Volume. XXXIV, No. 5
Sunday, 04 August 2019

From the Pastor’s Heart: Jerusalem (7)

Last week I ended the article with a reference, 1 Maccabees 2:17-22, which reads, “17 And they that were sent from Antiochus, answering, said to Mathathias: Thou art a ruler, and an honourable, and great man in this city, and adorned with sons, and brethren. 18 Therefore come thou first, and obey the king's commandment, as all nations have done, and the men of Juda, and they that remain in Jerusalem: and thou, and thy sons, shall be in the number of the king's friends, and enriched with gold, and silver, and many presents.19 Then Mathathias answered, and said with a loud voice: Although all nations obey king Antiochus, so as to depart every man from the service of the law of his fathers, and consent to his commandments: 20 I and my sons, and my brethren will obey the law of our fathers. 21 God be merciful unto us: it is not profitable for us to forsake the law, and the justices of God: 22 We will not hearken to the words of king Antiochus, neither will we sacrifice, and transgress the commandments of our law, to go another way.” He saw some Jews yield to the demands from Antiochus Epiphanes and offer sacrifices to idols. His righteous anger stirred him up and he ran down to slay them. He also slew the man whom the king sent, too.

Mathathias and his sons fled into the mountains, and many righteous ones went to the desert. When Mathathias’ revolting acts were reported to the king’s men and his army in Jerusalem, the king’s army came after the one who had gone into the wilderness and made a war against them on the Sabbath day. The fleeing Jews discussed amongst themselves whether they should battle with the army on the Sabbath day. After much discussion, their conclusion was, “We will not come forth, neither will we obey the king’s edict, to profane the sabbath day.” They even did not cast a stone at the invaders, because it was a sabbath day. As a result, the attacking army killed the men, their wives, their children, and their cattle, almost a thousand people (1 Maccabees 2:38). Mathathias and his followers were extremely grieved over the tragedy. This incident gave them a new direction of actions to take on wars on sabbath days. 1 Maccabees 2:41 says, “And they determined in that day, saying: Whosoever shall come up against us to fight on the sabbath day, we will fight against him: and we will not all die, as our brethren that were slain in the secret places.”

Mathathias and his company went around and threw down the altars, circumcised all the children and recovered the law of God in the land. When he was able to die, he called his sons and left valuable words that all of us also need to consider. It is found in 1 Maccabees 2:49-68, which says, “Now the days drew near that Mathathias should die, and he said to his sons: Now hath pride and chastisement gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of indignation: 50 Now therefore, O my sons, be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers. 51 And call to remembrance the works of the fathers, which they have done in their generations: and you shall receive great glory, and an everlasting name. 52 Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was reputed to him unto justice? 53 Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and he was made lord of Egypt. 54 Phinees our father, by being fervent in the zeal of God, received the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. 55 Jesus [Joshua], whilst he fulfilled the word, was made ruler in Israel. 56 Caleb, for bearing witness before the congregation, received an inheritance. 57 David by his mercy obtained the throne of an everlasting kingdom. 58 Elias, while he was full of zeal for the law, was taken up into heaven. 59 Ananias and Azarias and Misael [they are Daniel’s three friends] by believing, were delivered out of the flame. 60 Daniel in his innocency was delivered out of the mouth of the lions. 61 And thus consider through all generations: that none that trust in him fail in strength. 62 And fear not the words of a sinful man, for his glory is dung, and worms: 63 To day he is lifted up, and to morrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his earth; and his thought is come to nothing. 64 You therefore, my sons, take courage, and behave manfully in the law: for by it you shall be glorious. 65 And behold, I know that your brother Simon is a man of counsel: give ear to him always, and he shall be a father to you. 66 And Judas Machabeus who is valiant and strong from his youth up, let him be the leader of your army, and he shall manage the war of the people. 67 And you shall take to you all that observe the law: and revenge ye the wrong of your people. 68 Render to the Gentiles their reward, and take heed to the precepts of the law.” He blessed them and died.

