Dialectic Sermon: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings Versus Luke 1:39-55 (3) – Final

Dialectic Sermon: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings Versus Luke 1:39-55 (3) – Final

 Text 1: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou

 Text 2: Luke 1:39 -55

 Antithesis 1: Human Pride

Pride is refusing to accept God’s gifts or taking credit for what God has done.

Humility is accepting the gifts and using them to praise and serve God.

God promised Abraham to be merciful to God’s people forever (Genesis 22: 16-18). Christ’s birth fulfilled this promise, and Mary understood.

Antithesis 2:

The caged bird experiences Colonialism, imperialism, heterosexism, materialism, sexism, classism, and racism; All are noises of oppression that people face today in a grossly unjust societal context that lacks the proclamation of the anointed sound. It is no secret that the Political Economy orchestrates oppression. The noises of oppression are unpleasant and annoying. Sadly, the caged birds have forgotten their vows of solidarity and servitude. They are no longer instrumental but sounding brass and tinkling symbols temporarily misplaced melodies of justice, chords of peace, and the harmony of equality. The defenseless, denounced, discounted, dismantled, and discredited need our symphonic prayers and actions.

The current state of affairs allows us to be isolated, criticized, demoralized and dehumanized under the tyranny of systemic pharaohs. Particularly for black and brown people, we have succumbed to the fret noise of sex trafficking and organ harvesting (among other threats such as forced labor, inadequate housing, and healthcare). We are plagued with nooses strategically camouflaged by police (the klan in blue), politricks, prestige, poverty, power, and prejudice. We listen to the mumbled, muted, and muffled chaos of an immoral political and economic social structure that turns a deaf ear, thus, growing more unjust with each passing day.

Antithesis 3:

In his book “A Colony in a Nation,” Chris Hayes describes a “nation” of white Americans who see in themselves complete individuality except in one way: They are an organic part of the national body. The “colony” is the imported other, the virus that exists inside the American body but is not of it, and it is viewed solely as a collective. The colony’s members have no individual traits, and they are an amorphous menace, and the nation regularly acts to police the colony and contain it. By depicting the colony as collectively violent, criminal, and scary, it can be removed at any time — with those learned stereotypes as justification and with the police as allies in keeping the colony under control. To be white in America is to assume, with total self-confidence and little afterthought, the personal ownership of public spaces. To be white in America is to have the confidence to say, without a second thought: this space, this neighborhood, this city, this county, this country is mine.


Denying, belittling, or ignoring your gifts instead of thanking God for them and using them for His Glory.

The corruption and exploitation of authority and elites in society dehumanize humans. The anointed sound only breaks the walls of corruption, exploitation, and dehumanization. The decibels of the sound should be so anointed that liberating the oppressed, releasing the captives—breaking the division of the walls between rich and poor, between men and women.

The sound of liberation will center on a conversion to the neighbor, the oppressed person, the exploited social class, the despised ethnic group, and the dominated country. Our call is to commit ourselves lucidly, realistically, and concretely to the liberation of the poor and oppressed. Anointed signifies one being tuned for the undertaking and called to it. It is time to drive out the unjust structures in the community and construct the socio-politico-economic corruption and exploitation in the nation. Our sound is our commitment to the oppressed, their struggle for liberation, and the down social barriers encrusted in customs and traditions and entrenched in social structures. Our sound is the chorus to those treated as non-persons: the poor and deprived, the outcast and the marginalized, the oppressed and the downtrodden, the sick, and those who do not count like children and women.

Spirituality of liberation will center on a conversion to the neighbor, the oppressed person, the exploited social class, the despised ethnic group, and the dominated country. Our sound of liberation should empower those oppressed by systematic structures in our society and labor to eliminate those cultural and social policies of corruption, exploitation, and dehumanization which cause oppression. The anointed sound should sing of Jesus that the psalmist declared the syllables were melodic to the hearing. The clarion song is:

Verse 1– we sound the alarm of spiritual, social, and political redemption to the poor and the disdained who are spoken of with contempt, constrained by the bonds of guilt and corruption, the unfair distribution of power and unequal resources, and denial of opportunities.

Verse 2– we proclaim the release of political captivity. There is a release from the noise of bondage, from the capitalistic prison of lack and not enough.

