nations will also be involved in the destruction of Tyre. Now here is the half-truth that atheist love to quote. Actually it is a series of half-truths. They claim Tyre was not destroyed – it was. They also claim that because Nebuchadnezzar didn’t finish the job, Ezekiel was wrong. Most atheist argue that Ezekiel was wrong because Alexander the Great defeated Tyre when Ezekiel 26:7-9 gives Nebuchadnezzar as the defeating leader. The half-truth is that indeed Nebuchadnezzar did defeat Tyre and fulfill exactly what the Bible says he will do. Alexander fulfilled the Bible’s claim that the timber, stones and soil would be thrown into the sea leaving Tyre as a bare rock. The Bible does not call the leader by name who would fulfill this part of the prophecy, but it clearly specifies other nations would be involved.

When Nebuchadnezzar defeated Tyre, the people fled to an island. Alexander came and these same people resisted his conquering empire. To get to the island, Alexander the Great used the remains of the city in which Nebuchadnezzar had laid siege to build a bridge to the island and thus completely destroyed the remaining city of Tyre and completely fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel to the letter. Ezekiel 26 verse 12 says, “they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water.”

It is very important to notice Nebuchadnezzar was called by name and when he is addressed in verse 7-8 the prophecy is addressed as ‘he’…i.e., “He will slay…He will direct his battering rams…”. In verse 12 the prophecy is addressed as ‘they’, i.e., “they will plunder…they will break…they will lay your stones, timber and soul in the midst of the water”. Clearly this prophecy was not addressed to Nebuchadnezzar but rather to those who would follow.

This ‘inaccuracy’ is not as the atheist claims, but rather this prophecy was fulfilled to the exact letter proving that no one but God could have known before hand these events separated by so many years. If Nebuchadnezzar had fulfilled it all, it would have been said that he saw this prophecy and self-fulfilled it or that Ezekiel knew of Nebuchadnezzar’s plans and he prophesied accordingly. But when you see that God foretold that Nebuchadnezzar would not be able to complete the job but nations would wipe Tyre clean and when you see Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of the city, Tyre’s flight to the island and Alexander’s bridge to the island, you can’t explain it any other way except that this Bible was inspired by God.

One important principle about biblical prophecy is that you cannot purposefully fulfill it nor can you use it to predict God. Prophecy is written so that we are prepared and so we can have confidence in God and when we see these things fulfilled we know God’s word is true and that God is in control. There are over 300 prophecies concerning Christ and many seemed contradictory thus making it impossible to self-fulfill. For example, Jesus’ parents lived outside of Bethlehem but they were forced by the Roman Empire to go to Bethlehem to register for a census and to be taxed, Jesus was born there, they fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s order to kill male children 2 years and younger, moved back and settled in Nazareth. This action fulfilled seemingly contradictory prophecies that said that Christ would be born in Bethlehem, God would call His son out of Egypt and the Christ would be called a Nazarine. This is just a sampling but proves an important point. God inspires prophecy and interweaves them with events making it completely impossible for anyone to design a self-fulfilling plan in order to fulfill by forgery. Therefore when you see these things fulfilled – such as Ezekiel’s prophecy – you know that surely, only God could have known beforehand.

Eddie Snipes
1999

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