POSSIBLE MACCABEAN REVOLT?
ALEXANDER THE GREAT (336-323 BC)
Nothing lasts forever...the Persian Empire has officially collapsed. The Greeks have taken over!
The son of Philip of Macedon, Alexander, conquered the entire world, especially the Persian Empire in which we lived. Our world became "Hellenized" quickly, under the rule of the Hellenes (Greeks). Everyone spoke, sculpted, and painted Greek. People even built Greek temples and libraries, and started dressing and acting Greek!
Alexander died of fever just years ago, 323 BC. Because he died young, he had no successor. The empire was divided between Greece, Egypt, and what was the Persian Empire.
The Jews could still worship their God in peace, but not for long...
ANTIOCHUS IV (175-164 BC)
Antiochus IV called himself Epiphanes- Greek for "God Manifest." He thought more highly of himself than many of subjects did. They called him Epimanes- Greek for "Out of Mind." He was crazy enough to think of himself as a god! No one dared to contradict his ways. You may remember when he stood in a public theater and danced vulgarly. His greatest ambition to make his whole vast empire Greek, bringing in Greek culture and religion. Under his empire, the Jewish high priest was also the secular ruler of his people. It was a powerful position, and Antiochus sold it to the highest bidder, regardless of qualifications. Now that the high priesthood was in the hands of the rich Hellenists, the young men of the best families adopted Greek customs and forgot about the Law of Moses! Antiochus wanted to Hellenize Jewish worship and change their sacred temples; The Temple of God became a temple to the Olympian god Zeus. Antiochus wanted everyone to participate in pagan sacrifices, which meant that the Jews were forced to eat things against the Law of Moses.
Still, the faithful Jews tried to go Antiochus. Antiochus started killing those who went against him, like women who circumcised their boy children and those who refused to eat their forbidden foods like unclean meats. The Temple was eventually destroyed, and Antiochus filled it with prostitutes and offered impure sacrifices on the altar. Still, the Jews refuse to back down...