333: Zechariah 9:9a


365 Prophecies: Prophecy 333

The Messiah will be revealed at Jerusalem.

Old Testament Prediction:

Zechariah 9:9a Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 21:8-11 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Application:

Zechariah 9:9 contains six important prophecies of the Messiah.

Prophecy 333: The Messiah will be revealed at Jerusalem.
Prophecy 334: The Messiah will be proclaimed as King at Jerusalem.
Prophecy 335: He will be just.
Prophecy 336: He is bringing salvation.
Prophecy 337: He is coming lowly.
Prophecy 338: He will be riding on the foal of a donkey.

When the Messiah makes His entrance into the world, it will be at Jerusalem.

Zechariah wrote this incredible prophecy, 516 years before Jesus was born, 549 years before the event happened. We know from history that Zechariah lived and wrote in the second year of Darius 1st, king of Persia. Twenty-eighth years from Amyntas, king of Macedon. In the Fifteenth year of Tarquinius Superbus, the last king of the Romans.[1]

It is interesting and informative that the Bible is the world’s best and most accurate record of history. Many secular historians obtain important facts and specific dates about many important events from ancient history, from the pages of the Bible. No other document of antiquity can come close to the massive amount of information that the Bible accurately records. Contrary to criticism by those who try to find inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible, what is viewed as capricious are actually quite easily explained when the full context and meaning of the text is understood. It is the critics who are misinformed, not the record of the Bible.

The prophet Zechariah records thirty of the most detailed and amazing predictions found in the Old Testament. Chapters 1-8 speak of prophetic events in the future. Chapters 9-14 deal with the events of the last days, when the Messiah will make His entrance into the world, beginning at Jerusalem. Zechariah uses the term “on that day” as a signal to us that he is describing events of the future work and ministry of the Messiah.

Here in chapter 9, we see the full spectrum of the Messiah’s introduction.

Israel has been in captivity at Babylon for the past seventy years. At the end of the captivity, at the conclusion of their “desolations,” the Lord remembers His promise made by the prophecy of Jeremiah, to allow the captives of Judah to return home to Jerusalem.

Chapter 9 begins with words of judgement against Tyre and Sidon, which was predicted in great detail by Ezekiel 26:3-14 and 28:20-24. The stunning accuracy of the Lord’s prediction of the exact events of Tyre as told by Ezekiel were fulfilled to the letter by the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, and later by Alexander the Great.[2] After thirteen years of unsuccessful offensives by Nebuchadnezzar against Tyre, Alexander destroyed the city in one of the most brilliant engineering feats of all history. Taking the rubble onshore from the former old city of Tyre, Alexander build a causeway out to the new city of Tyre one half mile offshore, and besieged and captured the once impregnable city.[3]

The name “Tyre” means rock—so named because the entire city was built upon a rock. Tyre was really two cities: Old Tyre on the coast of the Mediterranean sea; and New Tyre, one half mile offshore, built upon an island of solid rock.

Joshua described Tyre as a “fortified city.”

Joshua 19:29 And the border turned to Ramah and to the fortified city of Tyre…

The combined population of both cities of Tyre was over 40,000. This is the location from where King Solomon received the cedar timbers from King Hiram that were used in the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem.

During the time that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was laying siege to Jerusalem, word of their destruction reaches Tyre; and the people of these two cities begin to rejoice over the fall of Jerusalem.

Both Tyre and Jerusalem were on the major trade route for all of the ships that passed through the Mediterranean sea. As a result, Tyre and Jerusalem became extremely wealthy. If Jerusalem were to collapse at the hands of the Babylonians, then all of the trade and the profits from that trade would fall to Tyre alone.

The Lord sent judgment to Israel and Judah for their refusal to obey Him. He placed their citizens in captivity under Babylon for seventy years. While God’s people are suffering through their chastening, Tyre began to rejoice over their peril and to mock the Jews.

It is clear from scripture that the Lord takes persona offense when He is disciplining His people and their enemies rejoice over their trials. As a result of the scorn of Tyre—God, through the prophet Ezekiel, pronounces a judgment upon the city. The Lord declares that “He is against Tyre.”

Ezekiel 26:1-3 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, because 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.’ 3 “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.’ ”

This prediction from the Book of Ezekiel is one of the most amazing prophecies found in the Bible. The pinpoint accuracy of Ezekiel’s predictions describe such specific detail, that they appear to have been written by a journalist who was actually there at the scene, recording the events as they happened. In fact, this prophecy was written by Ezekiel almost three years before they were fulfilled in 588 B.C.

