MARTYRDOM

WHAT IS MARTRYDOM

(In YAHUSHUA’S NAME and for HIS SAKE) ALL ABOUT?

MARTYRDOM is about which God you give your ALLEGIANCE TO!

It is when one is tortured and/or murdered because of their STRONG FAITH usually against the NORM / MULTITUDE! In this case, the STRONG FAITH IS IN YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH!

Matthew 7:13-14 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

13 “Go in through the NARROW GATE; for the gate that leads to DESTRUCTION IS WIDE and the ROAD BROAD, and many travel it; 14 but it is a NARROW GATE and a HARD ROAD that LEADS TO LIFE, and only a few find it.

 

YAH does NOT wish it to happen to HIS CHILDREN but HE has allowed it to happen so as to GLORIFY HIS NAME! …for HE is mocked too much.

 

Prepare yourself just in case. STUDY THE WORE OF GOD so as to STRENGTHEN your INNER SELF / SPIRIT (MAN)!!!

 

Persecution of BELIEVERS IN and FOLLOWERS OF YAHUSHUA is on the increase and will only get worse as it was in history. These have to take place so the world can APPRECIATE MORE WHO YAH IS and also understand better that WHEN MAN IS IN-CHARGE, it means that Satan is in-charge and SATAN HAS NOTHING GOOD TO OFFER US (John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:7-8)

2 Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 6:10-end; Hebrews 4:12; Jeremiah 29:11

Start learning your HISTORY, the HISTORY OF EARTH because within it lies some of the SECRETS TO OUR FUTURE!

NOTE THAT HISTORY WILL REPEAT ITSELF AS YAH HAS REPEATEDLY REVEALED!

Please do watch the PROPHETIC VIDEOS which appear AFTER the information written below.

The Following BIBLICAL SCRIPTURES prophesy about MARTRYDOM:

Matthew 24:9 King James Version (KJV)

9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Revelation 6:9-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

Fifth Seal: The Cry of the Martyrs

9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

Revelation 20:4-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Saints Reign with Christ 1,000 Years

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a[a] thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

 

As seen in Revelation 6,

The 5th SEAL (seen in Revelation 5-18) broken by THE LAMB OF YAH who is YAHUSHUA HA MASHIACH releases MARTRYDOM!

Prophet Jeremiah was thrown into a PIT because he was speaking too much TRUTH OF YAH (Jeremiah 38)!

Some of YAHUSHUA’S Apostles were martryed because of their LOVE FOR YAHUSHUA. A good example is seen in Acts 7 when Stephen is STONED TO DEATH in the presence of Paul (Shaul, in Hebrew). This eventually led to Paul’s CONVERSION (Acts 9).

That same Apostle Paul was imprisoned, exiled, beaten for the sake of STANDING UP FOR THE TRUTH which is YAHUSHUA as well as PREACHING YAHUSHUA!

 

 

The following is copied from: (http://www.teachinghearts.org/dre04historynotes.html)

The Death of the Disciples and Apostles of Christ

Name Death Place
Jesus Christ Crucified Jerusalem (31 A.D.)
Andrew Crucified Greece
Bartholomew Tortured and beheaded Armenia
James, son of Alphaeus Stoned to death or crucified Persia
James, son of Zebedee Beheaded Rome
John, son of Zebedee
(The Beloved)
* Exiled for his faith. Died of natural causes Isle of Patmos
Judas (not Iscariot) Crucified in Turkey or Stoned to death in Persia Turkey or Persia
Judas Iscariot Suicide by hanging Jerusalem
Matthew Speared Ethiopia
Peter Crucified upside down Rome
Philip Tortured Turkey
Simon Crucified Britain
Thomas Speared India
Matthias Stoned Jerusalem
Stephen Stoned Jerusalem (34 A.D.)
Paul Beheaded Rome under Nero

Legend states that all the disciples except John were martyred. John was boiled in oil but could not be killed so he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. Most of this information is from tradition and may be not be correct.

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Many ORTHODOX JEWS Jews paid the price during Hitler’s time. Additionally, many MESSIANIC JEWS were killed by the Romans (Roman Catholic Church) when the the SUNDAY LAW was imposed. Some PROTESTANT CHRISTIANS also lost their lives when they refused to obey the LAWS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!(http://www.teachinghearts.org/dre04historynotes.html)

 

SOME USEFUL HISTORY:

