Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Brief Overview of Biblical History 5 of 7

The People of God in Exile. After Assyria overruns Israel, its leaders are deported and its political structure is dismantled. Babylon subsequently defeats Assyria and occupies Judah, taking its ruling class into bondage. Prophets are killed, and many of the people are deported. Those who remain work the land; Jerusalem and the Temple lie in ruins. The deported mourn and long to treurn to Jerusalem in hopes of rebuilding the Temple. Many begin meeting together in the embryonic synagogue. God teaches his people to pray and work for the peace of the cities in which they dwell and the people who oppress them (Jeremiah 29:7). Despite their longing and loss, new avenues of seeking and finding God are found as the people learn to “sing the Lord’s song in a strange land” (Psalm 137:4, KJV).

The People of God in Restoration. After the Persians defeat the Babylonians, the emperor gives permission to the Jewish exiles to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple. Many of the exiles make the journey and eventually rebuild the Temple, which becomes the center of their identity.

During a series of foreign occupations, Jewish leaders are appointed to political office and the priests gain power as the trustees of religious traditions and practice. Once the Roman Empire consolidates its power in the Mediterranean world, the governor of Judea, Herod, spearheads the building of yet another Temple. Now legions of priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and a shadow government, the Sanhedrin, dictate the formal expression of Judaism, but the synagogue dominates village religious life.

(From The Life With God Bible)

Related Post with Diagram: A Panoramic View of God's Purpose in History

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