Class Notes: 9/9/2020
Jonah, Nineveh, and Nemesis postponed part 1
2Chron 7:13-14; "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Isa 55:10-11;As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
1Cor 4:5; Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
Some principles we can derive from of our brief study of Nineveh and Assyria is that if they can repent anyone can repent, that God extends His mercy even to the merciless and help to the helpless but judgment is always waiting in the wings because no one can ever thwart God.
During our study on evil we noted Jonah 3:10; where God sent Jonah to warn the Assyrians that they were involved with evil, that made them culpable to the fifth cycle of discipline that is always administered through evil but because of their repentance God relented from executing the fifth cycle of discipline and He did not permit whatever evil that was threatening to attack them at that time.
During the dispensation of Israel, the Jews were the custodians of God's Word and responsible for its dissemination. This made Israel a missionary nation.
Their Patriarch Abraham was a missionary under the title "Hebrew," that means, "the one who crosses the river." Abraham who was from Ur crossed the Euphrates river to evangelize the Canaanites. Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre are three of his converts who are mentioned in God's Word. Gen 14:13;
The reason for the Jews' failure to take the gospel to the Gentiles is discussed in Rom 9:30-33; but there were some exceptions and Jonah is a case in point even though he was a reluctant missionary. God's grace overruled Jonah's reluctance and Nineveh was evangelized in spite of the Jonah's negative volition.
God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn them of imminent disaster if they did not repent. Jonah 1:1-2;
Nineveh was founded by Nimrod around 2000 BC, (Gen 10:8-11;)was the capital of the great Assyrian Empire that became the first empire that ruled Mesopotamia for almost 1400 years.
Nineveh was situated on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, 50 miles from its mouth 250 miles north of Babylon directly across the river from present day city of Mosul, Iraq. Assyria is one of the first nations mentioned in God's Word Gen 2:10,14;
Assyria appears to be the first world ruling empire in human history because it actually came into existence before the head of Gold that represented Babylon in Daniel's dream of the rise and fall of gentile nations throughout all of human history. Dan 2:31-38;
Nineveh was along a caravan highway that passed through Haran along its route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Abram who became Abraham spent a lot of time in Assyria during his travels from Ur through Haran on his way to Canaan. Gen 11:31;
The Assyrians brought many scientific, philosophical and practical advances to humanity
including many inventions that we take for granted. Most of us lock our doors when we leave the house, locks and keys were invented in Assyria.
They also invented a system that kept time and determined a circle to be 360 degrees. They are credited for inventing paved roads, the first postal system, the first use of iron, the first libraries, and the first plumbing that included flush toilets and aqueducts.
They developed the first hierarchical governmental administration that was comprised of independent territories ruled by local governors who reported to a central authority similar to what we have in the USA.
Ishmael, Abraham's son with Hagar settled on the road between Egypt and Assyria away from his relatives. Gen 25:16-18; per the prophecy of Gen 16:12;
In Ezekiel 31:3-14; Ezekiel's prophecy against Egypt provides us with a historical panorama of Assyria's rise and fall. The prophecy is actually a warning to Egypt that it would also succumb to arrogance and be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon just like Assyria was.
In this prophecy Egypt's greatness is compared to Assyria's greatness. Assyria held significance to Egypt because up to that time Assyria was the only Mesopotamian nation that had been able to invade Egypt. In 633 B.C. Assyria entered Egypt and destroyed the Egyptian capital of Thebes.
When the prophecy was written, Babylon had already destroyed Assyria and Ezekiel was warning Egypt that Babylon would subsequently enter Egypt and destroy it.
Ezekiel's prophecy compares Assyria to a cedar in Lebanon. For a thousand years Assyria dominated the Middle East, towering like a cedar higher than all the trees of the field. Trees correspond to nations in the prophecy.
Nineveh and the key Assyrian cities were situated on or near the Tigris River that provided much needed water and ease of travel. Assyria therefore grew like a cedar that is nourished by copious amounts of water provided by the river system.
Jonah 4:11; tells us that there were 120,000 people who had not reached the age of accountability in the city so accounting for the very high infant mortality rate of the day, 120,000 young people would indicate a population greater than 500,000.
If this is so then at the time it was probably the largest city in the world. Jonah 3:3; tells us it was a 3 day walk across the city. The circumference, according to ancient historians, was sixty miles. Its skyline must have been an amazing sight with over 1,500 towers soaring above the walls, that are described as being as wide as city streets and one hundred feet high.
The walls were as wide as a 4-lane highway because four chariots could run side by side as they traveled on the top of the walls.
But as great as the city was in wealth and splendor, it was also great in wickedness. The Assyrians were not only the wildest and toughest, but also the vilest and most evil people on the face of the earth. In fact, so vile were they that their wickedness was described as having reached unto heaven.
God told Jonah that, "Their wickedness has come up before me." This tells us that the odor of their evil had reached God. This is a Hebrew idiom that means that Nineveh "stinks to high heaven" because the stench of the people's wickedness from sin, and evil is so bad that God can smell it in heaven.
This is the same kind of description given to Sodom and Gomorrah only they weren't spared because of their arrogance. Gen 18:16-21;
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