Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Time Between Testaments- The Wimpy Brother's Choice

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament
Around 64 BC

From the Historical records




The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

Remember we are counting backwards to year 0. The year is around 63 BC. (before Christ)

    400 BC                           300 BC                        200 BC                        100 BC                          Birth of Christ
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-------------|


Two brothers, Hrycanus and Aristobulus did not get along. The younger, stronger brother wanted to rule the Jews, but his mother, Queen Salome gave the throne to his older brother on her death bed.

Their fighting knew no bounds. Aristobulus, the younger one, conquered his older brother's army and took the throne.

Hrycanus' advisor set up a counter attack months later, giving him the throne back for all the Jewish land except the mighty Temple fortress where Aristobulus hid.

In the meantime, two Roman generals set out to make Rome the leader of the world: Julius Caesar and Pompey. General Pompey conquered Spain and took his army east conquering what is now Turkey then he went farther east toward Iran in the name of Rome. He turned south and stopped for a time in Damascus.

While General Pompey stopped in Damascus, Hrycanus had a bright idea. He went to Damascus and asked to meet with the General. "You must understand, General. My mother, Queen Solome, decreed that I should have the throne and rule the Jews. My brother, though, has brought an army against me, and has fought since the day our mother died. If you would just back me on her decree, I'm sure we could live in peace."

The general agreed to think about it.

Days later, his brother, Aristobulus had the same idea. Aristobulus went to Damascus to visit the general. "Please believe me when I say my brother is weak. He is an incompetent leader. I am the stronger one with leadership skills. The country would be better off with me in charge. If I could get your support, I'm sure we could live in peace."

The general agreed to think about it.

A group of priests called Sanhedrin also went to visit general Pompey. "General, these brothers have been fighting since the day they were born. We know they have come to speak with you, each one wanting your support. We suggest you not listen to either one of them. We are happy to take over the leadership of the Jews."

The general agreed to think about it.

And the general did. For a whole year he thought about it. 

In 63 BC, General Pompey marched his army to Jerusalem. This was an important city. If he took control of this land, the Roman power would be strengthened. 

Amazingly enough, Aristobulus surrendered to the Roman troops. He and the fellow survivors were marched in shame to Rome. Hrycanus, though, pulled his army back and hid until they could regroup. Pompey continued to fight against Hrycanus until the Jewish king gave up.

General Pompey marched his troops into the temple. He walked back to the Holy of Holies and used his sword to slice the veil. Inside this inner room he looked around. No one really knows how he felt, only what he didn't do. Pompey left everything as it was. He took no booty even though there were valuable pieces in the temple. Pompey ordered his men to leave and not take or touch anything.

He allowed Hyrcanus to remain as high priest and even called him king, but Jerusalem and all Jews were placed under Roman rule at that point. Before he left the area, he ordered his army to knock down the city walls to take away the Jews defenses, and he ordered a heavy Roman tax on all Jews. 

Maybe Hyrcanus realized the Jews could lose their way of worshiping God so he refused to surrender like his brother. Maybe he thought they would lose the temple like they had when the Greeks came. Whatever the reason that made him fight instead of surrendering to Pompey, the Jews were allowed to continue worshiping God as the law of Moses instructed.

Pompey's work was done. The Roman empire now spread east and south to Jerusalem.


If these two brothers hadn'tt fought....if these Jewish men had gone to God for help instead of the Romans ... the history books would have a different story to tell.

So what happened next?


Come back next time.


This is the history, the events that happened to real people during the time between the Old and New Testaments. 

*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981
Jewish History.org
*Jewish Virtual Library.org
*The Hasmonean Dynasty

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Time Between Testaments-The Sacrifice That Took Done a Country

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament
Around 64 BC


From the Historical records




The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

Remember we are counting backwards to year 0. The year is around 143 BC. (before Christ)

    400 BC                           300 BC                        200 BC                        100 BC                          Birth of Christ
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-------------|


And so the Macabees led the Hasmoneans. 

The Hasmoneans were Jews who allowed the Greeks to influence their culture and had veered away from worshiping the Jewish God.

