The Purpose of God’s Law: The End Year 2022 Message

Let me wish all my readers a Happy New Year in advance. Today, December 31st is the last day of the year 2022. By God’s Grace, we shall witness in good health the year of the Lord, 2023.

The policy of this site is changing from daily blogging to once a week, every Sunday, in the year 2023. But the regular posting of my YouTube videos on Tuesday and Friday will continue on the website.

To end the year, I am on the Pulpit preaching “The Purpose of God’s Law.” We must start the new year 2023 by embracing God’s Law for our benefit.

The Purpose of God’s Law:

Text: Eze. 38: 8–13; Col. 3: 1–11; Jn. 16: 23-33


The Sovereign LORD says: on that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme.” – Ezekiel 38: 10. Since the Fall of man, man’s thoughts and deeds have always been evil in total disobedience to God our Creator. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments for the Israelites because of their hardened hearts, yet they were disobedient to God’s Law. A cursory look at the Ten Commandments shows separate teachings that guide our lives. In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ confrontation with the Lawyer, Jesus confirms that there are only two commandments. The first Commandment is to Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. That is what Jesus called the Great Commandment. The Commandment deals with our relationship with God, and four of the ten commandments fall under this. They are:

  • You shall have no other gods before you.
  • You shall not make, worship, or serve any graven images.
  • You shall not take the Lord God’s name in vain.
  • Six days shall be thou labor; honor the Sabbath; keep it holy.

The second Commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves, which we know as the Great Commission. I love my lost brother and sister for sharing the Gospel and bringing them into the kingdom. I love my saved brother and sister by bringing them to their full maturity in Christ to expand the kingdom. The remaining six commandments fall under this second law and have to do with our relationships with others.

  • Honor your father and mother.
  • You shall not kill
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not bear false witness.
  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, servant, animals, or possessions.

What, then, is the Purpose of God’s law of Love, Loving God and loving our neighbors?

The Purpose is in three parts:

  1. Holy Calling – A call to spiritual resurrection; a call to be a Christian; a call to have Faith
  2. Holy Affection & Ambition –  A call to Holy living; a call to Love and be Loved; a call to total Obedience and
  3. Holy Affirmation – A call to the certainty of human expectations; a call to have your prayers answered.

In dealing with these three purposes, I will use the New Testament reading: Colossians 3: 1 – 11, and the Epistle, John 16: 23 – 33

Body Of Message:

A. Holy Calling – Col. 3: 1-11; John 16: 27

  • A call to be a Christian in Faith– Colossians 3
  • Raised with Christ vs.1
  • Setting your heart and mind on things above vs. 1b & 2
  • Christ is all and is in all – vs. 11; No segregation, No class distinction, No ethnicity, No tribalism, etc.
  • Father loves you because you have loved Christ and believe He came from God.

B. Holy Affections & Ambitions – Col. 3: 5, 8, 9, 10

(i) A call to Holy Living – Entire Sanctification having being Justified

  • Put to death earthly nature – External dynamics vs. 5; all forms of Impurity, Sexual immorality, Lust, evil desires, and greed are classified as Idolatry.
  • Rid yourself of inner dynamics vs. 8 – anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Tongue is the fire of human parts and has the power of life and death, so you must tame your tongue.)
  • Do not lie to each other vs. 9

We exhibit Love when we do all these.

(ii) A call to Obedience

– Learning to be a Servant of God. You are obedient when you become a servant of God.

To be a servant of God, you must be moldable and remain in the hand of the Master. Many Scripture passages describe Jesus as God’s servant. He came as a servant to accomplish God’s Will in the redemption of humanity. Here is what Paul said about Jesus in Phil. 2: 5-8.

  • Servanthood requires Obedience. The Biblical concept of
  • servanthood is different from the world. You do not get
  • orders and then go out and do them. You relate to God,
  • respond to Him, and adjust your life to Him, so He can do whatever He wants to do through you.

(iii) A call to a relationship with God.

