Christian and Patriot
I had someone ask me the question yesterday, “Can a Christian be a passionate patriot and a passionate Christian?” Without hesitation my answer flew out of my mouth, YES! When I think about a Passionate Patriotic Christian, I think about the Maccabee’s, a family of Jewish patriots. I have read the history and the battles of the Maccabee’s so many times that I almost have the whole history memorized. The Maccabee wars were in the period between the Old and New Testaments.
In 175 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes became king of Syria and he became obsessed and determined to exterminate the Jewish religion. In the very beginning he had considerable success. Epiphanes owed that success partly to a Hellenizing (Liberals) movement among the Jews themselves.
Epiphane’s devastated Jerusalem in 168 BC, defiled the Temple, offered a pig on its altar, erected an altar to Jupiter, prohibited Temple worship, forbade circumcision on pain of death, sold thousands of Jewish families into slavery, destroyed all copies of Scripture that could be found, and slaughtered everyone discovered in possession of such copies, and resorted to every conceivable torture to force Jews to renounce their religion.
I don’t think Epiphane ever thought there would be any resistance against him. But was he ever wrong. The first resistance against Epiphane’s began at Modin where an old priest named Mattathias, of the family of Hasmon or Chasmon, slew the sacrificers, and the king’s officer under whose direction the altar had been erected.
Mattathias was the father of five sons, and with a large body of followers took to the mountains to hide out. They were attacked on the Sabbath, and thousands were killed. After the sabbath attack they resolved to disregard the Sabbatical rule to fight in self-defense. After Mattathias’s death, his son Judas, surnamed Maccabaeus, or “the hammerer,” became the leader. Several great victories were gained. The ruined temple was RESTORED, the desecrated altar was pulled down and reconstructed, and the new altar was dedicated, and the people rejoiced. The emphasis RESTORED is for a reason. Restoration can also happen here in America. Christian Altars have been desecrated, torn down and evil one’s erected, all in the last 50 years. There can still be a great revival of restoration.
The Syrian’s didn’t give up their efforts to exterminate the Jewish religion. In 165 B.C. a large Syrian army led by Lysias invaded Israel and the war continued with the Maccabee’s having varying success, After the death of Judas in 161 B.C. his brothers Jonathan and Simon became the leaders. Jonathan was also high priest but was murdered about 144 B.C. Simon was then sole leader of the patriotic party. Under him the country enjoyed greater prosperity than at any other period after the Exile.
The Jews, in gratitude for what he had done, put up in the temple a memorial tablet to Simon and his family, and he was appointed governor and high priest. In 135 B.C. he was murdered by his son-in-law. His son, John Hyrcanus, then became high priest. He built the fortress in Jerusalem that was afterwards known as the Castle Antonia and destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim. After his death the position of the family was less secure and Herod the Great came to power.
The Maccabee’s were a great patriotic family who loved their nation and loved the Lord. They saw the enemy bent on destroying their way of life and Worship of God. I’ve said many times that the liberal party in America is bent on destroying our way of life and Worship of God. I am a passionate Christian and a passionate Patriot.
Our pastor preached Sunday that we can be both Patriotic and Christian but we must have our priorities right. Today as we celebrate our Independence, I want to offer A BIG thank you to all the passionate patriots who have fought to keep our nation free. And another BIG thank you to all the passionate Christians who live to set men free. God Bless!