The Holy Spirit And The Christian by Allan Turner

The Holy Spirit And The Christian

On the first Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection from the dead, people were told, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Now, I am well aware that there is wide disagreement among Christians over whether the gift of the Holy Spirit is a gift the Holy Spirit gives (viz., salvation) or whether the gift given is the Holy Spirit Himself (viz., the "ordinary" indwelling of the Spirit, which, in Acts 5:32, is promised to every obedient believer). We get no help from the standpoint of grammar, because grammatically the Greek dorea hagios pneuma, translated "the gift of the Holy Spirit," can mean either a gift given by the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit Himself given as a gift. Consequently, one must attempt to understand the use of this phrase by the context in which it is found. Unfortunately, the context of Acts 2:38 does not immediately give us any clue as to how the phrase ought to be understood. But fortunately, the Greek phrase is used one other time in the Scriptures (Acts 10:45), and the context clearly indicates that the Holy Spirit Himself is the gift being given.
This would probably settle the meaning of this phrase in the minds of most believers if it were not for the fact that Acts 10:45, in context (cf. Acts 10:44-47 and11:15), seems to be referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a measure of the Spirit that the Bible seems to make clear is not promised to every believer. However, just because Cornelius and his household received the baptismal measure of the Holy Spirit should not cloud the fact that the Greek phrase dorea hagios pneuma is referring to the Holy Spirit as the gift, i.e., "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as upon us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15) and "...the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word" (Acts 10:44). Therefore, when we see this same Greek phrase in Acts 2:38, it seems reasonable that we should understand it to mean the same thing (viz., that in this instance the Holy Spirit Himself is the gift being given). In addition, I think it should be clear that, in this case, the Spirit is given in what is called the "ordinary" or non-miraculous sense. When one adds to this Acts 5:32, which is an inspired commentary on the "gift of the Holy Spirit" inActs 2:38, I believe one can teach conclusively that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit Himself. If not, why not?
In this connection, it is important to note that Acts 2:38 teaches that the Holy Spirit is given after baptism (i.e., the Holy Spirit was promised to all believers who would repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins). Nowhere in the Bible is it ever taught that the Holy Spirit was given to enable one to believe or repent, as some teach. In Galatians 4:6, the Bible says the Holy Spirit (identified in this passage as "the Spirit of His Son") is given to people because they are already children of God. What this all means is that one believes and obeys (i.e., "receives the seed" or Word of God, Luke 8:11-15) and then receives the "gift of the Holy Spirit." If, as some are disposed to say, the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian "only in and through the Word," then it seems clear that the Christian would have to receive the Holy Spirit before baptism, and this is contrary to Acts 2:38, as I understand it. In other words, Acts 2:38, if I have interpreted it correctly, teaches that we receive (heed) the word of God before baptism and the Holy Spirit after baptism. Therefore, one does not receive the Holy Spirit by receiving the Word. It is, therefore, my conclusion that although the Holy Spirit does not dwell in the child of God apart from the Word, neither does He dwell in the Christian only in and through the Word.
When one takes into account the passages that teach, either directly or indirectly, that the Spirit of God dwells in the Christian (Acts 5:32I Corinthians 6:19;Romans 5:5Romans 8:9-11II Corinthians 1:2122II Corinthians 5:5) and adds to these the widely accepted principle of Bible hermeneutics, which says: "Words should be understood in their literal sense unless such a literal interpretation involves a manifest contradiction or absurdity," then one is moved to accept the Bible as teaching—when it says, "the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Romans 8:9)—that the Holy Spirit actually indwells the Christian. Further, I know this not because I have ever experienced Him with my five senses (i.e., "a better felt than told experience"), but because the Bible tells me so. In other words, the Holy Spirit, through the written Word, "the sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17), has told me plainly that He dwells in me (cf. Romans 10:17).
Of course, some say the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian the same way Christ does—i.e., by faith (Ephesians 3:17). But, in order for me to be required to believe that this is true, it would need to be proven that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian in the same manner as does Christ. In other words, just saying He does, does not make it so. Second, if it could be scripturally demonstrated that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian "by faith," then one would still need to prove that faith is the manner (or mode) by which He dwells in the Christian, and not the condition that must be met before the Holy Spirit will actually indwell him. Based upon my understanding of Acts 2:38 and Acts 5:32, I believe that obedient faith is the condition which must be met before the Holy Spirit can be received as a gift.

What Does The Indwelling Spirit Do?
In addressing the question posed in the above subtitle, R.L. Whiteside, in Doctrinal Discourses, wrote:

What does the indwelling Spirit do? What if I am unable to answer that question? And what if no one else can give a definite answer, would our inability to answer the question nullify what God has said? If we cannot explain a thing, shall we say there is no such thing?
Whiteside's point is a valid one, especially in this materialistic age, which says, "If I can't see, hear, smell, taste, or touch it, then it just ain't so." But, and this ought not to surprise the careful Bible student, the Bible plainly tells us that the indwelling Spirit does do something for us—viz., He helps our weaknesses (Romans 8:26Ephesians 3:16). Even though Christians do not always know what we ought to pray for, the Bible tells us that the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us. Although it is true that the esteemed Alexander Campbell taught that the "spirit" under consideration here was the human spirit, most Bible interpreters have not so understood this passage. Furthermore, I believe common sense tells us this passage must be speaking of the Holy Spirit and what He does for Christians—the ones who are clearly the "we" and "us" of this passage. But, someone says, "This is a controversial passage, and doctrine ought not to be established on a controversial passage." This is nonsense! And this is true even when such comes from the lips and pens of esteemed brethren. In truth, there are hardly any passages in God's Word that are not considered to be controversial by someone. We are convinced that this passage is considered controversial not so much because it is difficult to understand or interpret, but because of the preconceived idea some among us have that the Holy Spirit works only (i.e., solely) in and through the Word today.

