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The Faith of a Nation

 Ancient Lessons

It is of little doubt that Lincoln was thinking of the great kings of the Bible when he contemplated the "salvation of the Lord" that befell his own country, America. One of these infamous monarchs, Hezekiah, had received the word from the Assyrian king, Sennacherib (705-681 BC.), "Do not let the God you depend on deceive you when he says, 'Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.' Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my forefathers deliver them: the gods of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Sepharvaim, of Hena or Ivvah?" (II Kings 19:10b-13 niv)

The Jewish nation at that juncture of history found itself opposed to the most formidable foe the world had ever known. The Assyrian people, through mass destruction, had put together the first true empire in world history. Other cultures, such as the Egyptians, Akakadians, Cretans, Babylonians, and Hittites, had set out on conquests of their own, but none were able to affect more than just areas in their own locality. They were empires dominating particular areas of the Near East. Assyria though, exploded out of Mesopotamia like a whirlwind, subjugating anyone they pleased.

It was a nation who served the god Asur acquired from the Babylonians. Asur originally Asit, "the leader" in war, who in Babylon was associated with the sun, was a warrior-god who hurled himself at his enemies while armed with a bow with victory in his eyes. He was the figure of the ancient Nimrod, the "mighty hunter before the Lord" who had lead the people of the world into rebellion against God. The Babylonians had built a tower in order to become great themselves. They infuriated the Lord. It was because of that mutinous deed that the languages of the nations were confused and the people scattered throughout the earth. (Gen 10:8-11, 11:1-9)

The worship of this god was associated with the city of Asur, where he was worshipped. In the older empire, the combination of this warrior-god (who was the specific god of the commander of the army), and the deified capitol city to which the army belonged, caused Asur to become a national deity of this military kingdom. It was no wonder that the religion of that mighty nation glorified strength and power rather than ethical values. It is no surprise that they displayed a brand of cruelty that had never been witnessed before. A culture without an ethical base can only acquire the most sordid and vicious countenance.

The words of Tiglath-pileser I (c. 1076 BC) illustrates how this warrior-god filled the hearts of the Assyrian people with visions of world conquest. "With the help of Asur, my lord, I gathered my chariots and my troops. I looked not behind me. Mount Kashirari, a difficult region, I traversed. With their twenty-thousand warriors and their five kings, I fought in the land of Kutmuhi and I defeated them. The corpses of their warriors I hurled down in a destructive battle like the storm (god). Their blood I caused to flow in the valley and on the high places of the mountains. I cut off their heads and outside their cities, like heaps of grain, I piled them up. Their spoil, their goods, and their possessions, in countless numbers I brought out."

Except for a temporary faltering in the eighth century BC., the relentless force of the loot-hungry kings continued relentlessly until most of the Orient was subdued.

It was in the second Assyrian Empire, though, that the true strength of this nation's military might came to bear its awesome influence on the world. Tiglath-pileser IV (745-727 BC) was the one who made Assyria the dominant power in Western Asia. The army was re-organized and made invincible as the empire now became centralized in Nineveh, to be governed by a bureaucracy headed by the king. This famed capitol of the ancient Assyrian empire was located 280 miles north of Babylon, on the banks of the Tigris River in Mesopotamia, a stone's throw away from man's origin in Eden.

Originally built by Nimrod himself, Nineveh was called the "Robber City," for it overran and pillaged other nations to enrich itself. This was no minor metropolis. If the statement in John 4:11 that says the city contained 120,00 persons who could not tell between their right hand and left was referring to children, then the population would have numbered about 600,000. At any rate it was a three day's journey to walk across it. (John 3:3)

For centuries the city remained without a wall in an era when walls were the main means of protection for any metropolis. This shows the confidence of these antagonistic aggressors who knew they were safe in the power of their own might. It was the antagonist of Hezekiah, Sennacherib who finally constructed a defensive structure around Nineveh. The great wall that safeguarded the inner-city went by the name Bad-imgallabi-lu-susu which translated means "the wall whose glory overthrows the enemy." The 50 foot wide wall stood ominously 100 feet above the horizon, presenting itself a formidable foe against any attacker. There was an outer wall that was made "high like a mountain" laid on a foundation of blocks of stone to frustrate its undermining by the high water level. To look at this stalwart fortress, one would have to assume it was impregnable.

The infamous King Sennacherib did not have the military skill or the administrative abilities of his father Sargon (722-705 BC.). Sargon had captured Israel's ten tribes in 722 BC., carrying 27,290 of its inhabitants into captivity (as prophesied by the prophets in accordance to their iniquity towards God). His life of cruelty was justly rewarded as he was murdered. . . and the wicked king passed into the pages of history.

