An other Christian WordPress.com site – Een andere Christelijke WordPress.com site

Posts tagged ‘Pharisees’

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:17-20 – The Nazarene Rabbi’s Commentary on the Torah

Matthew 5:17-20 – The Nazarene Rabbi’s Commentary on the Torah

MT5:17 “Do not think I came to destroy[1] the Torah[2] or the Prophets. I came not to destroy but to fulfill.[3] MT5:18 For I tell you this truth: Sooner would heaven and earth pass away before one iota or a single dot[4] passes from the Torah and not all of it be fulfilled. MT5:19 So, anyone who breaks the ‘least’ commandment[5] and so teaches men will be called ‘Least’ in the Heavenly Realm. But, anyone who obeys and teaches them[6] will be called Great in the Heavenly Realm. MT5:20 For I am telling you: If your ‘righteousness’[7] does not surpass the Scribes and Pharisees[8] you will not enter the Heavenly Realm

*

[1] I came to destroy: Probably a charge waiting to be made by the Nazarene’s opposers, the religious hierarchy which prided itself on the preservation of Moses’ Law.

The phrase “I came” is the only intimation that the Nazarene was sent by God. Jesus confesses in John chs 5-8 that he speaks nothing of his own originality but rather those things taught to him by his Father. Here Christ comes from the Celestial Realm. He has the brilliance and vocabulary to say anything he wants. The Mountain Teachings are the first public sermon of the Nazarene.

[2] Torah: Or, the “law” referring mainly to that of Moses but including non-Biblical views expressed by the Ancients. Here begins possibly what the crowd and the Nazarene’s disciples wanted to know: where did Jesus stand on the subject of the Law? Virtually the rest of the sermon is a commentary on the law or Torah with a famous summation of it in Matthew 7:12.

[3] Fulfill: Various renderings: GDSP: enforce; KNX: bring them to perfection. First, the Nazarene as Christ ‘comes’ to set an example of how to follow the Law perfectly. Next, he fulfills all those elements of the Law which are “shadows” of realities (Hebrews 10:1). Paul writes, ‘Christ is the end of the Law.’ By Christ, the Nazarene Saint is ‘released from the Law.’ (Romans 7:1-5) Paul echoes the Nazarene later when he writes, ‘For all the Law is fulfilled in one statement: “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.”’ (Galatians 5:14) Jesus words may be illustrated by a normal human contract with another: there is a difference between arbitrarily and unilaterally ‘destroying’ or breaking the contract and fulfilling your end of the agreement (Galatians 3:14).

The words “I came” are the only hint in the sermon which indicate his overall mission from God (John 4:25).

[4] Dot: The Greek word is IOTA. These words are best understood if one watches a skilled Jewish copyist painstakingly copying every ‘dot and tittle’ of the Hebrew manuscript. Such efforts (Romans 3:1) will not go unfulfilled until everything purposed by God in the Law and Prophets is realized.

[5] ‘Least’ commandment: The commandments have degrees. Here is described a person who not only violates one of these ‘least’ commands but also teaches others to do so. Such is verging on apostasy from the Law of Moses for which Paul was accused (Acts 21:21). As far as individuals are concerned there are degrees of “great” and “least” in the “kingdom.” This is something the disciples were aware of, for two of them got their mother to approach Jesus asking him to see to it that they sat at his right and left in the Kingdom. Note Matthew 11:11 where the ‘least’ in the Kingdom is still greater than John the Baptist. Can the Nazarene mean that a person who breaks even a small law and teaches others to do so will be in the “kingdom” of the heaven, that is, the Father’s Kingdom? Or, does he mean, in the Realm of Profession, the Kingdom/Church? (Matthew 13:41)

[6] Teaches them: It would appear that “teaching” is a prerequisite for being among the ‘great’ in the Realm of Profession (Hebrews 5:12).

