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Saturday, October 22 2011
The Place Of Lazarus
Bethany, from the Hebrew words meaning house of dates, was a village located on the side of the Mount of Olives (see the Fact Finder question below), a little less than 2 miles from Jerusalem, on the road to Jericho. As "Bethany" implies, it was originally named after the date-palm trees that grew there. A historic event involving a village resident named Lazarus ("Lazarus" is an abbreviated form of Eleazar, which means he who God helps) produced its present-day name, el-Azariyeh (or Lazariyeh), meaning the place of Lazarus.
Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary ("Mary," in the actual Hebrew Miriam, was a common Hebrew name at that time, as it had been for centuries i.e. the sister of Moses was named Miriam), all of whom were close friends of Jesus Christ. The Prophet Of Galilee often visited them in their home in Bethany when He came down south to Judea.
The event that would make the life of Lazarus famous began with his death - at the time when the Messiah's own life was being threatened by the corrupt religious authorities (see also Is Your Religion Your Religion?).
"11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 11:2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 11:3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
"Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put Him to death"
The Messiah deliberately stayed away for four days - from the condition of the body, there would be no doubt in anyone's mind that Lazarus was dead.
"11:17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 11:18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 11:19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 11:20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
Martha had learned her lessons well. She knew that a resurrection was coming, sooner (at the time of Christ's return; see the Fact Finder question below), or later (see The Eighth Day: What Does It Mean?).
"11:23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
Jesus then went to the tomb and grieved for His dead friend.
"11:28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 11:29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. 11:30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 11:31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
The place of Lazarus in history would be accomplished by means of a restoration of his life of that time, for two purposes.
"11:38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.
The resurrection of Lazarus served the purpose of being a proof of the Messiah's coming i.e. "many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him." But it served another purpose; it was the event that caused the jealous religious authorities to eventually Sacrifice the Lamb of God i.e. "from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death."
"11:45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 11:46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 11:47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Fact Finder: Bethany, or "the place of Lazarus," is located on the Mount of Olives. What major prophetic significance does the Mount of Olives have?
This Day In History, October 22
4004 BC: The date calculated in the 17th century by James Usher, Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr. John Lightfoot of Cambridge, as the day the earth was created. It actually took place far earlier than that (listen to our Sermon Creation in 4004 BC?).
741: Charles Martel died at age 53. The rulership of Gaul was divided between his two sons Pepin III and Carloman.
1721: Peter the Great became czar (czar is the Russian form of "Caesar," as is the German kaiser) of all Russia.
1764: The Battle of Baksar, fought between the East India Company's forces and those of the Mughals. The decisive battle confirmed the British control of Bengal.
1797: The first successful parachute jump was made by Andre-Jacques Garnerin from a balloon over Paris, France.
1836: Sam Houston became the first "President of the Republic of Texas" (unlike the "New England" States, Texas, which remained part of Mexico in 1776, rebelled against Mexico about 50 years later).
1844: The date predicted by religious leader William Miller (Ellen White's "Seventh Day Adventist" organization, Herbert Armstrong's "Worldwide Church of God" and the present-day "Sacred Name" movement were among a number of early 20th Century offshoots of the Miller movement) when the Return of Jesus Christ would occur. Among the many thousands of his followers, the day became known as the "Great Disappointment." Miller and his followers chose to ignore the only Biblically-stated proof that Christ's return would soon happen - the beginning of the 42 month miraculous ministry of the "two witnesses," immediately after which Christ's return will happen; see The Prophets: The Two Witnesses and Could Christ Return Tonight?).
1859: Spain declared war on the Moors in Morocco.
1952: The complete Jewish Torah was published in English for the first time.
1954: West Germany joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
1954: After Geneva accords conceded Communist control over North Vietnam (Vietnam was divided into North and South by France in its failed effort to make Vietnam a French colony), U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower authorized U.S. training of the South Vietnamese Army (the U.S. replaced the colonial involvement of France in Vietnam). The U.S. "advisors" soon became the primary combatants in that Vietnamese civil war; it ended in the 1970s with North and South Vietnam re-unified into a single nation that had existed for centuries before French and U.S. interference.
1966: The Soviet Union launched Luna 12 to orbit the moon.
1975: The Soviet unmanned spacecraft Venera 9 landed on Venus.
1979: The exiled Shah of Iran (a brutal, undemocratic dictator who had been supported by the U.S. for decades because he was "pro-western") arrived in the U.S. for medical treatment. In response, Iranian revolutionaries invaded the U.S. embassy in Tehran, thereby beginning the Iranian Hostage Crisis, demanding the return of the Shah in exchange for the U.S. diplomats/CIA agents.