Sargon's son, Sennacherib did not lack for a zeal for cruelty towards his enemies. His reign was aggravated by constant revolt in Babylonia, which ended in his razing the sacred city of Babylon to the ground in 689 BC.

Then he set his wrath towards the chosen people of God. In 701 BC Sennacherib assumed his campaign against Hezekiah of Judah.

The Assyrians were not at a deficiency for the devices of conquest such as the one waged against the children of Israel. War has been with humanity since the beginning of time; but it was the Assyrians who revolutionized it into a fearful art. This was accomplished through the employment of terror and technology. They had managed to develop an understanding of the use of the pulley and the roller, allowing them to devise various engines of war suitable for demolishing or undermining the protective walls of the world's most celebrated cities. To reduce the heavy losses of siege operations, these pillagers constructed large battering rams to demolish the gates that stood in defiance to their goals. The technique of underground mining allowed them successfully to annihilate most impregnable fortresses with ease.

As the walls crumbled before their mighty hand, the nations became easy prey for their vigilant cavalry, infantry, bowmen, mounted archers, slingers, and corps of charioteers. Up until this time, kingdoms had employed militias to defend their boarders. But the Assyrians established a permanent, professional army composed of all of their nation's men. This grand machine was the first to employ the use of iron weapons in such a grand scale that no realm was a match before their unshakable resolve.

Sennacherib had outfitted his mighty horsemen with a coat of mail, affording protection as they charged relentlessly upon their foes. They had trodden over every adversary with such malevolent ferocity that entire civilizations were castigated in their mighty hands. To defray the mass of chariots that opposed them, a new type of cavalry was devised. Equipped with their superior weapons this body of fighting men would initiate quick thrusts through the enemy ranks with the same ferocity of the Nazi tanks in WWII, scattering enemy ranks into unorganized groups that were easily surrounded and destroyed. For the first time, Assyria had melded terror and war together as a system of consistent national policy, and the world shook in its presence.

Upon learning that their dreaded legions were in their vicinity, many city states would send out emissaries, not to negotiate, but rather offer their unconditional surrender in hopes of receiving mercy from the captors. For the most part, these hopes were in vain. The vast majority of Assyria's prey became the victims of mass liquidation and deportation. It appeared that the world was Assyria's for the taking, as none would be able to stand against them. None but the Lord God Almighty.

Archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of Nineveh to discover the ancient palace of the king who threatened Hezekiah with his abominable fury. The approach to the building was guarded with gargantuan winged bulls who bore on their bodies the annals of the king. Immense halls 40 feet wide and 180 feet long lead to this magnificent structure containing no less than 71 halls, chambers, and passages. The walls of this adorned structure were embellished with panels of alabaster, sculptured to depict the king's wars, triumphs and great deeds. Two milesbas-reliefs with twenty-seven portals, formed by ponderous winged bulls and lion-sphinxes were uncovered. The annals of Sennacherib are inscribed on the man-headed winged bulls, and on a terra cotta and baked clay cylinder.

These give a rather complete account of his conquests including his capture and destruction of Babylon BC, his relentless drive towards Egypt, and the invasion of Judea. The capture of the Judean city of Lachish is recalled with the words, "Sennacherib King of the Universe, King of Assyria, sat upon a throne and reviewed the spoil. . ."

Numbering the Palestinian cities he had captured in that campaign the walls declare that Sennachrib had shut up Hezekiah "like a caged bird" as he sought to lay siege on the city of Jerusalem. It was from Lachish that the mighty ruler of the universe sent a detachment of troops and messengers to deliver the letter that discounted Judah's potency, taunted them concerning their confidence in Egypt and scorned their trust in their God.

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: "O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.

"It is true, O Lord, that the Assyrian Kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands. Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God." (II Kings 19:14-19 niv)

But Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to the king asserting, "Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: "He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. By the way he came he will return; he will not enter this city declares the Lord. I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant."

That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning - there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. (II Kings 19:32-36 niv)

The pride of the conqueror did not allow him to record the same details of his defeat that are enumerate for us in the Bible. This humiliating experience would not display well amongst his proclamations of self-worship and boastings concerning his many victories. It is interesting though, that in digging through the ancient ruins of this arrogant king archaeologists have yet to find one mention of this despot ever capturing the city of Jerusalem. Indeed history has born witness to the fact that Judah was one of the few states that faced this wicked vanquisher and kept its sovereignty intact. Thus, historical research is unanimous in attesting to the salvation of the Lord as recorded in the book of Kings.