[7] Righteousness: Is this a tongue in cheek sentence? This subject of “righteousness” is key to both Paul and John. Paul warns of self-righteousness or that righteousness of the Law; and, John writes of the true righteousness. “Righteousness” means the state of being “right” or correct in attitude, speech and action.

Deutsch: Christus im Hause des Pharisäers, Jac...

Jesus Christ in the house of the pharisees – Jacopo Tintoretto, Escorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[8] Pharisees: Much the butt of Jesus’ censure and condemnation. Jesus never condemns righteousness itself, but that hypocritical self-righteousness which characterizes religious hierarchies of any kind.

 

+

Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light shining bright

Next: Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:21-26 – 1. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:13

+++

Related articles

  1. What Does God Require? A Christian Manifesto (Matt 5:1-12, Micah 6:1-8)
  2. What does the Lord require…?
  3. Truth, love, and justice
  4. A Godly Response To Ungodliness
  5. Be Perfect
  6. A Life Well-Lived
  7. March 10
  8. Our Daily Bread…Featuring Paul Beverly
  9. The Beatitudes in the Law of Moses
  10. The Beatitudes and being human
  11. What’s in Your Heart?
  12. Day 2 | Matthew 5:4
  13. A Study of the Sermon on the Mount
  14. Summing Up the Sermon: The Greatest Sermon Ever {Part 2}
  15. Summing Up the Sermon: The Greatest Sermon Ever {Part 3}
  16. Summing Up the Sermon: The Greatest Sermon Ever {Parts 4-6}
  17. Time to stand up
  18. What is Mercy…Really?
  19. “You’re more than happy when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.” ~Jesus
  20. “I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.” ~~Jesus
  21. What Jesus Says When You’ve Been Burned
  22. Radical Love in the Face of Injustice
  23. Sunday Devotional: Who are our ‘neighbors’ and our ‘enemies’? How are we to ‘love’ them?
  24. July 12, 1931
  25. Our Relationship to the World
  26. Choose Life
  27. The Tongue
  28. Thought for the day
  29. How Solid Is Your Righteousness?
  30. I am one of them, and so are you
  31. Word-Filled Wednesday
  32. Hungry for Righteousness
  33. Are You Better Than A Pharisee? (Matthew 23:29-32)
  34. Questions: Decisions, choice and being “right.”
  35. Greatness Through Servanthood
  36. The Way: Truth & Choice
  37. God’s Law – Part 1: The Law of Light
  38. A Greater Righteousness
  39. The Righteous Branch
  40. Be Real.  Live in Truth.

+++

Advertisements

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©

*

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)

+

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

++

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

+++

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

+++

  • 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.
    +
    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.
    +
    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.
    +
    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 2:1-6 – 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©

*

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)

+

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:

 

++

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

+++

  • 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.
    +
    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 Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

|| Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:7-11, 15-18

MT3:7 When John saw many Pharisees[1] and Sadducees[2] coming to the baptism he said to them: “Generation of vipers, who showed you how to flee from the coming wrath? MT3:8 Therefore, produce fruitage[3] worthy of repentance. MT3:9 Do not be presumptuous[4] and tell yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father!’ I tell you that the God[5] is able to raise up Abrahamic children from these stones! MT3:10 The ax is already lying at the root of the trees. So every tree not producing good fruit[6] will be cut down and thrown in a fire. MT3:11 True, I baptize you people in water because of your repentance, but there is One who comes after me[7] – I am not worthy to remove his sandals – he will baptize in holy Pneuma[8] [Isaiah 44:3] as well as with fire.[9] MT3:12 That One’s winnowing shovel is in his hand and he will completely clean up his threshing floor[10] and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up in an inextinguishable fire.”[11]


