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PRELUDE
PRELUDE   The Times Before His Birth

Scope:  God developed His plan and purposes through an amazing series of Glimpses in the Old Testament and other recorded events.   He allowed these Glimpses to develop into a full panoramic view.  Being able to see this allows us to  better understand His plan and purpose.  This Prelude has been developed for this reason so people will have a background about  these historical and spiritual Glimpses.  Another important purpose is to create a desire for people to further their study of the scriptures in detail which will bring them closer to God.

Preliminary Background Ideas:

The Prelude section of your display needs sufficient space because it is extremely important to “set the stage” for His coming in “The Fullness Of Time” or “When The Time Was Ripe.”

Dates:  In this text, the designation B.C. is used. Some people prefer to use the designation B.C.E.  to stand for “Before The Common Era.” Remember, there was no Zero Year.
Jesus was born in 5, or possibly 4 B.C.  This is drawn from the fact that King Herod died in 4 B.C.  Also, just after the Magi came to Herod, he ordered the murder of all the baby boys of two years and under who were in the area. Herod may have calculated that the birth was about a year before, but he wanted to be sure that the new king would be killed so he issued a decree to kill those who were (or appeared to be) two years or under.

There are several  signs that are very important to have in the beginning of the Prelude.  Please look carefully at these suggestions below and select ones that you feel will work well with your presentation.

The following is a  suggested  sign that can be placed  at the front  Entrance before the guests advance into the display.   

"Our Bethlehem Experience is divided into four Sections: PRELUDE – people and events before His birth;       TOWN AT 5 B.C., during His birth;      POSTLUDE – events which happened after His birth; and FUTURE - events which are yet to take place."


Signs to place as the guests begin the  Prelude:
"WELCOME TO THE TIME BEFORE THE BIRTH OF JESUS, THE MESSIAH (in Hebrew, "the Anointed") (in Greek, CHRISTOS)"

(sign)   God's TEXT MESSAGE to us.

Who can be the Messiah be and  will He be capable of being the ruler of the whole world? Upon His shoulders will have to be the responsibility of governing the whole world.

These signs relate to the fullness of time (Pleroma).      
First suggestion: "When ,the fullness (“pleroma”) of time (“chrono”) had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law."  (St. Paul, in Galatians 4:4) 
Second suggestion:  How Do We Know That The Time Was Ripe ?   We are given the proof that the time was right as we begin to look at the important events and situations which came about before, during, and after His birth.

Suggestions to enhance the signs used in the presentation:
- You may like to write some of the Biblical names of people in  Hebrew/Aramaic or  Greek.   These can be found on the Internet. This may create an interest for people to study the  people and languages of the Bible with greater diligence.
- The signs are indicated with the word (sign) to identify them apard from explanatory notes made for you.

The signs that have a year indicated on them should be placed in date order. In this Prelude time period, the dates B.C. would be in descending order. So the “oldest” larger number signs are the first ones a visitor encounters and the lower B.C. dates are closer to the Town at the time of Jesus.

An actor or actors can be used in the Prelude to depict some of either the individuals mentioned in the Hebrew Old Testament or to show some general cultural or religious practices.

Some signs with longer very important texts can be printed out by computer onto paper or card stock and be laminated or placed into clear plastic individual protectors to protect from the weather.

Some signs might be displayed on a computer or video screen in sequential order.
The signs might change every several seconds, giving the guests to read and
understand each sign.

Several signs include QUESTIONS asked by people at specific times when events took place.   The reason for these questions are explained on the sign.

The following is a background reading for those in charge of the Christmas displays or presentations.  It is related what is seen  Godly and Ungodly past and present.  

Suggestion:    HAVE TWO PATHS or ways that go thru the Prelude. These paths are parallel, but just a few feet apart, so that people can easily read and see what is on both sides. The two paths do NOT have to be labeled as such, if both paths are closely adjacent, the visitors should quickly be able to understand which path is the Ungodly one of the idolaters and wicked and also understand that the other way is the path of God’s blessing and the people, such as those in Hebrews 11, who earnestly looked for God.

ONE of the paths would be showing replicas of the idols and heathen images (or drawings, photos) of some of  the heathen gods and goddesses of the:  Canaanites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Ur, kings being gods for the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrian, Chinese, Japanese, African and south Asian indigenous and animistic religions. Portions of the Egyptian “Book of The Dead” could be displayed. And the mummification of the dead Egyptian kings to give them eternal life.

