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The Life of Jesus for Big Kids
In 40 BC the Roman Senate named Herod the "king of the Jews" even
though he was an Idumaean. Mark Antony, Octavian, the Senate, and Herod all
offered a sacrifice to Jupiter the king of the gods. Herod returned and with the
help of the Roman legion, he forced the land to acknowledge him as the king of
the Jews. He did everything he could to bring order into the land, but the Jews
always realized that he was an Idumaean and therefore a foreigner. The law of
Moses would not allow a foreigner to rule over Israel (Deuteronomy 17:15). But
Herod was determined to make the land of Israel into the most beautiful land in
the Roman Empire. He was definitely the man to do it, he was one of the greatest
builders of all time.
Israel. The land of Israel was not an independent
territory but a province of the Roman Empire. Herod was determined to
administrate Rome's wishes in every part of the land of Israel. He worked
closely with the Roman procurator of Syria and established Roman districts within the
territory. Herod built his palace in Jerusalem and he began beautifying every
part of the city. Jerusalem became an architectural marvel, and the whole world
was in awe of Herod's Jerusalem. The western portion of the holy land was
divided into Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. The eastern region beyond the Jordan
bore the Greek name Perea which means "beyond."
Political Boundaries. Herod set up political boundaries
at the end of his life. To his son Archelaus he assigned Idumaea, Judea, and
Samaria but he became wicked in the land and the Roman government banished him
when Pontius Pilate became procurator of the new imperial province of Judea.
Herod's son Antipas was given Tetrarchy of upper and lower Galilee, the district
of Perea, which was formerly the land of Gilead and Bashan. Philip, who was
brother of Herod Antipas, was given Tetrarchy of Itrurea and Trachonitis, the
country around Hermon, the stony Argob, and the fertile Hauran. Abilene was a
district of anti-Lebanon. These political divisions of the holy land existed
during the public ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist. The man chosen to be the messenger
and the forerunner of the Messiah was known in the Bible as John the Baptist.
His parents were Zacharias and Elizabeth, and they were both descendents of
Aaron the original high priest of Israel and brother of Moses. At 30 years of
age John came preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and during his ministry
Jesus came to be baptized by John and then began His public ministry. John the
Baptist said about Jesus "Behold the lamb of God who take upon Himself the sins
of the world."
Jesus. Once Jesus was baptized he went into the
wilderness and showed the devil his authority. He began ministering in the
northern parts of Israel in the region of Galilee. He visited Jerusalem several
times for Passover and the last time the Jewish leaders were envious of him and
planned his death. Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead and then rode
into Jerusalem on a donkey in fulfillment of the prophecy and then was murdered
in Jerusalem on a Roman cross. He wept over the land and promised that the city
would be buried, which it was in 70 A.D. The Romans came and struck the land and
the legions of Titus destroyed the temple and slaughtered a large number of
Jews. The rest were brought to Rome as prisoners of war, as seen in historical
triumph arch of Titus in Rome today.
Jerusalem. Herod the great may Jerusalem into one of
the wonders of the world. The Temple in Jerusalem was magnificent in the city
was filled with architectural marvels. It is very important in the study the
Bible to have a good understanding of first century Jerusalem.
Galilee. The region of Galilee in the north is the area that was allotted
to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali. these two tribes of Israel were the first
to fall by the Assyrians, yet in Isaiah 9:1-2 the Lord promised that the light
would dawn in this area when the Messiah came. Jesus dwelt in Nazareth and began
his ministry there, and this was an offense to the Jews in Jerusalem who
believed that nothing good could come from this area. Galilee was considered a
heathen area of the land of Israel. Yet the prophets of the Old Testament
continually predicted that the Messiah would not only come from Galilee, but
that he would minister to the Gentiles (non-Jews). This was always God's plan,
that the Jews would be the chosen people to minister the word of God to the
Gentiles, yet they would not and therefore God sent his son to begin a fire that
spread throughout the whole entire world.
Caesarea Philippi. Just before Jesus went to Jerusalem
for the last time, he brought his disciples far to the north to Caesarea
Philippi to reveal to them who he was. This was a place where there was a Greek
shrine to the Greek god Pan. There were many mystical beliefs around this place,
including the fact that it was believed by the Greeks that this was the very
entrance to Hades and the bottomless pit. When they arrived there Jesus told his
disciples that he was going to build his church, and the gates of Hades would
not prevail against it. He asked them who they thought he was, and he finally
revealed that he indeed was the Messiah. After this he set his face to go to
Jerusalem to complete his mission. Afterwards it was up to them to continue what
he started, by waiting on God to fulfill his promises and empower them to go
into all the world.
Luke 19:42 - "and Jesus said to Israel,
If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong
unto your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes."
Luke 24:44-49 - "He said to them,"This is what I told you,
while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the law of
Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me must be fulfilled." Then he
opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures. He said to
them,"Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and
to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You
are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send out the promise of my Father on
you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on
The study of the Land of Israel during the time of Jesus is very important in the study of the
Bible, let's pray:
Dear Jesus, thank you for the Bible, and for all of your
promises. All of your predictions came true exactly as you originally spoke them
through your prophets. You yourself came to the world and humbled yourself as a
servant to all men. You taught us that no servant is greater than his master,
and that if you served we also ought to serve. Help us Lord to serve and to
realize our great calling, we love you. In Jesus name… Amen!
Map of Israel in the Time of Jesus for Bible Study.
Kid's Bible Maps
The Geography of the Bible
© Bible History Online ( http://www.bible-history.com)