[1] Pharisees: The name means “Separated Ones” and occurs 87 times: Matthew, 29, Mark, 12, Luke, 20, John, 20, Acts, 6. A prominent Jewish sect described by Josephus: “And so great is their influence with the masses that even when they speak against a king or high priest, they immediately gain credence.” [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 288 (x, 5)] “They believe that souls have power to survive death and that there are rewards and punishments under the earth for those who have led lives of virtue or vice: eternal imprisonment is the lot of evil souls, while the good souls receive an easy passage to a new life.” (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 14 [i, 3]) “Every soul, they maintain, is imperishable, but the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment.… [They] attribute everything to Fate and to God; they hold that to act rightly or otherwise rests, indeed, for the most part with men, but that in each action Fate co-operates.” [The Jewish War, II, 162, 163 (viii, 14)] Nicodemas was a Pharisee (John 3:1, 2; 7:47-52; 19:39). Paul was a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5).

[2] Sadducees: The name occurs 16 times (Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 293 [x, 6]; XIII, 172, 173 [v, 9]) They did not believe in angels or the resurrection. They appealed to the wealthy. Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 298 (x, 6); XVIII, 16, 17 (i, 4); The Jewish War, II, 162-166 (viii, 14).

[3] Fruitage: True repentance (a change of mind; a sorrow because of sin) must be accompanied with some evidence of such. Paul lists some identifying fruitage (2 Corinthians 7:10, 11).

[4] Presumptuous: See Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

[5] The God: The Greek is HO THEOS.

[6] Fruit: Compare John 15:2, 6. Twice John has exhorted these Jews to produce fruitage consistent with true repentance.

[7] One who comes after me: That is, the Messiah

[8] Baptize in holy Pneuma: Possibly an allusion to Isaiah 44:3.

[9] Fire: The Jews have two choices, that is two baptisms: spirit or the fire of destruction. See the next verse regarding this fire.

[10] Threshing floor: Possibly an illusion to Isaiah 41:15, 16.

[11] Inextinguishable fire: Or, KJV: unquenchable; WMS: fire that can never be put out. A metaphor for everlasting destruction as in the case of the Second Death (Revelation 20:13, 14).

+

Connecting articles:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple + Luke 2:51-52 – Jesus continued to be in subjection to his parents

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News

James Tissot's John and the Pharisees

James Tissot’s John and the Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

++

  1. On the Nature of Christ
  2. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  3. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  4. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  5. Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
  6. Why do we need a ransom?
  7. Leaving behind the lives we have touched.
  8. Dying or not
  9. What happens when we die?
  10. Decomposition, decay – vergaan, afsterven, ontbinding
  11. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  12. Knowing where to go
  13. Two states of existence before God
  14. The one who makes us well and gives life
  15. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
  16. We will all be changed
  17. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  18. Baptism
  19. Were Apostles baptised
  20. True Hope
  21. Epitome of the one faith
  22. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother

+++

  • John the Baptist and the Pharisees (travismikhailblog.wordpress.com)
    John’s baptism differed from sacramental Baptism, which confers forgiveness and the regenerating grace of justifying faith (Acts 2:38). His was a visible token of repentance and preparation for the Messiah (cf. Is 1:16; Heb9:10; CCC 718).

