Question:

I have questions about the book of Ezekiel.

Why does God refer to Jerusalem as Sodom in various verses in Ezekiel 16? Did Jerusalem become as bad or worse than Sodom was, but God did not destroy them because of his promise to Abraham? Homosexual activist always cite this chapter as "evidence" that God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality, but because they did not care for the poor.

In Ezekiel 28:12-15, was the king of Tyre once a righteous king? From the reading of it, it reads that he was until he acquired riches, and then he believed that he was a god. Or could God be referring to somebody else in 12-15?

Now, in Ezekiel 26:7-14, God promises that Nebuchadnezzar will come and destroy Tyre. But in Ezekiel 26:3-6, God states many nations will come against Tyre. Could you clarify on this? I researched Tyre supposedly had to pay tribute to Babylon to end Nebuchadnezzar's siege and that Alexander the great ultimately conquered Tyre over 200 years later.


Answer:

Ezekiel 16 compares Jerusalem to an unfaithful woman, who was found as an infant, raised to become the wife of a great man, but who uses her wealth to become idle and turns to harlotry. God uses a variety of illustrations to show just how deep into sin Jerusalem had wallowed. In the latter part of chapter 16 God compares Jerusalem to the already fallen city of Samaria and the infamous city of Sodom.

"Your elder sister is Samaria, who dwells with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who dwells to the south of you, is Sodom and her daughters. You did not walk in their ways nor act according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you became more corrupt than they in all your ways. As I live," says the Lord GOD, "neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done.

"Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.

"Samaria did not commit half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and have justified your sisters by all the abominations which you have done. You who judged your sisters, bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; they are more righteous than you. Yes, be disgraced also, and bear your own shame, because you justified your sisters.

"When I bring back their captives, the captives of Sodom and her daughters, and the captives of Samaria and her daughters, then I will also bring back the captives of your captivity among them, that you may bear your own shame and be disgraced by all that you did when you comforted them. When your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, return to their former state, and Samaria and her daughters return to their former state, then you and your daughters will return to your former state. For your sister Sodom was not a byword in your mouth in the days of your pride" (Ezekiel 16:46-56).

Jerusalem didn't commit the same sins as Samaria or Sodom, but God said that what she did do was even worse that these cities. The mistake people make in reading Ezekiel 16:49 is assuming that this is the only reason God destroyed the cities. What God is detailing is where the root cause of Sodom's sins originated. Homosexuality is mentioned because God said they "committed abomination before Me." Jude words it this way, "As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7). "Strange flesh" is a polite way of referring to unnatural sexual acts of homosexuality. But the point in Ezekiel 16 is that Sodom's sins were a consequence of its wealth that lead to idleness (Genesis 13:10).

Sodom and the surrounding cities were captured by a coalition of kings from Mesopotamia in the days of Abraham. Abraham and his men conquered this invading army to rescue his nephew Lot and as a side-effect restored Sodom's people (Genesis 14). God makes a parallel to this to the restoring of Israel (Samaria) and Judah (Jerusalem) in the future after their captivity. Like Sodom's rescue, it isn't because Sodom was so great or deserved to be rescued -- neither is Jerusalem deserving of rescue. God has other plans and the rescue of Jerusalem is a side-effect of those plans. When Jerusalem realizes this they will be ashamed. See: Jerusalem as an Unfaithful Woman for more.

Regarding Tyre, God draws a parallel between the king of Tyre and Satan. Here his wealth lead to pride which was his downfall. He started with a lot of advantages in life, but he didn't use those advantages for good.

God foretold of repeated hammering by various nations against Tyre that brought it down, only to recover and be brought down again. For details see: Judgment on Tyre.