wanted: messiah SJM

Posted: March 14, 2014 in God and Time, Serious
Tags: , , , , , ,

messiah wantedWait a minute! Why is this important?

Because Jesus answered the want ad at a singularly significant time and place in Hebrew politics, traditions and history. Judaism was within a generation from being hijacked by Pax Romana. 

Pax Christos far surpassed Pax Romana.

Jerusalem before Jesus

Jerusalem was a wasteland a half-century before Jesus’ birth. There was no temple and no Hebrew King. According to Judas Maccabeus, a pre-Jesus revolutionary who conquered Jerusalem, the temple mount was trashed, the altar profaned, weeds were everywhere and all the gates were burned.

Antipas (Governor of Idumaea) put down a civil war in Palestine and joined the Governor of Syria under Caesar’s standard to defeat Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalia. Caesar made Antipas a Roman citizen and King of Judea.

Herod, his fifteen-year-old son, was given Galilee. Early in his career he caught Hezekiah (a messianic claimant) with an army of rebels on the Syrian border and put them to death. The Hebrews wanted Herod to appear before the Sanhedrin (Hebrew court), but Antipas declared martial law and the Governor of Syria, one of Herod’s allies, demanded an acquittal.

Hyrcanus, the Hebrew high priest, complied, but the people rioted. The teenaged Herod came to Jerusalem with an army, but Antipas sent him back to Galilee to avert a disaster. When Herod gained his father’s throne, he executed Hyrcanus.

The Romans established “Pax Romana” throughout the Middle East. Antipas ruled Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palistine and Israel. However, he was not a descendant of David and he was not anointed. He kept the peace with swords, spears and crosses.

A decade or so before Jesus’ birth NO ONE in Jerusalem remembered a temple.

Herod the Great became ruler of Jerusalem thirty-five years before Jesus’ birth. To appease the Hebrews, he “converted” and built “Herod’s Temple.” He completed his temple shortly before Jesus’ birth. Always a shrewd politician, Herod managed his temple’s leadership and kept his finger on the pulse of the Hebrews.

Herod’s Temple and Hebrew traditions were re-instituted for political appeasement. Herod shrewdly focused Jerusalem on religion, not God. Herod maintained tension between the legalists and traditionalists to keep the Hebrew house divided.

The Gospels pick up the story here. Situation: Fake king, fake temple and fake religion. 

Jerusalem newspaper: Wanted: Messiah. SJM miracle worker must be lineage of David, anointed by God and able to defeat Roman Empire. Call Issac: JR7-3977 

The “wise men” came seeking the “King of the Jews,” the Hebrew scholars pointed to Bethlehem, Herod the Great stuck a deal with the wise men and then gave orders to kill all the infant boys in Bethlehem (this infanticide is part of the historical record). Joseph, warned by an angel, took off for Egypt.

A few years later Herod gives a speech and explodes (more or less, look it up).

Herod’s son, Herod Archelaus ruled in Jerusalem for most of the New Testament. Achelaus killed his brother, Philip, to take his wife, Herodias. She was a rare piece of work. She detested John the Baptist for condemning their relationship. The royal house was a treacherous place. Caesar Augustus said, “Better to be Herod’s swine than Herod’s son.”

Herod’s temple lasted about one-hundred years and was destroyed shortly after Jesus’ resurrection. The siege of Jerusalem, a famine and the destruction of the temple (prophesied by Jesus) sent the disciples out into the world. 

“In due time…” Jesus came.

Tr8: God knows what he’s doing. Trust his timing.

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