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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)
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.
"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."
"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.
"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.
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?
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.