Who were the maccabees


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An over view of the importance of sacrifice and devotion to God

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Who were the maccabees

  1. 1. Mel"sa C. Pointer au#orWho were theMaccabees
  2. 2. Israel under Greek RuleIsrael was once a sovereign nation that was governed by holy laws. Within its borders was the seat of truth and the most holy oracles. However when Israel sinned and provoked the most High God he they were force to serve the Gentile nations. In the year 586 BC Nebuchadnezzer burned the temple built by Solomon. A second temple was built after the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon. Alexander the Great conquered the civilized world in 331 BC and Israel found itself under Greek rule. After Alexander the Great died his empire was divided into four parts. At first Israel was under the Ptolemaic rule. However due to constant conflicts between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires it eventually became a part of the Seleucid kingdom. At first there were no major changes in how Israel kept the laws of God during the third affliction. In fact it is written that Seleucus of Asia took money from the treasury to assist with the sacrifices at thetemple. Seleucus was one of the original generals that fought under Alexander theGreat.
  3. 3. !e Seleucid EmpireIt would be over 150 years later when the 4th affliction would In I Maccabees 1: 11-15 it discusses in detail the intents ofcause enormous suffering for the children of God. It should be Jason and his followers:noted that the Greeks viewed the high priest as a political ! !leader. It was a post that they believed they could appoint ... In those days went there out of Israel wicked ! men, whowhomever they decided would be best. When a righteous man persuaded many, saying, “ Let us go and make a covenantwas in the post the laws were kept and Jerusalem was at with the heathenpeace. In II Maccabees 3 it reviews over a period of time that are roundwhen Onias the high priest ensured that Israel kept the about us”: forcovenant of God. It was because of this devotion to the since weAlmighty the inhabitants were protected from the Gentiles who departed fromintended to remove the money from the treasury that was set them we haveaside for the care of the widows and orphans. II Maccabees 3: had much9-10, 23-28. The Greeks acknowledged that God kept his eye sorrow. So thison the sanctuary and he defended it. device much pleased themHowever when Antiochus IV also known as Ephiphanes took well. Then certainover the Seleucid kingdom Onias’s brother Jason hatched a of the peopleplot to take the priesthood from his brother. He offered the were so forwardnew king 360 talents of silver and other revenue in the form of herein, that they80 talents. Jason promised to give Anitochus 150 talents on a went to the king,regular basis because he wanted to promote the Greek life who gave themstyle in Israel. license to do after the ! ordinances of the heathen: Whereupon they built
  4. 4. Corruption &folly a place ! o f e x e r c i s e a t J e r u s a l e m according to the customs of the heathen: And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief. The ruins of ancient gymnasium. Activities like discus Jason’s corruption did not stop there. He were used to give honor to the Greek Gods. encourage the people to adapt all Greek fashions and the sacrifices were neglected at the temple. The rapid decline of obedience into God occurred with the hellenization of the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus was determined that the people that he ruled would be one and used hellenization to accomplish that goal. Hellenization was the adaption of Greek religion, culture and customs. It required that all other customs and beliefs be discarded.
  5. 5. Lust and fil"y lucreJason the high Priest sent Menelaus to give 300 talents of silver to Antiochus. Menelaus thenconvinced the king to give him the office of the priesthood by offering him money above the 300talents.He was not interested in the priesthood but was interested in ruling his own people with cruelty.During this time Jason fled into the land of the Ammonites. Menelaus then took many of the holyvessels in the temple and sold them to the city of Tyus and gave them to a Greek official. He alsohad Onias murdered.During this time Antiochus declared that all Israel should forsake their laws and sacrifice swine’sflesh. Those who would disobey the king would be killed. The details of this hardship is discussedin detail in I Maccabees 1:41-61.