THE OTHER PATH would show the lives of those who walked in the light that God gave, including some of the heroes of faith (Hebrews chapter 11) and some of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs who were ancestors of Jesus. This is the way of blood sacrifices and true repentance and following God. Many miracles also are done by God during the Prelude.  Care is needed in the lighting and general appearance of the two different paths. The path of the idolaters should NOT be shown as only dark and dreary, because Satan often makes it attractive and exciting. The path of God’s blessing is also not continuously bright and  exciting. Perhaps the best is to show both paths as being about the same in illumination and attractiveness.

(sign)  GOD put ADAM & EVE IN THE BEAUTIFUL GARDEN OF EDEN. GOD WALKED AND TALKED WITH THEM IN THE GARDEN. ADAM & EVE SINNED in the GARDEN AND DID NOT OBEY GOD. They tried to hide from God. God COVERED Adam and Eve’s nakedness by SACRIFICING an animal, shedding its BLOOD and using the skin to make clothing for the two naked sinners.  Note:  A map could be used here of Mesopotamia.  

(sign)  GOD SENT NOAH, A PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, TO A WICKED AND VIOLENT GENERATION.  

 (sign)   Before Abraham, we have a number of archaeological sites that showed the lives of people of different cultures. 

(sign)   2700BC:  Many of the most spectacular pyramids were built in Egypt (show photo). 

(sign)   Egyptian Pharohs (kings) were thought by many people to be gods.  Additionally, each city  and town had its own god.  It has been said they had  over 50,000 gods.  Picture suggestions: Egyptian gods.  

(sign)   In the present country of Iraq (ancient Mesopotamia), people wrote on clay tablets in a cuneiform script(this goes back to about 3200 BC) and thousands of these tablets have been found.  Pictures/replicas  Suggestion:    You might like to show pictures of the tablets or present a display with replicas of them which you could make yourself.

Abraham:
(sign)   About 2,000 B.C.  - God called ABRAHAM out of his father’s home in the City of Ur and brought him to Canaan.  Abraham was often faithful to God and trusted Him. God said, “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:3)  Question:  How could ALL the families of the earth be blessed?   Perhaps they will be blessed by the Messiah when He comes ?  Suggestion: Map showing Abraham's travels.

(sign)   Abraham/Abram was given bread and wine by Melchizedek King of Salem [perhaps Jerusalem] and Priest of God Most High. Melchizedek blessed Abraham saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Maker of Heaven and Earth.”
About 2,000 years later, Jesus, on the night before His Crucifixion during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, told His Disciples to use the unleavened bread and the fruit of the grape vine in the cup as a memorial of His pure flesh and pure blood which He was going to give for them. Since then, the Church around the world has remembered Jesus with these two elements.
It is interesting to note that, Almost 2,000 years after the time of Jesus, those two food elements were consumed ON THE MOON in a Christian commemoration of the Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, The Messiah.  That was JULY  20, 1969, by Astronaut Buzz Aldren, of Apollo 11, at Tranquility Base in the Eagle Lunar Lander, the first time men were on the moon.

(sign)   Abraham and Sarah by a miracle of God were given a son, ISAAC, in their old age. 

(sign) 
IS A SUBSTITUTE SACRIFICE EVER ACCEPTABLE TO GOD?  God provided an ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE SACRIFICE  for the life of Isaac - after both Abraham and Isaac were making the offer and were willing to complete the sacrifice.    A kosher ram was provided by God to be sacrificed instead of Isaac.  This took place on MOUNT MORIAH, (in what later became JERUSALEM).    About 1,000 years later (approximately 1000BC) ,  the site of the substitute sacrifice it was the  grain threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  
King David purchased that place to be a location of sacrifices for sins and for thanksgiving.  About 966 B.C. , KING SOLOMON BUILT THE FIRST TEMPLE on that Mount which became known as the TEMPLE MOUNT.    (1 Kings 6 and  2 Chronicles 3)    

Job: 
(sign)   The O.T. records that  at some unknown time,  The Godly man, JOB of the Land of Uz understood that His Redeemer already lived and that , Job, even though he would die, would someday see with his own eyes his Redeemer.  

