Andrew Fountain - Stories of Fulfilled Prophecies

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0. Intro: Why tell stories?

  • Today I am going to tell three stories of how ancient prophecies have been fulfilled
    • For one of the stories we are going to see some video
    • First I want to look at the reason for telling these stories
    • Let’s look at 2 Peter 3:1-14
  • The reasoning here is pretty straightforward:
    • Jesus promised that he would come again (and judge the world)
    • It is not going to be as soon as people are expecting
    • In the meantime, people are going to mock God, saying in effect
      • There is not a God who supernaturally intervenes in Creation
      • Things have always been like this and always will be
    • The answer is that God has kept his promises in the past
      • so he will keep them in the future
  • So I am going to tell three stories of God keeping his promises

1. Tyre

  • The first story is about the city of Tyre
  • Long ago it was one of the great cities of the world
    • Established more than 2½ thousand years before Christ
    • The the people wore beautiful embroidered clothes
    • The Bible tells us of their wealth and luxury
    • But more than anything else, they had ships
      • They were the trading gateway between the East and the West
    • Some of their wealth and pride is described in Ezekiel 28 v2,4,5
    • But they had become extremely proud, and their trade practices had become corrupt
  • God prophesies that he will destroy this city Ezekiel 26 v3-14
    • Notice the details:
      • A king called Nebuchadnezzar
      • come from Babylon
      • bring siege engines
      • break walls
      • destroy city
      • smash towers
      • throw the rubble into the sea!
      • even the dirt scraped off to leave bare rock
      • a place for the spreading of fishermen’s nets
      • the surrounding cities would be terrified
      • it would never be rebuilt
  • Seventeen years after this prophecy was given...
    • The great King Nebuchadnezzar came and conquered Jerusalem
    • and then laid siege on Tyre
    • He wanted Tyre so badly because of his greed for the great treasure there
    • He did exactly what the prophecy said—he used massive force and battering rams
    • Eventually he smashed the walls down
    • But when he finally broke in, he found the place empty
      • He had forgotten that these people were experts in ships
    • There were a couple of islands just off the coast and the inhabitants had escaped and taken all their treasure
    • He and his army were furious and they took out their anger on the stones of the city
      • They smashed down everything they could and killed any stragglers they could find
    • Nebuchadnezzar when home without the treasures
      • and the new city prospered
  • But that about the rest of the prophecy?
    • Rubble in the sea? Even the dirt scraped off?
      • Who was likely to do a clean-up operation on this ruined city and throw all the rubble and dirt into the sea?
      • It doesn’t make sense!
    • A place for fishermen to spread nets?
      • Not possible—not even flat—heaps of ruins
    • Surrounding nations terrified?
      • Didn’t happen. The opposite!
    • Never be rebuilt?
      • although it hadn’t yet, it was still a prime location
    • For generations God’s promise remained unkept
  • 240 years later...
    • Alexander the Great and his mighty army were sweeping across the world
    • Nation after nation was falling before him
    • The Island City (which they called Tyre after the old city) laughed at him from their island fortress
    • But Alexander the Great was so determined that he decided to build a causeway 200ft wide from the mainland out to the island
      • Just under a km long
    • Guess where he got the material from to build the causeway?
      • He scraped the rock clean, even the dirt was used
    • He wiped out the new city and took the treasures
    • The surrounding cities were so shocked by his determination they all surrendered
    • Now it is a place to spread nets!
    • The causeway is still there!
    • The small town on what once was an island has taken the name of Sur
      • But the original city has never been rebuilt, and is no longer in a good location
  • Isn’t God amazing!
    • Why do you think he did it in two stages?

2. Nineveh

  • Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire
    • In modern-day Iraq
    • It was vast in size
      • 7½ miles of wall which was 100ft high and up to $150ft thick
      • Six chariots could race side by side along the top of the walls
      • Incredibly secure—no battering ram could ever break it, no army could climb it
  • But it was a very cruel city.
    • An earlier generation had repented after the preaching of Jonah, but they had returned again to violence
      • Nahum 3:1 says:
        • Woe to the city guilty of bloodshed!
          She is full of lies;
          she is filled with plunder;
    • Prophecies against Nineveh in the book of Nahum
    • Themes of
      • a flood
      • drunkenness
      • fire
      • the river overflowing
      • the walls being opened up to the enemy
  • Nothing happened for 100 years
    • Then the Medes and Babylonians came to besiege the city
    • But it was no use
    • The city was so big they had cattle and fields inside the walls
      • enough food and water to survive indefinitely
    • But God would keep his promise!
    • Right at that very time, as the armies were ready, the river Tigris flooded like it had never done before
      • It ran alongside the wall and whole sections of wall subsided
      • The giant gates were open and the city defenceless
    • At that time the king was having a drunken feast in his palace
      • They realized what was happening
      • Rather than allow themselves to be captured, they heaped up a great funeral fire in the palace
      • and all died in the blaze
    • The city was never rebuilt and it was not until 1845 that archaeologists even discovered where it was!
    • Show pictures

3. Babylon

  • Babylon was even stronger than Nineveh
    • In modern-day Iraq
    • One of the greatest cities of all time
    • One of the great wonders of the world
      • The temple of Belus was 600ft high
    • Walls up to 300ft high and 80 ft thick
    • Hanging gardens—build by one of the Emperors for a wife homesick for the hills
    • Isaiah called it “the Golden City”
  • Video: VTS_02_1.VOB (Moody—the Professor and the Prophets)
    • 6:20 - Petra
    • 10:53 - Babylon
    • 14:02 - Tyre
    • 18:15 end

4. The end of the World

  • 2 Peter 3:1-14
    • Peter says—God has kept his promises in the past, he will in the future
    • In several of the cases I have just described it looked like God would never complete his word
  • Three responses
    1. If you are not a Christian, you need to very concerned about God’s return
      • Only his people will go to heaven
    2. If you are a believer, are you ready? Will you be embarrassed
    3. Do you ever say “where is God?” “Why does he not answer my prayers?”
      • This is a great encouragement to us
      • God is real, his time-spans are not ours
      • be comforted
    • We will pray for you—
      • If you feel you need to know God’s reality in your circumstances now
      • If you are concerned to be ready when Jesus comes again to judge the world

Updated on 2009-11-01 (r.92) by Andrew Fountain

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