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Posts tagged ‘Herod the Great’

Matthew 2:19-23 – Out of Egypt to Nazareth

Matthew 2:19-23 – Out of Egypt to Nazareth

MT2:19 Now when Herod finally deceased, look! an angel of YHWH appeared to Joseph in a dream while in Egypt, MT2:20 saying, “Get up and take along the young child and its mother and be on your way into the land of Israel, for those seeking the soul of the young child have died.” MT2:21 And so Joseph got up and took along the young child and its mother and entered the land of Israel. MT2:22 Joseph became afraid to depart when he heard that Archelaus[1] was reigning in Judea after Herod his father. But, after a divine warning in a dream Joseph finally withdrew into the area of Galilee.[2] MT2:23 Upon arriving Joseph[3] settled in a town called Nazareth so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled that [the young child] would be called a Nazarene.[4] [Isaiah 11:1]

[1] Archelaus: It means “ruler of the people.” (Jewish Antiquities, by F. Josephus, XVII, 194, 195 [viii, 2]).

[2] Galilee: The place name occurs 78 times in the Christian Bible and becomes the most productive area of Jesus’ ministry.

[3] Joseph: It is interesting in this account only Joseph is named and the object of attention, whereas Mary the mother of Jesus is not named.

[4] Called a Nazarene: There are several opinions on the meaning here. Some wish to parallel the word NAZORAIOS with the Hebrew Nazrite. Most see the meaning of Nazareth as “branch-town” (or, sprout-town) and so it is a play on the words root or branch applied to the Messiah. It is possible the name is from the Hebrew netser, meaning “sprout.” Compare Isaiah 11:1 and elsewhere. The word “Nazarene” becomes part of Jesus’ name. Even after his resurrection, and later appearance to Saul of Tarsus, Jesus identifies himself with the term “Nazarene.” Even the demons called him Nazarene. The early Christians were first called by the opposers “Nazarenes.” See Matthew 26:71; Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67; 16:6; Luke 4:34; 18:37; 24:19; John 18:5, 7; 19:19; Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 22:8; 24:5; 26:9. Surely Jesus was, indeed, called a Nazarene.

Mark Heber Miller 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary, 2000©

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Additional BS notes:

HerodtheGreat2.jpg

Herod the Great (74/73 BCE – 4 BCE), Roman client king of Judea

Herod born around 74 BCE in Idumea, south of Judea, had been apointed governor of Galilee at 25, and his elder brother, Phasael, governor of Jerusalem, by his father Antipater the Idumaean. He had captured Jerusalem and executed Antigonus. Herod took the role as sole ruler of Judea and the title of basileus (Βασιλεύς, “king”) for himself, ushering in the Herodian Dynasty and ending the Hasmonean Dynasty. He was granted the title of “King of Judea” by the Roman Senate, and took on an authoritarian attitude, having a secret police to keep everything under control.

Herod was responsible for the construction of the palace of Masada and the rebuilding of the temple on Temple Mount, a portion of which remains today as the Western Wall and re-established the Sanhedrin. In addition, Herod also built the harbor at Caesarea.

In the attempt to destroy the infant Jesus children of Bethlehem “from two years old and under,” were killed by his order. The Innocents have been venerated in the Christian Church as martyrs since ancient times. In the Eastern Church they are known as the Holy Children. The remembrance of this Infanticide in Bethlehem, venerated in the Christian Church as martyrs since ancient times, are known in the Eastern Church as the Holy Children, , in Belgium known as “Onnozele kinderen” (Innocent children) is celebrated on Holy Innocents’ Day, December 28, in England known as Holy Innocents formerly remembered on Childermas, celebrated in Spain and parts of Latin America in a similar way to April Fools’ Day.

Herod the Great divided his kingdom among his sons Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Philip. Archelaus (d. after 6 CE) ruled Palestine south of the Vale of Jezreel from 4 BCE to 6 CE; he was removed by Augustus after complaints by the Jews. Herod Antipas (d. after 39 CE), tetrarch of Galilee (4 BCE–39 CE) and Peraea, repudiated his wife, daughter of Aretas, to marry his niece Herodias, wife of his half-brother Herod Philip, whom she divorced to marry Herod Antipas and was the Herod who executed John the Baptist and who was ruling at the time of Jesus’ death.

Herod the Great disregarded many of the demands the Pharisees for the construction of the temple, which caught their anger. Simultaneously, the Sadducees, who were known for their priestly responsibilities in the Temple, were opposed to Herod because he replaced the high priests with priests from Babylonia and Alexandria (in an attempt to gain support from Jews in the diaspora).

At the end of Herod’s reign, anger and dissatisfaction were common feelings amongst the Jews. Heavy outbreaks of violence (such as riots) followed Herod’s death (4 BCE), in many cities including Jerusalem. All the grievances the Jews had toward Herod’s actions during his reign, such as heavy taxes and violating the rules, built up during the years before he died. Because of the treatment the Jews were receiving, they were ready to break free from Roman Rule. Herod’s leadership sparked such anger, that eventually it became one of the causes driving the Great Revolt of 70 C.E.

The Division of Herod’s Kingdom:Light green Tetrarchy (Judea) under Herod Archelaus,

Mauve Territory under Herod Antipas

Orange Territory under Herod Philip II

Grey Salome I (cities of Jabneh, Azotas, Phaesalis)

Dark green Roman province of Syria

Yelow Autonomous cities (Decapolis)

There’s no pre-birth travel involved for Joseph and Mary, and indeed the elaborate story of Archelaus’ rule over Judaea is later told to explain why the couple went to Nazareth. Joseph heard that Archelaus ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea (biblical Edom) from 4 BC to 6 CE, the son of Herod the Great and Malthace the Samaritan, the brother of Herod Antipas, and the half-brother of Herod Philip I had come to power after the death of his father, Herod the Great.

Herod Archelaus from Guillaume Rouillé’s Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum (16th century depiction)

Archelaus appeared to be kind to the populace in Jerusalem in order to appease their desires for lower taxes and an end to the (political) imprisonment of Herod’s enemies. Archelaus acted in every manner a King, before such title had been given by Caesar. He thought of himself highly and is said to have committed suicide after being banished. Archelaus received the Tetrarchy of Judea last will of his father, though a previous will had bequeathed it to his brother Antipas. He was proclaimed king by the army, but declined to assume the title until he had submitted his claims to Caesar Augustus in Rome. In Rome he was opposed by Antipas and by many of the Jews, who feared his cruelty, based on the murder of 3000; but in 4 BCE Augustus allotted to him the greater part of the kingdom (Samaria, Judea, and Idumea) with the title of ethnarch (not king).

Archelaus held, in honour of Zeus, nine days of games in Dion, a small Macedonian village on the slopes of Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus, in Greek mythology, was the home of the gods. While Archelaus’ games were not the famed Olympics, they are an example of the value the ancient Greeks placed on the connections between body, mind and spirit.

Dynasty of herod

Dynasty of herod (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categorie:Afbeelding stamboom Categorie:Afbeel...

Vrouwen en kinderen van Herodes de Grote) – Women and children of Herod the great (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding articles:

  1. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  2. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  3. Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth
  4. Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest
  5. Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief
  6. Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant
  7. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:46-56 – Mary Magnifies God
  8. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:57-66 – Elizabeth Gives Birth To John
  9. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:67-80 – Zechariah’s Prophecy
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  12. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  13. Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot
  14. Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’
  15. Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt
  16. Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents
  17. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night
  18. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ
  19. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God
  20. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning
  21. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  22. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  23. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple

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Additional reading:

  1. On the Nature of Christ
  2. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  3. Counterfeit Gospels
  4. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  5. Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1
  6. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  7. Entry to Herodian Hilltop Palace unearthed

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Further related articles:

  1. Herod: King of the Jews and Friend of the Romans
  2. Herod Family and Pilate
  3. Herod dynasty reigning in Palestine at the time of Jesus
  4. Away in a Manger
  5. The Flight to Egypt; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
  6. Herod’s Opinion of Jesus
  7. Herod’s Opinion of Jesus; Luke 9:7-9
  8. Simply Irresistible: Augustus, Herod, and the Empire
  9. Unearthed after 2,000 Years, the Tomb of Herod
  10. Historians, Fans Defend the ‘Real King Herod’
  11. Trip through Time / Merciless Ruler with a Grand Vision: Herod the Great…
  12. Caesarea Mazaca
  13. Spiritualism of the Games
  14. Jesus and the Village Scribes: Galilean Conflicts and the Setting of Q
  15. Reflections Today; Herod’s Opinion of Jesus; the Death of John the…
  16. 2,000-year-old Palace Entryway Found in Judea

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  • Gateway to King Herod’s palace unearthed by archaeologists (ibtimes.co.uk)
    The entrance to King Herod’s 2,000-year-old palace has been discovered in Israel.

    Archaeologists have uncovered the colossal arched corridor leading to a magnificent entrance hall covered with frescoes during excavations at Herodium.

    The main feature is a 20-metre-high royal corridor with a complex system of arches, which would have allowed the king and his entourage direct passage into the palace courtyard.

    The Herodian Hilltop Palace, 10 miles south of Jerusalem, was built to celebrate Herod’s victory over the Parthian Empire from what is now modern-day Iran, according to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    The excavations also found evidence of the vestibule occupied by Jewish rebels during the Great Revolt of 66CE-71CE. The arched corridor contained hidden tunnels dug by rebels from the second century CE as they conducted guerilla war against the Romans.

