Goodnews Christian Ministry
"Now, Tyre, I set myself against you.
I mean to cause many nations to surge against you like the sea and its waves.
They will destroy the walls of Tyre, they will demolish her towers
In his oracles against the nations, the prophet Ezekiel directed a significant prophecy against a sea-coast city whose prophetic name was 'Tyre'. (See Ezekiel, chapters 26 - 28).
The ancient city of Tyre, located on the southern Lebanon seacoast just north of Mt. Carmel and south of Sidon (in a land called Phoenecia) was, perhaps, the greatest commercial urban center on the Mediterranean. It's world trade was legendary and its banking system the monetary hub of the ancient world. It's relationship to New York City, the palace of commerce in today's world is remarkable.
Like New York City, the city of Tyre was divided between land and sea. One part of Tyre was on an island just offshore, and the other part of the city was on the mainland.
New York City is actually divided among three offshore islands and a mainland called the Bronx. The most significant of the islands making up the city is Manhatten. The other two are Staten Island and Long Island.
There is disagreement among Bible scholars as to the heir of Ezekiel's prophecy. A significant number see the United States because so many of Ezekiel's descriptions of Tyre fit so perfectly with the American nation, but that possibility, as intriguing as it looks, remains conjectural.
Another candidate is Rome.
In this paper we will explore Tyre's relationship to New York City.
Because of Tyre's many likenesses to both America and New York, we will examine the prophecies of Ezekiel and Isaiah in that relationship and point out the similarities and differences that scholars are having to wrestle with. If this vision has truly been architected by God to define our own country and our own time, the significance of the Tyre prophecy becomes huge. Certainly to us.
With the events of 9/11, the possibility of such a relationship has been dramatically increased.
We must bear in mind that Bible prophecy has been shown on many occasions to have dual fulfillments. Prophecies often serve several purposes at once; defining more than a single country or even a single point in time. We have explained how this occurs in the chapter "All the Works of God Go in Pairs by Opposites". At least a part of that duality seems to apply here.
Isaiah refered to Tyre as a city founded in the distant past (Is.23:7). He called it "imperial". (Is.23:8). Imperialism speaks to us of kings and courts, not presidents. Not only that, but he predicted that it would be destroyed for a time and would return to life in 70 years, continuing its whoring, but working this time for God by "dedicating its profits and wages to the Lord...to buy abundant food and splendid clothes for those who live in the presence of God" (Is.23:15-18). That description does not appear to fit the United States in any way at all. But it does describe Rome and the concept "Babylon", a pagan nation converted to God and rededicating itself to the preaching of Christ.
When He converted Rome, Jesus delivered a mortal wound to Babylon, but He did not destroy it altogether. He put it in prison (Rev.20:1-3). The spiritual conversion of the Western world to Christ seemed to doom the rule of global secularism. Yet we are living today with a "Babylon" reborn in our own time. It has been returned to life by a Great secular Revolt that has toppled Christianity's world rule. The prison bars have been opened.
This recent secular revolt did not occur only overseas. We can see it ripping apart the American society with an equal vigor, returning virtually all of this country to secular governance as well. This is all part of what the Book of Revelation terms the "mortal wound healing".
The prophet Jeremiah foresaw that Babylon would be"captured" rather than destroyed: "Babylon is captured, Bel disgraced, Merodach shattered." (Jer.50:2). That "capture" is the meaning of Satan's imprisonment in the Abyss (Rev.12:9). The pagan world was a Babylon captured by Christianity and held in a spiritual jail by imperial and governmental powers which dedicated their nations to the preaching of Jesus to the world.
The bars that held paganism imprisoned could be seen reflected in such phrases as "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, "In God we Trust" on the coinage of the land, in doctrines that encouraged governmental support of Christian morality; the display of the Ten Commandments, the public display of crosses and Christmas scenes, and even in prayers in Congress and civic meetings. In all levels of government, everyone talked God. Those were the bars on secularism's jail, and almost every one of them has been torn down since 1963.
