Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Time Between Time- Alexander the Great Takes Over

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 since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

The Persians were in power. Jerusalem and Judah were still under the Persian control. Emphasis on the word "were." 

Counting backwards from four hundred to 0, in the year 332 BC (which means almost seventy years have gone by), a greek king named Alexander the Great defeated the Persian armies and marched into Jerusalem.

Alexander the Great now ruled over all the land that the Persians once ruled, including Judea, the country where Jerusalem was capital.

When Alexander arrived in Jerusalem, the priests greeted him. They welcomed his presence. Alexander was pleased with the way they treated his army and in exchange allowed the Jews to rule their country the way they wanted. He didn't even make the Jewish boys and men join his army. The Jews were so happy they chose to name all the boy babies born the first year of Alexander's rule in their country, "Alexander."

Basically nothing changed in Judea except the people would pay their taxes to Greece instead of Persia. Jews continued to worship at the Temple. The High Priest continued to rule from the temple. All seemed well, to the Jews.

Alexander the Great, though, wanted the whole world to live like Greeks. Taking taxes from the countries he conquered was nice, but not enough. He wanted every one to be Greek, to have one culture throughout the world. A Greek culture. The Greek language. A Greek education. 

Alexander came up with a plan to get what he wanted without wars and bloodshed. He encouraged his soldiers to move to every area of his empire. These soldiers would build houses, marry into local families and have their own children. Soon the local people would learn the Greek language, wear Greek clothes, eat Greek foods, and practice the Greek culture.

The Jews didn't mind. They enjoyed learning. They studied the Greek language, the Greek philosophers, scientists, and all matters of the Greeks. After all, Alexander the Great gave them permission to continue following their Laws, their Jewish heritage. 

This shouldn't be so bad, right? They could both live together. Jews learning Greek ways, Greeks allowing Jews to worship the way the Jews wanted.

After only twelve years as ruler, Alexander the Great died. 

And so did the Jews idea of keeping their heritage.

A little more than 300 years were left in the time out that God gave the Israelites.

Come back next time, because some really exciting events happen in Jerusalem in days to come.

*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

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