Change Modern Practice Pagan Origin
Sabbath Sunday Worship Pagan day of sun worship
Passover
Easter Egg
Easter (First Sunday after first full moon of spring) Originated with the Passover but it became merged with Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring: “Eostre”, in her honor sacrifices were offered at the vernal equinox or spring. The Babylonians knew her as Ishtar or Astarte. By the 8th century church leaders applied “Eostre” to Christ’s resurrection. Later Passover began to be translated as Easter in some Bibles.
State of the Dead
Pagan
Halloween(October 31) Literally means Holy Evening. The dead were believed to visit their homes on October 31. Old pagan customs were combined with Catholic tradition to create Halloween Autumn festival called, “Sanhain” marked the end of summer It marked the new year for ancient Celtics and Anglo Saxons
All Saints Day(November 1) Prayers offered for all souls in Purgatory. It is preceded by “Holy Evening” or Halloween (October 31) when the pagans believed that the dead visited their homes
Santa
Pure Paganism
Pagan
Christmas(December 25) Adopted in 354 AD by Liberius, Bishop of Rome. December 25 was birthday of Mithra, Iranian “God of Light”. It is also the birthday of the sun
Mistletoe The Druids considered it sacred
Christmas tree Scandinavians worshipped trees. When they became Christians, they introduced the practice to Christmas.
Yule log The Norse burned a huge log once year to Thor, god of thunder. When they became Christians they burned it to Christ
Santa Claus The legend of Saint Nicolas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia, 300 A.D.
The belief that he enters a house through the chimney originated with Norse legend who believed the goddess, Hertha appeared in the fireplace and brought good luck to the house.

A Final Insult. Now Saturdays have been consecrated to Mary by the Church.
Prophecy states that the little horn will “sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God, change laws and removes the daily ministry from God”.
So, the church has taken all four commandments related to the proper respect for God and have given all these honors to Mary.

# Commandment Daniel’s Prophecy Blasphemy
1 Only One God Magnified itself to be equal to God (Verse 8: 11) Pray to Mary and saints. Pope is as god on earth.
2 Idolatry Show no regard for any God (11: 37) Idols, scapulars, icons, paintings, beads, relics
3 Respect for God’s name Removed the daily sacrifice from God (7: 25; 8: 11; 11: 36) Call on Mary, she is the Mediator. Do not talk to God, He does not want to hear us.
4 Remember the Sabbath Changes times and laws (7: 25) Saturday devoted to Mary. Sunday is the new Sabbath.

 

MARTRYS AND PERSECUTIONS AFTER CHANGING GOD’S CALENDAR, etc:

  1. The Death of the Disciples and Apostles of Christ
Name Death Place
Jesus Christ Crucified Jerusalem (31 A.D.)
Andrew Crucified Greece
Bartholomew Tortured and beheaded Armenia
James, son of Alphaeus Stoned to death or crucified Persia
James, son of Zebedee Beheaded Rome
John, son of Zebedee
(The Beloved)
* Exiled for his faith. Died of natural causes Isle of Patmos
Judas (not Iscariot) Crucified in Turkey or Stoned to death in Persia Turkey or Persia
Judas Iscariot Suicide by hanging Jerusalem
Matthew Speared Ethiopia
Peter Crucified upside down Rome
Philip Tortured Turkey
Simon Crucified Britain
Thomas Speared India
Matthias Stoned Jerusalem
Stephen Stoned Jerusalem (34 A.D.)
Paul Beheaded Rome under Nero

Legend states that all the disciples except John were martyred. John was boiled in oil but could not be killed so he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. Most of this information is from tradition and may be not be correct.

