In 522 B.C. the angel Gabriel told Daniel that the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt over 49 years, and that 434 years after that Messiah would appear.
The decree to build Jerusalem was issued in 457 B.C. and the city was completed in 408 B.C. fulfilling the prophecy exactly.
Today’s talk is about the developments during the 434 years after the city was built and before Messiah would appear.
As well as rebuilding the city Ezra and Nehemiah established a government for the Jews in Judea and restored the religion that God gave to Moses.
The priesthood was restored and the temple ritual was established [in the New Testament the priests were called Sadducee’s] and the temple ritual was established which continued through the ministry of Jesus Christ right up to the destruction of the temple and the stopping of the daily sacrifice by Prince Titus of Rome.
Ezra also instructed the people in how to behave and how to live in godliness, teaching them the various facets of true religion; for example because of the heavy work involved in washing clothes Ezra taught that clothing should be laundered on Thursday so that other important preparations could be made more easily on Friday for the Sabbath day, as we are taught that Friday was the preparation date for the weekly Sabbath and that all work including cooking was to be done on Friday to prepare for the seventh-day Sabbath.
Ezra set up a civil authority based upon the 70 elders which God provided to assist Moses and these seventy came to be called the Sanhedrin The Sanhedrin established by Ezra lasted until 358 A.D. when it was dissolved.
The Sanhedrin was headed by the high priest and had legal authority over all religious civil and criminal jurisdictions.
Ezra wrote the books of Ezra and Chronicles and with the 70, canonized the Old Testament Scriptures.
The book of Esther and possibly Malachi [Malachi means God’s messenger] were written by Mordecai and finalized by Ezra who officially recognized the feast of Purim only a few years after the 452 B.C. victory over Haman.
The scribes were established as a special body and Ezra standardized rules for copying out the scriptures.
Being a scribe himself Ezra established a model text of the scriptures writing a scroll of the Old Testament with 13 helpers, in the square Hebrew lettering against which all other Torah scrolls were to be checked for accuracy.
This scroll of the Old Testament was kept in the temple throughout the Second Temple period.
This new scroll was a conversion / translation of the ancient Paleo Hebrew biblical manuscripts into the Aramaic square Hebrew lettering by 14 men. The committee was headed by Ezra and the work began in 450 B.C. and continued until the official unveiling at a public hearing on New Year’s Day Nisan 445 B.C.
The result was a near-perfect replica of the Paleo Hebrew Scriptures in the up to date at that time Hebrew lettering. The 14 translators are listed in Nehemiah 8:4.
During the great Ezra revival certain laymen, that is non priests non descendants of Aaron, dedicated themselves to biblical scholarship calling themselves Pharisees which simply means students.
As time passed these students of Holy Scripture attracted many more until the study of the scriptures and biblical scholarship became a recognized profession.
Jesus himself sought out the doctors of the law, which were the scholars of the Scriptures called Pharisees when he was only twelve and until he became nearly thirty years old would have continued to study seeking out the greatest the best and the most learned of these scholars of the law and of the Holy Scriptures; perhaps even studying with Gamaliel himself .
Meanwhile Daniel 2 tells us that the kingdom of Babylon would be supplanted by the Medes and Persians and they in turn would be supplanted by the Greeks.
Historically we find that Philip 2 king of Macedon worked hard to unite the Greek city-states into what became known as the League of Corinth, setting himself up as leader and preparing to invade the Empire of the Medes and Persians.
He was assassinated in 336 B.C. and his son Alexander became the first ruler of a united Greek nation.
Previously in 343 B.C. king Philip II had hired the philosopher Aristotle to tutor Alexander and over three years Aristotle had taught Alexander and a handful of his friends Aristotelian logic.
Later wherever Alexander and the conquering Greeks went, they brought with them Greek culture which rapidly caught on and heavily influenced the world of that day.
Alexander had been tutored by Aristotle who in turn had been taught by Plato, and as he conquered Alexander spread the concepts of Plato and Aristotle’s logic far and wide.
Greek became the lingua franca of the Mediterranean region and Aristotle’s logic, reasoning style and the culture of Greece filled the Western world, and from that time the logic of Aristotle spread by Alexander took deep root in the Western world.
Over time the Rabin’s and much later the Christians in Rome applied the logic of Aristotle to the Holy Scriptures, interpreting the Scriptures through human reasoning in place of taking the Holy Scriptures literally.
When examining an argument always first address the basic premise on which the logic is based. All logic whether good or bad is based on a foundational premise: If the premise is true and the logic is faultless then the conclusions will be true, however if the premise is false even the most perfect logic will come to a wrong conclusion.
Greek philosophy and the reasoning methods of the Greeks strongly influenced many Pharisees in Judea and Babylon and that led to a division between those Pharisees who chose to take the scriptures literally and those who decided to apply human reasoning and reinterpret the Word of God.
The Hellenized Pharisees, who used logic to contrive their own interpretation of Scripture, formed a new branch of that sect as opposed to the literalist Mosaic Pharisees.
Hellenic Judaism was a movement which sought to establish a Hebraic Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism, that is of Aristotle and Plato, and their reasoning’s led to a split between the Hellenizers who were the fathers or ancestors of the modern Rabin’s and the Mosaic Pharisees and Sadducee’s who controlled the temple religion of Jerusalem until that temple and city were destroyed in the first century Roman Wars.
The Mosaic Pharisees who had arisen around the teaching of Ezra contested with the Hellenist’s over who would be the high priest and over the interpretation of the scriptures by the Hellenizer’s, who used Greek logic to change the teachings of Moses and change the practical application of the Word of God.