(sign)   About 1900 B.C., some SEMITIC PEOPLE ARE SHOWN ENTERING EGYPT as traders (on a tomb painting at Beni Hasan).   Perhaps the family of Jacob looked something like this when they entered Egypt.  [Copies of this colorful painting are available in stores dealing with Egyptian art].

(sign)   The SONS OF JACOB (his name had been changed to Israel) left The Promised Land of Canaan and entered Egypt as honored guests of the Pharaoh after Joseph helped save Egyptians from starvation. However, some years later, a Pharaoh came to power who did not remember Joseph. That Pharaoh put the Israelites into slavery.

(sign)   About 1790 B.C.  Hammurabi, King of Babylonia, claimed that the Sun God, Utu  (or the Akkadian god Shamash) gave him a Law Code for his nation.  The Law Code was NOT just or fair.  It had unequal penalties depending on the people’s status. The death penalty was given for many offenses.  A few ancient stone copies (stele) of this written Code are in some museums.  His Code is very much  inferior to the later Mosaic Law which was given by the LORD God to Israel about 1446 B.C. [note: Photos are available of these stele showing the Sun God giving the Law Code to Hammurabi]

(sign)   About 1700 B.C.,  in Pharaoh’s turquoise-mining area of the Sinai Peninsula, some workers were starting to use a new script for writing. It had alphabetic type letters for the consonants. It may have been influenced by Phoenician.  [Now modern scholars call it Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite. The location is called Serabit el-Khadim]. This alphabetic script did NOT use drawings of any gods.

(sign)    About 1526 B.C. or earlier,  Pharaoh commanded that all the baby boys born to the Hebrew slaves were to be killed at birth.  By a miracle of God, baby MOSES was hidden, able to live and was eventually ADOPTED INTO THE FAMILY OF PHARAOH (Exodus 1 & 2). So as a son of the Pharaoh, Moses was trained in all the knowledge of Egypt, probably taught to read and write in languages including the Egyptian language and other languages and scripts including Akkadian/Accadian, the international Semitic language  of diplomacy, and perhaps in the new Proto-Sinaitric script. Moses could later use it for writing the Hebrew Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) WITHOUT using letters that represented heathen Egyptian gods.

(sign)   ?  IS THE LORD GOD STRONGER THAN THE GODS OF OTHER NATIONS ?    The LORD, our God, is stronger than the gods of other nations. The LORD DEFEATED ALL THE GODS OF EGYPT WHEN HE SENT THE 10 PLAGUES.  (Exodus 12:12 and Numbers 33:4). 
[NOTE  Pictures are available in books and on the Internet showing how people imagined their gods to look. Some of these pictures/drawings may be matched with the Plagues which the Lord God directed against them.


? Is GOD stronger that the nation of  Egypt,  which was the richest and most powerful nation on earth at that time in the 1400's B.C. ?   YES!   

(sign)   About  1446 B.C.    GOD HAD MOSES, AN 80 YEAR OLD MAN, LEAD THE ISRAELITES OUT OF BONDAGE AND SLAVERY IN EGYPT TO SERVE THE LORD. This is the “EXODUS.”    They carried the bones of Joseph  with them.

(sign)   About 1446 B.C.   During  the EXODUS FROM EGYPT, GOD held back the waters of the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea).  Their journey was leading them  toward Mt. Sinai. [Note: A map showing the Exodus could be used here.]

(sign)  God graciously fed the Israelites with Manna and Quail.  He provided Water from rocks in the desert.   God guided the Israelites safely through the desert with the Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. He showed them when and where to camp.

(sign)  AT MT. SINAI  (Mt. Horeb),  GOD, AFTER FREEING ISRAEL FROM SLAVERY,  GRACIOUSLY GAVE ISRAEL THE 10 COMMANDMENTS AND OTHER LAWS.   THESE WERE TO BE USED BY ISRAEL  TO SERVE HIM [Note: Picture of Mt. Sinai could be shown here.]

(sign)  THE TEN COMMANDMENTS [NOTE sign could be two tablets with the laws on them.]
Say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:
Then God spoke all these words, saying,
"I am the LORD your God, (who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving-kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance."


(sign)  God  instructed the building of  a PORTABLE TABERNACLE to provide a proper place for animal sacrifices for sins and for thanksgiving.  God specified the size, layout and building supplies for the TABERNACLE.   In the New Testament, the book of Hebrews 8:5  indicated that this “sanctuary was made in the pattern of the Sanctuary in Heaven.”    [Note: Rose Publishing has a very good chart of the Tabernacle.]