The following are the 28 prophecies that God pronounced against Tyre. All were perfectly fulfilled and recorded in history.

Ezekiel 26
1. I will bring many nations against you like the waves of the sea crashing against your shoreline.
2. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and
3. Tear down its towers.
4. I will scrape away its soil and make it a bare rock!
5. The island of Tyre will become uninhabited.
6. It will be a place for fishermen to spread their nets, for I have spoken, says the sovereign Lord.
7. Tyre will become the prey of many nations,
8. The mainland villages will be destroyed by the sword. Then they will know that I am the lord.
9. I will bring king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon—the king of kings from the north—against Tyre with his cavalry, chariots, and great army.
10. First he will destroy your mainland villages.
11. Then he will attack you by building a siege wall,
12. Constructing a ramp, and
13. Raising a roof of shields against you.
14. He will pound your walls with battering rams and
15. Demolish your towers with sledgehammers.
16. The hooves of his cavalry will choke the city with dust, and
17. Your walls will shake as the horses gallop through your broken gates, pulling chariots behind them.
18. His horsemen will trample every street in the city.
19. They will butcher your people, and
20. Your famous pillars will topple.
21. They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and
22. Break down your walls.
23. They will destroy your lovely homes and
24. Dump your stones and timbers and even your dust into the sea.
25. I will stop the music of your songs. No more will the sound of harps be heard among your people.
26. I will make your island a bare rock,
27. A place for fishermen to spread their nets.
28. You will never be rebuilt…

This is an amazing list of prophecies when you consider the difficulty in twenty eight separate pronouncements actually being fulfilled with the precision that would be necessary to cause each one to take place.

The difficulty for many who have sought to understand Ezekiel’s prophecy is in the fact that the entire list of twenty eight predictions were not all fulfilled at the same time. It is a fact of Bible prophecy that the Lord does not always fulfill every part of a particular prophecy during a single period of history. There may be years, decades, or even thousands of years in between the fulfillment of the first part of a prophecy and the later portion of the same prediction.

This is the case in Isaiah 61: 1-2: Prophecy 279

There are four prophecies from Isaiah Chapter 61:1-2 that speak in detail of the Messiah’s introduction to the world. They are undoubtably some of the most amazing predictions that are given by God in the Old and New Testaments.

As Jesus arrives at Nazareth, He comes to the synagogue at a predetermined time—on a specific Sabbath—to act as the guest speaker. He is handed the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah that has apparently been unrolled to the portion of scripture that was to be read on that day. Being foreordained by the Lord, the verses of scripture that Jesus is to read from are Isaiah 61:1-2.

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed, To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book…

Luke records that what happened next stunned those who heard Jesus:

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The people who are in the synagogue on that particular morning are astonished. First, that Jesus stopped reading mid-sentence in Isaiah’s prophecy; “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord….”

Second, those in attendance are wondering why Jesus did not finish the rest of the verse from Isaiah:

“and the day of vengeance of our God.”

Jesus closes the scroll and hands it back to the attendant. He then begins to speak to those who had gathered to listen on that morning:

“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Those who had gathered at the synagogue were stunned because in their understanding, this verse from Isaiah that Jesus had read from could only be fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah. Jesus had chosen this particular day and this exact moment to announce to the people of Nazareth that He was the One whom Isaiah was writing about.

Jesus was declaring to Israel that the Messiah had arrived and that He was suddenly there amongst them in their synagogue. The revelation that Jesus brought to those who were assembled was that the Messiah would fulfill the first part of Isaiah 61:1, “the acceptable year of the Lord,” at that time. Finally, some 2,000 years later, Jesus would return to earth a second time to fulfill the rest of Isaiah’s Prophecy, “and the days of vengeance of our God,” during the seven-year Tribulation.

We find a similar phenomenon in the earlier and later fulfillments in the Prophecies of Daniel Chapter 9:

Daniel 9:24 Prophecy 307, Daniel 9:24 Prophecy 308, Daniel 9:25,Prophecy 309, Daniel 9:26 Prophecy 310, and Daniel 9:26 Prophecy 311 were all fulfilled on April 6, 32 A.D., by Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and His proclamation that the Messiah had arrived.

Daniel 9:26 Prophecy 312 was fulfilled later in 70 A.D., by the Roman army under Titus when the city and the Temple were destroyed.

