Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #7 of Genesis, chapter 10 and we are going to read Genesis 10:10-12:
And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
In our last study, we were discussing the wording found in verse 11. I mentioned that some commentators have said that verse 11 should be translated as follows: “Out of that land he went forth to Assyria and builded Nineveh…” However, they took some liberties with the lack of the masculine pronoun and a preposition not found in the original text in order to give that verse a different meaning. I think the King James translators did translate the verse correctly – it was Asshur (not Nimrod) that went forth and builded Nineveh and the city Rehoboth and Calah. We will read about Asshur a little later, in Genesis 10:22:
The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
Of course, the children of Shem would have been already been born at the time of the children of Ham, so Nimrod is at least a grandson (if not a great grandson) of Ham and, therefore, it would fit that Asshur had already been born and later went out of the land of Shinar to build Nineveh. The land where the great city of Nineveh was built became Assyria and Asshur’s name is the same as the name “Assyria.”
Spiritually, what does Assyria represent? When we search the Bible, we find the Assyrians represent the kingdom of Satan or the kingdom of this world. For example, it says in Isaiah 10:5-6:
O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
We find that God raised up the Assyrians as a rod of His anger to inflict punishment upon His rebellious people of Israel, the 10 tribes in the North (Samaria) and God brought judgment upon Israel using the Assyrians to destroy them. It was the Assyrians that defeated Israel in the North and overcame them, so the Lord used the Assyrians like He would later use the Babylonians to come against the people of Judah, the outward representation of the people of God. The Assyrian assault against Israel spiritually teaches the same thing as the Babylonian assault against Judah. When God brought the Babylonians against Judah He raised up that fierce nation and the fierce king of Babylon, whom the Lord called “my servant” to bring judgment against the rebellious people of Judah. They were the rod of God’s anger: “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation.” These are figures of God’s judgment against the apostate church at the end of the world when the church age ended.
We know that following the 70-year period from 607BC to 539BC (after the Babylonians overcame the land of Judah) is a picture of the entire Great Tribulation period. At the end of 70 years, then Babylon fell and the judgment turned. God was no longer using the Babylonians to judge His people, but God turned the judgment on Babylon for their trespass in daring to lift up their hands against God’s anointed. Spiritually, the judgment on Babylon points to the judgment on the kingdom of Satan. Satan and his emissaries had come against the apostate corporate church at the end of the church age and Satan and his forces brought spiritual destruction upon the world’s churches and congregations. That served God’s purpose, although God did not cause them to sin, but He knew they would commit that sin and that sinful act would accomplish God’s purpose to bring destruction on the corporate churches. Following that, on May 21, 2011 God turned His judgment upon Satan and the kingdom of this world, which is what is in view with the fall of Babylon.
We find the same picture with the Assyrians. God used them as an instrument of judgment to destroy Israel in the North, but then we read in Isaiah that they went beyond that. It says in Isaiah 37:10:
Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
This was a spokesman addressing King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem warning them that they should not be deceived into thinking that Jerusalem would not be given into the hand of the Assyrians. Assyria had already destroyed Israel in the North and several other nations and this was a picture of God bringing judgment on the corporate church. However, Hezekiah is a type of Christ and, in this case, Jerusalem is a picture of the elect or “Jerusalem above.” Whenever God saves one of His elect they become citizens of heavenly Jerusalem. Often God makes a distinction between the two. For instance, it says in Zechariah 14:2:
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
It sounds contradictory. How can the city be taken and the houses rifled and the women ravished, but God would not cut off the residue (remnant) of the people from the city? It is because both “Jerusalem below” or earthly Jerusalem and “Jerusalem above” or God’s heavenly Jerusalem are both in view. God’s judgment impacts Jerusalem below (the corporate church) and there is destruction, but at the same time all the true believers are not “cut off from the city,” or Jerusalem above. It is impossible for the elect to be “cut off,” no matter what happens to the earthly representation of the kingdom of God, the corporate churches. It has no bearing on the position of the elect. The elect are safe and secure within the kingdom of heaven. For instance, the Lord teaches this in 2Corinthians 5:1:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved…
The “earthly house” would be the corporate churches we can see on the street corners. The plural pronoun “we” is referring only to the elect and God is talking about the earthly house being “dissolved” and this word is translated as “thrown down” in Matthew 24 where it speaks of there not being one stone upon another that shall not be “thrown down.” Just as Matthew 24 is speaking of the corporate church, so, too, is 2Corinthinans 5:1:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
The elect know and understand that we have an eternal dwelling. We are citizens of an eternal kingdom and that is why there is a big difference between the child of God and someone that is not a child of God. Both the “wheat” and the “tares” dwelt together in earthly Jerusalem or “earthly house,” but at the proper time and season God opened the information that revealed that judgment had begun upon the house of God. For God’s elect, we were given ears to hear, but we were also in a special position because we had “dual citizenship” in Jerusalem above and Jerusalem below. We heard that Jerusalem below was being “cut off” or “thrown down.” They were being abandoned by God. But for God’s elect, we still had our “membership” in the spiritual, eternal Jerusalem above and we were willing to obey God’s command to come out of the midst of the churches.
