Hello friend, allow me to introduce myself, hear me loud and hear me well. I am the one and only semisynthetic diacetylmorphine, I was born 95 years ago in old Germany.
Hello friend, allow me to introduce myself, hear me loud and hear me well. I am the one and only semisynthetic diacetylmorphine, I was born 95 years ago in old Germany.
The name is all around, a pure white alkaloid.
Albert Niemann is my pa, the cocoa bush my creator.
I swing with Tarzan, party with Jane.
I am wild, ecstatic, and out of control, a true filthy bitch.
I have made it with Inca priests and their nobles,
fought wars with Bavarian soldiers.
Been with Freud, Coca-Cola too.
I am just a little German girl, I dare you to hold my hand.
Take me into your arms, feel me attack
your Central Nervous System.
I will give you the euphoria of loss, the rush of destruction.
I have watched century past,
taught amphetamines all that they know.
I party with airplane pilots,
steer the big yachts,
toot the trains,
and seen the moon.
Make sure your ski shoes are on tight,
I am going to crystalize your mind.
A bad dream I am not, I’m a horrifying reality.
Try me out once and you will see,
Mount Saint Helen’s blow cannot compete with mine.
I have destroyed professionals,
changed genius’s minds.
I have ruined relationships,
and destroyed more lives than Hitler can count.
I will steal your sleep so you will not make sense,
your behavior will be more irrational then a schizophrenic’s.
Your checks will be a rubber ball, credit obsolete.
You will trade your automobile for a fix,
turn your house into a Brothel.
The head whore will be you, your spouse being shared.
I will prolong your physical endurance,
retard your fatigue and hunger for a bit longer,
then whip you with a cat-o-nine tails.
Your heart will beat like the speed of light.
Your eyes will play golf,
you will look like a sweat house
and smell like a hog.
I am the Snow Queen, the Big “C,”
The Bitch of Destruction.
I will make you irritable and depressed,
but now you are mine and cannot leave me for not.
You will visualize the “not for reals,”
having fear and paranoia for breakfast.
Yes, I am extremely proud of myself,
for my word is law in the land of Crystals.
You will rob and kill for me,
you will vandalize your own mother for that rush of destruction.
I turn women into greedy, cheating, lying pros,
and men into impotent fools.
the name is Cocaine, Snowy Magic,
The Black Rose of deadened life.
by Curt Stowell
August 17, 1993
Wickedly the sign swells of contemptuous vacancy,
a myriad of rooms, big yard fenced in bloody stone.
Long is the stay, short and narrow the exit,
twenty years the bargain.
“Pretty Boy” of luxurious wealth,
why the confident walk, sleep of deep beauty?
Do you not know today you marry?
Can you not see the dark of day?
Pain, Hate, and Death the proprietary priests,
mandating monarchies of red of grey walls.
Rape, overdoses, murder run rampant and free,
have you any money?
End of war cannot be, it has not begun,
there are no warriors, only lost victors.
Time is not known of,
for “time” is plentiful.
Writ of Habeas Corpus breathes of abysmal tangencies,
thick putrid air, crimson steel of sour peanut butter.
With heavy of hand frightened horrifying eyes write,
a tune of cruel beauty the fat lady cannot carry.
A toast – Black Deceit
by Curt Stowell
September 21, 1990
If Jesus came to your house to spend some time with you,
If He came unexpected, I wonder what you’d do.
Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored guest,
and all the food you’d give to Him would be the very best.
And you would keep assuring Him you’re glad to have Him there.
That serving Him in your home is joy beyond compare.
But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door.
with arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in.
or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they’d been.
Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?
And I wonder – if the Savior spent a day or two with you,
would you go right on doing the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you go?
Or would you maybe change your plans for just a day or so?
Would you be glad to have Him meet your closest friends?
Or would you hope they stay away until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do
if Jesus came in person to spend some time with you.
One night, around ten o’clock, I was sitting on the back porch smoking a cigarette talking to God. While I was talking to Him, a movement in front and to the left caught my eye. Look at the rock.
