There are 3 “Destruction Prophecies” in scripture, no one can reverse or overcome:
1. Destruction of Tyre Lebanon (573BC & 332BC)
2. Destruction of Babylon
(South of modern Baghdad, Iraq, 539BC)
3. Destruction of the Jewish Temple
What is interesting about these 3 prophecies is that all of them cross two ages of double entendre; Israel and the Church. If these prophecies don’t convince you to put your faith in God’s word, nothing will! Further, if you completely read this article you will discover why the 3rd Jewish Temple cannot be rebuilt in the end time, a proof that most end time writers have gotten wrong (John Hagee, Irvin Baxter, Hal Lindsay, Chuck Smith, etc).
A 2 1/2 mile circumference island city, 150 foot high walls, already 2,300 years old by 332BC, 1/2 mile from the mainland coast, surrounded by shallow ocean water with wind driven corrosive waves that acted as a moat, impregnable and unapproachable! The ancient island city of Tyre (Hebrew Tsur, Rock) of 332BC was the most secure city of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Tyre of Phoenicia* was both a mainland city and an island city. Recall that Tyre had a King named Hiram that helped David and Solomon build the first temple, supplying craftsman and cedar timber (from Mt. Lebanon) for the project. Due to its advantageous geographical position and excellent ports, Tyre became one of the wealthiest trading cities in history.
After Ezekiel’s prophecy (586BC) of destruction regarding Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar immediately set out to destroy the mainland city, but he couldn’t bring down the island city even after a 13 year siege (he gave up in 573BC). Alexander the Great finished the destruction of the island city after a 7 month siege (332BC) using his own version of the CB’s (US Navy Construction Battalion). He built a 200 foot wide causeway road (mole) inch by inch out to the island, meanwhile protecting his workers with two huge tarp covered siege engines, which deflected missiles from archers and catapults swarming his workers out of boats on all three sides.
As foretold, Tyre was under God’s judgment because of its role in taking financial advantage of conquered Jerusalem during its deportation to Babylon. It cruelly acquired and sold Jewish slaves (one of its key trades) to the highest bidders. Whereas Nebuchadnezzar was only able to destroy the mainland city of Tyre, Alexander victoriously conquered the island city of Tyre (240 years later), killing 8,000 defenders, crucifying 2,000 of its inhabitants, and selling 30,000 of its residents into slavery.
It’s one thing for God to punish His chosen people for violating the covenant, it’s quite another to take advantage of them while He is doing it. You can find yourself under divine judgment by exploiting someone when they are down*.
* Joseph P. Kennedy became a wealthy American Scotch Whiskey distributor following the end of prohibition, in partnership with Franklin Roosevelt’s oldest son. He gained tremendous wealth after making shrewd real estate purchases from people devastated by the economic depression of 1929, increasing his net worth 45-fold in 5 years. He became the 9th wealthiest American courted by politicians for contributions, but despised for his greedy ruthlessness and ambition.
* Phoenicia was responsible for a script that most ancient Middle East peoples used for writing. Their own language was near exact with Hebrew with differences only in the non-use of ‘definite articles’ and in ‘feminine nouns’ which do not have the Hebrew ‘hah’ termination. The word Tyre is the ancient Greek pronunciation of Tsur (rock, the rocky coast). This is also the root word for Assyria (Ah-tsur-ia) which the ancient Greeks coined.
Here are the first scriptures of this incredible predictive prophecy (Ezek 26, 27, 28).
Ezekiel 26:2-3 ESV “Son of man, because Tyre said concerning Jerusalem, ‘Aha, the gate of the peoples is broken; it has swung open to me. I shall be replenished, now that she is laid waste,’ (3) therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will bring up many nations* against you, as the sea brings up its waves.
Note that in this prophecy, God says ‘nations’ not ‘nation’. Tyre was repeatedly besieged and destroyed after this prophecy was uttered, first by the Babylonians, then the Greeks, then the Syrian Greeks, then the Romans, then others including the Crusaders. This city received ‘no rest’ from repeated waves of armed conflict.
Isaiah’s* well known 740BC prophecy foretells the destruction of Babylon city and of it’s destiny to never be inhabited again.
Isaiah 13:19-22 KJV And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (20) It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.
*Isaiah’s prophetic office lasted 64 years, 762BC-698BC
Jeremiah, in 593BC, was given the “Day of God’s Vengeance” prophecy (Jeremiah 51). It was dispatched with Seraiah (Baruch’s brother), after being scribed by Baruch (Jeremiah’s scribe). It was to be read to the exiles in Babylon, the 10,000 from the 597BC deportation.
Seraiah accompanied the 593BC caravan of King Zedekiah during an official delegation visit by the Jewish vassal. Nebuchadnezzar called Zedekiah to Babylon for what was most likely an accountability and loyalty report. Seraiah was the supply officer in charge of provisions for Zedekiah’s* troupe, the eastward bound train of wagons heading from Jerusalem to Babylon’s world headquarters.
