An Introduction to the Life of Flavius Josephus   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice    23 September 2015   PPT  presentation  

                                 Born in 37AD, Joseph ben Matityahu was a member of a powerful Jewish Roman family and just a young man when St. Paul was spreading

                                 the Gospel, when James the brother of the Lord was active in helping to steer the new church, when St. Stephen was stoned, when St. Luke

                                 was gathering first hand information while travelling and writing his letters, and when the Apostles like Peter and John were teaching and

defending this growing Jewish branch of believers.  His unique place and time in history makes him a qualified witness to the history and beginnings of the Christian Church.  Known as a meticulous recorder of information, Flavius Josephus gives us a clear window onto the Jewish-Roman world, and provides for us an understanding of the culture and times in which our Lord both lived and died... Pharisee, lawyer, leader, military genius, historian~ Welcome to the world of Flavius Josephus, and the times and cultures which impacted and shaped what was to become the Greatest Story Ever Told... the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, the only faith that provides salvation by grace, and not works...  


    An Introduction to the Life of Flavius Josephus, Part 2    Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice    30 September 2015

In this session, Deacon Josh fills in a few gaps concentrating on the character and life of General Flavius Josephus, explains how he became a Roman citizen, and answers a few questions from last week.  He also explains the religious culture of the times, from Roman beliefs to Mithras to the fledgling new Jewish "cult" called "The Way" which became known as "Christianity".  Finally, he tells us just how Josephus became known as the Father of Modern History and as a trusted peacemaker able to work with Romans, rebels and everyone in between...  


 Josephus-Book 1 Chapter 1     Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice     7 October 2015     

The perspectives and culture of those in the early church and in the Jewish beliefs of the day might be very surprising to today's Christian.  Christians assume that the Lord is all knowing, but it seems that may not have been the prevailing opinion of the wise men of Jesus' day.  And today, we find our own culture to respond to the truth of the Word with similar blindness and hardness of hearing.  Jesus was a radical Who pointed His contemporaries to a "new way" of seeing the Father ... actually the correct way of bending to His leadership and holiness... When we study the foundations and changes to those meaning through time, we find a more clear understanding of the mission we have and the truth Jesus shared... Listen in as we visit the First Century and see with new eyes just what it was like to live in a day when hearts were hard, ears were blocked, and confusion abounded ~ very much like today...  


 Josephus-Book 1 Chapter 2 ~ "Know Your Place!"     Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice     14 October 2015

Josephus continues to explain the history of the beginnings and delves into the motivations of Cain for killing his brother, of God's thoughts according to the Pharisaical view of his time, and of the ensuing world filled with the line of Cain and the line of Seth.  Deacon Joshua points out the similarities of Egyptian mythology to the Biblical origin story, and ends with an intriguing glimpse at the Pillars of Seth, upon which the prophecy of Adam and other pre-flood information was recorded.  

Josephus -Book 1, Chapter 3-6, About the Flood and beyond Nimrod's Tower    Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice  21 October 2015

The years may be different, but the mind, emotions, reasonings, and attitudes of man remain constant throughout history.   In this session, we look at the years of and after the flood, and the animosity toward God which began to build up through the line of Ham resulting in the Tower of Babel.  According to Josephus, the tower was an attempt to outwit God and Nimrod, who was seen as a strong and mighty man, set up a government of dependence on the group, the government and on him as leader rather than on God.  So much of history shows us again and again man's struggle for independence from outside forces while at the same time bending to fallible man to be the one answer to take care of him.... Nimrod~ a mighty man before God, who challenged the Lord and lost the tyrannical unity for which he was striving, and instead his actions led to the scattering of the people and the rise of languages, cultures, and nations far and wide that still do not fully trust each other...


Josephus-Book 1, The Final Chapters   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   28 October 2015

As an historian, Josephus was the expert in Jewish history, and also had access to other resources which evidently we no longer have.  His information fills in for us spaces and events that help to fill out the various stories, inlcuding things such as the attitudes various groups had for each other.  According to Josephus, for example, Egypt's Pharoah at the time of Abram was known to be a bit of a lecher, and Abram had good reason to fear him, and yet ventured into Egypt because of the drought in Mesopotamia and possibly to share this good news he had of the the God called Jehovah or Elohim....  Josephus also talks about the leadership changes Egypt and other nations underwent, the sea people, the difference between what was considered the Red Sea then and now, and the various political and technological changes Egypt had.  He speaks of Job and the rights of the first born in nomadic and surrounding cultures, Lot's wife, the downfall of Sodom, how Africa got its name, the dealings of Abraham with his other sons, and Jacob and Rachel's need to leave her father and why she took his idols...  People don't change much in how they act and react, and history shows that from Noah to Josephus, history tells the tales from which we should all learn of individuals, tribes and nations, and that God is central to it all.