One day, he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his son Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king." (II Kings 19:37 niv)

This account of the demise of Sennacherib was confirmed and supplemented in the archeological findings of a large cylinder discovered in Esarhaddon's palace. Where was Sennacherib's god when the sword was plummeting down upon him? This untrustworthy deity certainly could not claim the reality that the Living God whom Hezekiah put his trust in!

Fortunately for our nation at the time, Abraham Lincoln turned his attention to He who is capable of rescuing those he calls His own people. Lincoln knew well the authority of the God of the Bible. The words that Lincoln has left for us to study, demonstrate that he was quite aware of the just arm of the Lord God. He realized how He rescues those who will trust in Him, and punishes those who rebel against His government. The call of the prophet was upon him.

 

Swimming Against the Current

The young Calvin is dwarfed by his father who is reclined in his chair as he leisurely was enjoying another good book. With pencil in ear and notes in hand, the youngster asserts, "Here's the latest poll on your performance as dad. Your approval rating is very low, I'm afraid."

Not appearing to be annoyed by this interruption, dad replies, "That's because there's not necessarily any connection between what's good and what's popular. I do what's right, not what gets approval."

With his eyebrows bearing down, Calvin walks away in disgust, "You'll never keep the job with that attitude."

Now back into his book, "If someone else offers to do it, let me know."

* * *

The ferocity of the people of Assyria illuminates for us the nature of the situation that the prophet Jonah faced when he was directed by God to, "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." (Jonah 1:2 niv) It takes courage to speak God's message to a corrupt civilization, and this ancient capitol of Assyria posed a serious threat to any Jew who walked into its gates -much less the one with the intentions of reporting their doom to them. So too does it take fortitude to speak against the ills that we are faced with today.

In August of 1993 a Baptist minister, the Reverend Lumpkin, was fired from San Francisco's Human Rights Commission. Weeks before, he had told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter that he agreed with the statements of the Bible that proclaim that male homosexuality is an abomination against God. As a result the members of the San Francisco gay community and the Board of Supervisors demanded his resignation. Citing the preacher's freedom of religion, Mayor Frank Jordan did nothing in response.

Later though, before a talk-show audience, Lumpkin asserted that he believed everything in the Bible. When asked if he agreed with a passage in Leviticus that deems execution for male homosexuals, he responded, "That's what is says. . . That's what God says. . .That's what the Bible says. . ."

Contending that his statements were taken out of context and that he did not advocate violence against homosexuals was not enough to save the reverend. The mayor's spokesman related, "Prior to Friday, the mayor said he would defend (Rev. Lumpkin) up to the Supreme Court. The mayor does not have a litmus test of religious beliefs for anyone. . . as long as he would vigorously support laws against discrimination and hate crimes.

"But Reverend Lumpkin chose to make his religious beliefs part of the political process. The mayor said he could not justify someone being on the Human Rights Commission who justifies violence, whether bases on biblical passages or otherwise."

Yet the preacher promised he would continue to preach the "eternal values and divine will" as written in the Bible.

In another instance in Santa Barbara, Calif., four men and women received a preliminary injunction from a liberal Superior Court Judge, James Slater, that awarded Planned Parenthood $36,000 in attorney fees as a result of a suit against them. All they did was stand in the Planned Parenthood parking lot to protest the killing of babies.

The Scientific American informed Forrest Mims that their offer to allow him to write a regular column in their magazine would be rescinded on account on his Christian views on creation.

Dr. Dean Kenyon was told he was no longer capable of teaching a biology course at San Francisco State University despite doing it since 1977. He believed that God had a role in creation.

Two newspaper reporters were fired by the Fairfield (Iowa) Ledger in 1990 as a result of their Christian beliefs.

Thomas and Linda Mintonye have been sued by homosexual activists for refusing to put one of their licentious ads on a billboard they own.

The list goes on-and-on. The cost can be very high to uphold a commitment to righteousness. It could involve rejection and separation, things that few are willing these days to endure.

Unfortunately the environment that we are living in today is filled with too many people who would rather flee to "Tarshish" than to face the consequences incurred by the one who proclaims outspoken declarations against sin. As a result we are now left with a substantial amount of the body of Christ who has found itself in darkness, devoured by the likes of Jonah's great fish.

The calamity that befell the heathen sailors, who were transporting Jonah to his chosen destination chosen in accordance with his own rebellion, was a result of the prophet's own disobedience. (Jonah 1:3-16)

Likewise our nation today is infected with all sorts of ills due to the failings of the church concerning its obedience to Christ. Long before our society fell into the gross iniquity that we are witnessing today, the Church set itself on a course of modernism to deny the Word of God. Could it be the world is casting the Church overboard because of its unfaithfulness? If the church had been true to its calling would it now be on the outside looking in?