All Things Work Together For Good
The apostle Paul relates the common predicament we all experience (Romans 7:13-25) in that battle that takes place between the old sinful self (the carnal mind or flesh, as Paul calls it), and the new spiritual mind we have in Christ Jesus, identified by Paul as being "in the Spirit" (Romans 8:9). And as paradoxical as it may sound, Paul says we are in the Spirit only when the "Spirit of God" or "Spirit of Christ" (viz., the Holy Spirit) dwells in us. This indwelling, according to the beloved apostle, functions as a "first fruits" (Romans 8:23)—an "earnest" and "seal," if you will (Ephesians 1:13,14)—of the heavenly inheritance that will one day be ours (Romans 8:24).
In this battle between "the flesh" and "the spirit" (cf. Galatians 5:17), we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) because "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). The immediate context is the work the indwelling Spirit does for us—work, incidentally, that we are unable to do for ourselves. No wonder Paul said "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." He would surely agree with the apostle John, who wrote: "He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world" (I John 4:4).
With these thoughts of God's wonderful assurance in mind, I pray the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (cf. II Corinthians 13:14).

"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Chapter Seven by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                             Chapter Seven


1) To understand the Jewish Christian's relationship to the Law of

2) To comprehend the dilemma one faces without Jesus Christ


Paul has just completed discussing how being baptized into Christ makes 
us dead to sin and free to present our bodies as instruments of 
righteousness unto holiness.  For the benefit of his Jewish readers 
(those who know the Law), he now carries the concept of death and 
freedom one step further: the Jewish believers become dead to the Law 
that they might be joined to Christ.  He illustrates his point by 
referring to the marital relationship.  The result of being freed from 
the Law is that they might "serve in the newness of the Spirit and not 
in the oldness of the letter." (1-6)

Lest his Jewish readers think he is implying that the Law was sinful, 
Paul is quick to dispel that notion.  The Law, he says, is "holy and 
just and good."  The problem is that the Law only makes known that 
which is sinful, but sin took opportunity by the commandment to produce 
evil desire and deceived him, resulting in death (7-12).

To further illustrate his point, Paul pictures himself as man under the 
Law who finds himself in a terrible dilemma.  With his mind he knows 
that which good and wants to do it.  He also knows that which is evil 
and wants to avoid that.  But he finds a "law" (or principle) in his 
flesh which wins over the desire of the mind (13-23).  As a prisoner he 
cries out for freedom.  Is there no hope?  Yes!  God provides the 
solution through His Son Jesus Christ, upon which Paul will elaborate 
in chapter eight (24-25).



      1. Law has dominion over those who live under it (1)
      2. As illustrated by a woman who is married to a man (2-3)

      1. So they can be married to Christ (4)
      2. So they can serve in newness of the Spirit, far superior to
         serving in the oldness of the letter (5-6)


      1. The Law is not sin, but rather makes known sin (7)
      2. But sin takes occasion by the commandment to lead one to death

      1. The problem is not law, but sin (13)
      2. The Law is spiritual, but man is carnal and sold under sin
      3. Though one may desire good and hate evil, one is still
         enslaved by sin (15-23)
      4. Deliverance comes only from God, through Jesus Christ (24-25)


in the flesh - "to be in the flesh is to be under the flesh; and to be
               under it is to be controlled by its propensities, evil
               inclinations, and desires" (Moses Lard)

The Law - the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments (cf. v.7)

law of my mind - that inner desire, which in the context of this
                 chapter, is the desire of one to do that which is
                 good and right

law of sin in my members - "The law which I see 'in my members' is the
                           constant tendency which I notice in them to
                           sin, whenever excited by sinful objects"
                           (Moses Lard)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Jewish Believers And The Law (1-6)
   - Limitations Of The Law (7-25)

2) Who is Paul speaking to in this chapter? (1)
   - Those who know the law (Jewish Christians)

3) What example is given to show their relationship to the Law? (2-3)
   - How a woman whose husband dies is free to be married to another
     without being guilty of adultery

4) What is their relationship to the Law when joined to the body of
   Christ? (4-6)
   - Dead to the law, delivered from the law

5) How do we know the Law referred to is the Ten Commandments? (7)
   - To illustrate his point, Paul mentions "You shall not covet", one
     of the Ten Commandments

6) Was the Law responsible for death?  If not, what was? (13)
   - No!  It was "sin" that produced death

7) What dilemma does one face in trying to keep the Law? (15-21)
   - The DESIRE to do good and avoid evil may be there, but the ABILITY
     is found lacking

8) What is the end result of this dilemma? (23)
   - CAPTIVITY to the law (or principle) of sin in one's members

9) Where can one find freedom from this dilemma? (24-25)
   - From God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Chapter Six by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                              Chapter Six


1) To understand what takes place in baptism

2) To appreciate the freedom from sin which we may now enjoy in Christ


In chapter five, Paul made the statement "where sin abounded, grace 
abounded much more" (5:20).   Aware that some readers might misconstrue
what he said, Paul quickly points out that grace is no excuse to sin
since through grace they have died to sin (1-2).  To emphasize this, he
reminds them of their baptism into Christ, in which they experienced a
burial into the death of Christ and rose to walk in newness of life,
having died to sin (3-7).  Dead to sin, they are now free to live as
instruments of righteousness for God (8-14).

Another reason not to continue in sin is explained in terms of 
servitude.  We become slaves to that which we obey, either sin or God 
(15-16).  But Paul is grateful that the Romans had begun to obey God 
and were free to become His servants (17-18).  How important it is that 
they continue to do so is to be seen in the outcome of serving sin 
contrasted to serving God.  Serving sin earns death, but in serving God 
one receives the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus (19-23)!



      1. Shall we sin, that grace may abound? No, we died to sin! (1-2)
      2. In baptism we were buried into Christ's death (3-4a)
      3. We should walk in newness of life, having been united together
         in the likeness of His death, crucified with Him, no longer
         slaves of sin, but freed from sin (4b-7)

      1. Having died with Christ, we may live with Him over Whom death
         has no dominion (8-10)
      2. Alive to God, we should not let sin reign in our bodies
      3. But rather present our bodies as instruments of righteousness,
         for we are under grace (13-14)


      1. Either of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness
      2. Through obedience to God's Word, those who were slaves of sin
         become slaves of righteousness (17-18)

      1. Serving righteousness produces holiness (19)
      2. Serving sin produces death (20-21)
      3. Serving God produces the fruit of holiness, and in the end,
         eternal life (22)
      4. The wages of sin is death, but God gives the gift of eternal
         life in Christ Jesus our Lord (23)


baptism - from the Greek word "baptizo" meaning to "immerse", it most
          commonly in the New Testament refers to the burial in water
          in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins

sanctification - the process of "sanctifying" or "setting apart for a
                 devoted purpose"; in the New Testament it begins with
                 baptism and continues on as we grow in Christ