Daniel 9:27 will be fulfilled in the future, during the seventieth week of Daniels’s prophecy, at the introduction of the antichrist and the seven-year Tribulation period.

By these earlier and later fulfillments of certain parts of the same prophecy, we understand that chapter 26 of Ezekiel’s twenty eight predictions concerning Tyre do not all have to be fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, or during one specific time period in history. It has been a common error among critics of Bible prophecy, that Ezekiel’s prophecy failed because Nebuchadnezzar did not fulfill all of the necessary parts of the prophecy in his siege of Tyre in 586 B.C. We discover that the entire list of all twenty eight prophecies were fulfilled by the Lord, just as He said—over the course of history. It would be foolish to insist that all twenty-eight of the prophecies must be fulfilled in Nebuchadnezzar’s siege, because the prophecy itself required an extended period of time to fully complete the entire prediction.

For example: Item 28, “you will never be rebuilt,” could not rightly be designated as fulfilled until an extended period of time had elapsed. Today, after the passage of more than 2,000 years, we know that the original site of Tyre has never been rebuilt. If you examine the current satellite map where the ancient cities of Tyre once existed (below), you will notice that there is no city called Tyre, nor has there ever been since it was completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great. The city that exists today, near the ancient cities of Tyre were located, is called “Sour” (A). This new city is built on a portion of land that did not exist at the time Tyre was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar 2,500 years ago.

[4]

By the slow and gradual built up of sand and sediment over the process of time, a large section of earth was added to the former land bridge that Nebuchadnezzar had constructed to reach the ancient island city of Tyre. There are homes and settlements in the area, but the cites of Tyre on the mainland and the island that once existed, was never rebuilt, just as God had spoken in item number 28, according to the prophet Ezekiel.

In fact, at the present time, a large number of the inhabitants are fishermen, fulfilling item 27, “A place for fishermen to spread their nets.”

In 583 B.C., as Ezekiel 26 predicts twenty-eight separate predictions, the following are the individual parts of that prophecy.

Prophecies fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar:

Ezekiel 26 (NLT)
8 The mainland villages will be destroyed by the sword, then they will know that I am the lord.
9 Verse 7: I will bring King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon—the king of kings from the north—against Tyre with his cavalry, chariots, and great army.
10 Verse 8: First, he will destroy your mainland villages.
11 Verse 8: Then he will attack you by building a siege wall,
12 Verse 9: Constructing a ramp, and
13 Verse 9: Raising a roof of shields against you.
14 Verse 9: He will pound your walls with battering rams and
15 Verse 9: Demolish your towers with sledgehammers.
16 Verse 10: The hooves of his cavalry will choke the city with dust, and your walls will shake as the horses gallop through your broken gates, pulling chariots behind them.
17 Verse 11: His horsemen will trample every street in the city.

Prophecies fulfilled by Alexander the Great:

Ezekiel 26 (NLT)
1. Verse 3: I will bring many nations against you, like the waves of the sea crashing against your shoreline.
2. Verse 4: They will destroy the walls of tyre and
3. Verse 4: tear down its towers.
4. Verse 4: I will scrape away its soil and make it a bare rock!
5. Verse 5: the island of tyre will become uninhabited.
6. Verse 5: It will be a place for fishermen to spread their nets, for I have spoken, says the sovereign lord.
7. Verse 5: Tyre will become the prey of many nations,
18. Verse 11: They will butcher your people, and
19. Verse 11: Your famous pillars will topple.
21. Verse 12: They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and
22. Verse 12: Break down your walls.
23. Verse 12: They will destroy your lovely homes and
24. Verse 12: Dump your stones and timbers and even your dust into the sea.
25. Verse 13: I will stop the music of your songs. No more will the sound of harps be heard among your people.
26. Verse 14: I will make you like a bare rock,
27. Verse 14: A place for fishermen to spread their nets.
28. Verse 14: You will never be rebuilt

Tyre consisted of two locations: one on the mainland and one on an island a half mile off the coast from the main city.

The complete fulfillment of all twenty-eight points of this prophecy would occur by two conquering kings.

First, in 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland villages of Tyre. Then Later, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great attacked the island city of Tyre, a half mile offshore, by constructing a causeway using the debris left from Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the mainland city of Tyre 241 years before.

About three years after Ezekiel wrote the words of this prophecy in 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar began his siege of the main city of Tyre. It was the tactic of this Babylonian king to cut off all outside supplies of food and water and gradually starve his captives into surrender.