During this confusing time of the Jerusalem monarchy, Zedekiah (a regnal name) was Nebuchadnezzar’s vanquished vassal King (loyal appointed governor) over Judah. It was 597BC. Zedekiah’s nephew, Jeconiah, the brief King of Israel of 3 months only, had rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar like his father did, King Jehoiakim. This caused the return of the Babylonian army back upon Jerusalem.
Recall Jehoiakim and Zedekiah were both King Josiah’s sons (Josiah reigned 640BC – 610 BC) separated by a long age difference. Jeconiah was Josiah’s grandson but near the same age as Zedekiah, his uncle. Scripture references these leaders by both Regnal names and Circumcised names, which can confuse a reader.
Jehoiakim = Eliakim: Josiah’s son who reigned in Jerusalem from 610BC – 598BC as a vassal King; first of Egypt, then Babylon. He had a much younger brother, King Zedekiah and a teenage son, 3 month King Jeconiah. Jehoiakim foolishly burned the prophecies that Jeremiah brought to him at God’s instruction (Jeremiah 36). He died a natural death but the people did not mourn him or bury his body, as was customary. They dragged Jehoiakim’s body outside the eastern walls of Jerusalem into the Gehenneh valley, a refuse dump, to stink and rot in the sun like an expired ass discarded along a highway (just as Jeremiah foretold in Jeremiah 22:18-19).
Jeconiah = Jehoiachin: Jehoiakim’s son who at age 18, reigned for 3 months after his father’s death (598BC). He was made a permanent captive of Nebuchadnezzar until Nebuchadnezzar death. He was released from captivity at age 55 (as were all Jews imprisoned in Babylon at that time, 561BC) by Nebuchadnezzar’s successor (his son Evil-Merodach). Jeconiah disappears from Jewish history at this point.
Zedekiah = Mattaniah (Matthew): Made a vassal King by Nebuchadnezzar at age 21, he was the youngest son of King Josiah and near the same age as his nephew, King Jeconiah. He finally rebelled against Babylon’s tribute after being encouraged by Pharaoh during a general Middle East revolt in 587BC. Zedekiah lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem shortly thereafter, was captured trying to escape with his sons near Jericho, witnessed his sons beheading, then was blinded in both eyes before being taken permanent captive into Babylon (just as Jeremiah foretold in Jeremiah 32:3-4). Zedekiah’s history disappears at this point as he most likely died in the palace dungeon of Nebuchadnezzar.
This “Day of God’s Vengeance” prophecy foretold the severe punishing events Babylon would endure for it’s role in subjugating Jerusalem, above and beyond God’s decree. God never suggested that Babylon should destroy the Temple in 586BC or abuse the Jewish people, as they took them into captivity.
Here are some of Jeremiah’s words against Babylon. I encourage you to read this passage, although it is the 5th longest chapter in the Bible (I shortened it below to highlight its themes).
Jer 51:1 This is what the LORD says: “I will stir up a destroying wind against Babylon and the people of Babylonia.a 2 Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff.… Let her army be completely destroyed…
4 They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians, slashed to death in her streets. 5 For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” 6 Flee from Babylon!
Don’t get trapped in her punishment!
It is the LORD’s time for vengeance; He will repay her in full…11 Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields!e For the LORD has inspired the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple…13 You are a city by a great river, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut. 14 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name:
“Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields swarming with locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.”… 24 “I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia
for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. 25 “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth “I am your enemy,” says the LORD. “I will raise my fist against you, to knock you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble. 26 You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the LORD…29 The earth trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the LORD has planned against Babylon stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. 30 Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks, their courage gone. They have become like women…35 Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,” say the people of Zion. “Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,”
says Jerusalem. 36 This is what the LORD says to Jerusalem: “I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up Babylon’s river, as well as her springs…39 And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, and they will never wake up again,” says the LORD. 40 “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed. 41 “How Babylon [Sheshach] is fallen— great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! Now she has become an object of horror among the nations… 45 “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the LORD’s fierce anger… 49 “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed. 50 Get out, all you who have escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch—flee while you can! Remember the LORD, though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem.” 51 “We are ashamed,” the people say. “We are insulted and disgraced because the LORD’s Temple has been defiled by foreigners.” … 58 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: “The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground, and her massive gates will be burned. The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!”…59 The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah… 60 Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. 61 He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll... 63 When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. 64 Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.'”
There are several interesting restoration fulfillments for Israel and the Church in the ‘Day of Vengeance‘ prophecy above. It’s a typical double entendre prophecy chock full of allusions cross referenced to the book of Revelation. Let’s look a little closer.
The book of Revelation reveals that two cities are in fact Babylon, the compromised syncretic false Church. To the west, the Latin version of Constantine’s State Church. To the east, the Greek version of Constantine’s Church. Soon after the Christology councils, the State Churches of Constantine began to persecute anyone who held a different revelation regarding Jesus. Thus, this historical picture identifies Roman Catholicism and it’s daughters along with Greek Orthodoxism and its daughters, as the spiritual Babylon (the two feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s metal man).
