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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[25. Judas Maccabeus]
This is the 25. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church."
by Frank L. Preuss
In 1 Maccabees we find the story of Judas Maccabeus. Judas was one of the five sons of Mattatias. Mattatias was inflamed with zeal for the things of God and turned against the worldly powers of Greece and their persecution and started to fight it. When Mattatias died his son Judas, called Maccabeus, took over. Judas Maccabeus had been mighty and strong, even from his youth up.
Let us look at the life of Judas Maccabeus as it is described in 1 Maccabees Chapters 3 to 9.
Then his son Judas, called Maccabeus, rose up in his stead. And all his brethren helped him, and so did all they that held with his father, and they fought with cheerfulness the battle of Israel.
So he gat his people great honour,
and put on a breastplate as a giant,
and girt his warlike harness about him,
and he made battles,
protecting the host with his sword.
In his acts he was like a lion,
and like a lionís whelp roaring for his prey.
For He pursued the wicked, and sought them out,
and burnt up those that vexed his people.
Wherefore the wicked shrunk for fear of him,
and all the workers of iniquity were troubled,
because salvation prospered in his hand.
He grieved also many kings,
and made Jacob glad with his acts,
and his memorial is blessed for ever.
Moreover he went through the cities of Juda,
destroying the ungodly out of them,
and turning away wrath from Israel:
So that he was renowned unto the utmost part of the earth,
and he received unto him such as were ready to perish.
Then Apollonius gathered the Gentiles together, and a great host out of Samaria, to fight against Israel. Which thing when Judas perceived, he went forth to meet him, and so he smote him, and slew him: many also fell down slain, but the rest fled. Wherefore Judas took their spoils, and Apolloniusí sword also, and therewith he fought all his life long.
This battle against Apollonius was the first battle reported in 1 Maccabees. It was one of many, one of many battles that Judas fought and won.
He was a winner. Whenever he fought he won. He was invincible. We will have a look at his battles and why he was invincible.
This is the report of his second battle. It is the battle against Seron near to the going up of Bethhoron.
Now when Seron, a prince of the army of Syria, heard say that Judas had gathered unto him a multitude and company of the faithful to go out with him to war; he said,
I will get me a name and honour in the kingdom; for I will go fight with Judas and them that are with him, who despise the kingís commandment.
So he made him ready to go up, and there went with him a mighty host of the ungodly to help him, and to be avenged of the children of Israel.
And when he came near to the going up of Bethhoron, Judas went forth to meet him with a small company: Who, when they saw the host coming to meet them, said unto Judas,
How shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so great a multitude and so strong, seeing we are ready to faint with fasting all this day?
Unto whom Judas answered,
It is no hard matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few; and with the God of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company: For the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of an host; but strength cometh from heaven. They come against us in much pride and iniquity to destroy us, and our wives and children, and to spoil us: But we fight for our lives and our laws. Wherefore the Lord himself will overthrow them before our face: and as for you, be ye not afraid of them.
Now as soon as he had left off speaking, he leapt suddenly upon them, and so Seron and his host was overthrown before him. And they pursued them from the going down of Bethhoron unto the plain, where were slain about eight hundred men of them; and the residue fled into the land of the Philistines. Then began the fear of Judas and his brethren, and an exceeding great dread, to fall upon the nations round about them: Insomuch as his fame came unto the king, and all nations talked of the battles of Judas.
From this report about the second battle, the one that Judas fought against Seron, we get a very good idea why he was successful. He was successful not because he had great material power and superior weapons and more fighting men but because he had spiritual power. He had God on his side. For God it does not matter what the situation is; he can change any situation and turn it around and make what looks to be a great problem a victory and a blessing. God is the miracle working God. God is the God who works in the supernatural. Miracles are normal for him. There is no order of difficulty in miracles. With the God of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company. God can heal a headache in a moment's time, but he also can cause the sea to open up and let his people walk to the other side and he can also stop the earth rotating and let the sun stand still and let the moon stay - the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man. Miracles are not more difficult because they seem to be greater or they seem to be harder to achieve. All that is really needed is the power of God - and the voice of a man. The voice of a man is needed. A man who is a believer is needed. It is exactly this combination - the power of God and the voice of a man - that is the most feared thing of the unbelievers, of the men who call themselves believers but do not really believe anything. It is this miracle working of the Holy Spirit that is highly upsetting to religious people. Whenever the Holy Spirit gets into action then their whole system of power and influence and of hierarchical structures is threatened and exposed. Their impotence and lack of compassion is demonstrated. They hate the Holy Spirit and his work more than anything else. They will come up with plenty of theology and arguments to prove that God is dead and that miracles ceased to occur a long time ago and that there are no more apostles today and that most of the gifts of the spirit are not for today. Just start to read their works and you will come across this kind of reasoning all the time. You read the works of a man and you are impressed by his insight and then suddenly he makes statements that show that he is much influenced by this two-thousand year old drive of the clergy to kill all belief in a supernatural working God. This tendency is so ingrained in Christendom that it is found nearly everywhere where Christian things are taught. You think you found some writings of a man of God who really is a believer and then it hits you, a statement comes up that demonstrates this age-old drive to stamp out a belief in a miraculous working God.
It is always anti-Christ with his false prophet and with all his small false prophets who are behind this drive to belittle belief in an all-powerful miracle working God. Every time you go to church on Sunday morning and listen to your local false prophet you will have a good chance to hear this message.
It should be a permanent feature in the makeup of ours to check again and again all the beliefs and teachings we have received during our life from religious sources and compare them with what the Bible really teaches. Be suspicious of all these different aspects of the man-made Christianity that have crept into our thinking. Again and again compare these things if they really are what the word of God says.
"Wherefore the Lord himself will overthrow them before our face," said Judas Maccabeus. It was the voice of this man and the action that followed it. It was the voice of this man that called things that are not as though they were.
They were invincible. That they were outnumbered had no influence on the outcome of it at all. The worldly facts were of no influence. The only thing that counted was faith and action.
Now comes the third recorded incident. It is the battle against the king's army which was at Emmaus.
Now when king Antiochus heard these things, he was full of indignation: wherefore he sent and gathered together all the forces of his realm, even a very strong army. He opened also his treasure, and gave his soldiers pay for a year, commanding them to be ready whensoever he should need them. Nevertheless, when he saw that the money of his treasures failed and that the tributes in the country were small, because of the dissension and plague, which he had brought upon the land in taking away the laws which had been of old time; he feared that he should not be able to bear the charges any longer, nor to have such gifts to give so liberally as he did before: for he had abounded above the kings that were before him. Wherefore, being greatly perplexed in his mind, he determined to go into Persia, there to take the tributes of the countries, and to gather much money.
So he left Lysias, a nobleman, and one of the blood royal, to oversee the affairs of the king from the river Euphrates unto the borders of Egypt: And to bring up his son Antiochus, until he came again. Moreover he delivered unto him the half of his forces, and the elephants, and gave him charge of all things that he would have done, as also concerning them that dwelt in Juda and Jerusalem: To wit,
that he should send an army against them, to destroy and root out the strength of Israel, and the remnant of Jerusalem, and to take away their memorial from that place; and that he should place strangers in all their quarters, and divide their land by lot.
So the king took the half of the forces that remained, and departed from Antioch, his royal city, the hundred forty and seventh year; and having passed the river Euphrates, he went through the high countries.
In this book of 1 Maccabees we have several places where it is reported that people hated the Jews and wanted to finish them off. Here it says in 1 Maccabees 3:35 that Lysias should send an army against them that dwelt in Juda and Jerusalem, to destroy and root out the strength of Israel, and the remnant of Jerusalem, and to take away their memorial from that place. Lysias was ordered to break the power of the Jews and to destroy them, so that no trace of them should remain. He was supposed to send a force against them, to crush and destroy the power of Israel and the remnant of Jerusalem, to wipe out their very memory. In the book of Esther we read about Haman's plot to destroy the Jews. It is a permanently recurring story of history. In the last century there were men who had this aim; they wanted to finally finish off the Jews, "die Endlösung der Judenfrage" - the final solution of the Jewish question. But what really happened was that these men ended up on the gallows in 1946 and Israel was re-established as a state and a nation in 1948. They were hanged as Haman was hanged on the gallows he had prepared for the Jew Mordecai, Esther's cousin. And this century is not different, men stand up and want to wipe out their very memory, but they also seem to end up at the gallows. The first case happened right at the beginning of this twenty-first century: 2006. And all these men have found their end and the Jews are alive and going strong. Men want to fight God and just come to their own end.
Then Lysias chose Ptolemee the son of Dorymenes, Nicanor, and Gorgias, mighty men of the kingís friends: And with them he sent forty thousand footmen, and seven thousand horsemen, to go into the land of Juda, and to destroy it, as the king commanded. So they went forth with all their power, and came and pitched by Emmaus in the plain country. And the merchants of the country, hearing the fame of them, took silver and gold very much, with servants, and came into the camp to buy the children of Israel for slaves: a power also of Syria and of the land of the Philistines joined themselves unto them.