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - We Are Dead To Sin! (1-14)
   - We Should Be Slaves To God! (15-23)

2) Why are Christians not to continue in sin? (2)
   - Because we died to sin

3) What happens when one is baptized into Christ? (3-7)
   - They are baptized into His death, being buried with Him and united
     with Him in the likeness of His death, where the old man is
     crucified with Him and the body of sin is done away, making it
     possible to be freed from sin and to rise to walk in newness of

4) How should we present the members of our bodies? (13)
   - As instruments of righteousness to God

5) Why does sin no longer have dominion over the Christian? (14)
   - Because the Christian is not "under law", but "under grace"

6) What was necessary to become free from sin? (17-18)
   - To obey the doctrine of God from the heart

7) What is the result of presenting your members as slaves to right-
   eousness? (19)
   - Holiness, or sanctification

8) What three steps are described that eventually lead to eternal life?
   -  1) Being set free from sin  2) Becoming slaves to God  3) Bearing
      the fruit of holiness

9) What is the just payment for sin?  But what does God give us in
   Christ? (23)
   - Death.  Eternal life.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Chapter Five by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                             Chapter Five


1) To appreciate the blessings that accompany justification

2) To comprehend more fully the grace offered through Jesus Christ


Having substantiated his thesis of "justification by faith" with
evidence from the Old Testament, Paul now discusses the blessings of
such justification.  First, there is peace with God (1).  Second, we
have access to grace in which we stand (2a).  Third, there is cause for
rejoicing in hope, so that we can glory even in tribulations (2b-4).
Fourth, there is God's love which He first demonstrated with the gift
of His Son (5-8).  Finally, there is salvation from God's wrath (9).
All of this is made possible when we are reconciled to God through the
death of His Son and should be the basis for endless rejoicing (10-11).

To explain further the way in which salvation is made possible, Paul 
compares Christ to Adam.  Through one man, Adam, sin and death entered 
the world, and the consequences have led to the death of many.  In a 
similar way, through one man, Christ, many may now become righteous.
Through Jesus' death on the cross, justification is made possible for 
many (12-19).

Upon comparing Christ with Adam, Paul briefly mentions that with the 
entering in of law sin abounded.  But the increase of sin has been 
adequately answered by the grace offered in Jesus Christ (20-21).





      1. Joy in anticipating God's glory (2b)
      2. Joy in tribulation, knowing even it results in more hope (3-4)
         a. For tribulation produces perseverance (3b)
         b. And perseverance develops character (4a)
         c. Such character gives one hope (4b)

      1. The assurance our hope will not be disappointed (5a)
      2. Poured out by the Holy Spirit (5b)
      3. Demonstrated by Christ's death while we were yet sinners (6-8)
      1. Through Jesus, just as we have been justified by His blood (9)
      2. Saved by His life, just as we were reconciled by His death (10)
      3. The basis for us to rejoice (11)


      1. Through Adam, sin entered the world, and death as a
         consequence (12a)
      2. Thus death spread, for all sinned (12b)
      3. From the time of Adam to Moses, death reigned, even over those
         who had not sinned like Adam did (13-14)
      1. Adam's offense brought many deaths, Christ's grace abounds
         even more (15)
      2. One offense produced the judgment of condemnation, but many
         offenses produced the free gift of justification (16)
      3. By Adam's offense death reigns, but those who receive the gift
         of righteousness will reign in life through Christ (17)
      4. Summary (18-19)
         a. Through Adam's offense judgment came to all men, resulting
            in condemnation (18a)
         b. Through Christ's act grace came to all, resulting in
            justification of life (18b)
         c. By Adam's disobedience many were made sinners (19a)
         d. By Christ's obedience many will be made righteous (19b)

      1. Law entered that sin might abound, but grace abounds much more
      2. Just as sin reigned in death, so grace reigns through
         righteousness to eternal life through Christ (21)


reconciliation - the act of bringing peace between two parties (e.g.,
                 between man and God)

transgression - violation of law; sin

death - physically:  separation of body and spirit;
        spiritually: separation between man and God

eternal life - the alternative to spiritual death, a result of

1) List the main points of this chapter
   - The Blessings Of Justification (1-11)
   - Comparing Christ With Adam (12-21)

2) Name some benefits we enjoy as the result of justification (1-2)
   - Peace with God, access to grace, rejoicing in hope

3) Why can Christians rejoice even in the middle of trials? (3-5)
   - Knowing trials can produce perseverance, character and hope

4) How did God demonstrate His love for us? (6-8)
   - By having Christ die for us when we were still sinners

5) What in addition to Jesus' death is involved in our ultimate
   salvation? (10)
   - His present life, which saves us from the wrath to come

6) What was the consequence of Adam's sin upon all men? (12)
   - Death (I understand Paul to mean physical death; to see why, I
     highly recommend Moses Lard's commentary on this passage.
     Commentaries by J. W. McGarvey and David Lipscomb take a similar
     view.  For the view that spiritual death is under consideration,
     see Robert L. Whiteside's commentary.)

7) What comparison is made between Adam and Christ? (12-19)
   - Just as Adam through his sin brought physical death to all, so
     Christ through His obedience will give life to all (through the
     resurrection - cf. 1Co 15:21-22)
   - But Christ does even more; to those who will receive it, he offers
     "an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness" so they can
     reign in life through Jesus (cf. v. 17)

8) Which has abounded more:  sin, or grace? (20)
   - Grace

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Chapter Four by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                             Chapter Four


1) To understand how Abraham was justified in God's sight

2) To see that the "righteousness" God imputes to man is actually
   justification (i.e., forgiveness)

3) To comprehend the nature of justifying faith by considering the
   example of Abraham


Now that he has declared that God's righteousness is to be found in a
system involving justification by faith and not by keeping the works of 
any law, Paul proceeds to provide evidence by referring to Abraham's 
example.  In considering the justification of Abraham, Paul quotes
Genesis 15:6 where it is stated that Abraham's faith was accounted to
him for righteousness (1-3).  Abraham trusted in God, not in his own
works, and through such faith experienced the righteousness
(forgiveness) expressed by David in Psalms 31:1,2 (4-8).

