Lost Treasure: Is Reason Master over the Passions? (Part Five)

in The City of Neoxian2 months ago


Lost Treasure: Fourth Maccabees

The book of Fourth Maccabees is among the forgotten books that never made it into the bible. This is an ancient sermon, likely given among God-fearers in Israel. From the forward:

This book is like a fearful peal of thunder echoing out of the dim horrors of ancient tyranny. It is a chapter based on persecution by Antiochus, the tyrant of Syria, whom some called Epiphanes, the Madman.

This is a treasure above treasure, discussing the power of "reason" over "passion", resulting in temperance and self-control.

The ancient Fathers of the Christian church carefully preserved this book (we have it from a Syrian translation) as a work of high moral value and teaching and it was undoubtedly familiar to many of the early Christian martyrs, who were aroused to the pitch of martyrdom by reading it.

I hope this information is useful for the faithful in the testing of faith.

Story Time

This installment begins the story of the Macabees, beginning with the righteous High-Priest named Onias and his adversary Wicked Simon. An army invades the Temple to plunder the loot, but the army of Heaven stops the attack.

Thus continues the ancient sermon: Is Inspired Reason Master over the Passions?


The Holy Tax Shelter

And now the occasion calls us to set forth the story of the self-controlled Reason. At a time when our fathers enjoyed great peace through the due observance of the Torah and were happy, so that Seleucus Nicanor, the king of Asia, sanctioned the tax for the temple-service and recognized our polity, precisely then certain men (acting facetiously against the general concord) involved us in many and various calamities.

While Onias was high priest (a man of the highest character, having the office for his life), a certain Simon raised a faction against him. Yet Simon failed to injure Onias on account of the people, despite every kind of slander against him. Then Simon fled abroad with the intent to betray his people.

When Simon came to Apollonius, the governor of Syria and Phoenicia and Cilicia, he said "Being loyal to the king, I am here to inform you that in the treasuries of Jerusalem, there are stored many thousands of private deposits, not belonging to the temple account and rightfully the property of King Seleucus."

(This was a giant tax shelter for the Jewish people)

Apollonius, having made inquiry into the details of the matter, praised Simon for his loyal service to the king and hastening to the court of Seleucus, disclosed to him the valuable treasure. Then after receiving authority to deal with the matter, Apollonius promptly marched into our country, accompanied by the accursed Simon and a very powerful army. Apollonius announced that he was there by the king's command to take possession of the private deposits in the treasury.

Our people were deeply angered by this announcement, and protested strongly, considering it an outrageous thing for those who had entrusted their deposits to the temple treasury to be robbed of them and they threw all possible obstacles in his way.

Pillaging the House of God

Apollonius, however, with threats, made his way into the Temple. Then the priests in the temple and the women and children besought God to come to the rescue of His Holy Place that was being violated. And when Apollonius, with his armed host, marched into the Temple to seize the money, Angels appeared from the Heavens, riding on horses, with lightning flashing from their arms and cast great fear and trembling upon them.

And Apollonius fell down half-dead in the Court of the Gentiles and stretched out his hands to the Heavens and with tears he entreated the Hebrews that they would make intercession for him and stay the wrath of the Heavenly host, for he said that he had sinned against Heaven and was worthy even of death, and that if he were given his life, he would laud to all men the holiness of this place.

Onias the high-priest was moved by these words and made intercession for him, lest king Seleucus should thing that Apollonius had been overthrown by human strength rather than by divine justice. Apollonius accordingly, after his astonishing deliverance, departed to report to king Seleucus the things that had befallen him.

This concludes part five of the Ancient Sermon: Is Reason Master over the Passions?


Benjamin Turner: God fearer. Rooted in Messiah. Husband of @lturner. Father of FIVE wonderful children. The guy behind the camera. Blockchain enthusiast.

Bless the Most High!


Teach Your Children Liberty from Sin

We encourage parents to teach their children principles of Godliness, beginning with the Word and an understanding who God is and what His Son has done to form a relationship with us.

No one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, his workmanship will be evident, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:11-13

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