A relationship with God improves your relationship with others. I think God is crying out and shouting to us, “Don’t just do something; stand there! Enter into a love relationship with me. Could you get to know me? Adjust your life to Me. Let me love you and reveal myself to you as I work through you. The Purpose of God’s law is a deeper relationship with God and others. Relationships with God must come first. When you obey God’s Law, you experience God’s work.

(I will obey and experience God’s work)

  • God wants you to come to more excellent knowledge of Him.
  • He wants to establish a love relationship with you.
  • God wants to involve you in His Kingdom’s purposes.
  • He wants to accomplish His work through you.
  • Your job is simple: Find out where the Master is; that is where you need to be.
  • So, Put on the new self, renewed in knowledge in the image of the Creator vs. 10

 C. Holy Affirmation – John 16: 23 – 33

Holy Affirmation is a call to the certainty of answered prayers. God gave us the Scriptures as a guide for Faith and practice. We often ask the wrong question and get the wrong answer. The right question brings out the correct answer. The right question is, What is God’s will? In other words, what is God proposing where I am? Once I know what God is doing, I know what I need to do. The focus needs to be on God, not my life. For Holy affirmation, watch to see where God is working and join Him. A call to walk in Faith

Jesus Christ is the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. The Bible teaches about using His name in prayer.

  • Whatever you ask in Jesus’ name, you receive-vs. 23
  • Ask to receive in Jesus’ name, and your joy will be complete vs. 24
  • You will have Peace in Christ, and the world affliction v 33
  • In this world, you will have trouble; Take heart! Jesus has overcome the world. Vs. 33


Three words describe this Purpose: Faith, Love, and Obedience. 

The Purpose of God’s Law is to ensure we are not spiritually dead, permanently cut off from God’s presence. Life is concise, but God is eternal. The Purpose is in His Holy Calling, Holy Affection, & Ambition for us, and Holy Affirmation that all is well with us on earth and we have life everlasting by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son.

God’s Word is sufficient to be wise, and the secret of wisdom is the Purpose of God’s law.


You may have been frustrated in your Christian experience because you know God has a more abundant life for you than you have experienced, OR you may be earnestly desiring God’s directions for your life, ministry, or business. You may have experienced tragedy, like losing a loved one. OR you are standing bewildered in the middle of a broken life; you don’t know what to do. Whatever your present circumstances may be, my earnest prayer is that today that you have learned the Purpose of God’s law, you will be able to:

  • Confess and repent of your sins
  • Believe in Jesus Christ that He died for your sins, arose from the dead, and He’s coming again.
  • Having been justified, seek Sanctification
  • Hear when God is speaking to you
  • Identify the activity of God in your life
  • Believe Him to be and do everything He promises
  • Adjust your beliefs, character, and behavior to God and His ways
  • See the direction that He is taking in your life and what He wants to do through your life.

God’s Grace has enabled us this far, and By God’s Continous Grace, we shall all witness God’s New Glory in the year 2023 starting tomorrow.

The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (6-Final)

The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (6)

Languages That Were Current In Palestine:

Palestine is divided into three regions: (1) Mountainous Region; (2) Fertile Crescent, and (3) Desert Region. The Fertile Crescent was the most affluent part of the world, and everybody wanted to occupy the region. The Jews came in from the Desert region into the Fertile Crescent, so groups tried to dislodge each other.

Palestine is a Cosmopolitan Country in which several different languages are current.

1. Latin was the first official language of those that conquered Palestine (the Romans). The Roman Governors and officials and the Soldiers on parole used this language. The Jewish Palestine don’t know Latin; very few can speak the language. Most Palestinians do not know or speak Latin, i.e., Centurion, Legion, Denarius, and Praetorium. Legate, Colony, etc. The trial of Jesus before Pilate could have required an interpreter. At the time, Latin was the language of Politics and Diplomacy.

2. The Greek Language; this was the language of Commerce. Greek was widely understood in Palestine, especially in the North (Galilee of Gentiles). It was here that the Jews came into contact with the Greek Gentiles and enabled them to communicate; there was a need for bilingualism which became an economic necessity. It has its root in the 2nd Century before Christ when the Seleucid dynasty was in charge of Syria. Acts of making non-Greek, Greeks are known as Hellenising or Greecising. The Greek they were speaking was called ‘Koine Greek,’ a kind of pidgin that the ordinary people were speaking.