To demonstrate further that God's righteousness by faith is offered to 
both Jew and Gentile, Paul again appeals to the example of Abraham.  He 
reminds them that Abraham's faith was accounted for righteousness prior 
to receiving circumcision, which was in itself a seal of the
righteousness of the faith he had while uncircumcised.  Thus Abraham
serves as a father of all who believe, whether circumcised or not

Paul then reminds them that the promise that Abraham was to be "a 
father of many nations" was given in light of his faith, not through 
some law, so that the promise might be according to grace and sure to
those who have the same kind of faith as Abraham (13-17).

Finally, the nature of Abraham's obedient faith is illustrated (18-22), 
with the explanation it was preserved to reassure us that we who have 
the same kind faith in God who raised Jesus will find our faith
accounted for righteousness in the same way (23-25).



      1. If by works, then he could boast (1-2)
      2. The Scriptures reveal it was by his faith in God (3)
         a. One who trusts in works, seeks God's debt, not His grace
         b. But when one trusts in God to justify him, such faith is
            counted for righteousness (5)

      1. Even David spoke of God imputing righteousness apart from
         works (6)
      2. Blessed are those against whom God does not impute sins (7-8)


      1. His faith was counted for righteousness before he was
         circumcised (9-10)
      2. Circumcision was a seal of the righteousness he had while
         uncircumcised (11a)
      3. Thus he became the father of all who have the same kind of
         faith, both circumcised and uncircumcised (11b-12)

      1. The promise to be the heir of the world given in view of his
         faith (13)
      2. It was not given through law (14-15)
      3. But in light of faith, according to grace, to assure that all
         who are of the same faith as Abraham might be heirs of the
         promise (16-17)
      4. The kind of obedient faith illustrated by Abraham (18-22)
      5. Abraham's justification by faith assures that we who believe
         in Him who raised Jesus from the dead shall find justification


impute - "to reckon, take into account, or, metaphorically, to put down
          to a person's account"

righteousness - as used in this chapter, the idea seems to be akin that
                of "justification", where one is declared "not guilty"
                (see Romans 4:5-8)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Justification Of Abraham As An Example (1-8)
   - Righteousness By Faith Available To All Believers (9-25)

2) How did Abraham attain righteousness? (3-5)
   - By believing in God to justify the ungodly (and not in his own

3) How does David describe the righteousness which is imputed to man?
   - In the sense that man's sins are not counted against him 

4) How is Abraham the father of the uncircumcised who possess faith?
   - By his being justified by faith prior to his circumcision

5) Based upon what was the promise made to Abraham? (13)
   - The righteousness of faith

6) How did Abraham demonstrate his faith? (19-21)
   - By fathering Isaac

7) For whose sake was the example of Abraham's faith written? (23-24)
   - Those who believe that God raised Jesus from the dead

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Tyre in Prophecy by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Tyre in Prophecy

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Predictive prophecy stands as one of the most viable proofs of the Bible’s divine inspiration. Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning the city of Tyre provides an excellent example of such evidence.
Ezekiel’s prophetic message is one of the easiest to place in an accurate time frame. In verse 2 of the first chapter, the prophet noted that his visions and prophecies began “in the fifth year of King Johoiachin’s captivity.” The date for this captivity is virtually unanimously accepted as 597B.C. during the second deportation of citizens from Judea to Babylon, which is documented in detail in 2 Kings 24:10-20. Furthermore, not only is the deportation recorded in the biblical account, but the ancient Chaldean records document it as well (Free and Vos, 1992, p. 194). Since Ezekiel’s visions began five years after the deportation, then a firm date of 592 B.C. can be established for the beginning of his prophecy. The prophet supplies other specific dates such as the seventh year (20:1), the ninth year (24:1), the eleventh year (26:1), and the latest date given as the twenty-seventh year (29:17) [Note: for an outline see Archer, 1974, pp. 368-369].
Due to the firmly established dating system that Ezekiel chose to use for his prophecy, the date of the prophecy regarding the city of Tyre, found in chapter 26, can be accurately established as the eleventh year after 597, which would be 586 B.C.


