These chapters really go together with Eze 26, having to do with the prophecy against Tyre. These chapters are ones the skeptics use to say that the biblical prophecies are inaccurate, because these prophecies were never fulfilled the way the Bible says they will be. But if we look at them with the teaching tools of Scripture that we have learned so far this year, some interesting truths surface that would otherwise be missed.
The city of Tyre existed in two parts: the island city, and the city on the seacoast closest to it. Both cities were surrounded by defensive walls and strongly fortified. The LORD proclaims that He will bring Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, against Tyre, who will lay siege to it, and destroy the city (Eze 26:7-11). In fact, Nebuchadnezzar did lay siege to Tyre. Before the island city could be taken, the seacoast city of Tyre first had to be overcome. It was the seacoast city which Nebuchadnezzar besieged for thirteen years, beginning three years following Ezekiel’s prophecy. At the end of the siege, the seacoast city did fall to Nebuchadnezzar, but the island city did not. Nebuchadnezzar gave up the attempt after taking the seacoast city.
Notice that in Eze 26:7-11, the LORD proclaims what Nebuchadnezzar will do against Tyre: “He will slay with the sword;” “he will heap up a siege mound;” “he will direct his battering rams.” But in verse 12, the grammar changes: all of the sudden, the one who is destroying the city, is “they:” “They will plunder your riches;” “They will lay your stones in the midst of the water.” The LORD is no longer speaking of Nebuchadnezzar, but He is still speaking of the king of kings. In fact, the next king to besiege Tyre, the island city (for the seacoast city was destroyed) was Alexander the Great and the Macedonians. In fact, they did use the stones and timbers of the destroyed seacoast city to build a causeway out to the island city, from which they were able to breach the strong walls of the island city and finish the destruction of Tyre.
Today the place of the island city is mostly covered by water, as the causeway built by Alexander changed the shore currents; but a few rocky outcrops remain. The sea birds nest there, and fishermen spread their nets there.
Eze 26 is linked to Eze 28 by thematic connection. The prophecy is against the “prince of Tyre,” (Eze 28:1-10), and the “king of Tyre,” (Eze 28:11-19). They are two different entities. The prince of Tyre is a man, while the “king of Tyre” was in Eden, and an anointed covering cherub. Cherubim were the living creatures that Ezekiel saw in the beginning of his prophecies and visions — clearly not human. How can this be?
The king of Tyre most likely began as Lucifer, the most perfect of created beings, until the day that iniquity was found in him (Eze 28:15), most likely the sin of pride, of desiring to exalt himself as god and coveting God’s throne (Eze 28:2). The prince of Tyre, then, clearly a man, is most likely the antichrist or a man who has been entered by Satan, who will be defeated.
So we can see that this entire prophecy against Tyre and Tyre’s princes and kings, have more than just a single fulfillment, but layers and layers of fulfillment. By thematic connection, we understand that Nebuchadnezzar is spoken of, and also the king of Babel or Babylon, the head of gold — the king of kings of the kingdoms of this world, which are opposed to the kingdom of the LORD and of His Christ (Rev 11:15). We can also see that since the prophecy is against Tyre, which in Ezekiel’s day was the queen merchant city of the world, that the antichrist or king of kings of the kingdoms of this world, will be at the head of the queen merchant city or state or nation of the world.
When we understand the layered nature and thematic connection of prophetic fulfillment that the teaching tools of Scripture reveal, we can see that the arguments of the skeptics do not hold water, and that this prophecy in Ezekiel has been specifically fulfilled in history, and is being fulfilled through history. At the end of days, we can look back and see that not a single word of the LORD has fallen to the ground,
“… for I the LORD have spoken,” (Eze 26:14).
For further reading:
Destruction of Tyre by David Padfield