From Majesty to Mockery
1 Kings 6:1 to 2 Kings 21 and the kingdom falls apart
2 Kings 22 to 2 Kings 25 and prophecy fulfilled
This period of time covered in this class; from 1004BC and the dedicating of the temple until 588BC and it and Jerusalem’s destruction by the captain of Nebuchadnezzar’s guard, is called “the fifth age of the world” by Archbishop Ussher.
Solomon has built the temple, dedicated it, and finished his own palace, as you will find by continuing to read the Biblical narrative, by the time ancient historians tell us that Shishak, also called Sefonchis, in the Egyptian chronology, came to rule in Egypt in 978BC. Some equate the Shishak of the Bible with Sheshonq I, founder of the 22nd dynasty of Egypt, called the Libyan dynasty, and the temporary takeover of Egypt. It is said that he reigned from 945 to 924 in distinction to Ussher’s date. K.A. Kitchen, in his "Ancient Egyptian Chronology for Aegeanists" recently published in Mediterranean Archaology and Archaeometry, (2002), Vol.2, No.2. pp. 5-12 moves the date of his reign up to 925BC and declares unequivocally that Shishak and Shesonq I are the same king.
The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History places the reign of David from 1010 to 973 and the reign of Solomon from 973 to 933BC. Ussher has David’s reign end with his death in 1015BC and Solomon’s ends in 975BC. The difference in dates is so minimal as to not be important. I just want you to be aware that there is no absolute agreement on dating at such a great distance in the past. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, begins his reign in 975BC according to Ussher and by his harsh attitude lost the ten northern tribes of Israel, who proceeded to stray from the true worship of God while the Southern Kingdom is known as Judah. According to Josephus, the Jews kept a solemn fast in memory of this disaster on the 23rd day of the third month, called Sivan.
Jeroboam promotes pagan idolatry in 1 Kings 12:25-31. In 971BC, Shishak, possibly invited by Jeroboam, with whom he lived for a time, invaded Judah and attacked Jerusalem. All the treasure of the temple and the king’s house were what it cost to make him go away. The Egyptians received back all that their ancestors had given the Hebrews during the time of the Exodus (not the specific items probably but the value).
In 957BC, King Abijah of Judah defeats Jeroboam in the bloodiest battle recorded in the Bible. Israel loses 500,000 men in the battle. Jeroboam’s entire dynasty is wiped out by Baasha in the reign of his Jeroboam’s son, Nadab.
In 941BC Zerah, the Ethiopian, invades Judah with a million foot soldiers. King Asa of Judah met this army with 300,000 soldiers from Judah and 280,000 from the tribe of Benjamin.
In 929BC, Baasha’s entire dynasty in Israel is eliminated when Zimri rebels and assassinates his son, Elah and all of his descendants. The traitor only rules for seven days before his overthrow and death.
The Syrian disaster at Aphek in 1 Kings 20:30 takes place in 900BC. Modern historians scoff at the body count as they did with regard to the Battle of Towton which took place
on a snowy Palm Sunday in 1461 in England’s “War of the Roses”. While chroniclers of the time offered a count of nearly half a million engaged in the battle with 30,000 dead, modern historians would only admit that a late medieval army could only field 10,000 or so. So, we were told that people whose livelihood depended on counting sheep and chickens could not count soldiers or corpses. However, the excavations at Towton since 1996 have produced a count of at least 30,000 human remains. So, don’t dismiss the Aphek account too easily. History might some day catch up to the Bible.
God’s hand in each of the aforementioned events is clearly seen and explained in the Bible account; explanations that no secular historian would accept.
In 884BC by Ussher’s account, the dynasty of Ahab is eliminated by Jehu when he killed Jehoram, the rest of Ahab’s family, and all the priests of Baal.
Reading through the books of 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles will give you the detailed accounts of the agony of Israel and Judah as they are ruled by good and bad kings and continue in apostasy until their destruction as independent nations.
When we come to the time of approximately 808BC, we find two of the most prosperous kings ruling in both kingdoms, Uzziah ruling in Judah, and Jeroboam II ruling in Israel. Isaiah the prophet graced Judah with his presence as well as Joel. The ancient historian, Codomanus, noted that Joel prophesied prior to Amos because he predicted a coming drought that Amos said had already happened. During this time Ussher says that both Jonah and Hosea prophesied in Israel.
During Isaiah’s long prophetic career, Rome is founded; by traditional historians in 753BC. The Greek colony of Syracuse is founded in 769BC. Macedonia, future birthplace of Alexander the Great, was founded in 814BC. Carthage, the Phoenician colony that so plagued Rome until its destruction, home of Hannibal, was founded in 850BC.
In Lydia, Ardysus begins his rule in 797BC, according to Eusebius. Ussher, quoting Eusebius, has Macedonia founded in 794BC rather than 814BC. At this distance in time, these few years are small issue. I’ll side with Ussher’s chronology based on the Bible. When Jeroboam II dies, Israel takes a nose dive to the bottom, and that is in 784BC.
In the summer of 776BC, the first Olympiad took place, according to Greek chronologers. According to Latin historian, Varro, this marks the end of the mythological period of Greek history and the beginning of true Greek history.
According to Julius Africanus, quoted by Ussher, Boccaris Saites rules in Egypt when Menahem fights Pul, king of Assyria, in his attempt to invade Israel. Pul is said to be the
father of Sardanapalus. To illustrate the confusion that historians face when attempting to place names with kings in relation to the evidence they find, many chronologers agree that he is the same person but call him by different names. Example, Julius Africanus called him Acracarnes, Eusebius called him Ocrazapes, Stephanus Byzantinus called him Cindaraxes, and Strabo, Arrian, and Suidas called him Anacyndaraxes or Anakyndaraxes. Ussher thought that Pul was the same king of Assyria at Nineveh who was brought to repentance by Jonah’s preaching and that God raised up a repentant, heathen man to take vengeance on unrepentant Israel. He came to this conclusion by calculating genealogies backwards.