On the other hand, the tares within the congregations only had assurance and security in Jerusalem below or the “earthly house,” the outward representation of the kingdom of God. They had no eternal assurance and security because they had no real “membership” or citizenship in a heavenly country. They were only members of something that represented a heavenly country, so they received the news much differently – it was terrible news for them. If they were cut off and their earthly house was thrown down, they have nothing left because they have no citizenship in the real kingdom of God and, therefore, they are frightened and fearful of losing their church membership in the corporate body. They fight against the idea of the end of the church age and they lash out against it. They view losing membership in the earthly body as akin to losing all relationship to God and salvation. Again, this is their only connection to the kingdom of heaven and, therefore, they must hold on and they must insist that the church age is not over. This is not the case with the child of God.
In Isaiah 37 after God raised up Assyria to bring judgment against the “hypocritical nation,” the corporate church, and accomplished the judgment upon the corporate body of Israel, then they came against Judah, but it is a different picture. It is as if Satan and his emissaries had accomplished the judgment on the corporate body and then they were attempting to bring judgment upon the spiritual body of God’s elect, so we find that God will not allow it. Again, it says in Isaiah 37:10-13:
Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?
In the previous chapter, it says in Isaiah 36:18-19:
Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, JEHOVAH will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
This passage indicates that Samaria (Israel) had been conquered by the Assyrians. It goes on to say in Isaiah 37:14-20:
And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of JEHOVAH, and spread it before JEHOVAH. And Hezekiah prayed unto JEHOVAH, saying, O JEHOVAH of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Incline thine ear, O JEHOVAH, and hear; open thine eyes, O JEHOVAH, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. Of a truth, JEHOVAH, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O JEHOVAH our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art JEHOVAH, even thou only.
Notice what Hezekiah did when he received the letter from the messengers of the king of Assyria. He did not fight back and get in a “war of words” with them or dispute with them. Instead, he took the letter and spread it out before JEHOVAH. You know, we can relate to this in some ways because the king of Assyria and the Assyrian army were proud and arrogant because they had been victorious in conquering all the nations. They had even conquered Samaria. Do you see how that relates to the “beast” in Revelation, chapter 13? He rose out of the sea and he was worshipped by everyone whose name was not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life – all the nations came under his rule. The beast was Satan who had been loosed at the time of the Great Tribulation and he overcame the camp of the saints. He overcame all the nations, including the outward representation of the kingdom of God on earth, the New Testament churches. Therefore, he was “puffed up” and in his pride and arrogance he was spouting all sorts of “great things.” Just consider all the things that were said in the churches over the course of the Great Tribulation. We can see how the people of God have experienced much reviling and mockery and, yet, we do not fight back. We do not argue with them. However, we can take it to the Lord and we can say, “O, Father, you know all. You know what the world is saying and you know what the churches are saying and doing against thy people. And, Lord, we cannot fight them, but you understand.” And we “spread it out” before God.
For instance, in this Day of Judgment, do you not think that God is aware of the parties that were taking place on May 22, 2011 and the tremendous rejoicing that took place in the churches as they denounced that good and faithful man, Mr. Camping? He was reviled, as never previously experienced. Was God aware of the how His people were disdained? Is God aware of the attitudes in the world and in the churches? Of course, He is and we can “spread it out” before Him and we can say, “O, Lord, see. O, Lord, help. O, Lord, fight for us.” God has fought for us as we have entered in to the Day of Judgment. God is turning the table on (spiritual) Babylon. God is turning the table on the (spiritual) Assyrians. God is fighting for His people against them. We also read in Isaiah 37:33-38:
Therefore thus saith JEHOVAH concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith JEHOVAH. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. Then the angel of JEHOVAH went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
We see here that Judgment Day is again in view. God used the Assyrians as the rod of His anger and they accomplished His purposes in defeating Samaria. In defeating Samaria, it pointed to the end of the Great Tribulation and then they came against “Jerusalem above” or God’s elect and God will not permit them to win that battle. God entered the fight and this fits with what we read about Jehoshaphat when he went forth the army that came against Jerusalem. It was said that he had no need to fight in that battle because the Lord would fight for them and when they came to the watchtower in the wilderness, they found their enemies were all dead because they had killed one another. God brought about their destruction and the people of God did not have to do anything. Jehoshaphat and his army simply gathered the spoil. So, too, in this passage in Isaiah 37, Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem did not fight. They shot neither bow nor spear. They woke up early in the morning and the “angel of JEHOVAH” (the Lord Jesus Christ) had smote 185,000 Assyrians, an enormous number of soldiers that were destroyed. This army had been round about Jerusalem and they would have destroyed Jerusalem. They were an experienced army that had won many battles, but they were as nothing against the Lord. God does not specify how He destroyed them, but they were all dead. In our next study, we will look at the significance of the number “185,000.”