When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation to Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion upon them and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened. (Jonah 3:6-10 niv)

It is humiliating in the face of Nineveh's repentance, to witness the total disregard for the dictums of the Lord that exists in our country. We have been so blessed with such a rich Christian heritage!

The ancient Assyrians neither knew God, nor were His people. So greatly were they feared and hated during those days, that it is no wonder that Jonah was angry when God withheld his wrath on Nineveh.

No doubt though, the Assyrians had heard of the fame of the Lord of Israel that had spread throughout the Middle East, and the nations that had been subdued by the Lord's hand. Because of that fact, even these corrupt people recognized the reality of God. They were spared.

This act of repentance by a dissolute nation surpasses the self-righteousness of our own America. We continue to live in rebellion, though we know of the truth and the divine providence of God.

 

A Nation Gone Bad

It was years after its repentance in the face of the words of Jonah (who was one of the earlier prophets who lived during the reign of Jeroboam II king of Israel - II Kings 14:25), that Assyria turned its heart to evil, and resolved to wage war on God during the time of Hezekiah. It is a fearful thing when those who once recognized God turn away from the truth that was once established with them.

The son of Sennacherib, Esar-haddon, seemed to have all the attributes of an administrator and a general that his evil father lacked. It was under his reign that the second Assyrian Empire grew to the pinnacle of power and strength. Babylon was rebuilt and even made the second capitol of the Empire, Egypt conquered, campaigns waged into the heart of both Media and Arabia, and an onslaught by the Cimmerians repelled.

But it was during the generation of his son Assur-bani-pal (626 BC.), the last of the great Assyrian rulers, that extravagant luxury entered the royal court. He was a great patron of learning, building a tremendous library in Nineveh. So marvelous was his collection that most of what we know about the times in which the Assyrians ruled comes from this source.

Included in his art collection is a relief scene showing him reclining in the palace gardens eating dinner with his queen. Attendants are standing behind them fanning the air as musicians entertain the couple resting under the shade of the tree. Amidst the tranquility though, the king stares at the severed head of an enemy chieftain dangling from a tree branch. This reveals the inhumanity of the era. This is not much different from a wealthy America that continues to bask in its wealth and impurity, while the slaughter of the unborn is well within sight.

The ferocity of the Assyrian rule continued relentlessly while the king reeled in excess. Twice Egypt revolted against his rule, and twice the rebellion was put down. The last time though, brought about the merciless vengeance of Assyria as Thebes was utterly destroyed. Its booty was carried away and two obelisks taken back to Nineveh as trophies of victory.

The violence of the times was summed up in the words of a Syrian ruler who declared, "The land of Kubbu I traversed, and I went down into the midst of the cities of the lands of Ashsha and Kirki which are before the land of Hatti. The cities of Umalia and Hiraw, strongholds that lie in the midst of the land of Adani, I captured. I slew many of the inhabitants thereof, and their spoil in countless quantities I carried off. The cities I destroyed, I devastated. . . Unto the city of Uda, the stronghold of Lapturi, the son of Thbrisi, I drew nigh. I stormed the city; with mines, siege, engines, and battering rams I took the city. . . (More than) 1400. . . of their fighting men I put to the sword, 580 men I captured alive, 3000 prisoners I brought out. The living men, I impaled on stakes round his city, of the others I put out the eyes."

But the hollow triumphs of this wicked nation could not avert the inescapable justice of God. The time had come to put the iniquity to an abrupt end.

It was a nation of great learning and culture unsurpassed in its time. But no matter how advanced, rich and learned it becomes; a culture cannot continue to exist in the sight of the Lord if it denies His holy word. America looks at itself with the same confidence and pride as the eminent Assyrian king. Ashur-bani-pal was basking in its own luxury while obedience and righteousness fall to the wayside.

But it was the prophet Nahum, who lived in the time of this ancient and evil king, who proclaimed God's wisdom to those who had become so wise in their own eyes. He pronounced the final judgment that was to come upon the wicked city of Nineveh. The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into darkness. (Nahum 1:7-8 niv)

America has become wise. She has gathered for herself a wealth of knowledge to find herself confident and self-assured, burgeoned by the conceit found in her victories. Yet the words of Nahum proclaim the disobedient will fall.

The successors of Ashur-bani-pal's were not able to hold the Empire as time passed, and the struggles to build and maintain it exhausted Assyria. The Empire was held together only by the might of terror that kept their captives from even the thought of rebellion.

