Lessons From History
Dr. Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E.
December 15, 2017
Amos 5:18 says, “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light.” This verse is aimed at the Jews who had continuously turned their backs to the Lord because of selfishness, worldliness, influence of neighboring peoples, lure of false gods, pressure from societal mores, and, most importantly, the inability to study or willful ignorance of their history!
“God is light; in Him is no darkness at all.”, 1 John 1:5. So, how can Amos, prophet of God, say that the day of the Lord is darkness and not light? Because God’s purpose in the day of the Lord, or the Tribulation of the End Times from the Book of Revelation and Daniel’s Seventieth Week Prophecy, is to wake Israel up, ignite their spirits to the Holy Spirit, and re-establish the covenant relationship that God once had with pre-sin Adam in the Garden of Eden. And God will do so, at least to a remnant of the Jews alive at that time, through a devastating and horrific series of judgments, nineteen in all through six seal judgments, a seventh seal judgment that becomes seven trumpet judgments, six trumpet judgments, a seventh trumpet judgment that becomes seven bowl judgments, the most horrific of all of them – nineteen in all!
During the rolling out of these judgments from God, a remnant of Jews and a remnant of Gentiles will be converted to their God, their Savior, their Messiah, Jesus Christ, mostly by 144,000 Jewish evangelists that will each be on par or exceed anything done by Billy Graham and done in a remarkably short three and one-half years! Survivors of the day of the Lord proceed into Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. However, most, almost all of those left on this Earth after the Rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ, to go through the Tribulation, WILL DIE! Most unsaved, a few saved.
On this side of the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51-55), some might ask why does Amos say, “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord?’ Isn’t that when so many get saved? Yes, but not without the almost 100% chance of God’s Wrath affecting them and death from it. But, how escape such a destiny, especially since it seems so near?
We now come to the reason for the “Lessons From History”. Humans are, and have always been, creatures of habit, worldly dabblers in life’s temptations and pleasures, people fixated on the present, also fixated on themselves. Humans never, or at least seldom, are interested in the past whether recent or distant. Certainly, much of the ancient past is irrelevant to the present simply because of the difference in material conveniences, electronic devices with their extraordinary effect on our lives, and the scope of what we do in regard to communication worldwide and travel almost unlimited.
But, human nature and societal interactions rarely change even over the centuries, and, if they do, they tend to get more complicated rather than simpler. Our past can, if we let it, provide a firm foundation to our day-to-day struggles, and give us, through the Word of God, answers to those life-long questions of ‘why are we here?’, and ‘what am I supposed to be doing?’
I look to God’s Word to gain insight and wisdom that truly is highly relevant to my daily questions, interactions, relationships, directions, even thought processes. For instance, studying the history of man from a Biblical perspective and not an evolutionary perspective creates within us the sense of our individuality and uniqueness. If we accept the truth that God made us, and we did not evolve from some lower form of life (which is mathematically, reasonably, and logically totally impossible), then our lives have meaning, we have a purpose, we know to Whom to turn in times of need.
The Bible gives us history dating back the 6,000 years to Creation which is not only enlightening, interesting, instructive, and humbling, that history is the basis for making our lives here on Earth more abundant, peaceful, and fulfilling. Why? Because we can learn from others’ mistakes, glean information useful to us today when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and absolutely know the will of God in our lives beyond any doubt.
A few examples from God’s Word will demonstrate the immense value and truth we gain if we choose to read and study and meditate on what we read. We will go back to the Flood of Noah and look at some of the characters that can teach us volumes about human nature, about God’s plans and the Devil’s opposition, and how we can glean important information about the sometimes-confusing things going on in our world today.
Nimrod was probably the second “king” of the world. Adam, being the first man, created by God from the dust of the Earth rather than being born like all the rest of humanity, was the first “king” or most influential man and leader, ever, up to Jesus Christ. Imagine the stories he could tell of his once close relationship to God, and then the error of relying on our own wisdom instead of conforming to God’s statutes. But, Adam died prior to Noah’s Flood (Adam lived 930 years and the Flood of Noah came at 1,656 years after the Fall of Adam’s sin– Genesis 5), and the time between Adam’s death and the Flood was complete chaos, man doing evil continuously, incredibly corrupt and full of violence (much like today, sad to say) [Genesis 6].
Add to that the rise of Satan’s great pre-flood plan to corrupt the human gene-pool with Nephilim (hybrid half-human, half-fallen angel) in order to thwart the arrival of the God-Man, Savior of the World, perfect, without sin, sacrifice for all of mankind, and we cannot even begin to fully appreciate just how bad things were back then (Genesis 6:4 and Jude). The Bible does not go into detail concerning the Adversary’s scheme to poison the human gene-pool, but the Book of Jude refers to what they were doing through fallen angels and human women. If enough time would elapse before the Flood, then all of humanity would be part Nephilim thus negating even the possibility of Jesus coming as a pure man to save genetically pure mankind.
