Sunday, November 07, 2010

Wild Times in the Old Middle East

Most protestant churches ignore the “Catholic Bible” or more particularly, the  books of the Apocrypha. The Bible study group I lead has been reading through the Apocrypha for just over the last year and it has been a fascinating look at what some consider scripture. Not many Baptist Bible studies that i can find have taken the time to read and investigate the stories in these documents.
I think it may prove beneficial if some of our leaders study the history of the time covered in the apocryphal writings. In the recent weeks of reading through I Maccabees, one disturbing theme continues to surface.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
While most scholars consider I Maccabees to be “temple propaganda” to support the power of the Hasmonean dynasty in Israel, it does portray the strategies used by the leaders throughout the time.
They were namely:
  • build walls
  • throw out everyone who does not believe as they do
  • capture territory
  • colonize the captured territory with faithful Jews
  • build walls higher
Something sounds oddly familiar about that strategy.
Possibly because it reflects much of Israel’s foreign policy today.
Certainly, it is a simplification, but when reading through the history and looking at the headlines of the day, the similarities are uncanny. The warring factions change, but the strategies remain the same. History demonstrates they have a short term effectiveness and appeal to a certain faction. History also shows that the strategy largely led to Israel ceasing to exist for over two-thousand years.
I would encourage the regional leaders and outside powers seeking to influence outcomes in the region to seriously read the history as it has been passed down. When we learn from history, we do not have to repeat the errors made in antiquity. The Apocrypha has been a surprisingly clear window to the thinking of the Israel in the past with a reflection of Israel today.

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