Assyria emerged very early north of Babylon as a nation and developed a warlike attitude in its unending attempt to remain a free country. They had already had one high point in the middle of the second millennium BC but due to the strain on their economy with an army always in the field had declined. For a time Assyria conquered Elam, Sumeria, Akkad, Babylonia, and Egypt. Durant states that “Sumeria was to Babylonia and Babylonia was to Assyria, what Crete was to Greece, and Greece to Rome: the first created a civilization, the second developed it to its height, , the third inherited it, added little to it, protected it, and transmitted it as a dying gift to the encompassing and victorious barbarians”. Ashur, according to traditional historians was the original capital and residence of kings and then Nineveh, where Jonah preached and against which Nahum prophesied. Durant says that the reign of Tiglath-Pileser, mentioned in 2 Kings 15:29 as taking away many people from Israel, was a symbol and summary of Assyrian history; “death and taxes, first for Assyria’s neighbors, then for herself.” He was a conqueror and a hunter. Ashurbanipal II followed in conquest as did Shalmaneser III and Tiglath-Pileser III. Sargon II, an officer in the army took over in a coup d’etat, the French words for a sudden seizing of the reigns of government.
His son, Sennacherib, put down revolts in Persian Gulf provinces and attacked Jerusalem and Egypt without success. The account of his army being wiped out by the angel of the Lord in 2 Kings 19:35 is another one of those hotly contested events in the Bible, especially considering that the Egyptians claimed that their own deliverance in this campaign was from field mice who ate the Assyrians quivers, bow strings, and shield straps so that they were easily defeated the next day. If God can permit 20 million people to die in a relatively short time in 1918 from the so-called “Spanish Flu”, including more soldiers than were killed in actual combat in World War One, and if He can permit nearly a million people to die in one earthquake in China in 1556, then how is it so difficult to imagine that by His own direct actions that He could personally kill 185,000 Assyrians in one night? I can see the need to look for naturalistic explanations for supernatural events
but NOT when that search is in direct contradiction to the Bible’s clear statements. When those who question why there are no Assyrian records to this catastrophe stop and think they will realize that no ancient king is going to immortalize his failures in stone as that was reserved only for his glory.
In fact, the existence of Assyria itself was doubted for years by scholars because they had found no archaeological record of it. When they did in the 1800’s it all changed and now one hardly ever reads that it was once thought to be just another “made up” story from the Bible.
From the website of the Archaeological Institute of America we have this account;
“In 1847 the young British adventurer Austen Henry Layard explored the ruins of Nineveh and rediscovered the lost palace of Sennacherib across the Tigris River from modern Mosul in northern Iraq. Inscribed in cuneiform on the colossal sculptures in the doorway of its throne room was Sennacherib's own account of his siege of Jerusalem. It differed in detail from the biblical one but confirmed that Sennacherib did not capture the city. This find generated an excitement that is difficult to imagine today, because amid the increasing religious doubt and scriptural revisionism of the mid-nineteenth century, it gave Christian fundamentalists an independent eyewitness corroboration of a biblical event, written in the doorway of the very room where Sennacherib may have issued his order to attack. The palace's interior walls were paneled with huge stone slabs, carved in relief with images of Sennacherib's victories. Here one could see the king and army, foreign landscapes, and conquered enemy cities, including a remarkably accurate depiction of the Judean city of Lachish, whose destruction by the Assyrians was recorded in II Kings 18:13-14.”
Assyrian conquest was cruel and vicious. Impaling, beheadings, and mutilation of living prisoners were commonplace. An example will suffice to show from Durant; “The severed head of the Elamite king was brought to Ashurbanipal as he feasted with his queen in the palace garden; he had the head raised on a pole in the midst of his guests, and the royal revel went on; later the head was fixed over the gate of Nineveh, and slowly rotted away. The Elamite general, Dananu, was flayed alive, and then was bled like a lamb; his brother had his throat cut, and his body was divided into pieces, which were distributed over the country as souvenirs.”
Another reason why the Assyrians were hated was that they practiced deportation. This is not something they invented but something they used quite well. They resettled conquered people from rebellious communities in other places, often in the heartland of Assyria itself. It is estimated by Snell in his “Life in the Ancient Near East” that nearly 5 million people were deported in three centuries, most in the period between 745 and
647BC. This tactic might have worked for a short while but in the long run created patches of extreme anti-Assyrian hatred.
Assyrians may have seen themselves as a civilized people against the world and yet they did not seem to constitute a self-conscious ethnic group. There was, though, a military elite and military families who took pride in their martial history and conquests. In an earlier Assyrian period, called Middle Assyrian by scholars, women were treated oppressively, and even wore veils to keep them hidden from all but male relatives in a mirror of today’s Islamic custom. Women often were heads of families when widowed by war but were not involved in the legal system it would seem from the record. Prostitution flourished, however, and prostitutes who owned taverns were called “alewives” and loaned money like a modern bank.
Ussher has Rome being founded in 748BC, five years later than traditional historians. He reports the founding of it by the legendary Romulus of Romulus and Remus fame, two boys raised by a she-wolf, which became a very potent symbol in ancient Rome. He quotes the earliest of Roman writers, Fabian Pictor, for this information. His dating of the event is derived from the accounts of the secular games held faithfully by the ancient Romans. The Roman poet, Virgil, later wrote an epic poem called the Aenead, which declared that Aeneas, a refugee from the city of Troy founded Rome, giving the Trojans revenge on the Greeks when Rome conquered that civilization.