2. Roman Persecutions – Persecution by the State

  1. The First Persecution, Under Nero, A.D. 67. The first persecution of the Church took place in the year 67, under Nero, the sixth emperor of Rome. He ordered that the city of Rome should be set on fire and while the imperial city was in flames, he went up to the tower of Macaenas, played his harp, sung the song of the burning of Troy. This continued nine days until Nero, discovered that he was criticized and held responsible. Determined to lay the blame upon the Christians, he designed the most cruel punishments. He had some sewed up in skins of wild beasts, and then attacked by dogs until they died; and others dressed in shirts made of wax, and set on fire in his gardens, to provide light for his gardens. Peter and Paul were martyred under this persecution.
  2. The Second Persecution, Under Domitian, A.D. 81. The emperor Domitian, first killed his brother, and then started the second persecution against the Christians. He also killed some of the Roman senators, through malice or to confiscate their property. He then ordered that the Jews be put to death. Among the martyrs was John, who was boiled in oil, and then banished to Patmos. All famine, pestilence, or earthquakes was blamed on the Christians and caused more persecution. Through bribery and rewards, many Christians were put to death with lies. Christians had to renounce their religion to be exempted from punishment.
  3. The Third Persecution, Under Trajan, A.D. 108. This persecution was started by Trajan and then continued by his successor Adrian. Christians were thrown to wild beasts, crucified, crowned with thorns and had spears run through their sides.
  4. The Fourth Persecution, Under Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, A.D. 162. Christians were beheaded, clubbed to death, thrown from precipices, brains crushed, red hot metal plates were placed on the most sensitive parts of their bodies, burnt at the stake, pressed to death with weights, attacked by wild animals, severely beaten until their bines showed. Some were made to walk, with their already wounded feet, over thorns, nails, sharp shells, and other sharp objects upon their points,
  5. The Fifth Persecution, Commencing with Severus, A.D. 192. The progress of Christianity alarmed the pagans and this brought about this round of persecutions. Once again Christians were beheaded, had tar poured on their bodies, burnt alive, gored by wild bulls, forced to run the gauntlet, exposed to wild beasts in the amphitheaters and placed in baths of scalding water.
  6. The Sixth Persecution, Under Maximus, A.D. 235. During this persecution, many Christians were killed without trial, and buried in heaps others were dragged behind wild horses until they were killed.
  7. The Seventh Persecution, Under Decius, A.D. 249. This was caused partly by the hatred he had for his predecessor Philip, who was a Christian, and was partly by his jealousy concerning the amazing increase of Christianity. The heathen temples were being forsaken, and the Christian churches thrived. Unfortunately for the Gospel, many errors had creeped in around this time. Christians were at variance with each other, self-interest and pride divided them into many factions.
    Christians were decapitated, stretched upon a wheel, until the bones were broken, one was even put into a leather bag, together with a number of serpents and scorpions, and then thrown into the sea. Others were stoned to death, stretched on a rack, torn with hooks, burnt alive, starved to death, forced to work in brothels, imprisoned, tortured, hanged all for their faith.
  8. The Eighth Persecution, Under Valerian, A.D. 257. Began under Valerian, in April 257, and continued for three years and six months. The martyrs that fell in this persecution were many, and they suffered various painful tortures. Neither rank, sex, nor age were regarded. One martyr was tied to the tail of a bull who was driven down the steps of a temple. His brains were smashed in the process. Three hundred Christians were burned at once in a pit for not sacrificing to the god Jupiter.
  9. The Ninth Persecution Under Aurelian, A.D. 274. Tortured, beheaded, 666 Christian soldiers were cut to pieced by the sword, some were broiled upon a gridiron. A Christian named Quintin was stretched with pulleys until his joints were dislocated; his body was then torn with wire scourges, and boiling oil and pitch poured on his naked flesh; lighted torches were applied to his sides and armpits; and after he had been thus tortured, he was remanded back to prison, and died of the barbarities he had suffered, October 31, A.D. 287. His body was sunk in the Somme.
  10. The Tenth Persecution, Under Diocletian, A.D. 303 – 313 A.D.. This persecution, which lasted for 10 years, started with the destruction of all Christian churches and books and an order to declare Christians as outlaws. All the Christians were apprehended and imprisoned; and Galerius (the step son of Diocletian) privately ordered the imperial palace to be set on fire, so that the Christians might be blamed. This would give a reason for carrying on the persecution. Many houses were set on fire, and whole Christian families perished in the flames; and others had stones fastened about their necks, tied together were thrown into the sea. Racks, scourges, swords, daggers, crosses, poison, and famine, were used to kill the Christians. A city of Phrygia, consisting entirely of Christians, was burnt, and all the inhabitants perished in the flames. Tired with slaughter, the Romans devised ways to make their lives miserable. Their ears cut off, noses slit, right eyes put out, limbs made useless by dreadful dislocations, and their flesh seared in tender places with red-hot irons. Crushed to death in a mill, dragged through the streets, tortured, strangled, broiled slowly on a gridiron, eyes goughed out with red hot irons, starved to death, The persecutions ended when Constantine became ruler and there were no general persecutions for the next 1000 years until the time of John Wycliffe.

3. Papal Persecutions – Persecution by the Church
It is estimated that between 50 – 100 million people died cruel deaths during the reign of the church.

Why does the church persecute? And why such cruelty? I could quote many popes from the past, but you might say that the church has changed. So let me quote from the present, to show why this method of control will always be an option for the church.

• Pope Innocent III’s (1198-1216 AD) Deliberatio claimed the right to dispose kings. He ordered the extermination of heretics, the massacre of Albigensians, condemned the Magna Charta, and forbade Bible reading in the common language.
• The Inquisition of heretics established (1229) under Gregory IX. (1227-1241)
• Pope Innocent IV, in his instruction for the guidance of the Inquisition in Tuscany and Lombardy, ordered the civil magistrates to force a confession of guilt from all heretics by torture, and a betrayal of all their accomplices, in the Papal Bull Ad Extirpanda de Medio Populi Christiani Pravitatis Zizania, dated May 15, 1252.
• Pope Clement V (1305-1314) rebukes England’s King Edward II for not torturing heretics and orders him to do so.

4. Papal Persecutions – The Crusades

Pope Meet the Pope
Saint Urban II
He created the “sex tax” (Cullagium) which allowed priests to keep a mistress as long as they paid an annual fee.

The crusades might have killed up to 26,000,000 people as they killed Christians, Jews and Muslims. He was canonized by Leo XIII.

The crusades was a series of expeditions, sanctioned by the pope, against heathens and heretics. They were generally called by the church, headed by Holy Roman Emperors and were used to get back the Holy Land from the Muslims and later to persecute heretics in Europe. Most crusades were against the Turks, Muslims who occupied the Holy Land. Other crusades were against Christians who opposed the papacy, threatened Catholic unity and had their own doctrine.
Except for the first crusade, the campaign against the Muslims was largely a failure.

Note that the GREAT TRIBULATION / TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE is not meant for YAHUSHUA’S BRIDE and GUESTS however YAHUSHUA will reward us according to our FAITH!

It is what you choose to believe and ask for and then act upon that YAHUSHUA will grant you!

