The original Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians around 730 BC. BC, and its ten tribes were taken captive to Babylon, located in modern Iraq.
The prophet Isaiah had warned the Hebrew people that if they did not repent of their evil ways and return to the worship of their God, they would use the Assyrians as “the rod of their wrath”. They were literally scattered in the wind and ceased to exist as a people with a national identity.
The southern kingdom of Israel, Judea, was attacked soon after by the Assyrians with limited success, but after failing to capture Jerusalem through God’s intervention, the Assyrians gave up and returned home. Judea had remained faithful to God and had not strayed to false gods and material riches like their northern parents.
The Assyrian Empire would be destroyed within the next 100 years, as one historian noted, as it was weakened by all their conquests as their strongest and bravest soldiers were killed, while the most cautious and the less competent lived.
The army had brought into Assyria as captives and slaves millions of foreigners from the captured countries, which weighed on the economy, multiplied very rapidly and destroyed all natural unity of character, lineage and destiny.
While the southern kingdom of Judea would survive further wars and internal power struggles, in 63 BC. BC, it was invaded by the Roman legions of General Pompey and annexed to the Roman Empire.
In 37 BC. BC, King Herod the Great had taken over the lands of the Jews as an ally of the Romans. His cooperation enabled the Romans to give him free rule subject to their approval, and the Jews the right to practice their established religion. Augustus Caesar came to power in Rome in 27 BC. J.-C. and declared himself “a living god and savior of the world”.
It was in such a world that the true “living God and Savior of the peoples of the world”, Jesus Christ, was born around 4 BC. AD in the city of Bethlehem in occupied Judea.
Ironically, it was by a decree of Emperor Augustus Caesar ordering all citizens of Judea to pay their taxes to the local Roman tax collector that Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem. When they got there, all the inns were full and they had to sleep in a stable.
That night, Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ in a straw manger. Local shepherds and three wise men from the East showed up and fell to their knees realizing that this baby was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.
King Herod soon heard the news of the birth of the “King of the Jews.” Wanting no competition for his position as king, he ordered his minions to kill the Christ Child. God the Father warned Joseph and Mary of Herod’s plan and they fled with Jesus to Egypt. J
Esus returned about a year later after an angel from God told Joseph that Herod was dead. Joseph went to Nazareth in Galilee instead of Judea because he knew that Herod’s son had taken the throne and also wanted Jesus dead. There is a long period of time when biblical and historical scholars seemed to lose sight of the whereabouts and activities of Jesus.
At the age of thirty, Jesus suddenly reappeared in public and was baptized by John the Baptist, who knew he was the Son of God. He recruited twelve apostles to help him spread the word to the people, preached sermons to the multitudes, healed the sick, performed many miracles, raised the dead, fed huge crowds by drawing bread, fish, water and wine out of nothing, and was crucified at the insistence of the Pharisees and Sadducees at the age of thirty-three.
They were the wealthy and powerful religious leaders of the Jews who were threatened by Jesus’ message that He was the Son of God and you could only obtain the Kingdom of Heaven and Eternal Salvation through Him. They had him arrested and brought before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, in Jerusalem. They charged him with blasphemy for teaching religious doctrine in violation of established Jewish laws and religious customs.
To their dismay, Pilate proclaimed that he could not blame Jesus. They always insisted that his teachings violated Roman law because Augustus Caesar decreed he was a living god and Jesus said he was the Son of God and not the son of God. ‘August. Pilate was not really impressed by this argument but said, as was the Jewish custom at that time, that he would release Jesus if the crowd asked him to.
The crowd was under the control of religious leaders who made them shout at Pilate to release Barabbas, a local thief and thug, and crucify Jesus. Pilate told the crowd that he was washing his hands of it and declared: “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man; it’s up to you to see”. They had him taken away and crucified by the soldiers.
Even the most powerful man in Judea, the Roman governor, recognized that Jesus had supernatural powers and was afraid to judge him. Three days later he was resurrected, appeared to his apostles and others, before finally ascending to heaven. You want the direct gospel…read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament.
It should be noted that the Roman Empire was destroyed by barbarians in 476 AD for the same reasons the Assyrian Empire was destroyed. The American Empire could be next because we are making the same mistakes as them.
Fast forward to December 21, 2021. All of America celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. There’s only one major problem with the celebration…it’s centered around gifts, decorations, and hearty meals. People spend thousands of dollars on gifts by maxing out their credit cards or going into debt.
Where is the celebration of “Christ” at Christmas? How many people go to church or otherwise pray to God and thank Jesus for the gift of eternal salvation? From what I can see, it’s maybe one in five Americans. The others are too preoccupied with the golden calf.
JAMES C. WEART is a retired criminal defense attorney who now resides in Rogersville, TN. He is also the author of a book entitled COMMON SENSE — A REAL PARTY MOVEMENT. You can email him at [email protected]