Dead Men Leave Tales

Dead Men Leave Tales

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:19-21, Ezekiel 26:3-14, Jeremiah 17:27
Can we trust the Bible? Archaeology has shown that prophecies in Scripture about cities overthrown have come true. One such prophecy in Ezekiel about the city of Tyre predicted it be completely destroyed. It has happened just as the Bible said.
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The habitations of men and nations now long since dead have been revealing strange and wonderful tales of late. Now while the Bible makes it perfectly clear that the dead themselves know nothing and thus cannot talk, yet the record of their lives and history has recently been opened to the world through the avenue of the archaeologists spade. Thus the dusty tombs of yesteryear have spoken clearly and, in reality, dead men do leave tales for us to hear and understand.

Down through the centuries of time, the Bible has been severely tested. It has been destroyed by fire. Believers of the Bible have lost their lives in martyrdom. Attempts have been made to disprove or belittle portions or all of the Holy Writ. But through it all, the Old Book stands unblemished, powerful and true as ever.

We live in a scientific age. Man wants to prove all things. Nothing must be left to chance or doubt. Thus we want to let the tales of nations and men long ago reveal certain tests to us; tests whereby we can examine anew the truth and authenticity of the Bible.

Our Bible contains much prophecy. In fact, if we were to take out all of the prophecies of the Bible, we would have but very little left. However there are many in the world today who doubt the value or truth of prophecy. Some feel that it is not important. Others feel it cannot be understood, and still others feel that it is not reliable. We shall thus call the Bible and modern discoveries to the stand and examine them together. We shall let the skeptic of the Bible examine the proof and make the decision as to whether the Bible is true or whether it be false.

The Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 1:19-21 that the prophecies of the Bible are like a great light shining in the darkness of this world. He further stated that the prophecies are not given by the fancy or will of men, but they came as God caused men to write them, through the agency and influence of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 46:9, 10 reminds us that God is able to declare the end from the beginning and that once stated, the council will stand just as God has prophesied it would.

Prophecy is the foretelling of an event to come before it takes place. God has done that in many, many places in the Bible. Remember friend, Bible prophecy does not guess, it knows. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21 that we are not to despise prophecy and that we should prove all things and hold onto the things which are good. Thus we want to prove prophecy.

Our subject today takes us back many long centuries before the time of Christ's earthly ministry. It has to do with a prophecy that was made concerning one of the most powerful and influential cities of that time. We read of this prophecy in Ezekiel 26. I want you to especially notice verses 3-6 and 12-14, "Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God: and it shall become a spoil to the nations. And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the Lord."

The city mentioned here is Tyre or as the Old Testament spelling gives it, Tyrus. This city of antiquity was located on the south coast of what is now Lebanon at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea. It was one of the oldest cities of its day and was probably over 2,000 years old at the time of this prophecy by Ezekiel. Tyre was a seaport city and quite prosperous and important to the entire region about. Great lookout tours rising above the wall that surrounded the city made it practically impregnable to all enemies. The city was in the days of its greatest height and strength when the prophet Ezekiel prophesied that due to its wickedness, God would eventually destroy this city completely. Now I want you to notice some of the particulars which God revealed would mark the defeat and destruction of this great city:

1. Many nations should come up against the city.

2. The walls and the towers would be completely destroyed.

3. The rubble from the walls, the towers, the houses and buildings of the city would be cast into the sea.

4. Even the soil would be moved from the site of old Tyre until nothing would be left but rock.

5. Fishermen would dry their nets on the table-rock where the city once stood.

6. The city would never be built again in that place.

Let us now go to history and see if and how this prophecy was fulfilled in each detail. The city was constantly being besieged by various nations. At one time they were under the Egyptian empire. Later on the Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian and Persian empires also controlled the city. But during all of these and other sieges, the walls still stood, the towers held their lofty heads high in the sky and the prophecy of Ezekiel was not fulfilled.

It was not until 332 B.C. over 250 years after Ezekiel had written his prophecy that Alexander, the mighty leader of the Grecian Empire laid siege to the city. First he took control of a small island out in the Mediterranean Sea and as he began to gain control of the city, he broke down the walls, the towers, the buildings, and dumped the debris in the sea, making a causeway from the island to the mainland. Before he was through, even the soil had been removed and a causeway was completed, linking the island completely to the mainland.

I have seen with my own eyes the exactness of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel. No city stands where Tyre once stood. However an arm of land about a quarter of a mile wide reaches from the mainland out to the island where the new Tyre was built long after the defeat by Alexander. On the mainland not a building of the ruins is left. As far as the eye can see, the land is virtually without vegetation. Why? God predicted that it would become like a table rock where fishermen would spread their nets to dry after fishing in the Mediterranean Sea, and friend, that is exactly what you find today. I visited the spot and saw how perfectly God has been vindicated.

