Nahum Chapter 3: Curse of Nineveh (Papacy)

Nov 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Nahum, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Nahum Chapter 3: Curse of Nineveh (Papacy)

Nahum 3:1 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;

Like Babylon, the city of Nineveh is a type of Christendom. “Woe to the bloody city!” In Revelation 17:6, John saw “the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus,” and when he saw her, he “wondered with great admiration [astonishment].” Thus the Book of Revelation pictures mystic Babylon as a woman who has incurred blood-guilt responsibility down through history. Verse 1, then, in calling Nineveh “the bloody city,” starts to provide details of the judgment that is to come upon Christendom.

The bloody city “is all full of lies and robbery.” Some examples of those lies are (1) that Catholicism is the mouthpiece of God and His instrument in instructing the world in righteousness, (2) that the Roman Catholic Church is the true Church, and (3) that the pope is the vicar of Christ. The false Church has capitalized on these lies to extract support and money from its communicants. Based on this false premise, the system has enriched itself, thus “robbing” the people. Their adoration and affection for God have been perverted by this religious institution, which has misdirected worship and appropriated the people’s money for its own aggrandizement.

“The prey departeth not.” The “prey” are the victims. As a cat holds a mouse, the victims are held in the system through fear of judgment in the next age. In their minds, excommunication would mean they are going to a hell of torment. Thus the lies keep the victims there without a hope of escape.

In addition, the lie of the doctrine of the Mass is a means of getting much money for the false  Church. Those who financially support the Catholic Church and in obedience conform to its teachings are told they will get blessings. Of course the Mass diverts attention away from the original sacrifice of Jesus. Transubstantiation (the supposed change of substance of the bread into Jesus’ flesh and the wine into his blood) is a lie.

Comment: The principle is shown in Hosea 6:8,9, “Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood. And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.”

The title “bloody city” calls to mind the fact that many of the world’s great wars were fought by so-called Christian nations. And some wars were even called “holy,” such as the Holy Inquisition and the Crusades. Even the Vietnam War is an example. Cardinal Spellman was instrumental in getting the United States into that war, for a Catholic family was ruling over a predominantly Buddhist nation.

Nahum 3:2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing horses, and of the jumping chariots.

Verse 2 describes the noise, the sound, of mystic Babylon’s destruction by violence at the hands of an alien power: the noise of rattling wheels, moving horses, charioteers’ cracking whips, and chariots going over cobblestones. Real tumult and violence are being described in connection with the pending doom of mystic Babylon, Christendom, antitypical Nineveh.

Nahum 3:3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:

Q: Are verses 2 and 3 more or less a repeat of Nahum 2:3,4, which reads, “The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken. The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings”?

A: The principle is the same, but the prophecy is now changing to another perspective. As we proceed, we will see that Nahum 3:1-5 supports the thought that the Vatican will be literally sacked. In other words, these verses describe the literal destruction and utter desolation of the Vatican.

Verse 3 describes many carcasses: “a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses.” The swords and spears glittered.

Q: Verse 3 is describing the slaying (or burning) of the tares, but wouldn’t there also be a great loss of literal life?

A: Yes. These verses go into the more literal aspect of the plunder and utter desolation of the Vatican.

Comment: A Bible note describes the natural picture. “The striking cruelty of the Assyrians in battle is amply attested by the cuneiform inscriptions found by excavators at Nineveh.”

Reply: In other pictures, such as in the Book of Isaiah, the Assyrian represents the ungodly attacking power, but here Assyria (Nineveh) itself is being visited with judgment as a picture of Christendom. The chariots belong to another alien power that destroys Christendom. Corpses will be all over—so multitudinous in number that others will stumble over them. Papacy’s retribution for what it has done to others will involve a real carnage.

Nahum 3:4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Verse 4 gives the reason for the judgment of destruction against the Vatican: because of the many whoredoms of the harlot and her witchcrafts. The words “whoredoms,” “harlot,” and “mistress of witchcrafts” identify the bloody city of verse 1 as the harlot of Revelation 17:5, “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Mystic Babylon (antitypical Nineveh) has been the “mistress of witchcrafts,” selling “nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.” For her own benefit, she has sacrificed nations, as well as the private lives of individuals and families. Thus her sins are on both a national and a family scale.

She has used smoke to confuse people with her doctrines and has betrayed them when it suits her purpose.