The Flood took care of all evil humanity (and the Nephilim as well) save a family of eight pure humans genetically on a huge boat called the ark, and they started humanity all over again so that God could bring forth His Savior, born of a woman’s seed, but that’s another paper right there. Soon after the Flood, Nimrod arose as the world’s “second” king. We don’t really know just why he was so successful, but we can guess based on some other non-biblical history. Nimrod had a wife who referred to herself as the “Queen of Heaven”. Her name was Semerimus from which came legends of Astarte, Venus, and even Hera (also called the Queen of Heaven). No doubt, she was either fallen angel or demon possessed or was herself a post-Flood Nephilim that we know Satan re-instituted after the Flood since later we know of beings like Goliath, nine foot nine tall, and Og of Bashan, with a bed thirteen feet long!
Semerimus had a son, Tammuz, who supposedly died each and every Spring, then was brought back to life by Semerimus herself in March/April, Satan’s obvious copy of what he knew would be a picture of the coming Savior who would be resurrected in the Spring! This was the start of the Mother/Son cult which still manifests itself today in the Roman Catholic Church with both the son and the mother considered as deities. Note! Knowing this history could set multitudes of people straight as to the origin of what they are taught to believe by their priests other than the Word of God which never mentions a single word of deity concerning Mary, mother of Jesus. Only listening to man’s teaching without verifying with the Truth of God’s Word leads to grievous error. But, some church doctrines are specifically aimed at keeping people away from the Word of God so that they can be manipulated. Sounds evil and it is! Keeping people in the dark and away from the truth of God’s Word leads to domination of clergy and demands of money from the masses. Martin Luther was outraged in the 16th century over indulgences which were “bought” from clergy to “pay” for sins committed by the populace – none of which is biblical to any degree. When money is involved, even clergy can be evil. That is why Luther translated the Bible from Latin to German so that the common people could read God’s Word and know the truth, the TRUE truth!
Returning to Nimrod, Cush was the father of Nimrod, and Nimrod grew to be a mighty warrior on the Earth. He was called a mighty hunter before the LORD in Genesis 10:8. In the post-Flood genealogical records of Genesis 10 we note that the sons of Ham were: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. Mizraim became the Egyptians. No one is sure where Put went to live. And it is obvious who the Canaanites were because of all the trouble the Jews had with eliminating them from the Promised Land. Cush lived in the “land of Shinar” which most scholars consider to be Eastern Iraq known then as Sumer and the people Sumerians. The first civilization developed in Sumer after the Flood. The sons of Shem (read, the Semites or fathers of the Jews) were also mixed, to some extent, with the Sumerians that occupied Eastern Iraq.
From genealogies in Genesis, we surmise the date of the Flood of Noah at 1656 A.M. (Anno Mundi meaning from the year of Creation of the World). The Flood would have had to have several years go by to completely drain off and allowing vegetation to grow and thrive. Coming down from Ararat and heading Southeast, civilization would have settled on a river like the Euphrates, near a large body of water like the Persian Gulf, and developed the need for leadership or had one imposed on them. Thus, one civilization speaking one language eventually had a dictator or a leader, and his name was Nimrod and this new land became the Land of Babel or Babylon.
It is interesting to note that even after a recent judgment of God on an evil world through the Flood of Noah, most people born after the Flood also did not study history. If they had, they would have gone to Noah and his sons to find just why God would destroy all breathing life so that they might learn how to prevent a reoccurrence. I contend, since I believe the Bible, that man was more intelligent in the past than now because they were closer to Creation than we are. Genetic deterioration had not had the time to reduce our intelligence capabilities, therefore, they were smarter in the past. So, it must be that mankind is so selfish from the beginning regardless of intelligence that we are just not interested in the past. We seem to think that we are smarter than anyone before us, and whatever happened in the past cannot possibly happen again.
Let’s examine Nimrod more closely. First, what does the name Nimrod mean? It comes from the Hebrew verb marad, meaning “rebel.” Adding an “n” before the “m” it becomes an infinitive construct, “Nimrod.” The meaning then is “The Rebel.” Thus “Nimrod” may not be the character’s name at all. It is more likely a derisive term of a type, a representative, of a system that is epitomized in rebellion against the Creator, the one true God. Rebellion began soon after the Flood as civilizations were restored. At that time this person became very prominent as a significant leader but also as a rebel against Yahweh, and he could have had another name.
In Genesis 10:8-11 we learn that “Nimrod” established a kingdom. It is a well-known tale, common in Sumerian literature, of a man who fits the description of Nimrod. In addition to the Sumerians, the Babylonians wrote about this person, and the Assyrians, and the Hittites. Even in Israel, tablets have been found with the name Gilgamesh on them. He was obviously the most popular hero in the Ancient Near East, so Gilgamesh is probably one and the same as Nimrod which is really a title, remember?