  • Jesus or Herod? (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com) > Jesus Or Herod?
    In Matthew’s second chapter, we see that Jesus’ birth creates a conflict about who is King. It was in the time period of the reign of Herod the Great. Herod endowed his realm with massive fortresses and splendid cities, as well as a new Temple.
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    Consider what has become of these two kings. Herod the Great is dead and his rule is over. Conversely, Jesus is alive and well; sitting at the right hand of God. The Bethlehem child rules “over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:33 ESV) Men love to play God, but it is Jesus Christ who reigns.
  • today’s birthday: Jesus (c. 4 BCE) (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
    The primary sources for the life and teachings of Jesus—the central figure of Christianity—are the Gospels, but references to his life also appear in the works of non-Christian writers of antiquity, including Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, and Josephus. Most scholars agree that Jesus was born just before the death of King Herod the Great in 4 BCE.
  • A Christmas Wish For Leah (todaysanewday.wordpress.com)
  • Archaeologists Unearth Spectacular Entryway to Herod the Great’s Palace in Israel (spd.rss.ac)
    Towards the end of last week, archaeologists in Israel announced the discovery of a spectacular entryway to King Herod the Great’s palace not far from the city of Jerusalem.
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    What’s interesting is that, by the looks of it, this entryway was never used by King Herod the Great or his subjects. On the contrary, researchers say that Herod ordered workers to backfill it when he decided to turn the complex into a royal burial monument and memorial mound.
  • Herodium: The Palace and Tomb of King Herod (amusingplanet.com)
    Located 12 km south of Jerusalem, in the Judean desert, Herodium looks like an extinct volcano, but it really is a fort built by King Herod the Great between 23 and 15 BC. King Herod’s palace and fortress was built atop a natural hill, raised to a greater height by heaping earth around the walls, creating a cone-shaped mountain. The complex was surrounded by double walls seven stories high, within which Herod built a palace that included halls, courtyards and opulent bathhouses. At the base of the fortress was an impressive royal compound with magnificent gardens. A special aqueduct brought water to the desert from the area of Solomon’s Pools near Bethlehem. Being the highest peak in the Judean desert, Herodium commanded a breath taking view, overlooking the desert with the mountains of Moab to the east, and the Judean Hills to the west.

    herodium-10

  • Archaeologists Find Royal Entryway To King Herod’s Hilltop Palace (io9.com)
    According to the archaeologists who discovered Heordium’s royal entryway, it is “an impressive corridor with a complex system of arches spanning its width on three separate levels.” The entrance led to a vestibule covered with elaborate, painted frescoes, while the arches buttressed the corridor’s massive sidewalls, permitting King Herod and his entourage direct passage into the palace’s courtyard. The 65-foot-long and 20-foot wide corridor has been preserved to a height of 65 feet by the entryway’s supporting arches.
  • CiF Watch prompts correction to Indy claim that Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site (cifwatch.com)
    We noted that the Temple Mount (where the First and Second Jewish Temples stood) is in fact the holiest site, while the Western Wall is merely the holiest site where Jews are currently allowed to pray.
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    revised indy
  • 2,000-year-old Palace Entryway Found in Judea (israelnationalnews.com)
    By unearthing the corridor entryway, the original Palace vestibule was also exposed in all its glory, replete with painted frescoes. Also found was evidence, such as Jewish Revolt coinage and temporary structures, testifying to how Jews fighting the cruel Roman occupation in the Great Revolt (66-71 CE) used the site.

    Evidence of a later rebellion was also found in the corridor, in the form of hidden tunnels dug on the site during the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135/6 CE) by Jewish rebels as part of their guerilla warfare against the Romans.

    These tunnels, which were partially supported by wooden beams, exited the fortress through the walls in openings hidden in the corridor.

    Shaul Goldstein, Director of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, said that in the future the corridor will be used to allow visitors to directly access the Herodium palace-fortress in the same way Herod entered it around 2,000 years ago.

  • Despite the Headlines, It Is Safe to Visit Israel! (theoslotimes.com)
    Built on a rocky base that had previously served the Hasmoneans and Herod the Great, the Ottoman walls remain solid even today. Walking atop the ramparts one overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem, holy to three of the world’s major religions, and on the other side, the busy, modern thoroughfares.

Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents

Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents

MT2:16 Now Herod, realizing he had been out-smarted[1] by the magi was greatly enraged. He sent off [soldiers] into Bethlehem, and in the surrounding districts, and had all the boys from two years and under – by reason of the time carefully ascertained from the magi – slaughtered.[2] MT2:17 And so was fulfilled the thing spoken by the prophet Jeremiah,[3] saying: MT2:18 “A voice was heard in Ramah – much weeping and wailing – Rachel weeping for her children and she was unwilling to be comforted because her children were no more.” [Jeremiah 31:15]

21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

[1] Out-smarted: Or, KJV: mocked; TCT: trifled with; LAM: tricked.

[2] Slaughtered: Or, WEY: massacred; BER: murder all the boy babies.

[3] Jeremiah: At Jeremiah 31:15. The prophetic context is the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian captivity. The Nazarene is later to quote Isaiah 61:1-3 which has a similar application giving it a second or spiritual application to his ministry.

File:Duccio di Buoninsegna - Slaughter of the Innocents (detail) - WGA06764.jpg

Slaughter of the Innocents (detail) – between 1308 and 1311, Duccio (1260–1318) , tempera on wood, Museo dell’Opera metropolitana del Duomo

 

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Preceding articles:

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt

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  • Murder of the Innocents (Repost – 2014) (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A cry was heard in Ramah– weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.” (Mat 2:16-18 NLT
  • Matthew 02:01-23, “Responses to the Newborn King” (ezracommentary.wordpress.com)
    The Bible calls Him King of kings and Lord of lords. He is not nominated or appointed. He is not elected and he cannot be voted out of office. His kingship does not depend on your vote. He does not become king by some parliamentary procedure, and he cannot be removed from office by a motion of no-confidence. Jesus was born King. It is his nature to rule. Look at the prophecy of Micah again in v. 5-6,
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    Herod was a man who, because of jealousy, had killed his favorite wife. He had killed two of his own sons. Herod would accept no rivals. He would attempt to kill the newborn King.

    History has had its fill of men like Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein. This past few years we have seen rulers in North Africa and the Middle East and North Korea kill thousands of innocent people to maintain their position as ruler.

    King Herod would not hesitate to do away with a child who was born King of the Jews. So when Herod was troubled, everyone was troubled. Someone has aptly said that Herod was more interested in saving his throne than in saving his soul!

  • Period plausibility and the gospel narratives (timescolumns.typepad.com)
    One of Matthew’s abiding messages is that Christ is the new Moses. Among much else, this accounts for the parallels between the infant Jesus and the Old Testament law-giver, who also evaded a slaughter of male Jewish babies when he was hidden in the bulrushes.
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    Jesus “is acting like the God who chose Israel in the first place. In the Old Testament God had chosen his cluster of slaves to be a people; and Jesus, in choosing his fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes, repeats and re-embodies this moment of choice: he claims a creative liberty for himself that belongs strictly to God”. So here, on a Christian understanding, is a human life so shot through with the purposes of God that early believers could speak of it as God’s nature projected onto the screen of history. As the author of the Letter to the Colossians put it within a few decades of the crucifixion, in Christ, “all the fullness of God was embodied”.
  • The Christmas Story (lestark1.wordpress.com)
    Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
  • Prophecy Fulfilled: Flight Into Egypt (born2bfree.wordpress.com)
    Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
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    Judges 13:5 is many times referenced in relation to Matthew 2:23.  The similarity can be recognized when we see how, at the time referenced in Judges 13, because of their sins against Him, God had allowed the children of Israel to be brought into bondage to the Philistines.  Then, He raised up a deliverer in the man Samson, to deliver Israel from the Philistines.
  • Hosea Say What? (christianreformedink.wordpress.com)
    Hosea (speaking for the Lord) is harkening back to the Exodus. He is remembering when Israel was just a little toddler of a nation, and God delivered them out of bondage in Egypt. “Many years ago, by Moses and the plagues and all that, I called my son Israel out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”–that’s what Hosea 11 is about.

    But look again at Matthew. “Out of Egypt I called my son” here refers to God hiding Jesus away in Egypt to avoid Herod’s decree and then calling him back from Egypt when Herod is dead. This seems to be unrelated to anything Hosea was talking about. How can Matthew say this flight to Egypt fulfilled the words of the prophet Hosea when the two events seem connected by no more than the word Egypt? How can this possibly be a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy? Hosea say what?

  • Remember the Dragon: Christmas is an Invasion (gospelbondservant.com)
    For those of us raised in middle America, this genocide was completely left out of our Christmas understanding. Our visions of the nativity were shaped by the lovely crèche displays in parks, church lawns, and on many coffee tables. And while I still love those tableaus very much, I am convinced they are an almost total re-write of the story.

    On the night before the military “massacre of the innocents,” as it has come to be called, another urgent moment took place:
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    I think if this had informed our understanding of the birth of Christ, it would have better prepared us for our own lives, and the events unfolding in the world today. I think far fewer of us would be so… puzzled by the way things are going. I think we would better understand the words of the grown-up Jesus when He said,

  • Grief knows no color: Preaching peace on earth and goodwill toward men during a race war. (mariomurilloministries.wordpress.com)
    As surely as Herod ordered the death of baby boys in Bethlehem Satan has ordered the deaths of young black men and police officers in America.  After he has done his dirty work the devil sits back and laughs at how we choose sides and ignore him altogether.

    The best way, the fastest way and the only way to destroy America is set herself against herself in ravenous hate…hate that will eat us up alive, hate that will blind us to the one thing we should be doing right now.

    Why is all of this happening near Christmas?  To discredit its power and to seal our doom by cutting us off from the only hope we have.