Comment: To sell “nations” (plural) means the harlot is an international power.

Reply: Yes, the Papacy has bought and sold nations depending on whom it backed, and it often played one nation against another in order to promote its own prosperity. The power of the bloody city starts on an international level and comes right down to the humblest citizen.

Q: What are some examples of witchcraft being associated with the harlot?

A: One example is when communicants had to repeat Latin phrases they did not understand in order to receive the forgiveness of sins. What hocus-pocus! And the use of incense, which can be smelled and seen, adds to the mysterious aura and deceit. Even the fancy garments worn by the clergy help to create an atmosphere that awes the communicants. The doctrine of transubstantiation is another example of witchcraft. When Latin words are spoken by the priest, the bread is supposed to miraculously become Jesus’ body and the wine his blood. Also, it is claimed that praying to particular saints protects one from various dangers and problems.

And Papacy deals with the souls of the departed in regard to purgatory.

Comment: In some countries, relics are marched through a city, and it is claimed that real blood or tears come forth from the Virgin Mary.

Reply: Based on the ingenuity of the local parish—the artisans who work for the nominal Church and what their skills are—a lot of fraud is involved.

Comment: Isaiah chapter 47 prophesies about the downfall of mystic Babylon. Verses 9 and 12 zero in on sorcery and witchcraft (“enchantments”): “But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments…. Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.” Astrology, prognostication, and stargazers are subsequently mentioned.

Q: 1 Samuel 15:22 is well known for the statement “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Does the next verse, which says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry,” apply to Papacy?

A: Papacy rebels against God’s arrangement with inventions of its own. Spiritual harlotry is the worship of human institutions instead of the institutions in God’s Word. Witchcraft and sophistry are practiced in many different ways: holy scapulars, medallions worn on the heart or chest, Rosary beads, crucifixes, etc.

Satanic cults have all kinds of paraphernalia, but so does Catholicism. At least the Satanic cults are more open and consistent in their profession, while Catholicism is a camouflage. Satan likes to be the open enemy of God, operating without restrictions, whereas Catholicism deceives people into thinking it is a proper and sacred institution of the Lord. Catholicism has been very successful with its soft talk, influencing more people that way than with open effrontery, which insults the sensibilities of some people.

Nahum 3:5 Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.

“I [God] will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.” Verse 5 is describing the exposé of the mystical harlot. To discover her skirts is to lift up her skirt over her head to expose her nakedness. The Revised Standard reads, “Behold, I am against you, says the LORD of hosts, and will lift up your skirts over your face; and I will let nations look on your nakedness and kingdoms on your shame.” When her skirt is lifted over her face and head, her whole naked body will be exposed, revealing that she is a harlot.

Comment: Isaiah 47:3 says, “Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.”

Reply: Yes. In other words, the harlot will no longer be able to charm when she is in disfavor.

Earlier she enticed; now she is being plundered and destroyed.

The nakedness and shame are to be spiritually considered. Even though a literal picture of shame and nakedness is used, verse 5 is to be understood spiritually. For instance, the Communists in Russia in 1917 went into some of the leading cathedrals and cut open in the eyes of the public the supposed bones of different saints to expose them as fakes made of papier-mâché. In other words, that which was being worshipped as the relic of an actual saint was found to be a fabrication. In other places, an oracle with a “crying statue” was shown to be a fake, for the liquid came down through osmosis instead of being supernatural as claimed. The artificial fabrication was designed to deceive and get the communicants to give more money in support of the religious institution. Currently, with the ecumenical spirit, past history is not discussed lest it cause trouble. Hence, with few exceptions, the people do not know the truth.

In the near future, the truth message of the feet members will do some of the unmasking of the harlot and of Papacy’s false claims. The message will tell that the whole system is based on a lie. The ones who suffer are the system’s own communicants. In addition, records in the Vatican will probably be opened, bringing new revelations and adding to the exposé and shame. Violence will be involved in the plunder, and some of the plunder will be of a shocking nature, such as exhibitions of fraud in the past.

Moreover, the “nakedness” and “shame” may refer to a time in the near future when some leading personalities will reveal the political intrigue in the Roman Catholic Church. For example, cardinals, bishops, or others could expose confidential data that would be indisputable evidence to the world. But the most damaging discovery will be its unscriptural authority, an aspect that is least recognized today. Everything else is questioned—Papacy’s role in politics, the church’s morals, etc.—but the thought that Papacy is the church is just tacitly accepted.

