Friday Morning Manna June 26, 2020
Nathaniel Fajardo email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Earthly Kingdoms Headed for History’s Dustbin
“Blessed by the name of the Lord forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings [and kingdoms] and raises up kings [and kingdoms].” See Daniel 2: 20-22, NKJV.
Lest we forget or lose sight of the far greater and grander things and issues of eternal consequences with all these distractions and schemes of Satan and fall victims to the worst yet to come, we fretful, fitful, “busybody” finite mortals need to calm down and “come down to earth from our imaginary high places” and be reminded that:—
“In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires [and kingdoms], appear as dependent upon the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the Word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counter play of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will. The Bible reveals the true philosophy of history.” – Ellen G. White, Education, p. 175.
In the midst of the throes of the collective and combined trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic, the resulting economic crisis, the simmering unrest over “systemic racism,” excessive police force and the current raucous politically-charged atmosphere of confusion, chaos, dysphoria and restive “movements,” let’s trace back briefly to the Biblical history of the kingdoms of the earth, beginning with typical and antitypical Israel and their struggles, in contrast and comparison to Christ’s one and only kingdom on earth. Picking up from last week we zoom in back to the past:
Israel, the Northern Kingdom
In the divided state, over Israel, the northern kingdom, nineteen kings and the length of time they reigned, are as follows: Jeroboam (22 years), Nadab (2 years), Baasha (22 years), Elah (2 years), Elah ( 2 years), Zimri (7 days), Omri (12 years), Ahab (22 years), Ahaziah (2 years), Jehoram AKA Joram (12 years), Jehu (28 years), Jehoahaz (17 years), Jehoahaz, AKA Joash (16 years), Jeroboam II (41 years), Zechariah (6 months), Shallum (1 month), Menahem (10 years), Pekahaiah (2 years), Pekah (20 years), and finally Hoshea (9 years). After a century of intermittent payment of tribute to Assyria, the northern kingdom of Israel finally crumbled and eventually fell under the successive and increasing heavy blows of the Assyrian kings, Tiglath-pileser III, Shalmaneser and Sargon. Eventually, the result of mixing and even intermarriages of the remaining Israelite with these colonists resulted in what is known as the Samaritans.
Judah, the Southern Kingdom
Over Judah, the southern kingdom, the following kings reigned: Rehoboam (17 years), Abidjam/Abijah (3 years), Asa (41 years), Jehoshaphat (25 years), Jehoram/Joram (8 years), Ahaziah (1 year), Athaliah [queen, usurper] (6 years), Joash/Jehoash (40 years), Amaziah (29 years), Azariah/Uzziah (52 years), Jotham (16 years), Ahaz (16 years), Hezekiah (29 years), Mannaseh (55 years),Amon (2 years), Josiah (boy-king) (31 years), Jehoajaz AKA Shallum (3 months), Jehoiakim (11 years), Jehoachim/Jeconiah (3 months), and finally, Zedekiah/Mattaniah (11 years). Though first attacked by Sargon II, then Sennacherib, Judah remained independent for nearly another century, until the invasion of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C.
More needs to be said regarding who the Samaritans were, since they figure prominently during Christ’s ministry among His own people, the Jews with their endemic religious, replacing racial prejudice” issues with the despised Samaritans as well as all others they considered “gentiles.” It should not be surprising to Bible students why Christ, Himself a Jew, would choose to illustrate a profound lesson on humanity when He described Himself and His work for the salvation of all men as “the good Samaritan,” not the “good Jew.” In the light of the current issues, it is easy to see what the immediate general reaction and social and religious backlash was when Jesus gave, what would have sounded as a “socially insensitive” and “tone deaf” illustration in His time!
The following is from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 8, Review & Herald Publishing Asso., Washington D.C., 1960, pp. 948-950 (emphasis provided):
“The origin of these Samaritans is described in 2 Kings 17: 24-34. After Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 B.C.) and Sargon II (722-705) B.C.) carried the majority of the people into exile, they settled people from Babylonia, northern Mesopotamia, and Hamath in Syria in the territory of the former kingdom of Israel. These brought their own religion with them, but as a result of mixing with the remaining Israelites they adopted also the worship of Yahweh.
The adoption of the new religion was accelerated by catastrophes that the newcomers interpreted as a sign of the displeasure of the local deity because not enough attention had been paid to him (Jos. Ant 1x, 14.3). Under Esarhadon (681-669 B.C.) and Ashurbanipal (669-627 B.C.), the Biblical Osnapper, new contingents of foreign people were settled in the territory of Samaria (Ezra 4: 2, 9, 10). “During the reign of Josiah [who reigned 31 years, the longest. See listing below] (c. 639-608 B.C.), king of Judah, when Assyria’s power was rapidly declining, Josiah was able to extend his authority over the territory of the former kingdom of Israel, which, since 1722 B.C., had been the Assyrian province of Samaria.
