Maccabees Vs. Greeks
The war of Religions
2 Maccabees 3:30
"And the temple, which a little while before was full of fear and disturbance, was filled with joy and gladness, now that the Almighty Lord had appeared."
Only One World to Conquer
"The world was 'Hellenized' overnight. (The Greeks called themselves 'Hellens,' so the Hellenized civilization after Alexander as 'Hellenistic' to historians. Everywhere, Greek had become the language of commerce. Greek ideas of art permanently changed sculpture and painting even as far away as India, and the whole eastern Mediterranean sprouted Greek temples and libraries. Everyone wanted to be up to day started dressing and acting like a Greek."
Jerusalem in the Middle
"Until the reign of Seleucid king Antiochus IV, at least the Jews who wanted to could worship the True God in peace. Antiochus called himself Epiphanes - Greek for 'God Manifest.' He though more highly of himself than his subjects did."
The Final Desecration
"Anyone who openly practiced Judaism - which is what the Jews began to call their religion, to distinguish is from 'Hellenism' - was in mortal danger. Antiochus topped off his campaign of terror by desecrating the Temple itself, filling it with harlots, and offering unclean sacrifices on the altar"
Amazing Success of the Maccabees
"At first the resistance was individual and unorganized. But soon one family became the standard-bearers for the revolt. An old priest names Mattathias and his five sons retreated to the countryside and started organizing the resistance. It was an obviously hopeless effort; they could never succeed against the power of the world's greatest empire. The only reason for resisting was that it was better to die than to be unfaithful to God."
What The Jews Believe
"Israel" is a Faithful Remnant
"For the authors of the books of Maccabees, the name 'Israel' does not mean everyone of Jewish descent. It means the people who were faithful to God - often a small minority."
The Saints Who Die Will Rise Again to an Eternal Reward
"By the time the books of the Maccabees were written, many Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead."
Martyrdom is Preferable to Apostasy
"Because God's saints expect to receive eternal life as their reward, it is far better to lost this life than to turn away from God. Apostasy - the sin of turning away from the worship of God."
God Judges His People as a Father Judges His Children
"The people of God may suffer from time to time, but these sufferings come because Israel needs discipline, not because God wants revenge."
It Is Good and Wise to Pray for the Dead
"When Judas Maccabeus found that some of his soldiers died with pagan amulets, he prayed to God to forgive their sin. Although they were dead, he didn't regard their state of death as a closed issue."
The Ancient Greeks and Jews (Alexander the Great 330s BCE)