(sign)  God also commanded the building of the  ARK OF THE COVENANT (ARK OF THE TESTIMONY)  Exodus 25:10-16.  In the N.T. book of Hebrews (9:4) we are told  the Ark  contained the Ten Commandments,  Manna and Aaron's rod (God used this rod to show His power).    It had an atonement cover of pure gold. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) remains a very important time for the Jewish people. It is when they  confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.   It was to be a reminder to the people of God’s presence and what He had done for them.   

(sign)   In another law God told of the acceptable burnt offerings and Peace Offerings to Him.  These were to be  clean animals - sheep, goats and oxen. (Exodus 20:24).

(sign)  God said any Israelite who would take the throne of a kingdom, was to “WRITE for himself on a scroll a copy of God’s laws. This shows that the kings were to be literate, able to read and write Hebrew, and to be knowledgeable about the Law which God gave at Mt. Sinai (Deut.17:18-19 ).

(sign)  Later, Psalm 119 gave praise to God and showed delight in the Law. It is the longest  Psalm with every part praising the Law. Three verses are:    1-How blessed are those whose way is blameless,  Who walk in the law of the LORD.     2-How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,         Who seek Him with all their heart.  11-Your word I have treasured in my heart,  That I may not sin against You.

(sign)  About 1408 B.C., A PROPHET FOR PROFIT.   BALAAM, from near the Euphrates River, was HIRED by the King of Moab to CURSE  the Sons of Israel as they camped east of the Jordan River. Balaam rode on his donkey, but The Angel blocked his way. The odd prophet did NOT see the Angel, but his donkey did see it and turned aside which made the prophet so mad that he hit the donkey. GOD LET THE DONKEY TALK TO THE ODD PROPHET AS DID THE ANGEL. Balaam was told to go on, but ONLY TO BLESS ISRAEL as God commanded.  [NOTE  Numbers 22-24.  If a live donkey is available, it might be used to attract attention. Also a “live” male angel could be here saying what the angel said. A recorded message of what the donkey said and what the Angel of the LORD said could be used here.]

(sign)  About 1407 B.C.,  MOSES told the Israelites, “The LORD your GOD WILL RAISE UP for you A PROPHET LIKE ME from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”  Any person who claims to be a Prophet of God has to be able to accurately predicts future events. (Deuteronomy 18)

(sign)  About 1406 B.C., MOSES DIED because he had disobeyed God and he would not be leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. He did however get to be in the Land more than 1400 years later when he stood with Jesus on a mountain during the transfiguration of Jesus. (Matthew 17;  Mark 9; & Luke 9).

(sign)  About 1406 B.C., The Sons of Israel were led West across a temporarily dried-up section of the Jordan River. The Ark of the Covenant, was carried by Priests.  Joshua was the leader of the Conquest of Canaan, The Promised Land. He challenged the Israelites to serve God and not the gods which the heathen nations served.   Note: Picture of the Jordan River could be shown.

(sign)  About 1400 B.C.  HINDUISUM was developing far to the East in what will someday be called “INDIA.” There is neither a specific founder nor date of founding. It teaches that there are MANY GODS. It will teach that every person in BORN into a “CASTE,” including the “UNTOUCHABLES," from which the person cannot escape. A person’s KARMA would CONTROL how the person would be REINCARNATED in another life as a human or some animal, even an insect. Note: Pictures of Hindu gods could be shown.

(sign)  About 1300 B.C., “When every man did what was right in his own eyes.” For many years a lot of the Sons of Israel strayed away from the LORD and sinned. Then the LORD would bring in invading armies to punish the people. Finally the people would repent and call to God for help and He sent deliverers or JUDGES to overthrow the enemies. This cycle happened over and over.

(sign)   About 1005 B.,C. King David established the City of Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel.   Note:  Map of Jerusalem or City of David picture could be shown.