The farthest hole, the one that is a brownish-yellow color (added that for the picture), shook rapidly and then stopped, like a leaf does when the wind blows it. It did it twice. There had been a slight breeze, but not enough to even blow the grass.
It appeared that the rock was winking at me. So I asked God if that was him or a leaf, and He did not answer my question.
The next morning, while I was having a cigarette, I looked at the rock and the leaf was no longer there, I figured the wind blew it away.
That night, again while I was smoking a cigarette, I looked at the rock and the leaf was back. This surprised me, so I got up to examine it, and there was no leaf. The hole goes all the way through. The light from the porch made it appear as though a leaf was in it.
Therefore I believe that it had been God talking to me since nobody else could make light shake. Aside from that, the things that I thought He said to me were proven to be true.
City of Rocks, 7th; A Climber’s Guide
By Globe Pequot
City of Rocks has been called Americas premiere granite sport climbing area. Tucked away in the enchanting high desert corner of Idaho state, this unique area continues to attract climbers from around the globe.The City of Rocks is renowned for its fascinating and often bizarre geography, plentiful moderate climbs as well as famous test-pieces of extreme difficulty. With an inviting combination of rustic western atmosphere, scenic camping and well protected climbs, the City of Rocks is a unique and refreshingly enjoyable experience.This seventh edition of City of Rocks – A Climbers Guide offers the most thorough and up to date information, maps and topos detailing over 750 high quality climbs. Also included are details on local amenities, camping, geology, biking, hiking and running trails, climbing lore, and other Idaho climbing spots to discover.
Rock Climbing Joshua Tree West
By Globe Pequot
Rock Climbing Joshua Tree West directs you to more than 2,300 rock routes in one of the most popular climbing destinations in the world. This comprehensive guide documents, with unprecedented detail, nearly every climb in the western region of this desert national park: Quail Springs, North Wonderland of Rocks, Lost Horse, Hemingway and Roadside Rocks, Real Hidden Valley, and Hidden Valley Campground and the Outback.
This guide features:
“No man can serve two masters for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will old to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24).
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, wherewithal shall we be clothed?
For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof ” (Matt 6:25-34).
(For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost – Rom 14:17).
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:13-14).
“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen,” (Matt 28:18-20).
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly things, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mk 16:15-18).
“And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it was withered away, because lacked moisture.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bear fruit a hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
They on the rock are they, which when they hear receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
And that which fell among thorns are they, which when they have heard go forth, and are choked with cares of riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart having heard the word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience” (Lk 8:1-15).
“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece,
And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.
And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
And they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere” (Lk 9:1-6).
“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Lk 18:27).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:1-2 & 14).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou has given me; for they are thine.
And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me that they may be one, as we are.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them ion thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them through the truth: thy word is truth.
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn 17).
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so sent I you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
The other disciples therefore said unto him, we have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (Jn 20:19-29).
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:13).
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up unto glory” (1 Tim 3:16).
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (Jas 4:7-8).
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:6-8).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 Jn 2:15-17).
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:
And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 Jn 5:13-15).
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:21).
“And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Rev 22:12-13).
By Martin Luther / Concordia Publishing House
This volume contains three works that exemplify and state Luther’s principles of Old Testament exegesis. All three are on less familiar Old Testament texts. All of these texts have, in Luther’s estimation, suffered from intolerable misapprehensions and interpretations. They stand in need of rescue from obscure translation and interpretation. The notes on Ecclesiastes (1532) admit that Ecclesiastes is one of the more difficult books of the Bible, but Luther points out that the “difficulties” arise because commentators have failed to understand the purpose of the book and have taken no intelligent approach to those strange ways of speaking called Hebraisms. He shows that Ecclesiastes does not condemn the creatures of God, it condems man’s depraved affections and desires. It does not promote ‘contempt of the world’ nor teach that we ought ‘to be in doubt about the grace and love of God toward us.
