Arrogance of the Times
And with many other words he earnestly testified and exhorted, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”
(Acts 2:40 MKJV)
Peter understood all too well. During that first sermon on the streets of Jerusalem after Pentecost, he warned his fellow Jews to flee the wrath of God resting upon this entire realm of existence — the apparent obvious meaning in the context of a Hebrew statement translated into Greek (houtos genea), then English, as “this age” or “this generation”.
If you travel to Mosul, on the Upper Tigris River in Iraq, you’ll find on the eastern bank the ruins of ancient Nineveh. This ancient city’s founding recedes into the murky depths of times so ancient we have scant records. Scripture itself refers to it as built by Nimrod, the otherwise pre-historic builder of the Tower of Babel. We have no trouble matching Nineveh’s cultural earmarks with Nimrod’s preeminence as a human predator. The city was known for glorifying the most depraved murderous instincts. During the time it was the capital of Ancient Assyria, it was said the city walls were wide enough for four chariots abreast. Yet it was destroyed in a single night, when a flash flood washed away the sandstone gates, leaving the city open during a drunken feast.
That was about 612 BC. Just a few centuries later, Alexander the Great never realized he fought a battle over the ruins of that great city, because the city had disappeared under the sands so quickly. Indeed, until relatively recent times, Nineveh was considered a myth. Then someone figured out the mounds and ridges were too orderly and began poking in the dust to discover artifacts of the ancient city, with a wealth of inscribed materials attesting to the ancient fame. They even found the imperial library of clay tablets.
We look back at the ancient literature, what we have of it, and marvel at how they thought simple mathematics was magic. Precious few in a rarefied priesthood were permitted to review the likes of what passed for ancient Geometry and Algebra. Because of such things, we tend to think we are so very much smarter than they. We call things myths until someone stumbles across the archaeological evidence for it, then we act like we knew it all along, when we don’t simply discount the whole thing as forgery or fraud.
Jesus, then Peter, faced the same arrogance from their contemporaries. Oh, but we know so much more today than they did then! Surely their understanding of things was so deeply flawed, no?
A simple, rather low-level counter example is Game. We know it’s reality; it’s too reliable and accurate despite completely contradicting modern cultural biases. Yet Game is in the Bible. The Laws of Moses offer a counter, clearly understanding many of the human flaws which Game points out as fact. So Game is simply rediscovering the ancient ways going all the way back to Genesis.
It’s not the ignorance which destroyed Ancient Nineveh, but the arrogance. Our turn is next.