8 October 2011
Eleazar is the great-great-Grandfather of Jesus Christ – Extracted from Matthew, Chapter 1
1 Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:
2 Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah fathered Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram,
4 Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,
5 Salmon fathered Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse;
6 and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,
7 Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa,
8 Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah,
9 Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah;
11 and Josiah fathered Jechoniah and his brothers. Then the deportation to Babylon took place.
12 After the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor,
14 Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud,
15 Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob;
16 and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
17 The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.
Extracted from 2 Maccabees, Chapter 6:
Pagans Cults Imposed – Around 175 BC
1 Shortly afterwards, the king sent Gerontes the Athenian to force the Jews to violate their ancestral customs and live no longer by the laws of God;
2 and to profane the Temple in Jerusalem and dedicate it to Olympian Zeus, and the one on Mount Gerizim to Zeus, Patron of Strangers, as the inhabitants of the latter place had requested.
3 The advent of these evils was painfully hard for all the people to bear.
4 The Temple was filled with revelling and debauchery by the gentiles, who took their pleasure with prostitutes and had intercourse with women in the sacred precincts, introducing other indecencies besides.
5 The altar of sacrifice was loaded with victims proscribed by the law as profane.
6 No one might either keep the Sabbath or observe the traditional feasts, or so much as admit to being a Jew.
7 People were driven by harsh compulsion to take part in the monthly ritual meal commemorating the king's birthday; and when a feast of Dionysus occurred, they were forced to wear ivy wreaths and walk in the Dionysiac procession.
8 A decree was issued at the instance of the people of Ptolemais for the neighbouring Greek cities, enforcing the same conduct on the Jews there, obliging them to share in the sacrificial meals,
9 and ordering the execution of those who would not voluntarily conform to Greek customs. So it became clear that disaster was imminent.
10 For example, two women were charged with having circumcised their children. They were paraded publicly round the town, with their babies hung at their breasts, and then hurled over the city wall.
11 Other people, who had assembled in some near-by caves to keep the seventh day without attracting attention, were denounced to Philip, and were then all burnt to death together, since their consciences would not allow them to defend themselves, out of respect for the holiness of the day.
Providential Interpretation of the Persecution
12 Now, I urge anyone who may read this book not to be dismayed at these calamities, but to reflect that such visitations are intended not to destroy our race but to discipline it.
13 Indeed, when evil-doers are not left for long to their own devices but incur swift retribution, it is a sign of great benevolence.
14 In the case of other nations, the Master waits patiently for them to attain the full measure of their sins before he punishes them, but with us he has decided to deal differently,
15 rather than have to punish us later, when our sins come to full measure.
16 And so he never entirely withdraws his mercy from us; he may discipline us by some disaster, but he does not desert his own people.
17 Let this be said simply by way of reminder; we must return to our story without more ado.
The Martyrdom of Eleazar
18 Eleazar, one of the foremost teachers of the Law, a man already advanced in years and of most noble appearance, had his mouth forced open, to make him eat a piece of pork.
19 But he, resolving to die with honour rather than to live disgraced, walked of his own accord to the torture of the wheel,
20 having spat the stuff out, as befits those with the courage to reject what is not lawful to taste, rather than live.
21 The people supervising the ritual meal, forbidden by the Law, because of the length of time for which they had known him, took him aside and privately urged him to have meat brought of a kind he could properly use, prepared by himself, and only pretend to eat the portions of sacrificial meat as prescribed by the king;
22 this action would enable him to escape death, by availing himself of an act of kindness prompted by their long friendship.
23 But having taken a noble decision worthy of his years and the dignity of his great age and the well-earned distinction of his grey hairs, worthy too of his impeccable conduct from boyhood, and above all of the holy legislation established by God himself, he answered accordingly, telling them to send him at once to Hades.
24 'Pretence', he said, 'does not befit our time of life; many young people would suppose that Eleazar at the age of 90 had conformed to the foreigners' way of life
25 and, because I had played this part for the sake of a paltry brief spell of life, might themselves be led astray on my account; I should only bring defilement and disgrace on my old age.
26 Even though for the moment I avoid execution by man, I can never, living or dead, elude the grasp of the Almighty.
27 Therefore if I am man enough to quit this life here and now, I shall prove myself worthy of my old age,
28 and I shall have left the young a noble example of how to make a good death, eagerly and generously, for the venerable and holy laws.' So saying, he walked straight to the wheel,
29 while those who were escorting him, recently so well disposed towards him, turned against him after this declaration, which they regarded as sheer madness.
30 He for his part, just before he died under the blows, gave a sigh and said, 'The Lord whose knowledge is holy sees clearly that, though I might have escaped death, from awe of him I gladly endure these agonies of body under the lash, and that in my soul I am glad to suffer.'
31 This was how he died, leaving his death as an example of nobility and a record of virtue not only for the young but for the greater part of the nation.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty that shall never pass away - Extracted from Daniel, Chapter 7:
9 While I (hereinafter referred to the prophet “Daniel” was watching, thrones were set in place and one most venerable (God the Father) took his seat. His robe was white as snow, the hair of his head as pure as wool. His throne was a blaze of flames, its wheels were a burning fire.
10 A stream of fire poured out, issuing from his presence. A thousand thousand waited on him, ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was in session and the books lay open.
11 'I went on watching: then, because of the noise made by the boastings of the horn, as I watched, the beast was put to death, and its body destroyed and committed to the flames.
12 The other beasts were deprived of their empire, but received a lease of life for a season and a time.
13 I was gazing into the visions of the night, when I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, as it were a son of man (Jesus Christ). He came to the One most venerable and was led into his presence.
14 On him was conferred rule, honour and kingship, and all peoples, nations and languages became his servants. His rule is an everlasting rule which will never pass away, and his kingship will never come to an end.
Extracted from Isaiah, Chapter 25:
A prayer of thanksgiving
1 Yahweh, you are my God, I shall praise you to the heights, I shall praise your name; for you have accomplished marvels, plans long-conceived, faithfully, firmly.
2 For you have made the town a heap of stones, the fortified city a ruin. The foreigners' citadel is a city no longer, it will never be rebuilt.
3 Hence mighty peoples will honour you, the city of pitiless nations hold you in awe;
4 For you have been a refuge for the weak, a refuge for the needy in distress, a shelter from the storm, shade from the heat; for the breath of the pitiless is like a winter storm.
5 Like heat in a dry land you calm the foreigners' tumult; as heat under the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the pitiless dies away.
The Messianic banquet
6 On this mountain, for all peoples, Yahweh Sabaoth is preparing a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of succulent food, of well-strained wines.
7 On this mountain, he has destroyed the veil which used to veil all peoples, the pall enveloping all nations;
8 he has destroyed death for ever. Lord Yahweh has wiped away the tears from every cheek; he has taken his people's shame away everywhere on earth, for Yahweh has spoken.
9 And on that day, it will be said, 'Look, this is our God, in him we put our hope that he should save us, this is Yahweh, we put our hope in him. Let us exult and rejoice since he has saved us.'
10 For Yahweh's hand will rest on this mountain, and Moab will be trodden under his feet as straw is trodden into the dung-heap.
11 He may stretch his hands wide on the mountain like a swimmer stretching out his hands to swim. But he will humble his pride despite what his hands may attempt.
12 And the impregnable fortress of your walls, he has overthrown, laid low, flung to the ground, in the dust.
8 October 2011