Now when Judas and his brethren saw that miseries were multiplied, and that the forces did encamp themselves in their borders: for they knew how the king had given commandment to destroy the people, and utterly abolish them; they said one to another,
Let us restore the decayed fortune of our people, and let us fight for our people and the sanctuary.
Then was the congregation gathered together, that they might be ready for battle, and that they might pray, and ask mercy and compassion. Now Jerusalem lay void as a wilderness, there was none of her children that went in or out: the sanctuary also was trodden down, and aliens kept the strong hold; the heathen had their habitation in that place; and joy was taken from Jacob, and the pipe with the harp ceased.
Wherefore the Israelites assembled themselves together, and came to Maspha, over against Jerusalem; for in Maspha was the place where they prayed aforetime in Israel. Then they fasted that day, and put on sackcloth, and cast ashes upon their heads, and rent their clothes, and laid open the book of the law, wherein the heathen had sought to paint the likeness of their images. They brought also the priestsí garments, and the firstfruits, and the tithes: and the Nazarites they stirred up, who had accomplished their days. Then cried they with a loud voice toward heaven, saying,
What shall we do with these, and whither shall we carry them away? For thy sanctuary is trodden down and profaned, and thy priests are in heaviness, and brought low. And lo, the heathen are assembled together against us to destroy us: what things they imagine against us, thou knowest. How shall we be able to stand against them, except thou, O God, be our help?
Then sounded they with trumpets, and cried with a loud voice. And after this Judas ordained captains over the people, even captains over thousands, and over hundreds, and over fifties, and over tens. But as for such as were building houses, or had betrothed wives, or were planting vineyards, or were fearful, those he commanded that they should return, every man to his own house, according to the law. So the camp removed, and pitched upon the south side of Emmaus.
And Judas said,
arm yourselves, and be valiant men, and see that ye be in readiness against the morning, that ye may fight with these nations, that are assembled together against us to destroy us and our sanctuary: For it is better for us to die in battle, than to behold the calamities of our people and our sanctuary. Nevertheless, as the will of God is in heaven, so let him do.
Then took Gorgias five thousand footmen, and a thousand of the best horsemen, and removed out of the camp by night; to the end he might rush in upon the camp of the Jews, and smite them suddenly. And the men of the fortress were his guides. Now when Judas heard thereof he himself removed, and the valiant men with him, that he might smite the kingís army which was at Emmaus, while as yet the forces were dispersed from the camp. In the mean season came Gorgias by night into the camp of Judas: and when he found no man there, he sought them in the mountains: for said he,
These fellows flee from us.
But as soon as it was day, Judas shewed himself in the plain with three thousand men, who nevertheless had neither armour nor swords to their minds. And they saw the camp of the heathen, that it was strong and well harnessed, and compassed round about with horsemen; and these were expert of war. Then said Judas to the men that were with him,
Fear ye not their multitude, neither be ye afraid of their assault. Remember how our fathers were delivered in the Red sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with an army. Now therefore let us cry unto heaven, if peradventure the Lord will have mercy upon us, and remember the covenant of our fathers, and destroy this host before our face this day: That so all the heathen may know that there is one who delivereth and saveth Israel.
Then the strangers lifted up their eyes, and saw them coming over against them. Wherefore they went out of the camp to battle; but they that were with Judas sounded their trumpets. So they joined battle, and the heathen being discomfited fled into the plain. Howbeit all the hindmost of them were slain with the sword: for they pursued them unto Gazera, and unto the plains of Idumea, and Azotus, and Jamnia, so that there were slain of them upon a three thousand men.
This was the third battle, the battle against the king's army which was at Emmaus.
This done, Judas returned again with his host from pursuing them, and said to the people,
Be not greedy of the spoil inasmuch as there is a battle before us, and Gorgias and his host are here by us in the mountain: but stand ye now against our enemies, and overcome them, and after this ye may boldly take the spoils.
As Judas was yet speaking these words, there appeared a part of them looking out of the mountain: Who when they perceived that the Jews had put their host to flight and were burning the tents; for the smoke that was seen declared what was done: When therefore they perceived these things, they were sore afraid, and seeing also the host of Judas in the plain ready to fight, they fled every one into the land of strangers. Then Judas returned to spoil the tents, where they got much gold, and silver, and blue silk, and purple of the sea, and great riches. After this they went home, and sung a song of thanksgiving, and praised the Lord in heaven:
because it is good, because his mercy endureth forever.
Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.
Now this fourth battle, the battle against Gorgias and his host, was a really easy battle, because the enemy became sore afraid and fled. Judas just had to collect the booty.
It follows the battle against Lysias in Idumea at Bethsura, the fifth.
Now all the strangers that had escaped came and told Lysias what had happened: Who, when he heard thereof, was confounded and discouraged, because neither such things as he would were done unto Israel, nor such things as the king commanded him were come to pass. The next year therefore following Lysias gathered together threescore thousand choice men of foot, and five thousand horsemen, that he might subdue them. So they came into Idumea, and pitched their tents at Bethsura, and Judas met them with ten thousand men.
And when he saw that mighty army, he prayed and said,
Blessed art thou, O Saviour of Israel, who didst quell the violence of the mighty man by the hand of thy servant David, and gavest the host of strangers into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul, and his armourbearer; shut up this army in the hand of thy people Israel, and let them be confounded in their power and horsemen: Make them to be of no courage, and cause the boldness of their strength to fall away, and let them quake at their destruction: Cast them down with the sword of them that love thee, and let all those that know thy name praise thee with thanksgiving.
So they joined battle; and there were slain of the host of Lysias about five thousand men, even before them were they slain.
Pay attention to the prayers of Judas, how he always acknowledges God, how he remembers the acts of God that happened in the past, how he calls things that are not as though they were, how he prayed for the enemy to be confounded. How he used his prayers to install faith into the listeners. How he was a man whose voice was heard.
Now when Lysias saw his army put to flight, and the manliness of Judasí soldiers, and how they were ready either to live or die valiantly, he went into Antiochia, and gathered together a company of strangers, and having made his army greater than it was, he purposed to come again into Judea.
Then said Judas and his brethren,
Behold, our enemies are discomfited: let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary.
Upon this all the host assembled themselves together, and went up into mount Sion. And when they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and the priestsí chambers pulled down; they rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast ashes upon their heads, and fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an alarm with the trumpets, and cried toward heaven. Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary.
So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law: Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place. And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt offerings, which was profaned; they thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it: wherefore they pulled it down, and laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them. Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former; and made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts. They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table. And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple. Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make.
Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, and offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made. Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success. And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away.
Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.
The year 148 was 148 years after the beginning of a Greek (Seleucid) calendar. The Greek calendar began with the year 312 BC of our present day calendar and the year 148 was therefore 164 BC. Alexander the Great died in the year 323 BC and one of his generals, Seleucus I Nicator, founded 312 BC the Hellenistic dynasty of Syria. The capital of this Seleucid Empire was Antioch (now Antakya in Turkey). Antioch later became the Asian capital of the Roman Empire and was after Rome and Alexandria the third largest city of the Roman Empire. Antioch was also the place where the first Gentile church was founded. Antioch, located some 500 km North of Jerusalem, was the capital of Syria, and therefore the place which dominated that part of the world at the time of the Maccabees. Judas Maccabeus was leading the Jews for 6 years from the year 146 (1 Maccabees 1:54 and 3:37) to the year 152 (1 Maccabees 9:3). This is according to the Greek calendar. According to our calendar it would be from 166 BC till 160 BC.
The Seleucid dynasty, their kings often bore the names of Seleucus or Antiochus, ruled from Syria for about 250 years, until the Romans took over in the year 64 BC. Israel was at the time of the Greeks a part of a disputed area between Syria and Egypt and these two empires caused much trouble to Israel. Egypt was also ruled by the Greeks, the Ptolemies. Its capital Alexandria is located some 500 km West of Jerusalem. Ptolemy also had been one of the generals of Alexander the Great.
When Judas Maccabeus started to lead the Israelites the Seleucid ruler of Syria in Antioch was Antiochus IV Epiphanes. In 1 Maccabees 1:10 he is described as a wicked root. He desecrated the altar in Jerusalem in the year 167 BC. This is described in 1 Maccabees 1:54 as setting up the abomination of desolation upon the altar. Then the revolt of Mattatias of the house of Hashmon and his 5 sons, the Maccabees, began. Three years later, 164 BC, Judas Maccabeus rededicated the altar. That was in the year 148 as the Greeks counted years (1 Maccabees 4:52). King Antiochus IV Epiphanes died 163 BC, which is given in 1 Maccabees 6:16 as the year 149. His son Antiochus V Eupator followed him. He was put to death by the army in 162 BC on the arrival in Syria of his cousin Demetrius I Soter. Demetrius I Soter was the son of an older brother of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Antiochus IV Epiphanes's predecessor Seleucus IV, and the rightful successor of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This explains the situation described in 1 Maccabees 7:1-4 "In the hundred and one and fiftieth year Demetrius the son of Seleucus departed from Rome, and came up with a few men unto a city of the sea coast, and reigned there. And as he entered into the palace of his ancestors, so it was, that his forces had taken Antiochus and Lysias, to bring them unto him. Wherefore, when he knew it, he said, Let me not see their faces. So his host slew them." This happened in the year 151 of the Greeks, that is 161 BC.