(sign)    David, a Shepherd, who God later placed as a King and Shepherd over the people of Israel, wrote this Song about the LORD, the Great Shepherd
Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd,  I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for  You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.  
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,  And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(NASB)

(sign)   About 990 B.C., King David had hoped to build a Temple to the LORD in Jerusalem. However, because David had been a warrior and had shed blood, the LORD did NOT let him build it.  As with the Tabernacle, God specified the size, layout and building supplies of the TEMPLE (“HOUSE OF THE LORD”) in Jerusalem.  This was to provide a proper place for animal sacrifices for sins and for thanksgiving in Jerusalem, the Capitol.  Scripture also indicated this was made in the pattern of the Sanctuary in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5). King David passed on the plans to his son, Solomon. David did collect the needed materials for the building of the Temple.  (1 Chronicles 28  see verse 19)    


(sign)  King Solomon:  About 966 B.C., in the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, Solomon began to build the TEMPLE of the LORD in Jerusalem.  (1 Kings 6).  Note: Rose Publishing has a good chart on the temple.  

(sign)  About 750 B.C., God revealed through the PROPHET MICAH, (Micah 5:2)  "But you, BETHLEHEM EPHRATHAH,  though you are small among the clans  of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
2.  ([[[) About 730 BC, Isaiah gave two prophecies about the coming birth of Christ:
“Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you [c] a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and  will call him Immanuel(God with us). Isaiah 7: 13,14:  
“For to us a child is born,   to us a son is given,  and the government will be on his shoulders.   And he will be called   Wonderful Counselor, [Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   7 Of the increase of his government and peace  there will be no end.    He will reign on David's throne  and over his kingdom,  establishing and upholding it  with justice and righteousness  from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty  will accomplish this.”  Isaiah 9:6-7



(sign)   722 B.C. the Assyrian army of Sargon II captured the northern Kingdom of Israel and took many prominent people into captivity in Assyria.

(sign)  
700-600 B.C.  The Hebrew Prophet Joel revealed that  “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD [YHVH] will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said,  among the survivors whom the LORD calls.” (Joel 2:32 NIV)

(sign)   In 594 B.C. the Greek statesman,  Solon reestablished the ECCLESIA(called-out ones) in Athens.  This was a group of citizens “called out” from their daily secular work to go aside and work in the assembly for the city-state of Athens.  The importance of serving the city-state was so vital that a group of slaves carrying ropes dipped in red paint would travel through the city on the days the Ecclesia was to meet. With their ropes, they would lash those citizens who were not in attendance. Because the citizen’s garments were stained, the shamed citizens could not legally conduct any business until they visited the meeting grounds of the Ecclesia on the hill called the Pynx.  So too, in future years Jesus, the Messiah, would call out (Ecclesia) people to serve Him as part of His Church (Matthew 16:17).   


(sign)    587 B.C., Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II and his army  captured the southern Kingdom of Judah and the City of Jerusalem.  He and destroyed the Holy Temple of the Lord.  He took many people to Babylonia as Captives including those of importance and  the Jewish leaders.

(sign)   587 B.C.   ? COULD THE SONS OF ISRAEL WORSHIP GOD WHEN THEY WERE FORCED INTO A STRANGE PAGAN LAND?   

(sign)  In 587 B.C  When the Jews were taken to Babylonia they no longer had their Holy Temple where they could worship and bring proper sacrifices to God.  They were surrounded by people who worshipped many gods.  THE  LORD taught them  that  THEY HAD A "PORTABLE RELIGION." GOD WAS STILL WITH THEM !  They started synagogues for the study of the Scriptures.
(sign)   WILL GOD SOME DAY BUILD A KINGDOM OVER ALL THE EARTH ?    ? WHY WAS THE PROPHET DANIEL APPOINTED TO BE THE LEADER OF THE MAGI ?   

(sign)  About 570 BC, God revealed to the  PROPHET DANIEL the meaning of  KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR II’s  dream of a large statue made of  DIFFERENT METALS WHICH DEPICTED FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOMS.   In the dream, A STONE (NOT MADE BY HUMAN HANDS)  HIT THE STATUE  DESTROYING IT.  THIS MEANT THAT GOD WOULD PUT AN END TO ALL THE KINGDOMS  AND HE WOULD  ESTABLISH  A NEW KINGDOM WHICH WOULD FILL THE EARTH AND THIS KINGDOM WOULD NEVER BE DESTROYED.  (Daniel 2:44-45).  Some Jewish rabbis (teachers) think that this refers  to the Kingdom of The Messiah.  