It is important to read the STORY OF THE MACCABEES which is usually read during the FEAST OF HANNUKAH / DEDICATION / LIGHTS because YAH has revealed that IT WILL BE REPEATED DURING THE GREAT TRIBULATION / TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE! Please read it below:

 

Chanah and Her Seven Sons: Heroism and Martyrdom

Antiochus was determined to enforce his vicious edicts upon the Jews, effectively destroying their attachment to the Torah. He forbade the observance of all religious laws; anyone found with a Torah would be executed; circumcision, kosher food, Shabbat, all vestiges of Judaism were outlawed. Phillip was appointed governor of Judea, and he set out to ruthlessly enforce the king’s edicts. He decided to begin his campaign with the arrest of the notable sage and High Priest, Elazar. Elazar thwarted Phillip’s design by choosing martyrdom over submission. Soon after,Chanah and her seven sons were arrested.

When the king, who was returning to Antioch, heard about the events which were taking place in Jerusalem, he decided to take an active role in enforcing his decrees. The mother and her sons were bound and brought before the king.

Antiochus tried to convince the eldest boy to abandon the Torah. The youth responded with great confidence, “Why do you bother with this long speech, trying to inflict your abominable religion upon us? We are ready to welcome death for the sake of our holy Torah!”

The king was furious and ordered the boy’s tongue, hands and feet severed and placed in a fire. The soldiers proceeded to torture the boy, forcing his mother and six brothers to watch his excruciating pain. Antiochus was sure that this sight would intimidate his prisoners into unquestioning submission.

Instead, the martyrdom spurred the family to a deep resolve to accept their fate and to sanctify G‑d‘s name. When the second brother was brought to the king, even the members of the king’s retinue begged the boy to obey the king. The boy, however, replied, “Do what you will with me. I am no less than my brother in devotion to G‑d.” The second son’s torture was as bitter as his brother’s had been. As he died he told the king, “Woe to you, pitiless tyrant! Our souls go to G‑d. And when G‑d will awaken the dead and His martyred servants, we will live. But you–your soul will dwell in a place of eternal abhorrence!”

To the amazement of all, the third brother unflinchingly suffered the same fate. The fourth brother echoed his brothers’ exhortations, and faced his brutal death with firm resolve. Before he was killed, the fifth brother turned to Antiochus and said: “Don’t suppose that G‑d has handed us over to you to exalt you or because He hates us. It is because He loves us and has granted us this honor. G‑d will take His vengeance upon you and your progeny.”

The blood-lust of the king was not assuaged, and the sixth brother was brought to the same end as his brothers who preceded him. His words bespoke his deep faith that G‑d would ultimately requite the suffering of His servants.

Throughout this horrible sequence Chanah stood by her sons, giving them strength and encouragement. Now, only the youngest child remained to face the king. When they brought the boy, the king offered him gold and silver if he would do his will. The seven-year-old boy displayed the same courage as his brothers and taunted the king to carry out his threats.

The king couldn’t believe such words coming from a mere child, and he called out to Chanah. Chanah stood before the murderer of her children and listened to his words. “Woman, have compassion upon this child. Persuade him to do my will so that you will have at least one surviving child and you too will live.” She pretended to agree and asked to speak with her son.

When they stood together, Chanah kissed the boy, then said, “My son, I carried you in my body for nine months, I nursed you for two years and I have fed you until today. I have taught you to fear G‑d and uphold His Torah. See the heaven and the earth, the sea and the land, fire, water, wind and every other creation. Know that they were all created by G‑d’s word. He created man to serve Him and He will reward man for his deeds. The king knows he is condemned before G‑d. He thinks that if he convinces you, G‑d will have mercy on him. G‑d controls your life’s breath and can take your soul whenever He desires. If only I could see the greatness of your glorious place where we would be illuminated with G‑d’s light and rejoice and exult together.”

Chanah returned to the king, saying, “I was unable to prevail upon him.”

The exasperated king again addressed the child who answered him, “Whom are you seeking to overpower with your words and enticements? I laugh at your foolishness. I believe in the Torah and in G‑d Whom you blaspheme. You will remain an abomination upon all mankind, loathsome and far from G‑d.”

The king was enraged. it is said that Antiochus gave the boy a chance to save himself by ostensibly bowing down to retrieve his signet ring, but the boy refused. As they removed him, Chanah begged to kiss him one last time. As if speaking to all seven children, Chanah said, “My children, tell your ancestor Abraham, ‘You bound only one son upon an altar, but I bound seven.” Then Antiochus ordered that the child be tortured even more than his brothers.

Chanah was left surrounded by the bodies of her sons, a prayer exalting G‑d on her lips. Then the distraught woman threw herself from a roof and rested beside her martyred sons.

 

 

 

The Story of Chanukah

Under Syrian Rule

More than 2000 years ago there was a time when the land of Israel was part of the Syrian-Greek Empire, dominated by Syrian rulers of the dynasty of the Seleucids.

