THE STORY OF GODS PEOPLE A Story of Ups and Downs A Story of the Peoples Unfaithfulness AND Gods Ongoing Faithfulness
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE STORY 1290 B.C.Exodus and Wilderness 1250 B.C.Entrance into the Land 1050 B.C.Beginning of Kingship 922 B.C.Division between North and South 9 th and 8 th centuriesProphets appeared (Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah) 722 B.C.NK (Israel) Falls to Assyria 587 B.C. SK (Judah) Falls to Babylon Exilic prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel
Now, approximately 700 years after Exodus from Egypt
Leaders taken to BabylonSome escaped to EgyptPoor and untrained stayed in Jerusalem
DURING THE 500 YEARS AS A KINGDOM, A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY HAD DEVELOPED God had promised LAND God had established a DYNASTY (king) God resided in the TEMPLE in Jerusalem
EXILE (587 B.C.)the breakdown of all the systems in which the people trusted Loss of land Loss of king Loss of temple
This creates a major theological crisis for the people of God! Confidence in God Question of identity Where do we go from here?
The Historical Accounts Chronicles A look back to the good old days David Chronicles A look back to the good old days David Ezra-Nehemiah rebuilding the temple, the walls, and the faith of the people Ezra-Nehemiah rebuilding the temple, the walls, and the faith of the people Esther Courage and Hope God is with His people! Esther Courage and Hope God is with His people!
537 B.C.The Return Rise of Persian Empire under Cyrus Rise of Persian Empire under Cyrus Edict of Cyrus return to homeland and relative freedom to practice religion and customs Edict of Cyrus return to homeland and relative freedom to practice religion and customs
THE PRE-EMINENT PROBLEM: No Longer a Nation THE PRE- EMINENT QUESTION: Who are we? What is our identity?
WHAT WOULD YOU DO??? If you were the vision team of a group returning from exile, how would you go about trying to re- establish a source of identity?
ARTICULATING AN IDENTITY TEMPLE--People who worship God TEMPLE--People who worship God TORAH--People of a sacred writing TORAH--People of a sacred writing RELATION TO OTHERS--Insiders vs. Outsiders RELATION TO OTHERS--Insiders vs. Outsiders
TEMPLEPeople of Worship Foundation of new temple almost immediately under Sheshbazzar Temple completed 20 years later under the leadership of a new governor Zerubbabel and the encouragement of prophets, Haggai & Zechariah Hymnbook of the Second Temple-- Psalms New HistoryChroniclers History a king like David!
TORAHPeople of a Sacred Writing Ezra, a priest who had grown up in Persia (Babylon) brings back the story that defines their identitythe TORAH (teaching; instruction) Ezra, a priest who had grown up in Persia (Babylon) brings back the story that defines their identitythe TORAH (teaching; instruction)
THE GREAT DILEMMAWhat do we do with outsiders??? COMPETING VOICES EXCLUSIVE??? The basic approach of Ezra and Nehemiah INCLUSIVE??? The short stories of Ruth and Jonah
DISCOVERING A POST-EXILIC IDENTITY 537 B.C. Return from Exile People of WorshipRebuilding of Temple, Developing a Hymnbook, and Rewriting a History (temple completed by 515 B.C.) People of Written Scripture Torah presented by Ezra the priest (450 B.C.) People in Relationship to Outsider Exclusive approach by Ezra and Nehemiah; Inclusive approach by short stories of Ruth (Moabite) and Jonah (preacher to Assyria)
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FAITH DURING EXILE LAMENTthe honest expression of grief to Godno cover up to God! HOPEan understanding of creation as the LORDs capacity to take chaos (like exile) and bring order
Wisdom Literature Learning about life from the God of creation Dealing with Lifes Realities Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs Voicing Grief and Hope Psalms, Lamentations, Song of Songs
The Character of this Diverse Literature: Dealing honestly with Life Refusing to remove God from the equation Willing to host alternative voices and viewpoints as the truth, the whole truth
Prophetic Voices in the postexilic period Nahum Gods judgment on Nineveh (contra Jonah) Habakkuk The just will live by His faithfulness! Zephaniah the Day of the Lord judgment/salvation
Prophetic Voices in the postexilic period Haggai encouraging the leaders to rebuild the temple Zechariah rebuilding, but also anticipating the Messianic Age Malachi lets get things right, and prepare the way of the Lord
Prophetic Voices in the postexilic period Gods judgment is just! Life after exile is tough! Faith in God overcomes the toughest obstacles! Faith = Undivided Loyalty! God is coming! Get Ready!
