Iraq used to be known as Mesopotamia, “the land between two rivers”, because of the very fertile plain between the Euphrates and the Tigris river. The Tigris river (often called the Hiddekel river in the Bible), is the site of the ancient capitol city of the Assyrian empire, Ninevah.
Ninevah was also the city which the prophet Jonah attempted to avoid going to, though he was sent there by God, to preach repentance to the cruel and wicked Assyrians. When he did finally come to Ninevah, Jonah preached a very uninspiring message, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown! “ for their sins against God , but to his surprise and disappointment, Ninevah repented and was spared.
But roughly a hundred fifty years later, Ninevah was once again to be judged and destroyed, for going back to the very sins they repented of under Jonah.
The sins of Ninevah and the Assyrian empire were many but she was famed for her wanton cruelty in war and peace-
“Judged from the vaunting inscriptions of her kings, no power more useless, more savage, more terrible, ever cast its gigantic shadow on the page of history as it passed on the way to ruin. The kings of Assyria tormented the miserable world. They exult to record how ‘space failed for corpses’; how unsparing a destroyer is their goddess Ishtar; how they flung away the bodies of soldiers like so much clay; how they made pyramids of human heads; how they burned cities; how they filled populous lands with death and devastation; how they reddened broad deserts with carnage of warriors; how they scattered whole countries with the corpses of their defenders as with chaff; how they impaled ‘heaps of men’ on stakes, and strewed the mountains and choked rivers with dead bones; how they cut off the hands of kings and nailed them on the walls, and left their bodies to rot with bears and dogs on the entrance gates of cities; how they employed nations of captives in making brick in fetters; how they cut down warriors like weeds, or smote them like wild beasts in the forests, and covered pillars with the flayed skins of rival monarchs.” (Farrar, The Minor Prophets, pp. 147,148).
No wonder Jonah hesitated to go there and preach. Think about this…when He did, God was willing to forgive them! God would forgive ISIS or anyone who calls upon Him!
Enter the prophet Nahum,whose name means “consoler”, for his message would be a consolation to the Jews that Ninevah, the capitol city of their enemy would indeed finally be destroyed.
The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.(Nahum 1:1-5)
In 612 BC the Words of Nahum came to pass when a combination of several of Assyria’s conquered enemies revolted successfully, raised armies and ransacked the city and destroyed it . The revolt consisted of Medes, Persians, some Scythians, and was led primarily by Babylonians also.
Ninevah was situated along the banks of the Tigris river. At first the besiegers attempted to starve the city into submission, but failing that they began to consider how to use the river to their advantage. A pagan oracle predicted that Ninevah would never be defeated until the river became her enemy. During the siege an unprecedented amount of rain swelled the river, and undermined a portion of the city walls, and flooded part of the city itself.
Then the King, convinced that the oracle was accomplished and despairing of any means of escape, to avoid falling alive into the enemy’s hands constructed in his palace an immense funeral pyre, placed on it his gold and silver and his royal robes, and then, shutting himself up with his wives and eunuchs in a chamber formed in the midst of the pile, disappeared in the flames. Nineveh opened its gates to the besiegers, but this tardy submission did not save the proud city. It was pillaged and burned, and then razed to the ground so completely as to evidence the implacable hatred enkindled in the minds of subject nations by the fierce and cruel Assyrian government.” (Lenormant and E. Chevallier, The Rise and Fall of Assyria).From “The Destruction of Ninevah” by David Padfield
Thus was the prediction of Nahum accomplished that the city would be destroyed through an “overwhelming flood”,
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.(Nahum 1:7-8)
Nahum also predicted that many of those stationed on the walls of Ninevah would flee in the night, something verified by Babylonian records.
Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.(Nahum 3:17)
Another prediction of Nahum is startling, that in their final hours many of the Ninevites would be drunk, and because of that the towers would fall like ripe figs;
Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy. All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.(Nahum 3:11-12)
In a very short time the world’s most powerful and feared city(because of her cruelty) was besieged and wiped out as predicted by the Prophet Nahum.
What does this have to do with us?
In a surreal kind of way, history is repeating itself right before our eyes.
The Modern city of Mosul, on the Tigris river is the location of the ruins of Ninevah. The city of Mosul, a modern oil and banking city in Iraq, was captured by ISIS and established as ISIS’ headquarters.
ISIS, the modern counterpart to the Assyrians,are also known far and wide for wanton cruelty. One of ISIS’ first acts after conquering Mosul, was to blow up a shrine dedicated to the Prophet Jonah.They are known for Burning people alive, gassing them, Drowning them in cages, using children to cut off people’s heads, and filming it to pass out among themselves. ISIS also set up human slave markets in Mosul, and held women in pits in the ground to be abused sexually and bought and sold.
The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey, and his dens with ravin. Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts,(Nahum 2:12-13)
Once again the siege is erected around Mosul, (which contains Ninevah), and I think it strange that it is the same peoples, The Persians(Iran), Medes(the Kurds) and Babylon,(Iraqi Army) which has ISIS surrounded,(and 300,000 others as human shields). Water may even play a part as I mentioned in an earlier article, Mosul and prophecy,
One aspect of the Battle for Mosul/Ninevah struck an ominous remembrance of the detail of an ancient Prophecy. In Mosul there is a dam which was built on the Tigris River in Ninewa province. It is badly engineered, having been founded upon water soluble foundation, and which threatens to affect millions of people down river, should it burst. Al Arabya English language edition reports,
According to US Army engineers, the dam was built on ‘karst’ foundation, water-soluble rocks that are hastening subsurface dissolution. Since its commissioning in 1985, maintenance crews have had to continuously pour liquid cement under its foundation to fill the cracks, an operation called grouting, in order to keep the structure stable and secure. Without these constant injections, Iraq’s biggest dam would soon collapse causing a humanitarian disaster.
Al Jazeera say that the destruction of the teetering Dam would be worse than a Nuclear explosion,Daniel Pipes reports that there have been constant attempts by Terrorists to blow the Dam up , potentially killing hundreds of thousands.
We don’t know what the outcome will be, but it is fascinating to see Bible prophecy occurring daily before our very eyes. Maranatha !