Verse 3– we apply the salve of redemption for vision. There is recovery from the figuratively and blinded eye closed to the maltreatment of others. We comprehend that where there is no vision, the people perish. We give action to our vision so that our words become verbs. We cancel the noise of discrimination against the disabled, disadvantaged, and disenfranchised. And we say receive your insight and foresight.

And together I sing because I’m happy

I sing because I’m free

His eye is on the sparrow

And I know He watches me (He watches me)

His eye is on the sparrow

And I know He watches

I know He watches

I know He watches me

For I’m Chained to His will

Tied to His word

He has my life

I’m a prisoner of Christ


The cadences of Mary’s canticle call into question any traditional silencing of women’s voices, whether in scripture or throughout the tradition. Mary’s song is the prayer of a poor woman. The term for lowliness in Greek describes misery, pain, persecution, and oppression. Mary’s low-down self-characterization is not a metaphor for spiritual humility but is based on her social position. A young female, a member of a people subjected to economic exploitation by powerful rulers and afflicted by outbreaks of violence, she belongs to the poor. The second part of the Magnificat articulates the tremendous biblical theme of reversal, where lowly groups are defended by God while the arrogant end up losers. Proclaiming her song, Mary continues this deep stream of Jewish faith in the context of the advent of the Messiah, now taking shape within her.

The approaching reign of God will disturb the order of the world run by the hard of heart, the oppressor. Through God’s action, the social hierarchy of wealth and poverty, power and subjugation, is to be turned upside down. All will be well because God’s mercy, pledged in covenant love, is faithful through every generation. Rooted in the biblical heritage of Palestinian Jewish society, this is a revolutionary song of salvation whose concrete social, economic, and political dimensions cannot be blunted. People are hungry because triple taxes are exacted for Rome, the local government, and the temple. The lowly are crushed by the mighty on the thrones in Rome and their deputies in the provinces. Now, with the nearness of the messianic age, a new social justice order is at hand. Mary’s canticle praises God for the kind of salvation that involves concrete transformations.

Historically, women have played vital roles in biblical history, the proclamation of the Gospel, and the establishment and growth of churches. Yet they play second fiddle in the top leadership of some churches, at best, being second to men. Despite decades of human rights agitations and resolutions to protect women’s rights, gender policies still expose them to stressful working conditions, economic deprivations, and political/religious discrimination. They are often victims of terrorism that have led to the death of their husbands and children or displaced their families. The principle of human rights is universal and the foundation of international human rights law. This principle was first emphasized in 1948 in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and has since been echoed in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions.

The 1993 Vienna world conference affirmed the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms regardless of political, economic, and cultural systems. Biblical perspective on human rights is accentuated in the book of Genesis, Chapter One: Male and Female, God created human beings as equal partners. [1] Women’s history – economically, politically, and religious includes the study of the history of the growth (or decline) of women’s rights throughout recorded history. The millennium development goals summit in 2010 stated, “investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth.” The world bank, at different forums, has shown that increasing women’s access to quality education, good jobs, land, and other resources contributes to inclusive growth, sustainable development, and long-term prosperity.


  •   [1] The “battle of Gender” is disobedience to the Will of God, as revealed in the Bible. The Bible teaches the full equality of males and females in the church, in the home, as well as in the general society through mutual respect and submission, e.g., Galatians 5:13, Romans 12:10. The Genesis creation accounts show that both male and female were created in the image and likeness of God, and were given the equal mandate to fill the earth and take responsibility for the rest of the earth – Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 1 and 2

Dialectic Sermon: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings Versus Luke 1:39-55 (2)

Dialectic Sermon: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings Versus Luke 1:39-55 (2)

Text 1: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou

 Text 2: Luke 1:39 -55

 Thesis 2: The Joy of Mary

  • “Joy to the World!”
  •  “O Thou Joyful, O Thou Wonderful”
  • “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”
  • “How Great Our Joy!”

 Mary and Elizabeth were pregnant at the same time. Elizabeth was old and past the age of child-bearing, and Mary was a young virgin. They were both on their first pregnancy; they both became pregnant through a mighty act of God. God sent the angel Gabriel to announce both conceptions and births, and they both were given a child who played a crucial role in God’s plan of salvation. Mary arrived when Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy (Lk 1:36). Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home (Lk 1:56). And Mary said:

(Lk 1:46-47) My soul glorifies the Lord (47), and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.

A joyful Mary breaks out into song. Mary’s great desire in her song is to magnify the Lord, not herself. So, again and again, she points to what God has done.