  • Sermon: “Covenants” (robertsmusings.com)
    From among a series of oracles of restoration of Israel from Babylonian captivity pledging the restoration of the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants.
  • Conversion (youngcalvinists.org)
    Shia Labeouf, a popular Hollywood actor, recently claimed to have converted to Christianity. ” I found God but not in a flaky sort of way” is a sanitized version of what he said. It’s not very often that a celebrity claims to convert to Christianity, especially in the day and age we live in, where the Bible is often regarded as a folktale at best. What are we to make of Shia Labeouf’s conversion? Is it authentic? Is it sincere? God is ultimately the judge of such things, but I personally tend to doubt its sincerity.

Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt

Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt

MT2:13 After the magi had withdrawn, look! an angel of YHWH appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying: “Get up and take along the young child and its mother. Flee into Egypt![1] Remain there until I speak to you again. For Herod is about to seek the young child to destroy it.” MT2:14 So Joseph took along the young child and its mother and withdrew by night into Egypt. MT2:15 They remained there until the decease of Herod so that the word of YHWH by the prophet [Hosea] might be fulfilled, which says, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”[2]

[1] Egypt: There was a large Jewish community in Alexandria Egypt with its magnificent library and Hebrew shivas. This was a long journey by the classic trade route. Over fifteen centuries before the nation of Israel escaped out of Egypt and now its future King does the same.

[2] My Son: The Son of Yahweh as at Psalm 2:1-6. Hosea 11:1 (“When Israel was a boy, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”) is not a prophecy in the strictest since the context shows the prophet speaks of Israel as a “young man.” In Israel’s youth, the new nation was called out of Egypt. The whole experience was something of a parable which pointed to another “Son” who would go into Egypt and then be called back out. Matthew borrows the phrasing and applies it to young Jesus. Clearly the Son is not the same as Yahweh the one calling. The quote is from the Hebrew text and not the Septuagint, for the Greek reads: “… out of Egypt have I called (Israel’s) children.” One of those later children proved to be also Jesus.

Pieter Bruegel de Oude (1525–1569), Kindermoord te Bethlehem, olieverf op doek (111×160 cm) — 1566-1567. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wenen – Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569), Infanticide in Bethlehem, oil on canvas (111 × 160 cm) – 1566 to 1567. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Text of the Gospel of Matthew in the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary 2000©. This rendering by Mark Heber Miller may be considered a literal version with limited paraphrase.

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Preceding articles:

  1. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  2. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  3. Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth
  4. Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest
  5. Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief
  6. Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant
  7. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:46-56 – Mary Magnifies God
  8. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:57-66 – Elizabeth Gives Birth To John
  9. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:67-80 – Zechariah’s Prophecy
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  12. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  13. Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night
  15. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ
  16. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God
  17. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning
  18. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  19. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  20. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple

Upcoming article:

 

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  • The depiction of Mary in Western art (timesunion.com)
    The first images that I showed were of the Virgin Mary, sculptures from the 12th and 13th centuries.  I mentioned that it was only in the 12th century that images of Christ and Mary began to appear often in Western art. From this time on, they would be the dominant religious images in the Christian world, one male and the other female. The 12th-century images that I showed  began with a hieratic Mary, a mother who held a child in her lap, with whom there was no personal contact, no intimacy.  This changed in 13th-century images. There is interplay between the Virgin and infant Jesus, playful contact between a mother and her child.  I then turned from preliminary medieval images of Mary to scenes of the Nativity from the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • Massacre of the Innocents (nation.com.pk)
    The Gospel of Matthews narrates the horrific Biblical account of the killing of infants by the then Roman appointed Jewish king of Israel, Herod, at the time of the birth of Jesus. As it turns out, a prophecy in the Old Testament, made by Jeremiah the prophet, spoke of the birth of a new king of Jews (Hazrat Isa A.S.), ‘who would be born on the night that a star comes out of Jacob’. When Jewish astrologers of the time, the Magi, informed Herod of the coming of this event, he ordered that every child under the age of two be killed in and around the town of Bethlehem. Herod had hoped that this Massacre of the Innocents would achieve two goals: 1) it would preserve the future reign of Herod’s progeny, and 2) it would wipe out the existence, message, and purpose of the promised Messiah. Herod failed in achieving both these objectives. Per the Divine Will, just before the Massacre of Innocents started, Joseph and Mary (Hazrat Maryam A.S.) took the child, and escaped to Egypt. And thus the prophet and his mission were preserved, only to return to Israel ten years later and proclaim the truth of God.
    Two thousand years later, five thousand kilometers away from the towns of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, in the Army Public School, Peshawar, another Massacre of the Innocents took place on Tuesday.
  • The Nativity According to Matthew (davidscommonplacebook.wordpress.com)
    It is also not clear just what the Star of Bethlehem actually was. There have been several theories presented, but none of them are entirely satisfactory. The star might have been a supernova, perhaps in a nearby galaxy. There is no way to know for certain since any supernova remnant so far away would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to detect. It might also have been a comet. This is rather unlikely. Although a comet would behave much as the star is said to behave, hanging in the sky over a certain location for several nights, comets were universally perceived as being harbingers of disaster in ancient, and not so ancient, times. The most likely explanation is a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn. The astronomer Keppler discovered that there was indeed such a conjunction in the year 7 BC. The following year there was another conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This might have been very impressive to the Magi. It may also be that the Star was a supernatural phenomenon and one that cannot be studied today.
  • Prophecy in Israel and the Ancient Near East (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    Is prophetism in ancient Israel simply one form of ancient Near Eastern prophecy among many? Is it distinct from other forms of ANE prophecy? If so, how? In his newly published Interpreting the Prophetic Books: An Exegetical Handbook, Gary V. Smith notes some similarities, but also some key differences between biblical and ANE prophecy. He also explains the frustration the true prophets of God felt when people disregarded their messages for the messages of the false prophets:
  • Why Mary and her Immaculate Conception matter (manilatimes.net)
    Scripture tells of no supernatural feats by the Blessed Virgin, who lived simply as a mother and a spouse, caring for her Son, and accompanying Him in life and death.
  • Being Spiritually Grounded (transformationlifestyle.wordpress.com)
    I want it to be known that lasting healing comes from God (YHWH), it is a gift to the believer paid for by the stripes on Yahushah’s back. (Isa. 53:5)
  • Jesus… the Ubermensch? (existentialanswers.wordpress.com)
    I made a pretty bold claim that I believe Jesus of Nazareth is the best possible candidate to rightfully hold the title “Ubermensch.”
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    we must understand the assumption that Jesus believed in the Hebrew, monotheistic God (Yahweh, or, in Hebrew, YHWH). A monotheistic God is a divine, maximally great being, that is a single entity, and has the power to interact in the world. Jesus was not a polytheist (belief in multiple gods), a pantheist (belief that everything is part of an impersonal god), or an atheist (belief in no gods). I shall write from the assumption that a monotheistic God (YHWH) exists, because one cannot truly understand Jesus without this first assumption.
  • Prophecy Fulfilled: Flight Into Egypt (born2bfree.wordpress.com)
    Herod instructed the wise men to return to him and let him know where Jesus was, so that he might “come and worship Him also.”  Herod had nodesire to worship Him.  Hisdesire was to destroy Him.  However, the wise men were warned by God in a dream to return home another way,rather than returning to Herod.  And God intervened also to warn Joseph.  The account of the family’s departure and returnis filled with prophecies fulfilled:Prophecy:

    Hosea 11:1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

  • Jerry Hwang on The Missio Dei in the Book of the Twelve (bibleandmission.redcliffe.org)
    Recent OT scholarship has increasingly recognised that the Minor Prophets were compiled by Hebrew scribes to be read as a cohesive anthology. While acknowledging that each book of the Minor Prophets exhibits a distinctive individuality, scholars continue to debate how to interpret the collection as a coherent whole. In this vein, I propose that the major themes of the Minor Prophets – land, kingship, the move from judgement to salvation, and the relationship of Israel to the nations – fine a unifying link in the missio Dei. The plan of God to redeem his entire creation is progressively unfolded in the Minor Prophets, in that the apostasy of God’s people in God’s land (Hosea; Joel) is but the first step in a history of redemption which culminates with the recognition by all nations that YHWH alone is worthy
  • Hosea Say What? (christianreformedink.wordpress.com)
    It looks like Matthew is connecting the prophetic dots by the slimmest of connections.
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    Those who suggest Matthew is playing free association with Biblical prophecy–“Jesus came out of Egypt; here’s something in the prophets about coming out of Egypt; let’s put these two things together”–haven’t looked closely at how Matthew uses the Old Testament in his Gospel. More than any gospel writer, Matthew goes to great lengths to show that Jesus’ birth, life, and death, are rooted firmly in the Old Testament. Jesus was born of a virgin (fulfilling Isaiah 7:14). He was born in Bethlehem (fulfilling Micah 5:1-2). He was sought out to be killed by Herod (fulfilling Jeremiah 31:15). He was preceded by John preparing the way (fulfilling Isaiah 40:3). He healed diseases (fulfilling Isaiah 53:4). He spoke through parables (fulfilling Psalm 78:2). He came to Jerusalem riding on a donkey (fulfilling Zechariah 9:9). Matthew is very deliberate with his use of the Old Testament. So his citing of Hosea 11 must be more than just a loosey-goosey connection with the word Egypt.

Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’

Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’

MT2:7 Then Herod secretly called the magi and carefully ascertained from them the time[1] of the star’s appearing,[2] MT2:8 and sending them off to Bethlehem he told them: “Go your way and make a careful search for the young child[3] so you may report back to me so I can also[4] go and prostrate myself to the child.” MT2:9 But, having heard the king these [magi] went their way, and, look! the star[5] which they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood right above where the young child was. MT2:10 Seeing the star they rejoiced with a great deal of joy. MT2:11 And when they went into the house[6] they say the young child with his mother Mary. They fell down and prostrated themselves on the ground before the child. They opened the treasures[7] they brought and presented the gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.[8] MT2:12 However, the magi were given a divine warning in a dream[9] not to return to Herod, so they withdrew by another route to their own country.