  6. 6. !e Abomination of DesolationAntiochus Ephiphanes came to behavior occurred in the same place God’s law that these afflictions wouldsuppress what he believed to be a that priests used to commune with not have occurred. It was the lust ofJudea revolt. It had gotten back to him God. Even the flesh and the pride of life that leadthat Jason had assaulted Menelaus’s the altar was to so much sorrow and pain. Even still profaned withseat of power. Even though Jason had there are examples of great devotion swine’s fleshkilled many of his own nation in the to God’s law. When you read about and otherprocess without mercy that did not Eleazar one of the principal scribes u n c l e a nstop Antiochus from attacking that stood up to the kings’s servants meats. TheJerusalem with great ferocity. He was and refused to take part of the Gentiles drewassisted by Menelaus. They took the pictures of idolatrous feast; he did not want toholy vessels and removed the things their gods in the books of the law and lead others a stray even by theother kings in the past that had sent to the Jews were compelled to keep the appearance of eating swine.glorify the place. fast of Bacchus (the god of wine). It was during this time that the womanTo establish his authority over the Jews with seven sons were murderedAntiochus decided that hellenization because they refused to eat swine’sshould be firmly established in flesh.Jerusalem and the their previousreligion would have to be rooted out When you read over the history of ourcompletely. He sent an Athenian to people under the Greeks it is steepedestablish the worship of Jupiter in the in tears, sorrow and blood. It should beholy temple; acts of prostitution, riotous noted that if Israel had not rejected
  7. 7. %e PersecutionHe was given the option to bring his own meat to the feast but he would not becausehe did not want to lead others a stray or anger the most high God. He took his positionas a leader seriously and while they flogged him he said these words...! ! It is manifest unto the Lord, that hath the holy! ! knowledge, that whereas I might have been! ! delivered from death, I now endure sore pains! ! in body by being beaten: but in soul am well! ! content to suffer these things, because I fear him.! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! II Maccabees 6: 30.The powerful bonds of family and the love of children did not stop others for obeyingGod as well. One of the most notable example is the woman with with 7 sons. Theywere flogged because they refuse to eat swine. The king decided that flogging was notsufficent. He then heated pans and cut off the tongue and dismembered one of themen in front of his brothers and mother. Now think about if a paper cut is painful or aneyelash in your eye causes you grief; how would having your members being cut feel.Or the possible fear before it happens when you know what they are going to do toyou. Or for a woman to be willing to see her sons die and then to experience the samepainful death; it is an example to all of us that it is not impossible to be obedient underadverse conditions.
  8. 8. RememberWe all must remember that as long asSatan has access to our minds we mustcontinue to fight to maintain our spiritualtemples. We cannot be willing to sellourselves to obtain wealth and prestigein this world. We also cannot allowabominations to be set up within us.There is simply no excuse to take part incorrupt traditions. Or to allow our fearsand discomfort to sway us from beingobedient. We must be dedicated to Godin the way he was so dedicated to usthat he was willing to give his onlybegotten son for us.