Like Rome, Assyria called for sculptors and architects from its vast empire to come to the capital to build temples and monuments. The kings, particularly Ashurbanipal, called for scribes and for all of the classic writings of Sumerian and Babylonian literature and gathered these copies in the library at Nineveh, where they were found intact by modern scholars over 2500 years later. Assyrian leaders, drunk with success, like Roman, became effeminate and pretentious over time, making the decline of their empire inevitable. They lacked the spiritual element that allowed the Roman Empire to simply morph into the Roman Catholic Church with the Pope taking the emperor’s role and the cardinals the senate on down to the lowest ranking administrator of a vast spiritual empire, the priest.
Durant says that; “The government of Ashurbanipal-which ruled Assyria, Babylonia, Armenia, Media, Palestine, Syria, Phoenicia, Sumeria, Elam, and Egypt- was without doubt the most extensive administrative organization yet seen in the Mediterranean or Near Eastern world; only Hammurabi and Thutmose III had approached it, and Persia alone would equal it before the coming of Alexander. In some ways, it was a liberal empire; its larger cities retained considerable autonomy, and each nation in it was left its own religion, law and ruler, provided it paid its tribute promptly.”
Empire has throughout history been Satan’s way of gathering people together to oppose God as a unified group, often with many so-called religions and ideologies but all with the same goal, to uplift man as a god on a physical earthly throne or as their god’s vicarious representative with a multitude of belief systems allowed, permitted as long as
they do not conflict with the god-man’s deification. Most secular historians don’t see this because of their view of history. There are at least two ways to look at history. One is the accidental method that evolutionists and atheists use; history is one big accident and everything just happens by chance and although the similarities and patterns are interestingly similar, they mean nothing in the long run as humankind is working toward
a utopia where we will all come together as one big, cooperative human family. The other view is the conspiratorial view, where forces are seen working behind the scenes to accomplish some goal, usually dark and sinister. To the secular person, the conspiracy is of men working secretly together in the backroom to create a new world order, while to the Bible believer, the author of the great movements of history apart from God’s redemptive plan through the Lord Jesus Christ is Satan, aka Lucifer or the Devil, the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). As Jesus Christ was manifested not only to take away our sins (1 John 3:5) but to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8) we must see the work of the deceiver clearly in human history, opposing God and all He requires from us.
As it is recommended to look for Christ in every passage of the Bible you read, it is helpful to look for Satan as you read history.
If, on the other hand, you admit that the imperial principle is good, in spreading law, order, commerce, and peace and that as many states as possible should be brought either by force or by persuasion under one government or even form of government then Assyria had established on a larger region of the earth a more stable order and prosperity than, as far as we know, had ever been established before in history. The army was the most vital part of the government and progress in the art of war was the most important progress. This pattern will be repeated again and again. Weapons of war became very sophisticated, from battering rams tipped with iron, to armor almost as confining as a medieval knight’s. Soldiers, rewarded for every head of a fallen enemy they brought in from the foe, engaged in mass decapitation.
Next to the army, the king relied on the church most heavily and paid well for the support of the priests. In Assyria, the formal head of state was the god, Ashur; all edicts were given in his name, all laws were the function of his divine will, all taxes were for his treasury, and even the king declared himself as the incarnation of the sun god, Shamash.
The law was as ruthless as the military tactics. Slitting of the nose and ears, castration, public whippings, pulling out the tongue, gouging out the eyes, impalement, and beheading were common forms of punishment. Under certain kings drinking poison or being forced to watch your son or daughter being burnt alive on the altar of a god was ordered. Trial by ordeal was often employed, where the bound prisoner was thrown into the river to see how his guilt or innocence would be decided by the gods.
All in all, Assyrian government was an instrument of war and we shall see the rise of the warfare state throughout history. War is more profitable than peace; it creates
discipline, intensifies patriotism, and concentrates power in the hands of a few at the top. But it creates an addiction to violence. That is its weakness.
Assyria and Babylon were very similar, being the northern and southern part of essentially the same civilization. Irrigation was essential to their survival. Sennacherib, the king who lost his army to the angel of the Lord overnight, built the oldest aqueduct
for bringing water into Nineveh we have found and he also created one of the first examples of official government coinage that has been discovered. A tablet of Sennacherib’s is the oldest known reference to cotton, as well.
Like all military states, Assyria encouraged a high birth rate and abortion was a capital crime. A woman who caused herself to have a miscarriage, even if she died while attempting it, was to be impaled on a stake. Although some women did rise to power their overall position in Assyria was not very high. As I said before, they were not allowed to go into public unveiled and strict penalties were enforced for adultery even though their husbands could have as many concubines as they wanted. A husband could legally kill his wife if he caught her in the act of cheating, a law which was still on the books in many states in our country until a few decades ago.
In the early 600’s BC, according to Durant, when Assyria came under attack from the combined forces of Nabopolassar and an army of Medes, Nineveh and Assyria, were destroyed. In one blow, mighty Assyria was wiped out, and Nineveh was forgotten, except in the record of the Bible, until it was uncovered over a hundred years ago. Ussher said that this destruction took place in 626BC.
Before I review information again about Babylon, which took Assyria’s place, the king of Babylon even assuming the title of King of Assyria, let’s take a look around the world in the latter half of the first millennium, or thousand years, BC.
Tradition states that while in prison, one of the founders of the Chou dynasty in China, Wen Wang, wrote the Book of Changes, or I-Ching. This book is still used and I used it in high school. The I-Ching is a book of divination, a pagan, Satanic book based on what the Chinese call the eight Kua, or mystic trigrams invented by legendary emperor Fu Hsi. These trigrams are identified with the laws and elements of nature. Each trigram consists of three lines- some continuous and representing the male principle or yang, some broken and representing the female principle of yin. Yang represented the positive, active and heavenly principle of light, heat and life, while Yin represented the negative, passive, and earthly principle of darkness, cold, and death. You would think that neither Fu Hsi nor Wen Wang had much of a liking for women, wouldn’t you?