By Julia Floyd Jones / WestBow Press
Not everyone in prison deserves to be there, many are just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Many are innocent.
There are others that committed the crime they were convicted of but imprisonment is a much greater punishment than the crime itself. For example, if someone commits the act of rape and is then killed by another, has the killer committed a crime?
If a parent is without food for their child should they let the child starve or do what is necessary to feed them? According to our laws they have both broken the law, but God says otherwise.
Exodus 20:13, one of the Ten Commandments, says, “Thou shalt not kill.” He is talking about murder, not proper punishment.
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Ex 21:23-25).
Those that committed a crime without proper cause should be imprisoned accordingly, meaning that the punishment is equal to the crime.
For example, I did 9 years in Washington State for unarmed robbery. I did the act due to my need/desire for Cocaine. Was my sentence fair? It was more than fair, I got off easy. Twenty years later, in Texas, I was in my own backyard naked slamming dope and my neighbor’s 16 year boy saw me and because I was already a felon I did 3 years and have to register as a Sex Offender. Was my sentence fair? I would say no, but I don’t regret it because from that I got a personal relationship with Jesus.
You live next door to me and are told that I’m Sex Offender, but you aren’t told why I’m classified as one so you despise and and possibly fear me.
The person on the other side of you is a batterer, or robber, or drug dealer, or murderer, but you aren’t told that. Is the law on your side?
The laws are no longer made to protect the innocent, but to control the environment. Prisons are no longer used to keep the innocent safe; they’ve become profitable businesses.
The laws of God in the Old Testament still stand today unless Jesus has made a change in them. Jesus has not changed or altered the laws noted above, He redefined them:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;
But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whatsoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Matt 5:38-39).
It sounds like Jesus is saying that we should ignore cruelty and allow the wicked to continue as they are. On the contrary, He is telling us not to be evil like they are, to punish them with His love, i.e. to set the punishment equal to the crime. That is what God was saying when He created the eye for an eye law, but man is just too ignorant to understand Him. This my perception, I could be wrong.
If you have never done time you haven’t a clue what goes on behind those walls and writers of movies that have prison scenes in them obviously have not been incarcerated because trust me, it is an entirely different world. It’s nothing like jail. Prison is a cross between a kennel and being in a foreign country.
Have you ever had a nightmare where you wanted to scream out of fear but you couldn’t? If you have, welcome to the beginning of your stay in the penitentiary.
If you have a relative or friend behind bars and are undecided on whether you should send them money, I would say yes send it, even $10 is a lot in prison. I use Jpay to send money. Yet, do watch yourself because many will take advantage of your kindness.
Now that I’ve ran my mouth are you wondering if I respect the law? I respect God’s laws.
Do I trust the police? Usually, I’d trust a convict first, at least I know what they’ll do or not do. Yet, not all cops are bad. The media rarely tells us the good things that cops do, only the bad.
Do I trust politicians? What, do I sound stupid?
We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry
By G.K. Beale / IVP Academic
The heart of the biblical understanding of idolatry, argues Gregory Beale, is that we take on the characteristics of what we worship. Employing Isaiah 6 as his interpretive lens, Beale demonstrates that this understanding of idolatry permeates the whole canon, from Genesis to Revelation. Beale concludes with an application of the biblical notion of idolatry to the challenges of contemporary life.
Finding God in Unexpected Places
By Philip Yancey / Random House, Inc
An Atlanta slum. A pod of whales off the coast of Alaska. The prisons of Peru and Chile. The plays of Shakespeare. A health club in Chicago. For those with eyes to see, traces of God can be found in the most unexpected places. Yet many Christians have not only missed seeing God, they’ve overlooked opportunities to make him visible to those most in need of hope.
In Finding God in Unexpected Places, Philip Yancey serves as an insightful tour guide for those willing to look beyond the obvious, pointing out glimpses of the eternal where few might think to look. Whether finding God among the newspaper headlines, within the church, or on the job, Yancey delves deeply into the commonplace and surfaces with rich spiritual insight. You’ll journey from Ground Zero to the Horn of Africa, and each stop along the way reveals footprints of God, touches of his truth and grace that will prompt you to search deeper within your own life for glimpses of transcendence.