    with water: John administered a baptism by water alone as a sign of purification. But as was shown in Noah’s day, water alone cannot cleanse the soul; the sinfulness of man’s heart remained unchanged even after the flood (Gen 6:5; 8:21). Only the Sacrament of Baptism infuses the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:5) and marks one’s adoption into God’s family (28:19) (CCC 1265).
    with fire: A symbol of God and his purifying judgment (Deut 4:24; Sir 2:5; Is 4:3-5; Acts 2:3-4; CCC 696).
  • Letting the Light In – 4th Sunday of Advent (thewannabesaint.com)
    John’s ministry is in contrast to Jesus’, although their central message, “Repent for the kingdom is near,” appears identical. John remains in the wilderness, calling men and women to come out to him. Jesus seems to seek out crowded cities and synagogues. John sternly requires his followers to repent and to be baptized, to lead an acetic life. Jesus says; “follow me” or do as you see me do.
  • The yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (asicansee.wordpress.com)
    Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:7 many of the Pharisees and Sadducees: the former were marked by devotion to the law, written and oral, and the scribes, experts in the law, belonged predominantly to this group. The Sadducees were the priestly aristocratic party, centered in Jerusalem. They accepted as scripture only the first five books of the Old Testament, followed only the letter of the law, rejected the oral legal traditions, and were opposed to teachings not found in the Pentateuch, such as the resurrection of the dead. Matthew links both of these groups together as enemies of Jesus (Matthew 16:1, 6, 11, 12; cf Mark 8:11-13, 15). The threatening words that follow are addressed to them rather than to “the crowds” as in Luke 3:7. coming to his baptism: the phrase is ambiguous. It can also be translated as “coming against baptism.” Some older translations read “coming to watch his baptism;” however, there is no verb indicating a “watching” activity. vipers: a genus of snakes prevalent in wilderness areas. The term is used metaphorically for evil or evil people (cf.  Mt 12:34; 23:3). The accusatory description of the Pharisees and Sadducees as an evil “brood of vipers” is twice echoed by Jesus (12:34; 23:33, cf. Gen 3:1; Ps 58:4).   the coming wrath: the judgment that will bring about the destruction of unrepentant sinners.
  • In those days: John the Baptist (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    A new section of Matthew begins at Mt 3:1. From Jesus’ infancy we jump several decades in time.  Without warning or preparation, John the Baptist appears in the wilderness preaching not (as in Mark 1:4) a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” but rather repentance, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). This is also different than Luke’s gospel in which we follow the story of Zechariah, Elizabeth and their son John (Lk 1); we are not told of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth – hence there is no announced family relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus.
  • He is Always Coming to Us – A Sermon on Matthew 3:13-17 (interruptingthesilence.com)
    Jesus’ baptism sets before us a choice. We can either prevent or consent, closing or opening ourselves, to the baptism of Jesus. The issue is not Jesus’ coming to us. The issue is our preventing or consenting to his coming. Our work then is to always move from preventing to consenting. That is our repentance just as it was for John.
  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    repentance is all about change, to go beyond where we are and open ourselves to transformation. This requires time apart from my cultural context and examination of my motives and areas of my life needing change. To live in or return to the kingdom of God, requires growth and transformation by God’s love, forgiveness, and grace.
  • Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com)
    Hand Questions

    1. What could active, positive repentance mean in your life?
    2. What’s to prevent you from changing any habits of life that distance you from God or neighbour?
    3. Are you ready for the baptism of Holy Spirit and fire?
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    The first thing that John the Baptist says is, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  People were coming to him from Jerusalem and Judea, all around the region of the Jordan (both urban and rural places).  They were coming to confess their sins and be baptized.

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

Hellenistic influences

The early days of Christianity

2.1. Hellenistic influences

An ingenious and learned school, formed at Alexandria, had contrived, by a system of allegorical interpretation, to infuse Platonism into the Old Testament, the school at Jerusalem had been growing increasingly rigid, and interdicted any such daring exegesis.

In the first centuries of our current calendar the influence of the Greek culture in the Roman Realm was still noticeable and guarded Greece its cultural inheritance one of the most important universities of the Roman Realm which stood in Athens.

At the Athenian schools also Christians, like Prohæresios, the sophist, were found under its members.

Sophists (sophistēs, meaning “wise-ist, one who does wisdom,” and σοφός, sophós means “wise man”) were a category of traveling teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching arete — excellence, or virtue — predominantly to young statesmen and nobility. As itinerant intellectuals they taught courses in various subjects, speculated about the nature of language and culture and employed rhetoric to achieve their purposes, generally to persuade or convince others which could be of good use for the youngsters to be able to have their say in the official meetings or ekklèsia (Ecclesia)

Many sophists’ questioned the existence and roles of traditional deities and investigated into the nature of the heavens and the earth, which prompted a popular reaction against them. The attacks of some of their followers against Socrates prompted a vigorous condemnation from his followers, including Plato the most famous student of Socrates, and Xenophon. The sophists became considered greedy instructors who used rhetorical sleight-of-hand and ambiguities of language in order to deceive, or to support fallacious reasoning. according to some the sophist was not concerned with truth and justice, but instead looked for power.