Wen Wang doubled the number of strokes and raised the possible number of combinations of broken and unbroken lines to 64. All science and history were supposed to be found in that book. All knowledge even was to be contained in it. Confucius, the most famous of Chinese philosophers, edited a volume and declared that it ranked above
all other writings. Wen Wang’s work allegedly took place in the early 12th century BC. The Shang dynasty under which Wang my have been imprisoned would have ended at that time or a couple of hundred years later, around 1050BC, depending on who you read. Both Shang and Chou dynasties used horse drawn chariots, organized armies, and human sacrifice as a means of governing and religious expression. Ancestor worship was very important and gifts of food and wine were brought to special places and temples to keep the ancestors happy. The Shang used Oracle bones, which they called Dragon bones to communicate with their ancestors by heating them until they cracked and then reading the cracks. Remember, even in the Ancient Near East there was a sort of backhanded ancestor worship, as even the main gods of Assyria, can be traced back to Noah’s sons or grandsons (Ashur – Genesis 10) Not surprisingly, the rich lived in large palaces, drank out of bronze cups, and were buried in lavish tombs while the poor lived in squalor and poverty. The peasant farmers lived in thatched roof huts with mud walls in winter and in bamboo huts near the rice fields in summer. Disease was rampant due to always working, standing in water in the rice paddies.
In spite of the rampant die offs from various plagues I want to state again a truth that confuses historians and epidemiologists alike and I’ll refer to William McNeill’s classic, ‘Plagues and Peoples’. There seems, from a secular point of view, to be a dynamic between the environment and human beings that allows them to resist disease organisms up to a point where an epidemic sweeps through a country or a new disease organism is introduced. Rapid population growth is amazing considering the hazards that face humanity. Remember, most of the great medical breakthroughs of today don’t affect the billions who live in poverty at all as they are only affordable for a few, relatively speaking. This is another reason not to believe in evolution. Under the most primitive conditions of the last 4,000 years population has grown exponentially. Presumably, if these diseased, pathogenic conditions existed alongside of human beings for tens of thousands of years or even hundreds of thousands of years we would have had five times the population we have right now with those that would die in hideous plagues being rapidly replaced.
By 1,000BC the Chinese were burning coal for fuel and not just wood. They stored ice by refrigeration for future use. By 700 they were keeping records of comets, meteors, and meteorites. In 1057BC, or possibly 1027, the Battle of Mu Yu took place in the Southern Honan area of China in which Wu Wang, the king of Chou, defeated the Shang dynasty. Chou Kung, who assumed the kingship upon his death put down the final Shang rebellion and established a governmental organization that lasted for nearly 800 years. The Chou expanded between 1000BC and 900BC and after 800BC gradually declined. The Chou began to breakdown into fighting among 140 autonomous warlords, 7 of which were important; Ch’i, Chin, Ch’in, Wu, Yueh, Sung, and Ch’u. An interesting thing to note is that for a short period of time, during the 8th and 7th centuries warfare became more ritualistic than violent with battles resembling more theater than actual, bloody clashes. The Western Ch’u developed a military organization similar to our modern platoons, companies, battalions, brigades, divisions, corps, and armies.
In India, the formation of the Vedas takes place between 1000BC and 500BC. The Upanishads are written between 800 and 500BC. The kings of the Vedic period of India often raided their neighbors for cattle and, like Ethiopia today, marriage was often the result of forcible abduction of the bride or her purchase, by mutual consent. Marriage by
mutual consent was thought, however, to be less honorable, and more of a compliment if the bride were stolen or purchased. The Rig-Veda speaks of all of the perversions we encounter today; incest, seduction, prostitution, abortion, and adultery, but in general, there is a high moral standard between the sexes and the family is very important.
Women enjoyed far greater freedom in India during this period than in later times. Women could appear freely at feasts and participate in religious sacrifices. If she was a widow there were no restrictions on her re-marriage. She could study and engage in philosophic disputation like the famous philosopher and composer of hymns, Gargi. Other female philosophers and hymn composers of the time were Maitreyi, Lopamudra, and Ghosha. Vedic Indians bartered and ate cows, unlike today, They planted barley but knew nothing or rice, it would seem, at that time. There were no banks or alewives, as in Assyria, to lend money. Whatever you had was hid in your own home. Money itself was a late development as bartering in cows and goods was the original means of exchange. Later, during the age of Buddha, credit developed.
The Aryan invaders displaced the religion of the earlier residents which is still found in places much like the Aryans found among the Nagas; animistic worship with totems and symbols much like parts of Africa today. Serpents and dragons were divinity and we can make the connection safely with Satan’s religion spreading around the earth. Hanuman, the monkey god, is still worshipped, as is Nandi, the bull god. The earliest gods of the Vedic period were forces of nature such as sky, sun, earth, fire, light, water, and sex, all good and evil spirits. We have the ‘Atharva-veda, or Book of the Knowledge of Magic’; one must recite spells to obtain children, to avoid abortion, to prolong life, to ward off evil, to go to sleep, and to destroy enemies. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad formulas were given for forcibly seducing a woman by incantation. They remind one of the Emerald Tablet written by the Egyptian magician.priests. Many of the Indian gods we know of today, were, like the gods of Greece, local gods who had not assumed their all important, universal power, such as Krishna, whom George Harrison of Beatles fame created a famous hymn to called “My Sweet Lord”, which, unfortunately many young Christians who didn’t listen to the lyrics carefully enough, were deceived by.
The language of the Vedic period was Sanskrit which is labeled as one of the oldest of the Indo-European language group although Hebrew is older and, is perhaps, God’s language. It is probably the mother tongue of all languages. Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and English all have some similarities in numerals and family terms. For instance, English one, two, three, four, and Sanskrit ek, dwee, tree, chatoor sound similar as do words for mother and father. The Sanksrit of the Vedas appears to be a scholarly tongue used only by scholars and priests. The word means, “prepared, pure, perfect, and sacred”. Vedic script is still pictographic and it isn’t until the 8th or 9th century that merchants bring
actual semitic writing from the area of Israel that the “Brahma script” came to be developed, as did all of the later alphabets of India. For centuries writing was confined to commercial and administrative purposes. Merchants, not priests, developed the art of writing in early India. Even the Buddhist canon does not appear to have been written before the 3rd century BC. The oldest inscriptions known were thought to have been done at the time of Ashoka, the Indian religious teacher of the 200’s BC.