Not only that, but counterparts to those bars have been structured to imprison Christianity instead. So it hasn't just been the freedom of Satan that we have witnessed but the chaining up of God. Everything has been reversed. And that is what Paul called the "Great Revolt".
As a result, Babylon has been reborn all over the world.
That allows us to view Ezekiel's lengthy prophecy in relation to Tyre's spiritual philosophy, which explains that city's otherwise inexplicable fate.
History has shown us that the kings of the western world, firmly in God's camp, picked up the Christian banner and carried it to the ends of the earth, founding colonies by the thousands (Is.23:7), dedicating nation after nation, each to its own monarchy, but all to God in Christ from one end of the planet to the other.
The United States is one of those many western world colonies formed in the faith of God in fact, it is the greatest of them all. It was founded in exemplary beauty on the principals of Christ and the highest ideals of humanitarian decency. All of this seems to fit Ezekiel's prophecy.
It is here that Ezekiel picks up the baton of Tyre prophecy and seems to carry it to the United States and into the circumstances of the 21st century.
"The word of God was addressed to me as follows, 'Son of man, raise the dirge over Tyre. Say to Tyre, that city standing at the edge of the sea, doing business with the nations in innumerable islands, "The Lord God says this:
Tyre, you used to say: I am a ship." (Ez.27:1-3).
The phrase "ship of state" has been used in reference to the United States so often that it's use in this prophecy is startling.
"Your frontiers stretched far out to sea;
those who built you made you perfect in beauty." (Ex.27:4).
No other nation in history has ever had actual borders further out in the ocean than we do with Hawaii. This does not speak to colonies but to actual national borders. Hawaii is not only located in the middle of the largest sea on earth, it lies thousands of miles from the mainland, far out into that ocean. "Founded in perfect beauty" is equally applicable. No nation in history has ever been launched into existance on a set of principals more noble.
"Cypress from Senir they used for all your planking. They took a cedar from Lebanon to make you a mast. From the tallest oaks of Bashan they made your oars. They built you a deck of Cedar inlaid with ivory from the Kittim isles. Embroidered linen of Egypt was used for your sail and for your flag. Purple and scarlet from the Elishah islands formed your deck-tent. Men from Sidon and from Arvad were your oarsmen. Your sages, Tyre, were aboard serving as sailors. The elders and craftsmen of Gebal were there to caulk your seams." (Ez.27:5-9).
The references to the ship of state's construct -- Cypress from Senbir, cedars of Lebanon, oaks of Bashan, decks of cedar inlaid with ivory, embroidered linen for your flag, purple and scarlet from the Elishah islands (Ez.27:5-7) -- all these can be seen symbolically defining not only national colors and wide geographic melding, but the finest members of that coalition and a constructed product grander than any other nation in the history of the planet. These speak to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and to the wisdom of those guiding the nation's construct and high moral philosophy.
The quotation, "Men from Sidon and Arvad were your oarsmen", speaks to the economic status of Tyre -- a mercantile nature that is the nation's driving force. The wide diversity of nations involved in Ezekiel's portrait of Tyre's construct defines a diverse multi-national communitythe best of all those nationscoming together as one for an exemplary common purpose. The United States is the first truly multi-national nation in the history of the world.
"Your sages, Tyre, were aboard serving as sailors. The elders and craftsmen of Gebal were there to caulk your seams" (Ez.27:9).
It was not kings or tyrants that governed the Tyre of Ezekiel's vision, but the wisest members of the community -- senators and congressmen and senior statesmen. These were the sailors guiding and piloting the ship in its journey through history. The Founding Father's were invoked in every question. Moral principle decided every debate.
All of this -- this glorious country -- Ezekiel described as a ship. The nation of Ezekiel's prophecy (Tyre) was created in the design of a ship and its planking and structure were perfect in beauty and craftsmanship. Again, if prophecy is to be made of this and debated, we must be struck by the resemblance of these words to the "ship of state" we here occupy.
"All the ships of the sea and the sailors in them visited you to trade with you". (Ez.27:9). Ezekiel is lavish in his praise of Tyre's economic genius and prowess. Over and over, his words exhalt the immensity of the wealth of that nation.