According to history, the Phoenician city of Tyre, located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, stood as one of the most ancient and prosperous cities in history. Herodotus, known as the father of modern history, lived and wrote between about 490 B.C. and 425 B.C.(Herodotus, 1972, p. i). During a visit to the temple of Heracles in Tyre, Herodotus inquired about the age of the temple, to which the inhabits replied that the temple was as old as “Tyre itself, and that Tyre had already stood for two thousand three hundred years” (Herodotus, 2:44). From Herodotus, then, it can be supposed that the city goes back to 2,700 B.C.
Due to its advantageous geographical position and good ports, Tyre became one of the wealthiest trading cities in history. Fleming noted that it “was the most important of all Phoenician cities” (1966, p. ix). During the reigns of King David and King Solomon (circa 1000 B.C.), Hiram, king of Tyre, played a major role in the acquisition of building materials for important structures such as the Israelite kings’ houses and the first temple. In numerous biblical passages, the text states that Hiram sent cedar trees, carpenters, masons, and builders to Israel (2 Samuel 5:11) because of the Tyrians’ renowned skill in timber cutting (1 Kings 5:1-18). In addition, the Tyrians were equally well known for their remarkable ability to navigate the seas during Solomon’s era. Second Chronicles documents that Hiram sent ships and “servants who knew the sea” to work with Solomon’s men in acquiring gold from foreign lands (2 Chronicles 8:18).
The city of Tyre had a rather interesting and beneficial geographical arrangement. About half a mile off the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea stood a small rocky island on which the original city of Tyre was most likely founded. Some time after the founding of this island city, the mainland city of Tyre was founded, which was called Old Tyre by the Greeks (Fleming, p. 4). Josephus cites a Phoenician historian named Dius, as reporting that the Phoenician king Hiram, who was closely connected to kings David and Solomon, built a causeway from the original island to a smaller island, connecting the two (Against Apion, 1.17).
In addition to its beneficial geographic position, the city had great confidence in its many excellent defensive advantages. Fleming noted: “As early as 1400 B.C. Tyre was not only a great city but was considered impregnable” (p. 8). The ancient historian Quintus Curtius Rufus (most likely writing in approximately A.D. 50), listed several of these defensive traits that had remained intact as late as the siege by Alexander in 332 B.C. The force of the water and the wind that prevailed on the side of the city closest to the land was said to have produced a “corrosive force of waves” that would hinder the construction of any type of bridge or causeway from the mainland (4.2.8). Furthermore, the water nearest to the walls of the city was “especially deep” and would force any would-be attackers to position any type of siege mechanisms in the unstable foundation of a ship, and the wall “dropped sheer into the sea,” which prevented the use of ladders or approach by foot (4.2.9).
During the time of Ezekiel, Tyre was well established and renowned for its building, manufacturing, and trade. Ezekiel said of Tyre: “Your builders have perfected your beauty” (27:4), and then he proceeded to list several different kinds of wood and imported materials used by the Tyrians (27:3-11). The prophet stated: “When your wares went out by sea, you satisfied many people; you enriched the kings of the earth with your many luxury goods and your merchandise” (27:33).
But Tyre’s profitable trading had done little positive for its spiritual condition. In fact, as is often the case, the riches accrued by the city had caused widespread dereliction and spiritual decay. Concerning the city, Ezekiel noted: “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned.... Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of splendor.... You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities” (28:16-18). Among the sins listed by Ezekiel, one specific attitude maintained by Tyre was designated by the prophet as the ultimate reason for the city’s demise. Ezekiel noted: “[B]ecause Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.’ Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre’” (26:2-3). Apparently, in an attitude of commercial jealousy and greed, the city of Tyre exulted in Jerusalem’s misfortunes and expected to turn them into its own profit. Among Tyre’s list of despicable activities, the city’s slave trade ranked as one of the most profitable. The prophet Joel noted that Tyre had taken the people from Judah and Jerusalem and sold them to the Greeks so that the Tyrians could “remove them far from their borders” (Joel 3:6). These dastardly dealings with the inhabitants of Judah would not go unpunished.
In Ezekiel 26, the prophet mentioned several events that were to occur in Tyre as punishment for the city’s arrogance and merciless actions. The following is a lengthy, but necessary, quote from that chapter:
Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre 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 spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,” says the Lord God; “it shall become plunder for the nations. Also her daughter villages which are in the fields shall be slain by the sword. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”
For thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water. I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken,” says the Lord God....
For thus says the Lord God: “When I make you a desolate city, like cities that are not inhabited, when I bring the deep upon you, and great waters cover you, then I will bring you down with those who descend into the Pit, to the people of old, and I will make you dwell in the lowest part of the earth, in places desolate from antiquity, with those who go down to the Pit, so that you may never be inhabited; and I shall establish glory in the land of the living. I will make you a terror, and you shall be no more; though you are sought for, you will never be found again,” says the Lord God (26:1-14,19-21).
Several aspects of this prophecy deserve attention and close scrutiny. The prophet predicted: (1) many nations would come against Tyre; (2) the inhabitants of the villages and fields of Tyre would be slain; (3) Nebuchadnezzar would build a siege mound against the city; (4) the city would be broken down and the stones, timber, and soil would be thrown in “the midst of the water;” (5) the city would become a “place for spreading nets;” and (6) the city would never be rebuilt.
In chronological order, the siege of Nebuchadnezzar took place within a few months of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Josephus, quoting “the records of the Phoenicians,” says that Nebuchadnezzar “besieged Tyre for thirteen years in the days of Ithobal, their king” (Against Apion, 1.21). The length of the siege was due, in part, to the unusual arrangement of the mainland city and the island city. While the mainland city would have been susceptible to ordinary siege tactics, the island city would have been easily defended against orthodox siege methods (Fleming, p. 45). The historical record suggests that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland city, but the siege of the island “probably ended with the nominal submission of the city” in which Tyre surrendered “without receiving the hostile army within her walls” (p. 45). The city of Tyre was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, who did major damage to the mainland as Ezekiel predicted, but the island city remained primarily unaffected.
It is at this point in the discussion that certain skeptics view Ezekiel’s prophecy as a failed prediction. Farrell Till stated: “Nebuchadnezzar did capture the mainland suburb of Tyre, but he never succeeded in taking the island part, which was the seat of Tyrian grandeur. That being so, it could hardly be said that Nebuchadnezzar wreaked the total havoc on Tyre that Ezekiel vituperatively predicted in the passages cited” (n.d.). Till and others suggest that the prophecies about Tyre’s utter destruction refer to the work of Nebuchadnezzar.
After a closer look at the text, however, such an interpretation is misguided. Ezekiel began his prophecy by stating that “many nations” would come against Tyre (26:3). Then he proceeded to name Nebuchadnezzar, and stated that “he” would build a siege mound, “he” would slay with the sword, and “he” would do numerous other things (26:7-11). However, in 26:12, the pronoun shifts from the singular “he” to the plural “they.” It is in verse 12 and following that Ezekiel predicts that “they” will lay the stones and building material of Tyre in the “midst of the waters.” The shift in pronouns is of vast significance, since it shifts the subject of the action from Nebuchadnezzar (he) back to the many nations (they). Till and others fail to see this shift and mistakenly apply the utter destruction of Tyre to the efforts of Nebuchadnezzar.
Furthermore, Ezekiel was well aware of Nebuchadnezzar’s failure to destroy the city. Sixteen years after his initial prediction, in the 27th year of Johoiachin’s captivity (circa 570 B.C.), he wrote: “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it” (29:18). Therefore, in regard to the prophecy of Tyre as it relates to Nebuchadnezzar’s activity, at least two of the elements were fulfilled (i.e., the siege mound and the slaying of the inhabitants in the field).
Regarding the prediction that “many nations” would come against Tyre, the historical records surrounding the illustrious city report such turmoil and war that Ezekiel’s prophecy looks like a mild understatement of the facts. After Nebuchadnezzar’s attack of the city “a period of great depression” plagued the city which was assimilated into the Persian Empire around 538 B.C.(Fleming, p. 47). In 392 B.C., “Tyre was involved in the war which arose between the Persians and Evagorus of Cyprus” in which the king of Egypt “took Tyre by assault” (p. 52). Sixty years later, in 332, Alexander the Great besieged Tyre and crushed it (see below for further elaboration). Soon after this defeat, Ptolemy of Egypt conquered and subjugated Tyre until about 315 B.C. when Atigonus of Syria besieged Tyre for 15 months and captured it (Fleming, p. 65). In fact, Tyre was contested by so many foreign forces that Fleming wrote: “It seemed ever the fate of the Phoenician cities to be between an upper and a nether millstone” (p. 66). Babylon, Syria, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Armenia, and Persia are but a sampling of the “many nations” that had a part in the ultimate destruction of Tyre. Thus, Ezekiel’s prophecy about “many nations” remains as a historical reality that cannot be successfully gainsaid.