  9. 9. %e Maccabees.The Maccabees were Levites that was severe. rulers that they wanted to use tolived in the city of Modin. They did not There are manipulate the people. He wasagree with the process of examples of offered gold and the friendship ofHellenization. They believed firmly in women who the king if he would be the firstkeeping the covenants of God. In fact circumcised one in Modin to offer sacrifice toone of the first acts of the Maccabees their babies idols. Here is a portion of hiswas killing those who sacrificed to the of being response...greek gods. These are not the priests thrown headlong with their childrenthat people think of in today’s era. from a wall and them burning those in !These men were fierce warriors and caves that tried to keep the Sabbath ...Then Mattathias answered andthey had sincere devotion to God. day holy. You can see that you would spake with a loud voice, “Though allThey protected their people and have to have true dedication to God and be firmly planted on the the nations that are under the king’sfought against the Gentiles. Mattathiaswas a priest and he had five sons. foundation of his word to not move to dominion obey him, and fall awayThe two books of Maccabees are the left or the right. What the Greeks everyone from the religion of theirnamed after his son Judas (who was were not counting on was the great fathers, and give consent to hisalso called Maccabeus). After he devotion and zeal of the Maccabees. commandments: Yet will I and mylearned about how the temple was It was normal for hellenization to sons and my brethren walk in thecorrupted and people were being begin with the leaders; covenant of our fathers. God forbidkilled for obeying God his family was government officials to use the that we should forsake the law andin great consternation and sorrow. It native rulers as an example. If the ordinances. We will not hearken tois true that the Greeks intended to they could show that the leaders the king’s words to go from ouruse bribes, lucre, force and fear to would obey; then they would have less problems with the religion, either on the right hand orcause Israel to reject God. Thepunishment for not yielding to the king residents of that particular city. the left.” I Maccabees 2: 19-22 Mattathias was one of those
  10. 10. Fighting for & tru# He then backed up these words by killing a Jew that intended to sacrifice to idols on the altar. He then killed the government officials and destroyed that altar. His family followed him into the mountains and many of the inhabitants of the city went into the wilderness so that could serve God. Here we can see a division of people. The leaders were in the mountains and larger multitudes of people were in the wilderness. Those in the wilderness were killed on the Sabbath day by the Gentiles. However the Maccabees refused to allow the Gentiles to root them out. Instead they said they would defend themselves from those who would try to decimate them. People began to flee to the mountains to gain protection from the persecution. In addition they were joined by other brave men in Israel that love the laws of God and were willing to defend them with their lives.
  11. 11. Tru$ vs FearWith time the Maccabees began to of us that live in the United States we ! Consider ye throughout allremove the altars and pursue those do not have the government forcing ages, that none that put their trust inthat had try to change the ordinances us to choose between our living and him shall be overcome. Fear not thenand corrupt the statutes of God. What keeping God’s word. Often the choice the words of a sinful man: for hisis remarkable is how much these men is about living a more comfortable life glory shall be dung and worms. Toloved the words of God and versus less comfort. We will not be day he shall be lifted up and toesteemed them to be greater than accepted by the people around us morrow he shall not be found,their loved ones or their lives. Theytruly put God first. We must also learn because of our peculiar beliefs, that because he is returned into his dust,to trust in God completely so that we strange religion that we seem to be and his though is come to nothing.do not fear what men can do to us. devoted to. Is it worth it? They will ask Wherefore, ye my sons, be valiantThis ferocity can only occur because in multiple ways: you will deny your and shew yourselves men in theyou reverence God’s law with your children these opportunities, you will behalf of the law; or by it shall yewhole being. You will not be willing to prevent yourself from excelling at your obtain glory.”live your life as a living sacrifice if you company, shouldn’t family be thedo not revere God. They also most important thing, isn’t life richerexemplified that we must show sin no with friends and you have deniedmercy because it will show no mercy yourself so much and you don’t knowto us. for a fact what will come of it. In orderToday we live in a society that has to withstand this assault we mustvery little use for the Word of God. remember what Mattathias told hisSure they like the veneer of God but if sons before he died:you pull back the thin layer of it yousee nothing but corruption. For those
  12. 12. Surrnded but not conquered As the picture on the left shows Israel was surrounded by hostile nations. During the reign of Antiochus strongholds were placed throughout the land of the Jews to ensure Hellenization was maintained. He set up men that would vex Israel: Philip a Phrygian was given Jerusalem, Andronicus was given Garizim, Apollonius to slay the young men and to sell the women and young children and of course Menelaus who despised his own people. Just like the woman was not afraid to die for God’s word; the Maccabees were not afraid to fight for God’s word and to be able to serve him without interference from the heathen. Now of course those same men set up did not simply allow Israel to begin to serve God in peace. In fact they brought multitudes like the sand of the sea to fight against them. However they did not know that the battle isnot won by strength or valor. They did not know that trustingin a rock shaped like a man could and would not save you.Which is why they repeatedly faced Judas and failed.Apollonius was killed in his fight against the Maccabees andwhen Seron a s Syrian prince decided to obtain fame bytrying to slaughter the Jews he was overthrown. In fact thesmall company led by Judas killed 800 men and the rest of them fled to Philistia. Howeverduring the rebellion of the Maccabees these strongholds were broken down and many ofthe enemies were removed. This information disturbed Antiochus and he decided to gathera great army to wipeout the children of Israel. Unfortunately this began to bankrupt him andhe had to go to Persia to obtain additional revenue. While he seek to build up additionalmoney he instructed Lysias to raise his son and to squash to the rebellion in Judah.