Nearly all of the information that modern scholars have about ancient India comes from the Vedas. The word, Veda, means knowledge. The Vedas, though, are essentially collections of Hindu religious writings.
The Upanishads, on the other hand, are more philosophy and psychology. The word comes from “upa”, near, and “shad”, to sit, as in sit near the teacher and learn. They consist of 108 discourses composed between 800BC and 500BC. The number, 108, becomes significant in an occultic way through Indian martial arts that come to China and eventually Japan and are found in modern forms like the way of the Samurai and Tai Chi Ch’uan. Later, Alexander would bring Greek Pankration, a fighting sport, to India, which then was converted into a native art, Vajramushti, which was passed on to China and became Shaolin fighting, the father of Japanese martial arts. While Japanese, Chinese, and Indians will say that their unarmed punching and kicking combative arts developed on their own, we know that the first fighting styles indigenous to any ethnic group had to do with wrestling, rocks, and knives. Anyway, the theme of the Upanishads is basically, why are we here? One clear teaching of this religious expression is that the individual soul will eventually go back into the impersonal soul of the universe. In other words, one thing you lose when you finally die in the long chain of reincarnation, is your personal identity. On the other hand, the God of the Bible does not teach that you cease to become an individual when you die. The supreme god in this combination of religion and philosophy is Brahma, the creator, followed later by Vishnu, the preserver, and then by Shiva, the destroyer. The Hindu religion and its offshoot, Buddhism, have permeated our western culture much to the efforts of many celebrities from the American Standard Version Bible translator, Philip Schaff, to the American actor, Richard Gere, as well as the rock group, the Beatles.
At the beginning of this era one of the largest migrations in human history takes place as the Bantu peoples of Africa begin moving south of the present day Sahara into Southern Africa, a movement that took approximately 2,000 years. The Bantu are considered to be linguistically related descendants of Ham. Part of their culture depended upon the importation of the banana, a native of Asia, and more stable crop production which allowed them to move beyond just mere survival. Political organization was primarily local and it is not until much later that larger kingdoms develop. From about 750 or 600BC Kush or Nubia ruled Egypt from their capital of Meroe in Upper Egypt. A mixture of Ham and Shem, or African people from Ethiopia and Semitic people from Arabia formed the culture of Aksum that settled around the Red Sea by 500BC. The Nok, ancestors of the Yoruba people, settled in Nigeria.
It is interesting to note that the Christian Buba clan of the Bantu Lemba tribe of Zimbabwe claims to be descended from Jews who migrated over a thousand years ago from the area of Yemen and DNA tests have revealed that this is true. They practice
Jewish rituals and religious practices as well as Christianity, including male circumcision, and identify themselves as being of Jewish descent, which scientifically speaking, they are.
In the area of Mexico in the America’s at this time we have the Olmec civilization of the East Mexico lowlands that are considered to be the forerunners of all Middle or Meso-American civilizations. The Olmec called themselves Xi (Shi). There have been over 170 Olmec monuments found, predominantly at three sites in the territory they inhabited, from Southern Mexico, through Eastern Guatemala. They were advanced mathematicians and astronomers and created accurate calendars. As was the case with other civilizations they used a hieroglyphic style of writing. The culture existed on farming. Oddly enough, when Olmec cuneiform was compared to a type of Libyan pictograph it was felt that it could be deciphered. Some people, a few, believe they must have migrated from the old world while others insist they were indigenous and Bible believers know they are part of the ongoing migration of mankind away from the ark begun over a millennium before their rise to prominence. They had advanced irrigation systems like the Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian cultures and used buried stone drain lines.
Colossal stone heads are the hallmark of the discovery of the Olmec culture beginning in 1862. One interesting thing to note is that these heads are often African in appearance which confuses historians to no end. Afro-centrists, who believe all civilization came from Africa, claim that this is proof of African colonization of Middle America.
In Peru, you have what is called by Archaeologists, the Chavin culture, elements of which go back to 1,000BC by traditional scholar’s representations. It is a culture characterized by beautiful, if abstract artwork, and a similarity to the Olmec designs, suggesting either a common origin or cross cultural influence. They also evinced a highly advanced technology with regard to the production of clothing using the hair of the type of camels found in South America such as the alpaca, vicuna, and llama.
About 1000BC the Ciboney tribe left the mainland and began to emigrate eastward to settle the Caribbean islands, particularly Cuba, until almost 2000 years later they were displaced and killed by the more warlike Arawaks, whom the Spanish eventually destroyed.
At about the same time Polynesians settled the Pacific island of Samoa. No one knows how long it took the original inhabitants of Australia, the Aborigines (from the beginning), to reach it. They are among the oldest, by modern scholarship standards, of so-called indigenous peoples on earth. Remains of Aboriginal culture have been dated by traditional Archaeologists to 40,000 years ago, at a time when many large, now extinct
animals were to have had the run of the continent, like giant kangaroos and giant wombats. This 40,000 year traditional dating also encompasses the time in which early North Americans were to have begun their walk across the now submerged Bering Straits land bridge between Alaska and Eastern Asia.
The science that tries to put together the migration of now extinct animals around the world is called Paleobiogeography.
In Europe, we have the beginnings of the Etruscan culture in Italy in the area known today as Tuscany. It is a beautiful part of Europe that had a large reserve of tin in those ancient times. The Etruscans may have emigrated from Lydia in western Asia Minor. Their culture had some Greek and some Middle Eastern influences. They were a powerful culture who dominated the Latins, whom we came to know as the Romans, until the Latins fought they way to freedom. From around 700BC to 500BC Rome was reduced to nothing more than an Etruscan colony. This constant warfare created a distinctive martial, as in warlike, society.
