One of the most dramatic examples of very specific and accurate prophecy are those predictions concerning the city of Tyre, as seen in the book of Ezekiel. It is important to know that the book of Ezekiel is firmly dated by scholars from 590–570 B.C. As mentioned earlier, the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament was made in 280–250 B.C.Multiple biblical prophets make many predictions about places like Tyre, Samaria, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jerusalem, Edom, Nineveh, Babylon and more. Each of these nations had different things happen to them during their history, and the Bible is very specific about these details. It can also be demonstrated conclusively in most cases that the Bible prophecy was given far in advance of its fulfillment, sometimes by centuries.
The ancient city of Tyre was located in what is now the country of Lebanon. In the book of Ezekiel several predictions are made about the city of Tyre. Here is the text of Ezekiel 26:3-5, 7, 12-14:
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God; and it shall become a spoil to the nations…Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north”. . .“And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise, and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses; and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water. And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. AndI will make thee like the top of a rock; thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord God.”
What is predicted about Tyre?
Notice how God placed His reputation on the line, saying, “I have spoken it,” as He has challenged us with all His prophecies. Let’s look at some of the specific predictions:
Nebuchadnezzar will come against the city of Tyre.
Many nations will come against Tyre.
Tyre will become like a bare rock, with fishnets spread over the site.
Tyre will have its stones, timber and rubble thrown into the sea.
A time would come when Tyre would be “built no more.”
I think we can see that these are very clear predictions. Nothing vague about them. And we can also see these predictions are plainly contained in the verses of Ezekiel quoted above, and we determined these were written anywhere from 590–570 B.C. So all that remains is to compare them with actual historical data.
The siege of Nebuchadnezzar: Nebuchadnezzar indeed laid siege to Tyre from 585–573 B.C., a thirteen-year siege in all. Tyre was situated so there was a mainland city on the coast and an island part of the city. When Nebuchadnezzar entered and destroyed the mainland city he found that most of the people had moved to the island part of the city. Nebuchadnezzar stopped there and did not go on to conquer the island.
Tyre’s stones and rubble cast into the sea: Two hundred forty years later Alexander the Great attacked the now heavily walled island city of Tyre. He encountered a well-fortified city indeed, and it was hard to get near it without being hit by weapons and objects thrown from behind its walls. So Alexander the Great devised a strategy to build a causeway from the mainland to the island. He did this by casting the debris and stones of the ruins of the mainland city into the water. So just as predicted many nations came against Tyre, and the city ruins were literally thrown into the water. As he progressed by using the stones and debris as a causeway he encountered deeper water and more resistance closer to the island.
Many nations come against Tyre: Alexander needed a larger navy to conquer the city, and so he organized and used the navies of six or seven countries he had already conquered, to bring them against Tyre and blockade the city. He finally built up the causeway enough to use battering rams and other weapons to break down the city walls. Alexander conquered Tyre three years later. Notice how the verse in Ezekiel 26:12 reads: “They. . .shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.” This was after Nebuchadnezzar, when Alexander and many other nations were attacking; therefore the term “they” was used.
Tyre as a bare rock with fishnets spread over site: In a history book from 1889, author Philip Myers states of Tyre: “Alexander the Great. . .reduced it to ruins (332 B.C.). She recovered in a measure from this blow but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. 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” (emphasis mine). And listen to these observations in a book by Nina Nelson titled Your Guide to Lebanon: “Pale turquoise fishing nets were drying on the shore. . .The ruins of ancient Tyre are different from all the others―situated. . .in the heart of the sea” (emphasis mine).
Tyre “built no more”: What exactly does this last prediction mean? According to McDowell, Tyre was rebuilt and besieged more than once over the following centuries, only to fall for the final time to the Moslems in 1291 A.D. The original island city is now under water. A small modern city called Sur now stands near the ruins of the ancient mainland city, but the original large city with all its walls, splendor and trading commerce has never been restored, although in an ideal location for a large city. The current small city is geared more toward fishing―hence the nets spread on rocks. This is actually expected since it was predicted that nets would be spread on the rocks.
Some will say that any city on this site falsifies the prediction of “built no more.” The fortified island city, however, is now under the sea. The ruins of the original large mainland city are scattered over a large area of land with a few columns still standing. Athough a small city is built near some of the ancient ruins, it is not on the same site, nor is it by any means the original powerful city of Tyre that used to exist. So it was never rebuilt in terms of its power and influence, much like a large castle could not be said to have been rebuilt because a few small buildings now stand on its original site.
So we can see that each specific prediction was fulfilled in detail―and some of these over many centuries after the prophecy was written.
The prophecies in the Bible about other nations with very different histories than Tyre are similarly specific and accurate. For more on these, see