When exposure comes with regard to not having scriptural authority, the system will be seen as a fraud, as the Antichrist system.

Nahum 3:6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.

Not only will there be an exposé of the fraudulent claims of Papacy, but the system will become an object of scorn. Those who previously were not just mere communicants but had a reputation for fealty and support of the system will want to get away when they see this display of opprobrium against Papacy.

God “will cast abominable filth” on Papacy, make the system vile, and set it “as a gazingstock.” The very things that Papacy practiced on other people in its heyday of power—casting ignominy and shame on others, excommunicating and blackening people’s names—will come back on the system in retribution.

In the past, in order to shame one of high rank and nobility, excrement was frequently flung at him to show contempt. In the antitype, Papacy’s verbal onslaughts will be heaped back on the system by the people. Thus this “honorable” church, whose popes were regarded as God, uttering supposedly infallible decrees, will be disgraced and humiliated by the liberal radical element that gets control following the hour of power of the church-state system (2 Thess. 2:4).

Nahum 3:7 And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?

“All they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste.” Papacy’s former supporters, especially the stronger ones, will disassociate themselves as fast as possible.

Revelation 16:17-20 shows how, following the pouring of the seventh plague, the people will flee from the great city lest they become objects of the retribution being poured on the system.

“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 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. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” Isaiah 47:15 prophesies that the “merchants,” those previously supported and enriched by the system, will not want to know mystic Babylon when the downfall takes place. They will disassociate themselves. Those who tear down the system will ridicule it, and former supporters will be embarrassed by and ashamed of that past association. Notice the similarity to Revelation 18:9-11, which speaks about that great city. “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more.” Kings and merchants will flee from the system for fear of being the next objects of persecution. All who previously either were enriched by the system or supported it in one way or another will not want to know the harlot anymore.

The Scriptures describing the end of the age are so complex, involving so many strata and elements of society—so many winds will blow in so many ways—that to describe that time quickly in terse language is impossible. The course, the experiences, and the expectations of the true Church of God are clear and should be anticipated, but the events with regard to the world are multiple and many-faceted, so that no one picture would suffice. Different pictures cover different aspects of the day of preparation, the coming storm, and the time when the trouble will cascade down on men.

“Who will bemoan her [fall]?” It is true that the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn because no one will be buying their merchandise henceforth, and that the kings of the earth and the financial and political leaders who have gotten rich and powerful through the harlot system will wail over her destruction because of their loss, but the majority of the common people will pull the system down. Formerly they supported Papacy, but at that time, the “ten horns” (the kingdoms, that is, the people) will destroy the system and certainly not bemoan the collapse. They will hate the whore, make her desolate, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (Rev. 17:16). In other words, two elements will be on the scene: (1) the broad base of society, who will oppose and attack Papacy, and (2) the upper echelon of society (the rulership primarily), who will bemoan the whore’s destruction because of personal loss and the fear that they will be involved next.

Nahum 3:8 Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

“Populous No” was the city of Thebes, in which a temple to the Egyptian god Ammon was called “No-Ammon” to distinguish it from the temple at Memphis. Thebes was the center of religious worship during a particular long period of time. The literal judgment upon Thebes, rendered at the hands of Assyria, had previously taken place. Now Assyria would get a dose of its own medicine.

Comment: Verse 8 is saying, “Thebes was a well-fortified and well-protected city, but it went into destruction. Are you, Nineveh, any better than that city?”

Reply: Yes, for the city of Thebes had “waters round about it,” its “rampart was the sea,” and “her wall was from the sea.” The only means of access was the river, which was relatively easy to defend—until some ingenious generals unexpectedly attacked another way. The strength of Thebes was that any enemies coming up the river by boat had to go against the current, which slowed them down, thus permitting ambushes at strategic locations to sink the boat(s).

Nahum 3:9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers.

Another strong defense of Upper Egypt was the great number of supporters in the army.

Allies included Ethiopia, Libya (Put, or Phut), and Lubim, which were also densely populated.

Egypt and Ethiopia had great strength and many, many warriors to help Thebes, but the city was destroyed anyway (verse 10). Ethiopia had Nubian soldiers, who were renowned as militia men. On the whole, the people of Egypt and Ethiopia were wealthy, satisfied, and content with the benefits of the Nile River. Their wealth, as well as the might of their soldiers, made them seem like ideal allies. Nevertheless, Egypt suffered three notable defeats in history.