File:PopesixtusII.jpg

The martyrdom of Saint (Pope) Sixtus II and his deacons. Martyre de saint Sixte II et de ses diacres. Cote: Français 185 , Fol. 96v . Vies de saints, France, Paris – 14th century. – Richard de Montbaston et collaborateurs

Sixtus II, or Xystos, who suffered martyrdom in Rome about 258 C.T., also may have studied in Athens and is called “the son of an Athenian philosopher”. But the most noted men who frequented the schools here were Basil from Kæsareia, and Gregory from Nazianzos, about the middle of the fourth century. These schools of philosophy kept paganism alive for four centuries, but by the fifth century the ancient religion of Elevsis and Athens had practically succumbed. In the Council of Nikæa there was present a bishop from Athens. In 529 the schools of philosophy were closed. From that date Christianity had no rival in Athens.[1]

Jesus clearly taught that Jehovah is “the only true God” and that the human soul is mortal. (John 17:3; Matthew 10:28) Yet, with the death of the apostles and the weakening of the organizational structure, such clear teachings were corrupted as pagan doctrines infiltrated Christianity.

A key factor was the subtle influence of Greek philosophy. Explains The New Encyclopædia Britannica: “From the middle of the 2nd century AD Christians who had some training in Greek philosophy began to feel the need to express their faith in its terms, both for their own intellectual satisfaction and in order to convert educated pagans.” Once philosophically minded persons became Christians, it did not take long for Greek philosophy and “Christianity” to become inseparably linked.
As a result of this union, pagan doctrines such as the Trinity and the immortality of the soul seeped into tainted Christianity. These teachings, however, go back much farther than the Greek philosophers. The Greeks actually acquired them from older cultures, for there is evidence of such teachings in ancient Egyptian and Babylonian religions. As pagan doctrines continued to infiltrate Christianity, other Scriptural teachings were also distorted or abandoned.

File:HermesTrismegistusCauc.jpg

Hermes Trismegistus

The question how the Son was related to the Father (Himself acknowledged on all hands to be the one Supreme Deity), gave rise, between the years 60 and 200 C.T. to a number of Theosophic systems, called generally Gnosticism, and having for their authors Basilides, Valentinus, apologist and ascetic Tatian the Syrian or the Assyrian , writer of the Diatessaron (a  prominent Gospel harmony) and other Greek speculators.[2] According to some, it was through Gnosticism that pagan influences slipped into Christian worship. Gnosticism, they assert, served somewhat as a bridge between paganism and Christianity.[3] The Gnostic systems revealed more theosophy than theology and in the Jewish Kabbala is found a theosophy mixed with various forms of magic and occultism. The Kabbalah, which includes the tracts named Sefer Yetzirah, The Zohar, Pardes Rimonim, and Eitz Chaim, seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and to thereby attain spiritual realisation.
The Hellenistic main source is the Corpus Hermeticum or the Hermetic Corpus, a collection of texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, which became again of importance in the New Age. Therein astrology and other occult sciences and spiritual renewal are addressed. Trismegistus may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.

Alexandria was full of Jews, the literary as well as commercial centre of the East, and the connecting link between the East and the West. There the largest libraries were collected; there the Jewish mind came into close contact with the Greek, and the religion of Moses with the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. There Philo wrote, while Christ taught in Jerusalem and Galilee, and his works were destined to exert a great influence on Christian exegesis through the Alexandrian fathers.

During the fourth century Egypt was going to give to the church the Arian heresy, the Athanasian orthodoxy, and the monastic piety of St. Antony and St. Pachomius, which spread with irresistible force over Christendom.

