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Monday, May 16 2011

The Nineveh Prophecies

Nineveh was a very ancient city in northern Mesopotamia (as the area came to be known much later; "Mesopotamia" is from a compound Greek word that means between the rivers - in this case primarily the Tigris and Euphrates). The city was founded in the time of Nimrod, after the Flood (see also The Floods Brought By Christ).

"10:1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood." (Genesis 10:1 KJV)

"10:6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.

10:7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.

10:8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10:10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 10:11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 10:12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city." (Genesis 10:6-12 KJV)

By the time of Jonah, Nineveh had become the capital city of the Assyrian Empire (the English word "empire" actually originated from a later Roman military term, imperator, which meant conqueror i.e. "emperor" means conqueror; "empire" means the conquered).

"3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

3:3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey." (Jonah 3:1-3 KJV)

"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me"

As stated above ("the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time"), Jonah didn't go to Nineveh the first time that the LORD told him to go. The Assyrian Empire (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) by then had become a threat to Israel; patriotic Jonah would have preferred to see Nineveh destroyed by the LORD.

As the capital city, Nineveh in that time represented more than just a city; to the people of other nations, it defined a malignant political and military regime that was threatening and violating their sovereignty ("Berlin," the capital of Nazi Germany, was detested in the same way during the Second World War, as have been other capitals of aggressive "imperial" nations before and since that time). It was from that preference to see Nineveh annihilated that Jonah attempted to flee, by sea, from Joppa in Israel - hence his famous encounter with a "great fish," in which "Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights."

Nineveh

"1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them.

But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

1:7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

1:8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

1:9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

1:10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

1:11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

1:12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. 1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." (Jonah 1:1-17 KJV)

That historical event was used as a Prophecy by Jesus Christ as the only proof, to unbelievers, that He was the Messiah:

"12:38 Then certain of the scribes [see Why Did The Lawyers Hate The Messiah?] and of the Pharisees [see Was Paul Among Them?] answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here." (Matthew 12:38-41 KJV)

But notice that the prophecy about the historical events of Jonah and Nineveh included another prophecy, which was also directed at those who refused to repent and believe in Him i.e. "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here." That was accomplished after Jonah's experience in the fish - which, as Christ Himself said, represented Christ's death and resurrection.

From Christ's sacrifice is the means of forgiveness and salvation that comes from repentance - both of which were symbolized, first by the "risen" Jonas, and then by the people of Nineveh who repented at the preaching of the "risen" one's word. Interestingly as well, Jonah preached to the city for forty days - the same number of days that the Christ appeared to His followers from His resurrection to His ascension ("1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" Acts 1:3 KJV).

"3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

3:6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 3:7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying,

Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not." (Jonah 3:4-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: How are the "three days and three nights" of the Nineveh prophecies related to the Biblical proof of what day of the week Christ's resurrection actually happened?
See Why Observe The True Sabbath?


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This Day In History, May 16

360 BC: Agesilaus, king of Sparta (399-360 BC), died at age 84. He commanded the Spartan army through most of the period of Spartan supremacy in Greece (see also Ancient Empires - Greece).

218: The Accession of Elagabalus, the 25th Roman emperor (see Ancient Empires - Rome).

1137: (day of month approximate) Adela, the daughter of William I ("William the Conqueror"), sister of Henry I, died at age 75. Adela was the mother of King Stephen, who inherited the English throne through her lineage.

1532: Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro landed with a small band of soldiers on the northern coast of Peru.

1568: Mary, Queen of Scots, fled to England after her defeat at Langsides, Glasgow.

1620: William Adams died at age 56. The English navigator and merchant adventurer is regarded by some historians as "the first Englishman in Japan."

1770: Marie Antoinette married future King Louis XVI of France.

1879: The Treaty of Gandamak between Russia and England established the Afghan state.

1932: Japan's Premier Tsuyoshi Inukai was assassinated in Tokyo.

1941: The Parliament of Iceland ended a treaty with Denmark and proclaimed independence.

1943: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), British Lancaster bombers destroyed the Mohne and the Eder dams in Germany's industrial Ruhr basin using specially-developed "bouncing" bombs that skipped across the water like a thrown stone in order to strike the target from the side (as modern-day missiles can do).

1943: During the Second World War, the "Warsaw Uprising" in Poland ended. Thousands of Jews were killed in a fierce 4-week battle against the Nazi Waffen-SS (one of Adolf Hitler's "special forces" units; see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1961: Maj. Gen. Park Chung-hee staged a military coup in South Korea. He ruled until he was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979.

1980: 60 people were killed from an eruption of Mt. St. Helens in a remote area Washington State. Scientists estimated that the force of the eruption was 2500 times more powerful than the U.S. atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.

1988: The Soviet Army began leaving Afghanistan. The military "superpower" had occupied the country for eight and a half years, but left without being able to defeat the Afghan homeland defenders.

1995: Japanese police arrested doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahar in connection with the nerve-gas attack that killed 12 on Tokyo's subways two months earlier.





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Copyright © Wayne Blank