The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 39 – Grasp this History in Order to Understand History of Old and New Testaments.
Copyright, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
—HISTORY BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS
* KEY VERSE–Da 9:16, Last Clause.
* KEY PHRASE–“A PEOPLE SUFFERING BECAUSE OF BROKEN COVENANT.”
Daniel forecasts the history of this period. Read as follows:–
* Sunday–Cruel World-Powers–Da 7:15-22.
* Monday–Persia (the ram) and Greece, (rough goat), Shall Wax Strong–Da 8:1-8.
* Tuesday–The vision interpreted–Da 8:15-22.
* Wednesday–Antiochus Epiphanes, the King of Syria–Da 8:23-27.
* Thursday–Daniel Prays for His People–Da 9:3-9…
* Friday–Four Persian Kings Shall Arise and then Alexander the Great–Da 11:1-5.
* Saturday–Antiochus Epiphanes Turns Against the Jews–Daniel 1:21-32.
GREAT PERIODS OF HISTORY:—
1. Persian, 200 Years.
2. Greek, 10 Years.
3. Egyptian, 119 Years.
4. Syrian, 41 Years.
5. Jewish, 100 Years.
6. Roman, 133 Years.
Great Period I. Palestine a Persian Province, 536-333 B. C.
The events of the book of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther occurred in the first 100 years, and Judah remained a Persian province for about 100 years after the close of the Old Testament history. While other Persian provinces were often in rebellion, the Jews kept loyal to the Persian King and rapidly increased in wealth and number.
An event of great interest was the building of the Samaritan Temple on Mt. Gerizim, and the setting up of rival Jehovah worship. It came about in this way: Manasseh, the brother of the Jewish High Priest married a daughter of Sanballat, the Persian governor of Samaria. This meant
that he to give up his priesthood in Judah. He, therefore, set up in Samaria, but a few miles from Jerusalem, a rival temple, with Jehovah worship, and the Pentateuch as their Bible. This led to a strife between the Jews and the Samaritans, which existed In the time of our Lord, Joh 4:20.
A second great event was the union of civil and religious powers, which gave the office of High Priest, and that of the governor of Judah, to the same man. The (nee thus became an object of great ambition, and some disgraceful contests for it took place. Joshua, brother of the High Priest, endeavored to secure the honor for himself but was slain by Jonadad in the temple itself. For this scandalous act, the Persians put a tax of 50 shekels or $33 on every lamb sacrificed in the temple. This was a great burden on the temple worship and discouraged sacrifices as much as it the state were to put a tax of $3 on every dollar given to missions.
LESSON–The union church and state is a great evil in any land. Here it led to the state claiming the right to appoint the High Priest, which would be equal to the governor of our state claiming the right to appoint whom he would as pastors of the churches. The office would become one of barter and sale. It also led to the state taxing the contributions of worship, and to the saturating of religion with politics.
Great Period II. Palestine Under the Greek Empire, 333-323 B. C.
Alexander the Great in a series of battles conquered the entire Persian empire and became the master of the world. While besieging Tyre, Alexander sent word to the high priest at Jerusalem demanding that he should transfer his allegiance to him, and send supplies for his army. Jaddua, the high priest, declared he must remain faithful to the Persians. Alexander then marched upon Jerusalem to the great alarm of the Jews. Sacrifices were offered prayers made unto God, and divine aid sought to appease the wrath of the invader. The high priest, clad in the full regalia of priestly robes, then formed a procession of the priests and people. He marched at the head of it without a sword or spear, with nothing but the sacred scriptures. When the Greek conqueror saw the venerable form of the high priest, he fell prostrate and adored the Holy Name written in golden letters on his hat. Alexander took the high priest by the hand, entered the city and granted them many religious liberties, including the exemption of tribute every seventh or Sabbatic year, when the Jews planted no crops. Da 1:6 tells of the transition of empires from the Persian to the Grecian.
Great Period III. Palestine Under the Kings of Egypt, 323-204 B. C.
On the death of Alexander, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel, Da 8:21-22, the empire was divided among four of his generals, and to Ptolemy, fell Egypt and Palestine. He treated the Jews with great harshness at first, sending some of them to Egypt. His son, Ptolemy II, is famous for founding the great library at Alexandria, Egypt, which has a magnificent collection of the writings of all nations.
Under his patronage, the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek and the famous vision is called the Septuagint–a word meaning “seventy” because 70 elders were sent from Jerusalem to Alexandria to do the translating. Greek had become the language of the world, and this was fortunate for the Bible writers, and indeed for us, for no other language has ever equaled it in expressing delicate shades of thought. The world now had the holy scripture in a language that almost every nation under the heaven could read. The translation was one of the memorable events of all time.
Ptolemy IV outraged the religious feelings of the Jews by entering the Holy of Holies of the temple. He was seized, however, with a supernatural terror and carried out half dead. In revenge for this, he oppressed the Jews in a scandalous manner. When his son came to the throne, he was but a child of five years, so the king of Syria took the opportunity of snatching Palestine away from Egypt.
Great Period IV. Palestine Under Syria, 204-163 B. C.
Antiochus III of Syria, having been badly defeated by the Romans, resolved to plunder the temple at Jerusalem, to -get funds to help him pay the indemnity. His treasurer, however, was struck speechless to the ground, as he was entering the sanctuary, and went back home in dismay.