"Men of Persia and Lud and Put served in your army and were your warriors. They hung up shield and helmet in you. They brought you glory. The sons of Arvad and their army manned your walls all round and kept watch from your basstions. They hung their shields all round your walls and helped make your beauty perfect. (Ez.27:10-11).
Ezekiel's verses show the diverse nature of Tyre's army and how powerful that army became owing to its ethnic diversety. Our own newsreels are filled with images of black and white and Asian soldiers fighting side by side. All the nations of the earth are represented and all have produced great heroes in the fight to defend the freedoms guaranteed by the country's founding documents.
"Tarshish was your client, profiting rfrom your abundant wealth. People paid you in silver and iron, tin and lead for your merchandise. Javan, Tubal and Meschech traded with you. For your merchandise they bartered men and bronze implements. The people of Beth-togarmah traded you horses chargers, mules. The sons of Dedan traded with you; many shores were your clients; you were paid in ivory tuskes and ebony. Edom was your client, because of the variety and quanity of your goods; she exchanged carbuncles, purple embroderies, fine linen, coral and rubies against your goods. Judah and the land of Israel also traded with you, supplying you with corn from Minnith, wax, honey, tallow and balm. Damascus was your client, because of the plentifulness of your goods and immensity of your wealth, furnishing you with wine from Helbon and wool from Zahar. Dan and Javan, from Uzal onwards, supplied you with wrought iron, cassia and calamus in exchange for your goods. Dedan traded with you in horse-clothes. Arabia and even the sheikhs of Kedar were all your clents; they paid in lambs, rams and he-goats. The merchants of Sheba and Raamah trade with you; they supplied you with the best quality spices, precious stones and gold against your goods. Haran, Canneh and Eden, traders of Sheba, Asshur and Chilmad traded with you., They traded rich clothes, embroidered and purple cloaks, multi-colored materials and strong plaited cords in your markets. The ships of Tarshish crossed the seas for your trade.
"Then you were rich and glorious, surrounded by the seas" (Ez.27:25).
Ezekiel's enormous description of wealth and trade spoke to a city of finance that was the envy of the entire world. Legendary and vitually mythical, Tyre was portrayed by Ezekiel as the world's capitol of commerce. Then in the prophecy, suddenly and instantly all that changed in mid-verse, as if catastrophe came out of the blue, at the very height of the nation's power and success.
"The east wind has shattered you, surrounded by the seas. Your riches, your goods, your cargo, your crew, your sailors, your caulkers, your commercial agents, all the soldiers you carry with you, the whole host who are aboard; all will sink surrounded by the seas on the day of your shipwreck." (Ez.27-26-27).
"When they hear the cries of your sailors the coasts will tremble. Then the oarsmen will all desert their ships...they will raise their voices for you, and weep bitterly. They will raise a dirge and mourn for you. Tyre will bewail you: Who could compare with haughty Tyre surrounded by the seas? When you unloaded your goods to satisfy so many peoples, you made the kings of the earth rich with your exccess of wealth and goods, Now you are shattered by the waves, surrounded by the seas". (Ez.27:28-34).
Ezekiel's prophecies surrounding Tyre's destruction are numerous and perplexing. They predict that Tyre will try to replace the image of God with its own:
"Being swollen with pride, you have said: I am a god; I am sitting on the throne of God, surrounded by the seas." (Ez.28:2).
The U.S. ban on Christ, His Word, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, and the tearing down of His crosses, all in favor of the American Constitution, amount to an extraordinary exchange of gods.
"Though you are a man and not a god, you consider yourself the equal of God. You are wiser now than Danel; there is no sage as wise as you. By your wisdom and your intelligence you have amassed great wealth; you have piles of gold and silver inside your treasure-houses. Such is your skill in trading, your wealth has continued to increase, and with this your heart has grown more arrogant." (Ez.28:2-5).