(3) Judas Maccabeus

His son, Judas, called Maccabius (there may be different spellings including Machabeus), rose up in his stead and led many victories against the occupying pagan forces. Many were afraid of him, while the righteous Jews rejoiced. Then, Seron, captain of the army of Syria, made up his mind to fight against Judas and came all the way to Beth-horon.  Judas’ camp was small and scared to meet the enemies. They said to Judas, “How shall we, being few, be able to fight against so great a multitude and so strong, and we are ready to faint with fasting to day?” Judas said, “And Judas said: It is an easy matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few: and there is no difference in the sight of the God of heaven to deliver with a great multitude, or with a small company: 19 For the success of war is not in the multitude of the army, but strength cometh from heaven. 20 They come against us with an insolent multitude, and with pride, to destroy us, and our wives, and our children, and to take our spoils. 21 But we will fight for our lives and our laws: 22 And the Lord himself will overthrow them before our face: but as for you, fear them not” (1 Maccabees 3:18-22). He rushed to Seron and his host and overthrew them. He killed eight hundred men and the rest fled from him. The fear of Judas and his brethren fell upon all, and his name was known to Antiochus Epiphanes.


King Antiochus was angry and gathered a strong army. It depleted his treasury and he planned to go to Persia in order to take tributes. He left Lysias behind to oversee the affairs of his kingdom and to bring up his kingdom till he came again. A mighty army was sent to Israel, and Judas and his brethren saw that dangers were coming against them. Then, Jerusalem was not inhabited and like a desert. The Jews gathered together and fasted. They put ashes upon their heads and rent their garments. They opened the books of the law and brought the first-fruits and tithes. They cried unto the Lord and said, “… What shall we do with these, and whither shall we carry them? 51 For thy holies are trodden down, and are profaned, and thy priests are in mourning, and are brought low. 52 And behold the nations are come together against us to destroy us: thou knowest what they intend against us. 53 How shall we be able to stand before their face, unless thou, O God, help us?” (3:50b-53). Judas sent back certain people including the ones who were building houses, or had betrothed wives, or were planting vineyards, or were fearful according to the law. He said to the remnants that it was better for them to die in battle than to see the evils of their nation and of the holies.  

One of the chosen men by Lysias was Gorgias who took five thousand men and a thousand of the best horsemen. They planned a surprise attack on the camp of the Jews, which was reported to Judas. Judas and his valiant men left the camp before they arrived. Gorgias thought they fled away from him, but later Judas showed himself with three thousand men to the enemies. His men had neither armor nor swords, while his enemy forces were strong, wore breastplates, and had horsemen who were trained for war. It was a time of crisis for the Jews. What happened to them?

I’ll continue next week.


Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Welcome back: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki.
  • Special thanks to those who provided hospitality to Rev Mark Chen & family.
  • Missions trips to Batam (16-21 Jan) & Phnom Penh (2 Jan–6 Feb) in 2020. If interested, please see Elder Michael D Lee or any Missions Committee member by 30th
  • Audio recordings of Music Seminar available via Church website. Contact Elder David Yeo for seminar notes.
  • Annual Congregation Meeting: All members are expected to attend. Please arrive at 7:15pm for a punctual start.
  • Session requests early submission of questions for ACM to facilitate the preparation of any required information. Please provide these to the Clerk of Session (Dn Kevin Low) by today.
  • Candidates for the 9th Session Election: Pastor Okman Ki, Elders David Yeo & Colin Gan; Deacons Wittawat Atijatuporn, Kevin Low, Sung Hyun Ma, Aaron Tan, John Wong & Wai Kin Wong; Bro Jason Tan.
  • Parents of Sunday School Children are required to pick their children up immediately after the Service.
  • IF Retreat forms available in the Foyer. Please complete & return with payment to Bros Daniel Volvricht or Danny Chu.
  • Holiday Bible Club: Parents, please save the date & register your children.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: Volunteers. Next week: YAF.  


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Ministry of Rev Mark Chen.
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.
  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.
  • Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (Adl); Rev Mark Chen & family (WA);  & others who have travelled.



  • Healing: For those in affliction.
  • Batam Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa requests funds for 6 computers (A$4,000) for Primary School computer lab & school fence repairs (A$3,500).
  • ACM & Session Election.
  • Ebenezer BPC (Melb) - Session & members; unity in doctrine & fellowship.
  • Providence B-P Church - 5th Anniversary Thanksgiving next Lord’s Day at 3pm.
  • Journey mercies: Those who are travelling.





© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041