Physical Babylon (in Iraq) and the two cities of spiritual Babylon (Rome and Constantinople) are deliberately compared by scripture to give us the proper meaning – types and shadows – in order to prepare the end time Church.
I find it interesting that Jeremiah’s Day of Vengeance prophecy scroll was tied to a rock and tossed into the Euphrates. This is where Cyrus (called the Lord’s Messiah) entered the Ishtar gate. Note, 4 angels are tied to the Euphrates river then loosed in the book of Revelation (Rev 9:14). Is Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 51) a battle plan for God’s true Church to subdue and defeat spiritual Babylon in the end time?
The Ishtar Gate
It was the grandest of the eight gates that cut through Babylon’s double walls. The Ishtar gate was both a portal and a bridge at the river Euphrates. Because of Babylon’s double walls, the Ishtar gate had two doors or checkpoints a citizen of Babylon had to pass through to gain entrance onto the palace grounds and complex. Isaiah accurately foretold of its future existence and doors (Isaiah 45:1).
The city Babylon was a fortress with 70′ thick double walls that towered 300′ high, with 8 gates surrounding it. So, how did Cyrus gain access to the normally closed doors of these gates? Answer: It was an inside job, a fifth column of military commanders that hated the King and who saw the handing writing on the wall (Daniel 5:25-29).
The Ishtar gate opened the way to the ‘Processional Way’ where military parades traversed the Royal Palace grounds from the West bank of the Euphrates. It was a bloodless takeover, engineered by the enemy within.
Cyrus immediately released the Jewish prisoners enslaved by the party boy co-regent, King Belshazzar (Nabonidus* was Belshazzar’s father), heir of Nebuchadnezzar. However, like their forefathers before them (the Exodus), many of the Jews now had Stockholm syndrome, afraid to leave the familiarity of their captors employment.
* Nabonidus was not popular in Babylon and made his residence in Tayma. It was clear that Nabonidus’ mother was a worshiper of the god ‘Sin’ which Tayma was preeminent. This offended the Babylonian Marduk worshipers. The priests of Marduk are most likely responsible for helping Cyrus invade through the Ishtar gate, gaining access to kill Nabonidus’ son, Belshazzar, during his drunken abuse of the Temple’s vessels of the LORD.
3 gods of Babylon’s False Worship
The glazed bricks of the Ishtar gate have been reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. The blue bricks, a veritable crossword puzzle reassembled by archeologists, show a tri-theistic worship system that existed in Babylon. The gods Ishtar, Adon, and Marduk are skillfully formed and glazed into the exterior walls that surround each of Babylon’s eight gates.
Babylon’s ruins have never been successfully rebuilt in Iraq, although Sadaam Hussein attempted to do so from 1978-2003. As he found out, the Iranian war resulted in the shelling of the new construction only then to be occupied 20 years later by the US Army. No man can abrogate God’s word.
Jewish Temple & Jerusalem
Finally, we come to the 3rd prophecy that cannot be abrogated. The is Jesus’ prophecy regarding the city of Jerusalem and it’s Temple. Consider the following.
As He spoke from within the Temple Courts 3/31/33AD
Matthew 23:34-39 KJV Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: (35) That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth…(37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (39) For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
As He spoke from the Mount of Olives 3/31/33AD
Matthew 24:1-2 KJV And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. (2) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Can this prophecy be abrogated? Can the Temple stones be rebuilt? Many exegetes have said yes, but history tells us otherwise! Here is the story.
Roman Emperor Julian
(ruled 360AD – 363 AD) of Constantine’s lineage was a military commander, a neoplatonic philosopher, and writer. He was also the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire who tried to save the empire by restoring the old values and pagan ways. He therefore was called Julian the Apostate. He hated Christianity and viewed it as the source of Rome’s problems.
Being the last emperor of the Constantinian dynasty, the son of Constantine the Great’s half-brother, Julian attempted to prove Jesus a false prophet by rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem in 363AD. The effort failed dramatically.
Emperor Julian’s friend, Ammianus Marcellinus, wrote about the restoration effort of the Jewish Temple in these words.
Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense, the proud Temple once again at Jerusalem, and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. Alypius set vigorously to work, and was assisted by the governor of the province; when fearful balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, continued their attacks, till the workmen, after repeated scorchings, could approach no more: and he gave up the attempt.
It was also noted that in an attempt to abrogate the Temple prophecy of Jesus, that an earthquake also occurred in Jerusalem at this very time in 363AD. Christians accredited the earthquake to God sustaining the Temple prophecy of Jesus! The Jews and Romans attributed the quake to coincidence. Regardless, the Prophecy still stands and cannot be abrogated.
Isn’t it interesting that so many Christians today believe that the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem during the tribulation period before the Antichrist is revealed? Emperor Julian would testify,
“Not going to happen!”