However, by the seventh century BC the burden of the mass misery became unbearable as defiance reared its dissident head. Therefore, when the Chaldeans and Medes from the South challenged the authority in revolt, nation after nation joined them in the onslaught.

Even during Assur-bani-pal's rule, a revolt suddenly broke out headed up by his brother, Sama-sum-ukin, the Viceroy of Babylon. For a while the situation was in doubt as Egypt with the help of Lydia recovered its independence. But Babylonia was eventually recaptured and Babylon, after a long siege was starved out, as Sama-sum-ukin burned himself in his palace.

Then the Assyrian army made its way to Susa, which was leveled to the ground, the shrines of its gods profaned and the bones of its ancient kings dredged up from the ground. After the rebel sheiks in Northern Arabia were forced into submission though, the Assyrian coffers were empty and fighting population where for the most part dead.

When the Cimmerians plummeted their might upon the empire shortly thereafter, the weakened Assyrians were in no condition to resist. Within a dozen years after the reign of Ashur-bani-pal, the mighty empire collapsed - as prophesied to the king by Naham, prophet of the Lord God most high.

Indeed archaeologists have discovered that the ancient and rebellious city of Nineveh was eventually destroyed when the banks of the Khosr river, swollen by rains, overflowed with its inordinate wrath. Arbaces, the Scythian, had been besieging it for two years without any success. But when a portion of the immense wall that protected the inhabitants of the city was washed away by the violent waters, Nineveh's enemies were allowed to invade at will.

It was in 606 BC that Sin-sar-iskum, the last monarch of Assyria perished while encountering these Scythians. The king, realizing that this was the fulfillment of the prophecy, gathered together his concubines and eunuchs, and mounted a funeral pyre to perish in the flames. Nineveh was finally devastated in 612 BC by a coalition of forces lead by the Medes and the Babylonians.

The fury of the oppressed people towards their oppressors can be weighed by the treatment melted out on the capitol and symbol of Assyrian strength. To merely capture and sack the city was not enough to appease its assailants. Building by building and stone by stone the once mighty metropolis was plucked to pieces until not even a charred skeleton lingered as a reminder. Even the ground was slashed and churned up to the incantations of the pronouncement calling for the gods to curse it for eternity.

Nineveh was utterly destroyed, never again to be inhabited as the northern kingdom passed into the hands of the Babylonians. Assur, the old capitol survived but was reduced to the status of a small provincial town. As for Nineveh - it was forgotten.

In light of the great sin that surrounds us today, one is left in awe in reading the components of God's judgment against this corrupt civilization. The Lord has given a command concerning you, Nineveh: "You shall have no descendants to bear you name. I will destroy the carved images and cast idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave for you are vile. . . I am against you," declares the Lord Almighty. "I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions. I will leave you no prey on the earth. The voices of your messengers will no longer be heard.

"Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims! . . Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses - all because the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution, and peoples by her witchcraft.

"I am against you," declares the Lord Almighty. "I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame. I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle. All who see you will flee from you and say, 'Nineveh is in ruins - who will mourn for her?' Where can I find anyone to comfort you?" (Nahum 1:14, 2:13; 3:1, 3b-7 niv)

So now our nation stands before the Lord in its nakedness awaiting His appraisal. Our unborn children lay dead in numbers that are becoming uncountable; fallen victims of the harlotry of people who have chosen the company of sexual immorality and decadence. America has chosen the warrior-god of Assyria who has lead them to one lust after one another at the expense of children who will never have an opportunity to survive the assault of doctor's scalpel. If God doesn't judge us accordingly, He will owe Nineveh an apology.

 

Blessings and Cursings

"Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal. Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?" (Naham 3:19 niv) Is the situation in America today terminal? It is up to her response to the Word of the Lord.

There is a considerable amount of debate even amongst the body of Christ today regarding whether or not the concept of blessings and cursing can be rightly applied to the nations in the world today. The question would be raised about whether or not the declarations of Abraham Lincoln regarding the spiritual condition of America in his time and its relation to the activity of God were scripturally valid.

The argument goes that these blessings and cursing were activities of the covenant that God made with His chosen nation in the Old Testament, and this is the only place where national blessing and cursing apply. The argument continues that Israel was a peculiar time in history, and the new covenant of God no longer chooses nations but rather selects individuals to be the instruments of obedience. Where a nation advances in its moral growth is irrelevant to the cause of Christ.