Further north in Europe, the Celts, who started out it seems in Eastern France, expanded all over Western Europe. They were an iron using people who traded salt as far south as Italy and as far north as Germany. By 400BC they had spread to Britain and all of Western Europe. They were also farmers who lived in villages. Two periods that modern scholars recognize of Celtic development as a people are the Halstatt Culture and the La Tene’ culture.
Now, returning to the Biblical narrative, we have finally come to king Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son, being carried away to Babylon by the king of Assyria in 2 Chronicles 33. Remember, what I said about Babylon and Assyria, being the southern and northern parts of essentially the same culture and that the King of Babylon was also known as the King of Assyria (2 Chronicles 33:11).
Hezekiah, according to Ussher, dies in 698BC. The Babylonian Talmud, which we will discuss later, the early Christian leader, Justin Martyr in his work, Tryphon, and Jerome, the Bible translator, all refer to the passage in Hebrews 11:37 as being a reference to the prophet, Isaiah, being sawn asunder by king Manasseh.
According to ancient historian, Ptolemy, in his Canon of Kings, Regebelos ruled over Babylon five years after this, then came Meisisimordakos, and then finally beginning in 688BC there was no king in Babylon for 8 years. In Egypt, beginning in 687BC there was no king for two years and then an oligarchy, or a group of men, in this case 12 ruled for 15 years. The political events of the ancient near east were constantly swirling around one city or kingdom rising against another, falling, and rising again, or disappearing from the historical record, like Nineveh and although the wicked king, Manasseh, seems to have changed his ways at the end, the apostasy of Judah has sealed its fate just like the northern kingdom of Israel, as God’s judgments against His people come to pass. The
setting is now prepared for the greatest corrupter of religion and one of the greatest kingdoms of history to enter the scene again in full force. Babylon will play a part spiritually in all the following chapters of human history and is even referred to in the end time prophecies of Revelation.
We come to the king Josiah, the likes of which were none before or after according to 2 Kings 23:25, turning to the Lord God with all his heart, all his soul, and all his might according to the law of Moses. Still, his reformation of Judah does not prevent him from making a key mistake in challenging Pharaoh Necho of Egypt who had come to fight against the Assyrian-Babylonian war machine.
Necho was the son of Psammetichus, and reigned in Egypt for sixteen years according to Greek historian Herodotus. This leader began a channel from the Nile to the Red Sea, a public works project that cost the lives of 120,000 Egyptians. He abandoned the work when it was half done. He sent Phoenicians to sail around Africa. Leaving from the Red Sea they sailed south and arrived at the Pillars of Hercules, of which Gibraltar in Spain is one and Monte Hacho in Ceuta in Africa is the other, at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, three years later. This can be found also in Herodotus’ “The Histories”. These events occurred around 616BC, according to Ussher.
By God’s command, Pharaohnecho set out to go into battle against the king of Assyria, who was at war with him at the time, and was planning to besiege Carchemish on the Euphrates River. Josephus stated that he went to fight against the Medes and the Babylonians, who had overthrown the Assyrian controlled empire in his work, “Antiquities of the Jews”. Carchemish, at the time of Sennacherib, belonged to and was occupied by the Assyrians according to Isaiah 10:9. However, when the Assyrian hegemony was destroyed , it returned into the hands of the Babylonians,. Just as the time when the king of Persia had defeated Babylon and Assyria, in Ezra 6:22 he was called the king of the Assyrians. In addition, as I have said before, the secular authors also state that Babylon and Assyria were south and north of essentially the same culture and civilization while the Bible even states that the kingdom of the Chaldeans, the tribe that became associated with Babylon and its science and religion was founded by the king of Assyria in Isaiah 23:13. In God’s judgment of Israel and Judah, think of Assyria-Babylon as the hammer (Jeremiah 50:23) and Egypt as the anvil between which they are smashed under God’s direction.
When Josiah foolishly entered into this war, he was killed. This took place in the valley of Megiddo which belonged to the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 17:11). Herodotus said that Necho attacked the Syrians with an army and overthrew them in Magdolus. After the battle he took a large city of Syria called Cadytis. The Huguenot Historian (a Huguenot was a French Protestant, much murdered and persecuted by the Roman church), Joseph Scaliger, noted that Cadytis was actually Kadesh, which is mentioned in Numbers 20:16. Scaliger also believed that Magdolus and Megiddo were located near
each other. Because Magdolus was the more famous place, secular historians said the battle took place there.
In the same way it is understood that the battle between Alexander and Darius at Gaugamela is said to have been fought at Arbela, since the former place was unheard of. It is even more likely that Magdolus and Megiddo are the same place, since that is the
place where Mary Magdalene derived her surname. In Matthew the name is given as Magdala (Matthew 15:39). The Syrian renders it Mageda and the old Latin translates it Magedan, which is similar to Megiddo.
Josiah’s death may have delayed the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 22:20). When Necho returned from Assyria he deposed Josiah’s successor and placed his own choice on the throne. These are the days of the work of the prophets Jeremiah and Habbakuk. Jeremiah foretells the rise and conquests of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and then prophesies the downfall of Babylon. Today, the Arabs that live near Babylon have insisted to American soldiers that the ruins are haunted by demons.