So here is a summary:
167 BC (145) Antiochus IV Epiphanes set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar in Jerusalem.
166 BC (146) the revolt of the Maccabees started.
164 BC (148) Judas Maccabeus rededicated the altar.
163 BC (149) Antiochus IV Epiphanes died and his son became king.
161 BC (151) Demetrius I Soter began his reign.
160 BC (152) Judas Maccabeus fought his last battle.
Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days. These eight days the Jews are still celebrating today by commemorating this event in the year 164 B.C. by the festival called Hanukkah or Chanuka or Channukah - Festival of Lights - Feast of Dedication - in November-December. They light a candle on the first day and then every day one more. So Judas Maccabeus originated this festival.
At that time also they builded up the mount Sion with high walls and strong towers round about, lest the Gentiles should come and tread it down as they had done before. And they set there a garrison to keep it, and fortified Bethsura to preserve it; that the people might have a defence against Idumea.
Now when the nations round about heard that the altar was built and the sanctuary renewed as before, it displeased them very much. Wherefore they thought to destroy the generation of Jacob that was among them, and thereupon they began to slay and destroy the people.
The nations round about heard that the altar was built and that the sanctuary was renewed as before, and it displeased them very much. These nations were, and are, governed by the desire to be unlike God. These nations are godless people, but these nations are also our own godless ways of thinking. It is a thinking that is not controlled by the spiritual higher self. The mind is the mechanism of decision and when it is controlled by the lower self then we live like the nations that desire to be unlike God, and when it is controlled by the higher self then we live like people that desire to be like God. In both cases we have control over our mind. It is our decision which kind of control we desire. Now the spiritual meaning of the altar is that it is the mind, the altar of God is the place where Christ abides. When Christ is not there, then the altar is defiled. The abomination of desolation, the defiled altar, is an altar where Christ does not abide. It is separation from God. And separation from God exists only in the mind. It does not really exist. We cannot really get separated from God. There is only One and this Unity can't get divided. But we can believe that it is divided and we can act accordingly. We can believe this and act upon it and we can create misery and suffering in our life. We have free will and the power of decision is ours. There is no real misery and there is no real suffering. But we can believe that they exist. The world is not really defiled the only thing that is defiled is our mind, our thinking. We can perceive the world as being defiled. When we bring our perception to the altar then our vision will change and we will see truly, because on the altar is the atonement - the at-one-ment. At-one-ment means unity, it has the meaning that there is only One and that we are part of this One and that there is no separation. At-one-ment means to have the desire to be like God. The undoing of the separation is the restoration of the wholeness of the mind. This restoration to wholeness causes fear to disappear, because it is not real. Fear can only exist when the atonement it missing. When the atonement is placed on the altar then separation is healed and all thoughts of separation are gone and perfect invulnerability is made.
Judas Maccabeus was perfectly invulnerable.
Judas Maccabeus had restored the altar and put the at-one-ment upon it.
Judas Maccabeus had restored his mind and the mind of his people - the altar, the presence of Christ - he had undone the separation from God. And they had brought their perception to the altar, they started to think right, wholeness - put the atonement on the altar.
In Daniel 11:31 it says that a king would pollute the sanctuary of strength, and take away the daily sacrifice, and place the abomination that maketh desolate. Maketh desolate means to make powerless and empty and deserted and devastated and depopulated. If your mind has not got this spiritual influence then it is powerless and life is a drag. But when that light of the atonement is in it then there is life and nothing can stop it and you become invulnerable.
What does it mean to be invulnerable? It means to be always victorious. Every time the enemy attacks we defeat him. Every time the enemy attacks our thinking, we conquer him. Every time a thought appears in our thinking that is negative it gets defeated. It is the thoughts that are conquered. They are thoughts of pride, of fear, of envy, of arrogance, of sickness, of revenge, of lack of money. These thoughts are what we should conquer. These thoughts are the heathen that attack us and that we should defeat. These thoughts are representing the heathen around us and around the Jews. Read the books of the Maccabees with this in mind, and also read all the books of the Old Testament with this in mind. All the bloody battles that we find recorded there are battles that we should fight in our mind. Slaughter all false thinking.
Slaughter the bad passions of the flesh with the noble passions of the spirit.
The lusts of the flesh are the enemies we are fighting against.
Then Judas fought against the children of Esau in Idumea at Arabattine, because they besieged Gael: and he gave them a great overthrow, and abated their courage, and took their spoils.
This was battle number six, the battle against the children of Esau in Idumea at Arabattine.
Also he remembered the injury of the children of Bean, who had been a snare and an offence unto the people, in that they lay in wait for them in the ways. He shut them up therefore in the towers, and encamped against them, and destroyed them utterly, and burned the towers of that place with fire, and all that were therein.
And this was the seventh campaign, the encampment and destruction of the children of Bean.
Now if you read this report of the destruction of the children of Bean you get again an idea what all these many reports in the Bible about such big and small battles are all about. We should always look for the spiritual meaning behind the seemingly worldly stories. This is a tendency one finds in other spiritual teachings as well. Spiritual truths are wrapped in some worldly descriptions so that the spiritual person has a point of contact to make remembrance easier and the carnal man has a story that might interest him. When we look at this passage, "the injury of the children of Bean, who had been a snare and an offence unto the people," then we get a good idea what lies behind this campaign, what the cause of it is. It is injury, being a snare and an offence. Now this problem is not really a problem between two groups of people or between two individuals. We do not fight other people. We do not fight them physically, but we also do not fight them mentally or spiritually. We love our enemies. So this fighting that is going on is a fighting within ourselves. We fight the things in ourselves that injure us, that are a snare to us, that offend us. The battle ground is inside us. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:3). For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
So these things like injury, being a snare and an offence, are the things we are fighting. They are things in our thinking, in our mind. We fight thoughts. We fight the wrong thoughts with thoughts that are right. The battle ground is the mind. We pull the wrong kind of thoughts down and replace them with thoughts that are obedient to the teachings of Christ. When a wrong kind of thought, a thought of being vulnerable, of the possibility of getting injured, comes into our mind, then we don't accept it, we send it away, and replace it with the thought that we are invulnerable. We do not allow that such a wrong thought becomes a snare to us, becomes an offence to us. We fight it. But not with a sword made out of metal, but with the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). So keep this in mind when you hear people say that they don't like all the bloody stories in the Old Testament and they don't like a God that wants his children to kill other people.
Afterward he passed over to the children of Ammon, where he found a mighty power, and much people, with Timotheus their captain. So he fought many battles with them, till at length they were discomfited before him; and he smote them. And when he had taken Jazar, with the towns belonging thereto, he returned into Judea.
This was campaign number eight, the fight against the children of Ammon and their captain Timotheus and the taking of Jazar, with the towns belonging therto.
Then the heathen that were at Galaad assembled themselves together against the Israelites that were in their quarters, to destroy them; but they fled to the fortress of Dathema. And sent letters unto Judas and his brethren,
The heathen that are round about us are assembled together against us to destroy us: And they are preparing to come and take the fortress whereunto we are fled, Timotheus being captain of their host. Come now therefore, and deliver us from their hands, for many of us are slain: Yea, all our brethren that were in the places of Tobie are put to death: their wives and their children also they have carried away captives, and borne away their stuff; and they have destroyed there about a thousand men.
While these letters were yet reading, behold, there came other messengers from Galilee with their clothes rent, who reported on this wise, and said,
They of Ptolemais, and of Tyrus, and Sidon, and all Galilee of the Gentiles, are assembled together against us to consume us.
Now when Judas and the people heard these words, there assembled a great congregation together, to consult what they should do for their brethren, that were in trouble, and assaulted of them. Then said Judas unto Simon his brother,
Choose thee out men, and go and deliver thy brethren that are in Galilee, for I and Jonathan my brother will go into the country of Galaad.
So he left Joseph the son of Zacharias, and Azarias, captains of the people, with the remnant of the host in Judea to keep it. Unto whom he gave commandment, saying,
Take ye the charge of this people, and see that ye make not war against the heathen until the time that we come again.
Now unto Simon were given three thousand men to go into Galilee, and unto Judas eight thousand men for the country of Galaad.
Then went Simon into Galilee, where he fought many battles with the heathen, so that the heathen were discomfited by him. And he pursued them unto the gate of Ptolemais; and there were slain of the heathen about three thousand men, whose spoils he took. And those that were in Galilee, and in Arbattis, with their wives and their children, and all that they had, took he away with him, and brought them into Judea with great joy.
Judas Maccabeus also and his brother Jonathan went over Jordan, and travelled three daysí journey in the wilderness, where they met with the Nabathites, who came unto them in a peaceable manner, and told them every thing that had happened to their brethren in the land of Galaad: And how that many of them were shut up in Bosora, and Bosor, and Alema, Casphor, Maked, and Carnaim; all these cities are strong and great: And that they were shut up in the rest of the cities of the country of Galaad, and that against to morrow they had appointed to bring their host against the forts, and to take them, and to destroy them all in one day.
Hereupon Judas and his host turned suddenly by the way of the wilderness unto Bosora; and when he had won the city, he slew all the males with the edge of the sword, and took all their spoils, and burned the city with fire.
