Ezekiel Chapter 27 Destruction of Tyre

Jul 7th, 2009 | By | Category: Ezekiel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ezekiel Chapter 27 Destruction of Tyre

Ezek. 27:1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

Ezek. 27:2 Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus;

Like Chapter 26, this chapter is a prophecy of the destruction of the city of Tyre (or that power or government) because of past actions, particularly their attitude toward Israel in the 606 BC captivity. Ezekiel 27:1–25 is a word picture of the tremendous wealth of both Tyre and the papal system.

Ezek. 27:3 And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty.

A maritime power, Tyre was strategically located “at the entry of the sea”; i.e., it was a good harbor on the Mediterranean coast. Since the Mediterranean Sea is very stormy at times, harbors must be large and adequate. Not many harbors were of that caliber; Haifa and Tyre were two.

Notice Tyre’s high-mindedness and vanity: “I am of perfect beauty.” In other words, “I will not age; I am indestructible.” The parallel is Papacy’s high-mindedness: “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow” (Rev. 18:7).

Ezek. 27:4 Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty.

Ezek. 27:5 They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee.

Ezek. 27:6 Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim.

Chapter 27 pertains to ships and the construction of ships. Beautification of the city of Tyre depended upon importing or procuring from neighboring and distant places the necessary materials.

In the spiritual picture, Tyre represents Papacy, the leading power in Christendom and Satan’s masterpiece of deception and counterfeiting. Proof of this representation is as follows: Tyre (1) had a boastful attitude, (2) derived its revenues from the seas (waters/ peoples), and (3) was an international city with goods coming from all nations. Babylon and the river Euphrates in Revelation Chapter 16 correspond to Tyre and the seas. Both cities were situated on the waters (peoples), having control and acquiring wealth thereby.

“Senir” is Mount Hermon. The cedars of Lebanon, noted for their stature, were used for ship masts. Tyre was world-renowned for its ships. Chapter 27 tells the origin of the various raw materials needed to construct the ships. Incidentally, the residents of Tyre were sometimes called Phoenicians depending on the period of history.

“Bashan” was across the Jordan River to the north. The “isles of Chittim” were in the Mediterranean Sea, not too far away. Tyre was like the capital of a mariner people. The “Ashurites” may be the Assyrians.

The description in verses 4–6 is a little clearer in the Revised Standard Version: “Your borders are in the heart of the seas; your builders made perfect your beauty. They made all your planks of fir trees from Senir; they took a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you.

Of oaks of Bashan they made your oars; they made your deck of pines from the coasts of Cyprus, inlaid with ivory.” The materials and craftsmen came from many locations; hence Tyre was an international power.

Ezek. 27:7 Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee.

The “isles of Elishah” were also in the Mediterranean Sea. Fine linen came from Egypt. Ships were the primary means of transportation to obtain the various materials.

Ezek. 27:8 The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy mariners: thy wise men, O Tyrus, that were in thee, were thy pilots.

Zidon (Sidon) was close to Tyre—they occupied the same area. Tyre afforded employment to neighboring peoples. Zidon and Arvad provided mariners; that is, they were the crew.

But those who steered and guided the ships and made decisions were from Tyre itself. The  correspondency to Papacy is remarkable, for orders come from Rome, the centralized authority, and decisions are made in Rome, whereas cardinals, priests, etc., are scattered around the world.

Ezek. 27:9 The ancients of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee thy calkers: all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise.

The Book of Genesis gives the origin, the progenitors, of some of the peoples listed in verses 9–15. However, we should keep in mind that Ezekiel, in speaking of these various parties, was talking of contemporaneous peoples. And we should not confuse Ezekiel 27 with Ezekiel 38 and 39. The latter are prophecies of conditions thousands of years hence. Some of the nations referred to in Ezekiel 38 and 39 were not in existence at the time Ezekiel wrote. In speaking of things way future, Ezekiel was limited to using the peoples of his time.  The antitypical caulkers are those theologians who help the pope to rebut so-called heresies.

