Monday, August 11, 2014

Ancient Assyria Reborn

Father Dwight Longenecker has written two excellent postings today on Ancient Assyria and its connection to what's happening today in that same region.
I've combined both into one article here (with a line separating them).
The originals can be found here and here.

As it points out,
Don’t confuse the ancient Assyrian civilization with modern Assyrians who are one of the persecuted Christian groups in Iraq. The Assyrian Church of the East is an ancient group of Christians. The Chaldean Catholic Church is a group who broke away from them and are now in communion with the Catholic Church. This blog post is not about them, but about the dark spirit that is behind the ISIS barbarians. Gohere to read an article about the struggles of modern Assyrian Christians.

Lord Byron’s poem The Destruction of Sennacherib begins with the line, “The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold.”
My friend Paul Thigpen makes the link between the warlords of the Islamic State (IS) and their historic predecessors, the warlike Assyrians.
Two ancient civilizations jockeyed for power in what is now the nation of Iraq: Babylon to the south and Assyria to the North.
The Assyrian Empire was centered on the exact geographical territory that Islamic State now claims–Eastern Syria and Northern Iraq.
Assyria emerged as a territorial state in the 14th century B.C. Its territory covered approximately the northern part of modern Iraq. The first capital of Assyria was Assur, located about 150 miles north of modern Baghdad on the west bank of the Tigris River. The city was named for its national god, Assur, from which the name Assyria is also derived.
While the Babylonian Empire was known for its accomplishments in learning, architecture, and the arts, the Assyrians were known as experts in warfare. Cruel, bloodthirsty and proud, they bragged about their military victories and heartless oppression of their victims.
One early Assyrian king, Assurnarsipal wrote,
I built a pillar over against his gate, and I flayed all the chief men … and I covered the pillar with their skins … some I impaled upon the pillar on stakes. Many captives … I burned with fire … From some I cut off their hands and their fingers, and from others I cut off their noses, their ears … of many I put out the eyes.
Another historical account reads:
In strife and conflict I besieged [and] conquered the city. I felled 3,000 of their fighting men with the sword … I captured many troops alive: I cut off of some their arms [and] hands; I cut off of others their noses, ears, [and] extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I made one pile of the living [and] one of heads. I hung their heads on trees around the city.”
This informative website, informs us that like the IS barbarians the Assyrians proudly recorded their brutality–not with cell phone cameras and video, but in obelisks of stone:
From the reign of Shalmaneser III, Ashurnasirpal II’s son, we also have some bronze bands that decorated a massive pair of wooden gates of a temple (and possibly a palace) at Balawat, near modern Mosul. These bronze bands display unusually fine examples of bronze repouss√© (a relief created by hammering on the opposite side). In a detail, we see an Assyrian soldier grasping the hand and arm of a captured enemy whose other hand and both feet have already been cut off. Dismembered hands and feet fly through the scene. Severed enemy heads hang from the conquered city’s walls. Another captive is impaled on a stake, his hands and feet already having been cut off. In another detail, we see three stakes, each driven through eight severed heads, set up outside the conquered city. A third detail shows a row of impaled captives lined up on stakes set up on a hill outside the captured city. In an inscription from Shalmaneser III’s father, Ashurnasirpal II, the latter tells us, “I captured soldiers alive [and] erected [them] on stakes before their cities.”
They were like the wargs in Lord of the Rings–demon dogs–wolves possessed with demonic power
Is it possible that the violent spirits unleashed in Northern Iraq and Syria today are the same dark forces that infested that land thousands of years ago? Is the spirit of ancient Assyria demonic, and are those same demons surging forward today like wolves on the fold?

The Demon Wolves of ISIS

The ancient Assyrian culture was totally infested with demons like Pazuzu, and Paul’s thesis is that the old demons are back and this accounts for the bloodthirsty rage
Image of the Assyrian demon Pazuzu
Image of the Assyrian demon Pazuzu
of the warriors of ISIS.
Particular demons (principalities) are known to be associated with places, tribes and nations. Given the opportunity to return they do so with a vengeance.
Paul believes that the ancient foe–against which God’s people the Jews first fought, and then the Holy Spirit conquered in the original homeland of the faith as the apostles brought the light of Christ to Mesopotamia, has now found a way to return and infest the hearts and minds of modern day Assyrians with the same bloodlust of their ancestors.
Certainly the ugly, irrational violence emerging at this time in Northern Iraq can have no other source.
What the secular media cannot see or understand is the true spiritual dimension of the evil that has surged forth. To they imagine that such forces can be reasoned with? Do they think the United Nations will bring about a diplomatic solution?
More than ever we must be reminded of the words of the apostle Paul to the Galatians “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The evil being manifested is real. It is demonic and it seethes with the irrational, supernatural, hissing rage of hell.
If so, then how can this evil ever be overcome? Not with force of arms alone, but through spiritual warfare.
Buckle your seat belts and may the Lord have mercy.

1 comment:

  1. My friends, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This is Spiritual War.
    Be a Crusader of the Immaculate.