(sign)   Because the  PROPHET DANIEL interpreted the  dream of  KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR II, he  APPOINTED DANIEL TO BE THE LEADER OF THE MAGI (“Rav Magian”) (2:48)

(sign)   ? WHO WERE THE GENTILE “WISE MEN” OR “MAGI” ?   From about 600 B.C. to 600 A.D., the MAGIANS (“/MAGI”) were from the PRIESTLY TRIBE OF THE KINGDOM OF PARTHIA in the area of modern IRAN.  They had the duty to select a new king when the previous king died.   Perhaps  DANIEL TOLD THE MAGI ABOUT THE GOD OF HEAVEN AND THE MESSIAH WHO WOULD COME.  (Daniel 2)   


(sign)   Is a god that has to be DEFENDED worth worshiping? In 550-530 B.C., KING DARIUS,  the Persian, claimed to be the DEFENDER of the GOD AHURA¬ MAZDA.  He said he was the representative of Marduk, the main Babylonian god and he also  claimed to be the  Egyptian sun god, Amon-Re.  If these gods had to be defended by human beings then they were not good or strong gods.

(sign)   In 530 B.C.,  The LORD used the new King Cyrus of Persia to free the Jewish captives and to allow, even encourage, them to return and rebuild Jerusalem.   God referred to Cyrus, in some way, as a “shepherd” or caretaker of the sons of Israel. (Isaiah 44:28)       

(sign)  About 500 B.C.  BUDDHISM was founded by  Siddhartha Gautama(no exact date is known), the so called “Awakened One” or “The Buddha.” He was born in the Far East in what is Nepal today.  He taught of escaping a supposed human cycle of suffering, death and rebirth, to achieve Nervana. Buddhism  has no sacrifices of animals for people to be forgiven of their sins.

(sign)    ? COULD A MAN BE A GOD ?

(sign)   From 336 to 323 B.C., ALEXANDER THE GREAT was the GREEK KING AND HE CONQUERED, FROM GREECE TO THE BORDERS OF INDIA & CHINA, spreading his Greek language widely.

(sign)   Alexander tried to bring Peace between Greece and Persia by promoting 1000 heathen weddings and he married the Princess Roxane.  

(sign)   ALEXANDER WAS PROCLAIMED TO BE LIBERATOR, A SON OF A GOD AND EVEN VARIOUS DIFFERENT GODS HIMSELF.

 

(sign)   Alexander the Great founded several cities named “Alexandria” in honor of himself.  The most famous one is in Egypt.  At that city, starting about 175 B.C., the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) was gradually translated into the international Greek language, traditionally by 70 Jewish scholars. This Greek version of the Old Testament is called the Septuagint (abbreviated LXX). The Jewish scholars translated Isaiah 7:14, the Hebrew prophecy about the woman who would conceive. They specifically translated the Hebrew word, “ha-al-mah,” with the technical Greek word,  that is “parthenos,” which is “virgin.”     So the man, Alexander the Great, who claimed to be a god founded a city and named it after himself, where within 200 years of his death the Holy Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) telling about the True God and His Son to be born of the Virgin would be translated into the Greek language.

 


(sign)    322 B.C.   After the death of ALEXANDER THE GREAT in 323 B.C., a military officer, SELEUCUS I (“Nicator”) (358 BC–281 B.C.) gradually established the SELEUCID DYNASTY. He obtained Judea, Israel and lands to the east, as far as Mesopotamia and Persia and the border of India.  Seleucus became  “KING OF KINGS” to the Persians and an OFFICIAL GOD OF THE GREEKS. 

(sign)    ? WHAT GREEK WORD COULD THE LORD GOD USE TO EXPRESS WHO JESUS WAS IN RELATION TO THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE ?

(sign)   Zeno (335-263  B.C.)  founded the Greek Stoic school of philosophy. He stated that the “divine force” of the universe is “LOGOS” ( meaning “Reason” or “WORD”).   Later, St. John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, used that same word as he wrote in Greek that "In the beginning was the LOGOS, and the LOGOS was with God, and the LOGOS WAS GOD." (John  1:1)        

(sign)   Antiochus IV:  175 B.C., A descendant of Seleucus,  ANTIOCHUS IV, made himself King and started to bring the  heathen Greek religion to the Jewish people and to suppress the worship of the true God of Israel.   174 B.C. HIGH PRIEST’S OFFICE WAS BOUGHT from Antiochus IV by Jason; 171 B.C. Menelaus paid more money to become High Priest - even though he was NOT a descendant of Aaron as required by the Law to be High Priest. After this, “sale” of the office of High Priest to the highest bidders occurred sometimes.