3. Aramaic language was the mother tongue of most Jews. Post-exilic Jews could not speak fluent Hebrew, but the language commonly spoken was Aramaic. At the beginning of the Christian era, in Palestine’s Synagogues and Babylon, the Old Testament was read in Hebrew and Aramaic. But that Aramaic was paraphrased known as Targum. The reason was that the people knew little or nothing of Hebrew. The hometown of Jesus was Nazareth, and by this time, Aramaic had become the language of Nazareth, so Aramaic was Jesus’ native language. As time went on, it became necessary for Jesus to know Hebrew and Greek. Jesus preaching and teaching was done in Aramaic, but when it came to debates with the Scribes and teachers of the law, he needed to know Hebrew. Also, he needed to know Greek to communicate with the centurions and Phoenicia women.

Cultural And Religious Background Of Palestinian Judaism:

The social and Political background of the New Testament is essential for any Biblical Scholar. Still, in truth, the Cultural & Religious background is more important to enable us to know the religious thoughts of Jews during this period and what shaped their thoughts. What are the books that influence the thinking of Jews in Palestine? Who are the Scribes? What is pious thinking? The answers to these questions are needed to understand the matrix in which the Christian Church emerged.

Survey Of The Intertestamental Period:

Apocrypha books are divided into:

  1. Historical,
  2. Legendary or Novelist,
  3. Wisdom or sapiential,
  4. Apocalypse,
  5. Historical Apocrypha,
  6. 1 and 2 Maccabees,
  7. Legendary Apocrypha, and
  8. Tobit

The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (5)

The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (5)

Herod Antipas 4BC – 39AD:

Antipas was a son of Nalthace, full brother of Archelaus. After his father’s death in 4BC, he was appointed the Tetrarch of Baternea, Trachonotis, and Aurantis. He built his residence in Genesaret and named it after Tiberus, the reigning Emperor John 6:1. The city where he built his house was a former cemetery. Hence, the Jews regarded it as unclean and refused to live there. He always pursued his desire and interest. Herod Antipas was first married to the daughter of the Nabataen king, ARETAS. While visiting his brother, he fell in love with his brother’s wife, Herodian, and snatched her from him. That marriage to Herodian produced a daughter Salome. He divorced Aretas. John the Baptist denounced the relationship of Herod Antipas with Herodian, his brother’s wife. Nabataen king would not take kindly to the disgrace to his daughter Aretas, so he waged war against Herod Antipas, disgraced and defeated him.

Many Jews saw Herod Antipas’s defeat as a divine judgment, especially for the beheading of John the Baptist. Herod Antipas was the Ruler of Jesus’ own Country. When he heard of Jesus, Antipas thought Jesus was John the Baptist he killed – Mark 6: 14-16; Luke 9:9. Herod tried to see Jesus thinking he was John. Later on, Pilate sent Jesus to Herod. Herodian persuaded Herod to ask the Roman Emperor Caligula to bestow upon him the title of a king, but this advice misfired for Caligula became suspicious of Herod Antipas, so Caligula sent him into exile to France in 39 AD.

Philip The Tetrarch – 4BC – 34AD:

Phillip the Tetrarch was given the Northern territories over which Herod himself had ruled, primarily in the North and eastern Jordan across the Sea of Galilee. He married his brother’s daughter called, Salome. Philip the Tetrarch was the only Jewish Ruler with a coin minted bearing the name of a Roman Emperor. Unlike most of his brothers, he was a reasonable man well-liked by most people. Cleopatra was Philip the Tetrarch’s mother. He was fair to so many people and well-behaved. Luke 3:1. He died in AD34 without leaving behind a successor.

