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. 


*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 Virtual
*The Hasmonean Dynasty

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