Simon from the Macabees became king, drawing all the Jews together. The temple was restored and worship returned to what Moses had said. This didn't take away the Greek culture that had influence the Hasmonean people. 

Time went by, people grew old and a new queen, Salome was on the throne. The Jews continued to worship God in the Temple as Moses instructed. She had two sons. The older, Hyrcanus and the younger, Aristobulus. On her death bed, Salome named Hyrcanus, the weaker one, the next king. Aristobulus, the stronger one, fierce, and the popular one among the people, was not happy with the decision.

The two fought among themselves. Jews from all around took sides. Civil war broke out.

King Hyrcanus ruled from Jericho instead of Jerusalem. Aristobulus had his army in Jerusalem. On and on the two brothers and their armies fought, destroying buildings, homes, and businesses. 

Aristobulus rallied his army and attacked Jericho, winning the battle. In exchange for his life, Hyrcanus gave up the throne. For a few weeks, there was peace in the land. 

One of Hyrcanus advisors, Antipater, said, "You can take back your throne. Your mother gave it to you." He continued to push his message until Hyrcanus gave in. An army was formed to fight his brother to take back the crown. "I'll take care of everything for you," said Antipater. "I'll lead the battle while you hide here."

Antipater did as he said. His army of rebellion moved into the city and chased Aristobulus and his men far back into the city. They hid in the temple behind courtyard walls surrounding the temple where Antipater and his army couldn't reach them. These wall formed a mighty fortress. As long as Aristobulus stayed inside, he and his army would be safe for a very long time.

Even though the brothers didn't get along--AT ALL--they still worshipped God. Twice a day they stopped to send sacrifices. The army on the outside of the temple sent up their sacrifices over the wall and the army inside offered theirs. The priests refused to take sides and gladly went about doing their duties.

Months passed. There seemed no end to the civil war.

Hyrcanus ruled all of Jerusalem except the area inside the temple fortress. Aristobulus pulled inside the mighty walls. 

One day, when the time to send up a sacrifice to the priest came, one of Hyrcanus' advisors suggested he send up a pig instead of a sheep.

Hyrcanus, the weak brother, listened to the advisor and agreed. "Send the pig. That should stir my brother into a final battle."

Remember what started all the trouble years ago? The Jews were willing to live under Greek rule as long as they could worship God in their way. The Greeks mocked them, ordering the people to offer pigs as a sacrifice. The Macabee family refused starting the rebellion against the Greeks.

It is said that when Hyrcanus' pig sacrifice touched the temple walls, the land shook in all directions covering four hundred miles!

Talk about a total disaster.

I had known about the Macabees hard work over many years to restore the temple and worship of God. All went well...until these two brothers fought.

So what happened next?


Come back next time.


This is the history, the events that happened to real people during the time between the Old and New Testaments. 

*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981
Jewish History.org
*Jewish Virtual Library.org
*The Hasmonean Dynasty

Monday, January 16, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-The Main Tent Support Snapped

By Mary Vee
Year: fall 1890
Jonathan Goforth-31 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal




Photo Courtesy
My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries in China. 

Donald, one of the other missionary men, and I had set out to visit the villages and cities in the area assigned to us by the mission committee.

We mostly wanted to show we were friendly to the people who lived there and see if there was a church. We wore the same clothing as the local people and tried our best to walk and talk like the locals. 

The Chinese people were fearful of all foreigners who came to their villages. To defend themselves they threw rocks, yelled, and ran foreign devils out of the town before a word could be spoken. This made visiting a bit challenging.

One day as we walked the countryside we saw a village in the distance. We walked along the road the way we saw the Chinese. We spoke to each other in Chinese. We were very careful to fit in.

In the middle of the village was a big tent, like a circus tent. The signs indicated some performance was going on. The rest of the village seemed empty, but the tent was very crowded. 

We walked close to see the performance, making sure to stand in the back row.

And then things went bad.

A Chinese woman happened to turn. She looked at our faces and screamed, "Foreign Devils. Foreign Devils!" 

All the people in hearing range turned toward us. The panic in their faces scared me. I yanked Donald's arm and said in Chinese, "Let's get out of here."

We ran for our lives. 

Rocks pelted my back and heals. The crowd shouted words that weren't nice. They didn't even know us.