These verses paint a picture of a great power. Just as the wealth of the nations was brought to Tyre, so the Papacy has been given great gifts of art, buildings, jewels, etc.

Ezek. 27:10 They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.

Ezek. 27:11 The men of Arvad with thine army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadims were in thy towers: they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect.

Ezek. 27:12 Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.

“Persia” is Iran. The Lud and Phut of verse 10 were in Turkey (as opposed to the Lud and Phut in Africa). Tyre had those who lived closer to the city provide fortifications (Lud, Persia, Phut, and Arvad). This way Tyre could be sure there were no traitors. In antitype Papacy has Swiss Guards (especially an elite guard for the pope) to protect it.

The term “Gammadims” is used only once in Scripture and its meaning is uncertain. Young’s Concordance defines the term as meaning pygmies, warriors, giants, etc., but the definitions are just a guess.

How well built this ship was! Tyre’s very wise ambassadors and pilots correspond to St. Jerome, Ignatius, and others of Papacy. By reason of its riches, Papacy has attracted great minds.

“Tarshish” is Spain in this context. Tyre traded all around the Mediterranean basin, and Spain was known for its mineral wealth.

Next are listed Tyre’s mineral wealth and implements of war, which indicate a league with civil power. Like Tyre, Papacy is only a tiny state but very wealthy, powerful, and strategically located.

All of these places existed in the days of the prophet, and each was noted for particular goods. It is not important to look for an antitype here. The narrative is simply showing a worldwide maritime power that corresponds to the universal Roman Catholic Church.

Ezek. 27:13 Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market.

In this context “Javan” is probably Greece, and “Tubal” is in eastern Turkey, north of Mount Ararat. Hence Tyre dealt commercially with peoples on the Black Sea too, going through the Dardanelles.

“They traded the persons of men.” Slave traffic was carried on. In fact, there were far more white slaves down through history than black ones. Greeks and Jews were made slaves, for example. Spiritually speaking, trading with “the persons of men” corresponds to Revelation 18:13, for the Babylonish whore, the Roman Catholic Church, has made merchandise of the souls of men.

Ezek. 27:14 They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules.

“Togarmah” was in Russia near Mount Ararat, in Armenian territory.

Ezek. 27:15 The men of Dedan were thy merchants; many isles were the merchandise of thine hand: they brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony.

“Dedan” was probably in Africa rather than in India. Almost all of the forces that went down against Israel during her history as a nation are mentioned in this chapter.

As Tyre (Papacy) got richer, those who traded with her also gained in wealth.

Ezek. 27:16 Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate.

Ezek. 27:17 Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm.

Ezek. 27:18 Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and white wool.

Damascus was north of Israel (presently in Syria). For these land routes, camels were used. Damascus is considered by some to be the oldest city; others think Jericho is the oldest. Helbon was near Damascus.

The King’s Highway went from Egypt through Sinai and north on the other side of the Jordan River all the way up to Damascus; that is, a main highway went from Egypt to Damascus. The other route, or highway, went from Egypt to Damascus by following the coast up through Gaza and Israel.

Wheat, honey, oil, and balm were traded by Israel, the “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exod. 33:3). Papacy adopted the “wares” of Judaism: robes, candlesticks, incense, prayers, coals of fire, etc.

Ezek. 27:19 Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market.

This “Dan” was not the tribe of Dan, and this “Javan” was different from the Javan of verse 13.

Ezek. 27:20 Dedan was thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots.

This “Dedan” was different from the one in verse 15.

Ezek. 27:21 Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants.

Bedouin were in the tents of Kedar.

Ezek. 27:22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.

The Sabeans came from this “Sheba,” and Raamah was related to Sheba.

Ezek. 27:23 Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad, were thy merchants.

Ezek. 27:24 These were thy merchants in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise.

