The history of History is a series of repetitive cycles. Contexts change but the replication endures. As a researcher, my interest is to recognise the replication of the past in present developments. That stems from my belief that History is not a shut book but is a living reality being replayed over and over. Awareness of historical cycles, therefore, facilitates a better understanding of the present.
This sermon evolved from a chance reference to three chapters of the prophet Ezekiel – 26, 27 & 28 – an aspect of which is unique in Biblical history. Reflecting upon them, my thoughts were immediately directed to the likelihood or possibility of replicas of the king of Tyre in our time as forerunners to what Paul refers to as the “lawless one” in his second letter to the Thessalonians. With that Introduction, let’s explore the parallels.
Tyre or Tyrus was an ancient Phoenician port city, now part of Lebanon. It was a leading hub of trade and merchandise which made it very wealthy. In chapter 27, Ezekiel lists its extensive trading network and the range of goods it managed – almost like Rotterdam is in Europe today. But its characteristics marked it out for strong moral condemnation as these references show: Isaiah 23; Jeremiah 22: 25; 27;Ezekiel 26 & 28; Joel 3; Amos 1; Matthew 11.
Of course, Tyre was not alone in attracting condemnation: Sodom, Gomorrah, Sidon, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Korazin were all denounced in the Bible. But the focus Ezekiel provides on the king of Tyre is what merits discussion and poses the question of replicas in our world today.
Jesus marked Capernaum, Bethsaida and Korazin out for specific punishment because they failed to repent, despite the miracles he performed there. “I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you,” he said [Mt 11: 24]. Tyre, of the Old Testament, engaged God’s wrath partly because it was also a centre of religious idolatry and sexual immorality. But what distinguished it from the other morally perverted places was its ruler.
In chapter 28 of Ezekiel, [verses12-19] God gives us the unique background of the king of Tyre:
You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you…….you were anointed as a guardian cherub for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God….. you were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God and I expelled you, O guardian cherub….your heart became proud and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour. So, I threw you to the earth….by your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries…
There is no other reference in the Bible to a cherub being a sovereign ruler on earth. In traditional literature, Cherubs were regarded as the second highest in the celestial hierarchy. So does this mean that the king of Tyre was not human? Conjecture and speculation are all that theologians can offer on that score. But there is consensus that the king of Tyre was Satan-directed. The detailed references from verses 1 to 10 of chapter 28 of Ezekiel on who this ruler was, are quite exceptional which is why it merits special attention in terms of biblical and historical context.
What outraged God that the king of Tyre proclaimed himself as a god:
“In the pride of your heart, you say ‘I am a god; I sit on a throne of a god.’ But you are a man and not a god… because of your wealth, your heart has grown proud. Because you think you are wise, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations….they will bring you down to the pit and you will die a violent death…. You will be but a man, not a god, in the hands of those who slay you…”
Before continuing to examine the thread of this episode, what needs emphasis here is God’s utter rejection of anyone who puts himself above God. He marks narcissism and pride as fundamental flaws and steps in failing to acknowledge God for what he is. Pride scores 49 negative mentions in the Bible. In Proverbs [8:13], God’s view is blisteringly clear: “I hate pride and arrogance.” To quote another Proverb loosely, ‘fear of the Lord, is the mark of a wise man.’
The prophecies made against Tyre proved true. Nebuchadnezzar attacked mainland Tyre in 572 BC and besieged it for 15 years plundering and destroying it. But the island part of Tyre survived until 332 BC when Alexander the Great fulfilled the rest of the prophecy which referred to “throwing your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. I will make you a bare rock and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt.”[Eze 26: 13-14]. Having created a bridge or a causeway with the rubble of the city, Alexander marched across and destroyed the port facilities of Tyre reducing it to bare rock on which a small number of people subsequently eked out an existence by fishing.
God’s wrath against Tyre leaves no doubt as to how he treats rejection, and the contempt he feels for man-centred supremacy and arrogance. How he derides being shunned, ignored, and replaced by idols.
Are there parallels with Tyre in our time?
Whether there is a replica of the king of Tyre today, a fallen cherub, one cannot say. There could be a case made for an individual called Dr Yuval Noah Harari. Referred to by the Christian publication, World Net Daily [11/3/22] as “the evil man behind the world’s most dangerous man,” Harari is the chief adviser on trans-humanism to Klaus Schwab, the boss of the World Economic Forum which is pledged to depopulate the planet, destroy capitalism, Christianity and nation states and to establish a totalitarian, Orwellian order. Harari wants science to replace natural selection by evolving a man-made human species – hence the term trans-humanism. In so doing Harari, Schwab and their adherents like Bill Gates, George Soros, Prince Charles and the other New World Order followers are prepared to defy what is written in the first chapter of Genesis, verse 27: “God created man in his own image…male and female he created them.”
Whatever Harari’s origin, by seeking to challenge God’s creation, he exhibits the same evil characteristics as the doomed king of Tyre. What is also certain is that there are many other adherents to the character of the king of Tyre.