GROWING DIFFICULTIES OF THE FAITH OVER A CENTURY (450-350 B.C.) FORMALISM: Temple Worship increasingly gave way to practices without meaning FORMALISM: Temple Worship increasingly gave way to practices without meaning LEGALISM: Obedience to the Torah in a narrow sense became the means to be the people of Yahweh LEGALISM: Obedience to the Torah in a narrow sense became the means to be the people of Yahweh EXCLUSIVISM: Keeping outsiders OUT became predominant EXCLUSIVISM: Keeping outsiders OUT became predominant
A NEW THREAT TO THIS NEW IDENTITY!!! THE RISE OF THE GREEK EMPIRE under Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. HELLENISMGreek language, culture, and thought
THE JEWS UNDER GREEK RULE Alexander the Great dies 323 BC Empire inherited by successors: Ptolemy EGYPT Annexed Palestine Annexed Palestine Jews relocate to Egypt and adopt Greek culture Jews relocate to Egypt and adopt Greek culture Septuagint (LXX) Septuagint (LXX) Diaspora Diaspora Seleucids SYRIA Antiochus III 198 defeated Egypt and made Palestine part of Seleucid kingdom Antiochus III 198 defeated Egypt and made Palestine part of Seleucid kingdom Favorable period for the Jewish people Favorable period for the Jewish people
THE THREAT OF HELLINIZATION 175 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes Return to Hellenization project, including worship of Greek gods
HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THIS THREAT??? HASIDIMthe people of hesed (covenant faithfulness) the loyal and faithful ones
FORMATION OF VARIOUS GROUPS PHARISEESout of power in the temple therefore, quite liberal (wanted things to change); in the world but not of the world laws of separation SADDUCEESin power in the temple therefore, very conservative (to preserve status quo) ZEALOTStake up military arms and fight ESSENESwithdraw to caves in the desert and wait for God to do something himself
ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES in 167 B.C. Outlawed Judaism Outlawed Judaism Looted the Temple Looted the Temple Built Acra a Greek citadel city to control Jerusalem Built Acra a Greek citadel city to control Jerusalem Persecution of Jews Persecution of Jews ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
MATTATHIAS and his seven sons Let all who are zealous for Yahweh come out and fight!!! Let all who are zealous for Yahweh come out and fight!!! Judas Maccabeus (the hammer), the oldest son takes overthus becomes known as the Maccabean movement Judas Maccabeus (the hammer), the oldest son takes overthus becomes known as the Maccabean movement
Judas Maccabees defeats the Greek army, cleanses Temple, erects a new altar, and rededicates the Temple in December 164 BC Miracle of the oil Lamps keep burning for eight days Miracle of the oil Lamps keep burning for eight days Festival of Lights Hanukkah Festival of Lights Hanukkah Century of Jewish independence (163- 63 B.C.) Century of Jewish independence (163- 63 B.C.)
RESPONSE TO PERSECUTION AND GREEK ( 323-63 BC ) and then ROMAN POWER ( 63 BC ) APOCALYPTICa way of viewing the world and a literature that expressed that worldview
Apocalyptic (literally meaning to see or to reveal ) thought Dualistic ExpectationGod would eventually overthrow the world power and establish THE KINGDOM OF GOD Eschatologyend times Led by an apocalyptic seer Hidden, coded language
THE BOOK OF DANIEL Stories to sustain a distinctive identity in a world gone mad Stories to give hope and courage to people of faith in times of deep crisis Stories to remind us of the ultimate triumph of God and Gods people, despite present circumstances or evidence
AS THE STORY OF THE OLDER TESTAMENT ENDS: People of God wrestling with the question of identity what does it mean to be the people of God in this world? People of God wrestling with the question of restoration what is the kingdom of God going to look like in this world? People of God wrestling with the question of a King When will God send us t