TEEN TREE OF LIFE

God’s Goodness  –  Part 4

April 25, 2021

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

Moving ahead in our study about God’s Goodness, we’re going to look more closely at the city of Nineveh – the oldest and most populated city of the ancient Assyrian empire. The Ninevites story in the Old Testament teach us how very amazing God’s Goodness truly is!!

 

Nineveh was built by Nimrod who was the grandson of Ham who was Noah’s son: Nimrod became a mighty hero on the earth. He was a mighty hunter in the Lord’s eyes. That’s why people sometimes compare others with Nimrod. They say, “They are like Nimrod, who was a mighty hunter in the Lord’s eyes.” The first capital cities of Nimrod’s kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh. These cities were in the land of Babylon. From that land he went to Assyria. There he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir and Calah. He also built Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah. Nineveh is the most famous city. (GEN 10:8-12 New International Reader’s Version) Nineveh was located on the east bank of the Tigris River, at the intersection of important north-south and east-west trade routes. This added to the value of its fertile agricultural land that was perfect for grazing sheep and cattle.

 

The Assyrian economy was based on agriculture and herding but its citizens also benefited from being situated near these important trade routes. The Assyrians aren’t remembered as traders themselves, but as tax collectors who got rich on merchants who passed through their territories. They also got rich from the taxes and payments they demanded from other rulers and nations. At the height of its success, Nineveh dominated the region from eastern Egypt to the Persian Gulf. Over the years, the city’s kings were looked upon as semi-divine figures whose power and splendor overwhelmed all opposition.

The most ambitious building of this period was King Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh. He adorned it with wall reliefs and other forms of sculpture. A relief is a wall-mounted sculpture in which the three-dimensional elements are raised from a flat base. The figures who are portrayed, project from a supporting background. These often-elaborate palatial wall reliefs weren’t only intended to be decorative. They were made primarily to depict the king as holy and prestigious. The reliefs also depicted scenes of the king’s good deeds, especially in battle. The luster of Nineveh’s former glory is still evident in these pieces of art which are still around today!! Some are housed in the British Museum. A wall relief of King Sennacherib is shown in the photo to the left.

 

Much of the art work which was eventually excavated from the Nineveh’s royal palaces bears violent witness to the kings’ barbaric military strategies. These tactics included besieging cities, impaling their enemies, and deporting the prisoners they took captive. When you consider how the Ninevites gained power, do you recognize how their tactics are eerily similar to those being used in the cosmic system, today? And still, you will see how good God was to the Ninevites – despite their barbaric and unholy behavior.

 

As you can imagine, all of this enabled the people of Nineveh to rule successfully for a very long time. And, as you might have already figured out, their success made the Ninevites extremely arrogant. We learned in the last two Teen Tree’s that God first sent the prophet Jonah to warn them about their arrogant and sinful behavior and that the entire city, including the king at the time, turned away from their evil ways. It was quite a turn-around for these reversionistic people. Reversionism is an act of reversing or turning in the opposite way. A reversionistic believer turns away from God.

 

Believers like us in the Church-Age were created to execute God’s Pre-Designed Plans for their lives. And the threat of reversionism exists for us, just like it did for the Ninevites. When Church-Age believers become reversionistic, they begin thinking human viewpoint. They start living sinful lives – just like they did before they believed in Jesus Christ. Like it did with the Ninevites, sin becomes a way of life. Yet, God in His Goodness always provides a way of recovery. And what is the recovery? It’s rebound – which is Problem-Solving-Device (tool) number one. Rebound is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

When you study God’s Word, you have to do it in a correct way. Have you ever learned about I.C.E.? I.C.E. is an acronym that teaches us the way God’s Word must be interpreted. (An acronym is a word formed by putting together the first letters or parts of a series of words in a longer phrase. S.C.U.B.A. (as in scuba diving!) is actually an acronym for “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.” Cool, right??

 

You should make sure you have a pastor/teacher who teaches by according to the acronym I.C.E. Let us take a moment to understand why.

 

The first letter in I.C.E. stands for Isagogics. This refers to the importance of looking at is the historical setting.

 

The second letter stands for Categorical which means that The Bible must be studied through the scrutiny of the particular doctrine as recorded throughout the Scripture, line upon line, verse upon verse, and category upon category. So, Scripture must be used to interpret Scripture. No scripture can stand alone.

 

The third letter stands for Exegesis. This means that The Bible should be studied in the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek), paying strict attention to grammar, syntax, and the origin of the words from the original languages.

 

All of this information leads us to look at the HISTORY of Nineveh (Isagogics!). You’ll be amazed at the parallels between what God’s Word teaches us and what the historians wrote. History books describe it as a lawless and ruined city. The Greek literary giant Aristotle wrote about its sinfulness, describing Nineveh’s legendary last king – Sardanapalus – in very unflattering terms. The ancient Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily wrote about Sardanapalus’ extremely wild behavior, including having concubines and eunuchs in the palace.

 

In Judaism, a concubine is a marital companion of inferior status to a wife. Among the Israelites, men commonly acknowledged their concubines. Such women enjoyed the same rights in the house (or palace) as legitimate wives did.

{to be continued}

 

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