Consider the annals of time and how God Himself crafted the events, guided the peoples’ relocations, and brought about the changes in humanity that He deemed necessary to prepare the world to be ready to welcome our Savior.
Here’s a glance at part of the Timeline of Jewish History
- 3800 B.C.E – 2001 BCE – The Dawn of “History”
- 2000 B.C.E. – 587 BCE – Context of Ancient Israelite Religion
- 538 BCE – 70 CE – Judaism After the Babylonian Exile
- 740 B.C. to 681 B.C. – Isaiah prophesied in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, foretelling of Messiah, His emotions, His calling, and His mission.
- 167 – 164 B.C. – Guerilla campaign, The Maccabees destroyed Greek altars in the villages, forcibly circumcised boys, burnt villages, and drove Hellenized Jews off their land.
- 230 BCE – 400 CE – The Rule of Rome
- 165-160 B.C. – The Pharisees emerged as a distinct group shortly after the Maccabean revolt; they were, it is generally believed, spiritual descendants of the Hasideans.
- What is a “Hasidean,” in Hebrew Ḥasid, or Chasid (“Pious One”), plural Ḥasidim, or Chasidim, a member of a pre-Christian Jewish sect of uncertain origin, noted for uncompromising observance of Judaic Law. The Hasideans joined the Maccabean revolt against the Hellenistic Seleucids (2nd century BC) to fight for religious freedom and stem the tide of paganism. They had no interest in politics as such. Indeed, they fell into disfavour with the Hasmonean rulers. Tradition pictures them as so devoted to Judaic Law that martyrdom and torture were willingly preferred to the slightest violation of the Sabbath (1 Maccabees 2:42). No one can say for sure whether the Ḥasidim mentioned in the Talmud were Hasideans or not. A later sect or type, ardent in prayer and meticulous in the observance of the commandments and the Sabbath, may have been meant.
- “Historians tend to explain the disappearance of the Hasideans as a gradual merging with the Pharisees. The Hasideans may also have had a doctrinal influence on the Essenes, an early Jewish sect that flourished in Palestine. (Source)
- 6 B.C. – 4 B.C. The birth of Jesus occurred in the year in which King Herod died.
- 500 – 70 B.C.– Rabbinic Jewish Period of Talmud Development
- 590 – 395 CE– Consolidation & Dominance of Classical Christianity
- 600 – 1500 CE– “Medieval” Period in the West
We mark our calendars with Christ’s life at the crux. Before Christ, B.C., now typically labeled B.C.E. —Before the Common Era. On this timeline, we see from 538 BCE to 15000 A.D./CD The dates in red are significant times of recovery from the Babylonian exile, which we’ve already looked at in detail. Then it moves on to the Rule of Rome, and is followed by changes in Jewish scholasticism, the beginning of the Pharisees, the arrival of Messiah, and then the growth of classical Christianity.
All of human history circles around the time period when Christ walked the earth and fulfilled His mission to offer up Himself for the sins of the world. He made a way for all who entrust themselves to Him to live with Him for eternity within a new heaven and a new earth.
As we consider Jesus’ birth, His life, and His ministry, we see numerous times when Jesus’ life was at risk. The journey while still in the womb, when wisemen had already unknowingly tipped off Herod to the fact that a king had been born in Bethlehem, He who would be known as the King of the Jews.
Attuned to the angelic by now, Joseph was once more addressed by an angel of the Lord, the first time telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife for what had been conceived within her was of God. Since Joseph knew that he had not fathered a child, the message from the angel of the Lord was necessary, for Joseph was a man of integrity, a descendant of Zerubbabel.
And so now, an angel of the Lord told Joseph to rise in the night and to take Mary and baby Jesus out of Bethlehem and on their way toward Egypt. Joseph, being Joseph, of course obeyed immediately.
Herod, being Herod, of course had all of the male infants less than two years old killed in Bethlehem.
And yet, God protected His Son and kept Him alive until His mission was complete.
The wisemen had brought gifts that provided for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus during their time in Egypt — gold, frankincense, and myrrh — where they safely fled and remained for a few years, until Herod had died. As a carpenter and stonemason, Joseph would have easily found the means to provide for his family in Egypt.
They remained there until Herod had died and an angel of the Lord had appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
And Joseph, being Joseph, obeyed the Lord’s instructions given in that dream immediately. Gathering up his tools, their possessions, and his little family, he headed back toward Israel.
“But when he [Joseph] heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:22-23 ESV).
Then follows a yawning gap in our knowledge, a mystery. What happened between the time Joseph resettled his family in Galilee and the days when John the Baptist began preaching in the wilderness of Judea?
Most likely, Joseph and Mary trained Jesus and His siblings as did all Jewish parents of that time. The boys would have all learned the Torah, and the girls would have been trained by their mother to be prepared to run their own homes and to raise their own children one day.
The brothers of Jesus or the adelphoi (Greek: ἀδελφοί, translit. adelphoí, lit. “of the same womb”) are named in the New Testament as James, Joses (a form of Joseph), Simon, and Jude, and unnamed sisters are mentioned in Mark and Matthew.
And then came John the Baptizer, calling out in the wilderness. In Luke, John is named as a familial relative of Jesus whose birth was foretold by Gabriel. In the Gospel of John, John the Baptist himself sees the spirit descend like a dove and he explicitly preaches that Jesus is the Son of God, which got John into all sorts of trouble.
“Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” said John the Baptizer. “For this is He who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.'”(Matthew 3:2-3 ESV).
“4 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
“7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.12 His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire“ (Matthew 3:4-12 ESV).
John clearly knew more about the outcome of Messiah’s life than anyone would have imagined at that point in time. John foresaw the final judgment in his prophetic utterance.
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. The Spirit immediately drove Him out in the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And He was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to Him.'”(Mark 1:9-13 ESV).
“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV).Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel." There is still time to repent and to believe! Click To Tweet
And thus these events launched Jesus’ ministry. If you haven’t discovered The Chosen series, by Angel, get their free app for viewing on your phone, and tune in to this series depicting Jesus’ ministry, bringing it to life for people all over the world.When we consider Jesus' birth, His life, and His ministry, we see numerous times when Jesus' life was at risk. And yet, God protected His Son and kept Him alive until His sacrifice on the cross. Click To Tweet
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