Israel in the Time of Jesus

Israel in the First Century AD during the Time of Jesus Christ

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Matthew 11:28 "Jesus said, Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest."

The Life of Jesus for Little Kids

This map shows you key places in Israel where Jesus went during his lifetime! Jesus was born in Bethlehem but moved quickly to Egypt as a very little boy to be safe from the bad king Herod. When it was safe, an angel told his family to move back to Israel, and Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth. The Bible tells us that all of these things had to happen for Jesus to be the Son of God, and they did!

Jesus was about 30 years old when he went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. Most people get baptized to show that they are going to stop doing bad things and instead turn to God. But Jesus never sinned! He got baptized because he knew at that moment he would show the world that he is living for God. The Bible says that after Jesus was baptized, God's voice came from Heaven and a dove landed on him. God said, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy."

From that point on, Jesus would choose his disciples, teach God's word to thousands of people, and do many miracles in the land of Israel. 

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The Life of Jesus for Big Kids

Ancient Assyrian Man with BeardHerod the Great. 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 high."

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!

Israel in the First Century AD during the Time of Jesus Christ
Map of Israel in the Time of Jesus for Bible Study.


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