Biblical Audio Commentary – Reprieve

Biblical Audio Commentary – Reprieve




The story of Nineveh is fascinating, not only in its own right, but because it’s a morality tale for America.  Nineveh was the primary city of the Assyrian empire.  Assyria was noted for its ferocity in battle and for the fact that its victims suffered immensely.  It was not unusual for people in an intended target city of the Assyrians to commit suicide rather than subject themselves to the horrors of what they knew was coming.  Think Hamas on October 7, 2023 with the tortures, rapes, and murders its depraved terrorists committed, rolled into a single nation whose purpose is to pillage, and plunder, and destroy anything in its maniacal desire to take over the world.  Hmmm, sounds like the proposed plan for a Palestinian state comprised of radical Islamists.  But I digress.

Nahum recorded a prophecy concerning Nineveh that foretold a dire fate for this storied city.  Forty years prior, Jonah reluctantly came to this very place, preached the Word of the Lord, and the king and the people of this hard-hearted city repented.  God spared them because they truly were sorry for their sins, and the Lord forgave them.  If you think about it, an entire city repenting so dramatically that God holds back His hand of judgment is astounding.  Today, we preach the Gospel and bring God’s Word to our families, and most of us can’t make a dent.  Of course, it’s God who must do the convicting, but still, we’re just hoping and praying for a few of our relatives at best.  But an entire city that turns from its wicked ways!

Those forty years changed the dynamics in that city such that it was unrecognizable from the days of Jonah.  In fact, that timeframe is plenty for Another Generation to arise that didn’t know the Lord, just like what happened to the Israelites in the Promised Land after the days of Joshua.  The stench that arose from these pagans in those days was more than enough for God to determine that the time for the end of this city had come once and for all.  He knew that no further repentance would come forth from the evil hearts populating this place.

And so, Nahum gave the bad news, and it was really bad.  Assyria had been the major power broker in that Middle Eastern area, but Babylon had grown and was even mightier.  We know this because of Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream with the immense figure of different metals signifying the kingdoms to come – all following Babylon as the greatest.  Babylon was coming, and they would wreak havoc on Nineveh.

God allows evil to grow and flourish for a time.  We don’t fully understand His thinking behind this, but we do have history as guide to see that kingdoms rise and fall.  Why do they fall?  Because they have reached a level of sin and depravity that God no longer allows to stand.  And so it was with Nineveh.  We see this in Nahum 1:2-3:

The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord is avenging and wrathful;
the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

The peoples of Nineveh had become God’s enemies once again.  The fact is that God takes vengeance upon those who have become an enemy of Him.  For these special people, God saves wrath for them – actually a frightening thought.  As we see in these verses, the Lord waits; He never acts rashly, but with great purpose.  A time comes when the guilty have no more recourse from Him.

Given what we understand from these circumstances, we gain perspective as to why the pre-Tribulation Rapture is a valid and true Biblical doctrine.  It is the enemies of God toward whom He directs His anger – His wrath.  Merriam-Webster defines wrath as:

  1. strong vengeful anger or indignation
  2. retributory punishment for an offense or a crimedivine chastisement

Somebody has to do something drastic in order to receive wrath.  Paul says in Romans 1:18:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

This is the common condition of man.  We are all ungodly and unrighteous, a sinful people who inevitably suppress the truth.  The bad news is that basically by taking a breath in this life, we are subject to the wrath of God.  Thank you, Adam and Eve, although not a single one of us would have done any differently, so we can’t come down too hard on our first ancestors.

This whole wrath issue does, however, mean we have a problem.  Every person who ever lived has walked constantly under the Sword of Damocles, i.e. in a state of ever-present peril.  We live, we die, and we have no alternative destination other than damnation.

This is why when God became man to step into this world in order to pay our sin debt through the shedding of His blood on the cross, that changed everything.  Through this marvelous gift, we who accept it are no longer subject to the wrath of God.

But the one thing we see is that wrath from God comes in this world as we live and breathe, along with having an eternal component.  Someone can be subject to God’s wrath while living, suffer the punishment for that in this life, and end up in hell as a final result.

Paul once more tells those of us who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord the Good News in 1 Thessalonians 5:9:

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

How glorious is that?  When we’re saved, we’re no longer subject to God’s wrath.

Just like with Nineveh at the time of Nahum, wrath is coming to this world.  Rather than the complete overthrow of a city, this entire earth will be overthrown in the 7-year Tribulation.  Judgment and punishment must come when God determines the time is right because of the fullness of sin that has arisen.