It cannot be overlooked though, that Assyria was not a part of a covenant with God, but rather a heathen nation dedicated to violence, murder, and destruction. Yet God chose to prophesy to it twice: once to afford the blessing of His restrained wrath in accepting its repentance, and finally judging it according to its wickedness. Assyria was a nation that God chose to use as His instrument of justice upon the disobedient ten tribes of Israel. The indisputable fact that Assyria was a nation that was explicitly under the guiding hand of God cannot be denied. And this was accomplished without covenant.

It was without covenant that the Chaldeans settled into the city of Babylon to eventually overthrow the legions of Assyria. It was these pagans whom God chose to bring the Judeans into captivity and destroy the city of Jerusalem.

God himself through His prophet Daniel proclaimed to the Chaldean King Nebuchadnezzar, "You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hand He has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, He has made you ruler over them all." (Dan 2:37-38a niv) Without a covenant his kingdom was proclaimed by God to be the greatest of all kingdoms, save the Kingdom of God, that in the later days will circumvent all other dominions. (Dan 2:39-45)

To date, this occurrence of the establishment of Christ's Kingdom on earth has not yet occurred. Until it does, God is more than concerned with the events that transpire regarding the realms of man. The message in Daniel 2 concerning the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar's dream indicates that the very return of Christ will center on the developments that occur with the great kingdoms on earth. Whether Christian or heathen, Jew or Gentile; God has determined that He will bless and conversely curse realms in accordance with their national behavior.

King Belshazzar was the last of the Chaldean monarchs. He was the final king of Babylon as a result of the life he had chosen to lead. His court was well known for its drunkenness, opulence, and extravagance. To Belshazzar royal power meant mainly license to satisfy any leanings towards a life of debauchery, including ostentatious continual banquets and drinking bouts, an immense harem to satisfy his lusts, and a general gratification of what ever may come his way to stimulate him.

However, the potentate outdid himself when defied God with his sacrilege. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. (Dan 5:2 niv)

It was after this accomplishment, that the arrogant king received a personal visit from the Lord in the form of a hand that wrote upon the wall, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin." The king was in horror and sought for an explication.

Daniel interpreted the message to the ruler proclaiming, "O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. . . But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. . .But you his son O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. . . This is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. . . That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two. (Dan 5:18,20,22-23a,25-28,30-31 niv)

It was in 538 BC that the Persians sent their legions into Babylon. The internal strife and the royal degeneracy had proceeded to such an extent that the city surrendered without a struggle. A scribe of Cyrus put it this way. "All the inhabitants of Babylon. . . as well as the entire country of Sumer and Akkad, princes and governors. . . bowed to him. . . and kissed his feet."

Cyrus was the one who was to issue a new age for the near east. Before his death in 529 BC he had created the largest empire the world had ever known up to this point, the first fulfillment of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the second kingdom - the chest and arms of silver. (Dan 2:32b) From Cyrus to Artaxerses I the kings fancied imperial aspirations to create a dominion that stretched from the Himalayas to the Adriatic, from the Caucausus to the Indian ocean.

The Persians came from a much more benevolent strain than the Assyrians, allowing, and even encouraging, those in their realm to retain and develop their own pattern of cultures. Yahwehism was recognized as the official religion of the Hebrews. God himself was acknowledged for who He is by the Persian King Darius as he proclaimed, "I issue a decree that in every part of the kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, his kingdom will never end." (Dan 6:26 niv)

It was these Persian rulers who were selected by God to initiate the return of the people of Judah back to their home land. They were worshippers of Zoroaster, hardly to be conceived as those who would inherit the Kingdom of God. Yet again, God affords His blessing or cursing upon a nation in accordance to their affirmation of Him.

 

Christian or Not

The debate continues on today concerning the issue of rather or not the founders of our country were truly Christians in the Biblical sense. It is brought out that people such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were deists who recognize the existence of God but deny that He interacts with those He created. In other words, from the deist's perspective, God made the universe and man in it. But his involvement ended there. He is like a watch-maker who designs a clock only to wind it up to leave it running forever on its own.

This deist philosophy leaves absolutely no room for a personal God who came to earth to redeem mankind from his iniquity. The deist therefore is not a Christian. In that light, the liberal asks how can one contend that a country founded by men with beliefs such as these be considered a Christian nation.

First, let us define exactly what we are talking about here. The issue is national blessing, and whether a government has put itself into the position to experience it. The question of salvation is a personal matter that can only be discerned through an individual relationship with God.

But Francis Schaeffer explained: "We as evangelicals have often made the mistake of stopping with individual salvation. Historically, the word Christian has meant two things. First, the word Christian defines a man who has accepted Christ as Savior. This is decidedly an individual thing. But there is a second consideration as well. It concerns what flows from individual salvation. While it is true that there is an individual salvation, and this is the beginning of the Christian life, yet nevertheless as we examine the teaching concerning the Church and as we consider the Church at its strongest throughout the ages, that individual salvation should show itself in corporate relationships."