 First, Mary recognizes what God has done for her: He has been “mindful of the humble state of his servant” (Lk 1:48); He “has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49).

 Second, Mary recognizes what God has done for all believers. “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation” (Lk 1:50); “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm” (Lk 1:51); He “has lifted the humble” (Lk 1:52); “He has filled the hungry with good things” (Lk 1:53). The song of Mary is closely allied to that of the mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 2) and contains several sentences taken from the Book of Psalms. Mary celebrates her happiness with deep humility and holy restraint. Hannah completely surrenders to the feeling of personal victory, in her first words breaking forth into cries of anger against her enemies.

Mary gives these consecrated words an entirely new meaning and a higher application as to the borrowed Biblical phrases. F. Godet. C.S. Robinson says of the Magnificat that it strikes us with wonder in these modern days that a peasant woman of Galilee should be able to chant in so holy a strain. Then observe the femininity of this song. No one but the queen of her sex could have composed it. Mark the delicacy of turn in the sentences, the mingling of dignity with humility, the majesty as sublime as Ezekiel’s, and the tenderness more gentle than John’s. It shows the mind and heart of just the one woman whom Elisabeth could call the “Mother of her Lord.”

Third, Mary recognizes what God has done for Israel: He has been “merciful” (Lk 1:54); He has “remembered” His promises to Abraham and his descendants (Lk 1:54).

Thesis 3: God’s Promise, Gifts/Blessings

When Mary said: “From now on, all generations will call me blessed,” was she being proud? No, she was recognizing and accepting the gift God had given her.

The text ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ is about a person (girl) presented in a multiracial region. The person who is a black girl first wishes she was “a long and blonde-haired, light-blue eyed, white girl,” describes how a strong character in a person helps to avoid the effects of racism, such as trauma that prevent the victims from succeeding and achieving their goals (Maya 3).

The autobiography, therefore, aims at strengthening the character, which can assist in overcoming situational challenges. The poem is about social life, focusing on individual freedom with the illustration of the caged bird. The caged bird is struggling in silence since it is unable to out the issues preventing it from moving out of captivity. The caged bird uses its stronger character to overcome challenges such as trauma that develop when individuals are denied personal freedom to grow. The author states that she could not have made it because of her strong character.

Challenges in the community help develop a character that would help navigate through the restrictions of society. Eventually, the caged bird talks about the challenges and how a more significant character helped overcome them and thus can equip itself with the free bid. The poem presents a revolution for blacks who have taken place to eliminate racial discrimination.

Maya Angelou tells us of a bird, a person, if you will, facing two separate but equal in their life. One area is a song of struggle and silence sung by a voiceless caged bird. The second is a free bird when one finds her voice and words to The song of salvation. Salvation is as in liberty and justice for all. We explore the evolution of the caged bird from a song of silence to a tune of redemption. Scholar Liliane Arensberg calls this presentation Angelou’s “identity theme” of being word made flesh… As in: was, is, and is becoming. From a bird’s eye view, This fractured system shows no semblance of shared struggle as we sojourn from Egypt to the ideal Canaan that Yah intends.

Yet, we find that Yah, through history, has liberated the shackled, shaken, and slaughtered children of Israel. Within the council halls of Heaven, Yah has determined how and when Yah will deliver us and has invited us to consciously participate in altering the trajectory of this nation to become the catalyst for change to ensure global harmony. We must understand that liberation is a constant composition of scripture. Micah 6:8 tells us to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our Yah. We also find that 2 Chronicles 7:14 instructs us to release the sound that can be heard in heaven so that the land can be healed harmoniously.

So, we assemble our mouthpieces as centennials and millennials and reiterate the music of Sojourner and Nat Turner, intricately composed by the tripartite Godhead, Yah, the holy father and mother, the holy spirit and the only begotten son, Yeshua, our model compass. The sable-skinned Savior, the Lukan Yeshua, whose complexion is kissed by the equatorial sun and whose head was anointed with the oil of liberation, reimagined the scroll of Isaiah’s tradition in the 4th chapter and the 18th verse of Luke’s Gospel. This same Lukan Yashua, whose womanist theology was carved out through a mother drenched in melanin magic, descended from the line of Shem; lineage from Noah through Abraham with black blood pulsating through his veins included five self-determined black women.