This was then Judas' ninth successful battle, the capture of the city of Bosora.
From whence he removed by night, and went till he came to the fortress. And betimes in the morning they looked up, and, behold, there was an innumerable people bearing ladders and other engines of war, to take the fortress: for they assaulted them. When Judas therefore saw that the battle was begun, and that the cry of the city went up to heaven, with trumpets, and a great sound, he said unto his host,
Fight this day for your brethren.
So he went forth behind them in three companies, who sounded their trumpets, and cried with prayer.
The Bible says that they cried with prayer. So here we get a good idea about a really practical way of prayer: shout words that are in line with the word of God, the teachings of Jesus, and so force your mind to go into the same direction. Then the thoughts that are wrong, that are your enemies, will get defeated.
But for a real spiritual person this loud shouting is rather something that happens loud in the mind only Ė is not loud to the outer ear.
Then the host of Timotheus, knowing that it was Maccabeus, fled from him: wherefore he smote them with a great slaughter; so that there were killed of them that day about eight thousand men.
Eight thousand men got killed. How many enemies have you got? If you start looking at them you might count quite a lot. You could start a list with fear, depression, unbelief, hatred, cowardice, sickness, stress, and you could get on forever. The battle is between the good qualities and the bad qualities. And especially the number of evil qualities seems to be quite enormous and they seem to struggle all the time and try to overcome the good ones. So who are these participants of the warfare? They are our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, our impressions, and they wage war against each other. It is the battle between the unwise personality and the wise personality. The ego fights from the bottom and our intellect from above; the carnal against the spiritual.
We do not fight the heathen with sword and cannons and bombs, we fight the heathen things in us. The pagan in us is the enemy.
This was the battle against Timotheus at the fortress, battle number ten.
Timotheus was besieging a fortress into which the Jews in that area beyond the Jordan had fled. Also this battle against Timotheus was easy, because Timotheus and his host did not fight Judas but simply fled when he realized that he was facing Judas.
They fled. When we fight the devil in our thinking then he will flee. Resist the devil and he will flee says the Bible. Bad thoughts will run away when we resist them.
This done, Judas turned aside to Maspha; and after he had assaulted it he took and slew all the males therein, and received the spoils thereof and burnt it with fire.
Maspha was number eleven.
From thence went he, and took Casphon, Maged, Bosor, and the other cities of the country of Galaad.
Casphon, Maged and Bosor were then number twelve, thirteen and fourteen; and then he conquered the other cities of Galaad, but their number is not recorded.
After these things gathered Timotheus another host and encamped against Raphon beyond the brook. So Judas sent men to espy the host, who brought him word, saying,
All the heathen that be round about us are assembled unto them, even a very great host. He hath also hired the Arabians to help them and they have pitched their tents beyond the brook, ready to come and fight against thee.
Upon this Judas went to meet them.
Then Timotheus said unto the captains of his host,
When Judas and his host come near the brook, if he pass over first unto us, we shall not be able to withstand him; for he will mightily prevail against us: But if he be afraid, and camp beyond the river, we shall go over unto him, and prevail against him.
Now when Judas came near the brook, he caused the scribes of the people to remain by the brook: unto whom he gave commandment, saying,
Suffer no man to remain in the camp, but let all come to the battle.
So he went first over unto them, and all the people after him: then all the heathen, being discomfited before him, cast away their weapons, and fled unto the temple that was at Carnaim.
So this battle against Timotheus, the fifteenth, was similar to battle number ten, the second against Timotheus; Timotheus fled again.
But they took the city, and burned the temple with all that were therein. Thus was Carnaim subdued, neither could they stand any longer before Judas.
Carnaim was then number sixteen.
Then Judas gathered together all the Israelites that were in the country of Galaad, from the least unto the greatest, even their wives, and their children, and their stuff, a very great host, to the end they might come into the land of Judea. Now when they came unto Ephron, (this was a great city in the way as they should go, very well fortified) they could not turn from it, either on the right hand or the left, but must needs pass through the midst of it. Then they of the city shut them out, and stopped up the gates with stones. Whereupon Judas sent unto them in peaceable manner, saying,
Let us pass through your land to go into our own country, and none shall do you any hurt; we will only pass through on foot:
howbeit they would not open unto him. Wherefore Judas commanded a proclamation to be made throughout the host, that every man should pitch his tent in the place where he was. So the soldiers pitched, and assaulted the city all that day and all that night, till at the length the city was delivered into his hands: Who then slew all the males with the edge of the sword, and rased the city, and took the spoils thereof, and passed through the city over them that were slain.
Ephron thus became number seventeen.
After this went they over Jordan into the great plain before Bethsan. And Judas gathered together those that came behind, and exhorted the people all the way through, till they came into the land of Judea.
Here we see Judas as a person that encourages others. He exhorted the people. It was again his voice. He was a proclaimer of good news. He had faith and he spoke about it and he inspired people.
So they went up to mount Sion with joy and gladness, where they offered burnt offerings, because not one of them were slain until they had returned in peace.
This is quite a remarkable thing that happened. Judas and his men fought seventeen battles and they did not lose one man. I have read about other such reports in the history of men and the thing that such events had in common were that the side that did not lose one of its fighters was always a group of people who were consciously dedicated to serve God.
Now what time as Judas and Jonathan were in the land of Galaad, and Simon his brother in Galilee before Ptolemais, Joseph the son of Zacharias, and Azarias, captains of the garrisons, heard of the valiant acts and warlike deeds which they had done. Wherefore they said,
Let us also get us a name, and go fight against the heathen that are round about us.
So when they had given charge unto the garrison that was with them, they went toward Jamnia. Then came Gorgias and his men out of the city to fight against them. And so it was, that Joseph and Azaras were put to flight, and pursued unto the borders of Judea: and there were slain that day of the people of Israel about two thousand men. Thus was there a great overthrow among the children of Israel, because they were not obedient unto Judas and his brethren, but thought to do some valiant act. Moreover these men came not of the seed of those, by whose hand deliverance was given unto Israel.
Howbeit the man Judas and his brethren were greatly renowned in the sight of all Israel, and of all the heathen, wheresoever their name was heard of; insomuch as the people assembled unto them with joyful acclamations.
Afterward went Judas forth with his brethren, and fought against the children of Esau in the land toward the south, where he smote Hebron, and the towns thereof, and pulled down the fortress of it, and burned the towers thereof round about.
Hebron was then number eighteen.
From thence he removed to go into the land of the Philistines, and passed through Samaria. At that time certain priests, desirous to shew their valour, were slain in battle, for that they went out to fight unadvisedly. So Judas turned to Azotus in the land of the Philistines, and when he had pulled down their altars, and burned their carved images with fire, and spoiled their cities, he returned into the land of Judea.
The spoiling of the cities of Azotus in the land of the Philistines was number nineteen.
About that time king Antiochus travelling through the high countries heard say, that Elymais in the country of Persia was a city greatly renowned for riches, silver, and gold; and that there was in it a very rich temple, wherein were coverings of gold, and breastplates, and shields, which Alexander, son of Philip, the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the Grecians, had left there. Wherefore he came and sought to take the city, and to spoil it; but he was not able, because they of the city, having had warning thereof, rose up against him in battle: so he fled, and departed thence with great heaviness, and returned to Babylon.
Moreover there came one who brought him tidings into Persia, that the armies, which went against the land of Judea, were put to flight: And that Lysias, who went forth first with a great power was driven away of the Jews; and that they were made strong by the armour, and power, and store of spoils, which they had gotten of the armies, whom they had destroyed: Also that they had pulled down the abomination, which he had set up upon the altar in Jerusalem, and that they had compassed about the sanctuary with high walls, as before, and his city Bethsura.
Now when the king heard these words, he was astonished and sore moved: whereupon he laid him down upon his bed, and fell sick for grief, because it had not befallen him as he looked for. And there he continued many days: for his grief was ever more and more, and he made account that he should die.
Wherefore he called for all his friends, and said unto them,
The sleep is gone from mine eyes, and my heart faileth for very care. And I thought with myself, Into what tribulation am I come, and how great a flood of misery is it, wherein now I am! for I was bountiful and beloved in my power. But now I remember the evils that I did at Jerusalem, and that I took all the vessels of gold and silver that were therein, and sent to destroy the inhabitants of Judea without a cause. I perceive therefore that for this cause these troubles are come upon me, and, behold, I perish through great grief in a strange land.
I have set off the speeches people made in these reports about the battles of Judas Maccabeus to make it easier for you to recognize them and to have a good look at them. Have a close look at them. Measure the faith of the different people. See how they create the circumstances of their lives. See in what kind of frame of mind they are. In this example of the speech of the king Antiochus we can see how grief, deciding to have it, and to keep it, and to talk about it and to nourish it, can destroy and kill.
Even a person like Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the persecutor of the Jews, who is considered as one of the most evil people in the history of mankind, is in the final analysis a child of God and not really apart from him. He was the one the prophet Daniel prophesied about and foretold that he shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and shall place the abomination that maketh desolate (Daniel 11:31). If you read 4 Maccabees you get an idea of what kind of person he was and to what kind of actions he was capable. But also such a man can repent and turn around and be saved. He could have done so anytime, also before his last breath. He could have turned around and started to live a prosperous life. And then he could have stopped to grieve and start to live, and not perish through great grief in a strange land.
