Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
1 Maccabees 15 –Antiochus VII Sidetes, the younger brother of Demetrius II, sends a letter to Simon, asking for his help in re-establishing Seleucid strength. He promises to continue tax remissions that the Jews have enjoyed and he says he will permit them to mint their own coinage and to forgive all their debt. Some texts open the chapter with a reference to “Antiochus, son of King Demetrius” making it very confusing. They are both children of Demetrius I.
In 138 BC, Antiochus begins his drive to restore the kingdom, and soldiers join with him enthusiastically. He pursues Trypho. Meanwhile, Jewish ambassadors return from Rome with letters warning all the powers threatening Judea to back off.
Simon sends Antiochus 2000 men to support his fight against Trypho, but Antiochus turns on the Jews. He repudiates all his agreements and demands 1000 talents to repay damage done to towns in his kingdom (or he can turn over the towns and their revenues). Most of the towns, Simon replies are part of the Jewish inheritance. Only Joppa and Gezer were taken and they had attacked Israel. He offers 100 talents for them.
1 Maccabees 16 – Simon’s son John Hyrcanus takes over leadership from Simon at this point. Simon and his other two sons, Mattathias and Judas are killed by Ptolemy VII. The Second Book of Maccabees, takes up with the reign of John Hyrcanus.
John 1:1-28 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (1:1). John’s great prologue: “All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower” (1:4-5).
“He was in the world that had its being through him, and the world did not know him. He came to his own domain and his own people did not accept him. But to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God” (10-11).
He speaks of the testimony of John the Baptist; John was not the Messiah, not Elijah and not “the prophet” [“like Moses” Deut. 18:15] only the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” (1:23).
The priests and Levites who question John are sent by the Pharisees. John is at Bethany where he is baptizing.