Tamar, Hagar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Miriam. He exchanged piercing noise with the sound of nail-pierced hands and feet. Yeshua, being the good news, was arrested by the Roman government and imputed the chorus of poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression. Our position is to sound the alarm that sings of Yeshua, whom the psalmist declared the syllables were melodic to the hearing saying, “Jesus the sweetest name on earth,” but we must render ourselves both active and valuable to the cause for faith without works is dead. Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Let us recall our vows of solidarity and servitude and serenade God with liberty and justice for all. Let us begin to be instrumental and not sound brass and tinkling symbols temporarily misplaced melodies of truth, chords of peace, and harmony of equality.

The anointed sound is the liberation from all noises of oppression. Jesus, whose head was anointed with the oil of liberation, changed piercing noise into an anointed sound. Jesus, being the good news, was arrested by The Roman Government and took on poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression. The sound was good news to the poor. The sound was the announcement of pardon to prisoners. The sound recovered sight for the literally and figuratively blind.

The sound declared the burdened and battered to be free. It was his sound that challenged religious exclusivism that divided Jews and Gentiles. He dared to touch the untouchables and called women his close disciples. His love was the frequency that touched the miserable lives of the outcast, unshackled their chains of non-dignity and insecurity, and ushered them into freedom and joy.

The sound was liberation heralded by the voice of God and hearkened unto by the oppressors. As is penned in our text, the sound produced by the anointed utterance of the Lukan, Jesus, works on varying levels. We need to understand its full significance; we need to integrate the personal-spiritual aspect emphasized in classical Protestantism, the individual-physical aspect emphasized in Pentecostalism, the socioeconomic aspect emphasized by liberationists, and the ecological aspect highlighted by the Sabbath principle.

Relevant Question: So, this raises an interesting question: What are the lyrics sung by the caged bird?

***To be concluded on Sunday, January 15, 2023.


Dialectic Sermon: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings & Luke 1:39-55 (1)

Dialectic Sermon: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings & Luke 1:39-55 (1)

 Happy New Year, 2023. We give God the Glory and Honor of allowing me, you, and all of us to witness a new year. There are many unpalatable incidences and events in 2022, but God saved us from all types or forms of evil to be counted among living human beings.

Congratulations to us as we enter a new week, month, and year 2023. May God’s overflowing Anointing and Grace abide on us throughout the year. Amen.

My site is changing from daily blogging to once a week (Sundays only). But reposting my YouTube Channels videos on Tuesday and Friday would continue to complement a week thrice publishing on site.

I will discuss the above dialectic sermon topic in three series of Thesis and Anti-Thesis with a conclusion. Each series would be published on Sundays, meaning the next three Sundays starting today, January 01, 2023. I am starting this Sunday with a Dialectic Sermon. (1). 

Text 1: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou:

The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky. But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom. The free bird thinks of another breeze and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn, and he names the sky his own. But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams; his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped, and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing. The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.

Text 2: Luke 1:39 -55:

v39, In those days, Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, v40, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. V41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped into her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit v42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. v43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? v44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. v45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[e] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” v46 And Mary[f] said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, v47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, v48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on, all generations will call me blessed; v49, for the Mighty One, has done great things for me, and holy is his name. v50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. v51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the pride in the thoughts of their hearts. v52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted the lowly; v53 he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. v54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, v55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, Abraham, and his descendants forever.”


A confined or caged element mainly desire liberation from confinement. The caged bird presents Angelou’s isolation resulting from racism and oppression. Angelou uses the metaphor of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem of a bird struggling to escape its cage. The poem explains two negative experiences between two birds. One bird can live in nature as it pleases, while another feels caged and suffers in captivity. The long for the liberation of the caged bird leads it to sing to cope with the circumstances and express its longing for freedom. The free bird symbolizes people unfettered by the prejudice of any type, whether natural, socioeconomic, philosophical, or psychological. 

In Luke 1: 39-59, Mary, the mother of Jesus, visits Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

v.46-55 is regarded as the song of Mary. The song is often called the Magnificat, the first word in the Latin translation of this passage. Mary’s song is commonly used as the basis for choral music and hymns. Mary glorified God in song for what he would do for the world through her. The style and themes of Mary’s song are Semitic and pre-Christian, indicating that Luke incorporated them from a source earlier than his Gospel. Scholars debate the origins, but there is no reason to doubt that Mary, familiar with the singing of the psalms, could have composed the song as reflections on the auspicious events.

