The Prophecy of Tyre – Ezekiel 26

The Prophecy Concerning Tyre

One of the most stunning fulfilled prophecies found in the Bible (although I don’t believe the prophecy is complete) is that of Tyre. It is today called Sur, and is around 70 miles south of Beirut, in Lebanon.

The prophecy was given in the 6th century BC. Nebuchadnezzar began the fulfillment of this prophecy around 598 BC, as ordain by God (Ezek 26:7). Ezekiel was a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar, yet his assault on the city was to be only the beginning. For God said He would bring many nations to come against Tyre, like the waves of the sea (Ezek 26:3).

As the prophecy foretold, its 150′ high walls, and its towers were destroyed, and it was literally scraped bare like the top of a rock around 250 years after Nebuchadnezzar besieged it, by Alexander the Great in roughly 332 BC (Ezek 26:4). Of course, this was after Persia attacked the city fortress around 538 BC, then again around 386-384 BC.

In 315 BC, Alexander’s former general Antigonus began his own siege of Tyre, taking the city a year later. Then Ptolemy recaptured the city in 290 BC. It then wobbled between Ptolemaic and Seleucid rule until 125 BC when Tyre proclaimed its independence again.

Enter the Roman Empire

In 64 BC Rome absorbed the last of the Greek Empire, and Tyre, while not directly attacked by Rome, was certainly owned by Rome. Then around 193 AD Pescennius Niger sent warriors of the Moors to attack Tyre. After this, the city maintained relative peace under Roman rule until the end of the 4th century AD when some of the Huns invaded the area.

Then again in the beginning of the 7th century AD King Khusrau II invaded Syria and conquered and destroyed many of the cities of the region. The chaos gave opportunity for the Arabs to move in, and Tyre became the naval base of the Umayyad caliphs. Tyre flourished whilst Damascus was the capital of Islam. When the Abbasid caliphs moved the capital to Bagdad, Tyre went into decline.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders had made their mark around 1124, and in 1291 the Mamluks captured and destroyed the city.

Yes! Wave upon wave, as the waves of the sea, over a period of roughly 900 years at this point, had the nations come upon Tyre, just as God said it would be (Ezek 26:3). Tyre was cast out, and destroyed by fire, just as God foretold (Zech 9:2-4)!

Tyre Today

I have worked with people from Lebanon. I asked one person about Tyre, and he told me it is now called Sur. I asked him if the primary thing about it was fishing. He acknowledged that it was, and was amazed and delighted that I knew so much about his native homeland. I explained to him I had learned what I knew about the area from the Bible, and I was speaking specifically of this prophecy found in Ezekiel. Indeed, Tyre has become a well-known fishing town, a place for “the spreading of nets” (Ezek 26:14). It never has regained the prominent position in world affairs that it once boasted. Nor will it ever.

Although much of this prophecy has been fulfilled, I do believe it is still being fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled until Jesus Christ returns to set up the Kingdom of God. Too many things have happened in exact detail to deny the validity and veracity of Bible prophecy, yet the city is still “findable”. This only means that God is not done, and as always, He has left a loophole for the skeptics to retain their cynicism, until the appointed time (Ezek 26:21).

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For more information on the fulfillment of Bible Prophecy check out the following link: Prophecy Fulfilled: God’s Hand in World Affairs

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7 Steps to be an Overcomer

The following information is from notes I wrote down whilst listening to this sermon by John Ogwyn. These are practical steps that can be applied in every day life; steps that will foster genuine spiritual growth if practiced.

The steps are given in the third chapter of the Epistle of Paul to the Church at Colosse.

  1. Set your affection on the things which are above (Colossians 3:2). Our focus must be on developing spiritual maturity, God’s holy and righteous character, that we may be counted worthy to enter His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).  We cannot let go of things we love. If we love this world we will not be able to let go of it, and God says this world is passing away (1 John 2:15-17). Therefore, we must learn to love the right things, and learn to stop loving the wrong things and come out of this world (Revelation 18:4).

