The Book of 1 Maccabees unpacks a crucial end times verse found in the Book of Daniel.
1 Maccabees is in the Catholic Bible, and the Orthodox Bible, and the Septuagint (the Scriptures in use during the time of Jesus and the Apostles). Neither Jesus nor the Apostles spoke one word against 1 Maccabees. 1 Maccabees was approved as canon in multiple church councils over 1500 years. Despite this tremendous inertia, much of Christianity surrenders this precious book without a fight. I believe it was wrong to delete this book.
Daniel My Brother, You Are Older Than Me
Daniel lived 400 years before the Maccabee family. The prophetic verses in the Book of Daniel, brought vividly to life in the Book of 1 Maccabees around 167 B.C., are:
“His armed forces [the Antichrist’s armed forces] will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he [the Antichrist] will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.” ~ Daniel 11:31-32
Four hundred years after Daniel wrote that prophecy, it was fulfilled to the letter in prototype. That is, Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (a prototype of the end-times Antichrist) invaded Israel with the help of Israeli traitors (“those who have violated the covenant”).
Antiochus outlawed the Bible and the practice of the Jewish religion. He erected a statue of Zeus (“the abomination that causes desolation”) in the Jewish Temple. One Israeli Jewish family, the Maccabee family (“the people who know their God”), rose up in righteous indignation and refused to bow to the state. They started a revolution (“will firmly resist him”) and they actually won. The word “Maccabee” means “hammer” in Hebrew.
Armed Revolution Is Biblical
This flies in the face of an unbiblical teaching I have heard in the church. “The people get the government they deserve,” is a cliche used from pulpits to indoctrinate suicidal passivity into congregations. Think about the contradiction. Christians are told unceasingly by their pastors that we are saved by grace, and that God does not give us what we deserve because if he did we would all be toast. Then, from those same pulpits, we are told that “the people get the government they deserve.” Nonsense.
The Book of 1 Maccabees gives us two of the most inspiring examples of leadership in human history– Mattathias Maccabee, and his son, Judas Maccabee. It is tragic that this book has been removed from so many Bibles.
When Antiochus outlawed the Jewish religion, Mattathias rose up.
“…I and my sons and my kinsmen will keep to the covenant of our fathers. God forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments. We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree.” ~ 1 Maccabees 2:20-22
Mattathias then started an armed revolution. He gathered a guerilla force of Jews who refused to obey government over God. As Mattathias came to the end of his life, he gathered his sons and said:
“Arrogance and scorn have now grown strong: it is a time of disaster and violent anger. Therefore, my sons, be zealous for the law and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers.” ~ 1 Maccabees 2:49-50
Wow! Do we hear that kind of uncompromising and decisive leadership these days? Hardly. By the way, Mattathias Maccabee’s words reflect the exact spirit of the American Revolution.
“Give me liberty, or give me death!” ~ Patrick Henry
The “Spirit of ’76” was an actual spirit, and it was the same spirit resting upon Israel at the time of the Maccabees.
Reading 1 Maccabees, one sees the extent to which much of Christianity has been castrated by the removal of this book from the Bible. Make no mistake, the Bible is an ingenious messaging system. It contains abundant redundancy, which was designed into the Bible by God so that even if someone succeeded in removing several books from the Bible, the Biblical message would still remain intact. To wit, even with the Book of 1 Maccabees removed, one still sees in Daniel 11:32 that Godly people resist tyranny. But with 1 Maccabees gone, the details are gone. The background is gone. The unparalleled examples of inspirational leadership are gone.
This is tragic not merely as a loss of historical perspective. It is tragic as a loss of prophetic perspective. The Bible is 100% prophecy. The account of Israeli Jewish rebels rising up against the prototype antichrist will repeat itself in the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy. That is, Israeli Jewish rebels in the near future will rise up against the Antichrist. When it happens, much of the church will not recognize its Biblical significance.
“Maccabee” means “hammer” in Hebrew. Indeed, the Maccabee family was the hammer God used to smash tyranny to pieces during the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. As Mattathias died, he gave his son Judas command of the rebel forces:
“And Judas Maccabeus [Maccabee], a warrior from his youth, shall be the leader of your army and direct the war against the nations [gentiles].” ~ 1 Maccabees 2:66
Judas Maccabee was an exemplary military commander. He led from the front, right there in the thick of the action with his men, even when greatly outnumbered.
“With great presumption and lawlessness they [Antiochus’ forces] come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us; but we are fighting for our lives and our laws. He [God] Himself will crush them before us; so do not be afraid of them.” ~ Judas Maccabee, 1 Maccabee 3:20-22
Judas and his men “carried on Israel’s war joyfully” ~ 1 Maccabees 3:2. Wow! I encourage you to read the entire Book of 1 Maccabees.
Ultimately Judas and his army won the revolution. They successfully defended their laws, their nation, and their religion. After taking back the Temple, they purified it, and rededicated it to the God of Israel.
For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar… ~ 1 Maccabees 4:56
This eight-day Feast of Dedication is mentioned in the New Testament:
Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. ~ John 10:22-23
Those Christians reading Bibles without 1 Maccabees lack this historical and prophetic blueprint for Godly revolution. They also lack the Biblical foundation of the Jewish Feast of Dedication; the feast mentioned in the Gospel of John itself; the feast for which Jesus himself was present at the Temple; the feast more commonly known today as… Hanukkah.
And now you know… the rest of the story.
The Bible is always proven true.
Categories: Deuterocanonical ("Apocryphal") Books