Josephus, Book 2-The 220 Years from Isaac's Death to the Pharaoh's Recognition of Joseph  Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice  4 Nov 2015

 Josephus has already introduced his readers to the first 3833 years of history, from creation to Abraham's family and legacy, and finishing with the death of Isaac.  Already history has been noted, written down, and lost. Outside sources, found documentation, and oral histories help to piece together the truth. Josephus now turns his focus on the next 220 years, so important to his people's growth as a people group and finally as a nation. Part of that is a close look at the 12 sons of Jacob, who become the Patriarchs of the Hebrews, and the move from Canaan to Egypt under Joseph.  Esau and Jacob now divide the inherited lands after their father's death.  Esau becomes a prince in his own right, taking the area of Idumea, and Jacob stays in the land known as Canaan.  This then is the heritage property of the Hebrew people, the family which grew from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and becomes the land of Israel and part of the homeland to which they will someday return. As recorded in Genesis, Josephus then tells the story of Joseph from his dreams to when he was sent by his brothers into slavery, and finally he details the many twists and turns that set the stage for Joseph to become the second in command of all of Egypt.  


Josephus-Book 2,  Joseph Rises, Part 1  Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   11 November 2015

 This study begins with Joseph, the son of Jacob/Israel, considered a prophet and patriarch of the Jewish people.   Josephus explores Joseph's life history and explains the impact of his dreams, slavery and rise to one of the rulers of Egypt on his relationships with his father and brother. Josephus explains why Joseph treated his brothers the way he did when they came to Egypt to buy food during the starving time, and it is somewhat different than the Christian thinking we find being taught today. 


Josephus-Book 2, Part 2    Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   18 November 2015

As Deacon Josh wraps up this section of Book 2, we see how the ancient prophecy/curse of Ishmael's wild ways turning all men against him as he is against every man has impacted the Jewish people, and been the foundation of continuous strife for the last several thousand years, including today's growing warfare and bloodshed whose source is in the Middle East...  Josephus goes on to speak to that part of history that is covered in the Genesis 40s chapters.  Jacob and his family are now in Egypt... and Josephus indicates the great respect the Egyptian rulers had for this man, even though, in any other circumstance, he would have been considered the scum of the earth since he and his family were shepherds.  All the honor given Jacob's family came directly as a result of the God-honoring and righteous way Joseph had led the Egyptian people during their times of great distress. 


Josephus-Book 2, Review         Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   2 December 2015

Family rivalries, patterns of distrust and opposition, 400 years of slavery, and a span of time that not only gives us a history, but portends the continuing future strife.  At the same time, Egypt provided both a place of protection and later a place of oppression, about both of which Abraham had been forewarned and for which the children of Israel should have been prepared.  Eventually a deliverer is sent...(and is an echo of the Deliverer Who is to come).  In this review, Deacon Joshua covers further information about the Jewish culture, important leaders, and how Moses came to be raised in the courts of Pharaoh, and how God protected him as the prophesied deliverer, even through a political system that wanted to destroy him. 


Josephus-Book 3, From the Exodus to the Next 2 Years         Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice    9 December 2015

This discussion from The Antiquities covers a mere two years, but so much happened to the newly freed slaves, now an infant society which will become the Jewish nation. This discussion includes a reason for the rebellion Miriam mounted which resulted in her bout of leprosy and a fascinating look at a possible wife before Zipporah...    Explaining the history of his people and their beliefs in a way his Roman counterparts could understand makes this more detailed section of The Antiquities a valuable "fill in" for any serious student of history as Josephus brings forward both tradition and history as taught by the sages of the faith. 