I wouldn’t say that knowledge of the period between the Old and New Testaments is necessary to understanding the four upcoming Gospels, but then again, it can’t hurt.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt 22:37-40).
By reading “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan you will understand exactly what Jesus meant and the Holy Ghost will walk you through it.
I buy most of my books from Christianbook.com because they have the best prices and I don’t want to contribute to Jeff Bezos if I don’t have to. When Amazon first came out and it was just a book store he was good, but now as a billionaire he has become evil and greedy.
With the Old Testament canon closing with Malachi at about 397 B.C. we see that this period between Malachi and Matthew covers some 400 years.
This 400 year interval has been called “the dark period” of Israel’s history in pre-Christian times, because during it there was neither prophet nor inspired writer.
With this period we seem to find the sad fulfillment of Psalm 74:9 upon Israel:
“We see not our signs; there is no more any prophet; neither is there among us any that knoweth how long”.
The condition of the Jews as a nation and race at the beginning of this 40 year period should be kept in mind. Two hundred years earlier Jerusalem had been overthrown and the Jewish people were carried into the Babylonian exile (606-586 B.C.) as punishment for their unfaithfulness to God.
At the end of this 70 year punishment period, the Babylonian empire, having been overthrown and succeeded by that of Media-Persia (536 B.C.), Cyrus, the Persian emperor, issued a decree permitting the return of the Jews to Israel. Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, some 5,000 Jews returned.
Some 20 years after their return, after many setbacks, the building of the Temple was completed in 516 B.C. Then after another 58 years had passed, in 458 B.C., Ezra the scribe returned to Jerusalem with a small group of Israelites and restored the Law and the ritual.
Still another 13 years later, in 445 B.C., Nehemiah had come to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and become governor. Now, once again, there was a Jewish state in Judea, though of course under Persian rule.
Such, then is the picture of the Jewish people at the beginning of the 400 year period between Malachi and Matthew:
The Jewish Remnant back in Judea for about 140 years (536-397 B.C.);
Now, if we are to appreciate the Jewish community as it re-emerges in the pages of the New Testament, we need to look at their political development as well as their religious development.
Viewed politically, the course of the Jewish nation in Palestine reflects the history of the different world-empires which ruled Palestine. The one exception to this was the Maccabean revolt, which resulted for a short period of time in there being an independent Jewish government.
Jewish history during those 400 centuries between the Testaments runs in six periods:
The Persian rule over Palestine, which commenced with the decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C. for the return of the Jewish Remnant, continued until 333 B.C., when Palestine fell under the power of Alexander the Great (the third of the Gentile world-empires foretold by Daniel).
This means that at the end of the Book of Malachi the Jews were still under Persian rule, and remained so for about the first 60 years of the inter-Testament period.
Persian rule seems to have been tolerant. The high priest form of Jewish government was respected with the high priest being given an increasing degree of civil power in addition to his religious offices, of course he was responsible to the Persian governor of Syria.
Alexander the Great is a phenomenon in history. Catapulted into leadership through the assassination of his father when he, Alexander, was but twenty years of age, and he transformed the face of the world, politically, in little more than a decade.
“He is the “notable horn” in the “he-goat” vision of Daniel” (Dan 8:1-7).
In his march on Jerusalem, he not only spared the city, but also offered sacrifice to Jehovah and had the prophecies of Daniel read to him concerning the overthrow of the Persian empire by a king of Grecia. (Dan 8:21.)
Thereafter he treated the Jews with respect and gave them full rights of citizenship with the Greeks in his new city, Alexandria, and in other cities.
This in return, created decidedly pro-Greek sympathies among the Jews, and, along with Alexander’s spreading of the Greek language and civilization, a Hellenistic spirit developed among the Jews which greatly affected their mental outlook afterward.