A loud crack sounded. 

Rocks stopped hitting us.

The crowd's voices turned away from us.

I turned. The main support for the tent had cracked and broken in two, collapsing heavy fabric onto the people still inside. The people screamed and ran to pull men and women out of the tent.

They had forgotten all about us.

It may seem like we should have gone back to help, but in truth, we knew the people didn't want us to offer.

It took us about eighteen months to visit every village and city in the Honan region. God protected us every step of the way. 

So, it seemed time to set up a mission in Honan.



Jonathan has many stories to share. Come back each Monday to find out what happened next.



Resources Used for This Series
Being, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China. Seattle. WA: YWAM Pub., 2001.Print
Doyle, G. Wright. Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Church Leaders. Eugene Oregon: Pickwick Pub, 2015. Print.
Goforth, Jonathan, and Rosaline Goforth, Miracle Lives of China, London" Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1931, Print.
Goforth, Jonathan. "By My Spirit" Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1942. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Climbing; Memories of a Missionary's Wife. Chicago: Moody Pub, n.d. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How I Know God Answers Prayers; The Personal Testimony of One Life-time, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Jonathan Goforth. Minneapolis, MN: Bethan House, 1986. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How God Answers Prayer: The Mighty Miracles of God from the Mission Field of Jonathan Goforth. USA: Revival, 2016. Print Original copyright not stated.
Jackson, Dave, and Neta Jackson. Mask of the Wolf Boy: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1999. Print.
McCleary, Walter. An Hour with Jonathan Goforth: A Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1938. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Jonathan Goforth: Never Give up. Seattle, WA: YWAM, 2004. Print.

.

Let Jonathan hear from you!
Leave a comment below.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Time Between Testaments-The Day the Temple Lamp Shone

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament


From the Historical records




The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

Remember we are counting backwards to year 0. The year is around 143 BC. (before Christ)

    400 BC                           300 BC                        200 BC                        100 BC                          Birth of Christ
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-----------------------------------------------|


photo by Mary Vee
The Syrians had ruled Judea.

Their soldiers were equipped with the best, newest, and powerful weapons of the day: rams to break through strong city gates, bows and arrows, javelins, spears, armor, elephants, and military siege engines shaped like large crossbows having better accuracy than a catapult. What small army would dare fight them? 

A Jewish remnant led by Judah of the Macabee family rallied the Jews to fight for the right to worship God. In the post below this one, read about the fourth and decisive battle that brings us to today's story.


A few years had gone by since Judah and his men had left the safety of the mountains. He wondered if this was the time to move forward. Not to take back their country. The much greater goal was to take back the temple and their freedom to worship. 

The fourth and largest battle wore out his troops. They scooped up the dead soldiers' weapons and carried them back to camp. During their meal and while the men rested, a new plan popped in Judah's head. He said the thought out loud, "It's time to take back the temple."

The men standing around him cheered. Those out of hearing range closed in. 

"Listen up. The Syrian army has retreated leaving the door open for us to take back the temple. I say we do it. This will no be an easy job. There will be more soldiers at the temple, but I feel in my heart we can do it. We're ready."

The men cheered again. After a time of celebrating they quieted and one said, "What is your plan. We're ready to do whatever you command."

Judah grabbed a stick. He made a drawing of Jerusalem's wall and the temple. "We'll sneak into the city from every direction then meet at the temple where we'll take out the Syrian guards. Unit leaders spread your men out. We'll creep in like ants to a picnic."

The men laughed then cheered again. 

"Get some sleep. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow."

Before the sun rose, the Jewish rebellion troops crept over hills and behind bushes. They signaled contacts on the inside to get through the city gates. Through the streets they moved, converging on the temple. 

Syrian troops stood outside with their weapons ready. 

Judah gave the signal to attack.   

The battle woke Jews living in the city and drew Jews from outlying villages. They all met at the temple and stepped over dead soldiers to go inside. 

The men fell to their knees and wept at what they saw. The Temple, built to honor and worship the living God was in shambles. Gates were torn. Grecian statues littered the spaces. Dirt. Vines. Broken furniture. This special place, once the foundation to their worship, had been violated.