  1. Put the old man completely to death (Colossians 3:5). We crucified the old man with Christ at baptism, and we are to come up out of that watery grave in newness of life (Romans 6). There is an old story of a Native American Chief who tells the story of how within each man and woman there are two wolves at war with each other; one is good, the other evil. The old Chief’s grandson wants to know which wolf wins the battle, and the wise old grandfather tells his grandson, “The wolf you feed is the one who wins”. This is a remarkable analogy for the Christian, for the Christian has a similar war raging within himself (Romans 7). Likewise, the man who is fed is the man who will win. To put the old man to death one must starve the old man by not partaking of the things of this world… get rid of TV, rotten music, video games, books… ANYTHING that is contrary to God’s Way of Life.

  2. Be proactive in stopping bad habits and behaviors (Colossians 3:8). Learn to be proactive rather than reactive. Replace bad language with praise. Replace anger, wrath and malice with self evaluation. Learn to let God fight your battles, for He has perfect wisdom, and we too easily misunderstand things, especially with Satan there to push our buttons.

  3. Jesus Christ is the Standard! Put on Jesus Christ, i.e. the new man (Colossians 3:10). Jesus Christ said it is better and happier to give, to be generous, to serve (Acts 20:35).

  4. Truly forgive others (Colossians 3:13). The very first group of people Jesus Christ instructed His disciples to pray for was their enemies (Matthew 5:44). Thus, if we forgive our enemies, we will forgive all and thus receive God’s forgiveness, as well as the peace that comes by not being burdened with resentments, and grudges.

  5. Maintain an attitude of gratitude; always be thankful (Colossians 3:15). Part of being grateful is humbling one’s self. Sometimes we must make an extra effort to be grateful. Something that helps me personally is I try to remember to consciously think of three things to be grateful for every day. On occasion I write out a complete gratitude list. We must always give thanks and praise to our Great and Awesome God!

  6. In step 2 we learn that we must starve the old man by not partaking of the things of this world. Step 7 is the other half of step 2: we must be filled with God’s Word (Colossians 3:16). We must feed on Christ by fervent daily Bible study, bolstered with prayer, meditation and fasting (John 6:53-63; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Matthew 6:16-18). To be filled, we must feed on God’s Word at least three times a day, just like physical food, hungering and thirsting for righteousness (Matthew 5:6).

If we do these things in sincerity and a genuine desire to please our Father in Heaven, we will overcome. We will truly be overcomers!

If you would like to take your own notes, you can Click Here to study the sermon yourself.

We Lost Sight of the Future….

I remember when I was ten years old or so… I would think about the future. I would look into the future and think about how old I would be at certain times, and what year it would be when I was a certain age, if I lived that long.

I just awoke from a dream where a bunch of my friends and I were trapped on a theater balcony that was crumbling beneath our feet. Somehow I made it to the ground floor in one piece, and thus began helping my friends get down.

Two of my friends who really stood out in the dream were Jason and Chuck. I was arranging things to be more stable, for now the balcony had begun morphing into shelving for a garage or a warehouse. Jason was trapped over a water fountain and couldn’t get down. I found a safe place for them to get down, and advised Jason to follow the line and make his way to the safe spot; he was to the right of the safe spot. Chuck, on the other hand, was to the left of the safe spot, but the line he was behind was much shorter.

Yet, in spite of being in the short line, Chuck with all his stockiness jumped through a hole in the shelving down to the ground floor, and walked by Dirk (who was now on the floor with me helping people down) and I, and we both commended Chuck’s unsuspecting athletic agility.

Then I woke up and stumbled to the bathroom….

Like myself, Jason and Chuck were both drug addicts and alcoholics. I say ‘were’ because they’re both dead now, due to the effects of the disease of addiction, having never made it to the safe spot of recovery. I speculate that the water fountain Jason was trapped over represented the 12 Step Program of AA/NA, water being a symbol of life, because he spent many years around people who were in recovery, but was too vain, fearful, and self-deceived to grab a hold of it and live. No disrespect meant… he was a great guy in a lot of ways; very generous and thoughtful to the needs of others. Chuck I lost contact with for many years, until the advent of Facebook; he died shortly thereafter.