 

[1] The time: This is no longer the time of the birth but about two years later. It is unlikely these Persian magicians time matters to be present at the birth in the manger. Rather, something else has led them on their long journey from the east. The classic image of the angels, shepherds, and wise men is mistaken. Apparently the timing of the observation of this “star” was two years before.

[2] The star’s appearing: Of great interest to astrologers and seemingly Herod believes in astrology. He has determined the place (Bethlehem) and now he knows the rough age. His plot grows more and more evil. Revelation 12:4 reveals the Satanic plot to devour the Christ Child upon his birth. This Satan does throughout the life of Jesus, including his death.

King's College Chapel, Cambridge

King’s College Chapel, Cambridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[3] The young child: This is no longer a newborn baby but rather according to the Greek a PAIDIOU, or young boy. By this time surely the little Jesus is walking and forming words.

[4] So I can also: Herod is lying. His agenda is murderous as events will show.

[5] Star: Note evidently this star now reappears. It is possible they have not seen this “star” for two years and thus the considerable joy on their part. Now it “appears” again and moves with them – it is not a comet, asteroid, or meteorite. It is highly unlike it is a super nova. The identity of this “star” is discussed in the notes on Matthew 2:2.

[6] House: Note it is not a “manger” but a house. The family has moved and possibly lived here for about two years.

[7] Treasures: The value is not stated, however, we may assume it was considerable and no doubt later is used in the trip to Egypt and life there.

[8] Frankincense, and myrrh: “Frankincense” is an African incense with a pleasurable odor. “Myrrh” was one of the ingredients in the priestly anointing oil. Jesus is offered wine drugged with myrrh at his execution so the incense appears in both his birth and death, including his burial (John 19:39, 40).

[9] Dream: RHM: instructed by dream; BAS: made clear to them. We see dreams are a divine instrument, and they occur in several contexts here in the opening chapters of Matthew.

Mark Heber Miller 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary, 2000©

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Preceding articles:

  1. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  2. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  3. Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth
  4. Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest
  5. Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief
  6. Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant
  7. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:46-56 – Mary Magnifies God
  8. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:57-66 – Elizabeth Gives Birth To John
  9. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:67-80 – Zechariah’s Prophecy
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  12. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  13. Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night
  15. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ
  16. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God
  17. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning
  18. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  19. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  20. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple

Upcoming articles:

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Early life of Christ in the Bowyer Bible print...

Early life of Christ in the Bowyer Bible print 8 of 21. adoration of Jesus by the Magi. Vos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

  • Jesus or Herod? (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com)
    In Matthew’s second chapter, we see that Jesus’ birth creates a conflict about who is King. It was in the time period of the reign of Herod the Great. Herod endowed his realm with massive fortresses and splendid cities, as well as a new Temple.
  • Matthew 02:01-23, “Responses to the Newborn King” (ezracommentary.wordpress.com)
    • No guns signaled his birth.
    • No decorations were put up in Jerusalem
    • No commemorative coins were issued.
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      Rome had appointed Herod king in 37 B.C. But the wise men had spoken of a supernatural star that had announced the birth of a king. Notice that they asked, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” They were not talking about someone who would be appointed king at some point in history. They were talking about one who was born king, one who by His very nature is King. The Bible calls Him King of kings and Lord of lords. He is not nominated or appointed. He is not elected and he cannot be voted out of office. His kingship does not depend on your vote. He does not become king by some parliamentary procedure, and he cannot be removed from office by a motion of no-confidence. Jesus was born King. It is his nature to rule. Look at the prophecy of Micah again in v. 5-6,
  • The Virgin Shall Conceive And Bear A Son (todaysanewday.wordpress.com)
    Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
  • Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (dailytwocents.com)
    They arrived at the house where the star stood shining above,praised and worshiped then presented gifts to the child.They then went their way, never to return to Herod.
  • Preparing for Christmas 2 – They followed a Star… (fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com)
    After so long without a prophet, and so many prophecies yet to be fulfilled, the Jewish people had to have been yearning for something to happen! But, as we learn in Matthew 2, it wasn’t just the Jews who noticed!
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    it must have taken some time for the Magi to travel from the East (some commentators speculate that they came from Persia) to see Jesus. Matt 2:11 states that the Magi came to a “house” not a manger.  According to the Jewish laws, a woman had a period of 40 days of confinement after giving birth to a male child (Leviticus 12:1-8) and then she was to take an offering to the temple. Luke 2:21-22 says that Mary and Joseph went to the temple to do this, so they had to have remained in Bethlehem at least that long. They departed for Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath sometime after this forty days and also after the visit of the Magi, as recorded in Luke, but before Jesus was 2 years old, because based on the Magi’s calculations, Herod killed all the male children 2 years old and younger, in order to be “sure” to eliminate Jesus as the “King” of the Jews. So Jesus was older than 40 days and younger than 2 years when the Magi visited Him.
  • The day the Star stopped: Understanding Christmas (commdiginews.com)

    Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus (ca. A.D. 180 – ca. A.D. 250) is said to have been the first to claim that Jesus was born on the 25th of December. It turns out that Africanus might have had Jesus’ birthday confused with another prominent event in His life – the visit of the Magi, scholars and astronomers from Babylon who likely were intellectual descendents of the prophet Daniel.

    How could following a star lead somebody to the location of the Christ child? In order to understand the star-gazing journey memorialized in Christmas songs and fashion, we have to once again look to the Old Testament.

    The purpose of stars, planets, etc. was mentioned in the beginning – “for signs and for seasons and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14). The Scriptures say that the stars and constellations were named by the creator Yahweh, not by mankind (see Job 9, Isaiah 40:26, and Amos 8) – although different cultures ascribe a variety of stories to these preformed patterns in the sky.

  • Jesus, Our Precious Gift: An Interactive Christmas Drama 2014 (amberdover.wordpress.com)
    I wrote a nativity play for our homeschool group. I also had an Advent craft and goodies for the kiddos.
  • God’s Will (genesisone.wordpress.com)
    The prophecy was that the promised Messiah would come from Bethlehem, in Judea. This was affirmed by the religious leaders to Herod.
  • One Thing’s Perfect (josephelonlillie.com)
    Christmases are never the same. They change from year to year, and they are never really perfect, no matter how hard we try to force them to be so
  • Finally, the night has come~by rldubour (ourpoetrycorner.wordpress.com)
    In your thoughts you know the true meaning.The star of David and why the three wisemenCome seeing.A child was born in a manger that night.

    The Son of God to show us the light.

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

Chapter Two: The Birth Of Jesus Christ And The First Two Years

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

MT2:1 Now Jesus was generated[1] in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of[2] King Herod.[3] Look! magi[4] from the east came into Jerusalem, MT2:2 asking, “Where is the one born king of the Jews? For we saw his star[5] in the east and we came to prostrate[6] before him.” MT2:3 But hearing this King Herod,[7] and all of Jerusalem[8] with him, were agitated, MT2:4 and gathering the peoples’ chief priests[9] and scribes[10] he inquired of them where the Christ was to be generated. MT2:5 The [religious hierarchy] told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea – just as it has been written by the prophet [Micah]:[11] MT2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem [of the] land of Judah, are by no means the least among the governors of Judah. For out of you will come forth a Governor[12] who will shepherd My[13] people Israel.’” [Micah 5:2]

 

[1] Generated: Or, born.

[2] In the days of: The birth is precisely related to a then ruling king, Herod. Compare the precision of Luke 3:1, 2. This is an historical event.

Agrippa I also called the Great (10 BC - 44 AD...

Agrippa I also called the Great (10 BC – 44 AD), King of the Jews, was the grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus IV and Berenice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[3] Herod: What we know about Herod is from the first century Jewish historian Josephus. “Herod” is really the designation of a royal house. These were semi-Jews from Edom, ancient enemies of the Israelites. (The Jewish War, I, 429, 430 [xxi, 13]; I, 656 [xxxiii, 5]; Jewish Antiquities, XIV, 168-176 [ix, 4]; XV, 395, 396 [xi, 3]; XV, 421 [xi, 6]; XV, 380 [xi, 1]; XV, 334, 335 [ix, 6]; XIV, 487, 488 [xvi, 4]; XVII, 190, 191 [viii, 1]; XVII, 167 [vi, 4]; 213 [ix, 3]; XVII, 148 [vi, 1]; XIV, 158 [ix, 2])

[4] Magi: From which comes “magi(c).” Or, Persian astrologers. The Latin magos occurs first at Leviticus 19:31 where the LXX has “ventriloquists.” Compare 1 Samuel 28:3; Isaiah 47:13; Daniel 2:27; 4:7; 5:7, 11. These astrologers were those “who, from the position of the stars at the hour of birth, by various arts of computation and divining… determined the fate of individuals.” (Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, translated by S. P. Tregelles, 1901, pp. 166, 167)

[5] Star: Is it possible this “star” is related to the one described at Isaiah 14:13 (compare Job 38:7) and 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15? (Revelation 9:1)

[6] Prostrate: The Greek is PROS-KYNESAI (bow before + kiss) and means a bowing to the ground and generally kissing the fringe of a garment or feet. Or, KJV: worship; RH: bow down; TCNT: do homage.

[7] Herod: The idea of another king of the Jews – which was what Herod was – was fraught with suspicion. The Romans would look with great disfavor on such an idea.