In vision after vision, images and circumstances characteristic of the United States pour from Ezekiel's words. We do have treasure-houses with piles of gold -- especially at Fort Knox (even in vaults beneath the World Trade Centers) and the skills of our stock traders have amassed for themselves great wealth in relation to the rest of the world. Our wisdom is beyond question. Discoveries in science, space, computers, television, recording and the nature of man and creation over the last hundred years far outshines all the knowledge the past world has ever known.
Has the United States tried to replace the image of God with its own? Judging by recent Supreme Court decisions, yes. In those decisions, the constitution has replaced God. Each decision has aimed the sabres of government against Jesus in the interests of a new national god called finance. Every decision is weighted to that lucretious end. What does this mean to the city of wealth that drives this new motive?
"Very well, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most barbarous of the nations. They will draw sword against your fine wisdom, they will defile your glory; they will throw you down into the pit and you will die a violent death surrounded by the seas." (Ez.28:7-8).
"Are you still going to say: I am a god, when your murderers confront you? No, you are a man and not a god in the clutches of your murderers! You will die like the uncircumcised at the hand of foreigners. for I have spoken -- it is the Lord God who speaks." (Ez.28:9-10).
All this we saw in the fall of the towers, the day finances fell. The juxtaposition of gold over God has created a dire circumstance in our society. Especially when one considers the wide range of agencies and organizations that have used those decisions to separate God from themselves. They prove again that those, whose deeds are evil remove themselves from the light and try in every way to hide themselves in a covering of darkness.
In his prophecy of Tyre's destruction, Isaiah said that it's demise will bring to ruin to "the fortress of Canaan" as well, an annihilation ordained by God (Is.23:11). In today's world, the United States is the fortress of the land of Israel. We are its protection. Our ships guarantee its national survival.
If these prophecies have any bearing on events waiting to occur, we have reason to be very disquieted by them. They foresee an impending catastrophe certain to doom global capitalism, and crash world stability. Isaiah and Ezekiel both tell us that 'the ships of Tyre will be destroyed by the east wind. They speak to us of the demolished towers of Kittim and the destroyed "harbor" and fortress across the sea all brought to ruin by a combination of powerful east wind (Is.23), and oceanic coatastrophe the direct result of Tyre's plunge into wickedness.
"The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows, 'Son of man, raise a dirge over the king of Tyre. Say to him, 'The Lord God says this:
"You were once an exemplar of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty; you were in Eden, in the garden of god. A thousand gems formed your mantle. Sard, topaz, diamond, chrysolite, onyx, jasper, sapphire, carbuncle, emerald, the gold of which your flutes and tamborines are made, all were prepared on the day of your creation. I had provided you with a guardian cherub; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked amid red-hot coals. Your behavior was exemplary from the day of your creation until the day when evil was first found in you." (Ez.28:12-15)
"Your busy trading has filled you with violence and sin. I have thrown you down from the mountain of God and the guardian cherub has destroyed you from amid the coals. Your heart has grown swollen with pride on account of your beauty. You have corrupted your wisdom owing to your splendor." (Ez.28:16-17).
We must bear in mind that our definitions depend in great measure on faintly seen circumstances. We do not know the future, even when presented with prophecies that define that future. That was obvious in our surprise at the attack against the towers in New York City. Yet, the collapse of those towers reinforces our need to take scripture more seriously, and re-examine it's prophecies in far deeper ways.
There are many passages in the Tyre prophecy that appear to signal events that even now have not yet taken place, including some that seem unlikely or unimaginable.
For instance, one set of prophecies foresees Tyre being struck by an enormous tidal wave and washed clear of its buildings, leaving it a "naked rock".
"Now you are shattered by the waves, surrounded by the seas." (Ez.27:34).
"The sea will rise over Babylon, she will sink under its roaring waves." (Jer.51:42).
There is a people-element to these roaring seas as well, but Tyre's destiny with a major tsunamis seems deeply imbedded in the prophecies.
Enormous capital wealth has enabled the United States to govern the events of the entire world, using its power by asserting itself as the protector of the free world. Many nations resent that administration. They view America's governance as paternalistic if not imperialistic, and some appear to be on the verge of breaking away from its influence. According to Daniel, that separation will happen suddenly, but he doesn't say why. Daniel writes that at the height of American power and influence something suddenly happens that ends U.S. domination over the world (Dan.8:8).