To the skeptic, the doubters, and the agnostics, I say, let them build Tyre again on the site of the old city. God said it would never be built again, and it never will! The Bible has stood the test. God's Word is true!

If the above story of Tyre sounds like an isolated case from the Bible, let me assure you that it is not! There are many, many other prophecies given long before they took place that have been fulfilling with just such unerring accuracy as this one. Permit me to call your attention to one that may even be stranger than the prophecy concerning the city of Tyre.

At the same time that Tyre was standing as a great seaport city before its defeat and destruction, there was another city about 25 miles north of Tyre by the name of Sidon (also called Zidon). Ezekiel 28:21-23 says: "Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her. For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the Lord." When Ezekiel wrote about Sidon he predicted that bloodshed would be seen in her streets. It is interesting and significant for us to note that when Ezekiel wrote the two prophecies concerning these cities, Tyre was a strong city, whereas Sidon was already in decay. Sidon was much smaller and weaker. It was not located at the sea coast and from the human standpoint, it would have been natural for Ezekiel, had he been writing his own ideas to suggest that Sidon would be completely destroyed and forever be annihilated and that Tyre would continue to stand. But the truth of the matter is just the reverse. Tyre was defeated, the ruins were scrapped into the sea and it shall never be built again. On the other hand Sidon still stands and today has a population of over 25,000. Let the skeptic answer this question? Why did Ezekiel predict the outcome of these two cities with such unerring accuracy? Once again the inspired Word of God has stood the test of time.

In Ezekiel 30 we read another very amazing prophecy. This one has to do with the country of Egypt. Here God predicted that Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations known to man would continue to exist right down to the end of time. Many nations that were more powerful than Egypt have ceased to exist, but Egypt is still with us today. God further predicted in this chapter that although Egypt would continue down to our day, she would be laid low and would become one of the basest of nations. Today Egypt is one of the smaller and weaker nations in the world.

In verse 13 God predicted that the idols, of which Egypt has been famous, would all be destroyed in the city of Noph (modern name of same city is Memphis, Egypt). Today excavators report that whereas they find ancient idols in all other parts of Egypt, yet they have yet to find any in Memphis. This same verse tells us that a true son of Egypt will not be the ruler anymore. For 2,500 years the rulers of Egypt have all had mixed blood and not one of them to date has been a full blooded prince or Egyptian. Again the story of ancient empires rises up today to leave us the true tale that God's Word is accurate in every detail.

I call your attention next to a prophecy found in Jeremiah 51. Read the entire chapter and give special attention to the following verses: 7, 24-26, 36-39, 43-44, 52-53, and 58. Please note that God said of Babylon that the following things would happen to her:

1. Babylon would be defeated by other nations.

2. Babylon would be so defeated that her wall would be broken down and completely destroyed.

3. Even the ruins would not be used to build again or for any other worthwhile purpose.

4. She would never be built again.

5. It would be a dwelling place for serpents, etc.

6. It would not be inhabited anymore.

7. Even the Arabs would never pitch their tents there anymore (see Isaiah 13:20).

8. The walls would be utterly broken down.

Time does not permit me to go into detail, but the archaeologist has proven that every detail of the prophecy has been fulfilled. Many nations did arise against Babylon. Centuries later, the wall was still standing, but God had predicted that it would eventually be destroyed. Today travelers find that the ruins of Babylon are there. The walls are broken down, and the place of Babylon is filled with all sorts of serpents, etc. No one has ever attempted to build it again, and there, year after year lies the mute testimony of the once proud empire of Babylon, now in ruins forever, testifying that dead men do leave tales of the truth of God's Word. Archaeologists who dig in ruins report that even though they hire hundreds of Arabs as workmen and guides, yet never can they get them to pitch their tents and spend the night within the ruins. They always go far out from the ruins for the night, returning by day for labor. As I walked around the desolated site of old Babylon, I could see before me the miracle of Bible prophecy fulfilled to the very letter.

Lest you feel that these are all from the Old Testament, let me leave you with a prophecy direct from the lips of Jesus. In Luke 21:24 Jesus warned the Jews that because they had rejected Him and His message of truth, the day would come when Jerusalem would be destroyed and not even one stone would be left on another. Long before Jesus' day, Jeremiah had also predicted that Jerusalem would be destroyed with fire. Read Jeremiah 17:27 for the exact words.

In the year A.D. 70, the Romans conquered the city of Jerusalem after a long and bitter fight. The fighting had been intense, leaving the city in ruins. However when the Romans actually gained control of the city, a fire was accidentally started in the gate of the city. Working together, the Romans and the Jews attempted to put the fire out, but it was not to be controlled until its work was done. When the fire was over, not one stone was left upon the other. The words of Jesus and of Jeremiah had been proved absolutely true in every detail.

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