We just mentioned 4 Maccabees. 1 and 2 Maccabees are part of the Apocrypha; 4 Maccabees is also an apocryphal book but is seldom counted as a book of the Apocrypha of the Bible. The Apocrypha are writings not accepted as canonical, that means they are not accepted as being part of Holy Scripture. The Apocrypha is a good example of how the religious people try to take away from the people writings that are good to read and that can be highly informative. The two books, Wisdom of Salomon and Ecclesiasticus, are part of the Apocrypha. The Wisdom of Salomon is also sometimes called the Book of Wisdom or simply Wisom. Ecclesiasticus is sometimes also called "Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach" or Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) or simply Sirach. These two books are highly valuable and should be read. Now the different books of the Apocrypha were originally part of the King James Version of the Bible. This English translation of the Bible is also called the Authorized Version or Authorised King James Version and was first published 1611. But if you buy a King James Version today you will not find the books of the Apocrypha in it. The religious guys have taken them out. They are deciding what is Holy Scripture and what is not. They are even in these days of ours taking away and narrowing down the range of what we should read. Beware of the false prophets. This is part of their theology: God is dead. In the year 1611 these books were accepted as canonical, were accepted as being part of Holy Scripture, but then later they were taken away from us. This happened during the last few centuries but it is typical for the last 2000 years, because at the beginning of this period they did the same, just take the Didache, it was considered to be canonical, to be part of Holy Scripture, but then it was side-lined and got completely lost, or rather suppressed, until it was found somewhere. And that just happened because somebody probable overlooked it and forgot to destroy it. Have a look at such details of the history of "Christianity" and see the anti-Christ and all his false prophets in action.
Then called he for Philip, one of his friends, who he made ruler over all his realm, and gave him the crown, and his robe, and his signet, to the end he should bring up his son Antiochus, and nourish him up for the kingdom. So king Antiochus died there in the hundred forty and ninth year.
Now when Lysias knew that the king was dead, he set up Antiochus his son, whom he had brought up being young, to reign in his stead, and his name he called Eupator.
About this time they that were in the tower shut up the Israelites round about the sanctuary, and sought always their hurt, and the strengthening of the heathen. Wherefore Judas, purposing to destroy them, called all the people together to besiege them. So they came together, and besieged them in the hundred and fiftieth year, and he made mounts for shot against them, and other engines. Howbeit certain of them that were besieged got forth, unto whom some ungodly men of Israel joined themselves: And they went unto the king, and said,
How long will it be ere thou execute judgment, and avenge our brethren? We have been willing to serve thy father, and to do as he would have us, and to obey his commandments; for which cause they of our nation besiege the tower, and are alienated from us: moreover as many of us as they could light on they slew, and spoiled our inheritance. Neither have they stretched out their hand against us only, but also against their borders. And, behold, this day are they besieging the tower at Jerusalem, to take it: the sanctuary also and Bethsura have they fortified. Wherefore if thou dost not prevent them quickly, they will do the greater things than these, neither shalt thou be able to rule them.
Now when the king heard this, he was angry, and gathered together all his friends, and the captains of his army, and those that had charge of the horse. There came also unto him from other kingdoms, and from isles of the sea, bands of hired soldiers. So that the number of his army was an hundred thousand footmen, and twenty thousand horsemen, and two and thirty elephants exercised in battle. These went through Idumea, and pitched against Bethsura, which they assaulted many days, making engines of war; but they of Bethsura came out, and burned them with fire, and fought valiantly.
Upon this Judas removed from the tower, and pitched in Bathzacharias, over against the kingís camp. Then the king rising very early marched fiercely with his host toward Bathzacharias, where his armies made them ready to battle, and sounded the trumpets. And to the end they might provoke the elephants to fight, they shewed them the blood of grapes and mulberries. Moreover they divided the beasts among the armies, and for every elephant they appointed a thousand men, armed with coats of mail, and with helmets of brass on their heads; and beside this, for every beast were ordained five hundred horsemen of the best. These were ready at every occasion: wheresoever the beast was, and whithersoever the beast went, they went also, neither departed they from him. And upon the beasts were there strong towers of wood, which covered every one of them, and were girt fast unto them with devices: there were also upon every one two and thirty strong men, that fought upon them, beside the Indian that ruled him. As for the remnant of the horsemen, they set them on this side and that side at the two parts of the host giving them signs what to do, and being harnessed all over amidst the ranks. Now when the sun shone upon the shields of gold and brass, the mountains glistered therewith, and shined like lamps of fire.
So part of the kingís army being spread upon the high mountains, and part on the valleys below, they marched on safely and in order. Wherefore all that heard the noise of their multitude, and the marching of the company, and the rattling of the harness, were moved: for the army was very great and mighty. Then Judas and his host drew near, and entered into battle, and there were slain of the kingís army six hundred men.
So this fight in Bathzacharias against the king was then number twenty.
Eleazar also, surnamed Savaran, perceiving that one of the beasts, armed with royal harness, was higher than all the rest, and supposing that the king was upon him, put himself in jeopardy, to the end he might deliver his people, and get him a perpetual name: Wherefore he ran upon him courageously through the midst of the battle, slaying on the right hand and on the left, so that they were divided from him on both sides. Which done, he crept under the elephant, and thrust him under, and slew him: whereupon the elephant fell down upon him, and there he died. Howbeit the rest of the Jews seeing the strength of the king, and the violence of his forces, turned away from them.
Then the kingís army went up to Jerusalem to meet them, and the king pitched his tents against Judea, and against mount Sion. But with them that were in Bethsura he made peace: for they came out of the city, because they had no victuals there to endure the siege, it being a year of rest to the land. So the king took Bethsura, and set a garrison there to keep it. As for the sanctuary, he besieged it many days: and set there artillery with engines and instruments to cast fire and stones, and pieces to cast darts and slings. Whereupon they also made engines against their engines, and held them battle a long season. Yet at the last, their vessels being without victuals, (for that it was the seventh year, and they in Judea that were delivered from the Gentiles, had eaten up the residue of the store;) there were but a few left in the sanctuary, because the famine did so prevail against them, that they were fain to disperse themselves, every man to his own place.
At that time Lysias heard say, that Philip, whom Antiochus the king, whiles he lived, had appointed to bring up his son Antiochus, that he might be king, was returned out of Persia and Media, and the kingís host also that went with him, and that he sought to take unto him the ruling of the affairs. Wherefore he went in all haste, and said to the king and the captains of the host and the company,
We decay daily, and our victuals are but small, and the place we lay siege unto is strong, and the affairs of the kingdom lie upon us: Now therefore let us be friends with these men, and make peace with them, and with all their nation; and covenant with them, that they shall live after their laws, as they did before: for they are therefore displeased, and have done all these things, because we abolished their laws.
So the king and the princes were content: wherefore he sent unto them to make peace; and they accepted thereof. Also the king and the princes made an oath unto them: whereupon they went out of the strong hold. Then the king entered into mount Sion; but when he saw the strength of the place, he broke his oath that he had made, and gave commandment to pull down the wall round about. Afterward departed he in all haste, and returned unto Antiochia, where he found Philip to be master of the city: so he fought against him, and took the city by force.
In the hundred and one and fiftieth year Demetrius the son of Seleucus departed from Rome, and came up with a few men unto a city of the sea coast, and reigned there. And as he entered into the palace of his ancestors, so it was, that his forces had taken Antiochus and Lysias, to bring them unto him. Wherefore, when he knew it, he said,
Let me not see their faces.
So his host slew them. Now when Demetrius was set upon the throne of his kingdom, there came unto him all the wicked and ungodly men of Israel, having Alcimus, who was desirous to be high priest, for their captain: And they accused the people to the king, saying,
Judas and his brethren have slain all thy friends, and driven us out of our own land. Now therefore send some man whom thou trustest, and let him go and see what havock he hath made among us, and in the kingís land, and let him punish them with all them that aid them.
Then the king chose Bacchides, a friend of the king, who ruled beyond the flood, and was a great man in the kingdom, and faithful to the king, and him he sent with that wicked Alcimus, whom he made high priest, and commanded that he should take vengeance of the children of Israel. So they departed, and came with a great power into the land of Judea, where they sent messengers to Judas and his brethren with peaceable words deceitfully. But they gave no heed to their words; for they saw that they were come with a great power.
Then did there assemble unto Alcimus and Bacchides a company of scribes, to require justice. Now the Assideans were the first among the children of Israel that sought peace of them: For said they,
One that is a priest of the seed of Aaron is come with this army, and he will do us no wrong.
So he spake unto them, peaceably, and sware unto them, saying,
we will procure the harm neither of you nor your friends.
Whereupon they believed him: howbeit he took of them threescore men, and slew them in one day, according to the words which he wrote, The flesh of thy saints have they cast out, and their blood have they shed round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them. Wherefore the fear and dread of them fell upon all the people, who said,
There is neither truth nor righteousness in them; for they have broken the covenant and oath that they made.