Herod Agrippa 1:

Palestine came under attack, but at the end of the day, it came under the rule of a Jewish king. Agrippa 1 is a grandson of Herod the great, and he stayed in Rome for many years. During this time, he was able to get the favor of Garnigula. So in AD 37, Garnigula gave Agrippa 1 a territory that Phillip had ruled. At Rome, he lived with the Emperor’s family, and at one point, he commented that Tiberius should have handed over to Caligula, which made Caligula give him the title of a king. Still, when Caligula was murdered in AD 41, Agrippa was in Rome, and he helped Cladius to become Emperor of Rome. As a result, Claudius gave Agrippa Judea, Samaria, and Idumea to rule. During the period he was on the throne, a sharp conflict broke out because Caligula instructed that his Statue be erected in the temple in Jerusalem.

There was excitement among the Jews saying this is another one – Mark 13:14. Agrippa 1 lived all his life in Jerusalem and carried himself like a regular Jew. Agrippa carried himself as a devout Jew and observed the rigid rights of Judaism. In his attempt to please the Jews, he became the first government official to persecute the church of Christ. Like his grandfather, Agrippa wanted buildings erected in his honor. When with the Hellenists, he behaved like them. Agrippa was the one that said he had a divine mandate to become the manifest one. When he died, his throne was not given to his son, who was still underaged; instead, the entire Country was governed by the Roman Procurator, who was subordinate to the Roman governor. He was the one that died with maggots coming out of his body.

Agrippa 11 (AD 50 – AD 110):

Agrippa 11 was the son of Agrippa 1 and the great-grandson of Herod the great. He was 17 when his father died and was not considered mature enough to be crowned. When Agrippa 11 grew up, he was given a small kingdom Chalcis to rule. Later on, he eventually reigned over the former kingdom of Phillip The Tetrarch. He became something of a religious advisor to Roman rulers, which could have been why he was in Syria when Fetus became the procurator of Judea. At that time, he became Agrippa 11 – Acts 25:13; 26:32.

Agrippa 11 appointed the high priest, which infuriated the Jews. The private life of Herod Agrippa 11 was marked with scandal. He had a sister Bernice; they were so close that they did everything together that people concluded they were involved in an incestuous relationship. So the people hated him. During the war between Rome and the Jews, he sided with the Romans; because of that, he retired to Rome.

The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (4)

The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (4)

The Sanctuary was carefully covered so that nobody could look into it. In the Diaspora, Herod appeared as a protector of Judaism and encouraged the synagogue community’s development. Despite all these, Herod never gained the favor of the Jews. Because of the terror of his regime and the harshness he used in subduing all opposition. Herod remained an object of hatred by the majority of the people. But then, even the devout Jews did not like Herod, and some fell in love with him.

The Hellenist loved Herod and showed gratitude to Herod because he erected Samaria’s new city in honor of Augustus. He built a harbor on the coast that protected the city from sound. The city was adorned with beautiful edifices. The fortification was placed over the Country to suppress any uprising. In Jerusalem, he built a Citadel known as Anthonia, so Herod could watch over everything happening in the Sanctuary.

The strongest fortress Herod built was on the western shore known as Masada. In Jerico, Herod built himself a place where he sheltered in winter. It is said Herod’s building activities are yet to be equaled by anybody in the present dispensation, i.e., the Wailing Wall is still standing today, as well as the foundation of Anthonia Citadel. The excavation from Jerico to Samaria revealed the significant buildings till today. Herod enhanced his reputation by giving donations to foreign Countries and asking them to erect buildings in his name. The Romans respected him, and he promoted pagan cults. John the Baptist and Jesus were born during Herod the Great’s reign.

Ceasar Augustus (Octavian) gave peace to Roman Empire. Herod eliminated the opponents of his throne. And anyone that could have constituted a danger to himself or the throne. The relationship had no meaning to him. Through his marriage to Mariamne, a descendant of Hasmoneans, Herod got himself back into a relationship with the old Royal family. And since Herod came from Idumea, he was constantly anxious that the people would not regard him as an equal (2nd class citizen), and this was his driving force.