Nahum 3:10 Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.

Despite the population, allies, and natural protection from surrounding waters, No (Thebes) was defeated. “Her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets.”

When the invading army entered a town, the soldiers went into the homes, dragged out all of the inhabitants, and brought them to an open square or main junction street. Then decisions were made regarding who would go into slavery and who would be killed. Young children were picked up by their heels, and then their skulls were smashed. War is always brutal but especially in non-Christian lands. Those who are sadistic enjoy such brutality.

The account is saying, “Consider how deeply entrenched Catholicism is.” In fact, the system calls itself the “catholic [universal] church.” Just as Rome had the support of Italy, so Thebes (No) had the support of the innumerable host of Egypt, Put, and Lubim. Like Thebes, Catholicism prides itself in numbers, and at least in the past, Catholicism outnumbered all Protestant denominations combined. However, numbers were of no avail in past times of judgment, nor will they be in the great Time of Trouble yet future, for that which Nineveh experienced and its fate will also befall Catholicism.

“And they cast lots for her honourable men.” The customary procedure was that “honourable men” were used as slaves, kept or sold for monetary purposes, or possibly just taken back to the homeland out of pride to show what strong men had been captured in battle. For example, King Nebuchadnezzar used the knowledge of the men he captured. Being very selective, he took just the cream of the captive nation back to Babylon and there capitalized on their abilities and knowledge. Not only did he get all the know-how of his captives, but they were hostages.

Relatively speaking, King Nebuchadnezzar treated his hostages fairly well, examples being Daniel and the three Hebrew children. Later individuals were Mordecai, Queen Esther, and Nehemiah. All were of the original captives or their descendants, and all were elevated by either the Babylonian or the Medo-Persian Empire. Thus the captives were shrewdly used to bring wealth to the conquering nation. Moreover, any poor of the defeated nation who were left in their homeland were without leadership and great intellect, so that even if they dared to attempt a revolt, the rebellion was easily squashed.

Here, instead of the customary practice, lots were cast on an individual basis to see who would get a king, a prime minister, a general, etc. Thus, in the case of Nineveh, the captives were not taken back to the king according to his orders. Rather, the soldiers themselves benefited, so the situation with Nineveh’s destruction was a little different from the customary procedure.

What a humiliating experience for dice to be cast for honorable men as if they were a few dollar bills or some other common item! They would watch others barter for their lives. We are reminded of how callous the soldiers were in casting lots for Jesus’ robe at Calvary.

“And all her great men [generals, rulers, etc.] were bound in chains.” We recall how Joseph’s feet hurt him when they were put in chains (Psa. 105:17,18). Apparently, the iron band that was hammered on his ankles (and there was no padding in those days!) hurt him for many years. Terrible brutality has existed down through history.

Nahum 3:11 Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy.

Nineveh would be “drunken.” All three chapters of the Book of Nahum have a common application concerning literal Nineveh. The introduction of the picture of a “bloody city” and a “harlot” indicates that Christendom is the antitype.

Nahum prophesied that those of Nineveh would hide and “seek strength [refuge] because of the enemy.” From a natural standpoint, some people seek the bottle to gain courage and strength, but of course drinking too much does the opposite. A drunk person, no matter how hard he tries, cannot think soberly in an emergency, and that is the picture here. The Ninevites tried to seek alliances with other countries, but nothing helped. Moreover, seeing they were losing the battle, they wanted to hide from the besiegers in order to preserve their lives.

In the spiritual aspect, the inhabitants of Christendom will attempt to hide in the coming trouble. The experience will be like that of the French Revolution. Any who were attached to the aristocracy or the clergy tried to disguise or disassociate themselves to avoid being put to death by the guillotine. In fact, the hands of those who were suspected of being of the clergy or of the aristocracy were inspected to see if they were soft and delicate and thus not the rough hands of a farmer. Many left Paris and fled to the suburbs, but generally speaking, they were apprehended, nevertheless. In the future, those most closely identified with the harlot system will seek to preserve their lives but to no avail. Even when the antitypical Jezebel paints her face with cosmetics, that tactic will be an attempt to escape persecution through reverse psychology, but Jehu was not deterred from his mission.

Nahum 3:12 All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.