Josephus-Book 1- the first part of Book 3 Review          Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice    13 January 2016

One of the problems we have today when witnessing to people about the truth of God is their rejection of the Bible.  They consider it a collection of faith tales, not historic fact.  Even when many "tales" are backed by archaeology or history, there is still a reticence to treat the Bible as God's Word, faithful to human experience and foundational to moral, civic, and religious behaviors.  This is not a new problem.  Although many believed in the Jewish written word as written in Josephus' day, many did not, and they, too, saw some of their written materials as partly history and partly moral tales...  As Deacon Joshua takes us through this review of Books 1 - 3 of The Antiquities of the Jews, dare to compare some of their attitudes and behaviors to those of today.  No matter the subject, human nature is human nature, and does not waver much and history repeats itself over and over... and from the beginning of time continues to prove we are absolutely in need of a sinless savior.  


Josephus-Books 2 & 3 Review Continued~from the Exodus to Elim       Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice     20 January 2016

Josephus has covered two major sections of Jewish history, 3833 years in his first book and 220 years in Book 2.  Now Book 3, introduced in this study, will cover just two years, from leaving Egypt to staying at Elim, chronicled in Exodus 16. The exodus story is so important to the formation of the Jewish national character that Josephus focuses on this time period to lay the foundation of how this collection of just-freed slaves devoloped a national cohesian and which finally became the people that produced the likes of David, Solomon, Esther and Daniel. In this time period, they experience the challenges and pain of being a semi-selfgoverning and fully free people, and they find it is not an easy transition. Slavery is not an easy nor something to which people aspire, but it can come in all forms, including slavery to drugs, money, government handouts, and in this case, the children of Israel wanted the shelter of the provisions of Egypt. Life as a free person is often difficult, and has deep challenges. God was training them to be up to the challenge ~ at no point does God leave them, but He does "whip them into shape" through the various difficulties they must face and eventually overcome. 


Josephus-Book 3, Describing the Tabernacle & the Priesthood (roughly Exodus 19-37)  Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice  27 January 2016

From the building of the tabernacle and the detailed descriptions of the Levitical garments to the tabernacle itself, Josephus gives the Romans a description of the religious "trappings" that the detail-oriented Roman culture would expect to be a part of any religion.  (Notably, he does not tell the "why" of each detail, only the "what".)  Josephus also gives the Hebrew picture of death as passing through the veil, reflecting the separation between the holy and the holy of holies... moving from the God-created earth to being home with God Himself, the individual going from the world of types and shadows to eternity and a full and real life.  This was a much different picture than the Greek or Roman underworlds... and one that the wilderness tabernacle and the Jewish beliefs helped to explain why these pesky Jews were so dedicated to their God. Finally, we see how the decorations of the tabernacle also reminded the Jews of Garden of Eden and the protection God provided with the flaming sword, and how, although His goodness covers the whole earth, He still has expectations and levels of holiness to which He wants His people to attain.


Note: here are two different explanations of the building of the wilderness tabernacle ~

   1)   showing build proceeding according to the Old Testament;

   2)  walk through the temple linking various items/activities as type &shadow to the New Testament

and lastly here is a TD Jakes sermon re: the Tabernacle and the Christian


Josephus - Ending Book 3 & looking at types & shadows with an overview of Book 4     Deacon/Lay LeaderJoshua Justice  3 Feb 2016

The discussion has now moved through many of the Laws, the set up of the priestly garments, and a reference to more information on the symbolism of the temple and priestly decorations according to the Jewish sages. Josephus covers the blessings and mercies of God, and notes that the wilderness rebellion and murmurings led to corrections and miracles through God's mercies.  Josephus tends to set the accounts of Moses beseeching God tends to be a story of Moses making promises, and then asking God to back him up... Some of those situations are noted in the Bible, but many of those situations are initiated by God, not Moses, according to the Bible itself.  His accounts tend to shadow human thinking down through time, and even today.

Josephus - Book 4, A Look at the 38 Years in the Wilderness       Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice    10 February 2016

One more time around the mountain... that's pretty much where The Antiquities, Book 3, ends.  The multitude under Moses has sent in the spies and given in to fear of the "giants" in the land.  So, God grants them their expressed wish to "rather die in this wilderness" than face the people of Canaan, a people they know to be warlike, fortified, and given to horrific practices including burning their children alive as an offering to Moloch, temple prostitution, and no mercy of any kind for prisoners.  Book 4 now covers the 38 years in the Wilderness, from the rejection of God's initial plan to the death of Moses.  Josephus tells of the insurrection against Moses led by tribal leaders as well as Miriam and Aaron and defeats in battle.  Josephus does not whitewash his peoples errors, but reports faithfully to his Roman readers of the events as he understands it, and the consequences to the choices his people had made, including their attitude regarding God's purposes and the misreading of God's plans.   What Josephus chronicles applies to us today ~ attitudes and choices have consequences.  By the end of the 38 years, Joshua has been given the mantle of leadership and the new generation of warriors begins.


