God had an object in calling the Jewish nation to separate themselves from other nations of the world. It was that his people might stand before the world as light-bearers. As a beacon set on a hill, Israel was to send beams of light to the world. The plan of education made known to Israel through her prophets was the means of keeping that light burning. When this God-given plan was neglected, the light, as a candle deprived of the life-giving oxygen, burned dim. Then it was that the nation was pressed upon all sides by the foe. There is a Hebrew maxim which says that “Jerusalem was destroyed because the education of her children was neglected.” The prophecies of Daniel and the connected history prove the truth of this maxim. It may be added that the Jews were restored to Jerusalem as the result of the proper education of a few Hebrew boys. {1901 SNH, SDP 14.3}


The prophecy was placed on record, and repeated again and again by Jewish mothers as they taught their children. {1901 SNH, SDP 15.2}


“Jerusalem was destroyed, because the education of her children was neglected.” {1901 SNH, SDP 17.2}




Living at the same time and in the same city with the princes already named, were others which the Scripture mentions by name. These were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, children of Judah, of the royal family-relatives of Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah. {1901 SNH, SDP 19.2}


At the first siege of Jerusalem, 607 b. c., Daniel was not over eighteen years of age; about the age of the prince Zedekiah, who afterward ruled in Jerusalem. Daniel had a godly mother who knew of the prophecy concerning the destruction of their city. She repeated to her son the words of God, that some day Hebrew children must stand in the heathen court at Babylon. Carefully did this mother teach her son to read the parchment scrolls of the prophets. The history of Israel was studied; the story of Nadab and Abihu was told and retold. The effect of strong drink was impressed upon the mind. The laws of his own being were studied. He knew that excess in eating and drinking would so dull the mind that the voice of God could not be heard. {1901 SNH, SDP 19.3}


The songs which these Hebrew children sang told the story of God’s dealings with his people. It was in this manner that the image of God was engraven on their hearts. This education was not gained in the schools of the time, for they had departed from the plan of God; but holy mothers, living close to the everlasting Father, led their children by precept and example, by word and song, to form characters that would stand the test. {1901 SNH, SDP 19.4}


It was the age when most of the young men in the capital of Judah were wild and reckless. They were excusing themselves because of their youth. But God chose from their midst certain ones whom he could trust in a foreign land. Daniel and his three companions were snatched from the shelter of home, and with others were placed under the charge of Ashpenaz, master of the eunuchs in Babylon. {1901 SNH, SDP 20.1}


Now can be seen the results of the home training. Pure food, clean thoughts, and physical exercise placed them on the list of “children in whom was no blemish, but well-favored.” But what of their intellectual ability? They had not been educated in the schools of Jerusalem, much less in those of Babylon. Was there not great danger that they lacked in the sciences or the essential branches? On examination, these four passed as “skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science,” and able to learn a difficult, foreign language. God had fulfilled his promise in these children of the home school. {1901 SNH, SDP 20.2}


The kingdom which Nebuchadnezzar brought to the height of its glory can be traced in Bible history to its foundation. The history of Babylon is the story of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, begun in heaven, continued on earth, and which will end only when the stone cut out without hands from the mountain shall fill the whole earth. {1901 SNH, SDP 28.1}


Satan’s accusation against God is that the Father is unjust. “But give me a fair chance,” argued Lucifer, “and I can establish a kingdom on earth which will excel in glory the kingdom of God in heaven.” He was granted the privilege of making a trial. The plains of Shinar were chosen; the people whom God told to fill the whole earth were gathered into a city. Babylon grew, and its mighty walls three hundred and fifty feet in height and eighty-seven feet thick, with the massive gates of brass, were designed to imitate the strength of the city of God. At the time of the founding of Babylon, Satan was still meeting with the council of the representatives of worlds, which was held at the gates of heaven. It was his design to counterfeit the plans of God. The earthly city was patterned after the heavenly. The Euphrates flowed through it as did the river of God through Paradise. The government was an absolute monarchy; a man occupied the throne, and as it grew, every knee of earth was caused to bow to its king. Tyranny took the place of love. This is always true when man is exalted above God. There was a close union of church and state, for no power was tolerated above that of the monarch. It was to such a kingdom that Nebuchadnezzar fell heir, and the beauty and power of the kingdom were increased by him in every possible way, until it was spoken of everywhere as “Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency.” {1901 SNH, SDP 28.2}