(sign)   In 168 B.C., ANTIOCHUS IV CLAIMED TO BE THE GREEK GOD,  ZEUS.  He was called “God Revealed” or "Theos EPIPHANES." But critics called him  “EpiManes” meaning “CRAZY.”  167 B.C., On December 16, ANTIOCHUS IV, POLLUTED THE HOLY TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM.

(sign)   166 B.C., The MACCABEAN REVOLT  was started by a devout Jewish priest,, Mattathias, and his 5 sons, including JUDAH “MACCABEE.” I   164 B.C. December 14th (exactly 3 years after the pollution on the Hebrew calendar) THE HOLY TEMPLE WAS CLEANSED, AND “DEDICATED.” This is now known as “HANUKKAH (Feast of the Dedication. ”  Jesus went to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at Hanukkah (John 10:22).

(sign)    ? IS IT LAWFUL FOR  A MAN TO BE BOTH A PRIEST AND A KING ?    Some of the Priestly descendants of the Priest Mattathias became Kings and governmental leaders of Israel.  These descendants will become known as the HASMONEAN DYNASTY. But, some citizens were concerned as to whether this is proper. Could the Messiah, when He comes, be both a Priest and a King ?  

(sign)   160 B.C.  Since the conquest of  the land by Alexander over 150 years ago and the atrocities of his successors, the Greek religion and culture have caused many spiritual problems. Some Jewish  people had stopped circumcising their sons and even had them running nude in foot races .  Some Israelites  started eating unclean foods and doing other Greek things. There are stories that some were  worshiping Greek gods!!

10 . JEWISH SECTS AT THIS TIME:  

(sign)   160 B.C.  Some religious people, perhaps ESSENES, have withdrawn from Jerusalem and started a religious community at what will be later called “QUMRAN” NEAR THE DEAD SEA.  They maintained copies of the HEBREW SCRIPTURES. These are on SCROLLS.

(sign)  BY 150 B.C., THE SECT OF THE PHARISEES IS BEGINNING.  They are concerned by the “sales” of the Office of High Priest and the general lack of spiritual discipline. They think that “SEPARATION” from unclean and non-spiritually influences is best. They believe that God does miracles; He will eventually Resurrect the Dead and that Holy Angels exist. Eventually, MANY PHARISEES WILL BECOME FOLLOWERS OF “THE WAY” AS JESUS TAUGHT. THE MOST FAMOUS PHARISEES WAS  RABBI SAUL OF TARSUS, WHO WILL LATER BE CALLED “PAUL.”

(sign)  120 B.C.   SADDUCEES are becoming more influential and are of the Priestly tribe of Levites. They are aristocratic and are in control of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They usurped the High Priest’s office from the proper linage from our first High Priest, Aaron. They are of the priest-kings of the Hasmonean Dynasty and strongly oppose the Pharisees. THE SADDUCEES GENERALLY DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE  EXISTENCE OF ANGELS, THE SOUL OR AN AFTERLIFE OF REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS, SO THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. They are influenced by Greek philosophy and culture.


(sign)    ? CAN SOMEONE BE ADOPTED INTO THE ROYAL LINE OF A FAMILY AND SO BECOME A KING ? 

(sign)   Julius Caesar was  “Dictator”  of the Roman Empire.    He adopted his nephew, Octavian (later Known as Augustus).  Julius Caesar was assassin in March, 44 BC.  Eventually his adopted son, Octavian (Augustus) became emperor (a position which was similar to a king )  in 27 BC.   Through Octavian,  PEACE CAME TO THE ROMAN WORLD  only for the third time in Roman history after years of wars.   THE EMPEROR, OCTAVIAN CLOSED THE DOORS AT BOTH ENDS OF THE TEMPLE OF JANUS IN ROME. JANUS WAS  THE TWO FACED GOD OF WAR.  Octavian, starts a college for new priests of the pagan religion. Some countries  east of Rome consider him a god.  In 12 B.C. OCTAVIAN CAESAR BECAME "PONTIFEX MAXIMUS" ("CHIEF PRIEST") of the pagan state religion of the Roman Empire.  