Herod now installed a man obedient to him as a high priest since he could not become the high priest himself. His mother–in–law and some others insisted the new high priest must be removed. So he gave the office of the high priest to his wife’s younger brother Aristobulus, yet Herod did not stop the anxiety that one day the Hasmoneans would not rise to supplant him from the throne. His jealousy of the Hasmoneans became so intense that Herod killed his wife and later killed her two sons, Alexander and Aristobulus. He loved his first son Antipater and wanted him to succeed him. Herod suspected his first son Antipater before his death and ordered Antipater to be killed. Herod also ordered that hundreds of Jewish leaders be killed on the day he died, knowing that people would not cry for him but would cry for the death of others. Suspiciously governed Herod’s actions: Mat 2:16 – the massacre of children to protect his throne.

Herod made a will dividing his kingdom among his three sons: (1) Archelaus, (2) Herod Antipas (3) Herod Phillip. Archelaus was in charge of Judea, Samaria and Idumea. Herod Antipas was in charge of Galilee and Perea. Herod Philip was appointed Tetrarch of Batanea, trachonitis, and Auranitis. After the death of Herod in 4BC, the three sons of Herod made a journey to Rome to confirm their offices. And to make as much profit as possible. Still, then the Jews in Jerusalem sent emissaries to Rome telling them to abolish Herodian Rule and to restore the independence of Jerusalem’s Cultic Community – Luke 19:12 & 14 points to this. But their prayer to Rome was not granted by Augustus but instead upheld the will of Herod the Great. Antipas and Philip were made Tetrarchs (minor Kings).

Archelaus was made ethnarch (lesser King), but the Jews were all kings. (Ref: Mark 6:14, 26; Mat 2: 22). While the three sons of Herod the great were in Rome, trouble started in Judea. Roman troops from Syria under Quintilasvarus went to Judea to restore peace. Nevertheless, the anti-Roman attitude of Jews did not abate. Instead, it increased in multitude after the withdrawal of the Roman troops from Jerusalem, and the three sons came back to assume their duties.

The Herodian Dynasty:


Archelaus reigned from 4 BC to 6AD. Archelaus’ mother was Nalthace, a Samaritan woman. He took over the kingdom after his father’s death. He was as ruthless and wicked as his father. It was reported that he killed 3000 people during a Passover shortly after resumption at his post. St. Matthew reported his ruthlessness in Mat 2: 22. Some Samaritans leaders and Jews leaders reported Archelaus to Rome and asked him to be dethroned; this Rome did and was exiled to Gaul (France) in 6AD. He was the most hated among the three princes. His territory was left under the Roman Governor’s jurisdiction, so this Governor ordered a census to be taken in Syria and Palestine.

This Governor was residing in Caesarea; he occasionally went to Jerusalem during the Jews’ Passover and any other feasts of Jews because so many people came for these feasts, so he went with his troops so that law and order were maintained. When this gov and his troops were in Jerusalem, they would not tamper with the Jewish Cultic Community, the priesthood, and the Sanhedrin. Because soldiers were on parole without their banners, no images of Caesar were set up in the temple. Supreme legal authority was placed in the hands of the Roman Governor. Because of that, the Sanhedrin could only deal with matters that concerned the Jewish cultic community and could not pronounce death sentences or inflict death. Outside Jerusalem in the Anthonia Citadel, there were always Roman troops, and from time to time, during the Jews Festival were augmented to take care of Jerusalem. Jews were not recruited into the army, only the gentiles – Acts 10:1; 23:28 & 33.

In the time of Jesus, Pontius Pilate held the position of Governor. Acts 26. Philo said of Pilate, “The conduct of his office was marked with corruption, violence, ill-treatment, offenses, numerous illegal executions, and incessant unbearable cruelty.” Pontius had no regard for the religious sensitivity of the Jews. One night, he caused a Roman banner with the emperor’s image to be brought into Jerusalem. The Jews protested and preferred to die than tolerate the violation of the law (Ten Commandments). Pilate then gave a command that the banner is removed.

Pilate went and took money from the temple, and as a result, unrest broke down in Jerusalem. Pilate claimed he wanted to use the money to build an acqueduct, but the Jews said he had the right to enter the temple and could subdue the protest. The Samaritan prophet prophesized from the time of Moses, they hid Utensils under the mountain Gerizim, and Pilate sent people there to kill them. Many were killed, many were imprisoned, and some escaped. The Samaritans were so annoyed that they turned to Vitellius to complain to Roman Governor Pilate, and he was invited to explain himself. The NT picture of Pilate was not a good one. Pilate incited the killings of Samaritans, as recorded in Luke 13:1, Mark 15:17 & 22, because Pilate’s wickedness was why he condemned Jesus. Psalm 2: 1 &2.