bust 2
Bust of Alexander the Great, who conquered Tyre in 332 B.C. © TAOLMOR - FOTOLIA
The historical account of Alexander the Great’s dealings with Tyre adds another important piece to Ezekiel’s prophecy. By 333 B.C., Ezekiel’s prophecy that Tyre would be destroyed and its building material cast into the midst of the waters had yet to materialize. But that situation was soon to be altered. Ancient historian Diodorus Siculus, who lived from approximately 80-20 B.C., wrote extensively of the young Greek conqueror’s dealing with Tyre. It is from his original work that much of the following information on Tyre’s destruction derives (see Siculus, 1963, 17.40-46).
In his dealings with Tyre, Alexander asserted that he wished to make a personal sacrifice in the temple of Heracles on the island city of Tyre. Apparently, because the Tyrians considered their island refuge virtually impregnable, with war machines covering the walls, and rapidly moving water acting as an effective barrier from land attack, they refused his request. Upon receiving their refusal, Alexander immediately set to work on a plan to besiege and conquer the city. He set upon the task of building a land bridge or cause way (Siculus calls it a “mole”) from the mainland city of Tyre to the island city. Siculus stated: “Immediately he demolished what was called Old Tyre and set many tens of thousands of men to work carrying stones to construct a mole” (17.40). Curtius Rufus noted: “Large quantities of rock were available, furnished by old Tyre” (4.2.18). This unprecedented action took the Tyrians by complete surprise. Fleming noted: “In former times the city had shown herself well nigh impregnable. That Alexander’s method of attack was not anticipated is not strange, for there was no precedent for it in the annals of warfare” (p. 56). And yet, even though this action was unprecedented militarily, it was exactly what one might expect from the description of the destruction of Tyre given by Ezekiel hundreds of years prior to Alexander’s actions. The mainland city was demolished and all her stones, timber, and soil were thrown into the midst of the sea.
aerial view
This aerial view of Tyre vividly shows the landbridge that Alexander created. Much silt and sand has accumulated over the years to widen the area of the original causeway.
In spite of the fact that the Tyrians were taken by surprise, they were not disheartened, because they did not believe that Alexander’s efforts would prevail. They continued to maintain supremacy on the sea, and harassed his workers from all sides from boats that were equipped with catapults, slingers, and archers. These tactics were effective in killing many of Alexander’s men. But Alexander was not to be outdone. He gathered his own fleet of ships from nearby cities and was successful in neutralizing the Tyrian vessels’ effectiveness.
With the arrival of Alexander’s sea fleet, the work on the land bridge moved much more rapidly. Yet, when the construction of the bridge was nearing completion, a storm damaged a large section of the mole. Refusing to quit, Alexander rebuilt the damaged structure and continued to move forward. In desperation, the Tyrians sent underwater divers to impede construction by attaching hooks to the rocks and trees of the causeway, causing much damage (Rufus, 4.3.10). Yet, these efforts by the Tyrians could not stop Alexander’s army and eventually the bridge spanned the distance from the mainland city to the island. Huge siege machines bombarded the walls of Tyre. Siculus’ description of the fight is one of the most vivid accounts of a battle in ancient history (17.43-46).
Eventually the Tyrians were defeated, their walls penetrated, and Alexander’s forces entered the city and devastated it. Most of the men of Tyre were killed in continued fighting. Siculus recorded that approximately 2,000 of the men in Tyre who were of military age were crucified, and about 13,000 “non-combatants” were sold into slavery (17.46) [Others estimate the number even higher.] In describing the devastation of the city by Alexander, Fleming wrote: “There was general slaughter in the streets and square. The Macedonians were enraged by the stubborn resistance of the city and especially by the recent murder of some of their countrymen; they therefore showed no mercy. A large part of the city was burned” (p. 63).
The secular, historical record detailing Alexander’s destruction of Tyre coincides precisely with Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning what would happen to its building materials. As Ezekiel had predicted, the stones, timber, and soil of the mainland city were thrown into the midst of the sea in an unprecedented military maneuver. For Ezekiel to have accurately “guessed” this situation would be to stretch the law of probability beyond the limits of absurdity. His acutely accurate representation of the facts remain as outstanding and amazing proof of the divine inspiration behind his message.