The history of Alexander to Rome is a history of the rivalries between the Hellenized and Mosaic Pharisees.
Later when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. the priesthood went into decline and many of the Mosaic Pharisees were destroyed.
From that time on there was a rivalry between the Karaits called scribes on one side, together with the Mosaic Pharisees, and on the other side the Hellenized Pharisees. This rivalry lasted for hundreds of years until in 1078 A.D. Moses Maimonides took the ascendancy for the Hellenic Pharisees.
It is very important to understand that modern Rabbinic Judaism is not the religion of Moses it is the reinterpretation of Moses by means of Hellenic reasoning, and modern professing Christianity is not the religion of Jesus Christ. They are both Hellenized versions of the original teachings; to which human beings have applied human logic to interpret according to their own reasoning’s and their own biases.
Now getting back to Alexander, Alexander died suddenly in 323 B.C. and his various generals fought for control of the empire until in 277 B.C. the Empire was finally divided into four separate parts.
Daniel 11 prophesies of two main parts; the king of the south which was Egypt and Judea and the king of the north which was Syria Babylon,.
In 305 B.C. Ptolemy took the title of king of Egypt, the Ptolemaic Empire included Egypt Judea and Palestine up to southern Syria and bordered the king of the north, which king of the north included modern Syria and Iraq.
After the death of Alexander, Seleucus Nicator was nominated as the satrap of Babylon in 320 B.C. but antagonists forced Seleucus to flee from Babylon.
He appealed to Egypt and Ptolemy supported him, he then returned and took control of Babylon Syria in 312 B.C.
From there Daniel 11 goes through a series of various conflicts between Egypt and the Seleucid Empire of Babylon Syria, finally we come down to 175 B.C. when Antiochus IV Epiphanies became king of Syria.
When the guardians of King Ptolemy VI of Egypt made demands in 170 B.C. Antiochus launched an attack against Egypt conquering everything but Alexandria and captured King Ptolemy. He also took Judea from Egypt.
To control Judea, Antiochus deposed the high priest Jason who was of the loyal Mosaic Pharisee faction, that is he was a descendant of Aaron but he was also a Mosaic Pharisee who took God’s Word literally.
Antiochus removed him, deposed him and replaced him with a Hellenic leaning High Priest, Menelaus.
To avoid alarming Rome, Antiochus Epiphanes allowed Ptolemy IV to continue ruling as puppet king of Egypt / Judea.
Upon Antiochus’ withdrawal, the city of Alexandria Egypt chose a new king, one of Ptolemy’s brothers also named Ptolemy; and instead of fighting a civil war the Ptolemy brothers agreed to rule Egypt jointly and in 160 B.C. Antiochus led a second invasion of Egypt and also sent the fleet to capture Cyprus from Egypt.
While Antiochus of Babylon [Syria] was fighting in Egypt a rumor spread that he had been killed; responding to this rumor Jason the deposed Mosaic High Priest led a rebellion. He gathered a force of 1,000 soldiers and made a surprise move against the city of Jerusalem and the Hellenized High Priest appointed by Antiochus was forced to flee Jerusalem.
On the return of Antiochus Epiphanes from Egypt in 167 B.C. he was outraged that his appointee had been overthrown and he attacked Jerusalem and restored Menelaus and executed many Mosaic Jews.
In his fury he outlawed the Mosaic holidays, the Sabbath, circumcision and the commandments kept by those close to God. He also set up a statue of Jupiter Olympus in the temple and sacrificed swine before it.
These outrages offended both the Hellenic Pharisees and the Mosaic Pharisees and they joined together to make common cause against Antiochus Epiphanes.
United the two main Jewish sects of the Pharisees rose up against Antiochus Epiphanes and over a certain period of time there was much conflict, then Antiochus died suddenly of a fever in 168 B.C. and the Jews the Maccabees, were able to gain the ascendancy and overcome the Greeks setting up their own Kingdom.
This Kingdom, called the Hasmonean Kingdom had nothing to do with a line of David and was in fact a line of Hellenized Kings who dominated over the Mosaic Pharisees in Judea.
Tensions and conflict continued to rise between the Mosaic Pharisees and the Hellenic Pharisees who now controlled the province or non-Davidic kingdom of Judea.
This Hasmonean dynasty proceeded to invest itself in dominating and controlling the Mosaic Pharisees until in 68 B.C. the Mosaic Pharisees had had enough and being unable to rise up and free themselves they appealed to Rome.
The Romans overthrew the Hellenized Hasmonean dynasty, supported the Mosaic Pharisees and set up a Mosaic high priest and they absorbed Judea into Rome, where Judea became the province of Judea.
This removal of the Hellenic Pharisees and restoration to control of the Mosaic Pharisees, then set the stage for the appearance of John Baptist and Jesus Christ.
After losing control of the Hasmonean dynasty most of the Hellenic Pharisees fled from Judea down to Alexandria Egypt and Alexandria Egypt became the second center of the Hellenic Pharisees after the city of Babylon itself.
Judea became the center of the Mosaic Pharisees until 70 A.D.
Late in the 1st century these same Mosaic Pharisees who had asked Rome to intervene on their behalf rebelled against Rome and in 70 A.D. the city Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed and the Daily Sacrifice stopped; many, very many, of the Mosaic Pharisees were killed while the Sadducee’s the priests lost the temple.
This resulted in a centuries-long struggle for control of the religion between the Mosaic Pharisees and the Hellenized Pharisees. The struggle finally ended when Moses Maimonides in 1078 A.D. won out on behalf of the Hellenized Pharisees and modern Rabbinic Judaism was born.