Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Time Between Time: The People Needed Someone Who Knew and Understood God

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament


From the Historical records



photo by Mary Vee
The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing. 

Political powers change. Not all the Hebrews chose to return to Jerusalem and Judea. They chose to remain living in Babylon, which is now part of Persia. A Persian influence worms into Hebrew homes. 

The Hebrew language is not being taught to the children. The law of Moses is neglected. Persian's interest in mysticism, astrology, and the occult is found in these Hebrew homes. 

One of the Persian beliefs that makes its way into the Hebrew homes is that God is not concerned with the affairs and cares of man, and God is an impersonal god. So sad. God was there like a parent who has their child in time out.

Because this thinking is believed by the Hebrews living in Persian and elsewhere, these men and women struggled to believe Isaiah's prophesy that the coming Messiah would be called Immanuel, which is translated, God with us. 

Many times in the Old Testament God said there would always be a remnant. A group of people, no matter how small, who would remain loyal and dedicated to the truth of His Word and continually worship Him.

In this mixed up time, the orthodox Jews fought against the Persian influence. Or it seemed that way. According to historical documents written and preserved from this period of time, these Orthodox Jews didn't gather in the temple for regular worship. Also, because of the strong foreign politics in the area, sacrifices were no longer permissible.

The dedicated ones, the remnant who still wanted to serve God, gathered to pray, sing, and to discuss God's laws and His Word. Synagogues were built for those who lived far from Jerusalem. 

The role of the priest was replaced with the rabbi, men who studied and became experts in the law and the prophets. These rabbis become the teachers. 

The various synagogues took an individual focus of the law, just like people who live in different countries have different laws. The once Law of Moses now had many different interpretations and as time went by, the Torah had oral traditions added to the document.

The strong commitment to follow God's commands as he gave it unraveled like yarn.

The people needed someone who knew and understood God. 
They needed Immanuel. 
Immanuel--God with us. 
Because Immanuel is the only one who fully knows and understands.

"Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and call his name Immanuel."



Come back next time, because interesting events happen in Jerusalem in days to come.
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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

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