". . . The Christian sociological position is that the sociological problems which we find, regardless of what they may be, are a result of the separation that has come between men because of sin. Now the world should be able to see in the Church those marks which exhibit that there is a substantial sociological healing possible in the present generation."

". . . What counts, as men look upon us individually and corporately, is whether we are exhibiting God and His character now. The Christian position is not static, but is living."

The nations are governed by a standard that is corporate rather than individual. Neither the Assyrians, Chaldeans, nor Mede Persians could be considered inheritors of God's eternal kingdom. There is no Biblical advice on the matter one way or the other. We do know that they were pagan cultures who had direct interaction with the blessing, and cursing of God, along with the position of being chosen by God as instruments of His divine will.

The scale that they were judged is according to the world view that they acknowledged. In other words, to the extent that they recognized the one true God and submitted to His authority, they were blessed, to the extent that they disobeyed, they were cursed.

We have been hearing the words of Abraham Lincoln to discover that this was a man who recognized the sovereignty of the Lord and responded to it accordingly. He was professing a Christian world view. He asserted to the nation what kind of behavior is to be expected out of the people in America if they expected to walk in God's favor. God blessed what Lincoln did to raise him up as the most significant President this nation has ever known. Christian or not, he held to a world view that saved his country.

About the Author

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About the Author

 

Don Wigton is a graduate of the prestigious music department at CSULB where he studied under Frank Pooler, lyricist of Merry Christmas Darling, and sang in Pooler’s world renown University Choir alongside Karen and Richard Carpenter. During this time Don was also the lead composer of the band, Clovis Putney, that won the celebrated Hollywood Battle of the Bands. After giving his life to God, Don began attending Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa to study under some of the most prominent early Maranatha! musicians. Subsequently he toured the Western United States with Jedidiah in association with Myrrh Records.

Eventually Don served as a pastor at Calvary Chapel Bakersfield to witness thousands of salvations through that ministry. As the music/concert director, Don worked for seven years with most major Christian artist of that time while producing evangelical concerts attended by thousands of young people seeking after God. Don’s Calvary Chapel Praise Choir released the album Let All Who Hath Breath Praise the Lord on the Maranatha! label.

The next years of Don’s life were spent as the praise leader of First Baptist Church in Bakersfield during a time of unprecedented church renewal. Don teamed with the leadership to successfully meld the old with the new through a period of tremendous church growth. During this exciting time, Don’s praise team, Selah, produced the CD Stop and Think About It.

Today Don is the leading force behind Wigtune Company. This webbased project located at www.praisesong.net has provided several million downloads of Don’s music and hymn arrangements to tens of thousands of Christian organizations throughout the world. More music can be found at Don's Southern Cross Band website at www.socrossband.com.

The book Holy Wars represents Don’s most recent effort to bless the church with biblical instruction and direction in praise and worship. This heartfelt volume is an offering not only to God’s people, but also to God Himself.

 

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Empart - Click here to find out about the price that is being paid by those in Northern India and Nepal who have dedicated their lives to worship the Lord. Find out how you can be involved!An Incredible revival is occuring in Northern India and Nepal. CLICK HERE to find out more!

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This first of five books looks into a pivotal moment in American history that changed the world forever. It was a time when the United States was on the brink of destruction. It was and era when an American prophet and patriot stood up to eco the words of Christ: "A house divided cannot stand." Today we live in a similar era today where America is torn asunder between truth and error. And the wrong decision will bring dire consequences!

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The gospel band Southern Cross features worship, praise chorus and ministry songs in contemporary rock, country rock and even classic genres. Click here to go to their page to listen to our mp3 music and find out how to have them come to your area!

All For Freedom!

Thanks to the men and women who give their all for our freedom.

 

Father's Eyes

A nation in apostacy

 

Uh Uh Uh

There are many lying voices out in the world calling us to sin and despair.

 

You Broke My Heart

Jesus said "Let your yes be yes and your no's be no's." When we break our word people get hurt.

 

 

Wigtune Company

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Colossians 3:15-17

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Holy_Wars_cover_small.jpg (51492 bytes)Holy Wars. . .a powerful and dynamic "must have" for every Christian who is seeking to worship God in the midst of the tempest of our modern world.

CLICK HERE or call Author House @ 888.280.7715 to purchase a hard or soft cover copy of Don Wigton's book "Holy Wars" upon which this blog is based.