In 1 Maccabees 7:13 it is that the Assideans (or Hasidaeans) are mentioned. The first time they are mentioned is in 1 Maccabees 2:42. There we read: "Then came there unto him a company of Assideans, who were mighty men of Israel, even all such as were voluntarily devoted unto the law." Now these Assideans were something like the forerunners of the Pharisees and the Essenes. If you are interested to learn more about the Pharisees and the Essenes you can find a mass of detailed information in The Great Gospel of John that was given to Jakob Lorber. But even if you are not interested in these two groups you should still read Jakob Lorberís Gospel. It is probably the most amazing book that exists. Donít leave this planet earth without having read it. Start today.
The Assideans were a Jewish party devoted to the law and opposed to pagan influence. Two things stick out from this. First they were a party and that means they were something like a denomination. They were a formal sect. The second thing is that they had a name or gave themselves a name. Their name was Assideans. So we have already two indications that do not sound too good; two indications pointing to a man-made church situation; pointing to an organisation. These are two indications that they are only partly devoted to God, that they are partly devoted to the world. And that does not work. One canít serve two masters. And this particular situation here turned out very nasty - that it did not work at all. They believed the worldly powers and these worldly powers arrested them and slew them. They were organized but they were not led by the spirit. Their being organized did not help them, it killed them.
After this, removed Bacchides from Jerusalem, and pitched his tents in Bezeth, where he sent and took many of the men that had forsaken him, and certain of the people also, and when he had slain them, he cast them into the great pit. Then committed he the country to Alcimus, and left with him a power to aid him: so Bacchides went to the king.
But Alcimus contended for the high priesthood. And unto him resorted all such as troubled the people, who, after they had gotten the land of Juda into their power, did much hurt in Israel. Now when Judas saw all the mischief that Alcimus and his company had done among the Israelites, even above the heathen, he went out into all the coasts of Judea round about, and took vengeance of them that had revolted from him, so that they durst no more go forth into the country. On the other side, when Alcimus saw that Judas and his company had gotten the upper hand, and knew that he was not able to abide their force, he went again to the king, and said all the worst of them that he could.
Then the king sent Nicanor, one of his honourable princes, a man that bare deadly hate unto Israel, with commandment to destroy the people. So Nicanor came to Jerusalem with a great force; and sent unto Judas and his brethren deceitfully with friendly words, saying,
Let there be no battle between me and you; I will come with a few men, that I may see you in peace.
He came therefore to Judas, and they saluted one another peaceably. Howbeit the enemies were prepared to take away Judas by violence. Which thing after it was known to Judas, to wit, that he came unto him with deceit, he was sore afraid of him, and would see his face no more. Nicanor also, when he saw that his counsel was discovered, went out to fight against Judas beside Capharsalama: Where there were slain of Nicanorís side about five thousand men, and the rest fled into the city of David.
This slaying of Nicanor's side beside Capharsalama was Judas twenty-first battle and victory.
After this went Nicanor up to mount Sion, and there came out of the sanctuary certain of the priests and certain of the elders of the people, to salute him peaceably, and to shew him the burnt sacrifice that was offered for the king. But he mocked them, and laughed at them, and abused them shamefully, and spake proudly, and sware in his wrath, saying,
Unless Judas and his host be now delivered into my hands, if ever I come again in safety, I will burn up this house:
and with that he went out in a great rage. Then the priests entered in, and stood before the altar and the temple, weeping, and saying,
Thou, O Lord, didst choose this house to be called by thy name, and to be a house of prayer and petition for thy people: Be avenged of this man and his host, and let them fall by the sword: remember their blasphemies, and suffer them not to continue any longer.
So Nicanor went out of Jerusalem, and pitched his tents in Bethhoron, where an host out of Syria met him. But Judas pitched in Adasa with three thousand men, and there he prayed, saying,
O Lord, when they that were sent from the king of the Assyrians blasphemed, thine angel went out, and smote an hundred fourscore and five thousand of them. Even so destroy thou this host before us this day, that the rest may know that he hath spoken blasphemously against thy sanctuary, and judge thou him according to his wickedness.
There is something quite remarkable about the prayers of Judas. He has the habit of remembering occasions from the Bible where God fought battles for the children of Israel and caused their enemies to be defeated. Here he recounts when an angel of the Lord destroyed 185 000 Assyrians. Previously Judas had reminded his people of the quelling of the violence of the mighty man by the hand of God's David, and how God gave the host of strangers into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul, and his armourbearer. On another occasion he said, "Remember how our fathers were delivered in the Red sea, when Pharaoh pursued them with an army."
Another of Juda's features in his prayers is that he prays that their enemies may be confounded. "Let them be confounded in their power and horsemen: Make them to be of no courage, and cause the boldness of their strength to fall away, and let them quake at their destruction."
Repeatedly he commands his men to have no fear. This is a command that Jesus gives us as well: fear not.
"Wherefore the Lord himself will overthrow them before our face: and as for you, be ye not afraid of them" and "Fear ye not their multitude, neither be ye afraid of their assault."
But the main thrust of his prayer is always that it is the Lord himself that will overthrow the enemy. It is his trust in God Almighty.
We make an effort and we are active and we spare no pains. We are physically and mentally and spiritually active. But the actual action we leave to God. Our effort and our trouble is however necessary because without it God would not intervene.
It is this permanently being in contact with God that makes the difference. We must be led by the spirit. We must have this direct contact with God. There must be no intermediary between us and God. We must speak to God directly - as Judas did. There was no priest between him and God, no church, no denomination, no religion.
So the thirteenth day of the month Adar the hosts joined battle: but Nicanorís host was discomfited, and he himself was first slain in the battle. Now when Nicanorís host saw that he was slain, they cast away their weapons, and fled. Then they pursued after them a dayís journey, from Adasa unto Gazera, sounding an alarm after them with their trumpets. Whereupon they came forth out of all the towns of Judea round about, and closed them in; so that they, turning back upon them that pursued them, were all slain with the sword, and not one of them was left. Afterwards they took the spoils, and the prey, and smote off Nicanors head, and his right hand, which he stretched out so proudly, and brought them away, and hanged them up toward Jerusalem. For this cause the people rejoiced greatly, and they kept that day a day of great gladness. Moreover they ordained to keep yearly this day, being the thirteenth of Adar. Thus the land of Juda was in rest a little while.
This was Judas' twenty-second recorded victory. Note that it is said that not one of them was left. It was total victory. Not one of them was left. This included Nicanor himself. He himself was first slain in the battle, a man that bare deadly hate unto Israel, a man that was commanded to destroy the people of Israel.
Now Judas had heard of the Romans, that they were mighty and valiant men, and such as would lovingly accept all that joined themselves unto them, and make a league of amity with all that came unto them; and that they were men of great valour. It was told him also of their wars and noble acts which they had done among the Galatians, and how they had conquered them, and brought them under tribute; and what they had done in the country of Spain, for the winning of the mines of the silver and gold which is there; and that by their policy and patience they had conquered all the place, though it were very far from them; and the kings also that came against them from the uttermost part of the earth, till they had discomfited them, and given them a great overthrow, so that the rest did give them tribute every year: Beside this, how they had discomfited in battle Philip, and Perseus, king of the Citims, with others that lifted up themselves against them, and had overcome them: How also Antiochus the great king of Asia, that came against them in battle, having an hundred and twenty elephants, with horsemen, and chariots, and a very great army, was discomfited by them; and how they took him alive, and covenanted that he and such as reigned after him should pay a great tribute, and give hostages, and that which was agreed upon, and the country of India, and Media and Lydia and of the goodliest countries, which they took of him, and gave to king Eumenes: Moreover how the Grecians had determined to come and destroy them; and that they, having knowledge thereof sent against them a certain captain, and fighting with them slew many of them, and carried away captives their wives and their children, and spoiled them, and took possession of their lands, and pulled down their strong holds, and brought them to be their servants unto this day: It was told him besides, how they destroyed and brought under their dominion all other kingdoms and isles that at any time resisted them; but with their friends and such as relied upon them they kept amity: and that they had conquered kingdoms both far and nigh, insomuch as all that heard of their name were afraid of them: Also that, whom they would help to a kingdom, those reign; and whom again they would, they displace: finally, that they were greatly exalted: Yet for all this none of them wore a crown or was clothed in purple, to be magnified thereby: Moreover how they had made for themselves a senate house, wherein three hundred and twenty men sat in council daily, consulting alway for the people, to the end they might be well ordered: And that they committed their government to one man every year, who ruled over all their country, and that all were obedient to that one, and that there was neither envy nor emmulation among them.
In consideration of these things, Judas chose Eupolemus the son of John, the son of Accos, and Jason the son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome, to make a league of amity and confederacy with them, and to intreat them that they would take the yoke from them; for they saw that the kingdom of the Grecians did oppress Israel with servitude. They went therefore to Rome, which was a very great journey, and came into the senate, where they spake and said,
Judas Maccabeus with his brethren, and the people of the Jews, have sent us unto you, to make a confederacy and peace with you, and that we might be registered your confederates and friends.