Josephus-  Book 4-Addressing the Book of Numbers &Lessons of  38 years of wandering, & Saying Goodbye to Aaron & Moses
   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice  17 February 2016

Following last week's discussion of the mixed multitude with all their ideas and ideologies, Josephus now takes up the need to make of this often-rebellious group a cohesive unit.  The 40 years in the wilderness becames the training ground to work on and develop the people into the nation that becomes known as Israel.   They had to learn to surrender some control to the leaders, but still be independent and hardened enough to do the mission and jobs God will call them to do once they are ready to enter the Promised Land.  (Very much like the Christian life, we must go through tough times sometimes to become well-trained and thoroughly tested in knowing what to do when and on how to fully lean on the leadership of the Lord.)  The 38 years was filled with battles, confrontations (including among other problems Og, Sihon, Balak and Balaam), victories, and defeat, but by the end, they were a nation under God's leadership. Near the end of their 40 years, both Aaron and Miriam have left the scene, and Moses is the face of the nation, the chief lawgiver, and the standard towards which all the leadership now looks.  He is soon to lay down his burdens, having been a good and faithful servant as the old generation finally gives way to the new confederation of tribes that call themselves "Israel".  


Josephus - The Hebrew influence on the Greeks, and the Greeks on Rome        Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   13 April 2016

Greek and Roman culture has provided foundations for Western Culture, but who or what influenced them?  According to Josephus, and some indicators through writers from Antiquity, the Israelites, specifically the tribe of Dan, had a huge influence in the development of the Greek culture itself.  One example is provided through one of the most well-known stories from all three cultures which has to do with a very strong individual whose strength was attributed to supernatural gifting. The Bible tells of Samson, given a gift of great strength so he might deal with the enemies of Israel.  The other cultures had a man named Hercules......and there are many, many points of similarity... Deacon Joshua uses maps and stories to bring home the history of the movement of the Israeli people and their influence on the cultures which eventually grew and even flourished in the Mediterranean area, from Carthage to Turkey to Greece to Rome to Spain, as well as other peoples of the Middle East. 


Josephus - Wrapping Up Book 5 With A Look At Ruth         Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   1 June 2016

Ruth--a timeless story of love and selflessness--is retold in this portion of Josephus' explanation of the centuries and centuries of Jewish history.  Her story transcends any particular nationality, and points to a love that sacrificially, uncomplainingly gives, and then has a reward beyond all thought. Josephus also tells about the death of Eli and the turmoil his less than stellar leadership had caused for the people of Isreal during this time.  Finally we find an historic note regarding the movement of peoples from the area Israel occupied and their influence on surrounding nations.     


Josephus-Book 6: From Samuel to Saul        Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   8 June 2016

In this narrative, Josephus relates the history beginning with Eli's death at the taking of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines and the events that followed as the captive Ark showed the power of God in both demoting the Philistine god, Dagon, and in bringing on the Philistines themselves a great and terrible disease and influx of mice.  Like today, the Philistines had both religious and secular, non-believing populations.  It took them a while to all come to the belief that yes, the God of Israel is real and yes, the torments of the plagues of mice and the diseases which were killing so many of them were connected to His Ark.  the final proof?  What do milk cows do when separated from their babies?  They head straight for the Hebrews!  Josephus then discusses the many facets of Samuel-his rise, his reign as judge, and his failings as a father.  Like "PK's" of today, his sons were not prepared nor worthy of taking his place upon his death, and therefore the people, exhausted by the corrupt behavior of Eli's sons and now Samuel's, lose their trust in God to bring things about, and demand a king. 

Josephus, Book 6-Saul Begins as an Anointed King But Parts Ways with Samuel & Loses the Blessing   Joshua Justice  15 June 2016

Book 6 of the Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus opens on the transition of Israel from the time of leadership by God through the prophets to man's strong hand under a king.  Saul is appointed in 1 Samuel, and then takes the reigns after God touches him with the Holy Spirit.  He had a chance to do well, but power corrupts....and this sad fact is shown once more in this story of a king who loses his position when he loses his connection with God's guidance. Within months of taking the kingship, Saul is at war.  His first effort leads to a victory, but Israel is essentially a loose confederation of gtribes and towns.  The Philistines are used to raiding the borders and taking whatever they want.  This becomes Saul's next huge challenge, and although they eventually win this battle, he oversteps his bounds as king and causes the blessings of God to be greatly reduced, and even curtailed. These and other misteps as leader cause great pain and problems for his people and his own family.  Finally, the Spirit of God, the anointing, is taken from Saul and David receives the blessing of the hand of Jehovah on his shoulder.  Warned by the history of Saul's kingship, it remains to be seen if David will be the kind of king the people want.   


