Victory for Israel
By: Brittany Segalla and Elizabeth Seiler; 8th Hour
Invasion of the Greeks
Alexander the Great conquered Persia, which put the Jews under Greek rule. The influence of Greek culture in the conquered areas became known as Hellenism. Some of the Jews chose to follow Greek ways, and faithful Jews were offended by them. However, they were still allowed to practice their own religion...until Antiochus IV that is.
The Beginning of a Rebellion
The Seleucid king, Antiochus IV "Epiphanes", took Hellenism to the extreme by forcing his people to adopt Greek ways instead of letting them choose. (In other words, the Jews could no longer worship God.)
Everyone had to live by the Greeks' rules and traditions, and if you did not wish to practice their traditions, you would be in great danger (Antiochus resorted to murder and torture as means to enforce his point).
The Greeks even turned the Temple into the temple of Olympian Zeus and introduced Greek styles of worship that were full of immoralities that shocked the faithful remnant of Israel.
The Maccabean Revolt
Mattathias and his family organized the Jews into a resistance against the Greeks. It was unlikely for them to succeed because they were going up against the world's greatest empire, but when they started to believe and trust in God, they started to succeed by winning back territory. They were soon able to purify the Temple.
Judas, the most talented soldier, and his four brothers became known as the Maccabees, and they eventually conquered most of the territory that had been part of the Davidic Kingdom (after Judas' death, though).
The Books of Maccabees
The Books of Maccabees show us what Jewish life was like before the Incarnation. There are a few Jewish beliefs in the book that Christians also follow. They are: "Israel" is the faithful remnant, the saints who die will rise again to an eternal reward, martyrdom is preferable to apostasy, God judges his people as a father judges his children, and it is good and wise to pray for the dead.