Lesson #5 - Fulfilled Prophecy

Bible student

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

2 Timothy 3:16-17

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In our last lesson we noted that the Bible claims to be God’s special revelation (2 Tim 3:16). This claim calls for examination, for the Bible is either one of the biggest lies ever written or it will be our judge (John 12:48).

We have found so far in our examination that the Bible has a unity that can only be explained by Divine author-ship. In this lesson, we will examine yet another “internal” evidence (evidence from inside the Bible) that the Bible must be the word of God and could not be merely the word of men.

In the Bible, a prophet was one who was a spokesman for another (cp. Ex 4:15-16; 7:1-2). Primarily, a prophet was a spokesman for God. Although the primary work of prophets was to preach messages from God to their own generation, they did many times make predictions about the future that God revealed to them.

On his own, man is not able to predict events before they happen. If the Bible contains predictions that have been fulfilled, then we must conclude that God, not man, authored the Bible.

Many predictive prophecies can be studied in the Bible. In a later lesson, we will note the prophecies and fulfillments concerning the Christ. But in this lesson, we will focus on two other examples: the predictions made by the prophet Ezekiel concerning the city of Tyre and the predictions made by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah concerning the city of Babylon. As we do so, we will apply the test of a prophet to their writings. If they were not fulfilled, then God did not speak to them (Dt 18:21-22).

Predictions Concerning Tyre (Ezekiel 26)

Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning Tyre was given in the 11th year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity (Ezekiel 26:1; 1:2). This would have been 586 B.C.

Specific predictions Ezekiel made concerning the fall of Tyre are as follows:

  1. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would destroy the city (26:7-11).
  2. Many nations would come up against Tyre and the ruins of the city would be dumped into the waters (26:3-4, 12).
  3. The city would never be rebuilt. (26:14,19-21).
  4. Great water would cover the city. (26:19).

Fulfillment of Ezekiel’s Predictions

In 573 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Tyre, breaking down the walls, towers, and houses, and making spoil and prey of their goods (fulfilling 26:4,12). However, the majority of the people of Tyre moved by ship to an island ½ mile off the coast and fortified a city there.

This is where the “many” nations and the dumping of the ruins into the sea fits it. The people of the new city of Tyre were next opposed by Alexander the Great. Since he did not have a navy, Alexander did not have a way to conquer the sea power, Tyre. So, he demolished the remains of the old Tyre, scraping the dust from her, making her a bare rock (26:4). He then placed the stones, timber, and dust in the water to form a 200 ft. wide cause-way (bridge) between the old and the new cities (26:12). Completing the causeway required the help of many nations (26:3); Sidon, Aradus, Byblus, Rhodes, Soli, Mallos, Lycia, Macedon, and Cyprus. Alexander hired these nations to protect his workmen with their ships. Seven months after completing the causeway, Alexander conquered the new city of Tyre.

Until this day, the original, mainland city of Tyre has never been re-built (26:14, 19-21). The author Jidejian, writing about the present state of the site where Tyre once stood said, “Looking down into the water one can see a mass of granite columns and stone blocks strewn over the sea bottom. Until recently, the ruins of Tyre above the water were few.”

Predictions Concerning Babylon (Isa 13-14, Jer 50-51)

Isaiah made his predictions about Babylon by 700 B.C. at the latest (see Isa 1:1 and the list of kings in whose reign he prophesied) and Jeremiah made his predictions no later than 586 B.C. (see the list of those who reigned as king when he worked in Jeremiah 1:3). Specific predictions of Isaiah and Jeremiah concerning the fall of Babylon are:

  1. The Medes would destroy them (Isa 13:17-18; Jer 51:11,28).
  2. The city would be conquered easily, while the Babylonians were drunk, without a fight (Jer 51:30-32, 38-40, 57-58). This is a remarkable prediction considering the fortifications of Babylon. The city had 14 miles of walls on every side. The outer wall was 311 feet high (30 stories) and was 87 feet (11 car widths) wide. In addition, there were 250 watchtowers that were 100 feet higher than the walls (see Jer 51:53 and God’s attitude about their fortifications!).
  3. The city would be completely destroyed (Isa 13:19-22; Jer 50:3, 12, 39; 51:61-64).
    • As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
    • Never to be inhabited.
    • Arab would not pitch his tent there.
    • Shepherds would not make their flocks lie down there.
    • It would be left as a place for wild beasts.

Fulfillment of Isaiah’s & Jeremiah’s Predictions

Babylon was destroyed on October 13, 539 B.C. by Darius the Mede. The Medes diverted the Euphrates River and entered the city in the abandoned riverbed while the Babylonians were celebrating a feast and were drunk (Dan 5:1, 30-31). They were aided by deserters, who, knowing the layout of the city, drew up the plan of attack they used once inside.

Alexander the Great thought to re-store the great temple of Babylon, but he found it to be too costly. When the Seleucids gained control of the area, they decided that reconstruction of the city would be as costly as building a new city. So they built Seleucia, 40 miles north of Babylon’s ruins. Everyone and everything living in the area of the ruins then left for Seleucia.

By the time of the reign of Augustus Caesar (27 B.C.- A.D. 14), Strabo said, “The great city has become a desert.” In A.D. 116, the emperor Trajan described the once glorious Babylon as “mounds and legends of mounds.”

Layard describes the site today as “a naked and hideous waste. Owls stare from the scanty thickets and the foul jackal stalks through the furrows. Truly, the glory of kingdoms and the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency is as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Conclusion

The more time that passes with the ruins of Tyre and Babylon remaining as the Bible predicted, the stronger the argument becomes that Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah are prophets of God and that the Bible must be the word of God!

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Are the following descriptions of Tyre or Babylon?
Conquered by the Medes.
Tyre
Babylon
Many nations involved in conquering.
Tyre
Babylon
Shepherds don’t make flocks lie down there.
Tyre
Babylon
Great water covers the city.
Tyre
Babylon
Dust scraped from it, leaving it a bare rock.
Tyre
Babylon
A place for wild beasts.
Tyre
Babylon
Conquered first by Nebuchadnezzar.
Tyre
Babylon
Destruction predicted by Ezekiel.
Tyre
Babylon
Conquered easily while they were drunk.
Tyre
Babylon
A city of tremendous fortifications.
Tyre
Babylon
Arabs do not pitch there tents there.
Tyre
Babylon
A city of sea people.
Tyre
Babylon
Future predicted by Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Tyre
Babylon
Left as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
Tyre
Babylon
Ruins of the city dumped into the water to create a huge causeway.
Tyre
Babylon
True or False?
The Bible should be obeyed if it is not the word of God.
True
False
“Internal” evidence is the evidence inside the Bible that we should examine to see if the Bible is the word of God or not.
True
False
The prophets in the Bible were primarily spokesmen for God.
True
False
Men are able to predict future events before they happen.
True
False
Fulfilled prophecy is to be used as a test to see if a prophet is really from God.
True
False
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