Not only the power, but the wisdom also, of Nebuchadnezzar was exceedingly great. The king favored education, and during his reign Babylon was the educational center of the world. Every art and science was taught in the schools of Babylon. The wisdom of the ancients was made known to the students who sat at the feet of her magicians and wise men. They reveled in the study of astronomy and the higher mathematics. There were linguists who could teach the language of every nation. {1901 SNH, SDP 29.1}


The king himself was highly educated, for it was he who examined the students on the completion of their course, and granted their degrees. Babylon was proud of her educational system; she trusted to it for salvation, but it was the cause of her ruin. “Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath caused thee to turn away.” God himself speaks, saying: “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” In the Babylonish court this was exemplified. Nebuchadnezzar and his counselors,-the wise men, astrologers, and soothsayers,-on one side, represented the education of the world. Daniel, a youth not over twenty-one years of age, a Hebrew and a slave, was chosen by God to confound the wisdom of the mighty. {1901 SNH, SDP 29.2}


What the Jewish nation as a nation had failed to do in proclaiming the truth to the nations of the world, God accomplished under the most trying circumstances, with only three men. The story of the miraculous deliverance was told to the ends of the earth. The principles of religious liberty and freedom of conscience were made known. The history of the Jews was told from mouth to mouth as those unacquainted with the three Hebrews asked who they were and how they came into Babylon. The Sabbath was proclaimed. The story of Jewish education was made known. The glory of Babylon was for the time forgotten as the splendor of the heavenly kingdom and the principles of God’s government became the absorbing theme. Without doubt some men dated their conversion from that day, and forces were set in operation which paved the way for the return of the Jews a few years later. {1901 SNH, SDP 45.2}


Daniel’s name had been changed when he first entered the Babylonian court, and to the king and his associates he was known as Belteshazzar, a son of the heathen god Bel, but Daniel himself always retained his own Hebrew name. Years before this, however, the God of Daniel had said, “Bel boweth and Nebo stoopeth; . . . they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.” Daniel again had an opportunity of proving the wisdom of his God and the weakness of the Babylonian deities. {1901 SNH, SDP 52.1}


The dream, as repeated by the king in Daniel’s hearing, is wonderful to contemplate. The tree was a familiar object and a striking symbol. The most magnificent specimens that the world afforded had been transplanted into the Babylonian gardens. The story of Eden and its trees was handed down by tradition, and the people knew of the tree of life, and also of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree seen in the dream was planted in the midst of the earth, and as he watched, the king saw it grow until the top reached heaven, and its boughs stretched to the ends of the earth. Strange that this tree which grew toward heaven in spite of everything, which was watered by the dews of heaven and fed by God’s own sunshine, knew only of the earth and earthly kingdoms! {1901 SNH, SDP 52.2}


As it had been with the Egyptian tree, so with this; fowls rested in the branches and beasts dwelt in its shadow. The king in his dream saw only the upper part of the tree, the branches, leaves, and fruit, but the roots of any tree are as numerous and widespread as its branches; hence this mighty tree, whose top reached heaven, and whose branches spread forth to the ends of the earth, was supported by roots which, though hidden, ran through all the earth. Deep-rooted, it was drawing nourishment from hidden springs. In fact, the fair leaves and abundant fruit were dependent upon the condition of the roots. {1901 SNH, SDP 52.3}