In order to relate the story that led up to Chanukah, we shall start with Antiochus III, the King of Syria, who reigned from 3538 to 3574 (222-186 B.C.E.). He had waged war with King Ptolemy of Egypt over the possession of the Land of Israel. Antiochus III was victorious and the Land of Israel was annexed to his empire. At the beginning of his reign he was favorably disposed toward the Jews and accorded them some privileges. Later on, however, when he was beaten by the Romans and compelled to pay heavy taxes, the burden fell upon the various peoples of his empire who were forced to furnish the heavy gold that was required of him by the Romans. When Antiochus died, his son Seleucus IV took over, and further oppressed the Jews.

Added to the troubles from the outside were the grave perils that threatened Judaism from within. The influence of the Hellenists (people who accepted idol-worship and the Syrian way of life) was increasing. Yochanan, the High Priest, foresaw the danger to Judaism from the penetration of Syrian-Greek influence into the Holy Land. For, in contrast to the ideal of outward beauty held by the Greeks and Syrians, Judaism emphasizes truth and moral purity, as commanded by G‑d in the holy Torah. The Jewish people could never give up their faith in G‑d and accept the idol-worship of the Syrians.

Yochanan was therefore opposed to any attempt on the part of the Jewish Hellenists to introduce Greek and Syrian customs into the land. The Hellenists hated him. One of them told the King’s commissioner that in the treasury of the Temple there was a great deal of wealth.

The wealth in the treasury consisted of the contributions of “half a shekel” made by all adult Jews annually. That was given for the purpose of the sacrifices on the altar, as well as for fixing and improving the Temple building. Another part of the treasury consisted of orphans’ funds which were deposited for them until they became of age. Seleucus needed money in order to pay the Romans. He sent his minister Helyodros to take the money from the treasury of the Temple. In vain did Yochanan, the High Priest, beg him not to do it. Helyodros did not listen and entered the gate of the Temple. But suddenly, he became pale with fright. The next moment he fainted and fell to the ground. After Helyodros came to, he did not dare enter again.

The Madman: Antiochus

A short time later, Seleucus was killed and his brother Antiochus IV began to reign over Syria (in 3586 – 174 B.C.E.). He was a tyrant of a rash and impetuous nature, contemptuous of religion and of the feelings of others. He was called “Epiphanes,” meaning “the gods’ beloved.” Several of the Syrian rulers received similar titles. But a historian of his time, Polebius, gave him the epithet Epimanes (“madman”), a title more suitable to the character of this harsh and cruel king.

Desiring to unify his kingdom through the medium of a common religion and culture, Antiochus tried to root out the individualism of the Jews by suppressing all the Jewish Laws. He removed the righteous High Priest, Yochanan, from the Temple in Jerusalem, and in his place installed Yochanan’s brother Joshua, who loved to call himself by the Greek name of Jason. For he was a member of the Hellenist party, and he used his high office to spread more and more of the Greek customs among the priesthood.

Joshua or Jason was later replaced by another man, Menelaus, who had promised the king that he would bring in more money than Jason did. When Yochanan, the former High Priest, protested against the spread of the Hellenists’ influence in the Holy Temple, the ruling High Priest hired murderers to assassinate him.

Antiochus was at that time engaged in a successful war against Egypt. But messengers from Rome arrived and commanded him to stop the war, and he had to yield. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, a rumor spread that a serious accident had befallen Antiochus. Thinking that he was dead, the people rebelled against Menelaus. The treacherous High Priest fled together with his friends.

The Martyrs

Antiochus returned from Egypt enraged by Roman interference with his ambitions. When he heard what had taken place in Jerusalem, he ordered his army to fall upon the Jews. Thousands of Jews were killed. Antiochus then enacted a series of harsh decrees against the Jews. Jewish worship was forbidden; the scrolls of the Law were confiscated and burned. Sabbathrest, circumcision and the dietary laws were prohibited under penalty of death. Even one of the respected elders of that generation, Rabbi Eliezer, a man of 90, was ordered by the servants of Antiochus to eat pork so that others would do the same. When he refused they suggested to him that he pick up the meat to his lips to appear to be eating. But Rabbi Eliezerrefused to do even that and was put to death.

There were thousands of others who likewise sacrificed their lives. The famous story of Hannah and her seven children happened at that time.

Antiochus’s men went from town to town and from village to village to force the inhabitants to worship pagan gods. Only one refuge area remained and that was the hills of Judea with their caves. But even there did the Syrians pursue the faithful Jews, and many a Jew died a martyr’s death.

Mattityahu

One day the henchmen of Antiochus arrived in the village of Modiin where Mattityahu, the old priest, lived. The Syrian officer built an altar in the marketplace of the village and demanded that Mattityahu offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Mattityahu replied, “I, my sons and my brothers are determined to remain loyal to the covenant which our G‑d made with our ancestors!”

Thereupon, a Hellenistic Jew approached the altar to offer a sacrifice. Mattityahu grabbed his sword and killed him, and his sons and friends fell upon the Syrian officers and men. They killed many of them and chased the rest away. They then destroyed the altar.

Mattityahu knew that Antiochus would be enraged when he heard what had happened. He would certainly send an expedition to punish him and his followers. Mattityahu, therefore, left the village of Modiin and fled together with his sons and friends to the hills of Judea.