Thesis 1: God is the Liberator, pictured as a champion of the poor, the oppressed, and the despised.

God is Omnipotent. Omnipotence is the property of being all-powerful; it is one of the traditional divine attributes in Western conceptions of God. A belief in God or gods is central to the vast majority of the world’s religions. There is a continuing debate among philosophers about the reasonableness of trust in God, the problem of evil, the possibility of miracles, and the proper analysis of religious experiences.

The Liberation theologians’ drive is to seek liberation for the oppressed people using scriptures as a foundation. Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian Roman Catholic Priest, first used the term Liberation theology in 1973. The Latin American Catholics’ school of thought demands that the church concentrate its efforts on liberating the people of the world from poverty and oppression.

The central methodology of liberation theology is to do theology (i.e., speak of God) from the viewpoint of the economically poor and oppressed of the human community. Liberation theology focuses on Jesus not only as Savior but also as Liberator. Emphasis is placed on those parts of the Bible where Jesus’ mission is described in terms of liberation. Feminist theology studies how women relate to the divine and the world around them as equal creations in the image of God.

Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and New Thought, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminist perspective. The conviction in God as a liberator is due to God’s Character and Attributes. Structured as a thanksgiving psalm, the Magnificat has two parts.

The first praise God’s mercy to the speaker, and the second reflects God’s victorious deeds for the oppressed. The two pieces are linked by a profound sense of God’s unwavering compassion, by the joy that results in the lives of the liberated, and because Mary herself is a member of the oppressed people who experience redemption. Together, they reflect a way of life essential to Jewish and Christian traditions: spirituality and social justice.

**Continuation on Sunday, January 8, 2023. Join me that Sunday as we go through the Dialectic Sermon Part 2.

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.

The Political And Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (1)

The Political And Social Background Of Palestinian Judaism (1)

The first followers of Jesus were Jews of Palestine. All NT writers were Jews except Luke. It, therefore, becomes necessary to know the Political and Social Background of Palestinian Judaism.


It is a small country of about 10,000 sq. miles and 150 miles long. The Palestine land has a perfect climate, beautiful site, rich in fertility, capable of producing fruits of all climates at every season. It is also isolated from other Countries by deserts, mountains, and sea. It is situated at the hub of three Continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. Palestine is the home of Judaism and Christianity. Palestine, though small, is an important one that every power wants to control. Powers like Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Rome wanted to have firm control of Palestine.

Whatever Political or any conflict in those years, Palestine will be affected. In 586 BC, Israel was taken into captivity – the walls of Jerusalem fell. Babylon, at this time, was the ruler of the world but was later conquered by Persia. Persia ran a system of Assimilation. Half a century later, the exiled Jews were allowed to return to Judah and began building the temple in ruins. Initial zeal became lowered, the prophets came to spur them on, and they finally finished building the temple in 515 BC. In 445 BC, the walls of Jerusalem were also completed under the supervision of Nehemiah. Greece overran the kingdom of Persia under the Phillip of Macedon. When Phillip died, his son Alexander took over from him. In 334 BC, Alexander conquered the Persia Satraps and finally defeated the Persia Empire.

Alexander crossed over Jerusalem and moved to Egypt, where he founded the city of Alexandria in 331 BC after his name. Alexander returned from Palestine to Asia, where he overthrew Cyrus. After further conquests as far as Punjab in India, his career ended suddenly in 320 BC. In any place Alexander conquered, he established Greek life and Culture. He built a Greek City that served as a model for local people. The city included a gymnasium, open air-theatre, and Greek architectural design buildings, so the local people were encouraged to learn Greek, take on Greek Culture and even take Greek names; this process was called Hellenisation. Alexander aimed at having one world Government. Hellenism was attractive to so many people, especially the material aspects of it. Trade and Commerce brought wealth to the new merchants.

Alexander built libraries and Schools; the people welcomed this; better buildings and food brought about a better standard of living, so many people in Israel, like in other places, were glad to receive Greek Culture. Someone said, “if Idolism was the greatest temptation during the exilic period, Hellenism was the greatest during the post-exilic period.” Many Jews took Greek names and accepted Greek Philosophy, combining it with their fathers’ faith, leading to Syncretism. When Alexander died, he had not mentioned a successor, so seven of his generals began to fight for leadership of the empire. Four of them, namely Ptolemy, Antigonus, Cassandra, and Lysamachus, finally divided the kingdoms between themselves. Ptolemy, Cassandra, and Lysamachus combined and wrestled Antigonus and gave his kingdom to Seluccus. Ptolemy had Egypt, Cassandra had Macedonia, and Lysamachus had Thrace and Asia.