One of the most disputed aspects concerning Ezekiel’s prophecy is the statement that the city of Tyre would “never be rebuilt” (26:14), and “be no more forever” (28:19). The skeptic points to modern day Tyre and suggests that these statements have failed to materialize. Till stated: “In fact, Tyre still exists today, as anyone able to read a map can verify. This obvious failure of a highly touted Old Testament prophet is just one more nail in the coffin of the Bible inerrancy doctrine” (n.d.).
Several possible solutions dissolve this alleged problem. First, it could be the case that the bulk of Ezekiel’s prophecy dealt with the mainland city of Tyre, the location of which has most likely been lost permanently and is buried under the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This solution has merit for several reasons. In approximately A.D. 1170, a Jewish traveler named Benjamin of Tudela published a diary of his travels. “Benjamin began his journey from Saragossa, around the year 1160 and over the course of thirteen years visited over 300 cities in a wide range of places including Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Persia” (Benjamin of Tudela, n.d.). In his memoirs, a section is included concerning the city of Tyre.
From Sidon it is half a day’s journey to Sarepta (Sarfend), which belongs to Sidon. Thence it is a half-day to New Tyre (Sur), which is a very fine city, with a harbour in its midst.... There is no harbour like this in the whole world. Tyre is a beautiful city.... In the vicinity is found sugar of a high class, for men plant it here, and people come from all lands to buy it. A man can ascend the walls of New Tyre and see ancient Tyre, which the sea has now covered, lying at a stone’s throw from the new city. And should one care to go forth by boat, one can see the castles, market-places, streets, and palacesin the bed of the sea (1907, emp. added.).
From this twelfth-century A.D. text, then, we learn that by that period of time the city known as ancient Tyre lay completely buried beneath the sea and a new city, most likely on some part of the island, had been erected. George Davis, in his book Fulfilled Prophecies that Prove the Bible, included a picture of Syrian fishermen under which the following caption appeared: “Syrian fishermen hauling in their nets on the probable site of ancient Tyre, which perished as predicted by the prophet” (1931, p. 11). In his monumental work on the city of Tyre, Katzenstein mentioned several ancient sources that discussed the position of “Old Tyre.” He wrote: “Later this town was dismantled by Alexander the Great in his famous siege of Tyre and disappeared totally with the change of the coastline brought about by the dike and the alluvial deposits that changed Tyre into a peninsula” (1973, p. 15, emp. added).
It very likely is the case that the specific site of ancient Tyre has been buried by sand and water over the course of the last 2,500 years and is lost to modern knowledge. That the prophet was speaking about the mainland city in reference to many aspects of his prophecy has much to commend it. It was to that mainland city that King Nebuchadnezzar directed most of his attention and destructive measures described in Ezekiel 26:8-11. Furthermore, it was the mainland city that Alexander destroyed completely and cast into the sea to build his causeway to the island city. In addition, Benjamin Tudela’s quote corresponds precisely to the statement that the prophet made in the latter part of chapter 26: “For thus says the Lord God: ‘When I make you a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I bring the deep upon you, and great waters cover you’” (26:19, emp. added). In addition, Katzenstein noted that the scholar H.L. Ginsberg has suggested that the name “Great Tyre” was given to the mainland city, while the island city was designated as “Little Tyre” (p. 20). He further noted 2 Samuel 24:7, which mentions “the stronghold of Tyre,” and commented that this “may refer to “Old Tyre,” or the mainland city (p. 20).
Besides the idea that the bulk of the prophecy dealt with the mainland city, other possible solutions exist that would sufficiently meet the criteria that Tyre would “never be rebuilt” and would “be no more forever.” While it is true that a city does currently exist on the island, that city is not a “rebuilt” Tyre and has no real connection to the city condemned by Ezekiel other than its location. If the history of Tyre is traced more completely, it becomes evident that even the island city of Tyre suffered complete destruction. Fleming noted that in approximately A.D.193. “Tyre was plundered and burned after a fearful slaughter of her citizens” (1966, p. 73). Around the year 1085, the Egyptians “succeeded in reducing Tyre, which for many years had been practically independent” (p. 85). Again, in about 1098, the Vizier of Egypt “entered the city and massacred a large number of people” (p. 88). In addition, the city was besieged in A.D.1111 (p. 90), and again in April of 1124 (p. 95). Around the year 1155, the Egyptians entered Tyre, “made a raid with fire and sword...and carried off many prisoners and much plunder” (p. 101).
In addition to the military campaigns against the city, at least two major earthquakes pummeled the city, one of which “ruined the wall surrounding the city” (p. 115). And ultimately, in A.D.1291, the Sultan Halil massacred the inhabitants of Tyre and subjected the city to utter ruin. “Houses, factories, temples, everything in the city was consigned to the sword, flame and ruin” (p. 122). After this major defeat in 1291, Fleming cites several travel logs in which visitors to the city mention that citizens of the area in 1697 were “only a few poor wretches...subsisting chiefly upon fishing” (p. 124). In 1837, another earthquake pounded the remains of the city so that the streets were filled with debris from fallen houses to such a degree that they were impassable (p. 128).
Taking these events into consideration, it is obvious that many nations continued to come against the island city, that it was destroyed on numerous occasions, and that it became a place for fishing, fulfilling Ezekiel’s prediction about the spreading of nets. Furthermore, it is evident that the multiple periods of destruction and rebuilding of the city have long since buried the Phoenician city that came under the condemnation of Ezekiel. The Columbia Encyclopedia, under its entry for Tyre, noted: “The principal ruins of the city today are those of buildings erected by the Crusaders. There are some Greco-Roman remains, but any left by the Phoenicians lie underneath the present town” (“Tyre,” 2006, emp. added).
Concerning Tyre’s present condition, other sources have noted that “continuous settlement has restricted excavation to the Byzantine and Roman levels and information about the Phoenician town comes only from documentary sources” (“Ancient Tyre...,” n.d., emp. added). Another report confirmed, “Uncovered remains are from the post-Phoenician Greco-Roman, Crusader, Arab and Byzantine times.... Any traces of the Phoenician city were either destroyed long ago or remain buried under today’s city” (“Ancient Phoenicia,” n.d., emp. added). Thus, the only connection that the present town maintains with the ancient one in Ezekiel’s day is location, and the present buildings, streets, and other features are not “rebuilt” versions of the original city. If Ezekiel’s prophecy extended to the island city as well as the mainland city, it can be maintained legitimately that the ruins lying underneath the city have not been “rebuilt.”


Some have questioned the date of the composition of Ezekiel, due to the prophecy’s amazing accuracy in regard to its predictions concerning Tyre. Yet, the book of Ezekiel has much that lends itself to the idea that it was composed by Ezekiel during the time it claims to have been written. When did Ezekiel write his material? Kenny Barfield noted that, besides a belief that supernatural revelation is impossible,
no evidence supports the thesis that Ezekiel’s predictions were penned later than 400B.C. Moreover, the book (Ezek. 1:1; 8:1; 33:1; 40:1-4) claims to have been composed by the prophet sometime in the sixth century, B.C., and Josephus attributes the book to the Hebrew prophet during the time in question (1995, p. 98).
In addition, Ezekiel was included in the Septuagint, which is the “earliest version of the Old Testament Scriptures” available—a translation from Hebrew to Greek which was “executed at Alexandria in the third century before the Christian era” (Septuagint, 1998,p. i).
Simon Greenleaf, the lawyer who is renowned for having played a major role in the founding of Harvard Law School and for having written the Treatise on the Law of Evidence, scrutinized several biblical documents in light of the procedures practiced in a court of law. He noted one of the primary laws regarding ancient documents: “Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise” (1995, p. 16). He then noted that “this is precisely the case with the Sacred Writings. They have been used in the church from time immemorial, and thus are found in the place where alone they ought to be looked for” (pp. 16-17). Specifically in regard to Ezekiel, that is exactly the case. If the prophet wrote it in the sixth century B.C. his work is exactly where it should be, translated in the Septuagint around the year 250 B.C., and noted to be from the proper time period by Josephus in approximately A.D. 90.
Furthermore, the scholarly world recognized the book’s authenticity and original date of composition virtually unanimously for almost 1,900 years. The eminently respected Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch, who wrote in the late 1800s, commented: “The genuineness of Ezekiel’s prophecies is, at the present day, unanimously recognized by all critics. There is, moreover, no longer any doubt that the writing down and redaction of them in the volume which has been transmitted to us were the work of the prophet himself” (1982, 9:16). Indeed, Archer noted that no serious objection to the book’s integrity was even put forth until 1924 (1974, p. 369).