All loyal and courageous Jews joined them. They formed legions and from time to time they left their hiding places to fall upon enemy detachments and outposts, and to destroy the pagan altars that were built by order of Antiochus.

The Maccabees

Before his death, Mattityahu called his sons together and urged them to continue to fight in defense of G d’s Torah. He asked them to follow the counsel of their brother Shimon the Wise. In waging warfare, he said, their leader should be Judah the Strong. Judah was called “Maccabee,” a word composed of the initial letters of the four Hebrew words Mi Kamocha Ba’eilim Hashem, “Who is like You, O G‑d.”

Antiochus sent his General Apolonius to wipe out Judah and his followers, the Maccabees. Though greater in number and equipment than their adversaries, the Syrians were defeated by the Maccabees. Antiochus sent out another expedition which also was defeated. He realized that only by sending a powerful army could he hope to defeat Judah and his brave fighting men.

An army consisting of more than 40,000 men swept the land under the leadership of two commanders, Nicanor and Gorgiash. When Judah and his brothers heard of that, they exclaimed: “Let us fight unto death in defense of our souls and our Temple!” The people assembled in Mitzpah, where Samuel, the prophet of old, had offered prayers to G‑d. After a series of battles the war was won.

The Dedication

Now the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Judah and his followers built a new altar, which he dedicated on the twenty-fifth of the month of Kislev, in the year 3622 (139 B.C.E.).

Since the golden Menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest Yochanan. It was sufficient to light only for one day. By a miracle of G‑d, it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available. That miracle proved that G‑d had again taken His people under His protection. In memory of this, our sages appointed these eight days for annual thanksgiving and for lighting candles.

After Chanukah

The brightness of the first Chanukah light had dwindled down. But the holy fires on the altar burnt again in the Beit Hamikdash, from morning to morning, as prescribed by the Law. The priests were again busily officiating in the old customary ways, and day in, day out they prepared the offerings. Order and peace seemed established.

The Jewish farmer longed to return to his land after two years of hardship, privation and danger in the victorious Jewish army. It was high time to break the ground and to till the soil, if the barley was to grow and ripen in time for “Omer-offering” on Passover. The Jewish farmers had left their ploughs to rally about the heroic Chashmonaim. The first victories had drawn even the hesitant into the ranks of the enthusiastic Jewish rebels, led by the sons of Mattityahu. Farmers had forsaken their land, merchants and tradesmen their stores and shops. Even Torah students had emerged from the four walls of the Bet Hamidrash to join the fight against the oppressors.

But the songs of victory, which had filled the reclaimed Holy Temple with praise and gratitude for the merciful G‑d, had ceased. The goal of the battle seemed reached, and Torah again was supreme law in Israel.

One man, though, realized that the time for a return to normal living had not yet come. Israel could not yet afford to relax; it would have to stand ready and prepare to carry on the fight against the overwhelming odds of the enemy. This man was Judah Maccabi. His name was upon everyone’s lips and in every Jewish heart. He was admired as a hero, as a man with the heart of a lion and the simple piety of a child; as the one whose mighty armies fought and conquered, yet who never failed to pray to G‑d, the Master of all battles, before he entered the fray.

It was not the spirited warrior’s joy that made Judah Maccabi stay in camp. His heart, too, longed to return to his former peaceful life, to Modiin, the quiet town of priests, which held the grave of his adored father. Bloodshed and battle meant a hard and unwanted profession for the men of Judea, who preferred peace to strife. Yet this was no time for relenting. Not only had he to stay, but with all the persuasion of his magnetic personality he had to hold back his comrades-at-arms. His own reasoning and his two wise brothers, Shimon and Yonatan, told him that only the first phase of this war of liberation had passed. Hard and desperate times were yet to come. Clever enemies merely needed an extended lull to prepare new assaults with more troops and better equipment. And there were enemies all about Judea, besides the defeated Syrians. The neighboring countries begrudged the dazzling victories of the small Jewish armies. They would much rather have seen the people of Judea oppressed and humiliated, than armed and spirited, a threat to their own lands. Whence had come the sudden source of strength, courage and fortitude? What was there in this nation that made history in proud seclusion and isolation from other nations? Old hatred was revived. The descendants of Edom (the Idumeans), the Ammonites, the Philistines and Phoenicians, they all revived their ancient jealousies.

Messengers arrived from Gilead. The pagan people joined forces to destroy Judea. From Galilee came the bad news of similar evil intentions and active preparations in Ptolemais, Tyre and Zidon. The messengers found Judah Maccabi already at work. Fortifications had to be thrown up around Zion. Towers, walls, battlements and moat had to be constructed opposite the fort still held by their worst enemies, the Hellenistic Jews, under the leadership of the false priest Menelaus. These hated everything Jewish, and lived in the hope of the return of the Syrian masters. Judah Maccabi prepared Jerusalem against them and against imminent assault by the troops of Antiochus. Under his supervision the Jewish people worked feverishly to refill their arsenals and turn the whole country into a stronghold.