The forerunner of trans-humanism appears to be the species called transgender. Violation of the body created in the likeness of God and endowed at birth is now encouraged by the Biden regime of America. Issued by the Office of Population Affairs in the interests of “supportive healthcare” and falsely titled Gender affirming Care, children are encouraged to submit to genital mutilation by chemical or surgical procedures to alter their biological identity. The programme stresses that such procedures are for the “overall health and well-being of the child. They improve mental health and increase happiness” [World Net Daily, April 4, 2022].
Frank Graham, son of the renowned, late, evangelist, Billy Graham, has condemned Biden’s taxpayer-funded promotion of this policy as “a lie from Hell and the most wicked initiative we have seen come out of Washington.” Yet Biden denies what opponents correctly call “child abuse,” as “neither malpractice nor maltreatment.”
Aligned with this, is what is called “grooming” in American schools. It involves exposing children to the idea of transgender, through exhibitions by Drag Queens and perverted sexual acts. This collected experience destabilises a child’s development and natural evolution towards puberty and adulthood while marginalising the role of parents in the family. Adding to this subversion is the promotion of what is called gay rights. The entire month of June was declared “Pride Month” by the Biden Democrat regime. That tells you exactly where its priorities lie. The heritage hallmarks of Independence Day and Thanksgiving are celebrated only on single days. But sexual perversion gets a whole month. Even the king of Tyre did not go that far. Yet engraved above the Capitol building in Washington DC and on every US banknote are the words In God we trust.
Of course, this evil is aimed at destroying the nucleus of society – the family. The transformation of a society starts with the disintegration of family values. Another Biden policy that is being applied to that end is the promotion of the Marxist programme called Critical Race Theory –CRT – in schools. In that, the transformation of society requires indoctrination and subversion, with children as soft targets. CRT promotes racial polarisation and division. It denigrates history and heritage and Christian values. Already CRT has succeeded in dividing communities and caused a violent confrontation between parents and schools in some states. One governor bold enough to oppose it is Florida’s Ron De Santis who has banned CRT in his state.
Illustrative of the extent to which evil pervades Biden’s America is the official branding of parent opponents of CRT as “domestic terrorists” who pose a “threat to democracy.” Already there have been several cases where agents of the FBI – now called the Federal Bureau of Intimidation – have stormed the homes of parents opposed to CRT, subjected them to interrogation and violation of their private property. But that is not all. In April the Biden Administration established a “Disinformation Governance Board” to combat “misinformation” in order to address “issues of national security.” To that end, the Big Tech companies are assisting with “fact-checking” so as to prevent “misinformation” on social media from “weakening democratic institutions,” as former president Obama phrases it.
The latest assault of evil is in the form of violent protests against the Supreme Court’s reversal of the 1973 decision on abortion known as Roe v Wade which made abortion a countrywide right of women. But as Justice Alito stated in writing the court’s decision, Roe was wrong from the start because the constitution makes no reference to abortion while the 14th amendment gives everyone protection under the law which obviously excludes the right to kill one’s, undelivered child.
The new position of the court on abortion is that it is up to the individual states to determine the terms and conditions of abortion or to oppose it as Texas did at the time of the Roe case.
Morally the court has really just passed the buck on abortion to the states and evaded declaring outright that, with the exception of extreme health circumstances, abortion is wrong. But the hysteria against the court and pro-life Americans again reflects the extent to which intolerance and permissiveness is wielded by Satan’s stooges.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, was reported on July 3 stating that terminating the life of the unborn is “a freedom for every American.” She has condemned the court justices as “extremists who want to control and punish Americans.” Pelosi is a Catholic yet she has defied the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco’s ruling that because of her stand on abortion she may not receive the sacrament of communion.
Before the end of June, 28 pro-life organisations and several churches, mostly Catholic, had been attacked and vandalised by pro-abortion extremists. Death threats against two of the Supreme Court justices and protests outside their homes have not been condemned by Pelosi. Although he vowed to uphold the constitution when he took the oath of office, Biden says he supports a “mini-revolution” against the Supreme Court’s decision and indicated that Congress should pass new legislation to nullify it. Such conduct by a president has no precedent.
Ironically, the same supporters of abortion are opposed to the death penalty for crimes like murder. Yet they see nothing wrong with terminating the life of an unborn as late as the final days of pregnancy. Such barbarism was normal in the time of the king of Tyre but has no place in a society that claims to trust in God.
The Bible is very clear about killing children. In Deuteronomy 18:9-11, God declared that he detested those who “sacrifice son or daughter in the fire.” In 2 Kings chapter 21, Manasseh the king of Judah, the most evil of Israel’s kings, erected altars to Baal, sacrificed his own son and “did much evil in the eyes of the Lord.” God’s wrath and punishment were extreme. If God judged that conduct as deserving of destruction, what will become of nations today that kill the unborn on a far greater scale?
The deranged state of morality in America is reflected in the outrage of Big Pharma and its political servants at the reversal of the Roe decision because, for them, abortion is a cash cow industry. They will no longer be able to benefit directly from Federal government financing of foetal research and instead will have to depend on what legislation the different states produce.
