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Thursday, February 2 2012
A History Of Jerusalem: The Herodian Dynasty
The time of the first coming of the Messiah (see The Rock Of The Church; also A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem) was one of change for Jerusalem - again. Over the previous centuries, after the city of "Jebus" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan) was taken by the Israelites themselves (see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David), it was ruled by Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon and The Babylon Exodus And Exile), Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia and Iran's Greatest Leader Was Pro-Zionist), Greeks and Seleucid Greeks (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) and then a restored kingdom of Judah by the people of Judah themselves (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Hasmonean Kingdom).
But the time of the Jewish Hasmonean Kingdom was then over. Rome had risen from an ancient city state under a king (about 500 BC), to a republic (see The Politics Of Rome) and then to an increasingly aggressive military empire (see Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). Jerusalem was about to be ruled by foreigners again, but the transition from Hasmonean Jews to Romans would be accomplished through a foot-in-both-camps man from Idumea who had become a converted Jew by the Hasmoneans. He is known to history as Herod, or Herod the Great (although the only thing "great" about him was his evil and barbarity). The Hasmonean dynasty of Jerusalem was replaced by the Herodian dynasty.
Herod was the son of Antipater, an Idumean (Idumea was the Greek term for Edom, the territory south and east of the land of Israel that had been inhabited by the descendants of Jacob/Israel's brother Esau, who was also known as Edom; see also The First Meeting Of Israel And Esau). Herod's mother was Cypros, a Nabatean (at that time, the Nabateans were an Arab people who inhabited the area from Syria to what is today Saudi Arabia; see also Paul's Geography Lesson about what and where "Arabia" actually means). By genealogy, Herod would today be called an Arab, not a Roman.
In 47 BC, Julius Caesar appointed Antipater as procurator (from a Latin word meaning "a manager of another's affairs") of Judea. Antipater eventually divided it among his sons, with Galilee originally being given to Herod, however Herod's political fortunes continued to rise (like all political puppets, he was apparently the easiest to manipulate as he dangled from his Roman strings). Mark Antony appointed him as tetrarch of Judea in 40 BC and then the Roman Senate declared him to be "king of Judea" (which included Jerusalem). Although docile to his Roman masters, Herod was a sadistic tyrant to his subjects (as attested most notably with his "slaughter of the innocents" at the time of the birth of Christ, as we will read).
Perhaps thinking of King Solomon's splendor centuries before (considering Herod's renovations and expansion of the Second Temple, that had been constructed at the return in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah about four centuries earlier; see A History Of Jerusalem: Ezra And Nehemiah), Herod fancied himself as a great builder. He spent vast sums on reconstructing and beautifying cities of Judea. The city of Caesarea (named after Caesar) and the ancient city of Samaria (that Herod renamed as Sebaste, again after his Roman masters) reached their greatest eloquence during the time of Herod.
Herod's greatest architectural showpiece was the Temple in Jerusalem, which became known as "the Herodian Temple," or "Herod's Temple" - which was occupied by men who were as subservient to Rome as Herod was (e.g. see Annas And Caiaphas). Herod's motives may have been different in regard to the Temple than for other places in Judea; Herod was, nominally, a practicing Jew, by his supposed conversion by the Hasmoneans (who, ironically, Herod replaced as the ruler of Judea and Jerusalem). By that time however, the religion of the people of Judah had become very much more the "traditions" of the religious parties, such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees (see The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees). The basis remained of what the LORD had given them long before, but over the centuries they had drifted away from the genuine meaning and purpose of that Truth and Law. It was for that reason that the Messiah rebuked them all, including Herod (while Herod the Great died when the Messiah was an infant, Herod's political and religious dynasty still very much existed at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ - see The Herods).
"7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 7:2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.
Herod the Great is most infamous for his attempt to kill the newborn Christ after he was informed of the birth by the "Magi" (see Why Did The Magi Come?).
"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
The flight to Egypt to escape Herod, and Herod's slaughter of all male infants under the age of two followed. Both events fulfilled prophecies.
"2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Herod died not long afterward (see Whatever Happened To Those Romans?), however his ruling family dynasty survived in Jerusalem and Judea. Another prophecy was therefore fulfilled when they "dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets."
"2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 2:20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
The Messiah's famous "Olivet prophecy" (named after the Mount of Olives) was given in answer to a question about the Temple that had been built by Herod.
"24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down [see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?].
Fact Finder: (a) Why did the Messiah go to "Herod's Temple" as a place of worship? (b) What will the Messiah be doing from that location when He returns?
This Day In History, February 2
962: Pope John XII crowned Otto I as the "Holy Roman Emperor" (see Emperors and Popes). When Otto succeeded his father Heinrich (Henry) as German king in 936, the people raised their right hand to show approval and shouted "Sieg und heil" ("victory and salvation") - words revived by Adolf Hitler almost 1,000 years later (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion). Later historians would view 962 as the beginning of what would later be officially called the Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanica ("The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation"). The octagonal imperial crown of the "Holy Roman Empire," which was made especially for the coronation of Otto, was the symbol of European unity for centuries afterward. Otto von Habsburg (whose ancestors were some of the "Holy Roman" emperors) called attention to the potential present and future role of that very same crown, which now sits in the Schatzkammer (Royal Treasury) in Vienna, Austria (see also Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!).
1461: The Lancastrians (founded by the son of Henry III, the Earl of Lancaster in 1267) defeated the Yorkists (founded by another son of Henry III, the duke of York) at the second Battle of St. Albans'.
1494: Christopher Columbus began using "Indians" as slaves i.e. native Americans were the first slaves of the "New" World.
1509: The Portuguese, led by Francisco de Almeida, destroyed the Muslim fleet in the Battle of Diu, establishing Portuguese control of Indian waters.
1536: Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires.
1556: The world's worst earthquake on record, in China's Shaanxi, Shansi and Henan provinces, killed an estimated 830,000 people.
1626: Charles I, the son and successor of James I (after whom the King James Version of the Bible was named), was crowned king of England.
1653: The Dutch established New Amsterdam as a city. After the British took over the colonies that became known as New England, the city was renamed as New York.
1709: British sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued after being marooned on a desert island for 5 years. His story was the inspiration of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.
1808: French forces under Napoleon occupied Rome. Pope Pius VII was arrested and held in custody.
1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ended the war between the U.S. and Mexico.
1901: The Funeral of Queen Victoria.
1916: The U.S. Senate granted independence for the Philippines.
1945: During the Second World War, 1,200 British Royal Air Force planes bombed Wiesbaden and Karlsruhe in Germany.
1972: The British Embassy in Dublin was burned down after a day of anti-British demonstrations.
1983: The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) resumed in Geneva.
1989: Soviet invasion forces completed their withdrawal from Kabul, Afghanistan.