Upon awakening, I pondered the dream and realized that drugs had robbed us, at a very young age, of thinking about and planning for the future, even though they freed us from the pain and torment of our own personal demons, for a spell.

Let’s Honor God in the Way We Eat

One of the major problems in the Western World today is obesity. In fact, some experts believe that obesity is the cause of more bad health than smoking. (See: What are the health risks of obesity?) The quality of food the average US citizen eats is also a determining factor. The “food” fast food chains sell, the two bit foods on their dollar menus, and the processed foods in grocery stores are slowly poisoning our society. (See: Nine reasons to never eat processed foods again.) overeating-obesity

What does God have to say about all this?

We are warned in Scripture to avoid certain behaviors (1 Cor 10:6-11). One of these behaviors is gluttony.

After the Children of Israel came out of Egypt they did a lot of complaining against God, and a lot of talking about how the Egyptians took better care of them than God seemed, in their minds, to be doing. In Numbers 11 we find the story of one such occasion. They were whining about not having enough meat, so God was going to give it to them – more than they could possibly eat in fact (Num 11:18-20). But the other part of the story was that God was also testing them to see if they got the point, or if they were going to follow through with their idolatrous covetousness. We find that many of them gorged themselves and thus brought God’s wrath down upon them. In fact the place became known as Kibtroth Hattaavah, translated literally – Graves of Craving (Num 11:31-34). americas-obesity-epidemic-580x418

Move forward roughly 900 years to when some of the people of Judah were returning to Jerusalem after their Babylonian captivity and we find things hadn’t really changed that much. When the people inquired of God about fasting at certain times as they had done in the past, God asks them, “Were you really fasting for Me? When you eat and drink, do you really do so for Me? Don’t you really eat and drink for yourselves?” Apparently they were good at putting on a show with fasting and so forth, but not so good at obeying God (Zech 7:1-7).

In ancient Rome some of the Church members would not eat meat because a portion of it may have been offered to idols. Thus Paul says, “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him” (Rom 14:2-3). While it may be taking the passage out of its literary context, I think it can still be appropriately applied to honoring God in what we eat where Paul says, “He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks” (Rom 14:6c).

This should raise certain serious questions in our minds.

  1. Are we really eating to the Lord if we are eating things we know are unhealthy? What is the difference between eating swine and eating a box of processed food with 47 ingredients that we can’t even pronounce? One can kill us with parasites and the other can kill us with cancer?
  2. Are we truly eating to the Lord if we know we are being gluttonous hogs when we eat? After all, gluttony is a compulsive behavior based upon unrestrained covetousness, and covetousness is idolatry (cf. Col 3:5).
  3. Are we truly honoring God in the way we eat if we just eat meat, and nothing or little else? We all know that a diet rich in meat, even Biblically clean meat, and poor in other important foods leads to heart disease and cancer, among other things.
  4. Can we really be honoring God with our diet if we consume all kinds of sugar when we know it causes diabetes, which brings on a host of other health problems?

So how can we honor God with the way we eat?

There are many helpful guides for doing this. However, all guides should be filtered with, and tempered by God’s Word, the Holy Bible. fastfoodscale

One section of Scripture we can look at is the Book of Daniel. Right off the bat we can see God bless Daniel for eating in a way that honored Him. Notice that, “… Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Dan 1:8). We see two important and positive things happen because of Daniel’s dedication: 1 after eating veggies and drinking water for just ten days Daniel and his friends were much healthier than the other young men, and thus appeared healthier, and 2 God blessed them additionally with wisdom and understanding for their obedience (Dan 1:12-17). They got the first benefit of the blessing of good health for following God’s law, and then God blessed them additionally for having the guts to step up and do the right thing, and EAT the right things, in the face of being captives in a foreign land.

So there we have it… we can eat irresponsibly and get real fat and sick for not honoring God with the way we eat, OR we can reap blessings for honoring God with the way we eat.

Let’s honor God with the way we eat.

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For additional Biblically based dietary information check out the following links…

Do You Really Want to Eat That?