The theological literature of Egypt was chiefly Greek. Most of the early manuscripts of the Greek Scriptures — including probably the invaluable Sinaitic and Vatican MSS. — were written in Alexandria. But already in the second century the Scriptures were translated into the vernacular language, in three different dialects. What remains of these versions is of considerable weight in ascertaining the earliest text of the Greek Testament.

To the Jews, that were the mostly receptive for Hellenic influences, belonged the priests. For many of them meant the accepting of the Hellenism a manner to have Judaism going with its time.

While many Jews accepted the Hellenism, a new group calling themselves Hasidim or Chassidim — devout people (literally “loving kindness”, diverted of the Hebrew חסידות (chassidoet), meaning “piety”) — encouraged people to keep stricter obedience to the Law of Moses. The first group of Hasidim, also called the Assideans or Hasideans (the Anglicized form, derived through the Greek asidaioi, of the Hebrew Hasidim, “the pious”, men endowed with grace (Psalm 39:5; 148:14)), were an ancient Jewish sect that developed between 300 B.C.E. and 175 B.C.E. They were the most rigid adherents of Judaism in contradistinction to those Jews who were beginning to be affected by Hellenistic influences. The Hasidim led the resistance to the Hellenizing campaign of Antiochus IV of Syria, and they figured largely in the early phases of the revolt of the Maccabees or Machabees, Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C.E. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon. Their ritual strictness has caused some to see them as forerunners of the Pharisees. Throughout the Talmudic period numerous figures were referred to as Hasidim. [4]

The Hellenization of the Jews in the pre-Hasmonean period was not universally resisted. Generally, the Jews accepted foreign rule when they were only required to pay tribute, and otherwise allowed to govern themselves internally. Nevertheless, Jews were divided between those favoring Hellenization and those opposing it, and were divided over allegiance to the Ptolemies or Seleucids. When the High Priest Simon II died in 175 BCE, conflict broke out between supporters of his son Onias III (who opposed Hellenization, and favored the Ptolemies) and his son Jason (who favored Hellenization, and favored the Seleucids). A period of political intrigue followed, with priests such as Menelaus bribing the king to win the High Priesthood, and accusations of murder of competing contenders for the title. The result was a brief civil war. The Tobiads, a philo-Hellenistic party, succeeded in placing Jason into the powerful position of High Priest. He established an arena for public games close by the Temple. (Ginzberg, Lewis. “The Tobiads and Oniads.”. Retrieved 2007-01-23. Jewish Encyclopedia.) Author Lee I. Levine notes, “The ‘piece de resistance’ of Judaean Hellenization, and the most dramatic of all these developments, occurred in 175 BCE, when the high priest Jason converted Jerusalem into a Greek polis replete with gymnasium and ephebeion (2 Maccabees 4). Whether this step represents the culmination of a 150-year process of Hellenization within Jerusalem in general, or whether it was only the initiative of a small coterie of Jerusalem priests with no wider ramifications, has been debated for decades.” (Levine, Lee I. Judaism and Hellenism in antiquity: conflict or confluence? Hendrickson Publishers, 1998. pp. 38–45. Via “The Impact of Greek Culture on Normative Judaism.”)

The ordinary people were disgusted by the Hellenised priests and chose more and more party for the Chassidim. There broke a period of martyrdom when Jews in the whole country were forced to go along or to settle with pagan happenings and offerings or to die.[5]

A gold multiple of “Unconquered Constantine” with Sol Invictus, struck in 313. The use of Sol’s image appealed to both the educated citizens of Gaul, who would recognize in it Apollo’s patronage of Augustus and the arts; and to Christians, who found solar monotheism less objectionable than the traditional pagan pantheon

Constantine (C., Flavius Valerius Constantinus) was during the decline period of the Roman Realm the Big Emperor (306–337 C. T.) and tried to merge Christianity with particular pagan customs and doctrines. He undertook the first steps to make this merger religion as the official state religion. Accordingly Greece became a part of Christendom. He moved the capital of the realm of Rome to Byzantium, which he named in honour of himself Constantinople.