This is the longest of the six periods of the inter-Testament period. The death of Alexander resulted in a period of time of confusion which was resolved by a four-fold break-up of Alexander’s empire under four generals: Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Cassander and Selenus.
These are the four “notable ones” which take the place of the “great horn,” as predicted in Dan 8:21-22.
After severe fighting, Judea, along with the rest of Syria fell to Ptolemy Soter, the first of the Greek kings to rule over Egypt. The beginning of the Ptolematic Dynasty.
For a time Ptolemy Soter dealt harshly with the Jews, but afterwards became just as friendly. His successor, Ptolemy Philadelphus, continued this favorable attitude. His reign is notable in that the famous Septuagint (Greek language) translation of the Old Testament Scriptures was made from the Hebrew onto the Greek language.
We see the importance of this when we realize that the Greek language had now become the language of the civilized world. The Jews were so numerous in Egypt and North Africa that such a translation had become a necessity. The Septuagint came into general use well before the birth of Jesus and was still in use during the time Jesus was on earth and was quoted by Jesus.
When Ptolemy Philopater (fourth Ptolemy) died, his successor, Ptolemy Epiphanies, was only five years old. Antiochus the Great seized his opportunity and in 204 B.C. invaded Egypt. Judea, with other territories, soon after became annexed to Syria and so passed under the rule of the Seleucidae.
There are two points about this period. First, it was at this time that Palestine was divided into the five sections which we find in the New Testament. (Sometimes the first three of these collectively are called Judea.) These different provinces are:
Secondly, this Syrian period was the most tragic part of the inter-Testament era for the Jews of Judea. Antiochus the Great was harsh toward the Jews. So was his successor.
Yet the Jews in Judea were still permitted to live under their own laws, administered by the high priest and his council. But with the accession of Antiochus Epiphanies (175-164 B.C.) a “reign of terror” fell upon the Jews.
In 170 B.C. Jerusalem was plundered, the wall torn down, the temple desecrated, temple sacrifices were abolished, the Holy of Holies was stripped of its costly furniture, Jewish religion was banned, a pig was sacrificed on the altar and the Temple at Jerusalem was rededicated to Jupiter Olympus with a statue of Jupiter Olympus erected on the altar and the people were subjected to monstrous cruelties.
This excessiveness by Antiochus provoked the Jews to revolt and resist.
Judas, known as Judas (Hebrew word for hammer), gathered around him a large army of guerilla fighters and after several victories assumed the offensive.
Jerusalem was captured, the temple refurnished, and on 25th of December the anniversary of it being polluted three years earlier, the orthodox sacrifices were reinstituted (which date the Jews still observed as the Feast of the Dedication: (see Jn 10:22).
Judas Maccabeus also captured the chief posts up and down the land.
Antiochus contemplated revenge against Judas, but a defeat in Persia, in addition to the successive defeats in Jude, seemed to have brought upon him a superstitious dread which developed into a fatal sickness. He is said to have died in a state of raving madness.
What seemed to be a deliverance proved to be the deadliest crisis to come. Antiochus’s son was very young. Lysias was the self-appointed Syrian regent. He invaded Judea with an army of 120,000 and defeated Judas and his army at Bethsura.
Judas and his men retreated to Jerusalem which was placed under siege. But just when it seemed hopeless because of a rival regent at the Syrian capital, Lysias suddenly persuaded the young son of Antiochus to make peace with Judea – promising them the restoration of all their religious liberties. Thus the Maccabean revolt was crowned with success.
Further troubles arose later, however, from a new successor on the Syrian throne, Demetrius. During this period Judas Maccabeus was killed.
In 143 B.C. Simon, the brother of Judas assumed leadership of the army. He was able to capture all other Syrian strongholds in Judea and forced the Syrian garrison in the citadel at Jerusalem to surrender.
Thus Judea was freed of all alien troops; and from that time (about 142 B.C.) was once again under independent Jewish government. Except for one short lapse, this continued until Judea became a Roman province, in 63 B.C.