Josephus, Book 6-David Becomes Important   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   22 June 2016

Book 6 of the Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus now focuses on the people's transition from looking to the great King Saul to adoring the up and coming young military leader, David of Bethlehem. For Saul, David begins as a problem solver, but soon devolves into a problem.... 


Josephus, Book 6-David Is Now Saul's Obsession   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   29 June 2016

Book 6 continues with the story of Saul's continuing descent into madness.  Although David has done little to deserve this focused attention, he has now become the target of all of Saul's madness.  David, now married to Saul's daughter, Michal, and close to Saul's son, Jonathan, is in such a precarious situation that he must leave the family compound and seek shelter elsewhere. He first goes to Samuel, the aging prophet, for guidance, training, and help.  That works for a while, but after Saul destroys the last of Eli's family line through Doeg,  eventually David must strike out for the wilderness alone in an effort to save his life.


Josephus, Book 6-the Fall of the House of Saul       Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   6 July 2016

Saul is nearing the end of his reign.  As described in 1 Samuel Chapters 18-22, his madness takes more and more dark turns, he tries one more time to hear from God, even though his bouts of remorse never quite translated into repentance.    So much happens to Saul, and so much is because of his fears and paranoia.  He finally gives in to the vain unrepentant hope that God might change His mind, and goes to a witch, the Witch of Endor, who contacts the world of the dead at Saul's request in an effort to find out what the future will hold for him and his house.  She, following Saul's wishes, calls on the spirit of Samuel, himself.  When Samuel actually speaks to her, not at all pleased with Saul or being called from his rest, he reiterates to Saul that God's hand is not with him or his house any longer, and in fact he and his sons will die on the battlefield the next day.  The final transition to David is soon to come, Saul recognizes he has finally come to the end of any hope of redemption, and he meets his oncoming death with resolve and resignation, knowing as he leaves her house that it is final.  It is the fall of the house of Saul, and the rise of the Star of David. 


Josephus, Book 7-David Is Now King and Consolidates His Kingdom      Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   13 July 2016

In Book 7 of the Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus tells the story of the greatest of Jewish kings, David.  In doing so he also give his readers an understanding of the many changes and transitions involved in David's reign, and tells of the various people involved in the history of Israel at this time, including Joab, Hiram, Mephibosheth, Abner, and many others who were so much a part of Israel's kingdom growth.    


Josephus, Book 7-The First of King David's Three Major Failures     Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   20 July 2016

David is fully king, with a following of his people, and wars against his opposition past and won.  In 2 Samuel chapters 1-9, his victories and leadership decisions are recorded, while Josephus gives more detail to thoughts and perception.  By 2 Samuel chapters 10-11 , David is fighting against the Ammonites who had reached out to surrounding groups to form alliances against the growing power of Israel.  Joab, though considered a wild man and a murderer, has ascended in military leadership and David needed to watch carefully the strength of factions within his administration.  He seemed to have control of Joab, but then, instead of fighting by him as was normal for kings in that time, David made the first major mistake of his kingship--he stayed home while his army went to war.  And, that decision proved to be fateful and deadly, not only to Uriah, but eventually to David's administration...


Josephus, Book 7-The Second of King David's Three Major Failures      Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice 27 July 2016

 David has been king for a while, now and has a rather large family, with several wives and concubines.  The situation with Uriah and Bathsheba has seemed to settle down, but now a new family tragedy occurs--his daughter is raped.  That in itself is bad enough, but the rapist is a favored son.  David's favoritism will cost him and his family dearly...     NOTE: There is a discussion about the "40 years" in 2 Samuel 14 that must be addressed. Absalom did not spend 40 years planning an insurrection; somehow in the heat of today's discussion, the participants and leader forgot a key point regarding David's reign. That mistake will be corrected in the next study.   