Simon, Judah's older brother stood first. He wiped tears. "Get up. Everyone on your feet. We are going to restore this building starting right now."

The men pushed themselves to a stand. While tears still fell, they hauled Grecian statues and threw them out of the temple. Artisans pitched in and built new altars, furniture, holy vessels, and candlesticks. Women and men worked to scrub, repair, and make new items for the temple. They baked fresh bread and hung new curtains.

The work lasted for many days. As they worked, they sang, spoke words from the Holy Scriptures, repeated teachings, and remembered.

The day finally came for the Temple to reopen. A celebration called all the Jews to Jerusalem. Instruments played and the people sang. 

Then Judah lit the lamp. There was only enough oil to burn for one day. This made him sad. The lamp was to always be lit.

The celebration lasted into the late night and started the next morning. To everyone's surprise the lamp was still lit. 

The next day the lamp shone brightly. How could this be? There was only enough oil for the first day. 

For eight days the lamp remained lit, the length of the celebration. 

The Jews decided to observe this celebration every year. The celebration is called Hanukkah in some languages and Chanukah in others. Both are pronounced the same.

The battles against the Syrians didn't end that easily. There were more battles to keep the Temple a place for Jews to worship. The Jews then fought to have more than the freedom to worship, they were ready to fight for their country's freedom. This war took more than twenty years.

Simon, the last living of his brothers, became the High Priest of Jerusalem and ruler of Judea.



Come back next time to see what happens.


This is the history, the events that happened to real people during the time between the Old and New Testaments. 

*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Time Between Testaments-Yes. But God is Guarding Us

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament

From the Historical records




The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

Remember we are counting backwards to year 0. The year is around 143 BC. (before Christ)

    400 BC                           300 BC                        200 BC                        100 BC                          Birth of Christ
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-----------------------------------------------|

photo by Mary Vee
The Syrians ruled Judea.

Soldiers were equipped with the best, newest, and powerful weapons of the day: rams to break through strong city gates, bows and arrows, javelins, spears, armor, elephants, and military siege engines shaped like large crossbows having better accuracy than a catapult. What small army would dare fight them? 

A Jewish remnant led by a man named Judah of the Macabee family rallied the Jews to fight for the right to worship God. His band of fighters attacked small groups of soldiers then won three battles against Antiochus IV's armies, scroll down to read these about these battles.


This is the last major battle. The one keeping the Jews from worshipping in the Jerusalem temple. 

The appointed Syrian leader is Lysias. He lost the last battle despite a great plan and good generals to carry the plan through. His anger rose. This time, he would use might instead of wit against the Jewish rebellion.

He called for more soldiers. Twenty thousand, and a bigger calvary. 

His last plan showed how big his army was to the Jews by setting up the battle in the plains. It should have scared them off. But it didn't. They became too easy of a target. This time, his plan was to march his army up the coast then over to the hills and split into many units. Search out and attack the Jewish rebellion. Communication was necessary to call other units once the rebellion was found. Show no mercy.

He felt good about this plan and ordered the men, weapons, elephants, and chariots. This time, he would lead the battle himself and get the job done right.

Soldiers formed their lines outside Lysias' tent. He looked at the grand army. The Jewish rebellion didn't stand a chance this time. Not against this power and his leadership.

He ordered the army along the coast, avoiding the mountain passes where the first two armies failed. He went on past the plains where the third army failed. On to the hill country where his men could divide and conquer!

He gave the signal ordering the men to the hills. He dispatched a unit to the right and to the left, forward and back. He dispatched reinforcements to go behind each group. The men moved through the hills, weapons ready.

But...Judah's men saw them. They moved like cats stalking, ready to pounce on each unit. And so they did. One by one the rebellion took down the Syrian units until Lysias called retreat and took the survivors home.


"This was our victory, men," said Judah. "It's time we take back the temple."

His older brother, Simon stood next to him. Their father had appointed two of his sons to take over the cause. Simon for his mind, and Judah for his strength and courage. "You did good, brother," Simon said.

"We all did." 

The men cheered.

"You, know, Judah, the temple is guarded by Antiochus IV's men."