[8] All of Jerusalem: The news is widespread and there is a general agitation over the idea.

[9] Chief priests: The Greek is ARCHIEREIS and likely the source of the English “hierarchy.” This class of Jews is to appear 65 times.

[10] Scribes: The Greek is GRAMMATEIS; or, grammarians, writers; those who copied the Holy Scriptures. The group is to occur 54 times. Many later become Christians.

[11] Written by the prophet [Micah]: The prophet is Micah (Micah 5:2). Matthew is to use the word most often with Luke second.

[12] Governor: Or, BECK: a leader; WEY: prince; MON: ruler. This is understood to be the Messiah, foretold King of the Jews.

[13] My: That is, Yahweh. It is clear the future Governor or Ruler is not Yahweh but the Messiah. They are two different persons.

Mark Heber Miller 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary, 2000©

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BS note:

Iesou => Jesus = “Hail Zeus”, the name given to the Nazarene Jew at the Council of Nicaea in 325 to come to terms with the three-headed greek-roman gods. Up until about 360, theological debates mainly dealt with the divinity of the son, which had to be the seame one as the son-god of the Romans and the Greeks. The worshipping of that son and the use of the statues in the community should be allowed for all the sorts of worshippers, so that the market vendors could sell their statues at liberty to any worshipper. Jeshua, Joshua (/ˈɒʃə/) or Jehoshua (Hebrew: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Yĕhôshúa or Hebrew: יֵשׁוּעַ Yĕshúa; Aramaic: ܝܫܘܥIsho; Greek: Ἰησοῦς, Arabic: يوشع بن نونYūshaʿ ibn Nūn, Turkish: Yuşa) Yeshua (ישוע, with vowel pointing יֵשׁוּעַyēšūă‘ in Hebrew) which means “Jehovah saves/Jehovah is salvation” or “the Help(ipa) from Jehovah” or “From Jehovah comes salvation”, for the politicians had to become the second person of their tri-une godhead.  The main god Zeus (Ancient Greek: Ζεύς) had to be the “Father of Gods and men” (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, patḕr andrōn te theōn te) and as such should be the god of Greeks, Romans and Christians because Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter; /ˈjʊpɪtɛr/; genitive case: Iovis; /ˈjɔːvɪs/) or Jove is the king of the gods and the god of sky and thunder in myth.

By the time of the 4° Century CE lots of false teachers had managed to introduce the Roman teachings of their gods back into the teachings of their followers. Lots of people found it easier to adapt to the new religion because it had adapted itself to their faith. for them it was than much easier to accept Jesus to be the King of kings, to be the god of light, the god of thunder, the god of miracles, the god of enlightenment, etc.

Note 2 on publication day December 25:

Today many celebrate Christmas as a reminder, as C. S. Lewis put it, “that the rightful King has landed and has invited us to take part in his campaign of sabotage against all the powers of the world that seek to lie to us and to destroy all that is good and beautiful in the world.” Though the Christmas celebration have a pagan origin and are months away from the real birthday of Jeshua, the Nazarene Jew who we consider to be the promised Messiah, born 17 October 4 BCE. It was that man, born at the time of Herod the Great and the Big falling Star, born in un-kingly conditions (in full simplicity), who later entered Jerusalem on a donkey (a colt) as a sing of kingship, a few days later to be killed on a wooden stake with the sign on top of him marking him as the”King of the Jews”.

Christians should be more aware of the civil historical facts, who was ruling when and which orders were decreed (Like the week of the consensus, the days of the slaughtering of young children, etc.).

HerodtheGreat2.jpg

Herod the Great (74/73 BCE – 4 BCE), Roman client king of Judea

Herod born around 74 BCE in Idumea, south of Judea, had been apointed governor of Galilee at 25, and his elder brother, Phasael, governor of Jerusalem, by his father Antipater the Idumaean. He had captured Jerusalem and executed Antigonus. Herod took the role as sole ruler of Judea and the title of basileus (Βασιλεύς, “king”) for himself, ushering in the Herodian Dynasty and ending the Hasmonean Dynasty. He was granted the title of “King of Judea” by the Roman Senate, and took on an authoritarian attitude, having a secret police to keep everything under control.

Herod was responsible for the construction of the palace of Masada and the rebuilding of the temple on Temple Mount, a portion of which remains today as the Western Wall and re-established the Sanhedrin. In addition, Herod also built the harbour at Caesarea.

In the attempt to destroy the infant Jesus children of Bethlehem “from two years old and under,” were killed by his order. The Innocents have been venerated in the Christian Church as martyrs since ancient times. In the Eastern Church they are known as the Holy Children. The remembrance of this Infanticide in Bethlehem, venerated in the Christian Church as martyrs since ancient times, are known in the Eastern Church as the Holy Children, , in Belgium known as “Onnozele kinderen” (Innocent children) is celebrated on Holy Innocents’ Day, December 28, in England known as Holy Innocents formerly remembered on Childermas, celebrated in Spain and parts of Latin America in a similar way to April Fools’ Day.

Herod the Great divided his kingdom among his sons Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Philip. Archelaus (d. after 6 CE) ruled Palestine south of the Vale of Jezreel from 4 BCE to 6 CE; he was removed by Augustus after complaints by the Jews. Herod Antipas (d. after 39 CE), tetrarch of Galilee (4 BCE–39 CE) and Peraea, repudiated his wife, daughter of Aretas, to marry his niece Herodias, wife of his half-brother Herod Philip, whom she divorced to marry Herod Antipas and was the Herod who executed John the Baptist and who was ruling at the time of Jesus’ death.

Herod the Great disregarded many of the demands the Pharisees for the construction of the temple, which caught their anger. Simultaneously, the Sadducees, who were known for their priestly responsibilities in the Temple, were opposed to Herod because he replaced the high priests with priests from Babylonia and Alexandria (in an attempt to gain support from Jews in the diaspora).

At the end of Herod’s reign, anger and dissatisfaction were common feelings amongst the Jews. Heavy outbreaks of violence (such as riots) followed Herod’s death (4 BCE), in many cities including Jerusalem. All the grievances the Jews had toward Herod’s actions during his reign, such as heavy taxes and violating the rules, built up during the years before he died. Because of the treatment the Jews were receiving, they were ready to break free from Roman Rule. Herod’s leadership sparked such anger, that eventually it became one of the causes driving the Great Revolt of 70 C.E.

The Division of Herod’s Kingdom:

Light green Tetrarchy (Judea) under Herod Archelaus,

Mauve Territory under Herod Antipas

Orange Territory under Herod Philip II

Grey Salome I (cities of Jabneh, Azotas, Phaesalis)

Dark green Roman province of Syria

Yelow Autonomous cities (Decapolis)

There’s no pre-birth travel involved for Joseph and Mary, and indeed the elaborate story of Archelaus’ rule over Judaea is later told to explain why the couple went to Nazareth. Joseph heard that Archelaus ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea (biblical Edom) from 4 BC to 6 CE, the son of Herod the Great and Malthace the Samaritan, the brother of Herod Antipas, and the half-brother of Herod Philip I had come to power after the death of his father, Herod the Great.

Herod Archelaus from Guillaume Rouillé’s Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum (16th century depiction)

Archelaus appeared to be kind to the populace in Jerusalem in order to appease their desires for lower taxes and an end to the (political) imprisonment of Herod’s enemies. Archelaus acted in every manner a King, before such title had been given by Caesar. He thought of himself highly and is said to have committed suicide after being banished. Archelaus received the Tetrarchy of Judea last will of his father, though a previous will had bequeathed it to his brother Antipas. He was proclaimed king by the army, but declined to assume the title until he had submitted his claims to Caesar Augustus in Rome. In Rome he was opposed by Antipas and by many of the Jews, who feared his cruelty, based on the murder of 3000; but in 4 BCE Augustus allotted to him the greater part of the kingdom (Samaria, Judea, and Idumea) with the title of ethnarch (not king).

Archelaus held, in honour of Zeus, nine days of games in Dion, a small Macedonian village on the slopes of Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus, in Greek mythology, was the home of the gods. While Archelaus’ games were not the famed Olympics, they are an example of the value the ancient Greeks placed on the connections between body, mind and spirit.

Dynasty of herod

Dynasty of herod (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categorie:Afbeelding stamboom Categorie:Afbeel...