The Herod family now appears on the scene. Antipater, the father of the Herod who reigned at the time of our Lord’s birth, managed to secure the support of Roman general Pompey to gain control of Judea.
The result was a siege of Jerusalem which lasted three months with Pompey taking the city. Pompey with disregard for the Temple strolled into the Holy of Holies – an action which at once estranged all loyal Jewish hearts toward the Roman. That was 63 B.C.
Pompey’s subjugation of Jerusalem ended the period of Judea’s regained independence. Judea now became a province of the Roman empire. The high priest was completely deprived of any royal status, and retained priestly function only.
The governing power was exercised by Antipater, who was appointed procurator of Judea by Julius Cesar in 47 B.C.
Antipater appointed Herod (his own son by marriage with Cypros, and Abrabian women) as governor of Galilee, when Herod was only fifteen years old. In about 40 B.C., after appealing to Rome, Herod was appointed king of the Jews.
Herod seeking to ingratiate himself with the Jews married Marianne, the granddaughter of a former high priest, and by making her brother Aristobulus high priest. He also greatly increased the splendor of Jerusalem, building the elaborate temple which was the center of Jewish worship in the time of our Lord.
However, he was as cruel and sinister as he was able and ambitious. He stained his hands with many murders. He slew all three of his wife’s brothers – Antigonus, Aristobulus and Hyrcanus.
Later he murdered even his wife. Again, later, he murdered his mother-in-law. And still later he murdered his own sons by Marianne. This is that “Herod the Great” who was king when our Lord was born.
Such then, in brief, is the political history of the Jews in Palestine during the 400 year period between Malachi and Matthew.
Such then, in brief, is the political history of the Jews in Palestine during the 400 year period between Malachi and Matthew. Yet, what they were doing then they are still doing today but worse and they are now global.
The Roman Empire was in full control during the time of the New Testament.
You do not have to read far into the pages of the New Testament to realize that some great changes have come upon the Jews and the Jewish nation in Judea, since the last writer of the Old Testament laid down his pen.
It is not simply that Palestine has changed hands half a dozen times. There are new sects or parties: Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians.
There are new institutions: Synagogues, Scribes, and the Sanhedrin.
These changes – the rise of these new sects and institutions, and the evolutions of Judaism (the evolving of the people and their religion around the Old Testament Scriptures into one and the same have come about during those 400 years between the Old Testament and the New.
This in itself shows the importance attached to the inter-Testament period. Let us now briefly look at these religious developments.
To begin with, if we are to understand in general the spirit and trend of the Jewish community during that stretch of centuries we must appreciate the profound impact made upon the nation by the Babylonian exile.
The Jews went into that exile with what seemed to be a hopelessly incurable infatuation for idolatry; the majority of them emerged from it and believed in the one true God. Yet, once Jesus was born all hell broke loose because they defied Him.
Therefore, as Jesus said, their true god is:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (Jn 8:44).
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan (Rev 2:9).
It is a fact, that 95-99% of the Jewish people worship foolish stone idols and by doing so, whether they realize it or not, they worship Satan himself. You cannot worship the devil and Jesus:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word was made flesh…(Jn 1:1, 14).
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…(1 Tim 3:16).
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils (1 Cor 10:21).
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (Rev 3:15-16).
The Law now became the standard of holiness and the symbol of nationality. Thus the rise of the local synagogue. For here the Scriptures were read and expounded by the scribes.
The basic idea of the synagogue was instruction in the Scriptures, not worship, even though an elaborate liturgical service developed later, with public prayers read by appointed persons, and responses made by the congregation.
Also, since the public reading of the Law had now to be by translation into the Aramaic tongue which the people learned in Babylonia (Neh. 8:8, where such translation is implied), the transition from translation to exposition and even to discourses was easy, though no doubt it took place gradually.
That such synagogue discourses were common in our Lord’s time is seen in such references as Matt 4:23, 9:35; Lk 4:15, 44; Acts 5:15, 14:1, 17:10, and 18:19.
Who and what were the scribes? We read of scribes away back in Old Testament times, but they must be distinguished from that further order of scribes which developed during the inter-Testament period and had acquired such important status in our Lord’s time.
It is not difficult to see how, when once this new order of scribes came in, it rapidly gained great power. The very nature of this new Judaism was to make every Jew personally responsible for the keeping of the whole Law.
Therefore, “a definite rule” had somehow to be extracted from the Law to cover practically every activity of daily life. This endeavor to make the Law such a detailed code created a complex and sometimes acute problem.
To accomplish this, there had to be a body of trained experts, who made the study of the Law the great business of their lives.
Thus the scribes who we meet in the Gospel narratives were a class of professional experts in the interpretation and application of the Law and the other Old Testament Scriptures. In the Greek of the New Testament their usual title is the plural, grammateis, translated as “scribes.” Less frequently they are called “lawyers”, nomikoi.
It is with Ezra that the office of the scribe reaches a new dignity. In Neh 8:1-8 we see Ezra elevated in a pulpit, reading and expounding and applying the Law and with Levite assistants, “causing the people to understand the Law.”
And still today, those that practice Judaism live by the Law, not by Faith (faith and grace both mean belief in Jesus Christ).
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Rom 6:14).
It doesn’t matter if you believe in God as our creator, if you do not have faith in Jesus Christ you are under the law and therefore under Satan.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to Go must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Heb 11:1, 6).
And if you are under the law:
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword (the law) shall perish with the sword (Matt 26:52).
The Pharisees must be distinguished from the scribes. Again and again in the Gospel narratives they are mentioned in conjunction with the scribes, but although this reveals closeness of affinity it does not imply oneness of identity.
The Pharisees were an ecclesiastical party, held together by their peculiar aims and views, whereas the scribes were a body of experts in a scholastic sense. Certainly a man might be both a Pharisee and a scribe; and the fact is, that practically all the scribes were Pharisees in outlook and association; yet the two fraternities were different from each other.
It was inevitable that the Pharisees should have much in common with the scribes, those specialist in the Written Law, and in the ever enlarging Oral Law (The Oral Law was that complex code of application of the Written Law to every area of one’s life and activities).
The origin of the Pharisees as a movement may be compared to a river which flows underground for some distance before coming to the surface and flowing visibly onwards. The spirit and attitudes of the Pharisees were present in post-exile Judaism long before the sect took its historical form under the name “Pharisees.”
The thing, however, that eventually crystallized them into a clique or sect was a body of Jews, primarily made up of the priests, whose goal and interest was the worldly aspects of religion and politics. These two groups provoked each other into existence. Thus we have the Pharisees on one side and the Sadducees on the other.
The Pharisees as a body were influential way beyond their numbers. According to Josephus the number of Pharisees in Herod’s time was only about 6,000. Yet, despite their small number, they had in fact such a hold on the popular mind that no governing power could afford to disregard them.
The mark of the Pharisee – the ritualist – is that he is always ADDING TO – He is not content with the written Word of God, and with the plain truth of the Gospel. He must start adding his own ideas and ordinances, until religion and salvation are a highly complicated matter.
This is just what the Pharisees did, until, with the weight of their accumulated religious ceremonies and observances, they made religion a burden too heavy for men to bear.
The Sadducees seem to have been in the first instance neither a religious sect nor a political party, but a social clique. Numerically they were a much smaller body that the Pharisees, and belonged for the most part to the wealthy and influential priestly families who were the aristocrats of the Jewish nation.
The leaders of the party were the elders with seats in the council, the military officers, the statesmen, and officials who took part in the management of public affairs. With the mass of the people they never had much influence; like true aristocrats, they did not greatly care for it.
Their one ambition was to make themselves indispensable to the reigning prince, that they might conduct the government of the country according to their own views.
The Sadducees held, like most modern politicians, that the law of God had no application to politics. If Israel was to be made great and prosperous it must be by well-filled treasuries, strong armies, skillful diplomacy, and all the resources of human abilities.
To expect a Divine deliverance merely by making the people holy, they accounted as sheer and dangerous fatalism.
As a body they rejected totally the Oral Law accumulated by the scribes and held to by the Pharisees, and professed to stand by the Written Law alone; though, even their stand on the Written Law alone was done so with great skepticism.
Matthew 22:23 and Acts 23:8 show how skeptical was their attitude to the Written Law, for we are told that they denied the bodily resurrection, and did not believe either in angels or spirits.
Thus, we can understand how intolerable to such a group was the teaching of Jesus and His Messianic claims. Their hatred is measured by their readiness to consort even with the detested Pharisees in order to kill Him.
It was the Sadducees, in fact, who were directly responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion (compare Lk 3:2; Jn 11:49, 18:13,14,24, 19:15; Mk 15:11).
The mark of the Sadducee – the rationalist – is that he is always TAKING FROM. He cannot accept the written Word of God in its entirety, nor the truth of the Gospel as it stands without drastic deletions.
Everything must be tried at the bar of human reason. This, that, and the other thing must be cut out to make faith reasonable and tenable. This was precisely the attitude of the Sadducee. He could not or rather would not, believe either in angels or demons, either in the resurrection of the dead or in any other miracle.
In Matt 22:16, Mk 3:6 and 12:13 we find yet another Jewish clique, namely, the Herodians. There is no explicit information as to their original banding together, but their very name, of course, speaks of the role.
Whatever the religious preferences of its members may have been, the group as such was in no sense a religious cult or union. This is a political group and the leading aim of its members was to further the cause of the Herod government.
Whether they were directly connected to the Herod household or throne is mere conjecture, but obviously the ready seal of royal approval would be theirs.
We can well imagine that many would consider it sound policy to strengthen the hold of the Herod house on Jewish leaders and public. What could be wiser than to back the Herodian throne, which enjoyed the favor of Rome, and thus giving Judea the protection of that mighty empire?
Many would see in the Herods the one Jewish hope of separate national continuance; the one alternative to direct heathen rule. Others would be inclined to favor a blend of the ancient faith and Roman culture such as the first Herod and his successors had sought to effect as the highest consummation of Jewish hopes.
This group was hated by the Pharisees. The two parties were bitterly intolerant of each other, which makes the consorting of the Pharisees with the Herodians against our Lord all the more astonishing.
The mark of the Herodian – the secularist – he cared neither for adding to nor taking away from. Like the careless Galileo, he “cared for none of these things.”
The written Word of God, the message of the Gospel was far from his first concern. His prime consideration was the life that now is. What does it matter that a heathen Herod reigns on a throne made crimson with crime so long as material interests are furthered?
While the ritualist Pharisee was busy adding to, and the rationalist Sadducee was skeptically taking away from, the secularist Herodian was heedlessly passing by.
The Sanhedrin was the supreme civil and religious tribunal of the Jewish nation. The supreme judicial and administrative council of the Jewish people. With that representative body must lay forever the real responsibility for the crucifying of Jesus Christ.
The Sanhedrin consisted of 71 members, made up, so it would seem, of:
Twenty-two “scribes,” who were the expert interpreters of the law in matters both religious and civil.
Jesus Christ presumably had in mind the president and 70 senators of the Sanhedrin when He chose His 70 representatives and co-workers, as recorded in Luke 10., just as He had the twelve tribes of Israel in mind when He appointed the twelve apostles.
His choice of those 70 was prophetic perhaps, among other significances that the authority of that old-time Jewish court was indeed now passing away in favor of a new “70” under His own presidency.
There is, yet, one very important aspect of the old-time Judaism which we must not on any account overlook. It is not only courts and schools and leaders and parties which compose a nation, but those thousands and thousands of individuals who are only known anonymously and collectively as “the common people.”
These common people, far removed from the pomp of earthly courts and the strife of factions and the heated atmosphere of political and religious fanaticism were waiting for the consolation of Israel.
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Rev 22:3).
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).