Once this most important task was accomplished, Judah Maccabi led his freshly trained troops to the aid of the regions and villages harassed by the spiteful neighbors of Judea. He drove the Idumeans from Hebron, which they had annexed, and he punished the people who had acted with hostility towards the Jewish settlers. Then he led his army across the Jordan River against the Ammonites. Their capital fell before the furious onslaught of the Jewish troops, and so did their fortress, Yaeser. Judah’s brother Shimon led an army north to aid the plagued Jews of Galilee. He defeated the enemy and cleared the Jewish land. At his urging, a great many of the Jewish settlers who had fled to Jerusalem, returned to rebuild in safety what had been destroyed during the years of weakness. Judah Maccabi and Yonatan joined forces and marched against Gilead, where they were met with the toughest resistance. By Shavuot, this campaign was successfully concluded.

Judea was again free, and all parts captured by the neighboring nation had been recovered. Celebrations and festivity transformed Jerusalem and the Holy Temple, hardly half a year after the victories over the Syrian armies. The Jewish people expressed their joy and gratitude to G‑d in the form of psalms and offerings. For He had restored glory and liberty to the Jewish land.

The Story of Yehudit: The Woman Who Saved the Day

It is not clearly known when the story which we are about to tell actually took place. The story first appeared in a very ancient book named after the heroine, Yehudit(Judith), and it was written in Hebrew. However, the original text was lost, and only a Greek translation remained, and not a very accurate one at that.

The story was retold in different versions. According to one version, it happened during the time of the Maccabean revolt against Syrian oppression, and Yehudit was a daughter of Yochanan the high priest, father of the Hasmonean family.

At any rate, the heroic deed of Yehudit has inspired faith and courage in the hearts of Jews throughout the ages.


The town of Bethulia, in the land of Judea, came under siege by Holofernes, a mighty Syrian-Greek general, at the head of a huge army.

Holofernes was notorious for his cruelty in suppressing rebellions. When he captured a rebel stronghold, he showed no mercy to the men, women and children sheltered there.

Now he was determined to crush the rebellion of the town of Bethulia, whose inhabitants refused to recognize the oppressive rule of the Syrians.

The men of the beleaguered town fought bravely and desperately to repulse the repeated assaults by the superior enemy forces. Seeing that he couldn’t take the fortified town by force, Holofernes decided to starve the inhabitants into submission. He cut off the food and water supply, and before long the town was indeed brought to the verge of surrender.

Hungry and thirsty, and in utter despair, the townspeople gathered in the marketplace and demanded that, rather than die of hunger and thirst, they should surrender to the enemy.

Uzziah, the commander of the defense forces, and the elders of the town tried to calm the populace without success. Finally they pleaded, “Give us five more days. If no salvation comes by the end of five days, we will surrender. Just five more days . . .”

Reluctantly the people agreed, and slowly they dispersed. Only one person, a woman, remained in her place, as if riveted to it, and she addressed Uzziah and the elders, who had also turned to go. Her voice was clear and firm.

“Why do you test G‑d, giving Him only five days in which to send us His help? If you truly have faith in G‑d, you must never give up your trust in Him. Besides, don’t you know that surrender to Holofernes is worse than death?!”

So spoke Yehudit, the noble daughter of Yochanan the high priest. She was a young widow. It was several years since she had lost her beloved husband, Menashe, and she had devoted all her time to prayer and acts of charity ever since.

Yehudit was blessed with extraordinary charm, grace and beauty, but she was particularly respected and admired for her devoutness, modesty and lovingkindness.

Yehudit’s words made a deep impression on Uzziah and the elders.

“You are quite right, daughter,” they admitted, “but what can we do? Only a downpour of rain that would fill our empty cisterns could save our people, but it is not the rainy season. We are all suffering the pangs of hunger and thirst. Pray for us, Yehudit, and maybe G‑d will accept your prayers . . .”

“We must all continue to pray, and never despair of G‑d’s help,” Yehudit said. “But I have also thought of a plan. I ask your permission to leave town together with my maid. I want to go to Holofernes . . .”

Uzziah and the elders were shocked and dismayed. “Do you know what you are saying, Yehudit? Would you sacrifice your life and honor on the slim chance that you might soften Holofernes’s heart? We cannot allow you to make such a sacrifice for us.”

But Yehudit persisted. “It has happened before that G‑d sent His salvation through a woman. Yael, the wife of Heber, was her name, as you well know. It was into her hands that G‑d delivered the cruel Sisera . . .”

Uzziah and the elders attempted to discourage Yehudit from such a dangerous mission, but she insisted that she be allowed to try. Finally, they agreed.


Yehudit passed through the gates of Bethulia, dressed in her best clothes, which she had not worn since her husband passed away. A delicate veil all but hid her beautiful face. She was accompanied by her faithful maid, who carried on her head a basket filled with rolls, cheese and several bottles of old wine.

The sun had already begun to hide behind the green mountains when Yehudit and her maid wound their way toward the enemy’s camp, their lips whispering a prayer to G‑d. Presently they were stopped by sentries, who demanded to know who they were and who sent them.