In 321 C. T. Constantine ordained that the Sunday (Lat.: dies Solis, an old title that was connected with astrology and sun worshipping, not Sabbatum [Sabbath] or dies Domini [day of the Lord]) would be a day of rest for everybody, except for the farmers. Constantine moreover placed Sunday under the protection of the State. Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun as the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas.

The winged sun was an ancient (3rd millennium BC) symbol of Horus, later identified with Ra

Belief in the old polytheism had been shaken; in more stolid natures, as Roman Emperor Diocletian, it showed its strength only in the form of superstition, magic, and divination. Probably many of the more noble-minded recognized the truth contained in Judaism and Christianity, but believed that they could appropriate it without being obliged on that account to renounce the beauty of other worships. Such a man was the Emperor Alexander Severus; another thus minded was Aurelian, whose opinions were confirmed by Christians like Paul of Samosata. Not only Gnostics and other heretics, but Christians who considered themselves faithful, held in a measure to the worship of the sun. Constantine cherished this mistaken belief.[6]


[1] Christian Athens, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[2] Arianism., Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[3] Notion and characteristics, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York 1908

[4] In the 18th Century Eastern Europethis movement would be taken up again for the third time by Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer (1698-1760) also known asIsrael Baal Shem Tov as a reaction against overly legalistic Judaism.

[5] S. Lieberman, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (1962); S. G. Kramer, God and Man in the Sefer Hasidim (1966); A. L. Lowenkopf, The Hasidim (1973).

[6] The original Catholic Encyclopedia

+++

Some Jews are known to have engaged in non-surgical foreskin restoration in order to join the dominant cultural practice of socializing naked in the gymnasium, where their circumcisionwould have been a social stigma.

+

Previous: The early days of Christianity 1.2. Considered as a danger 1.2.2. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit