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Wigtune Company: Praise music and worship study resource.  Free Christian praise songs and hymns, chord charts for the contemporary chorus and traditonal hymn and gospel music, plus and on-line worship Bible study.

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We pray that these materials have provided all of you with untold blessings!

"I might not be a religious man myself but I know good music when I hear it, and this is very good! . . . I don’t think that I have ever given such high ratings to so many songs before. But the fact is that they are well deserved because the music is amazing. Simply wonderful religious ballads and they really get to your heart. . .everytime."
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Winsome International was founded by Dr. John Lavender of First Baptist Church, Bakersfield. Don Wigton of Wigtune Company was the worship and praise leader there during a great growth expansion. Click here to hear the teaching that inspired so many.

 

 

 

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Wigtune Company offers free mp3 Jesus based praise music and song along with traditional Christian hymns performed in a contemporary fashion in order to encourage the body of Christ to blend the old with the new in a scriptural fashion.  An on-line Bible study is offered that goes into the biblical and historical foundation of worship for music ministries, the music minister, praise leader, pastor and serious Bible student.  The study is presented in outline form with relevant scripture references and questions.  Download this helpful work for free! was formed as a service to the body of Christ to encourage scriptural worship. To accomplish this goal Wigtune Company offers free contemporary Christian praise and worship music, contemporary Christian rock and hymn mp3 and chart material along with a free on-line worship study book for personal devotions, Bible study groups, Sunday schools, pastors, music ministers and ministry training.  In order to bridge the gap between the old and the new the worship study book gives solid theological and historical support to the use of traditional Christian hymn-singing in conjunction with praise chorus singing.

Click on one of the links below for praise and worship, praise tabs, worship chords, praise chorus mp3, hymn stories, pro tools studio, worship leader materials to enter into the area of the Wigtune site that interests you !

Wigtune Company believes that the current contention among Christian generations over church music is unnesessary.  One does not have to chose between the classic traditional hymn and the contemporary praise chorus and song.  Solomon declared that there is a place for everything under the sun. The worship musical material and the worship Bible study book offered at the Wigtune website support this theme. Vision Statement    Don and Vanessa Wigton share the vision of Wigtune Company.  Going to this page will inform the WEB surfer the circumstances that lead to the Wigtune offering of praise song and hymn along with the worship Bible study book that lends theology and history based support to the use of traditional Christian hymn singing in conjunction with praise chorus singing.   Wigtune Story    The Wigtune Company free on-line worship Bible study book is a manual for the use of the pastor, teacher, music minister, Bible study group, sunday school and any situation where a theological and historical lesson regarding worship is desired.  The Bible study is presented in outline form with questions that require thoughtful answers to the biblical and history based information that is presented.   Free On-Line Worship Studybook   

Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use.  Free Praise and Worship Music Mp3s and Charts   Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use.

Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use. Wiggy's Top Ten Praise MP3s Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use.

Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use. Radio: Listen to Wigtune Worship Music on Live Internet Radio

Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use.    Wigtune Praise Worship and Hymn CD's

 What are they saying about Wigtune praise and worship contemporary and hymn music   Testimonials: What they are saying about Wigtune Music

Please help Wigtune Company by observing the copyright restrictions listed on this page.  The praise and worship materials (praise songs and hymns) have been offered up for free with love!  Copyright Restrictions    

What do you think of Wigtune's offering of praise music and worship study materials?  Let us know by e-mailing us?   Contact Us    If you have been blessed by the free praise music (praise choruses and traditional hymns) and the worship study book, don't keep it to yourself.  Click here to see how you can spread the word!   Spread the Word!

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Click here to find out what organization are utilizing Wigtune contemporary Christian and traditional praise and worship music, chord charts, and online worship Bible study.  Where's Wiggy? - List and Links to Christian Organizations

  Click here to view the Wigtune statement of faith based upon orthodox Christian beliefs.  It is upon this profession that proclaims the doctrines of historical Christianity that the Wigtune praise and worship music and Bible study have been formulated.  Statement of Faith

Click here to view the Wigtune statement of faith based upon orthodox Christian beliefs.  It is upon this profession that proclaims the doctrines of historical Christianity that the Wigtune praise and worship music and Bible study have been formulated.   Special Report: Christianity in Russia - Has Anything Changed?

 The Wigtune Home Page: Free mp3 praise music and hymns sung in a contemporary fashion.  On-line worship study book for Bible students, music ministers, song leaders and pastors is also available!

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Last updated on 01/07/13 This worship site for Christians was created in Front Page

 

Copyright 1999 Don Wigton. All rights reserved.