Ptolemies (323 – 198 BC)

The Seleucid and Ptomaid dynasties were fighting over who would take over Egypt. Ptolemies won the war. The founder of Ptolemies was called Ptolemy 1. He was known as Sotor (Deliverer). He captured Jerusalem in 321 BC, and as a general rule, he was kind towards the Jews, so he permitted the Jews to practice their religion as they chose. He even invited some of them to Egypt. When he died, Ptolemy II, known as Philadephus, succeeded him. Under Ptolemy II, the Jews in Egypt translated the Hebrew OT into Greek, called Septuagint. During the period of the Ptolemies, the most crucial person in Israel was the High Priest known as Simon the Just; the Jews were allowed to run their affairs independently but were to pay taxes to their Egyptian overlord. Simon the Just rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem destroyed by Ptolemy1. He also supervised the building of the water Reservoir.

Two crucial families in Judah at the time of Ptolemies were the Tobias and Onias. The house of Tobias represented the upper class of Jews, particularly the wealthy. They tended to be pro-Egyptian; this family might have descended from Tobia, who made trouble for Nehemia. It is also thought that the extended family of Tobias were the Tax collectors for the Ptolemy dynasty; this might explain why they were pro-Egyptians and so many Jews did not like them.

The family of Onias was an enemy of the Tobias to the extent that Onias II refused to pay the tribute demanded by the Ptolemies. A man named Joseph from Tobias went to Egypt and canvassed to be a tax collector in Egypt, which he won, and he was the tax collector for twenty years.

The Seleucid Dynasty (198 – 168 BC)

The founder is Seleucus I, also known as Nicator. Whoever succeeded or became the king took the title Seleucus or Antiochus. The capital of the kingdom was Syria. There was always tension between the Seleucid dynasty and Ptolemy dynasty for the first 100 years. The Ptolemies won Egypt and ruled Egypt for 122 years. In 198 BC Antiochus III defeated Egypt and gained control of Palestine (Judah). It is said that this was the beginning of a new era for the Jews. As soon as Antiochus got control of Palestine, he began to enforce Hellenism. After about 150 years of Greek influence, many Jews have been greatly influenced by Greek thoughts and CultureCulture. The Hellenisation of Judah reached its peak under Antiochus IV, known as Antiochus Epiphanes (The manifest god). This man totally disliked anything Jewish, and as a result, he insisted Judah must be Hellenised, and he went out to do just this.

The High Priest in Judah then (Onias III) was an orthodox Jew who would not give in to the process of Hellenisation. Still, by this time, the priesthood has become a political office. As a result, a man known as Jason promised to pay more money to Antiochus, who was looking for money to finance his war, so Jason paid Antiochus to get himself installed as the High Priest to replace Onias III. Jason encouraged the Hellenists in what they were doing. As a result, a gymnasium was built in Jerusalem, and he encouraged the Jews to take Greek names.

Hebrew orthodoxy was considered ‘obscurantist (obsolete). A friend of Jason, also a Hellenist known as Menelaus from the tribe of Benjamin, had no claim to the office of the High Priest. Still, because the office has been politicized, Menelaus went behind Jason, offered higher money to Antiochus, and installed the High Priest instead of Jason. The Jews were greatly disturbed, so Jason raised an army to fight Menelaus to regain his position. Menelaus sought the cooperation of Antiochus, who was at war with Egypt then, so he cut short his war and came back to help Menelaus as an opportunity to control the whole of Palestine. Antiochus attacked Jerusalem on a Sabbath day when orthodox Jews would not fight anyone, slew many Jews, destroyed the wall of Jerusalem, and then built an ‘Akra.’

Jason was subdued. Antiochus was determined to remove all traces of the orthodox Jewish faith. He identified Jewish Almighty God with Jupiter, then made an image of the pagan god and erected it on the Altar of sacrifice and sacrificed swine (pig), something detestable to the Jews. Circumcision was proscribed with the death penalty, and observance of the Sabbath was forbidden. The Scriptures were torn and destroyed. An old priest Eliazah was flogged to death because he refused to eat swine’s flesh.