So that matter pleased the Romans well. And this is the copy of the epistle which the senate wrote back again in tables of brass, and sent to Jerusalem, that there they might have by them a memorial of peace and confederacy:
Good success be to the Romans, and to the people of the Jews, by sea and by land for ever: the sword also and enemy be far from them, if there come first any war upon the Romans or any of their confederates throughout all their dominion, the people of the Jews shall help them, as the time shall be appointed, with all their heart: Neither shall they give any thing unto them that make war upon them, or aid them with victuals, weapons, money, or ships, as it hath seemed good unto the Romans; but they shall keep their covenants without taking any thing therefore. In the same manner also, if war come first upon the nation of the Jews, the Romans shall help them with all their heart, according as the time shall be appointed them: Neither shall victuals be given to them that take part against them, or weapons, or money, or ships, as it hath seemed good to the Romans; but they shall keep their covenants, and that without deceit. According to these articles did the Romans make a covenant with the people of the Jews. Howbeit if hereafter the one party or the other shall think to meet to add or diminish any thing, they may do it at their pleasures, and whatsoever they shall add or take away shall be ratified.
And as touching the evils that Demetrius doeth to the Jews, we have written unto him, saying, Wherefore thou made thy yoke heavy upon our friends and confederates the Jews? If therefore they complain any more against thee, we will do them justice, and fight with thee by sea and by land.
This treaty between the Jews and the Romans was the beginning of the influence, and later the rule, of the Romans in Israel.
So it was Judas Maccabeus who was the first leader of Israel that made contact with the Romans.
But was this approach towards the Romans also a turning away of Judas from the reliance on God Almighty? Was he maybe tired of this constant fighting for freedom and independence? Did he maybe think that this agreement with Rome would bring a long-lasting period of peace to his people? Should we approach worldly people in the hope that they will help us in our battles?
When a person or a group of people or a nation wants to fight a threat to them, wants to beat back an attack of an enemy, by making pacts and agreements with third parties who are not God's people, then they are not really relying on God. A man of God will advise against such means.
And in our internal battles we also do not turn to carnal ways. We do not take pills to fight stress, but we seek the peace of God. We do not succumb to grief and get cancer but we have the joy of the Lord as our strength. We stay away from carnal crutches. We do not need the Roman Empire and we have nothing to do with the Roman church and their orthodoxy and also nothing with the orthodoxy of all the other sects.
Furthermore, when Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his host were slain in battle, he sent Bacchides and Alcimus into the land of Judea the second time, and with them the chief strength of his host: Who went forth by the way that leadeth to Galgala, and pitched their tents before Masaloth, which is in Arbela, and after they had won it, they slew much people. Also the first month of the hundred fifty and second year they encamped before Jerusalem: From whence they removed, and went to Berea, with twenty thousand footmen and two thousand horsemen.
Now Judas had pitched his tents at Eleasa, and three thousand chosen men with him: Who seeing the multitude of the other army to be so great were sore afraid; whereupon many conveyed themselves out of the host, insomuch as abode of them no more but eight hundred men.
When Judas therefore saw that his host slipt away, and that the battle pressed upon him, he was sore troubled in mind, and much distressed, for that he had no time to gather them together. Nevertheless unto them that remained he said,
Let us arise and go up against our enemies, if peradventure we may be able to fight with them.
Now have a close look at this speech. And compare this speech with his previous speeches and prayers. Has doubt crept in? What about words like "may be"? Where is his reliance on God? Does he remember the great deeds God had done in the past and how he had protected the children of Israel? Is he still urging the people not to fear? What about his own fears? What about his tactically effective call for confounding the enemy?
It says that Judas was sore troubled in mind, and much distressed. He was under stress. He was troubled in mind. Stress is not just a modern sickness of our time. Stress is always the absence of unity, the absence of unity with God. Stress is the sign of the man-made church, disunity - the absence of unity - the presence of dissension, the presence of denominations. Stress is the presence of separation, of separation from God. What had happened to Judas Maccabeus? So his speech reflected his state of mind. The problem was his mind, his state of mind.
That was the real problem. The problem was not the physical situation, that the opposing force of the enemy was much greater than his. We know that this was not a problem because he had faced a similar situation in his fight number two where, when his people saw the host coming to meet them, said unto Judas,
How shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so great a multitude and so strong, seeing we are ready to faint with fasting all this day?
And Judas himself had then answered,
It is no hard matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few; and with the God of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company: For the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of an host; but strength cometh from heaven. They come against us in much pride and iniquity to destroy us, and our wives and children, and to spoil us: But we fight for our lives and our laws. Wherefore the Lord himself will overthrow them before our face: and as for you, be ye not afraid of them.
But this time his speech was quite different.
Let us arise and go up against our enemies, if peradventure we may be able to fight with them.
No mention of God. No mention that for God a small or a big miracle is all the same. No admonishing them to refrain from fear. No mentioning that it will be God who will overthrow them. No mention of victory. No calling things that are not as though they were.
The situation had become his personal problem, the problem of him and his men. It was not anymore God's problem where he and his army were just tools in God's hand. God was not in his field of vision anymore. He now thought that he had to solve the problems with his own physical, worldly abilities. He had stopped living by faith and started to live by sight.
Judas Maccabeus and his men perhaps had a fighting morale that was never before attained by an army and its leaders. Again and again he obtained victories against much stronger opponents.
Judas Maccabeus had been an extremely successful person. He had won every battle he fought. Not one battle had he lost. He was invincible. Why? Because his trust was in God Almighty. But now he suddenly sought the help of some other people, from somewhere else. And he did not seek the help of some other god-fearing people; he sought the help of the Romans - of heathen, of unbelievers.
In 1 Maccabees 9:9 it says:
But they dehorted him, saying,
We shall never be able: let us now rather save our lives, and hereafter we will return with our brethren, and fight against them: for we are but few.
Had Judas' people detected their leader's loss of faith? Had they measured Judas' faith by listening to his words and found his faith wanting? Did they feel that if even the leader lacks confidence then how will they have it?
Had Judasí people also detected their leaderís change of policy? Had they, may be unconsciously, realized that he not anymore place his reliance on heaven, on spiritual things, but now suddenly on earth, on worldly things Ė on some heathen?
Had Judasí inner workings, every cell in his body, detected their leaderís change of heart? Had all the little consciousness units in his physical body grasped that there now existed a conflict between the direction the mind was giving to the body and the direction that the eternal laws of the universe were giving the body of this human being but which were now ignored and therefore were not able anymore to guaranty his invulnerability?
Then Judas said,
God forbid that I should do this thing, and flee away from them: if our time be come, let us die manfully for our brethren, and let us not stain our honour.
Does Judas now start to become religious and start to talk about bravery and manfulness - or is it just empty rhetoric talk? He says, "if our time be come." Does he now start to talk about death and about dying? Is that what has become his aim in life? What about employing worldly reasoning and worldly wisdom? Have his new friends - the Romans - had such an influence on his thinking and believing that he forgot about all his previous achievements - achievements he obtained with the help of God?
Was his new aim now to die? All the time it had been his aim to live and it was his aim that his men and all the Israelites should live and it had been his aim that the enemy was to die. It had been the job of the enemy to die. The dying was consigned to the heathen Ė they were supposed to die and go to the grave and get eradicated.
He spoke of dying and with that he forced his thinking in this direction and with that he also determined what would happen to him. He created his own circumstances.
Judas said, "let us die manfully for our brethren." That means, that they die and that the enemy kills them and that the enemy lives and has the victory. And that again means, that all the ethically valuable qualities in their lives are dying and that the ethically bad qualities kill the good ones and that the bad ones now reign and have the victory.
The policy of appeasement.
Appeasement is to give in to the demands of the lower self.
Judas had fought many battles in his life. Twenty-two of them were recorded. None of them he lost. The greatest victory might have been just in front of him. Was he faithful unto the end?
In 1 Maccabees 5:54 it says, "So they went up to mount Sion with joy and gladness, where they offered burnt offerings, because not one of them were slain until they had returned in peace."
Not one of them were slain. Judas' battle was extraordinary successful: not one of them were slain. There was no such thing as a statistical average. No such thing as coincidence. Out of twenty-two recorded battles twenty-two were won. Not an average of eleven battles. It was twenty-two to nil. Judas was invincible. Was he still invincible at the end? Had he changed his mind? Had the sophistication of the Roman world crept into his thinking? Had he already decided that the end of his life had come? Had he, instead of making a tactical withdrawal in order to overcome a moment of weakness, started to replace his faith with talk of possible defeat and death? Were his words, "let us die manfully," just a show of bravery that was not bravery at all but giving up?
Was it now suddenly a matter of his, Judas', honour and not anymore a matter of God's honour?
It says in 1 Maccabees 8:1-2, "Now Judas had heard of the Romans, that they were mighty and valiant men, and such as would lovingly accept all that joined themselves unto them, and make a league of amity with all that came unto them; and that they were men of great valour." Had Judas started to listen to worldly news and had he valued worldly news higher then godly news? Had he started to meditate on this worldly news and had he stopped to meditate on the news - the good news - from God?
Joshua 1:3-9 says, "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Had Judas stopped to meditate therein day and night?
