Tag Archives: Israel

CAESAR’S IMPEACHMENT

The Senate removed Julius Caesar from office on March 15, 44 BC. The Senate conspirators viewed themselves as liberators, believing their fellow Romans would honor them for their deed. Caesar, however, was very popular with the middle and lower classes, who were enraged that senate oligarchs had killed their hero. The Roman Empire descended into civil wars lasting more than a decade. After defeat in battle the Senate leaders, Brutus and Cassius, committed suicide. Caesar’s heir, Octavian, became the first Emperor – the Roman Republic forever lost.

Two American presidents have been impeached (Andrew Johnson and Clinton), and one resigned (Nixon) before the impeachment vote or trial could take place. No American president has been forcefully removed from office by the US Senate.

Some Americans are weary from three-years of impeachment talk, believing that if Trump were removed from office, peace and harmony may be restored. America’s polarization, however, will continue no matter who the president may be. If the Senate voted to remove Trump, this would be the beginning of conflict, just like it was in Rome.

Some also want to impeach and remove Vice-President Pence. The OD Action website states, “Tell Congress: Impeach Trump and Pence now,” posted long before the recent Ukraine controversy. The September 30, 2019 edition of the Washington Post had an article titled: President Pelosi? It could happen. Likewise, Paul Callan has an Oct. 31, 2019 opinion piece for CNN titled: How a Trump impeachment could lead to a Pelosi presidency.  

The American republic has enjoyed two-centuries of peaceful transfer-of-power, from one president to the next. However, we have no idea what would happen in a removal from office by force, particularly if a significant percentage of the electorate views the removal as unconstitutional or unjust. Would the American armed forces divide their loyalty between the Commander-in-Chief and Congress, giving rise to a civil war?

If America descends into political chaos, as a result of impeachment, will our enemies take advantage of this opportunity? Will North Korea invade the South? Will China invade Taiwan? Would Iran attack Israel? Would one of our nuclear foes risk a nuclear attack while we are distracted?

Only fools pursue a course of action that has never been tried and that is highly risky. The 2020 election is only twelve-months away. Why are Democratic leaders in Washington so unwilling to trust the will of the American voter? If voters think Trump is guilty of high crimes, they will not vote for him, and will give Democrats control of the Senate.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” To that I would also add patience. Wait patiently for the 2020 election and trust the will of the American voter. I hope you are praying for America.

Jesus’ Tomb

This photo is of a first-century Judean tomb, like the one Jesus would have been placedtomb2 in. Notice how low the entrance is, little more than three-feet high; and the large stone to block the entrance. (Part of the outside wall to the tomb has collapsed.)

Matthew 27 says, Joseph (of Arimathea) took the body (Jesus’) and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.

If an Israelite family could afford a family tomb, it was a cave hewn out of the rock. A rock bench would be there on which the body was placed. And the body would be wrapped in a shroud, but was otherwise uncovered.

Tombs were visited and watched for three days by family members and friends. On the third day after death, the body was examined.

At this point, the body would be treated by the women of the family with oils and perfumes.

After visiting the tomb on the third day the body was then left for a year, by which time it had decomposed. The bones were then collected and placed in an ossuary, a ‘bone box’.

One of the great archeological finds of recent times was discovery of Caiaphas’ tomb. It was accidently found by a construction workers almost 30 years ago.

Inside the tomb archeologists found several ossuaries (bone boxes). On one of the ossuaries was written in Aramaic, “Caiaphas,” and on another was written, “Joseph Bar Caiaphas.”

We know from the ancient Jewish/Roman historian, Flavius Josephus, that Joseph Bar Caiaphas is the Caiaphas mentioned in the New Testament as the high priest who presided over Jesus’ trial and death.

Inside the ornate bone box marked “Joseph Bar Caiaphas” the bones of a sixty-year-old male and several other family members were placed.

On this day after Good Friday, we have Caiaphas’ bones who rotted inside his tomb; but for Jesus, we have the empty tomb of Easter.

Mona Lisa of Galilee

This is “The Mona Lisa of Galilee” a 2000-year old floor mosaic, called this because of the artist’s skill in capturing the subject’s beauty. It is located in Sepphoris. During Jesus’ childhood, Sepphoris was Galilee’s capital and largest city. Many mistakenly think Jesus grew up in a tiny rural village. But Nazareth was a suburb or Sepphoris, only three miles away. During Jesus’ childhood, Sepphoris was undergoing a tremendous building project. This is likely one of the main reasons Joseph and Mary moved their family to area. Sepphoris had plenty of employment for Joseph. Joseph and Jesus were not “carpenters,” as has been mistranslated. The correct translation is “builder.” Even the word “mason” would be a more accurate than “carpenter.” The Greek word used in the New Testament for Joseph and Jesus is “tekton”. From it we get our English words “technician” and “architect (meaning head builder)”. There is little wood in Israel, and homes are not built from wood. In Galilee, homes and other buildings were built of stone, such as black basalt. Herod Antipas rebuilt Galilee’s capital, Sepphoris, in Greco-Roman style. It is likely Joseph, and perhaps even Jesus, worked as builders in Sepphoris. Although I have little evidence to back it up, I wonder if Joseph, Jesus, and family, could have specialized in the construction of synagogues. We also have indications of Jesus’ familiarity with theatre in Sepphoris, because he frequently used the Greek word “hypokrites” meaning actor. In Greco-Roman theatre, the actors wore masks, hiding their faces. They were literally two-faced. So, when Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, he was calling them actors, hiding their true selves behind a false façade.Mona LIsa (2)

The Prodigal Son

Jerash (known in the Jesus’ time as Gerasa) – One of the Greco-Roman cities of the Decapolis (meaning “ten-cities,” but in Jesus’ day there were some 18 cities). In Jesus’ day Gerasa was approximately the same population as Jerusalem. But apart from the size and grandeur of the Jerusalem Temple, Gerasa was more impressive architecturally. Josephus tells us that Scythopolis (Beth-Shean) was the largest city of the Decapolis, and was less than 25 miles from Nazareth. In Jesus’ day, the contrast between Galilean towns, constructed of black basalt, homes having roofs of mud and sticks, would have been a striking contrast to the beauty and allure of the nearby Greco-Roman cities, with their theatres, athletic arenas, running water, indoor toilets, bathhouses, gymnasiums, beautiful streets, public buildings, and fleshly pleasures. Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son was a common problem for Israelite families, where Jewish boys were seduced away from Judaism and their families by the majesty and temptations that the pagan world offered. To illustrate this – when Jerusalem fell to the Roman legions and the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it was a Jew who was second in command under Titus, Tiberius Julius Alexander, the Alexandrian Jew, was the embodiment of a Jewish prodigal.Jerash