Why Is the Land of Milk
Flowing with Blood and Tears?
Let’s continue a little further with the
time-line which gives foundation to learning some reasons why there
continues to be blood and tears in the Land of Milk and Honey.
Last time we left off with 975 B.C. 586 B.C.
Ezekiel received his vision of the Third
Temple in. (Ezekiel 40-48) It is a description of Israel in the land
during the Kingdom Age.
the book of Haggai was written
519 B.C.– 487 B.C.
These prophecy books are very interesting
studies, and usually jump ahead of their time. So to stick with trying to
answer the question stated in the title, we must look into history and
learn the events transpiring between Malachi and Matthew.
The close of the Hebrew Scriptures left
Israel in two great divisions. The northern nation for the most part was
carried off to Assyria and widely dispersed throughout the world. The
southern kingdom, Judah, was in captivity at Babylon and somewhat
dispersed throughout the Persian Empire, more as colonists than captives.
A remnant of the tribe of Judah with Zerubbabel, a prince of the Davidic
family, and the survivors of the priests and Levites, returned to the land
under the permissive decrees of Cyrus and his successors and established
again the Temple worship.
with this remnant that Bible students have been, and are mainly concerned
– the others having been assimilated among the nations to the point they
lost their identity.
period from Malachi to Matthew was not without an important history of
“Jews” – the nickname they became known by. After this point whenever one
spoke of “The Children of Israel” it meant this known “remnant” mainly of
the tribe of Judah, but also Benjamin, Levi and a mixture of a few devout
from among the 10 tribes who defected the northern kingdom because of the
idolatrous worship introduced by Jeroboam and the succeeding kings of
Israel. Now there was no longer a Kingdom of Israel. “The Kingdom of
Judah” was a kingdom only in the spiritual and cultural sense. They were
without a flag, without a civil government of their own, but functioned as
a “minority” under foreign Gentile rule.
Persian control continued about 100 years and was the most tolerant of the
Gentile rulers. They allowed priests to function, and along with religious
power, they had a measure of civil power under the governors of Syria (who
functioned under Babylon). During this period the rival worship of Samaria
was established in the northern part of Israel (John 4).
Syria fell under Alexander of Greece,
during which time the Jews were treated with much favor.
320 B.C. – 198 B.C.
When Alexander’s empire broke up into 4
pieces, Judah fell under the hammer and anvil of Syria and Egypt. Great
numbers of Jews were established in Egypt.
The Septuagint (Greek) translation of the
Bible was made by Jewish scholars there (285 B.C.).
Antiochus conquered Judah and annexed it
The land became the dowry of Cleopatra, a
Syrian princess married to the king of Egypt.
But on the death of Cleopatra, the land
was reclaimed by Antiochus Epiphanes.
Epiphanes plundered Jerusalem, profaned
the Temple and enslaved great numbers of the inhabitants.
December 25, 168 B.C.
Epiphanes offered a sow on the great altar
of the Temple, and erected an altar to Jupiter. Temple worship was
forbidden. The people were forced to eat pig meat and to desecrate many
other Biblical customs.
The revolt lead by the Maccabees was
provoked by Ephiphanes’ desecration of the Temple and persecution of the
people. Judas Maccabee regained possession of Jerusalem, purified and
rededicated the Temple. The event is celebrated to this day in the
Jewish festival “Chanukah” – meaning Dedication. In John 10:22,23, we
learn Jesus observed it.
Judas Maccabee was slain in battle and his
brother Jonathan succeeded him in leadership. Under him and his brother
Simon and nephew John Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean line of priest-rulers was
established and was suffered by the other powers.
Thus began a corrupted order of Temple
control. Under the order established by God through Moses, priests were
not to be kings and kings were not to be priests.
The Roman conquest of Judea and Jerusalem
He left Hyrcanus, the last of the
Hasmonians, in a nominal sovereignty; An Idumean, Antipater, was the
Antipater was made procurator of Judea by
Julius Caesar and appointed his son, Herod, governor of Galilee.
