Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Time Between Time-Those Who Fought For Freedom to Worship

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
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|-----------------------------------------------|

The Greeks rule a large area including Judea and Egypt. To make their conquest complete, all persons not Greek were required to dress as Greeks, worship Greek gods, speak Greek, and completely forego their own cultural ways, language, and worship. No exceptions. 

Last time we talked about soldiers sent by Antiochus IV to Modi'in, a village northwest of Jerusalem. They ordered the most honored man of the village to kill a pig and eat its flesh. Scroll down to read this story.

Mattathias the priest and his five sons led Jews fleeing from the village to the mountains. They hid, afraid Antiochus IV's army would track them down and kill them. 

We don't know why Antiochus IV didn't hunt down these Jews. Maybe he didn't consider them a big threat. It ended up being a huge mistake on his part.

As time went by, Mattathias and his sons sneaked out from their caves and went to other villages surrounding Jerusalem to offer a hiding place for Jews who remained dedicated to the one true living God. He and his sons also went into every place of worship and home to remove all statues of Greek gods. They warned their fellow Jews of the danger they faced if they did not follow the Laws of Moses. God is, after all more powerful than any Greek army.

A group of Jews who had refused to follow the Greek way called themselves Hasideans. Some Hasideans joined Mattathias and his efforts to free Jews from the Greek influence. 

Mattathias and his followers hid in the mountains, organizing, formulating plans and going out to villages to undo what Antiochus IV had done. Even though Mattathias came to help, many Jews remained afraid of the Greeks.

Mattathias worked nonstop, training and adding new recruits to his force. His fighters struck out against Antiochus' army patrols and disrupt Greek ceremonies held in Jewish villages.

Mattathias died during this first year of rebellion. His dedication to freeing Jews to worship and remember their roots inspired the movement to grow. During this time of his leadership one important change took place. Previously, Jews refused to fight on the Sabbath. Foreign armies had planned their attacks to be on the Sabbath for this very reason. Mattathias declared that the Jews would not attack on the Sabbath as they always had, but they would defend themselves if an army attacked them.

Before Mattathias took his last breath he appointed two of his sons, Simon and Judah to take over. He chose Simon for his son's wise judgements and Judah for his strength and courage. Judah was given the nickname, Maccabee which means hammer. As time went on, all five brothers were referred to as Maccabeen because they fought for the Jews freedom to worship. 

Come back next time, because some really exciting 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
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981

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