As Nebuchadnezzar gazed upon the tree, he saw a “watcher, even an holy one,”-a messenger from heaven, whose appearance was similar to the one who walked in the midst of the fiery furnace with the Hebrew children. At the command of this divine messenger, the tree was hewn down, the stump alone remaining. Hewing down the tree did not kill the stump nor the roots. The life remained, and it was ready to send forth new shoots more numerous than before. {1901 SNH, SDP 53.1}


It is doubtful whether man ever received a message freighted with greater importance than this one given to Nebuchadnezzar. In his former dream he was shown the shortness of his kingdom and given proof of the decline of the empire. Had he lived in harmony with what was then revealed to him, the experience about to come would have been avoided. The parting words of the angel as he left Nebuchadnezzar were, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers . . . to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” More than that, “He setteth up over it the basest of men.” Because a man holds a position, it does not signify that he is better than others. {1901 SNH, SDP 53.2}


When Daniel realized the true significance of the dream, and foresaw the humiliation of the king of Babylon, “his thoughts troubled him.” He was encouraged by the king not to be troubled, but to give the true interpretation. He did so, plainly telling the king that the tree seen in the vision was emblematic of Nebuchadnezzar himself, and his dominion. “It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong; for thy greatness is grown and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.” Great as was Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, it had grown from a small beginning. Gradually the principles upon which it was founded-principles much older than the king, for they originated with Lucifer, and were a perversion of heavenly truths-had taken root. In government it was the most rigid monarchy; the king held the lives of his subjects in his hand. Slaves bowed before him in abject subjugation; exorbitant taxes were forced from subject provinces; crowned heads were laid low and men enslaved that the king of Babylon might revel in the wealth of the world. The seeds of that form of government were sown wherever Babylon established her power, and as she sowed, so she, as well as others, have reaped. When Babylon fell, the principles by which she had controlled others were in turn applied to her. Wherever there is tyranny in government in any nation of earth to-day, it is an offshoot of that root which filled the earth, the stump of which was allowed to remain until the end of time. {1901 SNH, SDP 54.1}


Wherever Babylon laid her hand in conquest, the principles of her religion were implanted. The vilest forms of worship were practiced in that kingdom with all its outward glory. The heart was rotten. The mystery of iniquity held full sway, hidden by the outward glitter of gold. The mysteries of Greece in a later day were but a repetition of the Babylonian mysteries. From the golden cup which she held in her hand, and which was a familiar symbol in Babylonian secret societies, she made all nations drunk with the wine of her fornication. {1901 SNH, SDP 54.2}


Nations and peoples to-day, unconscious of their origin, are perpetuating Babylonian religious customs when they celebrate Christmas with feasting, lighted candles, holly, and mistletoe. It is in commemoration of Babylonian heathen gods that they eat eggs on Easter, and even the wild capers of Hallowe’en repeat the mysteries of Babylon. The root was not destroyed; her religious principles have sprung up afresh in every generation and borne fruit in every country. {1901 SNH, SDP 55.1}


The influence of Babylon in educational lines was no less marked than her influence in government and religion, and the educational root of the tree was as vigorous as the others. We are in the habit of tracing the educational system of the world to Greece or Egypt; its principles are older than Greece. They belong to Babylon. The prominence given this phase of Babylonian life by the Spirit of God in the book of Daniel, and the fact that the leading educators and educational institutions of the world were brought in direct contact with the more simple principles of true education every time the Hebrews met the Chaldeans and wise men, shows the place which education occupies both in the false kingdoms of which Babylon is a type, and in the true, which the Hebrews represented. The so-called “higher education” of to-day, which exalts the science of the world above the science of salvation; which sends forth students bearing worldly credentials, but not recognized in the books of heaven, students who love display, who are filled with pride, selfishness, and self-esteem,-this education is a plant which has sprung from that broad root which supported the tree representing the Babylonian dominion. {1901 SNH, SDP 55.2}


Seeds of truth had been planted in Babylon. The holy Watcher sought constantly for the growth of a tree which would bring life. All nations were gathered under the influence of Babylon in hopes that they might there be fed with fruit which would prove to be the bread of life; but instead, it was a mixture of good and evil, which poisoned the consumer. {1901 SNH, SDP 56.1}