A sudden catastrophe, like the tidal wave scripture foresees striking the harbor city of Tyre, could, if it were large enough, inflict a financial drain sufficient to necessitate the curtailment of our efforts to continue pouring suddenly non-existant capital toward global governance. That would change everything. Without a steady infusion of American money and financial support to the nations of the world, the United Nations would split apart, and that seems precisely what Daniel's vision foresees a sudden economic catastrophe.
In addition to Ezekiel and Jeremiah, Isaiah, too, foresees an oceanic catastrophe striking Tyre:
"When the Egyptians learn the fate of Tyre, they will be appalled. Take ship for Tarshish, howl, you unhabitants of the coast. Till the soil, daughter of Tarshish, the harbor is no more. He has stretched his hand over the sea to overthrow its kingdoms..." (Is.23:5-11).
In another part of the prophecies, we can see in the Book of Revelation a clue as to what might cause Ezekiel's devastating ocean surge, "The second angel blew his trumpet, and it was as though a great mountain, all on fire, had been dropped into the sea..." (Rev.8:8). Asteroid impacts or near-collisions are not uncommon. A steady pattern of repeated occasions throughout history, as well as the cosmic "signs" Jesus warned would accompany the events of these tumultuous times seem to lend further credence to Revelation's vision.
Because they are described in scripture, these are things we must expect to see in the future. Will they come combined? We don't know. But we can be assured they will both come to pass.
Jesus, Himself, warned that in the last days the "nations would be in agony, bewildered by the clamor of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken". (Luke 21:25-26).
Although each event will surprise us when it occurs, all of scripture's prophecies will take place. We have been witnesses to that fact more and more in these later days. Especially, in the recent demolition of Tyre's "towers", and the resulting "dust" to which all of us must return, accurately portrayed in the events of September 11, 2001.
"Trust in God forever for the Lord is the everlasting Rock; he has brought low those who lived high up in the steep citadel; he brings it down, brings it down to the ground, flings it down in the dust; the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor trample on it." (Is.26:4-6).
"They will destroy the walls of Tyre, they will demolish her towers; I will sweep away her dust and leave her a naked rock." (Ez.26:3-4).
"Your wealth will be seized, your merchandise looted, your walls razed, your luxurious houses shattered, your stones, your timbers, your very dust, thrown into the sea. I will stop your music and songs...I will reduce you to a naked rock..." (Ez.26:12-14).
The dust in these prophecies (the dust thrown into the sea) were overwhelming manifestations of the tower collapses in New York City. No one who watched that day could ever forget the dust. Pushed by a 90-mile per hour wind, the ochre-colored breccia billowed down the city streets of Manhatten, covering everything in its path with an ash-like veneer reminiscent of Vesuvius. Towering hundreds of feet high from ground to the tops of skyscrapers, the immense cloud poured through New York City, engulfing its buildings and roiling in huge tumbling balls out across Battery Park and onto the waters of New York Harbor. That is how the dust was thrown into the sea.
We have explored in other papers the concept of the United States as the prophetic beneficiary of Daniel's prophecies with respect to the handwriting on the wall of Babylon. Before the Babylon of Daniel's time was destroyed, a mysterious hand appeared and wrote the prediction of the catastrophe on Babylon's palace wall. America is, without question, the wall of defense for the world in today's global environment. It is the wall of Babylon.
So where else would we expect the handwriting to appear?
Daniel has written that the secular world's end will be inscribed on its palace walls. If we consider the buildings on Manhatten Island the crown jewels of capitalism, therein would lie its claim to royalty. It is on those buildings that the planes hijacked by the East made their fiery imprints.
Perhaps in proof that the walls of the World Trade Towers are the very walls of Babylon on which the prophecies of Babylon's demise are to be written, Ezekiel warns, "He will break down your walls with his battering rams..." (Ez. 26:9). The walls stand for the nation's defenses. In the case of 9/11, U.S. defenses were easily breached (if only momentarily). "He will demolish your towers with his siege-engines." (Ez.26:9). The sight of jet engines on the airliner's catapulting through the buildings and out through the opposite wall in balls of flames has been indelibly pressed into our minds through unremitting television images.