(sign)     IN 40 B.C., THE PARTHIANS (from modern Iran) INVADED ISRAEL AND TEMPORARILY   EXPELLED THE ROMANS. They reestablished the Hasmonean Jewish rule.   The Kingdom of Parthia had been a  long time rival of Rome. Within the 60 years before the birth of Jesus, there were several raids and major battles between Rome and Parthia which were both battling for territorial expansion.  Overall, before and after the birth of Jesus, there were 719 years of conflict between the Romans and the people of Parthia and other kingdoms in what is now Iran.   About 40 B.C., the Parthians not only invaded Israel, they also  invaded countries like  Syria and took all the cities along the eastern

(sign)    ? COULD THE REAL KING OF THE JEWS BE APPOINTED BY A HEATHEN GOVERNMENT ?

(sign)   In 40 BC HEROD, A POLITICALLY  CLEVER  NON-JEW, fled to Alexandria, Egypt, and then to Rome.    HE PROMISED THAT HE WOULD RE-CONQUER ISRAEL FOR THE ROMANS AND RETAKE JERUSALEM, kill off Jewish leaders and tax the people for Rome.   In exchange, THE PAGAN ROMAN SENATE, A STRONGHOLD OF THE TRADITIONAL ROMAN RELIGION, APPOINTED HEROD “KING OF THE JEWS.” He then went on a three year campaign, including a siege of Jerusalem of several months,  to secure his power over the Jews.   In 37 BC the Romans confirmed his position as “King of The Jews.”  Herod and the Emperor Augustus and Mark Anthony probably walked up the Capitoline Hill in Rome to offer a pagan sacrifice to their god Jupiter.  

(sign)  In 10 B.C.  he inaugurated the Temple that he expanded for the Jews in Jerusalem.  This became known as the “Second Temple” in  Jerusalem.  Note: Pictures of this site in Archaeology can be shown.  Rose Publishing has a good picture of the Temple.


(sign)   About 6 B.C.  The ANGEL GABRIEL appeared in the Holy Place in the Temple in Jerusalem to tell of the coming Birth of JOHN THE BAPTIST.  The Angel had a GREAT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE WHOLE NATION. He told the aged Priest Zechariah that his son John, to be born would be great.  Gabriel said of the son, that “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will BE GREAT IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.  MANY OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL WILL HE BRING BACK TO THE LORD THEIR GOD. And HE WILL GO ON BEFORE THE LORD, IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THEIR CHILDREN AND THE DISOBEDIENT TO THE WISDOM OF THE RIGHTEOUS—TO MAKE READY A PEOPLE PREPARED FOR THE LORD."


(sign) About 6 B.C. The Angel Gabriel appears to Mary    Luke 1:26-38.
26In the sixth month(6 BC), God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"  35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[c] the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God."  38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.”

(sign)   An Angel appears to Joseph   Matthew1: 20-25    “ an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."  22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" which means, "God with us."  24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

(sign)  Mary Visits Elizabeth Luke 1:39-45
39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

(sign) 
Mary's Rejoices in her song  Luke 1:46-54
46And Mary said:   "My soul glorifies the Lord   47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,   48for he has been mindful   of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed,  49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.   50His mercy extends to those who fear him,   from generation to generation.  51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;   he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  52He has brought down rulers from their thrones  but has lifted up the humble.  53He has filled the hungry with good things  but has sent the rich away empty.  54He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful  55to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."  

 

SIGNS - To make signs in the Hebrew or Greek languages find the word(s) in the English Bible, then look up the verse and word(s) in the Interlinear texts below. .

For the Prelude and Town sections, Hebrew signs may be useful.

Hebrew-English www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Hebrew_Index.htm

 If there is someone available who has some familiarity with the language (or at least with the alphabet of the language), you might receive some assistance from such person. A member of the clergy or a professor could help you.

 


(sign)    Sign at the transition place or places where guests walk into a different time period, such as leaving the Prelude and entering the “Present” Town of 5.B.C. . The sign(s) should announce that “You are leaving the time period before the birth of Jesus and are entering the ‘Present” Time Town of 5 B.C.”  Be sure to have the appropriate sign(s) also in the reverse for those guests who walk from a later time period into an earlier time period. It is important that individuals NOT be confused as to which period they are in.

[NOTE]   Now please go to the TOWN secton linked here
www.bethlehem5bc.com/TOWN.html

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