Daily Archives: June 7, 2014

Miscellaneous Bible Questions: Who Were the Assyrians in the Bible?

 

The Assyrians were the inhabitants of a country that became a mighty empire dominating the biblical Middle East from the ninth to the seventh century BC. They conquered an area that comprises what is now Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. In the seventh century BC, Assyria occupied and controlled the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The capital of Assyria was Nineveh, one of the greatest cities of ancient times. Excavations in Mesopotamia have confirmed the Bible’s description that it took three days’ journey to go around this city (Jonah 3:3). The Assyrians were a fierce and cruel nation who showed little mercy to those they conquered (2 Kings 19:17).

The Assyrians were a thorn in the side of Israel. Beginning in 733 BC under King Tilgath-pileser, Assyria took the Northern Kingdom’s land and carried the inhabitants into exile (2 Kings 15:29). Later, beginning in 721 BC, the Assyrian king Shalmaneser besieged Israel’s capital, Samaria, and it fell three years later (2 Kings 18:9–12). This event fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that God would use Assyria as the “rod of His anger” (Isaiah 10:5–19); that is, the Assyrian Empire was implementing God’s judgment against the idolatrous Israelites. The sovereign God takes full credit as the source of Assyria’s authority (compare Isaiah 7:18; 8:7; 9:11; and Daniel 4:17). Secular history records that in 703 BC Assyria under King Sennacherib suppressed a major Chaldean challenge.

Given the Assyrian threat against Israel, it is understandable that the prophet Jonah did not want to travel to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1–3). When he eventually arrived in the Assyrian capital, Jonah preached God’s impending judgment. After hearing Jonah’s message, the king of Assyria and the entire city of Nineveh repented, and God turned His anger away for a time (Jonah 3:10). The grace of God was extended even to the Assyrians.

In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, in 701 BC, the Assyrians under Sennacherib took 46 of Judah’s fortified cities (Isaiah 36:1). Then they laid siege to Jerusalem—the Assyrian king engraved upon his stele that he had the king of Judah caught like a caged bird in his own country.

However, even though Sennacherib’s army occupied Judah up to the very doorstep of Jerusalem, and even though Sennacherib’s emissary Rabshakeh boasted against God and Hezekiah (Isaiah 36:4–21), Assyria was rebuffed. Hezekiah prayed, and God promised that the Assyrians would never set foot inside the city (Isaiah 37:33). God slew 185,000 Assyrian forces in one night (Isaiah 37:36), and Sennacherib returned to Nineveh where he was slain by his own sons as he worshiped his god Nisroch (Isaiah 37:38).

In 612 BC, Nineveh was besieged by an alliance of the Medes, Babylonians and Scythians, and the city was so completely destroyed that even its location was forgotten until British archeologist Sir Austen Layard began uncovering it in the nineteenth century. Thus, as the Babylonian Empire ascended, Assyria dropped off the pages of history.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Creation: What Is the Age of the Universe?

 

In Genesis 1:1, we are told that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible gives no date for the creation; the only hint is that it happened “in the beginning.” In Hebrew, the word for “beginning” isbereshith, meaning literally “head.”

All Christians agree that God created the universe. Where Christians have a difference of opinion is in the interpretation of the wordday (Hebrewyom) in Genesis chapter 1. Those who hold to a literal, twenty-four-hour “day” believe in a young earth; those who hold to a non-literal, poetic “day” believe in a much older earth.

Many scholars and Christian scientists believe the worddayin Genesis refers to a literal, twenty-four-hour day. This would explain the repetition throughout Genesis 1 of the statement “and there was evening, and there was morning.” One evening and one morning make up one day (in Jewish reckoning, a new day begins at sunset). Others point to the non-literal use of the word “day” elsewhere in Scripture, i.e., “thedayof the Lord,” and argue that evening to morning does not equal a day, and should instead be understood as figuratively referring to beginnings and endings of periods of time.

If the genealogies in Genesis chapters 5 and 11 and the rest of Old Testament history are interpreted strictly literally, the creation of Adam can be dated to approximately 4000 BC. But this would only date the creation of Adam, not necessarily the creation of the earth, let alone the universe. There is also the possibility of “gaps” of time in the narrative of Genesis 1.

All that to say, the Bible does not explicitly give the age of the universe. Got Questions Ministries takes the position of a young earth and believes that literal twenty-four-hour days in Genesis 1 is the better interpretation. At the same time, we do not have serious disagreements with the idea that the earth and the universe might be significantly older than 6,000 years. Whether the differences are explained by gaps or by God creating the universe with the “appearance of age” or by some other factor—a universe older than 6,000 years does not cause significant biblical or theological problems.