Ezek. 27:25 The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.

Again “Tarshish” was Spain. With its mercantile fleet, Spain controlled the Straits of Gibraltar at that time.

Antitype: The Roman Catholic Church has been doing worldwide commerce. Businesses, craftsmen, cathedrals, robes, incense, etc., are all part of a universal religious empire with natural dealings that have resulted in the prosperity of many people. Revelation 18:11–16 shows that when the system goes down, the kings and merchants who benefited financially from the Roman Catholic Church will mourn.

Ezek. 27:26 Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas.

Verse 26 is prophetic; it begins to paint a picture of doom. In the type the “wind” coming from the east brought destruction to Tyre twice, once at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and once by Alexander the Great of Greece. Babylon was to the east, and Alexander approached from the east.

The “rowers” brought Tyre into stormy waters. The undertow can drag a swimmer out to sea or hold him under water until he cannot reach shore. Accordingly, the multitude of merchants and wealth caused Tyre to be out of control. The rowers overextended themselves in quest of greater commerce.

In antitype the “east wind” is the “kings of the east,” that is, the glorified Church, who will divert the waters from mystic Babylon (Rev. 16:12). The direction “east” is used because the Tabernacle was entered from the east. In Ezekiel’s Temple, no one will be able to enter the east gate—it will be locked to show that the Church is complete. The people will enter the Temple through the north and south gates.

Ezek. 27:27 Thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war, that are in thee, and in all thy company which is in the midst of thee, shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin.

Ezek. 27:28 The suburbs shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots.

Ezek. 27:29 And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land;

Ezek. 27:30 And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes:

Ezek. 27:31 And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing.

Ezek. 27:32 And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and lament over thee, saying, What city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?

Verses 30–32 prophetically describe the wailing and mourning that took place when the city of Tyre was destroyed. The antitype will be similar.

In regard to the fall of literal Babylon, Cyrus and his army entered the city through the dry bed of the river that had been the source of revenue, protection, and commerce. Thus the very river that had enriched Babylon was the means of its downfall. The principle was the same with Tyre. Moral deterioration occurred because of affluence; riches corrupted the system.

When mystic Babylon (Papacy) falls, the people will desert the system. The desertion is shown by the continued symbolism of ships. All of the rowers and pilots on the ships deserted their posts. Those on board came up on deck and raced for land as fast as possible.

The “suburbs” of verse 28 are the Protestant churches and others related to the nominal religious systems. Waves and ripples (repercussions) will extend out to the suburbs. In reality the “cry” is the cry of doom.

Ezek. 27:33 When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise.

As the fall of literal Tyre adversely affected many from an economic standpoint, so it will be with the fall of Papacy.

Ezek. 27:34 In the time when thou shalt be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters thy merchandise and all thy company in the midst of thee shall fall.

Ezek. 27:35 All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee, and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in their countenance.

Ezek. 27:36 The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more.

Tyre “never shalt be any more.” Likewise, Papacy will go down like a millstone never to rise again (Rev. 18:21). By a comparison with its days of former glory, the Tyre of today is nothing; its power and opulence are gone.

“Their kings” will not just mourn—they will be “sore afraid.” Moreover, “they shall be troubled in their countenance.” The wording indicates the picture is changing to the antitype. Not only will riches be endangered, but more than that, the “kings” class associated with Papacy will realize their destruction is next. After the religious systems fall, the civil governments will go down.

“The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee.” The very merchants who were employed by the Roman Catholic Church will turn and “hiss” at it. The lamentation will turn to bitterness.

The international system will go down, taking all the wealth and employment with it: corporations, real estate, builders, etc. Verse 34 is a reminder of Samson. The Temple of Dagon was supported by two pillars, picturing the two divisions of the religious world: Papacy and Protestantism. When Samson pulled down the two pillars, the house collapsed.

When Roman Catholicism and her daughters go down, all of Christendom will fall.

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