Vrouwen en kinderen van Herodes de Grote) – Women and children of Herod the great (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding articles:

  1. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  2. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  3. Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth
  4. Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest
  5. Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief
  6. Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant
  7. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:46-56 – Mary Magnifies God
  8. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:57-66 – Elizabeth Gives Birth To John
  9. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:67-80 – Zechariah’s Prophecy
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  12. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  13. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ
  15. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God
  16. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning
  17. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  18. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  19. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple

Upcoming articles:

 

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Find also to read:

  1. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  2. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  3. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  4. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  6. The wrong hero
  7. Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special
  8. A season of gifts
  9. God’s Special Gift
  10. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  11. Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights
  12. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  13. Around pre-existence of Christ
  14. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  15. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  16. Jesus and his God

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  • The Gift of Grace (amokarts.wordpress.com)
    My friend Brenda Hendricks just posted a wonderful video on the gife of grace we receive in Christ. It shows some of the great moments in the life of Jesus and it is quite beautifully done.
  • For the Fourth Sunday of Advent (oneragamuffin.wordpress.com)
    So many things distract us from Jesus, so many ads for new products that they say we need, so many news stories that are mostly depressing and tragic. There’s so much noise that keeps us from hearing the silence of the silent night.
  • Saturday Morning Devotional Prayer and Praise Service “Birth of Jesus Christ” (vineandbranchworldministries.com)
    Today, we present to you one of the most Incredible Christmas Story ever told.  It was told to us by Luke, “a Disciple of Jesus Christ,” with no trees or lights, just a manger and animals and a too-crowded inn.  It isn’t surprising that there was no room for them in the village inn considering the number of travelers flocking to various cities during the time of this census.
  • Good Things (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com)
    God uses His Word to encourage our hearts with the blessings that we have through His Son Jesus Christ.  He tells us in Philemon that knowledge of the good things we have in Christ Jesus empowers us to share our faith effectively.
  • Jesus Christ (en.memory-alpha.org)
    According to the [[Bible]], ”’Jesus Christ”’ was the son of [[God]] born to a virgin named [[Mary]]. The teachings of Christ, a philosophy of total love and total brotherhood, would become the foundation for the [[Christianity|Christian]] [[religion|faith]].
  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014 (heartfixxer.wordpress.com)
    Throughout the Old Testament we see Jesus Christ foretold of. It speaks to our all-knowing God and his love for mankind. Jesus wasn’t a second thought, he was in God’s plan the whole time. God’s gift to us is His overwhelming love.
  • The Wise Men and the Celebration of Christmas (divinehealingword.wordpress.com)
    People are too busy with other things while forgetting the real reason of celebrating Christmas.  In our daily lives, we have all our reason just to excuse ourselves in encountering God.  You don’t have to travel thousand miles to meet God, you just have to exert effort.
  • Forget Santa Claus, Virginia. Was there a Jesus Christ? (religionnews.com)
    As another Christmas approaches and the usual holiday laments are unpacked like so many old ornaments — too much commercialism and too little faith, too much food and too little time — there has always been one reassuring constant: The reason for the season is the birth of Jesus some 2,000 years ago.
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    Lataster is the author of “There Was No Jesus, There Is No God,” one of a growing number of books and blog posts by Jesus “mythicists” who question the very existence of the man from Galilee.
    +
    Believers and skeptics can argue with each other, and among themselves, about exactly who Jesus was and what he meant, Ehrman said in an interview. But arguing that Jesus did not exist “is such a ridiculous proposition.”Ehrman said beyond the non-Christian references to Jesus from the era, scholars can plausibly trace elements in the Gospels to shortly after the time Jesus was killed. That fact, and the historical details in the Gospels, have convinced “virtually every scholar … in the Western world” that Jesus existed.
  • He comes in the most unexpected ways (donkeywhispererfarm2010.wordpress.com)
    Nobody every expected Jesusto be born in a manger. Nor was riding on a donkey worth calling a triumphal royal entry into Jerusalem.The leading interpreters were completely blindsided by the appearance of the Messiah — partly because their envy blinded them, but also because they interpreted erroneously.
  • Fourth Week of Advent (str.typepad.com)
    Over 400 years before Jesus, Zechariah foretold how God would one day come and live with men. “‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you’” (Zechariah 2:10-11). 

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:18-20 – John’s Teaching and Imprisonment

Luke 3:18-20 – John’s Teaching and Imprisonment

|| Matthew 14:3-12;[1] Mark 6:17-29[2]

LK3:18 So with many words like these John continued to encourage the people as he preached the Good News. LK3:19 Now, Herod the tetrarch had been rebuked by John regarding Herodias who was his brother’s wife, and also about other evil things Herod did. LK3:20 On top of it all Herod also added the imprisonment of John.

 

[1] Matthew 14:3-12: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.

[2] Mark 6:17-29: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Mark.

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Preceding:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:15-17 – The Baptisms of the One Coming

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The life of Jesus began in north and central Palestine, a region between the Dead Sea and the Jordan River in the east and the Eastern Mediterranean in the west.

The three Magi before Herod, France, early 15t...

The three Magi before Herod, France, early 15th century. Stained glass: colored glass, grisaille; lead. Restored by F. Pivet, 1999. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This region was under Roman control since the 1st century BCE, initially as a tributary kingdom. The Roman campaigns, coupled with internal revolts and the incursion of the Parthians, made the region very unstable and chaotic up until 37 BCE, when Herod the Great (c.73 BCE – 4 BCE) became king king of Judea, and Malthace. The region gradually gained political stability and became prosperous. Although Jewish in religion, Herod was a vassal king who served the interests of the Roman Empire. When Herod the Great died his son Herod the tetrarch or Herod Antipater (Greek: Ἡρῴδης Ἀντίπατρος, Hērǭdēs Antipatros; born before 20 BC – died after 39 AD), known by the nickname Antipas, became as  tetrarch (“ruler of a quarter”) the much spoken of 1st-century ruler of Galilee and Perea. He is best known today for accounts in the New Testament of his role in events that led to the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth.

Herod the Great made great efforts to mollify the Jews by publicly observing the Law, by building a temple, and by re-establishing the Sanhedrin. He promoted Hellenisation and adorned most of his cities, especially Jerusalem.

Having felt the difficulty facing Jewish tradition Aantipas also tried to take in account Jewish believes. Antipas tried to avoid conflicts with the Jews and therefore when Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea from 26 AD to 36 AD, caused offence by placing votive shields in the Antonia palace at Jerusalem, Antipas and his brothers successfully petitioned for their removal.

Early in his reign, Antipas had married the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea. Herod Antipas repudiated his wife, daughter of Aretas, to marry his niece Herodias, wife of his half-brother Herod Philip. On a visit to Rome he stayed with his half-brother Herod Philip I and there fell in love with Philip’s wife, Herodias, (granddaughter of Herod the Great and Mariamne I), and the two agreed to marry each other, after Herod Antipas had divorced his wife. The affair gained Herod Antipas many enemies, and the vaulting ambitions of Herodias eventually ruined him

Jesus saw his cousin John the Baptist as an authority and possibly a source of inspiration. It seems that he performed baptisms parallel to John the Baptist (John 3.22). This baptiser and preacher reached a lot of people but was not afraid to call Antipas his relation as incestuous and a sin against God. John called the leader ‘That fox Herod’ (Luke 13.32) Herodias may have fancied the preacher and was jealous of his popularity. She was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist.

Herod Antipas was exiled by the Romans.

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The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression

Before Roman Judean rule

Rome, Ara Pacis museum: cast of a portrait of ...

Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti filius Augustus – Rome, Ara Pacis museum

The Trojan refugee Aeneas had escaped to Italy and founded the line of Romans through his son Iulus, the namesake of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. The Year of the Consulship of Balbus and Vetus was gone by and the Rome considered to have become a real Roman Empire bastion (on 21 April 753 bCE) had sent their conquerors also to the East. One of the most prominent patrician houses at Rome which were known for their pride and arrogance and intense hatred of the commonalty, brought Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti filius Augustus better known simply as Tiberius Claudius Nero. After he had divorced Vipsania Agrippina, he had married Augustus’ daughter Julia the Elder (from his marriage to Scribonia) and was adopted by Augustus, by which act he officially became a Julian, bearing the name Tiberius Julius Caesar. {Tiberius was the stepson of Augustus, grand-uncle of Caligula, paternal uncle of Claudius, and great-grand uncle of Nero.}

On the verge of accepting command in the East and becoming the second most powerful man in Rome, Tiberius suddenly announced his withdrawal from politics and retired to Rhodes, possibly as an interim solution: he would hold power only until his stepsons would come of age, and then be swept aside.

Instalment of Roman client king of Judea

Rome, Ara Pacis museum: collection of casts of...

Rome, Ara Pacis museum: collection of casts of busts showing the members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, March 28 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In in 63 BCE the Romans had taken over control of Syria, and then intervened in the Hasmonean civil war. A Roman client king of Judea was installed. But he seemed for many “the evil genius of the Judean nation” {Tierney, John. “Herod: Herod the Great”, Catholic Encyclopedia (1910): “Herod, surnamed the Great, called by Grätz “the evil genius of the Judean nation” (Hist., v. II, p. 77)} Though the Jews were granted exemptions from the official Roman state religion, they were not happy with this ambitious man and saw their tribe threatened very hard by this ruthless savage. For others he was Herod the Great (not to be confused with Herod Antipas who came later) and became known as Herod I. He has been described as “a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis“.

Worshippers of One God

By the Greek experience they had learned that others could not be forced to worship their idols and they saw for themselves that the Jews, who only wanted to worship One God, were not like other pagan people who had already several gods and perhaps could have advantage in some extra ones. By the years the Jews had prove that they were not going to conform to a worship which would not have been according to their Laws of worship. So the Romans granted the Jews an official status of being exempt from Roman state religion when they were willing to pay their punitive tax called fiscus Judaicus.

At the time Judea was a very important place for several major trade routes. It was sort of like the great way-station for the incense trade coming from Yemen up the Arabian Peninsula and going out to the Mediterranean. It was also one of the most agriculturally productive pieces of land in the Middle East famous for its olive oil (which was used as a main source of light, and not just for cooking), for its dates (the chief sweetener in the times before sugar), and for its wine.

Thorn in the flesh for the Jews

Roman Theatre

Roman Theatre

A thorn in the flesh was the centre of trade and the Roman administrative capitol of Judea, the artificial port city of Caesarea (one of the two largest in the Empire). Like in the most important Roman cities there was a beautiful amphitheatre, a hippodrome for chariot races and people could gamble and enjoy life or give one’s desires in their pleasure gardens. There was also a huge temple dedicated to the Roman god-emperor, Augustus Caesar.

Temples were sacred places and for the People of God the mount in Jerusalem was most sacred and they did not like the pagan ideas of their oppressor who had found an ambitious project in the re-building of ‘the Temple’, which was almost certainly an attempt to gain popularity among his subjects who, he knew, held him in contempt and also to make amends for his cruelty toward the rabbis.