First-ripe figs are easily shaken off the tree into the mouth of the one wanting to consume them. “Figs” represent people, individuals (Jer. 24:1,2,5,8). Spiritually speaking, figs picture individuals associated with Christendom, and in verse 12, these individuals are ripe for judgment, for the ripening pertains to iniquity coming to the full (Gen. 15:16). The figs will “fall into the mouth of the eater [the enemy].”

Previously, Nineveh (Christendom) was proud of its power and strength, but now all of the abilities and strongholds had become the opposite—helplessly weak. When the enemy gave the fig tree a little shake, the figs (the people), instead of resisting, fell into the mouth of the eater.

Nahum 3:13 Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars.

In the type, verse 13 was directed to the people of Nineveh, who, realizing that the enemy was more powerful than they, were likened to women because of fear and weakness. With knees like water, they had no power or strength to defend the city, so the enemy just walked right in.

In the antitype, fear will make the defenders of Christendom weak like women.

Comment: Jeremiah 51:30 states the principle: “The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.”

Reply: Because of the fear of being mismatched and of losing the battle, the people of Nineveh wanted to avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy.

“The gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies.” An unseasonable flood in literal Nineveh providentially undercut and collapsed part of the city wall, affording the enemy an entrance “gate.”

With regard to literal Babylon, the diversion of the waters led to the capture of the city. The Euphrates River normally rose above the under part of large bars that extended down into the water, thus preventing entrance to the city, but when the riverbed became dry, the enemy marched right in under the gates. The diversion was accomplished with thought and intent.

Perhaps Cyrus got the idea from what had happened earlier at Nineveh, where the river led to the city’s downfall by undermining the defensive wall of the city. Meanwhile, the leaders of literal Babylon were so confident that they got drunk while attending Belshazzar’s feast inside the city walls. The king was not afraid until the handwriting appeared on the wall.

Q: In the antitype, could the gates represent civil powers? When the waters were diverted, the gates (the civil powers) were no longer a means of defense.

A: There is a relationship, for the city (Christendom) will become divided into three parts (Rev. 16:19). When the civil powers turn against Papacy, the religious system will fall. In other pictures in Scripture, “walls” are considered from the standpoint of government support.

Spiritually speaking, just as a woman avoids and fears direct conflict with the enemy, so it will be with Christendom. There will come a point in which, instead of being the aggressor and the persecutor, the nominal Church will become the recipient of persecution. The fear of exposure through doctrinal confrontation will plague Christendom. When that point is reached—when matters start to go the other way—the religious leaders will be fearful of any doctrinal stand because they will see that the public is getting disenfranchised and is withdrawing support for the system. The religious leaders will no longer be able to fight defensively in support of the church system because of its unpopularity.

Comment: The Vatican is such a monumental enterprise that the public has only a superficial insight, but in the Lord’s due time, the secrets of the Vatican will all be exposed. Much evil and iniquity have been going on behind the walls, just as in Solomon’s Temple (Ezek. 8:5-18).

Reply: Much of the strength of Papacy has consisted in the ignorance and the superstition of the populace. Down through the Gospel Age, the superstition and mysticism of the Catholic Church were its strength because no one dared to question the clergy, but when the abominations are exposed in the near future, that which previously was a rampart of strength will become its downfall.

“The fire shall devour thy bars [of protection].” Hard wooden bars, even if coated with metal, will burn. To the enemy, the bars appeared very forbidding, as if they were solid metal, but fire could rather easily damage them. In connection with the destruction of Nineveh, a fire burned the artifacts and furniture in the palace, and it created a roaring inferno that made the silver and the gold more readily accessible for plunder.

In the future, the “bars” of Papacy will prove to be no match for the hatred, animosity, and anger of the masses. The bars will not be a sufficient obstacle to prohibit entry into the mystical religious system.

Nahum 3:14 Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds: go into clay, and tread the mortar, make strong the brickkiln.

Verse 14 suggests feverish preparations to withstand the siege. The Ninevites desperately tried to build up a fortification against the enemy. Walls were constructed, and a supply of water was laid up.

Nahum 3:15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.

Nahum 3:16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away.

Nahum 3:17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

Preparations to resist the enemy would be useless, for the fire would devour and the sword would cut “like the cankerworm [locust]” to prevent any from escaping. The locust analogy indicates great numbers. An army of locusts is multitudinous and very destructive, stripping the land of vegetation.