Nebuchadnezzar is viceroy of Babylon by 607BC and until his father, Nabopolassar, dies, and as Jeremiah predicts, he defeats the Egyptians at the Euphrates, cutting off Necho’s forces at Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:2). He also takes Tyre in Phoenicia as Ezekiel prophecies in chapter 29:17-19. Tyre, of which Ezekiel predicts the complete annihilation of, begun by Nebuchadnezzar and finished by Alexander, was an important, if not the most important Phoenician seaport. Tyre was an important caravan destination depended upon by merchants from all over the ancient Near East and quite wealthy. The Holy Spirit, speaking through Ezekiel, not only predicts its downfall but equates its king with Satan in the Garden of Eden. Tyre was located along a trade route that included Sidon, Sardis, and Carchemish, and then down the Euphrates. Durant says that the coast of Phoenicia was a narrow strip of land 100 miles long and 10 miles wide between Syria and the Mediterranean Sea, being guarded by the mountains and hills from the rest of Mesopotamia. They were the busiest merchants of the ancient world and masters of the sea once they became liberated from Egypt about the time of the Exodus. They manufactured various products of glass and metal, enameled vases, weapons, ornaments, and jewelry; and had a monopoly on the purple dye so valued by royalty. Purple was the color of royalty in the ancient world. They extracted this dye from mollusks that lived in plenty along their shores. The women of Tyre were famous the ancient world over for beautifully, colored needlework. Tyre was extremely wealthy and powerful in that everyone had a stake in their continuing to supply every luxury to every city in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean.
They were shrewd traders and not content with this, enslaved thousands in Spain to mine precious metals. They were not only merchants but pirates and often stole the entire cargoes of their rivals and enslaved their sailors. They established garrisons around the sea that eventually became flourishing colonies; Cadiz, Carthage, Marseilles, in Malta, in Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and even in England. They occupied Cyprus, Melos, and
Rhodes. They took the arts and languages of Egypt, Crete, and the Near East and spread them in Greece, Italy, and Spain. The Tyrean-Phoenician mercantile empire tied the East and the West together with the common thread of greed.
Tyre was built on a rock several miles off the coast. It began as a fortress but its great harbor and its security from attack soon made it the metropolis of Phoenicia. The high
rise skyscrapers that Strabo reported as being taller than anything Rome produced existing there were later completely destroyed by Alexander, as promised in Ezekiel 26-29.
At this time, the Medes, later important players in the politics of the ancient world, are at war with the Lydians, whom are thought to be the ancestors of the Etruscans, accord- ing to Michael Grant in his book, “The Etruscans”.
Now, Necho’s defeat at Babylon’s hand keeps him from leaving Egypt for the rest of his reign. The date of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, is hotly argued among historians. Dates given range from 606/607BC to 588BC. The date does become important with regard to prophecy but not for the purposes of this course.
“Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.” Jeremiah 51:7
Babylon is the head of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar dreams of in Daniel, a head of gold. It is the ultimate kingdom, the foremost empire, that conquers the world both physically, which is always temporary and never lasting, but also spiritually. Several religious ideals and doctrines that have caused so much controversy in later history and so much death have their origin in Babylon. In the Chaldean mysteries, before any instruction could be received it was required that absolute obedience and submission would be practiced by a type of baptism. Even in Hinduism, early missionaries found that Indians were familiar with being called “twice born” men after a trip to and immersion in the sacred Ganges River. The early church “father”, Tertullian says that, “in certain sacred rites of the heathen”, referring to the worship of Isis and Mithra, “the mode of initiation is baptism”. The baptism practiced by the pagan religions was a saving act in itself, not merely a sign of a prior belief, a public statement, if you will. It was a pretty tough ordeal as another early church leader informs us that if they survived the baptism they were initiated into the mysteries. Tertullian tells us that there was a great reward for submitting to this process, as once baptized or immersed, the person was promised a pardon from all sins, a regeneration. Scandinavian worshippers of Odin, the Norse god that is comparable to Zeus, were known to have practiced baptismal rites, dunking babies into streams and rivers and lakes to wash away their sin. Baptism for the purpose of regenerating a person was found by Cortes when he invaded Mexico. Accounts of this can be found in Prescott’s work, ‘History of the Conquest of Mexico’, one of the most famous history books ever written. Reading from his book, "When everything necessary
for the baptism had been made ready, all the relations of the child were assembled, and the midwife, who was the person that performed the rite of baptism, was summoned. At early dawn, they met together in the courtyard of the house. When the sun had risen, the midwife, taking the child in her arms, called for a little earthen vessel of water, while
those about her placed the ornaments, which had been prepared for baptism, in the midst of the court. To perform the rite of baptism, she placed herself with her face toward the
west, and immediately began to go through certain ceremonies...After this she sprinkled water on the head of the infant, saying, 'O my child, take and receive the water of the Lord of the world, which is our life, which is given for the increasing and renewing of our body. It is to wash and to purify. I pray that these heavenly drops may enter into your body, and dwell there; that they may destroy and remove from you all the evil and sin which was given you before the beginning of the world, since all of us are under its power'...She then washed the body of the child with water, and spoke in this manner: 'Whencesoever thou comest, thou that art hurtful to this child, leave him and depart from him, for he now liveth anew, and is BORN ANEW; now he is purified and cleansed afresh, and our mother Chalchivitylcue [the goddess of water] bringeth him into the world.' Having thus prayed, the midwife took the child in both hands, and, lifting him towards heaven, said, 'O Lord, thou seest here thy creature, whom thou hast sent into the world, this place of sorrow, suffering, and penitence. Grant him, O Lord, thy gifts and inspiration, for thou art the Great God, and with thee is the great goddess.'"
Now, how do we get to Mexico from Babylon? Von Humboldt found, in his travels that the Mexicans looked upon Wodan as the founder of their race just as our own ancestors did. You have to go back to earlier researchers because the purely pagan elements of the native Mexican people had not yet been buried and fused with Roman Catholic elements has thoroughly as in the last 200 years. "According to the ancient traditions collected by the Bishop Francis Nunez de la Vega," says Humboldt, "the Wodan of the Chiapanese [of Mexico] was grandson of that illustrious old man, who at the time of the great deluge, in which the greater part of the human race perished, was saved on a raft, together with his family. Wodan co-operated in the construction of the great edifice which had been undertaken by men to reach the skies; the execution of this rash project was interrupted; each family received from that time a different language; and the great spirit Teotl ordered Wodan to go and people the country of Anahuac." Comparative mythologists will explain how the concept of baptismal regeneration and the baptizing of infants was held in common by not only the Mexicans but by the Egyptians, the Persians, and the Babylonians who worshipped the Chaldean “queen of heaven”.