The Political And Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (3)

I wish all my Christian friends worldwide a Merry and Wonderful Christmas. Jesus Christ Must Be Real in our Lives as we remember and celebrate His Birth as Fully human and Fully Divine. I wish you all a Joyous Christmas.


The Political And Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (3)

Palestine Under Roman Rule:

Each of the contending parties wants to win the favor of Pompey. Still, because he delayed, Aristobulus became impatient and wanted to force (using military power) to get back to the throne. Pompey became suspicious of Aristobulus and then decided to attack Jerusalem.

Pompey told the Nabataens’ to withdraw, so Aristobulus pitched his tent inside Jerusalem to fight the Romans for three months. Pompey conquered Aristobulus and his men.

When Pompey went inside the temple, he went into the Holy of Holies, an action that was a desecration. Pompey gave an order for worship to resume, but for the orthodox Hebrews, Pompey’s action was a desecration of the temple that needed to be cleaned. Matters were put straight in Jerusalem after the defeat of Aristobulus.

Aristobulus and his two sons, Alexander and Antigonus, were taken as prisoners to Rome, and John Hycarnus II was restored as High Priest. Pompey was able to redraw the boundaries of Judah. All the Cities at the Coaster Jordan that were not independent became independent. The Hasmonean dynasty subjugated these Cities before independence. All the Hellenistic Cities in Eastern Jordan were combined into a free league of Cities that extended from Damascus to Philadelphia. The Cities Bible refers to Decapolis, meaning Ten Cities – Mark 5:20. Samaria was also given her independence. Only those cities that immediately belonged to the Jerusalem Cultic community, including Judah and Berea, were under the dominion of the High Priest in 57BC, the Roman provincial government.

In Syria, Gabanius divided Palestine into five districts which were to be under his immediate throne. Three came from Judah. Jerusalem, Gazara, and Jericho. Galilee was apportioned to the district of Sepphoris. Berea went into another district, Amanthus. Thus arrangement could have been the best bringing about peace if not for internal conflict and outside influence. Aristobulus and his two sons escaped from Rome and began to cause trouble. In Jerusalem, many people discounted the weak ruling of John Hycarnus, and the people began to sympathize with Aristobulus.

There was a problem in Rome over leadership between Pompey and Julius Ceasar, resulting in a battle between the two. Hycarnus supported Pompey; at the end of the day, Julius Ceasar won the battle. John Hycarnus immediately ran to Julius Ceasar with total allegiance telling him that though he had supported Pompey until now, he now submitted totally to Julius Ceasar, who then secured Hycarnus position. Julius Ceasar did not only restore the traditional rights of the Cultic community but added privileges, i.e., the city of Jopar was added to the dominion of the High Priest. John Hycarnus was not only confirmed in his position but also named Rome’s Ethnarch and ally.

Antipater received a right of hereditary Roman citizenship and was also restored the procurator of Judah, so Judah was freed of the obligation of housing Roman legions during winter. Again unhindered worship was assured for the temple community and the synagogue community. It enabled the Jews to set up synagogues in any part of the Roman Empire. From this time on, Judaism stood under the protection of Rome. Antipater became a strong man and shared his power with his children through this arrangement.: Phasael and Herod. So Phasael was given the administration of Judah while Herod handled that of Galilee.

