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Wednesday, December 13 2017

Hometowns: Arimathaea

"There came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple. He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed"

Arimathaea is one of the most-famous cities of Bible history due to Joseph, a man from Arimathaea, who donated his new tomb for the burial of the Crucified Messiah (see also The Religion And Politics Of The Messiah's Assassination).

Historians disagree about the location of translated "Arimathaea" (i.e. they ignore that the name is translated) while agreeing that it was in Judea i.e. "he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews" (Luke 23:51 KJV), which refers to the tribal lands of Judah, Benjamin and Levi (see Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings and Judah's Homeland and The Land Of Benjamin and Cities and Suburbs Of The Levite Clans).

"Arimathaea" is the English-language rendering of the Greek ar-ee-math-ahee-ah, which is itself a rendering of the actual Hebrew name of the city - Ramah (which was also the hometown of Samuel; see Hometowns: Ramah). Even in English, if one says it slowly and listens for it, the Hebrew "Ramah" can be heard in the Greek "Arimathaea."

Ramah / Arimathaea was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin. It is located not far from Jerusalem, which would also explain why Joseph had bought his tomb there.

"18:21 Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Bethhoglah, and the valley of Keziz, 18:22 And Betharabah, and Zemaraim, and Bethel, 18:23 And Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah, 18:24 And Chepharhaammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages: 18:25 Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth, 18:26 And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah, 18:27 And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah, 18:28 And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages.

This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families." (Joshua 18:21-28 KJV)


Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy man who also happened to be a member of the Jerusalem religious council at the time of the Messiah's coming. While many of the others rejected and plotted against Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph recognized the Messiah's coming. Although he was, at first, "a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews," that changed on the day of Christ's death.

The Crucifixion

It was Joseph of Arimathea who, along with the Pharisee Nicodemus (see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?), went and boldly demanded the Body of the slain Lamb of God, from which Joseph buried the Christ in his own newly-cut tomb in Jerusalem.

"19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.

He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury [see also Linen In History And Prophecy].

19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." (John 19:38-42 KJV)

Matthew provides more specifics:

Tombs In The Rock

"27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 27:59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 27:60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 27:61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre." (Matthew 27:57-61 KJV)

Joseph thereby fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy that the Messiah's grave would be "with the rich in his death."

"53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him [see also What Does God The Father Really Look Like?]. 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God] hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter [see Nisan 14: The Sacrifice Of The Lamb Of God], and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin [see Innocent Blood and What Happened When The Messiah Arrived In Heaven?], he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand." (Isaiah 53:2-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: How long did the Messiah remain dead in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea?
See A Biography Of Jesus Christ: Three Days And Three Nights

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This Day In History, December 13

558: King Chlothar I reunited the Frankish Kingdom after his brother Childebert I died. Chlothar thereby became sole ruler of the Franks.

1204: Medieval Jewish (see also Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings) scholar Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon) died at age 69.

1250: Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany and Sicily (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation), died and was succeeded by Conrad IV.

1545: The Council of Trent, summoned by Pope Paul III in 1542, opened to discuss doctrinal matters, especially the rise of Protestantism.

1577: English explorer Sir Francis Drake left England with 5 ships, including the Golden Hind, on his voyage around the world - a journey that took almost 3 years.

Francis Drake

1636: English colonists at the Massachusetts Bay Colony organized three militia regiments to defend themselves against the "Americans" - a term originated by the English in referring to the native people (later called "Indians"). It was only much later that the children of the colonists began calling themselves "Americans," but even then referring to where they were, not who they were. (see also The First Chinese American War)

1642: New Zealand was discovered by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman.

Abel Tasman

1643: During the English Civil War, the Battle of Alton was fought in Hampshire.

1862: During the U.S. Civil War, General Robert E. Lee with 80,000 Confederates repulsed General Burnside with his 150,000 Federals at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia. After hard fighting, Burnside lost almost 14,000 troops.

1916: During the First World War (1914-1918), an avalanche killed 10,000 Austrian and Italian troops in Tyrol.

1937: Japanese forces took the Chinese city of Nanking. Over the next 6 weeks, in one of the worse atrocities of the Second World War, they killed an estimated 200,000 Chinese in what became known as the "Rape of Nanking."

Sea Of Japan

1939: During the Second World War (1939-1945), the captain of the German battleship Graf Spee ordered his vessel scuttled after being encircled by 3 British cruisers (Exeter, Ajax and Achilles) off the coast of Uruguay.

1941: During the Second World War, British forces withdrew to Hong Kong island as the invading Japanese army took Kowloon and the New Territories. See also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?.

1945: France and Britain announced that were leaving Syria and Lebanon.

1949: In defiant response to United Nations and Papal demands to make Jerusalem an "international" city, the Israeli Knesset unanimously approved David Ben-Gurion's proposal that the sovereign legislature of the state of "Israel" (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah and A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah) be moved to Jerusalem, from Tel Aviv, which it was the next January 1.

1967: King Constantine of Greece and his family fled the country after a counter-coup failed to topple the military-backed government.

1981: In response to the success of the Solidarity Union, Polish communist leader General Wojciech Jeruzelski proclaimed a national emergency and martial law. His action in all probability prevented a Soviet invasion which would have made Solidarity's later victory less likely.

1993: The European Union ratified a treaty creating the world's largest trade bloc, the European Economic Area (EEA).

2000: Al Gore conceded the U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush, 5 weeks after the very close election was held.

2003: Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (a former U.S. "ally" during the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s) was captured near his home town of Tikrit. He was later hung for his war crimes.


Copyright © Wayne Blank