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There is one inescapable fact of the Universe: the wrath of God may not be evaded. It is so great that it hunted down and sacrificed no less than the Son of God, Christ Jesus! And if God spared not His Son, what will happen to the rebels at the Day of Judgment? Nahum[1]  has but one theme, and this is that kingdoms built on the foundation of force and fraud shall certainly be destroyed; and that the Kingdom of God, reared on the foundation of truth and righteousness, is bound to triumph.  Nineveh represented worldly power in antagonism to Yahweh, and so it had to perish.  This is the theme which Nahum insists on with concentrated effort. Nahum is the prophet of Nemesis; of certain retribution for all evil, whether individual or national.


The Assyrian monarch[2] may have been checked by God in 701 B.C., but these were still great days for Nineveh.  Sennacherib more than doubled the city's size, making it the world's largest city for that time.  The inner city was surrounded by a wall eight miles in circumference.  It was one hundred feet high and so wide that three chariots could race around it abreast.  It had twelve hundred towers and fourteen gates.  Beyond this was a much longer, outer wall.  There was an inner city, an outer city, and what we would call extensive suburbs beyond that.  In Jonah this wide expanse was termed a "three days' " journey (Jonah 3:3).

Sennacherib's palace was called "The Palace With No Rival." It was of cedar,cypress, and alabaster.  Lions of bronze and bulls of white marble guarded it.  Its great hall measured forty by one hundred and fifty feet.  Sennacherib's armory, where he kept his chariots, armor, horses, weapons, and other equipment, covered forty-six acres and took six years to build.

What a magnificent city this was!  Yes, but what a wicked city!  And with what cruelty and violence was it constructed!  Nineveh grew rich at the expense of the nations she had plundered.  In his exhaustive study of Nahum, Walter A. Maier writes, "To Nineveh came the distant chieftains who kissed the royal feet, rebel leaders paraded in fetters, distant and deceitful kings tied with dog chains and made to live in kennels.  To Nineveh were sent gifts of far-off tribute, heads of vanquished enemies, crown princes as hostages, beautiful princesses as concubines.  In Nineveh rulers who experienced rare mercy carried brick and mortar for building operations.  There recalcitrant captives were flayed, obstinate opponents crushed to death by their own sons.  The Nineveh against which the prophet thunders divine denunciation had become the concentrated center of evil, the capital of crushing tyranny, the epitome of cruelest torture.  Before the beginning of the seventh century and Sennacherib's reign, other cities had been royal residences: Calah, Ashur, Dur Sharrukin, but Sennacherib made Nineveh his capital, the world metropolis, the source of unmeasured woe for Judah, as for other, far greater nations[3].

This great city had existed almost from the beginning of time.  Under Sennacherib it rose to unparalleled strength and splendor.  But it was to end.  Within ninety years of Sennacherib's encampment before Jerusalem's walls, Ninevah, the largest city in the world, was overthrown - never to be inhabited again.


The Prophecy is in three main parts:

1.      Judgment on Nineveh Determined (ch. 1)

2.      Judgment on Nineveh Described (ch. 2)

3.      Judgment on Nineveh Deserved (ch. 3)

I.                     WORSHIPPING the Character of God  (ch. 1)

A.                 HIS vengeance    Nahum 1:2     God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies; (NKJV) Nahum 1:2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. (NIV)

1.                  God as jealous (1:2),

2.                  avenging (1:2)

3.                  and wrathful (1:2).

4.                  A jealous God (1:2)

5.                  An avenging God (1:2)

6.                  A God of wrath (1:2)

B.                 HIS patience  Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet. (NKJV)

1.                  The LORD is slow to anger

2.                  The LORD is great in power

3.                  The LORD will not at all acquit the wicked

4.                  The LORD has His way

C.                HIS omnipotence  Nahum 1:6 Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him. (NIV)

1.                  A God of indignation (1:6)

2.                  A God of anger (1:6)

D.                HIS goodness    Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. (NKJV); Nahum 1:15     Behold, on the mountains The feet of him who brings good tidings, Who proclaims peace! O Judah, keep your appointed feasts, Perform your vows. For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; He is utterly cut off. (NKJV)

1.                  The LORD is good

2.                  The LORD is a stronghold in the day of trouble

3.                  The LORD knows those who trust in Him

4.                  The LORD brings good tidings

5.                  The LORD proclaims peace

E.                 HIS justice   Nahum 1:8-14

1.                  He will make an utter end of its place, And darkness will pursue His enemies. v. 8

2.                  They shall be devoured like stubble fully dried.  v. 10

3.                  they will be cut down  v. 12

4.                  Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. v. 14

5.                  I will dig your grave, For you are vile. v. 14

F.                HIS wrath in the Scriptures.

1.                  There are more references[4] to the Wrath, anger and fury of God than to His love and tenderness. Some key passages:

a)                 Psalm 7:11-12 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. (KJV)

b)                 Nahum 1:2-8     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. 3 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. 4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 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. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. 7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. 8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. (KJV)

c)                  2 Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (KJV)

d)                 Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (KJV)

e)                 Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (KJV)

f)                    Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (KJV)

g)                 Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (KJV)

h)                  Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (KJV)

i)                    1 Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (KJV)

j)                    1 Thessalonians 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (KJV)

k)                  1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (KJV)

l)                    Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire. (KJV)

m)               Revelation 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: (KJV)

n)                  Revelation 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. (KJV)

o)                 Luke 21:22-24 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (KJV)

2.                  The wrath is meant to make us uncomfortable. We then find the only  place of safety is Christ and the only way of life is the Divine Condition “fearing God”.