After Caesar was murdered and disorder was
the day in Judea, Herod fled to Rome.
40 B.C.—38 B.C.
Herod was appointed king of the Jews and
returned, married the beautiful granddaughter of Hyrcanus, Marianne, and
appointed her brother, the Maccabean Aristobulus III, high priest.
Judah was not guilty of idolatry after the
Babylonian captivity, but it was during that period, the rabbis put in
writing what is called “The Oral Law” – a great collection of tradition
known as Mishna and Gemara (forming the Talmud), and which was
superimposed upon the Law. Obedience was transferred from the Law itself
to the traditional interpretation. Midrashim (a manner of study), the
Halacha (an accepted application to the Torah) and Kaballa (a mystical
interpretation of Scripture) came into play.
There arose the two sects known as the Pharisees and Sadducees. What did
they believe and what was the difference? Acts 23:6-8.
Jesus appeared during this time when many,
including the Essenes, considered the Temple to be in the hands of a cult
that had departed from the Torah.
It is enlightening to study Jesus’ teachings
and His rebukes of the Judeans in charge of the Temple in the setting of
this religious and political atmosphere. We need to keep in mind that when
it says “the Jews” in the Gospels (especially during the week of Passion)
it is speaking, not of all Jews, but of the leaders in charge.
Yahshua died and at the same time the
Temple’s veil was split. He arose from the dead and appeared to many
during the next 40 days, culminating in his ascension from the Mt. Of
Ten days later on the festival of Shavuot
(Giving of the Law – Pentecost from the Greek) the believers in Yahshua
were filled with the Holy Spirit and the gospel began to be preached to
This took place in the Temple. While we
were living in Ramallah in the early 70’s, excavations at the Temple
Mount revealed a massive stairway on the southwest corner of the Temple
Mount, leading from Solomon’s porch, then a landing with the stairway
turning southward, ending at the intersection where two wide streets
came together. Then we understood how Peter could have preached the
Gospel to thousands – from the landing to the crowds below. Their
attention had been grabbed by the phenomenon of speaking in tongues by
Galileans who had not learned their languages.
The city of Jerusalem was sacked, the
Temple destroyed and the people taken into captivity, or fled for their
lives to the desert regions. The story of Massada occurred at this time
and was predicted by Jesus. (Luke 23:27-30)
From that time until the last century,
Judah, as well as the 10 northern tribes of Israel, has been in exile.
However there has always been a presence of Jews, though small, living
Between the years 250 A.D. and 1948 A.D.
During this period of 1700 years, Jews
have experienced more than 80 expulsions from various countries in
Europe – an average of nearly one expulsion every 21 years. Jews were
expelled from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain,
Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and 71 other countries.
You are no doubt acquainted with the history
of this bloody trail of pogroms, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades ---
many forms of anti-Jewishness crowned by Hitler and his Nazis.
But Germany isn’t the only country that
needs make an account of how the Jews were treated during our era.
England’s double-cross of the promises contained in the Balfour
Declaration -- the “White Paper” which limited the number of Jews
returning – even sinking boatloads of them. U.S.A., too, is certainly not
lily white as we turned a blind eye toward what was transpiring and
limited immigration to this country – best illustrated in the story of the
S.S. St. Louis. And perhaps the greatest crime of the Allies during WW II
was refusing to bomb the railroads that carried Jews to their deaths.
Not a pretty story. In it all Zionism was
born and Hertzl’s prediction of “50 Years” from the first Zionist Congress
till the nation was born proved to be a true prophecy.
Now, they have returned to what? They began
making it a land of milk and honey once again, but the struggles resulting
from her unwanted presence by her neighbors have brought a deluge of blood
The late Elmer Josephson and many other
prophecy teachers fully expected things would go better and better in the
Land after Israel became a nation again. The accomplishments there have
been staggering with resultant blessings worldwide, but the blood and
tears go on and intensifies.
Why? What is the solution? And the most
probing question is, what can we do about it?
Open for Discussion:
Question: Do you see anything in what we
have studied thus far that gives a clue?