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Encounter the New Testament

Session One: The World of the New Testament

In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict: “Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of those among you who are his people—may their God be with them!—are now permitted to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem; and let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be assisted by the people of their place with silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.’” (Ezra 1:1-4

Thus says the LORD to his anointed/messiah, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him—and the gates shall not be closed: I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.” (Isaiah 45:1-4)

The Second Temple Period

The Second Temple was inaugurated ca. 515 BC and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD

Culture: The emergence of Jewish identity, and varying Jewish approaches to the nations (gentiles)

Navigating empires: Persians, Greeks, and Roman

Hellenistic Period (332-63 BC)

Declared “King of the Jews” by Augustus in 37 BC

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