Anticipating that situation, the Democrat Governors of North Carolina and Colorado have announced that their states will be abortion industry destinations for women “who are wrongly criminalised for their personal health decisions” [WND, 7 July]. The Biden regime has even announced taxpayer-financed transportation for women to states where abortions are routine.
The jargon of the pro-abortion mob such as “Planned Parenthood” and “women’s rights” is merely window-dressing to provide social acceptance of promiscuity and permissiveness which, in turn, has resulted in abortion not only being accepted as normal but enjoying taxpayer funding. That accounts for the abortion of over 60 million pregnancies which is why it is regarded as an industry and why a womb is no longer a safe place. Thinking people usually distinguish between rights and responsibilities but when society deems such considerations as unnecessary, it licenses evil.
America’s raging culture war has been simmering under the radar for years. But it is more than a culture war. It is a deep moral crisis that reflects the abandonment of God. It is the result of decades of infiltration by the godless into every strata and aspect of society – from the White House through the Congress, universities, media, law, science, and business down to mayors and sheriffs. It is a swamp called Deep State by conservative, God-fearing Americans. Its harvest is a mindset of paganism, perversion and profligacy of every sort, rampant materialism and the view that government, not God, is the giver of life. The Bible has many accounts of such societies that perished as a result. The apostle John warned of this trap set by Satan:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. [1 Jn 2:15-17].
Another distinct replica of the king of Tyre is billionaire socialist George Soros. He bankrolls every anti-Christian institution in America and Europe because, along with the World Economic Forum, his goal is to abolish the US constitution and transform the country into a borderless, Third World hemisphere. In his July 4 message to America, he declared war on the Supreme Court and the Republican Party labelling them ‘domestic enemies’ that are turning America into a ‘repressive regime.’ He claimed they represented a bigger threat to democracy than Russia or China.
Soros’ unambiguous message characterises the dire nature of the political climate in America in 2022 which is proving a watershed not only for America’s destiny, because if Satan’s grip is not loosened there, dark times will prevail over the rest of humanity. Nonetheless, the growing pushback against the policies of the Biden regime is encouraging. With mid-term elections due in November even Biden’s most loyal followers sense that conservative, God-fearing, America-first Republicans are going to vote the globalist Democrats out of office and drain the swamp. Besides the issues already mentioned, a groundswell of awareness is permeating the airwaves through alternative media sources which propagate truth and expose falsehood. This is evident from the dramatic fall in the viewership of the bullhorns of the godless – CNN, NBC, CBS, Netflix and Disney, particularly since the latter two have embraced the pagan “woke” culture.
The situation in America to some extent resembles what the apostle Paul encountered on a small scale in Thessalonica. At that time the most important Roman highway, extending from Rome to the Orient, went through Thessalonica. Like Tyre, it was a large city and seaport, a wealthy, flourishing trade centre that the Romans recognised as a free city. As a result, multi-culturalism, an assortment of lifestyles and pagan beliefs posed a great challenge to the fledgling Christian community Paul was trying to establish.
Paul was subjected to persecution by the Jews during his first visit to Thessalonica [Acts 17: 5-9], so he was well aware of the struggle Christians faced there. In many ways, ancient Thessalonica mirrors the challenges faced not only by decent Americans but by Christians in the 21st century. During Paul’s first visit to Thessalonica, he managed to avoid a mob of hooligan elements organised by the Jews who then started a riot in the city.
In cities like Seattle and Minneapolis, what Paul called “bad characters,” Antifa urban terrorists and BLM fascists, trash, vandalise and burn public property with impunity because the police have been defunded. A summer of rage is occurring across America as the insurgents of the Deep State attempt to make the country ungovernable ahead of the mid-term elections.
The violence that threatened Paul in Thessalonica, which forced him to withdraw to Berea, and where even there, for his own safety, he was subsequently obliged to flee, reflects the challenge upright Christians face in defending the values that have made America great.
The message to take home from this sermon is the relevance to our time of the Bible’s accounts of the abandonment of God’s ways. John Bunyan in his timeless, Bible-referenced classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress, written 340 years ago, shows how vulnerable we are to evil even when we have passed through the narrow gate. Salvation is not a matter of ticking the right boxes.
What is occurring in America should not be regarded as something that is remote and isolated. We live in a global village in which distance is no longer a barrier and communication is immediate.
The evil alliance menacing America, the extent to which millions of Americans have succumbed to the influence and control of that alliance, reminds one of the passages in Genesis where Abraham inquired of God whether he would sweep away the righteous of Sodom along with the wicked. As the exchange between Abraham’s questions and God’s responses indicates, if it came down to only ten righteous souls in Sodom, God said he would not destroy the city [Gen 18:23-33]. So there is hope for America because the righteous there number millions.
Our Fallen world has witnessed evil throughout its history. God has permitted evil – both to punish and to test people. Jesus’ mission was to serve as the perfect example of how to avoid evil and to gain salvation, “that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men,” as Paul wrote [2Th 3:2].
2022 for America and for God-fearing people worldwide is a test the outcome of which needs prayer and faith which is how Thessalonica ultimately triumphed over evil. The Bible shows us that the best security is faith in the Lord.
————Duncan Du Bois, August 2022 ©