"Yes. But God is guarding us."

Come back next time to see what happens.



This is the history, the events that happened to real people during the time between the Old and New Testaments. 

*********************************************************************************************


sources: 
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981

Monday, January 9, 2017

Jonathan Goforth-Figuring Out How to Blend In With the Chinese

By Mary Vee
Year: fall 1889
Jonathan Goforth-30 years old


Jonathan Goforth's Journal




My name is Jonathan Goforth. My wife, Rosalind and I are missionaries in China. 

I have a decent enough grasp of the language to survive and to preach. I'm getting better at learning the culture and idioms, too, you know, the sayings and jokes that people living in one area understand. 

People even dress slightly different from place to place.I know, pictures from the time I'm living here, the 1890's, show most common Chinese people dressing the same. Both men and women wearing long, plain shirts over simple pants. Actually, the dress did vary a bit in different places.

Rosalind and I had been assigned to a northern region called Honan along with Donald Macgillivray. Three other new missionary couples arrived to help us. While the new ones spent their days studying, I set out to see the region. I wanted to know where other Christians might be, what the cities looked like, and along the way, tell the people I met about the God who loved them.

The biggest problem I saw was the fear and anger Chinese people had for what they called foreign devils. It didn't matter where the person was from, if they weren't Chinese the person would be called a foreign devil. 

I had read Hudson Taylor's books and decided he had a great idea. Dress like the people. I bought clothing for Rosalind and myself. We changed our hair and practiced walking like Chinese. We ate Chinese food and did activities like they did as long as the activities did involve worshiping idols. 

Some of the new missionaries who came treated the work like a vacation. They wanted to be carried around on sedans (the chairs on poles), or ride on donkeys and pay servants to wait on them. This didn't make any sense to me and showed me these men and women were not true missionaries.

I made a rule to fix the problem. Any missionary who came with me would: 1. walk five miles toward the next destination before stopping for a simple breakfast; 2. buy a simple wheelbarrow to carry the Bibles and other books we needed and pay a local a good wage to push it; 3. walk eight to ten hours in one day scouting the region for needs; 4. stay in the cheapest inns to cut down costs. With these savings, we toured the region for only fifty cents a day, and I knew who was wiling to live a life of sacrifice to tell Chinese about the God who loved them.

The inns along the way had one large heated surface for travelers to share for sleeping. I paid for my space then, while the other missionaries rested, found a spot where men and women travelers could gather. I started telling them a Bible story. Gradually the travelers gathered around me to hear the story. When I finished, I taught them about the God who loved them. After about an hour and a half, one of the missionaries who came with me got up from his rest and took over. At this time, I drank and took off my boots to rest.

I really felt like I was blending in with the Chinese people. Learning their ways. They listened to what I said and didn't yell at me. 

Yes, this is good.




Jonathan has many stories to share. Come back each Monday to find out what happened next.



Resources Used for This Series
Being, Janet, and Geoff Benge. Jonathan Goforth: An Open Door in China. Seattle. WA: YWAM Pub., 2001.Print
Doyle, G. Wright. Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Church Leaders. Eugene Oregon: Pickwick Pub, 2015. Print.
Goforth, Jonathan, and Rosaline Goforth, Miracle Lives of China, London" Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1931, Print.
Goforth, Jonathan. "By My Spirit" Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1942. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Climbing; Memories of a Missionary's Wife. Chicago: Moody Pub, n.d. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How I Know God Answers Prayers; The Personal Testimony of One Life-time, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921. Print
Goforth, Rosalind. Jonathan Goforth. Minneapolis, MN: Bethan House, 1986. Print
Goforth, Rosalind, How God Answers Prayer: The Mighty Miracles of God from the Mission Field of Jonathan Goforth. USA: Revival, 2016. Print Original copyright not stated.
Jackson, Dave, and Neta Jackson. Mask of the Wolf Boy: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1999. Print.
McCleary, Walter. An Hour with Jonathan Goforth: A Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1938. Print.
Meloche, Renee Taft., and Bryan Pollard. Jonathan Goforth: Never Give up. Seattle, WA: YWAM, 2004. Print.

.

Let Jonathan hear from you!
Leave a comment below.