The previous post covered the importance of accurately interpreting text. This is called "hermeneutics". That post will serve as our introduction to looking at Jesus' words and their non-contradictory meaning. Today's post will serve as background before we begin looking at Jesus' words tomorrow.
Last week, we saw that the Old Testament ends with prophecies concerning the coming Messiah AND the abandonment of the Temple of God. The Old Testament ends around 400 BC. This leaves roughly 400 years of "silence" until the New Testament begins. What happened in that time?
The Book of Daniel tells us the progression of heathen rulers over Israel after Babylon: Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Israel was under a heathen king (Medo-Persian) when the Old Testament ended.
Alexander the Great conquered the world around 323 BC...just after the end of the Old Testament.
By 167 BC, the Temple is being used as a gymnasium. The progression away from God is complete!
Starting from the beginning of the Bible and going to 167 BC, we see the following progression: God leads people directly, God leads people through the patriarchs, God leads people through the Law and uses judges to bring about justice, God leads people through an Israelite king, God leads people through a heathen king, God is not leading people because the people have rejected God and embraced the heathen nation. (This is why the New Testament is written in Greek.)
From 167 BC to 142 BC, the Maccabean Revolt occurs which seeks Jewish independence so they can attempt to reinstate God’s law. By 140 BC, a great assembly in Jerusalem formally confirms Simon Maccabeus as hereditary high priest, national leader, and commander of the armed forces. After a series of assassinations and wars, Salome Alexandra (the queen) gives her support to the Pharisees.
Judea comes under Roman rule in 63 BC. Herod's temple is completed around 19 BC...less than 20 years before Jesus is born. Notice, this temple is a government temple...NOT a temple ordained by God.
The Roman government put the Pharisees in charge of the state ordained temple. The Pharisees were a religious group that aligned themselves with political power in order to remain in religious power.
We have covered this in a previous post: the Pharisees were incompetent. If they had understood the Word of God, they would have known Jesus was the Messiah...just from the Book of Daniel ALONE!!!
Jesus could ONLY have come during a time when Israel was being led by incompetent religious "leadership"...otherwise, Jesus wouldn't have been crucified. The religious group had to know enough of the Word of God to APPEAR to have understanding, yet NOT ACTUALLY have understanding. This group had TRADITION in the place of the Word of God and the results were contradictory beliefs in several areas...which Jesus addresses.
The Pharisees came to power apart from the Word of God. By the time Jesus is born, Israel is politically under the one superpower that exists (Rome) and religiously under a group (Pharisees) that followed tradition instead of the Word of God in order to stay in power. (Do you think circumstances are different today for Christians?)
Now we can look at how Jesus dealt with people who had tradition in the place of the Word of God...