Gilgamesh’s arrogance, ruthlessness and depravity were a subject of grave concern for the citizens of Uruk (his kingdom which was located in Eastern Iraq). How does Gilgamesh compare with “Nimrod”? It was Nimrod who excited the people of Uruk to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah – a bold man, and of great strength. What Josephus (Jewish historian of the first century) says is precisely what is found in the Gilgamesh epics. Gilgamesh set up tyranny, he opposed YHWH (Yahweh or God Almighty) and did his utmost to get people to forsake Him.
Nimrod was mighty in hunting, and that in opposition to YHWH; not ‘before YHWH’ (Genesis 10:9) in the sense of according to the will and purpose of YHWH, but against the will and purpose of YHWH and a ‘hunter of men’ (a trapper of men by strategy and force); Nimrod the hunter became a tyrant, a powerful hunter of men.
After the Flood there was, at some point, a breakaway from YHWH. Only eight people descended from the Ark. Those people worshipped YHWH. But at some point, an influential person became opposed to YHWH and gathered others to his side very possibly possessed or greatly influenced by Satan or even a Nephilim. Nimrod was the one who did it. Cain had done similarly before the Flood.
Our English translation of the Hebrew of Genesis 10:8-10 is weak. The author of this passage of Scripture will not call Gilgamesh by his name and honor him, but is going to call him by a derisive name, a title signifying what he really is, a rebel. Therefore, we should translate Genesis 10:8-10 to read, “Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a tyrant in the Earth. He was a tyrannical hunter in opposition to the Lord. Thus, it is said, ‘Nimrod the tyrannical opponent of YHWH.” Likewise, Gilgamesh was a man who took control by his own strength. Gilgamesh and Nimrod were probably the same person.
The Gilgamesh Epic describes the first “God is dead” movement. In the Epic, the hero is a vile, filthy, perverted person, yet he is presented as the greatest, strongest, hero that ever lived. Again, why do people accept this kind of tyrant when history and the study of it would show them the inevitable outcome of rebelling against God by anyone. The antediluvian rebellion against God at Satan’s direction resulted in every living being perishing in the Flood except for Noah and his family. What could anyone expect other than God would not tolerate more rebellion and send His judgment down as before, just in some other form?
We look at today and see exactly the same attitudes about history as the people of Noah’s day. The same can be said concerning any era from Noah to now. Being either willfully ignorant or in denial of recent or ancient history ensures that mistakes will be made, mistakes that cause pain, agony, and even death. But, studying history, especially Biblical history, leads us into the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of God. By knowing more about God, we can expect to know more about pleasing Him, not upsetting Him. We can know more about what He wants from us, how to praise Him, how to give Him glory instead of ourselves, how to be humble and co-exist, even love our neighbors near and far. Plus, we can avoid the misery, the torture, the domination of evil men whose ambitions compel them to rise to power in evil ways and to suppress freedom and liberty because they want absolute power over peoples’ lives for personal gain.
Another great benefit to studying history, biblical history, is learning from the many, many mistakes of others. All we need to do is track all of the mighty dynasties of the past from the Assyrians, to the Babylonians, to the Medo-Persians, to the Greeks, and to the Romans in order to see definite patterns that apply to the Age of Grace or the time from Jesus’ birth to today. Certain cultural, moral, and societal behaviors work and some do not. Those behaviors based on God’s Word work because they come from the One True God. Others like Marxism, communism, socialism, fascism, postmodernism, evolution, and Islam do not work, cannot be made to work, are ultimately deadly in practice, and should be avoided at any cost. Yet, our young people today are not taught correct thinking in regard to these deplorable concepts. That is why it is imperative for today’s parents and grandparents to make sure that their young people are not indoctrinated into believing horrendous philosophies and worldviews other than the only correct one with a promise of eternal bliss – Christianity and belief in and commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
In closing, we turn to the oldest book in the Bible, to a man who was called by God “blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). This book either pre-dates Abraham or is contemporary with him which makes the book 4,000 years old since Abraham lived approximately 2000 B.C. Job suffered greatly and unjustly as a result of Satan claiming to God that Job would curse God if he lost everything and was afflicted with poor health. Satan lost that bet, Job was restored completely, but, along the way, Job experienced self-pity, the onslaught of so-called “friends” with endless and erroneous advice, even the turning away of his wife. But Job remained steadfast in his love and devotion to God, plus he had some wise words. One such passage is in Job 8:8-10 where he addresses the very subject of this discussion: “For inquire, please, of the former age, and consider the things discovered by their fathers; for we were born yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you, and utter words from their heart?”
Read and study the past, read and study God’s Word, learn from the mistakes of the past because we humans are all alike. We rely on ourselves and not on God as we should. We should be able fairly easily to avoid mistakes and punishments, oppressions, and tragedies of the past if we will but study what our forefathers did wrong and refrain from repetition leading to the same results. Someone once said that doing the same things over and over and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. Actually, I amend that statement and say it is the very definition of willful ignorance and laziness. We, as a contemporary human race, need to swallow our pride, realize that we are not so darn smart after all, and learn from the past, especially the specific past given to us in great detail in God’s Word, lest we repeat the misery, failure, and grief experienced by all those multitudes from days gone by.