In Galilee, Herod eliminated the nuisance of Nationalist Jewish parties. So Herod imposed the death penalty on anyone involved (engaged) in violence, which he did without consulting the Sanhedrin. In 44 BC, Julius Ceasar was murdered, and a new confusion broke out in the Roman Empire. What John Hycarnus and Antipater did was side with Ceasar’s enemies. In 42 BC, Octavian and Mark Anthony defeated the enemies of Julius Ceasar. After this victory, Anthony assumed the government of the Eastern part of the Empire, but then he lived in Egypt; by this time, Egypt was part of the Roman Empire. Antipater fell victim to an assassin, and Hycarnus and two of Antipater’s sons (Phasael and Herod) were confined to their offices. Anthony could not involve himself in the affairs of the Empire (Syria and Palestine), so an attack came from the Parthians from the East; they took Hycarnus and Phasael’s prisoners along the way Phasael killed himself. Hycarnus was handed over to Antigonus, an ally of the Parthians. He cut off Hycarnus ear so that he would be unfit to become the High Priest, so Antigonus assumed the position of High Priest and king of Jews with the help of the Parthians from 40-37BC.

In 40 BC, Herod went to Rome to seek confirmation of Anthony and Octavian. The Senate confirmed him as the king and high Priest of Jews but with no Country because the Perthians had taken over Syria and Judah. From Syria, Rome launched an attack on Palestine. Rome was able to push the Parthians from Judah. Antigonus was imprisoned and later executed. With the execution of Antigonus, the last attempt by the Hasmonians to gain power was shattered. Herod had the kingship and did not allow the kingship to be disputed. Herod fortified himself and his throne with the help of Rome. Herod was crafty and ruthless; a murderer, cruel, wicked, daring, and capable of making quick decisions when it matters most. He initially supported Mark Anthony, who was in charge of the East, and submitted absolutely to Mark Anthony even if it was against his interest; he made the best of opportunity when Anthony gave part of the territory to Cleopatra. When Anthony was defeated by Octavian (Ceasar Augustus), Herod went to Ceasar Augustus, threw his crown down, and pledged loyalty, and he was not only.

The kingdom of Herod the Great did not only include the Jews but Gentiles who dwelt in the regions of Galilee under his rule. As a result of Octavian’s generosity, he did not force the gentiles to convert to Judaism but placed the Jews and the Greeks side by side with equal rights, and Herod himself desired to be a king of the Jews and the king of Gentiles. Herod surrounded himself with Hellenist-educated men and carried out building activities in the Greek Cities. Herod built Baths, Gymnasia, Open-Air Theatres, Temples, etc. The devout Jews became annoyed with Herod; in other to Appease the Jews, Herod began rebuilding and expanding the temple that had been destroyed to fashion after Solomon’s Temple to be accepted by Jews.

Herod was a great man, even though he was mean. Jerusalem temple was something to behold.

The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (2)

The Political and Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (2)

The Maccabean Revolt:

There were still some Jews who refused to give up their faith but preferred to suffer. These groups were known as Hasidions – Pious ones. These Hasidions were killed because they would not fight on Sabbath day. A new spirit arose amidst the Hasidions, saying we would not allow this deflation to continue. In Modein was an old Priest called Mattathias; Antiochus sent his officials to Modein to force Mattathias to sacrifice swine, which he refused. So Mattathias and his five sons killed the king’s officials and ran to the mountains with those loyal to them. They came out in the night to fight. Forcefully circumcise children and offer protection to those that follow the Mosaic law. He withstood this for eight years.

Mattathias died in 166 BC urging his sons to fight on, show zeal for the LORD, and defend his father’s faith. 1 Maccabees 2: 49-51 “Now the days drew near for Mattathias to die, and he said to his sons: “Arrogance and scorn have now become strong; it is a time of ruin and furious anger. Now, my children, show zeal for the law and give your lives for the covenant of our ancestors. Remember the ancestors’ deeds they did in their generations, and you will receive great honor and an everlasting name.”

Mattathias handed over to his third son, known as Hammer (Judas Maccabee). He didn’t want to engage in a Pitch battle with the Syrian-only Gorila war; he avoided the day and came out at night. A Syria general named Lysius in 165 BC came to fight Judas Maccabee. Still, before this battle could start, news came of Antiochus’ death, who was also engaged in a fight with Barthians, so Lysius withdrew and reached a compromise with the Jews. At this point, the temple in Jerusalem was purified. It was completed in 164 BC, and the temple was rededicated. The cleansing and rededication of the temple is the feast of Hannukkah. John 10:22″ Then came to the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter”. The Dedication feast commemorated the temple’s cleansing under Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC after Antiochus Epiphanes had defiled it by sacrificing a pig on the altar of a burnt offering. The Jews, after, wanted independence. Judas died in 160 BC, and his brother. Jonathan assumed the command of the army.