Build walls around the Temple Mount

It took 10,000 men ten years just to build the retaining walls around the Temple Mount (on top of which the Muslim shrine, the Dome of the Rock, stands today). The Western Wall (formerly known as the Wailing Wall or “Kotel Ma’arabi”) is merely part of that 500-meter-long retaining wall that was designed to hold a huge man-made platform that could accommodate twenty four football fields. When it was completed, it was the world’s largest functioning religious site and until today it remains the largest man-made platform in the world.

‘Foresight is the essence of government’, he must have thought and forward looking to a growing Jewish community of which there were already about 6-7 million Jews living in the Roman Empire (plus another 1 million in Persia), they should have felt welcome in the town they had to visit in their lifetime. Because it was considered to go for pilgrimage to  Jerusalem for the three pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.  (Exodus 23: 17; Deuteronomy 16:16). The Mishnah says,

“All are under obligation, to appear, except minors, women, the blind, the lame, the aged, and one who is ill physically or mentally.”

Also knowing that according to the Mosaic law every one should take an offering, though the value thereof is not fixed (comp. Exodus 23: 14; Deuteronomium 16:17) this would mean they had to buy goods in the city and could bring in money for the Roman Empire by the taxes. They were sure of collecting at least the tax for a fixed minimum of three silver pieces, each of thirty-two grains of fine silver (Ḥagai 1:1-2). While the appearance of women and infant males was not obligatory, they usually accompanied their husbands and fathers, as in all public gatherings (Deuteronomy 31:12), which would mean lodging and food for them to be provided. The Talmud plainly infers that both daughters and sons joined the pilgrims at the Passover festival in Jerusalem (Pes. 89a; Giṭ. 25a).

Herod understood that in case the Jews could find a nice place where they could come together to celebrate their festivals, they also would spend a lot of money over there, which would be good for the tax-income. To accommodate such a huge number of people there was a need for a huge space. Hence the size of the platform.

Several Jews where also astonished what the emperor could establish and in the Talmud it was notated:

“He who has not seen Herod’s building, has never in his life seen a truly grand building.” (Talmud-Bava Basra 4a)

In Judea the pilgrimages to Jerusalem were kept up regularly, but the principal gathering of the people was on the Sukkot festival, called “Ḥag ha-Asif” = “Festival of Gathering” (1 Kings 8:65; 2 Chronicles 7:8, 9). The people went undisturbed to Jerusalem for the festivals (Yer. Ta’an. iv. 7; Giṭ. 88a). From beyond Palestine, especially from the River Euphrates, they journeyed to Jerusalem for the festivals. Some even endangered their lives passing the guards posted to stop the pilgrimages (Ta’an. 28a; Grätz, “Gesch.” 3d ed., iii. 157, 668). The number of Jewish pilgrims to the Temple was computed by the governor Gesius Florus (64-66), who counted 256,500 paschal lambs at one Passover festival; allowing ten persons to one lamb, this would make 2,565,000 pilgrims (Josephus, “B. J.” vi. 9). The Tosefta records the census of Agrippa, who ordered the priests to take one hind leg of every paschal lamb, and counted 1,200,000 legs, which would make the total 12,000,000, (Tosef., Pes. iv. 64b). {These figures are evidently exaggerated, and are based on the desire to double the 600,000 of the Exodus, a tendency frequently noticed in the Haggadah.}  It is calculated that ancient Jerusalem comprised an area of 2,400,000 square yards, and, allowing 10 yards for each person, would contain 240,000 persons {see Luncz, “Jerusalem,” i, English part, pp. 83-102}. {Jewish Encyclopedia}

Temple servants also servants of the emperor

Having built the Temple, Herod took pains to make sure it would be run without future problems of this kind. He appointed his own High Priest, having by then put to death forty-six leading members of the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical court.

In that Holy of Holies which was covered in gold there was such a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Z’kharyah or Zachariah who had a wife who descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honourably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God Who is One. He was a respected priest who could use his words to enlighten many people.
In the other buildings were the walls and columns were of white marble; the floors were of carrara marble, its blue tinge giving the impression of a moving sea of water, the congregation gathered and waited for Zachariah who did not seem to come at his regular time. They waited and waited  and became restless. what they did not know was what happened in the house, where the curtains were tapestries of blue, white, scarlet and purple thread, depicting, according to Josephus, “the whole vista of the heavens.” those heavens seemed to have opened for the priest who was astonished and did not believe his eyes and ears.

A special messenger to a priest

Unannounced, an angel of God had appeared just to the right of the altar of incense and got the priest Zachariah paralyzed in fear. But the angel reassured him not to fear because this messenger of God came to tell that their prayer to receive a child was been heard and would be answered positively.  Elisheva (Elizabeth), his wife, who also observed all the mitzvot and ordinances, but did not seemed to be blessed to have children, would bear a son by him. Both where were quite old and had passed the age of having children so Zachariah did not believe the angel Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring him this glad news.
As priest before God, now not believing the messenger of God, he was punished and became unable to say a word until the day of his son’s birth. He would not be able to say any word until he would be filled with the Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) when the baby would leave his mother’s womb and would get people to  rejoice when he was born, having to face the one who  was going to turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah. That son of those old people would herald and go before his face in the spirit and power of Eliyahu (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the just; to make ready for the Most High a people prepared for him.

Dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things were performed, because he did not believe the words, which were fulfilled in their season, he went out the  sanctuary, to the waiting people, who marvelled while he tarried in the temple and saw at his face and how he behaved that something special had happened. They knew he had seen a vision. He continued speechless and had to use sign language with the people. When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home. It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy.

Luke’s story of the temple priest

The physician Luke (Colossians 4:14) has generally been credited with the writership of the following account:

“5  In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well on in years. 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshippers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.” 19 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realised he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favour and taken away my disgrace among the people.”  (Luke 1:5-25 NIV)

Elisabeth’s other family member also receiving honour of being with child

Eastern Christianity fresco of the Visitation in St. George Church in Kurbinovo, Macedonia

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy by which God had taken away away her reproach among men or her  public disgrace, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of  Natzeret/Nazareth to an Essene young girl, a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Miryam/Miriam (the same name as the granddaughter of Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean princess). Miriam is today better known as Mary (Maria), the mother of Christ (and by many also called the mother of God, though God did not have a mother and has been for ever, so did not have a beginning as eternal Spirit).  Mary or Miryam/Miriam became pregnant with the Messiah and lost her virginity at the exact same time (her first time), thus confirming the Messiah’s physical birth (a physical to Spiritual parallel) as a First Born Son (physical for Mary and Joseph, but Spiritual for Jehovah), and legal heir to the throne of King David. This was a serious situation for the young girl, because in the East, the betrothal or engagement was entered into with much ceremony, and usually took place a year before the marriage and was so sacred that the parties entering into it could not be separated save by a bill of divorcement, which could be called in when somebody seemed to have been unfaithful. Unfaithfulness to each other was deemed adultery and could result in stoning to death.

26  In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God.” (Luke 1:26-30 NIV)

Shame over the family

Joseph or Yosef, her husband, being a righteous man,chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced, not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Most High appeared to him in a dream, saying,

“Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

Not interested in Judean politics

At the time that Jewish nationalistic feelings were rising to the surface and Hellenism dominated Judea, the devote Miriam (Mary) was not interested in politics and the significant number of Greeks as well as other gentiles who adopted the Greek lifestyle who came to settle the land. As a result of Herod’s interference and the ever-spreading Hellenistic influences among the Jewish upper classes, the Temple hierarchy had become very corrupt, but her family always stayed truthful to her God, who was the God of Abraham and which she considered the Only One God, the Divine Creator. But perhaps she also might have looked forward to a solution and to their promised land and have sang:

“Maran de-bashamaya,” “Our Master in heaven, to Thee we beg, even like a captive to his master. All captives are ransomed with money; but Thy people Israel, with mercy and supplication. O grant us our request and prayer, and let us not return from Thy presence in vain.”

The Sadducees, a religious group of the wealthy, who collaborated with the Romans in order to keep their power base, now had come in control of the Temple, much to the chagrin of the mainstream Jewish majority, the Pharisees, and of the extreme religious minority, the Zealots.

Dating “Before and after Christ”

HerodtheGreat2.jpg

Basileus or King, emperor Herod the Great

Evidence for the 4 BCE date as the death of Herod in Jericho, is provided by the fact that Herod’s sons, between whom his kingdom was divided, dated their rule from 4 BCE, and Josephus tells us that Herod died after a lunar eclipse.  {Josephus, Antiquities, 17.6.4} Elisabeth and Mary having become pregnant before his death, should then also have been delivered their child before the so called Anno Domini (AD or A.D.) used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars.That Medieval Latin term specified more fully as Anno Domini Nostri Iesu (Jesu) Christi (“In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ”) was long wrongly taken as the year of birth of Christ Jesus. This Gregorian calendar dating system was devised in 525, but was not widely used until after 800, when the Trinitarians got in the majority of those who still kept to the teachings in which Miriam (Mary) strongly believed. Because BC is the English abbreviation for Before Christ, it is sometimes incorrectly concluded that AD means After Death, i.e., after the death of Jesus. However this would mean that the ~33 years commonly associated with the life of Jesus would not be present in either BC or AD time scales. {Donald P. Ryan, (2000), 15.} Others use it as “Anno Domine” “Year of the Lord” meaning Year of God an having the years BC ‘before Christ’ as the years ‘Before God’ of the “years before God his birth”, which would naturally be impossible, having God being the creator when he would not yet have been born or been in existence.