What was the focus of his meditation? What is the focus of your meditation?
Are you listening to the news of the world and is that the matter of your meditation?
Now Judas had heard of the Romans, that they were mighty and valiant men, and such as would lovingly accept all that joined themselves unto them, and make a league of amity with all that came unto them; and that they were men of great valour. It was told him also of their wars and noble acts which they had done.
"Judas had heard of the Romans." Judas had listened to the news; he heard the news; he heard of the Romans. He had read the Newspaper. He had listened to the news on the radio. He had watched the news on TV. He had looked up news items on the internet. That was it what he let come into his mind. On that stuff he meditated - the development of international affairs. God told Joshua on what he had to meditate: on the book of the law (Joshua 1:8). Joshua - and all his successors - were supposed to meditate on the book of the law. Their attention was to be directed towards the Word of God - towards their higher self. That what came from above - from the spiritual side of man - was what they had to observe. To be led by the spirit. But Judas listened to what came from his senses, from his ears and eyes. "It was told him also of their wars and noble acts which they had done." He listened to what people told him; people who were interested in carnality, in politics. He had opened himself to the influences of the senses. He did not control his senses, they controlled him.
He listened to worldly news, and in addition to this he also let himself get influenced by this carnal input and what was even more severe was that he removed the good news of the word of God from his vision and replaced it with the news of the world. And what was even more severe than that was that he started to rely on what his ears and his eyes sensed and started to put his trust in things that they perceived: the Romans.
Who are the Romans in your life? Are they the insurance policies you have taken out? Are they your investments and the money in your bank? Are they your relatives and friends? Are you maintaining special relationships so that in case something happens to you somebody will be there to help you? Are they the farm you own? Are they the church you belong to? Are they your worldly possessions? Are they your membership in some society or club or lodge? Are they your knowledge about the things of the world? Are they your education? Are they your standing in society and are they your reputation? Are they a direct telephone line to your police station? Are they your membership in the ruling party?
Right action, the dictate of God, protects those who protect it. When I am living the right kind of life, then this activity will automatically protect me. If I protect God's word and what it says I should do, then this will protect me. I will need no other protection. I then don't need the Romans.
Right code of conduct protects those who protect it.
Why is it that today the study of the word of God and the meditation upon it is of such low reputation? One of the reasons is that the person who is officially doing it, the professional cleric, is doing it for making money out of it. It has become a commercial item. It can be sold. Such people are not winning reverence for the word of God by personal example. They misuse the word of God for earning an income, rather than peace and protection and health. Worldly people will only come to the good life when people who study the truth also practise the ideals laid down there; when such people are really guides and shining lights; when they due to their own experience and practice know and proclaim the value of the ideals they have studied and have meditated upon; when they put their trust in these ideals.
A man will only then be a light to others when he proves in his conduct, behaviour and character that the ideals have penetrated his being.
Who are the Romans in your life? Are they the telephone numbers of the emergency services? Are they the "secure" employment with the company you work for? Are they your own company as a source of income? Are they the security installations around your house? Are they the defence organisation your country has formed with a group of other nations? Are they the military capability of this treaty? Are they the piece of land, the property, the real estate you own? Are they the monthly pension fund payments you receive? Is it your mobile phone?
What are all these Romans in your life? They are idols. Idols are things that replace God. Idols are things you trust in - instead of trusting God.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
The Romans are men, they are princes; don't put your trust in them.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help (or, salvation). His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is.
Putting your trust in men and in political leaders may come to nothing, because when you need them they may just have given their last breath and are gone.
Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?
Stop to put trust in a man whose breath can be gone any moment.
Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.
Rebellious children, that take counsel, but not of God; and that cover with a covering, but not of God's spirit. Have you taken cover? Have you covered a risk by an insurance policy? Are you putting your trust in the Romans, in the Egyptians, or in the cover of an insurance company?
Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord! Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.
Are you trusting in material, physical things and means or is your trust in the spiritual realm, in the eternal?
Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.
The Romans, the Egyptians and all the other idols are just broken reeds, they will hurt but not give support.
For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee.
To have fellowship with the brethren is beautiful, but that does not mean to put our trust in them, especially not when they are carnal and do not recognize the unity of the body of Christ and are dividers and belong to divisive organisations and call a multitude after us to persecute us. Be cautious when they speak fair words unto thee.
Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Don't curse yourself by trusting in man. Your real arm is not of flesh but of spirit. From heaven comes the help.
Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me?
Don't trust in your idols - your treasures. Don't say I am provided for and think of your material securities.
When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
The mighty men of the world and of the world of science might not be able to help you and to cure you and to let your wound disappear. It is not them that you should rely upon. Rely on your God and on nothing else.
Trust in God, in God alone, and in nothing else. In God we trust. That is the meaning of this confession that we trust in him - and in nobody else.
This story of Judas Maccabeus is very valuable. Let us learn from the mistake this mighty man of God did. Let us never give up. He that endures to the end will be comforted.
The secret of a successful life is to stay in control of the mind. It is not the strength of our body that determines our strength. It is not the strength of our mind that determines our strength. It is that part of us that controls the mind. If we are in control of our mind, control it the right way, then will we be strong. It is not the mind, but our higher self that should control the mind - that is decisive. And that higher self is the self that operates with the help of the spirit. The lower self operates with the input from below, with the input from the five senses. But the higher self operates with the input from the spirit. Only when our actions and our life are governed by this our higher self will we have victory and will we have victory every time.
The mind is our altar on which we sacrifice. And these sacrifices we place there can be manifold. They can be holy and they can be idols. Now we canít put an idol on our mind. So an idol is a symbol for something. It is a symbol for something on our mind that is idolatrous. It can be a thing that becomes idolatrous to us, for example our body. We can pay too much attention to our body and worry about it and its supplies like food and drink and clothing and do not pay enough attention to our inside, to our soul. But it can be other things like houses, cars, money etc. It can be a place, like a holiday destination or a mountain peak or a place of birth. It can be a situation or a circumstance, like being married, or being appointed or promoted, or having a title or being attacked. It can be an object owned or wanted, like a valuable antique piece of art. It can be a right demanded or achieved, like the "human rights" or the right of citizenship or a right to an inheritance. So an idol is any kind of worldly thing that is in reality a substitute for our reality Ė of what we really are. We are spirit and that is what matters, not worldly things.
With that the host of Bacchides removed out of their tents, and stood over against them, their horsemen being divided into two troops, and their slingers and archers going before the host and they that marched in the foreward were all mighty men. As for Bacchides, he was in the right wing: so the host drew near on the two parts, and sounded their trumpets. They also of Judasí side, even they sounded their trumpets also, so that the earth shook at the noise of the armies, and the battle continued from morning till night.
Now when Judas perceived that Bacchides and the strength of his army were on the right side, he took with him all the hardy men, who discomfited the right wing, and pursued them unto the mount Azotus. But when they of the left wing saw that they of the right wing were discomfited, they followed upon Judas and those that were with him hard at the heels from behind: Whereupon there was a sore battle, insomuch as many were slain on both parts. Judas also was killed, and the remnant fled.
Then Jonathan and Simon took Judas their brother, and buried him in the sepulchre of his fathers in Modin. Moreover they bewailed him, and all Israel made great lamentation for him, and mourned many days, saying,
How is the valiant man fallen, that delivered Israel!
As for the other things concerning Judas and his wars, and the noble acts which he did, and his greatness, they are not written: for they were very many.
So what had the treaty with Rome brought Judas Maccabeus, what had this agreement of the Jews with the heathen achieved? Nothing. The enemy approached and the Jews and Judas Maccabeus were defeated. Their pact with the Romans was worth nothing. It later just led to the enslavement of the Jews. They became so enslaved that when their Messiah came they used the Romans to kill him. And after that, in the year 70 AD, the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem.
So don't call in the heathen. Leave that to the religious guys. The guys of the denominations are very much relying on the heathen and on their methods. They need ceremonies and all their outside garb. Especially they rely on monetary income - just as the heathen do. The most outstanding sign of the man-made church is that they do not trust God for looking after them. They donít trust God and they donít believe in him. They are unbelievers. They do not seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and therefore all the things shall not be added unto them. They have to add them themselves: collecting money is their primary activity.
Judas Maccabeus had dominion in his life because he was guided by Godís spirit. Then he lost this dominion because he failed to be guided by Godís spirit. Judas Maccabeus, as well as any other man, was never meant to function alone. The senses were given to man to link him to the material world and to create and keep contact with it. But that is just one side. The other side is for him to create and keep contact with the spiritual world. To receive guidance and instruction from Godís side - from the spiritual world - men has to use the spirit as the link to this spiritual world. He is a lost soul until he establishes this link and when he breaks this link then he again is a lost soul. It is the same as when a man would have no use of his senses like seeing and hearing; he would be lost in the physical world Ė in the world of senses. He would be a fallen man. The lack of spiritual contact makes a man a fallen man. It is manís fall. There must be harmony of all three parts of man: body and soul and spirit.
So don't call in the heathen. Rely on God and on yourselves and on nothing else. Be in unity with God Almighty. Nothing can stand up to you when God is on your side. If God be for us, who can be against us?
This is the end of "Judas Maccabeus"
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