In the Chaldean mysteries baptismal regeneration is part of a worship and commem-oration of the great flood and Noah becomes worshipped as Dipheus, or twice-born, represented as a god with two heads looking in each direction. Quoting directly from Hislop’s ‘The Two Babylons’; Noah “was represented as a god with two heads looking in opposite directions, the one old, and the other young. Though we have seen that the two-headed Janus in one aspect had reference to Cush and his son, Nimrod, viewed as one
god, in a two-fold capacity, as the Supreme, and Father of all the deified "mighty ones," yet, in order to gain for him the very authority and respect essential to constitute him properly the head of the great system of idolatry that the apostates inaugurated, it was necessary to represent him as in some way or other identified with the great patriarch, who was the Father of all, and who had so miraculous a history.
Therefore in the legends of Janus, we find mixed up with other things derived from an entirely different source, statements not only in regard to his being the "Father of the
world," but also his being "the inventor of ships," which plainly have been borrowed from the history of Noah; and therefore, the remarkable way in which he is represented in the figure here presented to the reader may confidently be concluded to have been primarily suggested by the history of the great Diluvian patriarch, whose integrity in his two-fold life is so particularly referred to in the Scripture, where it is said (Gen 6:9), "Noah was just a man, and perfect in his generations," that is, in his life before the flood, and in his life after it. The whole mythology of Greece and Rome, as well as Asia, is full of the history and deeds of Noah, which it is impossible to misunderstand. In India, the god Vishnu, "the Preserver," who is celebrated as having miraculously preserved one righteous family at the time when the world was drowned, not only has the story of Noah wrought up with his legend, but is called by his very name. Vishnu is just the Sanscrit form of the Chaldee "Ish-nuh," "the man Noah," or the "Man of rest." In the case of Indra, the "king of the gods," and god of rain, which is evidently only another form of the same god, the name is found in the precise form of Ishnu. Now, the very legend of Vishnu, that pretends to make him no mere creature, but the supreme and "eternal god," shows that this interpretation of the name is no mere unfounded imagination. Thus is he celebrated in the "Matsya Puran": "The sun, the wind, the ether, all things incorporeal, were absorbed into his Divine essence; and the universe being consumed, the eternal and omnipotent god, having assumed an ancient form, REPOSED mysteriously upon the surface of that (universal) ocean. But no one is capable of knowing whether that being was then visible or invisible, or what the holy name of that person was, or what the cause of his mysterious SLUMBER. Nor can any one tell how long he thus REPOSED until he conceived the thought of acting; for no one saw him, no one approached him, and none can penetrate the mystery of his real essence." (Col. KENNEDY'S Hindoo Mythology) In conformity with this ancient legend, Vishnu is still represented as sleeping four months every year. Now, connect this story with the name of Noah, the man of "Rest," and with his personal history during the period of the flood, when the world was destroyed, when for forty days and forty nights all was chaos, when neither sun nor moon nor twinkling star appeared, when sea and sky were mingled, and all was one wide universal "ocean," on the bosom of which the patriarch floated, when there was no human being to "approach" him but those who were with him in the ark, and "the mystery of his real essence is penetrated" at once, "the holy name of that person" is ascertained, and his "mysterious slumber" fully accounted for. Now, wherever Noah is celebrated, whether by the name of Saturn, "the hidden one,"--for that name was applied to him as well as to Nimrod, on account of his having been "hidden" in the ark, in the "day of the Lord's fierce anger,"--or, "Oannes," or "Janus," the "Man of the Sea," he is generally described
in such a way as shows that he was looked upon as Diphues, "twice-born," or "regenerate." The "twice-born" Brahmins, who are all so many gods upon earth, by the very title they take to themselves, show that the god whom they represent, and to whose prerogatives they lay claim, had been known as the "twice-born" god. The connection of "regeneration" with the history of Noah, comes out with special evidence in the accounts handed down to us of the Mysteries as celebrated in Egypt. The most learned explorers of
Egyptian antiquities, including Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, admit that the story of Noah was mixed up with the story of Osiris. The ship of Isis, and the coffin of Osiris, floating on the
waters, point distinctly to that remarkable event. There were different periods, in different places in Egypt, when the fate of Osiris was lamented; and at one time there was more special reference to the personal history of "the mighty hunter before the Lord," and at another to the awful catastrophe through which Noah passed. In the great and solemn festival called "The Disappearance of Osiris," it is evident that it is Noah himself who was then supposed to have been lost.”
Why bring up the history baptismal regeneration and infant baptism at this point? Because these doctrines are the basis for the murder of millions of dissenters during the period of the Christian church. In fact, the entire concept of the power inherent in the act of baptism itself becomes an issue of history the neglect of which study renders so much of history, particularly wars of religion in Europe as undecipherable.
One of the most famous comparative mythologists of the present day and someone whose name you will undoubtedly see again if you pursue your study of history in an institution of higher learning is Joseph Campbell. His works include “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” where he discounts all religion as being connected to common mythology. He reaches different conclusions because he does not believe the Bible but he does touch, at times, upon the commonality of mankind’s religion and even though he would regard Satan himself as a mythic character and miss Satan’s grand conspiracy against God which mankind has so cheerfully gone along with, he would agree that much of it is simply the same religion with different names. Do not look for someone like Campbell to bolster your faith, he has nothing but contempt for it, as does Durant. But, when you read these men and women’s work discounting Jesus Christ as a mythic figure merely remember the admonition of 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4.
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Satan continues to counterfeit the word of God in every aspect and the religions of the world, the philosophy, and the political all reflect this continuing effort to deceive mankind.