“Merchants,” those doing business with the nominal Church system, and “captains,” those in the system such as archbishops and cardinals, who are given honors, robes, and rank, are  many in number. All this show and display of strength, size, power, and support will be of no avail when the hour of trial and demise is at hand. Likewise in the type, the confederates of Nineveh, though they be multiplied “above the stars of heaven,” would not be effectual.

“Thy crowned [Nineveh’s/Christendom’s princes] are as the locusts.” Nahum had a farmer’s background and observed things in nature. Grasshoppers blend in with reeds and grasses so that they are hardly seen, yet if a person walks through the grasses, the insects swarm in multitudes. Prior to the use of insecticides, the fields were always plentiful with grasshoppers, moths, and butterflies during the summer. Incidentally, grasshoppers have strong legs. If we hold one in our hand, we can feel the pressure as it pushes with its legs to get away. These insects can hop quite a distance, and their wings make a whirring noise as they hop. In fact, grasshoppers will make a big jump and disappear, and that is one illustration here, especially in the antitype. The “crowned” are numerous and powerful, yet they will disappear.

“Great grasshoppers … camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun [persecution] ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.” Based on the Parable of the Sower, the “sun” is a picture of persecution (Matt. 13:3-9,18-23). When the sun of persecution arises, a certain element of those who receive the gospel are scorched and wither away. They receive the message “anon with joy,” but when they see it is not as popular as they first thought, they depart from the truth.

An insight is given into the habits of locusts, which go into the hedges to hide and be protected from the cold. When the sun arises, they fly off to another destination to eat. However, the comparison here is with the numbers upon which the harlot, the Catholic Church, bases her strength and support. Just as the locusts flee when the sun arises, so the many communicants will quickly desert the religious institutions when public opinion is anticlerical and antagonistic to professed, nominal religion.

Nahum 3:18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.

“Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria.” Verses 4 and 5 were a picture of a woman, a harlot. Next, under various illustrations, warriors were shown trying to defend the nominal system. Now the picture changes to the “king of Assyria,” that is, to Papacy, the man of sin, the beast that carries the woman.

The tight-knit religious system that is so well organized with centralized power will completely disintegrate—not only in Rome but in all “mountains” (nations). “No man gathereth them”; that is, no human leadership or arrangement will be able to return the system to its former power. Similarly, when the stone smites the image, the fragments will not be brought together again (Dan. 2:31-35).

The “shepherds” are primarily religious leaders and counselors. Mystic Babylon’s shepherds have been slumbering instead of being alert and doing their job. As a result, the people are scattered on the mountains, and no man gathers them. Very few have a personal interest in others or any real friends in life. The lack of gratitude and respect is growing (2 Tim. 3:1-5).

From another standpoint, the “king of Assyria” is Satan. As the morals and principles of the people deteriorate at the end of the age, especially after mystic Babylon falls, Satan will be able to unmask himself and be as he was prior to the Flood, when there existed a society of reckless abandonment. Satan desires open rebellion. He will masquerade as an “angel of light” only as long as conditions require him to do so (2 Cor. 11:14). Therefore, Satan is not fighting against himself today but is actually setting the stage for his future schemes and purposes. He plans to do away with all religion, conformity, and refinement. He will manipulate repressive measures just long enough to put the feet members to death. Then, after Babylon falls, he will again promote reckless abandonment.

Nahum 3:19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

There will be no healing of Papacy’s grievous “bruise,” or wound. Jeremiah 51:9 states, “We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.”

All who “hear the bruit [report]” of Papacy’s downfall will “clap the hands” in approval of the system’s destruction. “For upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?” In other words, “Who has not been adversely touched by the papal system?” Verses 4 and 19 are strong clues that Nahum was talking about the harlot of Revelation chapter 17.

Comment: Instead of the thought of clapping, Zephaniah 2:13,15 presents the disapproval from another aspect: “And he [Jehovah] will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness…. This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.”

Reply: Yes, with regard to something that is extremely distasteful, one may “wag his hand,” that is, hold his nose and wave his hand in disgust. In this case, the term signifies that the nominal system is utterly corrupt, beyond being salvaged, a stench to the nostrils. Reactions of amazement, disgust, and disapproval can all apply to the destruction of Papacy, for there will be no healing of the wound.

(1980, 1992 studies)

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