We, however, who are in Christ, have nothing to fear.  We are no longer enemies of God.  He takes vengeance on His adversaries, and we don’t fit that category.  This is why the doctrines that deny the pre-Trib Rapture are patently false.  By default, they assume that we are still under judgment, thus subject to the wrath God.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  This is one big reason I’m a fervent pre-Trib Rapture believer.  If God were to cause those of us who love Him to go into the Tribulation, it would be direct violation of His character and His Word.

Jesus said to the believers in the church of Philadelphia, and He says to us in Revelation 3:10:

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.

That hour of trial coming on the entire earth can be nothing except the Tribulation.  God does not intend for His children to endure the atrocities of those years because we who are in Christ are no longer under wrath.

This brings us to America.  The entire world is going down in the very near future, but even more so is our once-beloved nation.  I have to say it that way because the America most of us grew up in is no more; sadly, the ideal we were taught to believe has always been under attack, and its end has come.  Just as God compared Jerusalem to Sodom and Gomorrah in Isaiah 1:10:

Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

. . . so it is with America.  We are no different, and to think we are is a major deceit.  A recent Pew poll shows that about 40% of US adults believe we’re living in the end-times.  Of course, that means that 60% don’t think that.  Less than 50% of Christians have this understanding.  The issue in these numbers actually boils down to the question: What are these folks who do believe this Biblical fact about us living in the end times doing about it?  Whether Christian or not, I imagine that few are living for the Lord and preparing to meet their Maker, as it were.  Thus, when someone like me says that the Remnant is very small who are watching and anticipating Christ’s return, I know this is true.  People can believe we’re in the final days all they want, but unless they act upon that belief to draw nearer to God, is there any difference between them and those who don’t believe this?  I don’t think so.

Nineveh had its day of reckoning.  America has hers coming soon.  Now someone may say: But what about a reprieve through revival?  What about our second chance just like what Nineveh had?  For those questions, I point to Scripture.  The signs of the times are very clear.  The end is upon us.  Is there any indication in God’s prophetic Word that at this point in time we will experience a Nineveh-type repentance which stays the hand of God?  I don’t see it in the Bible.  As to our second chance, I think that probably came and went with the last outpouring of spirituality, as well as the move of the Spirit of God, during the late 60s and into the 70s and 80s.  We had our chance, and Another Generation has come along that doesn’t know the God of the Bible.  Consequences are real things.

The pessimistic outlook is that we’re doomed, and that’s true.  The world as we know it will cease to exist in short order.  There is no further reprieve.  We who diligently follow the Lord Jesus Christ, on the other hand, should have the greatest of optimism.

It won’t be long until we’re in the presence of Jesus.

4 Responses to “Biblical Audio Commentary – Reprieve”

  1. Reply Rick H

    Speaking of morality…don’t know if you caught this yet Gary…”More than 100 Palestinians were killed and hundreds wounded when Israeli troops opened fire on people waiting for food in Gaza City, pushing the Palestinian death toll above 30,000 since the war began, the Gaza Health Ministry and Hamas said Thursday”…wow it’s gotta be true because we all know the people in charge of Gaza and Hamas and the MSM would never lie…LOL….This is tragic that but a perfect illustration of Jesus stating that take heed that no one deceives you…this will just ramp up the hatred against Israel by people who are blinded by the Father of Lies who hates Israel more than they do…the smokescreen never stops nor does the Biden administration’s nonstop tactics of 2 state solutions and temporary ceasefires!

  2. Reply Robin McCann

    Regarding the story of Nineveh, I’m reminded of a former Christian comedian, Mike Warnke. He used a whale in the story. He asked, ‘What would you do if you were walking along the beach and suddenly a whale swims up, spits out a man whose clothes are half digested, skin bleached completely white from the gases in the whale’s stomach and hollered out, REPENT!?’ He goes on to say, ‘I don’t know ’bout you but I’d repent.’

    All of Nineveh repented that day, and it might just be because they saw the power of God that He would keep a man alive for 3 days in the belly of a fish.

    Whatever it takes, right?

  3. Reply GaryW.

    We saw a short 4-year reprieve when Trump was president. I don’t know what the count was on the people saved during that time but since that time I can’t see anything but an exponential increase in sin and sins of the worst kind. The hatred directed at God and Christians has become red hot and I don’t see any relief in the future. I see nothing in the Bible about a reformation or a massive turning to God. Like it or not, we’ve come down to it. But imagine, seeing Jesus, not as a man, but in all his Godly, heavenly glory. I can only think of one word to describe what I feel; goosey. That electric feelilng in your spine. Come, Lord Jesus.

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