The city was constructed of walls built right up to the sea, with no entrance except by sea. The Phoenician navy was so insurmountable that Nebuchadnezzar could not overpower their forces to enter Tyre from the sea. With adequate fresh water, Tyre had an underground spring that would produce ten million gallons of fresh water every day.[5]

Ezekiel 26:16: The hooves of his cavalry will choke the city with dust, and your walls will shake as the horses gallop through your broken gates, pulling chariots behind them.

In 573 B.C., after thirteen years, the people living in Tyre became tired of the noise and dust from Nebuchadnezzar’s forces, that they began to move the entire population out to the city on a rock island, a half mile offshore. By the time that Nebuchadnezzar broke down the walls of Tyre, the entire population had abandoned the city.

Prophecy 16, Verse 10: “The hooves of his cavalry will choke the city with dust, and your walls will shake as the horses gallop through your broken gates, pulling chariots behind them…”

241 years later in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great began building a causeway from the mainland out to the island city of Tyre and completed the project in just seven months. The causeway stopped just 330 feet shy of the island, due to an abrupt drop in the sea floor. The walls of the island city of Tyre were 150 feet high above the sea and considered impenetrable.[6]

Named “Queen of the Sea,” all the nations of the world at that time brought their tributes to Tyre. After Alexander the Great conquered Persia, Tyre was the only remaining seaport that had not surrendered to his rule. The Phoenician navy of Tyre was considered the world’s best at navigation and tactical battles. Alexander sent an emissary to Tyre to propose a peace treaty. Viewing the gesture of peace as a sign of Alexander’s weakness, the leaders of Tyre killed the envoy and cast the bodies over the side of city wall into the sea.[7]

Alexander began the construction of the causeway that acted as a land bridge between the mainland and the island. Using the debris from Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the mainland city of Tyre in 573 B.C., Alexander fulfilled the later portions of Ezekiel’s prophecy:

Prophecy 24, Verse 12: Dump your stones and timbers and even your dust into the sea.
Prophecy 26, Verse 14: I will make you like a bare rock.

When the causeway was complete, Alexander constructed two towers that were 150 feet high and moved them to the end of the ramp at the end of the causeway. In a counter offensive, the leaders of Tyre filled a transport ship with tar, branches from trees, sulfur, and other combustibles, and drove the ship that had been set ablaze up to the edge of the towers. Both structures burned to the ground very quickly.

Shortly thereafter, the Persian navy returned to discover that Alexander had defeated their nation and was now under his control. Adding more than eighty ships to his navy of 120 ships, Alexander formed a blockade around the entire island of Tyre. Several ships were fitted with battering rams and began a full scale attack on all sides of the fortified city. Making a breach into the outer walls of Tyre, the fighting men of Alexander quickly overcame the waiting forces inside the city.[8]

In fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy: Prophecy 1, Verse 3: “I will bring many nations against you, like the waves of the sea crashing against your shoreline.”

The ships that surrounded the island city of Tyre were from all of the nations that Alexander had overcome during his campaigns to conquer the world. This fulfilled the first prophecy of Ezekiel 26:3, that “many nations” would come up against Tyre. By bringing the ships from the many nations conquered by Alexander, God fulfilled His word in an unexpected way. Nevertheless, every prediction made by Ezekiel concerning Tyre was fulfilled perfectly.

This brief side journey exploring an important background prophecy that took place during the time of Judah’s captivity is a reminder that the Lord is the world’s best “multitasker.” Although He is working in every microsecond of time here on earth, He is still able to run the entire universe and have plenty of time leftover to take care of each person on this planet.


[1] Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Old Testament Zechariah chapter 9, verse 9
[2] E. M. Blaiklock, ZPEB, 5: 832- 35
[3] George Willis Botsford and Charles Alexander Robinson, Jr., Hellenic History, 4 th ed.
[4] Image used according to Google’s use policy with full attribution as labeled on the image: Imagery copyright 2013 Cnes/Spot Image Digital Globe, Geo Eye, Map Data, copyright 2013 Google ORION ME. Use Policy: http://support.google.com/maps/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1342531&page=ts.cs
[5] ‘Tyre’ from Encyclopædia Britannica 11th ed
[6] Stafford, Ned (14 May 2007). “How geology came to help Alexander the Great”. Nature.com. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
[7] McCarty, Alexander the Great, p. 30-31.
* Plutarch, The Age of Alexander, p. 262-263
* Renault, The Nature of Alexander the Great, p. 61-62
* Fox, The Search For Alexander, p. 72
[8] Ibid.

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