a)                 Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (KJV)

b)                 Proverbs 14:26-27     In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. (KJV)

c)                  Proverbs 15:33     The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (KJV)

d)                 Proverbs 19:23     The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. (KJV)

3.                  The Scriptures start with a God of Wrath casting Adam and Eve from the Garden. It ends with His wrath on Babylon (Revelation 17-18) and the Last Judgment (Revelation. 20). In the Word the wrath of God is always judicial where the Lord is seen as the Righteous Judge administrering justice. It is also seen as fitting for the individual because they have already chosen to turn from His grace (Titus 2), His light (John 1) and His call (Ps. 19). Thus Jesus[5] spoke very solemnly about the horror of one losing their own soul. His picture is one of utter horror:

a)                 Gehenna a garbage dump of burning trash, outside the city of Jerusalem (Mark 9:47 and 10 other texts in the Gospels).

b)                 Worms that die not is a representation of the endless disintegration of a person forever lost. (Mk. 9:47)

c)                  outer darkness is a reminder of the utter loss of anything of value, God and all His goodness are removed.

d)                 Gnashing teeth speak of the self-condemnation that comes at the painful and perpetual memories of ignored opportunities

G.                The Gospel is the good news that God sent Jesus to turn aside the holy wrath of God by the sacrifice of Christ in the place of guilty sinners. Two truths are transformingly presented in the Word of God:

1.                  It was the Father who sent Christ to earth to be presented as the once for all sacrifice for sin. Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (KJV)

2.                  The blood Christ shed is the propitiation (that which appeases God's wrath against sin) for sinners to trust in for the remission or removal of the obligation of wrath against their sin. It is faith in the blood which was shed that removes the wrath God has targetted against sin. For this reason the New Testament writers use the term “blood of Christ” over 30x. It is the blood of Jesus that:

a)                 cleans our minds of the evil defilement sin brings Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (KJV)

b)                 opens the very presence of God  Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (KJV)

c)                  purifies us from all sin    1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (KJV)

d)                 looses us from the bondage of sin    Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, (NIV) Remember, “it is not our contrition or sorrow for our sin, it is not our repentance . . . it is the blood of Christ, shed once for all on Calvary 2,000 years ago but appropriated daily or even many times a day, that cleanses our consciences and gives us a renewed sense of peace with God[6].”

3.                  The wrath of God[7]  is a perfection of the Divine character on which we need to meditate frequently.  First, that our hearts may be duly impressed by God's detestation of sin.  We are ever prone to regard sin lightly, to gloss over its hideousness, to make excuses for it.  But the more we study and ponder God's abhorrence of sin and His frightful vengeance upon it, the more likely are we to realise its heinousness.  Second, to beget a true fear in our souls for God.  'Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire' (Heb. 12:28,29).  We cannot serve Him 'acceptably' unless there is due 'reverence' for His awful Majesty and 'godly fear' of His righteous anger, and these are best promoted by frequently calling to mind that 'our God is a consuming fire'.  Third, to draw out our soul in fervent praise [to Jesus Christ] for having delivered us from 'the wrath to come' (i Thess. i: io).  Our readiness or our reluctancy to meditate upon the wrath of God becomes a sure test of how our hearts really stand affected towards Him.

H.                 CATACLYSMIC EVENTS THAT WILL TERRORIZE THE WORLD WHEN God's WRATH IS OUTPOURED   The signs[8] which Christ and the apostles and prophets mention are not of such a subtle nature that it would take any spiritual discernment at all to recognize them.  On the contrary, the signs are so overwhelming that they can't be overlooked or ignored by anyone.  The Second Coming takes no one on earth by surprise. Consider again the signs of His return which Jesus enumeraties in Matthew 24.  Then read the terrifying description of the incredible devastation occurring on earth which is mentioned only in chapter 6 of Revelation.  Forget the mind- boggling destruction mentioned elsewhere.  At this early stage in the Great Tribulation one-fourth of the earth's population has already been killed.  That's nearly 1.5 billion people!  Natural disasters beyond imagination assault this beleaguered planet.  Catastrophic meteor showers rain down upon the earth, accompanied by gigantic earthquakes and volcanic upheavals of such magnitude that "every mountain and island [moves] out of their places."  Every person on the earth realizes that God's wrath is being poured out from heaven.  Proud leaders are so terrified that they cry out to the mountains and rocks to fall upon them to hide them from God's fierce anger [Revelation 6:15-17.]  No, Christ does not warn us to be "ready" because we might otherwise not have the godly discernment to recognize the subtle spiritual signs that will herald His coming.  Those signs will be physical and of such magnitude that they can't be overlooked or ignored by anyone, no matter how spiritually blind.

I.                     tYPES OF wRATH. When God[9] abandons a nation Romans 1.18  The Wrath of God =

1.                  Final wrath Rev 20;

2.                  Future wrath Tribulation rev 6;

3.                  reminder wrath Flood, Sodom, Ninevah;

4.                  inevitable WRATH  sowing and reaping wrath GAL6.6-7

[1] Scroggie, The Unfolding Drama, p. 382.

[2] Boice, p. 59.

[3] Ibid., pp. 92, 93.

[4] Pink, The Attributes of God, p. 75.

[5] Packer, Knowing God, p. 134-42.

[6] Bridges, The Discipline of Grace, p. 57.

[7] Pink, The Attributes of God, p. 77.

[8] Hunt, Whatever happened to Heaven, p. 104.

[9] MacArthur sermon preached 3/5/95 TBC.

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