  13. 13. To ensure the that the strength of Israel was rooted out and decided to fast and call unto the Lord. They also brought thehe remnant of the people removed Antiochus gave Lysias half tithes and the first fruits as offering. They acknowledge that f his forces and all of his elephantry. He also instructed him without God they could not stand... lace strangers in the land that was inhabited by Israel. Just ! For thy sanctuary is trodden down and profaned, ke his father, Satan, Antiochus wanted remove the children ofGod immediately and would not be satisfied until no one would ! and thy priests are in heaviness, and brought low.emember who they were and more importantly who God was ! And low, the heathen are assembled together nd how to serve him. Being a good servant of the king; ysias worked hard to obey his instruction. Just like Satan’s ! to destroy us: what things they imagine against hildren obey the devil to fulfill his will. He gathered the mighty ! us, thou knowest. How shall we be able to standmen from the king’s circle of friends: Ptolemee, Nicanor, andGorgias. He also sent 40,000 foot men and 7,000 footmen to ! against them, except thou, O God, be our help.wipeout Israel. The fame of this army was known throughout ! ! ! ! I Maccabees 3: 51-53!he lands and even the merchants took gold and servants sohey could buy the This is something we need to remember and have to apply toemaining Israelites be acceptable to God; we cannot do anything without him and s slaves. yielding to Satan never helps. We must remember if we give our very best effort we will succeed. o what did Judaso when he saw the Now we all know that when Satan tempts you and you resistrmies coming near he just doesn’t give up and Lysias did not give up when hisheir borders? They first attack on Jerusalem was not successful. Instead he
  14. 14. Enemies like & sands of & seadecided to send 60,000 footmen and 5,000 horsemen to them besides the Indian that controlled the elephant. Insubdue them. Think about it Judas had 10,000 men and he addition Eupator had agitated the elephants with grape andhad to face a force of 65,000; that is 6.5 times the amount of mulberry juice.people. This is more proof that Satan will continue to upgrade When you readhis attack to break you. We have to remember that God will about the battlenot put more upon us than we can bear and we can do all in I Maccabeesthings Christ who strengthens us. 6 it says that the mountainsLysias did not win that battle and decided to regroup and glistened whenobtain more people to fight against the Jews. When the the sun shinednations surrounding Israel heard that Jews had rebuilt the upon themtemple and began to serve God there again they sought to because of theremove them form the earth: Edomites, Ammonites, the amount of armor this army had. For many people this wouldchildren of Bean and many others. Even when King Antioch be intimidating but Judas fought courageously. The Maccabeesdied of a painful bowel affliction the heathen did not stop did when that battle. However the fighting did not end with thepersecuting God’s people. Instead his son Antiochus Eupator death of the Judas or the death of his brothers. Until the evilescalated warfare with the children of Israel. root is removed from the children of God and Satan no longerI suppose he decided that footmen and horsemen would not has access to their minds and bodies he will be able to afflictbe sufficient. Eupator utilized an elphantry against the children them.of Israel as well. There were 1000 men for every elephant aswell as 500 horsemen. The men were heavily armed andprotected. There were wooden towers that had 32 men in
  15. 15. War Elephants by Drelen WilliamsAn army or war elephant was an elephant whowas trained and guided by humans for battle.These elephants were mainly used to charge atthe enemy and to trample upon them. Adivision or multitude of elephants are known aselephantry. These war elephants were firstcalled to battle in India. This practice then gotout into south east Asia and westwards into theMediterranean. They were famously used in theWest by a Greek general, Phyrrhus of Epirus.These war elephants were also used by thearmies of Cathrage. Later, in the Mediterranean,elephants were reduced in battle. This was dueto improved tactics in combat. The use ofcombat elephants came to a completeconclusion in the 19th century.This thenrestricted their use in labor roles.