Ultimately, however, the age of the universe cannot be proved from Scripture or from science. Whether the cosmos is 6,000 years old or billions of years old, both viewpoints (and everything in between) rest on faith and assumptions. It is always wise to question the motives of those who argue the earth must be billions of years old, especially since the Bible does not appear to support such a presupposition.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Holy Spirit: Will the Holy Spirit Be Present during the Tribulation?

 

The question of the Holy Spirit not being present during the tribulation results from a misunderstanding of 2 Thessalonians 2:7, which reads, “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.” Right now, prior to the tribulation, one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is the restraint of evil. In verses 8 and 9, we learn that the restraining power of the Holy Spirit holds back the “lawless one” (Antichrist) so he is not revealed before God wills it. The passage says the Holy Spirit will no longer restrain the growth of evil, but that does not mean He will have no ministry whatsoever.

In Acts 1:4–5, Jesus promises that His disciples would soon be “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” In Acts chapter 2, Jesus’ promise is fulfilled. In verses 38 and 39, it is written that “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’ ”

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is thus assured for every born-again believer, and nowhere in Scripture is that promise rescinded. Regeneration is the Spirit’s work; without Him, no one is saved. If the Spirit were not present during the tribulation, no one could be saved. But the fact is that a multitude that no one can number is saved during the tribulation (Revelation 7:9–14). Therefore, those who come to Jesus during the tribulation period will also be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Give glory to God for making that provision, because tribulation saints will need the guidance and direction of the Spirit during that troubled time.

Another good reason that the Spirit must be present during the tribulation is that He is omnipresent. Since He is everywhere at all times, He must be in the world during the tribulation.

At some point—only God knows when—the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit will be removed, the Antichrist will be revealed to an unwitting and unsuspecting world, and the tribulation period will begin.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

End Times Prophecy Headlines; June 7-8, 2014

Do Not Be Surprised…This ‘n’ That (06 June 2014)

 

  • Are you facing tough times? Trial? Testing? Pope Francis wants you to turn to the “Mother of God” for solace.
  • Today, Canada, tomorrow, America? Perhaps, but we serve a sovereign God and thus have no need to fear the passing things of this life.
  • Anyone have a copy of this book? Looks like a classic. (Classic heresy, that is.)
  • Until this article, I didn’t even know about the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. I probably could have died happy never knowing about it, actually.
  • The Brady Bunch just wouldn’t have been the same without Alice.
  • Sigh. No Bible handy? Just use the Kindle version. Even if you’re swearing in a U.S. ambassador.
  • I don’t care how wonderful the sermon illustration is, no God-respecting, God-revering pastor should wear a sports jersey to preach his sermon.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • And this is horrendous. A summer camp that teaches young boys to act like homosexual cross-dressers? I don’t know what’s more twisted: the idea itself, the fact that it’s been around for awhile, or the fact that a parent would send his child here.
  • Here’s a double dose of Mr. Johnson for you as Phil discusses the biblical concept of liberty.
  • Carl Lentz really is getting quite a bit of press these days.
  • Did Jesus go to Hell?

Source

Crew Member Or Passenger

I was listening to a message by Adrian Rogers the other day and he stated that most Christians think they’re on a cruise ship instead of a battle ship. I’ve thought a lot about that and it makes a lot of sense.

He was referring to the fact that we Christians are in a spiritual war, but most don’t even know it. Most Christians think they’re just passengers, out to enjoy the ride and soak up the sun.

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The evolving universe of matter and energy: America’s rising worldview of evil spirits

After two mystical encounters with the evil spirit Zarathustra, the dark prophet Nietzsche announced the “death of the Christian God.” Dubbing himself the Antichrist, Nietzsche proclaimed:

“The greatest recent event – that ‘God is dead,’ that the belief in the Christian God has ceased to be believable – is even now beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe; however, few really understood ” what has really happened here, “and what must collapse now that this belief has been undermined – all that was built upon it, leaned on it, grew into it; for example, our whole European morality.” (False Dawn, Lee Penn, p. 433)

From the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry, there were those who received Him but many more, like Nietzsche, who would not, and so it will be until the end. The former are those who admit and humbly confess their sinful condition while the latter, being full of stubborn pride, covetousness, and envy will not.

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600,000 Brazilian Evangelicals Participate in ‘March for Jesus’ Event Ahead of FIFA World Cup

Over half a million Christians gathered throughout Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last week to partake in “March for Jesus,” an annual event intended to showcase the country’s growing evangelical population. The march was held under the slogan “I belong to Jesus. I am a champion,” in honor of the participants’ faith and the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, which Brazil is hosting beginning June 12.

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