The "noise of his horsemen and his chariots and wagons will make your walls tremble as he rides through your gates like a man entering a conquered city." (Ez. 26:10).
Again, the images and sounds of September 11th reverberate in Ezekiel's prophetic words, prancing like"horses' hoofs which trample through the streets, putting people to the sword, and throwing the massive pillars of Tyre to the ground." (Ez.26:11).
It is the East Wind that brings this storm. The "Medes", the enemies from the East have brought ruin to Manhatten, a firm warning of what lies in store for a European continent and western world that has discarded the Lord's offer of Christ's salvation.
Ezekiel's references to looted merchandise and the shattering of luxurious houses (perhaps all the buildings surrounding the Trade Towers that were also torn apart in the mammoth collapse), spoke like Cassandra to long-term economic chaos. That, too, transpired in the aftermath of the fallen towers. It has not ended. Scripture says it never will.
Truly, 9/11 was a "handwriting" on Babylon's wall. Why else would it have been covered in such biblical detail in prophecies written thousands of years ago?
This fact, coupled with America's recent and increasingly successful attempts to discard its alliance with Christianity in favor of the global philosophies of secularism can easily be interpreted as a melding of Babylon with Tyre. It is interesting to note in this respect that a town even called "Babylon" currently sits facing the Atlantic Ocean on New York's Long Island.
All the chips are in place. The signs are all there, but what they mean and when, no one knows. What we do know is that they are telling us to believe in scripture and take action accordingly. Those who have not done so must turn to God. We are called by Jesus to leave Babylon by the road He has marked out for us. We are not to run away or leave like fugitives. The Lord will lead us out and the God of Israel will be our rearguard. If we turn to Him we have His absolute promise that we will escape all the terrors that are coming to test the world and burn the tares.
In Babylon's rebirth (as we witness the healing of the mortal wound) we see a vast collection of nations on the planet and a great dichotomy between East and West. We also see world abandonment of Christianity. Not just globally, but in the United States as well. This trashing of God's offer reverses the decree issued by the Roman emperor Theodosus when he made the state subservient to Christ.
Rulings from our own Supreme Court bear witness to this reversal. So do the internal revelations made so public recently of the astonishing sins of a capitalism run wild in the pursuit of corporate greed and disregard for the common man. Corporate traders and CEO's have thrown hundreds of thousands of people into poverty by stealing from them their life savings, their health care and pension plans, and robbing them of their occupations, shipping them abroad to slave markets instead. These are infallible proofs that we do not have to go out and ply the seas to look for Babylon.
The chemistry is certainly in place for a New York City replicated in the image of Tyre.
"The word of God was addressed to me as follows, 'Son of man, raise a dirge over the king of Tyre. Say to him, 'The Lord God says this:
"You were once an exemplar of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty; you were in Eden, in the garden of God, a thousand gems formed your mantle...the gold of which your flutes and tambourines are made, all were prepared on the day of your creation."
"I had provided you with a guardian cherub. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked amid red-hot coals. your behavior was exemplary from the day of your creation until the day when evil was first found in you."
"Your busy trading has filled you with violence and sin. I have thrown you down from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub has destroyed you from amid the coals. Your heart has grown swollen with pride on account of your beauty. You have corrupted your wisdom owing to your splendor."
"I have thrown you to the ground; I have made you a spectacle for other kings. By the immense number of your sins, by the dishonesty of your trading, you have defiled your sanctuaries."
"I have brought fire out of you to consume you. I have made you ashes on the ground before the eyes of all who saw you. Of the nations, all who know you are lost in amazement over you. You are an object of terror; gone forever." (Ez.28:11-19).
How well these words describe the future of New York or the United States is unknown. What we do know is that they describe in perfect measure, the last days of Babylon.
Tyre In History & Prophecy
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