Why was God seeking vengeance against Nineveh—and also against the nominal Church systems, or Christendom, in the antitype? Judgment was merited because of wickedness and the accumulation of guilt in abusing and persecuting the Lord’s true followers. Also, Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and several Assyrian kings were responsible for taking the ten tribes into captivity. Like a wolf, Assyria stole sheep (the ten tribes) from the flock, and the Lord keeps in memory acts that are committed against His own. While retribution may not be instant, and while it may seem that no punishment is forthcoming, the guilt is stored up.
Chapters 2 and 3 focus on the judgment of Nineveh not as a picture of a flagrant enemy of God but as a picture of Christendom, the supposed Church of God. Thus these two chapters are a completely different perspective. The destruction of antitypical Babylon, Christendom, will be much like the destruction of Nineveh. As we proceed, we will see similar analogies with regard to the fall of Nineveh (or Assyria) and mystic Babylon. Just as Rome is the center of Christendom, so Nineveh was the capital of Assyria.
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.