Thus, when carrying out his religious reformation Josiah traveled not only his own kingdom but also the area of the northern tribes [that had earlier been dispersed due to national apostasy], and destroyed all vestiges of pagan cults and idolatry (2 Chron. 34: 6, 7). “It may have been this work of Josiah that caused the worship of the God of Israel to win out among the Samaritans, and the foreign cults to become more and more suppressed, although the Jews considered the Samaritan religion as impure. For their Scriptures they adopted the Pentateuch [first 5 books of OT authored by Moses] before the Babylonian exile of Judah [because they also fell into national apostasy like the northern kingdom of Israel before them]. Some of the inhabitants of Samaria had the habit of regularly attending divine services at Jerusalem, even after the destruction of the Temple (Jer. 31: 5; cf. Ezra 4: 2). “When the Jews returned from exile (c. 536 B.C.) [to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem as prophesied in the seventy week-prophecy of Daniel 9 under the reign of 3 Persian kings, Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, thus past history!] and began to re-establish their religion, the Samaritans offered to join them, but Zerubbabel, Joshua and the other religious leaders of the Jews, rejected this offer outright (Ezra 4: 1-3).
They had learned from the admonition of the prophets that their own national calamity had been the result of their unfaithfulness toward God. Convinced that the Samaritans had a corrupted religion, they wanted to avert returning to the errors of pre-exilic times and therefore chose religious and social isolation [an earlier form and reason of and for distancing]. As a result of this attitude and increasingly deepening hatred developed between the two nations, which was frequently revealed in hostile acts. “The Samaritans worked against the returned Jews during their building of the Temple in the time of Cyrus [NOTE: some evangelical leaders are strangely saying that current U.S. president, Donald Trump is either the “chosen one,” the modern-day “Cyrus.” Incredible, isn’t it!], made accusations against them during the time of Ahasuerus (v 6), and actively hindered them during the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem [not between America and Mexico!] in the time of Artaxerxes.
They were not satisfied with accusing the Jews of rebellion, but stopped their work evidently by the force of arms, burned gates, and destroyed wall sections which had been rebuilt (Ezra 7: 23; Neh. 1: 3). Nehemiah described in detail the efforts that the Samaritans’ governor, Sanballat, made to hinder the work, although Nehemiah had been sent by the king [of Persia] and possessed all necessary authority to complete the work of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 2: 10, 19, 20; 4: 1, 2; 6: 1-14). “Josephus says concerning the Samaritans they were so insincere that they claimed to be Jews when the Jews were prosperous and respected and when and affinity to them could bring them advantages, but they denied any connection with Jewry when this was to their advantage (Ant. ix. 14.5). [NOTE: Sounds so familiar in the blatant insincerities and inconsistencies playing out in today’s political quagmire and “swamp!”]. “After the Samaritans had been rejected by the Jews they built a temple in Mount Gerizim, in which they offered sacrifices according to the Mosaic ritual.
It is not quite clear whether this temple was built in the 5th or the 4th century B.C. Josephus makes the statement that it was built under Sanballat in the time of Alexander the Great (Ant. xi. 8.2) . . . . . Josephus further reports that that Jews who came into conflict with their religious authorities turned to the Samaritans (Ant. xi. 8.7). “The contrast between the Jews and Samaritans became especially apparent during the time Antiochus IV Epiphanes. While the Jews attempted his attempts at Hellenizing them, and suffered severe persecutions from the Syrians (2 Macc 6), the Samaritans had their temple at Gerizim dedicated to Zeus (Jupiter), the defender of strangers (2 Macc 6: 2). [NOTE: It is said that the statue/image of St. Peter in the Vatican is but that of Jupiter, renamed Peter, following the “falling away” of the church in the so-called Christianizing paganism and its practices and traditions]. “Hence when the Jews regained control of Palestine during the reign of the Maccabees, they turned against the Samaritans, and John Hyrcanus (134-105/4 B.C.) destroyed the temple in Mount Gerizim in 128 B.C. (cf. Jos. Ant. xiii. 9. 1).
Yet the place where the temple had stood continued to be used for religious services, and the Samaritans continued to consider it the true place of worship (see John 4: 20, 21). They still celebrate their Passover Feast on Mount Gerizim, following the Mosaic rites including the slaughter of the Passover lambs [which all have been already properly “nailed to the cross” when Christ, the Lamb of God, died at Calvary on 3 PM Friday, 31 A.D.]. “The hatred between Jews and Samaritans had not decreased by the time of the ministry of Jesus on earth. There are several passages in the NT that clearly indicate this (Luke 9: 51-54; John 4: 9; cf. 8: 48). . . . The social and religious isolation saved them from being swallowed up by the Moslem invasion of the seventh century, and in subsequent times, so that groups of them have survived in the area of Nablus and some other places in Palestine to the present day. “The religion of the Samaritans did not differ much from that of the Jews in the time of Christ [that is, Judaism], for with them they accepted the Pentateuch. They also expected a Messiah to come (John 4: 25). However, their religious beliefs were more liberal than those of the orthodox Jews, especially than those of the Pharisees, and may have been somewhat similar to those of the Sadducees. Christians [i.e., the true followers of Christ] practiced no discrimination, and accepted the Samaritans on an equal basis (Luke 10: 29-37; 17: 16-18; John 4: 1-42; Acts 8: 5, 6).”
God’s power to enthrone and dethrone
“The Lord was working in the Babylonian kingdom, and communicated light to the four Hebrew youth, in order that He might represent His work before the idolatrous nation. He would reveal that He had power over the kingdoms of the world,–power to enthrone and power to dethrone kings. The King of all kings was communicating great truths to the Babylonian monarch [and all earthly powers today!], and awakening in his mind a realization of his responsibility to God. Nebuchadnezzar saw clearly the difference between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the most learned men of his kingdom.” Ibid, Youth’s Instructor, Sept. 8, 1903.
(To be continued next week, God willing)