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11. The exiles who returned

11-1 Ezekiel’s Temple: Based Upon Solomon’s Temple || 11-2 The Nature Of Prophecy || 11-2-1 Conditional Prophecy || 11-2-2 Human Response || 11-2-3 Tyre in Ezekiel 26 || 11-2-4 Delayed Prophecies || 11-2-5 Prophecies With Changed Fulfillment || 11-2-6 The Nature Of Prophecy || 11-3 Command More Than Prediction || 11-4 The Contemporary Relevance Of Ezekiel's Temple || 11-5 The Restoration: Potential Kingdom Of God || 11-6 The Potential And The Reality || 11-6-1 The Weakness Of Judah Under Nehemiah || 11-6-2 Isaiah's Prophecies Of Restoration || 11-6-3 Jeremiah's Restoration Prophecies || 11-6-4 Ezekiel's Restoration Prophecies || 11-6-5 The Cherubim And The Restoration || 11-6-6 Zechariah's Restoration Prophecies || 11-6-7 The Restoration Psalms || 11.7 “The prince" in Ezekiel || 11-7-1 " The prince" : Potential Messiah || 11-7-2 Zerubabbel- Potential Messiah? || 11.8 The Potential For The Surrounding World || 11-8-1 Haggai 2 || 11-8-2 Meshech And Tubal || 11-8-3 Joel Chapter 3 || 11-9 Different Sequences Of Prophetic Fulfillment || 11-10 Zechariah And Malachi: More Chances || 11-11 The Returned Exiles

11-2-3 Tyre in Ezekiel 26

Ez. 26:3-14 speaks of how Babylon will surround and destroy Tyre. But this never happened- it was done by Alexander and the Greeks much later. So, did the prophecy just go unfulfilled? Ez. 29:17-20 explains that because the King of Babylon laboured so hard to take Tyre- even though he never actually succeeded- God would give him the land of Egypt as a reward. For me, this doesn't mean that the word of prophecy failed. Rather does it mean that God is open to a rethinking of plans and futures in accord with human response. Although all the conditions for Tyre's fall and Babylon's victory against her aren't given, evidently there must have been such unrecorded conditions; and they weren't fulfilled, hence Tyre was spared destruction by the Babylonians, and yet they were 'rewarded' for their part in the situation.

The following comment from Ted & Bev Russell expands upon this: "The prophecy about Tyre, (in Ez. 26) indicated that the place would be  scraped of her  dust and made  like the top of a rock, a place for spreading of nets, plundered for the nations,  cast  out, devoured with fire,  (Hosea, Amos and  Zechariah also), and  NEVER REBUILT, (Ez. 26:21)(11th year). However, later in Chapter 29, (27th year), we learn that Nebuchadnezzar and his soldiers would be given the land of Egypt, because they laboured strenuously  and long against Tyre, so long that the soldiers had rubbed heads and shoulders from their leather helmets and armour, (verse 18), but they did not overcome Tyre. So instead God would give Nebuchadnezzar  the land of Egypt, for wages. " Spoil and pillage from Egypt will be the wages that My servant will take from Egypt, instead of the reward I promised you at Tyre" ,  (verse 17, 18, 19). Nebuchadnezzar was " God's servant" , and even though he did a great service for God, in punishment at Tyre, (verse 18), God changed  the terms and conditions of his labour. He would not conquer Tyre, but he was given Egypt instead! Tyre was NOT laid bare, and NOT never rebuilt. It  thrived and still thrives. It had its ups and downs, with different conquerors, of course. To the best of my memory the peninsula that they built into the sea to defend themselves is not there now, but the seaside town is. It lays nets out, as a fishing town, but it is not bare. We have photos of us there. We know it was there  in NT times (Peter). Is it that God changes His mind? Did someone, (of whom there is no record), plead successfully for Tyre, like Lot did unsuccessfully for Sodom? Or is it that He tells us something, only a piece of the future at a time, and then we get a fuller picture later on? The prophesy  goes on and on  about Tyre's destruction, and one has to be quick to see the change of circumstance in a few verses in Ezekiel 29!  The complete destruction of Tyre has been used to show that the Bible is true, by some undiscerning folk, in past lectures, in our time, (with lantern slide pictures  of destruction there). Once world travel was easily available  and people more readily saw Tyre, that mistake  is not  made now. The point, (that the Bible is true), is better made elsewhere. 

We do not need to question God's prophesies. We can believe Him each time, and believe the changes He makes, as well. In this prophecy do we know a  reason why God changed his mind about utter and complete destruction of Tyre? It does indicate that we don't know everything, that we don't need to, and that God does not tell us. He decides what is best. Certainly the Bible record keeps us on our toes!   For then " They shall know that I am the Lord" , Ez. 29: 21".

Ted & Bev Russell 

To this I would add a comment from Is. 23:1,2,4,15,18. These verses seem to imply that if Tyre had howled in repentance and then been silent and ashamed, she would be ‘forgotten’ 70 years and then become devoted to Yahweh. This never happened. Yet the 70 year period is of course analogous to Judah’s 70 years in captivity, also without repentance.