Josephus, Book 7-The Third of King David's Three Major Failures      Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice 3 August 2016

 "You've chosen the sin--now choose the punishment."  David, after so many years, had numbered the people, had wanted to know his warrior strength, even after Joab had strongly reminded him that this was an egregious error, a sin against God, Himself.  David's third major failure brings devastation to his people.  Leadership guides the nation to be God-honoring, or God-denying, and the entire nation either reaps the benefits or pays the price...  David learns once more to submit himself to the consequences of his choices and the hand of correction from the Lord.  It brings him back to his foundations, even though many citizens must pay the price for their leader's errors.  Now David is nearing the end of his reign and in his great heart for God, even when he makes devastating mistakes, he gathers materials to build a great temple.  His riches extend beyond those of the surrounding nations, but the use is not for war nor for greed, but for his God.  


Josephus, Book 8-From the Co-regency of David and Solomon to Solomon's Relationship with King Hiram 

 Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   10 August 2016     Solomon is now reigning along with the aging David.  More and more of the decisions are laying at his feet as David slowly backs out of the day-to-day matters of rulership.  Under his father's guiding eye, Solomon grows into the leadership and is tested when his brother mounts a challenge to his throne and in the matter of Joab.  Solomon handles both as a regent comfortable in his position.  He also begins to develop a strong relationship with one king in particular who had been a friend to his father, Hiram of Tyre.  Josephus references actual, public record letters between the two available for perusal when Josephus was writing the Antiquities.  He quoted passages between the two kings into history and challenged the readers of the day to search the originals out and read them for themselves, proving their historicity.   Check out 2 Chronicles 8, as well as other references...


Josephus, Book 8-Solomon and the Temple   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice    17 August 2016

Josephus now goes into many of the specifics of the Temple of Solomon. complementing the information found in 1 Kings 5-7.  Built on a grandiose scale, with as little sound as possible on the actual site, Solomon's Temple became one of the major wonders of the world.  The pillars which announced the rising sun daily were grand enough to become legendary, and the other articles of the temple were just as rich.  Solomon's Temple, the home of the Glory of God in Israel, and the fulfillment of King David's dream to honor Jehovah.

  interesting archeological find of a palace compound near Gezar   


Josephus, Book 8-Solomon's Reign to the Missteps of Jeroboam and Rehoboam   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   31 August 2016

Solomon worked to build the temple his father David wanted and to consolidate the peace of Israel, and became fabulously wealthy.  However, upon his death, things changed.  The country split into two--Israel and Judah--and each had competing rulers who were not very wise nor were they very honoring of Jehovah. They and their countrymen had to deal with the consequences of those choices, including a prophet who warned Rehoboam but forgot to follow the rules God had laid down just for him.  He paid for that misstep with his death at the hand of a lying prophet and the teeth of a lion.   


Josephus, Book 8 - Jeroboam vs Rehoboam  Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   7 September 2016  

The Golden Age of Israel~wonderful while it lasted, but upon Solomon's death, that period came to an end.    Rehoboam is now the king of the two tribes comprising Israel, and Jeroboam, who led the rebellion against Rehoboam's heavy handedness, is king of the 10 tribes south of Isreal and known as Judah.  Rehoboam, building on his father Solomon's tradition, decides to bulk up fortifications and set aside stores for possible seiges. Although he started poorly by listening to the young men rather than the wiser older advisors of his father, he did try to strengthen and take care of Israel, but as he aged and gathered power, he slipped farther and farther from the honest worship of Jehovah.  Jeroboam used religion for political reasons and did what he could to keep his people home and satisfied with a modified form of worship.  It was not what the Lord ordained,  and there are consequences...


Josephus, Book 8 - From Jeroboam to Ahab's End  Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice

 14 September 2016     Jeroboam and Rehoboam have had their days, and now Asa (the son of 

Abijam, grandson of Rehoboam), a good king, takes over and tries to correct Judah's course.  

Asa turned to God early in his reign, and operated in faith, but time and power has a dulling 

effect on the senses if one does not actively remain centered in humble faith and reliance on

the God of the universe. Overall, he ruled fairly well for 41 years.  His son, good King Jehosophat

then took over.
   Israel had a different line of succession - Baasha, son of Ahijah, and commander of the armies

of the second King, Nadab (Jeroboam's son), took over as the third king of Israel. He assassinated Nadab at the siege of Gibbethon, and usurped the kingdom in 953 B.C. Baasha stayed on the throne for 23 years, exterminating the entire line of Jeroboam, as had been predicted. He also incurred the wrath of God, gaining the same prophecy as had been given to Jeroboam, which is then fulfilled by one of the next to take control, Zimri.  Then comes Omri and Ahab.