During his leadership, Syria had internal conflict; he began seeking their help. Jonathan strengthened his internal and external position through treaties with the Romans and Parthians. Jonathan was treacherously murdered by Trypho; leadership fell on Simon, the last son of Mattathias. In 142 BC, another king of Syria, Demetrius II, granted the Jews complete political independence. Coins were bearing the name of Simon. Contracts were also dated Simon the Great. 1 Maccabees 13:42. This freedom lasted for about 80 years; the only period of independence the Jews knew was from 586 to the middle of the 20th century. During this period, the Jewish Nation lacked a leader who could unite the Nation and the people.

On the one hand, those that accepted (supported) the Hassidons; that aimed at Political powers were the Sadducees. On the other hand, they were the descendants of those that supported Judas Maccabees until the Dedication of the temple in 164 BC, who then withdrew that religious freedom was the only thing they wanted out of this group arose the Pharisees. Political power naturally remained with the Sadducees. Simon the Great and two of his sons were treacherously/wickedly murdered by his son-in-law Ptolemy. Only one of his sons escaped (John Hycanus). John Hycanus was a wealthy man. He took over from his father, embarked on a program of conquest or expansion, and defeated the Jordan territory. He also compelled the Idumeans to adopt Judaism, a step that was to have severe consequences for the Jews centuries later. He also defeated Samaria, to the North captured Shechem then destroyed the Samaritan temple and Garrison. So after a long and prosperous reign 134-104BC, he died a natural death and was succeeded by his son Aristobulus.

Aristobulus was cruel, wicked, and unprincipled. He went as far as killing his mother and brother, so he changed Theocracy into Kingdom and made himself king while retaining the priesthood. His reign lasted only one year, during which the Galileans, whose population was only Gentile, were forced to embrace/convert to Judaism. The following year, Judah was torn by dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and as a result, a civil war broke out. They became easy prey for foreigners. Rome has been seriously trying to cage Syria and its surrounding allies. Rome, through its general Pompey, conquered Jerusalem. The Jewish kingship was abolished, and Judah became subject to Rome. Judah was required to pay taxes to Rome but then was left to them to be governed by a native ruler.

When John Hycanus died, the problem began in his family regarding who would take over. The two sons are Aristobulus (Elder) and Jonathan. It was Aristobulus that won the war and began to reign. When Aristobulus died, his brother took over and changed his name from Jonathan to Alexander Janaeus. Salome, the wife of Aristobulus, became Janaeus’s wife after the death of Aristobulus. When Alexander died in 76BC, Salome took over the kingship and concentrated power on her sons:

  1. Hyrcanus II, and
  2. Aristolabulus

Salome’s brother Simon Ben Shetah was among the Pharisees and became the president of the Sanhedrin. Under the leadership of Simon Ben Shetah, the Sanhedrin decreed that every young man should receive an education. Elementary School was started in every town and village; education was built around Old Testament and Scriptures, and schools were usually held in the synagogue. When he won, John Hyrcanus II was abandoned by his people, moving to the more influential group. An arrangement was made by the two brothers where the dignity of a king and High Priesthood passed to Aristobulus II. Even at that, the hatred did not die down because John Hyrcanus would not let go.

Somebody named Antipater, a governor in Idumea under Alexander Janaeus began to side with John Hyrcanus II; with him, they enlisted the support of the Nabataen king (Aretas). He promised that if he succeeded, he would return all the cities taken away from Alexander Janaeus, so the king, with Antipater, marched. Still, before they could succeed in their mission, Rome intervened, and as a more substantial power, Rome won the battle, and from then, Rome was to determine the faith of whatever happened in the Ancient East.

Rome conquered Antipater and Nabataen king; the two parties fighting in Judah appeared before the Roman General Pompey. The two wooed him to their sides and told him he had the right to abolish kingship and restore the ancient priesthood. Pompey was not in haste to decide and instead waited to see how events would turn out.