From told before

Palestine after Herod's deathIsrael had not yet seen realized the long-awaited fulfilment of the promise regarding the Seed through whom blessings would flow. (Ge 22:15-18) Israel had tried to create their won country and to liberate themselves many times from several oppressors. But their own efforts at salvation had produced nothing, unreality. They did not yet form a political nation where there could be found freedom “from enslavement to corruption” and peace for which all creation “keeps on groaning together and being in pain together.” (Romans 8:19-22; compare 10:3; 11:7.) Jehovah, their God had made Jerusalem like a woman who had been made pregnant by her husband and who brought forth numerous children. (Isaiah 54:1-8). After several prophets telling about a saviour to come the time seemed to be ripe.

Later the devout Jew and convert to the new faith, the apostle Paul quoted this prophecy of Isaiah chapter 54 and applied it to “the Jerusalem above [which] is free, and she is our mother.” (Galatians 4:26, 27)

At the end of the current time indication the stars and the moon came to stand in a situation which was predicted by the earlier prophets. Some wise men knew those predictions of a great king and noticed the signs which were predicted in many books. some started traveling and following the stars to find the right place where that king would come to earth.

They did not know that out of that simple devout woman from Nazareth would arise such a great prophet. The apostle John his vision recorded at Revelation 12:1-5 brings the pregnant heavenly “woman” to the forefront. In his revelation we can see that there is given birth to “a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” The shepherding of the nations with an iron rod is directly connected with the Messianic Kingdom of God, and hence the vision must relate to the producing of that Kingdom, so that, following the defeat of Satan’s attack on the newborn “child,” the ensuing cry goes forth:

“Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.” (Revelation of the apostle John 12:10)

The anguish of the pregnant heavenly “woman” preceding the birth calls to mind Paul’s expression at Galatians 4:19, “childbirth pains” there apparently representing stirring interest and fervent desire to see full development of matters reached (in Paul’s case, the full development of the Galatian believers as Christians).

  • Lectionary sermon for 15 December 2013 (Advent 3 A) on Matthew 11:2-11 (billpeddie.wordpress.com)
    John’s undoing in this instance was that he believed Herod Antipas the Tetrarch had done something quite immoral, and despite knowing Herod Antipas’ unpleasant reputation, told him so. Herod Antipas had been named as king by Caesar Augustus on the death of his father King Herod the Great, but the Romans had decided his power should be limited and only gave him a quarter share of his father’s territory. He set about trying to win back more power by building the city of Tiberius in honour of his current patron the Emperor Tiberius. The immoral action which had offended John was that Antipas also fancied his brother’s wife, Herodias, so he divorced his own wife and married Herodias. Well it is one thing to believe the king had done wrong, but telling him so was quite another. It is understatement to say upsetting a ruthless king from a ruthless family by calling him immoral was not a wise career move and it was probably no surprise to anyone that John was now imprisoned, and, according to the historian Josephus, in the forbidding fortress Machaerus.
  • Tiberius (14-37) (mkukahiwaharuno.wordpress.com)
    During this time, Augustus’ death in 14 had then caused Tiberius to become ruler.  However, at the time of Augustus’ death, he had hesitated to take over as ruler because he felt as if he was inadequate for the position.  He had even gone as far as telling the senate that he was reluctant and inadequate to fill this role.  He was then appointed control of the Praetorian Guard.  The authority in which Tiberius had during this time since he was Augustus’ heir was also greatly and positively impacted because of his tribunician power, the fact Augustus adopted him and Augustus’ bequest to him of his estate along with one of the most important components, his name… Augustus.  However, Rome’s armies had saw the death of Augustus in a different aspect which was it simply being their way to possibly obtain munity.
  • Sorting out the Agrippinas (timesonline.typepad.com)
    One of the problems of the first century AD is that there are simply too many Agrippinas. Not only the “Elder Agrippina” (the wife of the glamorous prince Germanicus, who kept his memory alive after his suspicious death and was morally upright to the point of being a bit of a pain in the neck) and the “Younger Agrippina” (daughter of the Elder A, wife of Claudius and mother — and lover it was said — of Nero). There’s also the virtuous lady that we tend to know as Vipsania, who was the first wife of the emperor Tiberius….the one he really loved but was made to divorce in order to marry the dreadful Julia. Vipsania was actually “Vipsania Agrippina”, the daughter of Augustus’ aide, Agrippa.This last Agrippina is often missed. In fact the traditional title of the picture, below right (by Rubens, now in the National Gallery in Washington) was “Tiberius and Agrippina”… but has been changed to A0000e45“Germanicus and Agrippina”, partly because the traditional pairing seemed so odd (the Elder Agrippina hated Tiberius, whom she believed was heavily implicated in the death of Germanicus). But actually it’s a pairing that makes perfect sense if you remember it could be what we would call “Tiberius and Vipsania”. This is the sad loving couple who were forced to divorce by the imperial dynastic machine.
  • The Story of Mary and the Birth of the King (womenfromthebook.com)
    or over 500 years the nation of Israel chafed under the thumb of first one Gentile kingdom and then another—Babylon, Persia, the Greco Macedonians, and now Rome, with its absolute ruler Caesar Augustus, and Herod the Great, one of his ruthless client kings. It wasn’t unusual, particularly during Passover season, for passions to ignite as the tribes of Israel revisited the story of God’s intervention and the stunning liberation of their ancestors.  When the white-hot flames of resistance and rebellion flared, they were summarily stamped out under the cruel boot of Herod’s soldiers.Exorbitant taxation compounded the misery of oppression in pre- and first-century Palestine: the mandatory tribute to Rome; locally imposed taxes; several layers of temple tax; impromptu levies to fund military expeditions and building projects. Privation and hardship enveloped the land like a dank, smothering blanket, and peasants found themselves forced to sell their land holdings—inheritances from generations past—in order to survive. The swelling ranks of day laborers told the tale.
    +
    On a cool autumn morning sometime before Herod’s death, in the frontier town of Nazareth in Lower Galilee, a young woman prepared for a long trip to Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus called for a census, declaring “all the world should be taxed” (Luke 2:1-5) and ordered that everyone[1] must register in their ancestral home. And so, Mary, nearly full-term in her pregnancy, helped Joseph load the cart with the necessities they would need to see them through their journey to the ancient city of David.
  • Signs and Wonders (mnorth52.wordpress.com)
    Astrology boomed under the Caesars: here we had a severely autocratic regime which considered it worthwhile to be seen as “one with the gods”, and so it greatly benefited the emperors to have the legitimacy of their sovereignty literally “written in the stars.”Tiberius was no exception: having become self proficient in divination, after a dream which told him to give a large sum of money to a certain person, he decided he was the victim of enchantment, and had the man put to death. So even if you have no connection with someone (even an emperor), you could find your life terminated simply on the arbitrary say-so of interpretation of dreams. Freud no doubt would have been in his heaven among the Romans.
  • Rome’s Religion (ecpsocialstudies6.wordpress.com)
    Honoring gods was a big part of Roman life. There were thousands of Roman gods. The ancient Romans believed gods lived everywhere—in trees, by the side of the road, in a flower, under the bed, and maybe even in the oven in your house.  In ancient Rome, everything had a spirit in charge of it.
  • Tiberius Used Quantitative Easing To Solve The Financial Crisis Of 33 AD (businessinsider.com)
    Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire from 14 AD to 37 AD.  He was frugal in his expenditures, and consequently, he never raised taxes during his reign. When Cappadocia became a province, Tiberius was even able to lower Roman taxes. His frugality also allowed him to be liberal in helping the provinces when, for example, a massive earthquake destroyed many of the famous cities of Asia, or when a financial panic struck the Roman Empire in 33 AD.As with many financial panics, this one began when unexpected events in one part of the Roman world spread to the rest of the Empire. To quote Otto Lightner from his History of Business Depressions, “The important firm of Seuthes and Son, of Alexandria, was facing difficulties because of the loss of three richly laden ships in a Red Sea storm, followed by a fall in the value of ostrich feather and ivory. About the same time the great house of Malchus and Co. of Tyre with branches at Antioch and Ephesus, suddenly became bankrupt as a result of a strike among their Phoenician workmen and the embezzlements of a freedman manager. These failures affected the Roman banking house, Quintus Maximus and Lucious Vibo. A run commenced on their bank and spread to other banking houses that were said to be involved, particularly Brothers Pittius.
  • Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 22:15-21 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
    Pharisees are in a special manner said to be the instigators or concocters of this scheme, to insnare our Redeemer, both, because they were most hostile to Him, and among them, especially the following captious question was agitated. Instead of being struck with feelings of dread at the punishment menaced by our Redeemer, and conceiving feelings of true sorrow, they become more hardened in their iniquity, and endeavour to insnare Him.
  • The man behind the emperor: major Augustus exhibit opens in Rome (rawstory.com)
    A political genius, a great reformer, a patron of the arts — but ancient Rome’s first emperor Augustus was also a family man, as highlighted in a new exhibition that opened in Rome this week.The show marks 2,000 years since the death of the founder of the Roman Empire and the man most associated with the “Pax Romana”, a period of immense architectural and artistic achievement.“We wanted to look at the personality of Augustus beyond the official persona,” said Daniel Roger, chief conservator at the Louvre museum in Paris, which is co-organising the exhibition in Rome.

    Through some 200 items including statues, jewelry and platters, the exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale delves into the emperor’s family life and tries to depict the ebullient mood of the time.

    The show brings together for the first time statues of Augustus in his attire as a divine leader and as a star general, as well as an equestrian one found in the Aegean Sea in Greece and displayed in Italy for the first time.

  • Augustus (aaam4e.wordpress.com)
    Augustus got very sick in 23 BC he died visiting his fathers grave on August 19 14 AD

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