Biblical History through a 1st Century Jewish General & Historian's eyes

A little background information    A  Video History of the State of Israel in 15 Minutes    by the HIR (Historical and Investigative Research), founded by Professor Francisco Gil-White

Josephus, Book 8 Review and Intro to Book 9 - The Captivity of the 10 Tribes   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice   28 September 2016

So many kings, so many transitions!  This section opens with the 10 tribes vs the 2 tribes and both drawing in the Philistines and the Egyptians... Warfare in the Middle East is not new as evidenced by the alliances, assassinations, and general violence that seems to populate this part of Josephus' history.  By the time this is over, Israel and Judah will look vastly different...

40 years and tidbits of history from Ahab to Joash  Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice 19 Oct 2016

In this short session, Deacon Josh brings out several tidbits not necessarily obviously found in the Scriptures, such as understanding the nature of power and how God's prophets were used by God to address the various problems or situations in Judah and Israel.

Josephus-Book 10 Sennacherib assaults Jerusalem, Hezekiah & the People Return to the Lord, &Sennacherib Meets His Death   Deacon/Lay Leader Joshua Justice  9 November 2016 

     Book 10 of the Antiquities opens with the tale of the Great King (Sennacherib) and his assault on Jerusalem.      Hungry for more lands, riches, and power, he also goes after Egypt and other surrounding lands, hoping to draw the Israelites into a fight that would allow him to sack all the kingdoms, and especially the riches of the Jews.  It did not work out so well for him, or his armies. It also set the stage for the Jews to return to a closer connection with Jehovah and showed them that, yes, God is in charge.     

Josephus-Book 10  From Hezekiah to Josiah, From the Assyrians to the Medes       Joshua Justice  16 November 2016   (first skype experiment)

Book 10 continues Hezekiah's story and proceeds through the next set of kings, ending with the reign of the child king Josiah.  Josiah reigned for three plus decades and was the last of the good kings before the Medes finally took possession of the areas the Assyrians had made vassal states.    Editor's note: this audio is the first attempt at an internet Bible study using skype.  Therefore there may be sections that may seem confusing or duplicative as Deacon Josh dealt with technical issues.   

Josephus-Book 10  Nebuchadrezzar   Joshua Justice   30 November 2016 and 7 December 2016  

This section of Book 10 opens Hezekiah's desire to live past his illness and figure out how to protect his kingdom as the political scene moves from Sennacherib to Nebuchadrezzar.   The intrigues of political of great powers now provide the backdrop to major changes a-coming.  

Josephus-Book 10, Chapter 10  Daniel!    Joshua Justice   4 January 2017

Josephus tells the story of one of the great prophets, leaders, and minds of the Jews who were in captivity after the fall of Israel to Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel and his three compatriots were taken to be re-trained into the Babylonian culture and to become members of the king's cousel and bridges to the captive Jews.  Josephus' explanation of the life of and expectations surrounding these important captives sheds new light on the importance and stature of Daniel and his friends.  Key to Daniel's importance was his ability to hear God and interpret the king's dreams.  The most important dream was of the statue made of gold, brass, iron and finally clay.  Josephus shares more information about this interpretation and we learn how it applies and even warns us today of the kingdoms of men versus the Kingdom of God. 

Josephus-Book 10 Chapter 11 The Rise of Nebuchadnezzar to the Fall of Babylon   Joshua Justice 11 January 2017

Josephus covers almost 60 or more years of history as he documents the rise of a young general to becoming one of the most recognized kings in antiquity.  He also explains how he survived seven years away from his throne living as a animal in a field, and his return to sanity.  Josephus then closes the history of this dynasty with the story of the handwriting on the wall and the return of Daniel from retirement to explain the meaning of that prophecy to Nebuchadnezzar's grandson-king. 

Josephus-Book 11 Chapters 1-3  Cyrus to Darius   Joshua Justice   25 January 2017

Book 11 of the Antiquities of the Jews covers 253 years and 5 months, from the first day of Cyrus to the death of Alexander the Great. This study includes a reading of a letter written by Cyrus as documented by Josephus.  (Unfortunately, this letter, as have many other important documents and artifacts, has been lost to history) Deacon Joshua also looks at the various prophets and important Jewish leaders involved in this transitional time for the Persian kingdom.