Next: The early days of Christianity 2.2.1. Politics and power first priority

  • contemplative political philosophy (acourseaboutnothing.wordpress.com)
    Contemplation has always been at the heart of liberal education.  Contemplation was known as practice, the practice of political philosophy.  All who had intimations of Socrates’ presence and purpose knew it.  Contemplation was (and is) an activity of mind-body.  Athletics (what the Greeks called gymnastics) was no less education than music and the performing arts.  Together these formed an organic whole in the image of a human creature.
  • Local Deities? Mystery Cults and Osiris and Isis. Soul and Spirit. (jamesbradfordpate.wordpress.com)
    Koester says that “The old Greek religion was a religion of city gods”, in which gods were the patrons of cities.  He says on pages 164-165 that “None of these cults would ever claim to be a world religion since the belief that deities were bound to particular holy places was still very much alive.”  But Koester narrates that people moved around and economics, politics, and science became increasingly universal, and so people were becoming dissatisfied with local deities.
    +
    In Christianity, Jesus dies and rises again, whereas it is not said in the myth of Osiris that Osiris was resurrected, but Osiris after his death goes to the realm of the dead to rule, while his son takes charge of this world.
    +
    Koester makes interesting points about the goddess Isis.  For one, he says that the woman in Revelation 12 resembles Isis, which stood out to me, as one who was raised in a denomination that tried to disassociate from the “pagan” elements of the “world’s” Christianity.  Second, according to Koester on page 189, Isis in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses 11.5.1-3 is treated as the “one and only god” and “ruler of the the universe” (Koester’s words).  As I look at the passage itself, there seems to be therein an acknowledgement that other gods exist, but there’s also an affirmation that Isis is “The single form that fuses all gods and goddesses” (the passage’s words).
  • Baptism of Pagan Practices (bythepen.me)
    Mount Carmel was previously a pagan site. In the Old Testament, we see that it was there that Yahwhey and Elijah took on Jezebel and the priests of Baal. Anti-Catholic conspiracy theorists eat this up, of course, but in reality, history has unfolded with Our Lord as the victor. This is just one of the several instances where that ancient serpent has been “crushed by the heel of Our Lady” – one of Christ’s most powerful tools.
    +
    there were bound to have been some parallels of Christian truth among pre-Christian beliefs and rituals. The early Christians were well aware of this and sometimes used it to their advantage in order to convert the pagans. In fact, St. Paul does this very thing in the Acts of the Apostles. I think of Paul as the father of the interpolation tactic described there. Unlike the Twelve, he was well educated in Hellenistic as well as Jewish law and religion, which is why I believe Christ chose him with a special purpose as “Apostle to the Gentiles”. He was a huckleberry who knew his stuff and how to use it to reach them.
  • Ancient Hellenistic Harbor Discovered in Acre, Israel – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
    An ancient harbor where warships may have docked 2,300 years ago has been discovered by archaeologists in the Israeli port city of Acre.The harbor, the largest and most important found in Israel from the Hellenistic period, was uncovered during archaeological excavations carried out as part of a seawall conservation project, the Israel Antiquities Authority said today. Among the finds were large mooring stones incorporated in the quay and used to secure sailing vessels, the IAA said.
    +
    The excavation will continue in those sections of the harbor that extend in the direction of the sea, the IAA said. The archaeologists will try to clarify if there is a connection between the destruction of the harbor and the Hasmonean uprising in 167 B.C., the destruction wrought by Ptolemy in 312 B.C. or some other event.
  • We owe a cock to Asclepius (ins2ition.wordpress.com)
    SO were the final, last Words said by Socrates.
    No one could help by then, Even Hippocrates.
    if YOU’VE said it once you’ve said One thousand times.
    I Don’t only say it because that line rhymes.
  • Live as the world wishes you to and accept all events: Stoic Philosophy (by Devin) (lvv4ublyth.wordpress.com)
    Stoicism was founded in Athens by Zeno in early 3rd century, it was originally taught by him at the Stoa Poikile. Another famous stoic is Marcus Aurelius, a famous roman emperor. The discipline of Stoicism teaches self-control as a means of defeating destructive emotions, which they believed were caused by errors in judgment and would not be felt by a true sage. Stoicism became the foremost philosophy among the leaders of Hellenistic and Roman society.
  • Pherecydes of Leros [Pherecydes of Athens] (vonfaustus.blogspot.com)
    Dionysus leading the Horae.
    [Day of Saturn + Hour of Mercury]
    Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell
    O Bacchic [Bakkheios] Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius [Dionysos], parent of the vine,
    And of celestial Venus [Aphrodite] Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:

Tag Cloud

The Eccentric Fundamentalist

Musings on theology, apologetics, practical Christianity and God's grace in salvation through Jesus Christ

John 20:21

"As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you."

The Biblical Review

Reviewing Publications, History, and Scripture

Words on the Word

Blog by Abram K-J

Bybelverskille

Hier bestudeer ons die redes vir die verskille in Bybelvertalings.

Michael Bradley - Time Traveler

The official website of Michael Bradley - Author of novels, short stories and poetry involving the past, future, and what may have been.

BIBLE Students DAILY

"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10

God's Simple Kindness

A place to share your daily blessings

takeaminutedotnet

All the Glory to God

Religieus Redeneren

Gedachten en berichten over hedendaags (on)geloof

Jesse A. Kelley

A topnotch WordPress.com site

JWUpdate

JW Current Apostate Status and Final Temple Judgment - Web Witnessing Record; The Bethel Apostasy is Prophecy

Sophia's Pockets

Wisdom Withouth Walls

ConquerorShots

Spiritual Shots to Fuel the Conqueror Lifestyle

Examining Watchtower Doctrine

Truth Behind the "Truth"

Theological NoteBook

Dabbling into Theology

sowers seed

be careful 'how you hear'

Next Comes Africa

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me - Psalm 139: 9,10

friarmusings

the musings of a Franciscan friar...

%d bloggers like this: