(Continued from Article III)

The following website gives an excellent documentation of the next ruler of note: Antiochus. (https://www.gotquestions.org/Antiochus-Epiphanes.html)

 “Antiochus, was a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire who reigned over Syria from 175 BC until 164 BC. He is famous for almost conquering Egypt and for his brutal persecution of the Jews.

Antiochus Epiphanes was a ruthless and often capricious ruler. He is properly Antiochus IV, but he took upon himself the title “Epiphanes,” which means “illustrious one” or “god manifest.” However, his bizarre and blasphemous behavior earned him another nickname among the Jews: “Epimanes,” which means “mad one.”

“An altercation between Antiochus Epiphanes and a Roman ambassador by the name of Gaius Popillius Laenas is the origin of the saying “to draw a line in the sand.” When Antiochus brought his army against Egypt in 168 BC, Popillius stood in his way and gave him a message from the Roman Senate ordering him to stop the attack.

 Antiochus responded that he would think it over and discuss it with his council, at which point Popillius drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and told him that, if he did not give the Roman Senate an answer before crossing over the line in the sand, Rome would declare war. Antiochus decided to withdraw as Rome had requested.”

By “withdrawing” Antiochus conceded utter defeat.

“But the most famous conflict connected to Antiochus Epiphanes is the “Maccabean Revolt”. During that time of history, there were two factions within Judaism: the Hellenists, who had accepted pagan practices and the Greek culture; and the Traditionalists, who were faithful to the Mosaic Law and the old ways. Supposedly to avoid a civil war between these two factions, Antiochus made a decree outlawing Jewish rites and worship, ordering the Jews to worship Zeus rather than Yahweh. He wasn’t just trying to Hellenize the Jews but to totally eliminate all traces of Jewish culture. Of course, the Jews rebelled against his decrees.”

“In an act of brazen disrespect, Antiochus raided the temple in Jerusalem, stealing its treasures, setting up an altar to Zeus, and sacrificing swine on the altar. When the Jews expressed their outrage over the profaning of the temple, Antiochus responded by slaughtering a great number of the Jews and selling others into slavery. He issued even more draconian decrees: performing the rite of circumcision was punishable by death, and Jews everywhere were ordered to sacrifice to pagan gods and eat pig flesh.”

“The Jewish response was to take up arms and fight. In 167—166 BC, Judas Maccabeus led the Jews in a series of victories over the military forces of the Syrian-Greeks.

“Antiochus Epiphanes is a tyrannical figure in Jewish history, and he is also a foreshadowing of the coming Antichrist. The prophet Daniel predicts an atrocity in the temple in the end times (Daniel 9:2711:3112:11).

 Daniel’s prophecy (9:27) concerns a coming “ruler who will cause the offerings to cease in the temple and set up “an abomination that causes desolation.” While what Antiochus did certainly qualifies as an abomination, Jesus speaks of Daniel’s prophecy as having a still-future fulfillment (Matthew 24:15–16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20–21). The Antichrist will model Antiochus Ephiphanes in his great pride, blasphemous actions, and hatred of the Jews.”

 The Temple had to be cleansed and the defiled altar rocks were moved to the east outside of the Temple called (Solomon’s portico/porch/colonnade) in the year B.C.. (Later on Jesus met there at times with his disciples, John 10:23.) In the midst of the cleaning, there was only enough oil to light the Temple for one night, but the light burned for eight nights – considered a miracle. This caused the Israelites to declare a festival called Hanukah/Chanukah.

 Many Gentiles often think Hanukah is the Jewish Christmas, however, Orthodox Jews do not celebrate Christmas, since they feel the Messiah is yet to come.

 Since Greece had “cursed” Israel, based on Genesis 12:1, God then disciplined Greece and there was no longer a Greek Empire.

 Greece was conquered by the Roman Empire led by the General Titus. General Titus also led his army to completely destroy Jerusalem and the Holy Temple exactly as Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) had prophesied (Matt 24:1-2) with not a single brick being left undisturbed. This brought about the Jewish “Diaspora” with Jews fleeing in all directions around the known world, this dispersal lasting for about 2000 years.

 Roman extreme Anti-Semitism changed the name of Israel to Palestine, which is derived from the root word Philistine. However, even though the few Jews left in the area, accepted the change in name, there never was, nor ever will be a Palestine, except to those who hate the God’s people.

 The Watering Down of the Sabbath in the First 300 Years

The Christian’s (mostly Jews) during the apostolic era, from about 35 to 100 A.D., kept Sabbath on the designated (by Almighty God) seventh day of the week.  For the first 300 years of Christian history, when the Roman emperors still regarded themselves as gods, (which they had for centuries) Christianity became an “illegal religion,” and God’s people were scattered abroad (Acts 8:1).

 Judaism, however, was regarded at that time as “legal,” as long as they obeyed Roman laws. Thus, during the apostolic era, Christians found it convenient to let the Roman authorities think of them as Jews, which gained them legitimacy with the Roman government.

 Prior to Constantine becoming Emperor he found he needed votes to come into power. He noticed the Christians in Rome had no political affiliation. He then asked them if they would vote for him. The Christians replied in the affirmative. 

 Due to the help of the Christian vote Emperor Constantine, a pagan sun-worshipper—came to power in A.D. 313. He legalized Christianity and made the first Sunday-keeping law. His infamous (to Christians) Sunday enforcement law of March 7, A.D. 321, reads as follows: “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.” (Codex Justinianus 3.12.3, trans. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 5th ed. (New York, 1902), 3:380, note 1.)

 Emperor Constantine, along with all other Roman Emperor’s considered himself divine. He stated “I am the Pontifact”, i.e. First Pope. John 14:6 was not considered, nor was John 3:3.

 The Sunday law was officially confirmed by the Roman Heirarchy, who felt however that Peter was the first Pope.  Breaking a Commandment of the Creator God, who wrote the The Ten Commandments in stone, the Council of Laodicea in A.D. 364 decreed, “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day, (Note: Initial AntiSemitism by the “Christian” Church).  If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ” (Strand, op. cit., citing Charles J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, 2 [Edinburgh, 1876] 316).

 For some strange reason, Protestants still attempt to justify Sunday worship even though it was instituted by a Sun god worshipper.

According to www.religioustolerance.org/sabbath.htm#move:Protestants use several scriptures to justify Sunday as a worship day: John 20:19 describes events on what we would call Sunday evening. “The disciples were gathered together”. Some have speculated that this might have been the first Sunday worship service.

 Others suggest that the text seems to imply that they were gathered together for their own protection, out of fear of attack by the Jews.

 Acts 20:7: Paul is described as preaching on a Sunday evening. It was evening, because the passage refers to lamps being lit. Some “Christians” promote this text as demonstrating that Paul held a religious service on a Sunday. Others suggest that he gave the teaching on what he would call Sunday evening but we would call Saturday evening; the first day of the week started at sundown on Saturday in 1st century AD Palestine.

 If Paul considered Sunday to be the Sabbath then he would not have set out on foot to Assos on Sunday morning. Walking on the Sabbath was forbidden.

 1 Corinthians 16:2: Paul instructs the “Christians” at Corinth that each of them is to lay aside some money every Sunday that would later be collected for the “Christians” at Jerusalem. Some interpreters believe that this might refer to a collection of money at a Sunday religious service.

 Others suggest that the text implies that the money was to be laid aside by each believer separately and privately, and to be saved up by each person independently.

 Primarily the following two scriptural texts are used by Christians to justify Sunday worship: Colossians 2:16-17: Paul writes: “…do not let anyone judge you…with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (NIV).

 Some people interpret the reference to “Sabbath” in this passage as authorizing “Christians” to celebrate (or not celebrate) the weekly Sabbath in any way that they wish. Others suggest that the “Sabbath” in this passage apparently refers to the Ceremonial Sabbaths, not the Weekly Sabbaths.

The verse in Colossians duplicates the text of Ezekiel 45:17 which reads: “…at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbaths – at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel.”

 Romans 14:5: Paul writes: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Some people interpret this passage as allowing “Christians” to either recognize or ignore the Sabbath, – or perhaps to select any day as the Sabbath.

 But others suggest from a reading of the subsequent verses that Paul is discussing fasting here, not religious observance. They would suggest that verse 1 of this chapter indicates that the passage relates to “disputable” matters (such as when or if to fast); the day of the Sabbath was not a disputable matter; it was a commandment from God.

 The phrase “considering every day alike” might mean that every day from Sunday to Friday were treated the same, as in the passage describing the collection of manna in Exodus 16:4

 There seems to be no internal evidence that would justify the “Christian” church changing the day from that commanded in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)-the 7th day or Saturday. However, in later centuries, moving from Saturday to Sunday certainly was beneficial if for no other reason than to improve the security of “Christians” by distancing “Christianity” from Judaism in the eyes of the government.

 The discussion, although perhaps pointless, (since God seems to appreciate worship on any day) goes on and on.

(More to Come)