Tyre ­ In History and Prophecy

A very ancient city, which in biblical times, lay on the Phoenician seacoast not far above Israel's northern border. Today that area is located in the coastal area of southern Lebanon. From its earliest days in an antiquity that stretched far before the days of Abraham, Tyre was famous for its international commerce. Located on the Mediterranean seacoast, its trade extended to all parts of the known world and embraced every commodity included in international commerce. Its ships and caravans brought in tin from Britain, ivory and gold from Africa, spices and frankincense from India, and numerous other commodities from around the world. For return cargoes they carried their own famous woolens, colored by precious dyes, which constituted the basis of all its other commerce. These were the "bales of (purple) blue and broidered work and chests of rich apparel" mentioned in Ezekiel 22.

The enormous wealth created by this far-ranging commerce led to the establishment of a world-famous bank, perhaps the largest and wealthiest of all financial institutions in the ancient world. The god of Tyre was called Baal. Ahab, one of the kings of Israel during the time of the schism married a princess from Tyre named "Jezebel". He built a temple dedicated to the Baal of Tyre in Samaria and "supported pagan priests and prophets at public expense". The prophet Elijah countered this foreign worship in Israel, challenging Jezebel's prophets to a "duel of gods" between Yahweh and Baal on Mt. Carmel. The Hebrew God prevailed and Elijah executed Jezebel's 400 false prophets (1 Kings 18:16-40).

The prophet Ezekiel has used Tyre to illustrate his predictions about a future nation, very similar, who will rise up from austere and righteous beginnings to become, perhaps, the greatest commercial behemoth of all time. "Rich and glorious, and mighty on the sea", it's international trading will be the stuff of folklore and it will amass enormous wealth, becoming the financial capitol of the world. Ezekiel's predictions mirror the United States with uncanny precision. Calling it the "gate of the nations", and "wiser than Danel", he described a country that, through its intellectual prowess, its busy trading and commercial successes, abandons its righteousness to embrace greed, pride, violence and sin. "Your heart has grown swollen with pride on account of your beauty. You have corrupted your wisdom owing to your splendor" (Ez.28:17).

Even the U.S. ban on prayer and its forbidding of the mention of God in its schools and governmental buildiings has been addressed in Ezekiel's prophecies of the coming 'Tyre'. "And so the Lord says this: Since you consider yurself the equal of God, very well, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most barbarous of the nations...the east wind has shattered you, surrounded by the seas" (Ez.27:26; 28:6-7).

According to Ezekiel, when God strikes this prophetic mirror image of Tyre, He will do so with an attack on its "towers" (Ez.26:4, 9, 11-14), by tidal wave (Ez.26:12, 17, 19-20; 27:34); by invasion (Ez.26;7-11) and, at the end, by a fire that "Tyre", itself has created (Ez.28:18). In the Book of Revelation, these same predictions relate to Babylon (Rev.18), showing that Tyre and Babylon are correlated in some way. God said through Daniel, that the warning of this disaster must be "written" on the wall of Babylon, and that very well may be the correlation here. The United States, as the military rampart that protects the world from mass destruction and the rise of tyrants, can well be considered the "wall of Babylon" in today's world. The term "Babylon" stands for all the world's people outside of the House of Israel.

For an additional discussion of these similarities, see our article, "Tyre".

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