  16. 16. TheFea$ of Dedication During the ninth month on the 25th day the temple was cleansed and theprofane items of the heathen were removed. A new altar was erected and thesacrifices were now being offered as they should be. It does not give the exactlength of time for the Abomination of Desolation unto the dedication. What we doknow is that there were shrubs growing in the sanctuary like it was part of thewilderness. The gates were burned down and the priest’s chambers were pulleddown as well.
  17. 17. "e fea# of De$cation & % Maccabees The Maccabees understood the importance of the sanctuary and why it was importantto cleanse it instead of building a fort to protect themselves against their manyenemies. Why? Because God was the one who protected them and it was vital torevere him. They had to praise God for the wondrous miracle that he worked on theirbehalf. The Greeks used seemingly endless cruelty and violence to wipe them from theface of the earth but they were still standing. They had defiled the temple but God hadenable them to restore the sanctuary so that they could serve him without theinterference of the wicked.It is written that the people fell upon their faces and praised the God of heaven for thesuccess that he had given them. Think about it they did not have to worry about beingburned alive for keeping the Sabbath day holy. They would not be forced to eat swine’sflesh or have to see the holy books burned before them.They were liberated from the reproach of the wicked. They also did not want to forgetwhat God had done for them so they decided to keep the feast of the dedication of thealtar for 7 days every year during the month of Casleu. The Temple was maintainedeven during the era of the Romans. It was only during 70AD that the temple was finallydestroyed.
  18. 18. %e Symbol"m of & TempleNone of us like abandon buildings or When they were able to return to build In order for us to truly be establishedlots. It is a very shameful thing to look it a second time it showed how God on the Words of Jesus; we have toupon. Now imagine if your home was was still with them and had not left make sure our temples our clean justvandalized and part of it was burned. them. He had not forgotten his like the Maccabees cleansed theYou would feel like it was one of the people. Israel was able for a short sanctuary. We have to removeworst forcible violations. A person’s period of time to serve God in peace anything that was used to reverencehome is often their most costly even though they were under the rule idols. Old bricks to untruepossession and has significant of others. philosophies must be cast out. Wesymbolism. Now think about what the need to carefully evaluate our lives to So you can see why the MaccabeesTemple meant to the children of God. make sure we are acceptable to be a were in great sorrow to see bushes inIt was the place where the priest temple of God. For God will not dwell what was suppose to be a holy place.would commune with God. It was a in a corrupt vessel. Caricatures were drawn in the oraclesplace where you could learn about of God. The altar was too corrupt to Our next step will be to do all acts ofthe truth and give offerings to the even use. Satan has always tried to righteousness no matter how small orAlmighty. When Israel was a violate the children of God whenever great: reading the bible daily,sovereign nation the temple was the possible. It started with the garden of worshiping God daily, meditating,most beautiful building in Israel and Eden with him entering into our singing praises, fasting, beingthe world. When it was violently minds. He had no right to be there baptized, assembling and worshipingburned to the ground it had a only God should have access to our God on the Sabbath, keeping thesignificant impact on the children of emotions and thoughts in that feasts days and paying tithes.God. intimate way.
  19. 19. Mel"sa Pointer au#or Our works This is not an all inclusive list and this does not mean that you will not have struggles, sacrificeor burdens during this life. The end result is worth it because if we get on the foundationsuccessfully we will gain eternal life. published by: Little Dove Publications ©2012