Bible Health Laws

Defeating Disease: How the Bible Can Help

Does God Heal Today?

Bible Principles of Health

Universal Addiction: Sin

It has been said that there are three aspects to addiction: spiritual, mental, and physical. The core of addiction is selfishness, which is the spiritual aspect of the dilemma. The other two  aspects can be defined as “obsession” at the mental level, and “compulsion” at the physical level. When obsession and compulsion are combined with selfishness it becomes clear as to why sin, or any other addiction, is so hard to overcome (Romans 7:15-24). Thankfully, we can rely upon God to help us overcome sin (Romans 7:24-25).

Some believe that addiction is a disease. I tend to agree, and I think the Bible does as well. In Jeremiah 17:9 we read, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” However, when we look more closely at the original text we find that the term “desperately wicked” is actually better rendered “incurably sick”. And many Bibles will have this in the margin. Thus, God tells us that He will give us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).

As with any problem, we have to face it squarely in order to conquer sin. The following is an outline for understanding and conquering sin. This outline was put together by Mr. John Ogwyn.

Anciently Israel went to Egypt, not seeking slavery, but seeking relief. Instead of the solution, Egypt proved the problem, ensnaring, enslaving and destructive. It was not only all of those things–it was also addictive–they kept seeking to go back to it. There are many addictions and compulsions that enslave people–alcoholism, gambling — but there is one universal addiction–SIN!

Let’s understand more clearly the enslaving addiction of sin and the solution that God holds out to free us from that addiction.

 

I. Characteristics of Sin

  • A. Sin entices
  • 1. James 1:12–15 (Gk. “deleazo” — to lure, entrap, entice)
  • 2. 2 Peter 2:14, 18
  • B. Sin intoxicates
  • 1. Revelation 17:2, 6 (intoxicate: Latin “poison” — dulls and excites)
  • C. Sin is addictive
  • 1. Romans 7:15, 19 (addict: devoted, given over to, attached)
  • D. Sin enslaves
  • 1. John 8:34; Romans 7:14; 2 Peter 2:19
  • E. Sin is painful and destructive
  • 1. Romans 8:6; 6:23
  • F. Sin’s hold is beyond human power to break
  • 1. Romans 7:23–24

II. Solution to Sin

  • A. Admit personal powerlessness – God let Israel hit bottom in Egypt
  • 1. Romans 7:18–21
  • B. Believe in God’s power to deliver
  • 1. Romans 7:24–25; 8:31–32; 2 Corinthians 12:9–10
  • C. Come to turn the direction of our life (will) over to God – God didn’t lead Israel the way they expected
  • 1. Romans 6:13, 16, 18
  • D. Take inventory of our lives
  • 1. 1 Corinthians 11:31–32; 2 Corinthians 13:5
  • E. Admit our faults and trespasses
  • 1. 1 John 1:8–10; James 5:16 (faults = “side-slips” cf Matt. 6:14)
  • F. Become ready for God to change us
  • 1. Romans 7:22; Psalms 51:1
  • G. Humbly ask God to transform and change us
  • 1. Psalms 51:2, 7, 9–13
  • H. Become willing to make amends
  • 1. Luke 19:2–9
  • I.  Make amends wherever possible
  • 1. Matthew 5:23–24
  • J. Continue to take inventory lifelong
  • 1. Psalms 19:12
  • K. Go to God to grow in knowledge of His will (prayer, etc)
  • 1. Psalms 63:1
  • L. Having had a spiritual awakening, share it with others
  • 1. Romans 8:1–15; Psalms 51:12–13

Assurance of hope, help and deliverance is the message of the Days of Unleavened Bread. That hope, help and deliverance is through Jesus Christ. Only to the extent that we truly recognize our utter, total inability to save ourselves (to fix ourselves) that we recognize and accept God’s ability to do so, and proceed to unconditionally surrender to Him — to accept the literal LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ in our lives can we truly begin to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

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Links relevant to this topic:

Can You Really Change Your Life?

The Sin of Ingratitude

Pornography: Pleasurable Pastime or Toxic Threat?

Why We Get High