“We have an important message for your commander, the brave Holofernes,” Yehudit said. “Take us to him at once.”

“Who are you, and why are you here?” Holofernes asked, his eyes feasting on his unexpected, charming visitor.

“I am but a plain widow from Bethulia. Yehudit is my name. I came to tell you how to capture the town, in the hope that you will deal mercifully with its inhabitants . . .”

Yehudit then told Holofernes that life in the beleaguered town had become unbearable for her, and that she had bribed the watchmen to let her and her maid out. She went on to say that she had heard of Holofernes’s bravery and mighty deeds in battle, and wished to make his acquaintance. Finally she told Holofernes what he already knew, that the situation in the besieged town was desperate, that the inhabitants have very little food and water left. Yet, she said, their faith in G‑d remained strong, and so long as they had faith, they would not surrender. On the other hand, she added, before long, every scrap of kosher food would be gone, and in desperation they would begin to eat the flesh of unclean animals, and then G‑d’s anger would be turned against them, and the town would fall . . .

“But how will I know when the defenders of the citadel will begin to eat unkosher food, as you say, so that I can then storm the walls and capture the city?” the commander of the besieging army asked.

“I had thought of that,” Yehudit answered confidently. “I have arranged with the watchmen at the city’s gates that I would come to the gate every evening to exchange information: I will tell them what’s doing here, and they will tell me what’s doing there.”

Holofernes was completely captivated by the charming young Jewish widow who had so unexpectedly entered his life and was now offering him the key to the city. “If you are telling me the truth, and will indeed help me capture the city, you will be my wife!” Holofernes promised. Then he gave orders that Yehudit and her maid were to have complete freedom to walk through the camp, and anyone attempting to molest them in any way would be put to death immediately. A comfortable tent was prepared for the two women, next to his.

The two women, veiled and wrapped in their shawls, could now be seen walking leisurely through the armed camp at any time during the day and evening. Fearful of the commander’s strict orders, everyone gave them a wide berth. Soon, they attracted little if any attention. Yehudit could now walk up to the city’s gates after dark, where she was met by a watchman.

“Tell Uzziah that, thank G‑d, everything is shaping up according to plan. With G‑d’s help, we shall prevail over our enemy. Keep your trust strong in G‑d; do not lose hope for a moment!”

Having delivered this message for the commander of the defense force of the city, Yehudit departed as quietly as she had appeared.

The following evening she came again to the city’s gate and repeated the same message, adding that she had won Holofernes’s complete confidence.

In the meantime, Holofernes, having nothing special to do, spent most of his time drinking, with and without his aides. When he was not completely drunk, he would send for Yehudit. She always came to his tent in the company of her maid. On the third day, he was already getting impatient.

“Well, gracious Yehudit, what intelligence do you bring me today? My men are getting impatient and demoralized doing nothing; they cannot wait to capture the city and have their fun . . .”

“I have very good news, general. There is not a scrap of kosher food left in the city now. In a day or two, famine will drive them to eat their cats and dogs and mules. Then G‑d will deliver them into your hands!”

“Wonderful, wonderful! This surely calls for a celebration. Tonight we’ll have a party, just you and I. I shall expect you as my honored guest.”

“Thank you, sir,” Yehudit said.


That evening, when Yehudit entered Holofernes’s tent, the table was laden with various delicacies. The general was delighted to welcome her, and bade her partake of the feast. But Yehudit told him she had brought her own food and wine that she had prepared especially for that occasion.

“My goat cheese is famous in all of Bethulia,” Yehudit said. “I’m sure you’ll like it, General.”

He did. And he also liked the strong, undiluted wine she had brought. She fed him the cheese, chunk after chunk, and he washed it down with wine. Before long he was sprawled on the ground, dead drunk.

Yehudit propped a pillow under his head and rolled him over on his face. Then she uttered a silent prayer.

“Answer me, O L‑rd, as You answered Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, when you delivered the wicked general Sisera into her hands. Strengthen me this once, that I may bring Your deliverance to my people whom this cruel man vowed to destroy, and let the nations know that You have not forsaken us . . .”

Now Yehudit unsheathed Holofernes’s heavy sword, and taking aim at his neck, she brought the sword down on it with all her might.

For a moment she sat down to compose herself. Then she wrapped up the general’s head in rags, concealed it under her shawl, and calmly walked out and into her own tent.

“Come quickly,” she said to her maid, “but let’s not arouse suspicion.”

The two veiled women walked leisurely, as usual, until they reached the gates of the city. “Take me to Uzziah at once,” she said to the sentry.

Uzziah could not believe his eyes as he stared at the gruesome prize Yehudit had brought him.

“There is no time to lose,” she told the commander. “Prepare your men for a surprise attack at dawn. The enemy’s camp is not prepared for it. When they run to their commander’s tent, they will find his headless body, and they will flee for their lives . . .”

This is precisely what happened.

The enemy fled in confusion and terror, leaving much booty behind. It was a wonderful victory, and it was the G‑d-fearing and brave daughter of Yochanan the high priest, the father of the Hasmonean family, that saved the city of Bethulia and all its inhabitants.

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