Antiochus Epiphanes now comes to the throne of Syria. As his name means, he was illustrious, but only for cruelty and wickedness. Read Da 8:9-14. He went to war with Egypt and was successful, but the Jews heard he had been killed, at which they showed signs of great joy. Hearing of this be went to Jerusalem to punish them. He captured the sacred city, slew 40,000 Jews and sold a like number as slaves. To show his contempt for the Jewish religion, he sacrificed a hog (very much hated by the Jews as an unclean animal) on the altar of burnt offering. and sprinkled broth made from its flesh all over the building. He later made a frightful massacre until the courts of the temple ran with blood, and also carried away many into slavery. He then made a decree forbidding the Jews to offer up sacrifices up to God, to obey God’s laws, or to keep the Sabbath day. A statue of the heathen god Jupiter was erected in the temple, and Jewish sacrifices and public worship of God had to cease for three and one-half years. At length, God raised up a deliverer in the noble Maccabee family.
Great Period V. Jewish Independence Under Maccabees, 163-63 B. C.
A priest named Mattathias and his Live sons gathered around them a number of faithful men to deliver God’s people. The Syrians waged three campaigns against the patriots, but each time was unsuccessful. At length, civil war broke out in Syria itself, and peace was concluded with the Jews, with Judas Maccabees as govern. or of Palestine. The motto of his banner was Ex 15:11. The Jews then cleansed and rededicated the temple and public services were resumed. Judas being again at. tacked by the Syrians, applied to the Romans for help, but fell in battle before it came. His brother Jonathan succeeded him but being murdered, was followed by another brother, Simon. With the help of Rome, he established the kingdom and handed down the throne to his son, John Hyrcanus. At this time the Pharisees and Sadducees became strongly opposed to each other and caused a good deal of strife. A grandson of John sought to defend Jerusalem against the Romans under Pompey. 63 B. C., but after three months siege, the city was taken, the walls are broken down, and a yearly tribute to Rome imposed.
Great Period VI. Palestine Under the Romans, 63 B. C. to 70 A. D.
The Romans were now the masters of Judea. They sent a general named Herod to be king, and to please the Jews he pretended to accept their religion. In reality, he was a fierce and wicked man. Seeing that he was still hated, he decided to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, in hope that this would make the Jews more willing to have him rule over them. The temple, which then stood on Mt. Moriah, was the one built by the Jews after they had returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon. It was nearly 500 years old and was much broken and decayed. Herod took it down part at a time, and built it up again, with great stones of white marble, covered in places with silver and gold. Ten years were spent and ten thousand men were employed at the task before it was ready to be dedicated. A much longer time was spent in finishing the out-works, justifying the remarks of the Jews in Joh 2:20. When finished it was a magnificent temple, far superior to what it had ever been. It was destroyed, however, by Titus in 70 A. D., as our Lord prophesied in Mt 24:1-2.
The same Herod slaughtered the infants at Bethlehem, as told in Matthew 2:6-18, in an effort to destroy Jesus, who was born king of the Jews. He died, however, an unhappy death as told in Ac 12:23, while Christ’s kingdom has spread “where’er the sun doth its successive journeys run!”
The last 70 years of the Roman period belong to New Testament history and will be considered later.
1. The subjection of the Jews is a fulfillment of prophecy. Jerusalem has been under the rule of the Gentiles since 588 B. C. when Nebuchadnezzar first destroyed the city. For over 2,500 years the Jews have been under the sovereignty of the others, but have always been longing for the coming of the Lord in glory when Jerusalem shall again be the glory of the whole earth.
2. The Jews teach us to have unshaken faith and hope in the sure covenants of Jehovah.
3. The subjection and dispersion of the Jews were brought about by their sins and rejection of Christ. They would not have Him for their Saviour. The most dangerous and most ungrateful thing is the rejection of Christ. When Ulysses returned with a fond expectation to his home in Ithaca, his family did not recognize him. Even the wife of his bosom denied her husband, so changed was he by an absence of twenty years at the wars. Like Christ, he came unto his own, but his own received him not. The Saviour comes to us as He came to the Jews. What shall our answer be?
Questions on the Lesson
1. Why is this called the inter-biblical period?
2. Who forecasts the history of it?
3. Give the keyword and key verse.
4. Have you read your home readings?
5. Name the six great periods.
6. Tell about the building of the Samaritan temple.
7. Tell of the union of civil and religious powers.
8. What are some of the evils of the union of church and state?
9. How long was Palestine under the Greeks?
10. Tell how Alexander the Great took Jerusalem.
11. How long was Palestine under the kings of Egypt?
12. For what two things was Ptolemy II famous?
13. What is the meaning of the word Septuagint, and what was it?
14. How did Ptolemy IV outrage the feelings of the Jews?
15. How long was Palestine under Syria
16. Why did the king resolve to plunder the temple?
17. Tell about Antiochus Epiphanes.
18. How long were the Jews under the Maccabees?
19. Tell of the great work of Judas Maccabee.
20. At this period who became strongly opposed to each other?
21. What Roman general conquered Jerusalem and the date?
22. How long was Palestine under the Romans?
23. Whom did Rome send to be king of the Jews?
24. Tell about his rebuilding of the temple.
25. Tell about the slaughter of Infants and Herod’s death?
26. What three lessons from the history of the Jews?
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; — Titus 2:11-13 KJV