In regard to the objections that have been put forth, as Greenleaf noted, the burden of proof concerning the authenticity of Ezekiel lies with those who consider it inauthentic. Yet, far from proving such, they have put forth tenuous suggestions based on alleged internal inconsistencies. First, these critics have proposed that the work could not have been by one man since some sections are filled with descriptions of doom and destruction, while others resound with hope and deliverance. This alleged inconsistency holds little weight, as Miller noted:
Of course, this viewpoint is based on purely subjective considerations. No inherent reason exists that forbids a single writer from presenting both emphases. In fact, virtually all the prophets of the Old Testament announce judgment upon God’s people and/or their neighbors and then follow that judgment sentence with words of future hope and restoration if repentance is forthcoming.... One must be in possession of a prejudicial perspective before approaching Scripture to come to such a conclusion (1995, p. 138).
The second objection to the integrity of Ezekiel has little more to commend it than the first. The second “proof” of the book’s alleged inauthentic nature revolves around the fact that in certain sections, Ezekiel seems to be an eyewitness to events that are happening in Palestine, while at the same time claiming to be writing from Babylon. This objection can be dealt with quickly in a twofold manner. First, it would be possible, and very likely, that news would travel from the remnant of Israelites still free in Palestine to the captives in Babylon. Second, and more likely, if Ezekiel was guided by divine inspiration, he could have been given the ability to know events in Palestine that he did not see (see Miller, 1995, pp. 138-139). Taking the prophecy of Tyre into account, it is clear that Ezekiel did possess/receive revelation that allowed him to report events that he had not seen and that were yet to take place.
A third objection to Ezekiel’s authenticity actually turns out not to be an objection at all, but rather a verification of Ezekiel’s integrity. W.F. Albright, the eminent and respected archaeologist, noted that one of C.C. Torrey’s “principle arguments against the authenticity of the prophecy” (the book of Ezekiel—KB) was the fact that Ezekiel dates things by the “years of Jehoiachin’s captivity” (1948, p. 164). Supposedly, Jehoiachin would not have been referred to as “king” since he was captive in another land and no longer ruled in his own. Until about 1940, this argument seemed to possess some merit. But in that year, Babylonian tablets were brought to light that contained a cuneiform inscription giving the Babylonian description of Jehoiachin as king of Judah, even though he was in captivity (p. 165). Albright concluded by saying: “The unusual dates in Ezekiel, so far from being indications that the book is not authentic, prove its authenticity in a most striking way” (p. 165).
Due to the fact that modern critics have failed to shoulder the burden of proof laid upon them to discredit Ezekiel’s integrity and authenticity, Smith rightly stated: “The critical studies of the Book of Ezekiel over the past fifty years or so have largely cancelled each other out. The situation now is much the same as it was prior to 1924 (the work of Hoelscher) when the unity and integrity of the book were generally accepted by the critics” (Smith, 1979, p. 33). Miller correctly concluded: “All theories and speculations which call into question the unity and integrity of the book of Ezekiel are unconvincing.... The most convincing view is the traditional one that sees Ezekiel as the long recognized sixth century Hebrew prophet and author of the Old Testament book which bears his name” (1995, p. 139).


So accurate were the prophecies made by Ezekiel that skeptics were forced to suggest a later date for his writings. Yet, such a later date cannot be maintained, and the admission of Ezekiel’s accuracy stands as irrefutable evidence of the prophet’s divine inspiration. With the penetrating gaze that can only be maintained by the Divine, God looked hundreds of years into the future and instructed Ezekiel precisely what to write so that in the centuries following the predictions, the fulfillment of every detail of the prophet’s words could be denied by no honest student of history. “When the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” (Jeremiah 28:9). Ezekiel’s accurate prophecy adds yet another piece of insurmountable evidence to the fact that “all Scripture is inspired of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).


Albright, W.F. (1948), “The Old Testament and Archaeology,” Old Testament Commentary, ed. Herbert Alleman and Elmer Flack (Philadelphia, PA: Muhlenberg Press).
“Ancient Phoenicia” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://gorp.away.com/gorp/location/africa/phonici5.htm.
“Ancient Tyre (Sour)” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Tyre.html.
Archer, Gleason L. Jr. (1974), A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL: Moody), revised edition.
Barfield, Kenny (1995), The Prophet Motive (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Benjamin of Tudela (no date), “Traveling in Jerusalem,” [On-line], URL: http://chass.colostate-pueblo.edu/history/seminar/benjamin.htm.
Benjamin of Tudela (1907), The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (New York, NY: The House of the Jewish Book), [On-line], URL: http://chass.colostate-pueblo.edu/history/seminar/benjamin/ benjamin1.htm.
Davis, George T.B. (1931), Fulfilled Prophecies that Prove the Bible (Philadelphia, PA: Million Testaments Campaign).
Fleming, Wallace B. (1966), The History of Tyre (New York, NY: AMS Press).
Free, Joseph P. and Howard F. Vos (1992), Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Greenleaf, Simon (1995), The Testimony of the Evangelists (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Classics).
Herodotus, (1972 reprint), The Histories, trans. Aubrey De Sélincourt (London: Penguin).
Josephus, Flavius (1987), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus: Against Apion, trans. William Whitson (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Katzenstein, Jacob (1973), The History of Tyre (Jerusalem: The Schocken Institute for Jewish Research).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1982 reprint), Commentary on the Old Testament—Ezekiel and Daniel(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
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