Volume. XXXIV, No. 8
Sunday, 25 August 2019

From the Pastor’s Heart: Jerusalem (10)

We learnt about Rome’s intervention in the affairs of the Jewish state.  Pompey entered the “Holy of Holies,” but did not touch the temple treasures.  However, later the Syrian proconsul, M. Lucinius Crassus, carried away from the temple the money that Pompey had left.   The walls of Jerusalem were destroyed again.  Hyrcanus II was reinstated high priest, while Aristobulus was carried a prisoner to Rome.  The city of Jerusalem became tributary to the Roman Empire. 


In 47 B.C, Antipater became a Roman citizen and was appointed procurator in return for his services rendered to Julius Caesar in Egypt.  Caesar permitted Hyrcanus to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in addition to other privileges.  Antipater appointed his eldest son, Phaselus, to be the governor of Jerusalem, and committed Galilee to the care of his younger son, Herod.

Herod the Great

Herod succeeded his father as procurator of Judaea by order of the Roman Senate in 40 B. C.  However, in the same year, he lost Jerusalem to the Parthians under Pacorus and Barsapharnes (Ant., XIV, xiii, 3,1).  Herod moved his family and treasures to Massada, and later he was able to return to Jerusalem in 37 B.C. with the help of Sosius, the Roman proconsul.  Antony appointed him as the king of Judaea. 

His reign in Jerusalem was between 37 and 4 B.C.  He built a vast palace in 24 B. C.   He also rebuilt the fortress with four lofty corner towers and renamed it the Antonia in honor of his patron.  He constructed a hippodrome or amphitheater (Ant, XV, viii, 1).  His plan to reconstruct the Temple commenced in 19 B. C., but it was not truly finished (including out-building and court) until 64 AD (John 2:20; Matthew 24:1-2; Luke 21:5-6).  The sanctuary itself was built by 1,000 specially trained priests within the space of 18 months (11-10 BC).  It was because it was not lawful for anyone to enter the Temple but priests.  The conception was magnificent, and resulted in a mass of buildings of size and beauty far surpassing anything that had stood there before. It must be true to say that in architectural splendor, Herod’s Temple surpassed the first Temple.  In terms of the Temple service, it appears that there were female singers in the Second Temple (restored Temple after captivity).  Ezra 2:65 says, “Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women.”  However, there were Levite boys in their place in the Herod’s Temple.  In the first Temple, there was the ark of the covenant in the most holy place, which was filled with the cloud of Shechinah (dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God).  However, in Herod’s temple there was neither Shechinah nor the ark.  It was empty. 

Herod the Great made and placed a golden eagle above the gate of the Temple.  There were two prominent scribes in Jerusalem, and one of them was Judah b. Zippori.  Shortly before Herod died he thought that a good opportunity had come to tear it down and he incited young men of Jerusalem, and some of them were their students.  On a false report of Herod’s death, they cut down the eagle.  Soldiers seized forty of them and brought them to the king.  The angry king caught the two scribes, the ringleaders, and burned them alive.  He delivered others to his servants, who killed them.  Scholars agree that Herod suffered throughout his lifetime from depression and paranoia.  Josephus stated that Herod was so concerned that no one would mourn his death, that he commanded a large group of distinguished men to come to Jericho, and he gave an order that they should be killed at the time of his death so that the displays of grief that he craved would take place; but his son Archelaus and his sister Salome did not carry out this wish.  According to Jewish Encyclopedia, Herod died in Jericho after an excruciatingly painful, putrefying illness of uncertain cause, known to posterity as “Herod’s Evil.”  Josephus says that the pain of his illness led him to attempt suicide by stabbing, which was thwarted by his cousin. 

Herod Archelaus

He was born around 21 B.C. and his mother Malthace was a Samaritan.  He became his father’s successor, while his brothers Antipas and Philip became mere tetrarchs.  These appointments were somehow mysterious because Herod the Great changed his will only four days before he died.  This sudden change contributed to his future confirmation process in Rome, because there were many Herodian house residents in Rome who did not want to acknowledge Herod the Great’s second will.  Though the initial problem came from the animosity between the Pharisees and the Sadducean high priest Joezer of the Boethus family, he ordered a massacre which left three thousand Jews upon the Temple pavements.  Caesar Augustus tactfully decided to make Judaea a monarchy governed by its own kings tributary to Rome.  He made this monarchy as small and powerless as possible.  Thus, he divided Herod’s extensive empire into three portions.  Archelaus was appointed ethnarch – not king – of Judaea, Samaria, and Idumea, with the exclusion of some important cities like Gaza, Gadara, and Hippus.  Antipas and Philip were made tetrarchs of the remaining provinces.  Antipas received Galilee and Perea, and Philip received the other lands east of the Jordan.  While he was in absence from Judaea, there were open revolts by the Jews.  On the day of Pentecost in 4 B.C. a collision took place in the Temple precincts between the troops of Sabinus (procurator) and the populace.  Archelaus was cruel and tyrannical.  Eventually, he was deprived of his crown and banished.  During his short reign (4 BC-6 AD), he deposed three high priests for purposes of profit. 

Pontius Pilate

He was the fifth Roman procurator of Judea, Samaria, and Idumaea from 26 to 36 AD.  According to Philo, his administration was characterized by corruption, violence, robberies, ill treatment of the people, and continuous executions without even the form of a trial.  Without respecting Jewish religious feelings and traditions, he allowed his soldiers to bring their standards having all the effigies and images into Jerusalem by night.  Many Jews asked him to remove the images.  However, after five days of discussions, he ordered his soldiers to surround the petitioners and to put them to death unless they ceased to trouble him, but he had to yield because they would rather die than bear this affront.  He appropriated funds from the sacred treasury for the construction of an aqueduct and suppressed the riots by sending disguised soldiers who massacred a great number, not only of the rioters but also of casual spectators.  He hung up gilt shields dedicated to Tiberius in Herod’s palace, of which the Jews protested to him and to the emperor who ordered him to remove it.   He also massacred a number of Samaritans for which he was ordered to defend himself in Rome. 

His end is mysterious.  “According to Eusebius . . ., he was banished to Vienna (Vienne) in Gaul, where various misfortunes caused him at last to commit suicide; while the chronicle of Malalas alleges, with less probability, that he was beheaded under Nero. . .” (Jewish Encyclopedia).



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  • IF Retreat forms available in the Foyer. Please complete & return with payment to Bros Daniel Volvricht or Danny Chu. Today is last day to register.
  • Missions trips to Batam (16-21 Jan) & Phnom Penh (24 Jan–6 Feb) in 2020. If interested, please see Elder Michael D Lee or any Missions Committee member by 30
  • Service Roster Oct-Dec 2019: Please send your availability by next Lord’s Day to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com.
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  • Sunday School Dinner: 7 Sep is for families of students & teachers. Please inform Dn John Wong or Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam if you are able to attend.
  • Next Lord’s Day’s Fellowship Lunch is catered (free) to celebrate Father’s Day.
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Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Working Bees
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.
  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.
  • Journey mercies: Those who have travelled.



  • Healing: Rev George van Buuren; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); and others in need of healing.
  • Missions - Batam Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa requests funds for school fence repairs (A$3,500). Rev & Mrs Stephen Choi, Rev & Mrs Sun Sokha (PhnomPenh).
  • God’s guidance - for students in their final year.
  • Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo (Melb/Adl);  & others who are travelling.



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