The leaves of the tree were fair to look upon, and might have been for the healing of the nations; but the very odor they exhaled, intoxicated and led to excesses. So with the plant which has sprung from those hidden roots. It may be fair to look upon, its fruit may be so sweet that the eater can not be persuaded that it is not truth, but the wisdom of God will stand long after that of the world has been destroyed. We should watch and guard against the evils which spring from the Babylonian root. {1901 SNH, SDP 56.2}


Rome in religion renewed all the religious errors of Babylon, and in education she followed in the footsteps of her great mother. But as the prophet watched, things still more wonderful appeared. The fourth beast, Rome, which succeeded Greece in 161 b. c., had ten horns, which, said the angel, “are ten kings that shall arise.” This fourth beast is identical with the legs of iron in the image shown to Nebuchadnezzar, and the ten horns correspond to the mixture of iron and clay in the feet of that image. Each of the preceding kingdoms had fallen into the hands of some strong general who took the rule, but with Rome the case was different. The details of this history are given in the eighth chapter of Revelation under the symbol of the seven trumpets. Barbarian hordes from the north of Europe and Asia swept over the Roman empire between the years 351 and 483 a. d., crushing the government into ten parts. {1901 SNH, SDP 93.2}


There was a time when the Roman empire had a most wonderful opportunity to accept the true God. Rome was the universal kingdom during the life of Christ. To Babylon God sent his people, the Jews, to scatter the truths of his kingdom and lead men to repentance. The Medes and the Persians received the gospel from this same people, and representatives from Greece came to Jerusalem, into the very temple, in touch with the priests, in order that there might be no excuse for their refusing Christ. But to the Roman kingdom, heaven itself was poured out in the person of the Saviour, and it was Rome that nailed him to the cross. It was a Roman seal on his tomb, and a Roman guard at his grave. The early church suffered persecution at the hands of this same power. Judgment came to Rome when these barbarians overran the empire with fire and sword, and the kingdom was divided into ten parts. {1901 SNH, SDP 94.1}


But Roman history did not end with the division. Daniel watched, “And, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before which there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots.” A new power, a power outside the empire is here represented by the little horn. The three divisions which were plucked up were the Heruli in 493, the Vandals in 534, and the Ostrogoths in 538 a. d. Justinian, the emperor, whose seat was at Constantinople, working through the general Belisarius, was the power which overthrew the three kingdoms represented by the three horns, and the reason for their overthrow was their adherence to Arianism in opposition to the orthodox Catholic faith. The details of the overthrow, and the religious controversy which was the root of the trouble, are fully given by Gibbon in the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” by Mosheim in his church history, and by others. {1901 SNH, SDP 94.2}


The little horn which was in power on the plucking up of the three, was diverse from all the others. It had eyes “like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things;” his look also was more stout than his fellows. {1901 SNH, SDP 95.1}

Rome was dropping into ruin; her cities had been sacked, her government broken. As from the decaying log of the marsh the mushroom springs up in a night, gaining its life from the decay, so there arose in the Roman Empire a power which was nourished by this national decay. This power was the little horn known as the papacy. {1901 SNH, SDP 95.2}


It is written that Babylon, the mother of harlots, fell because of imputing her power unto the gods of the heathen. Pagan Rome fell because she presumed to hold authority over the person of Christ and his followers. Then arose the little horn, and it “made war with the saints and prevailed against them.” “He shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws.” {1901 SNH, SDP 95.3}


The history of Greece is the history of physical and intellectual culture. The people admired grace and beauty, and her literary minds worshiped the intellect. Plato, the greatest of Greek philosophers, lived four hundred years before Christ, and his teachings have led the thoughts of writers in every age since then. The Jews mingled the teachings of the Bible with the philosophy of Plato, and that formed the traditions of men, against which Christ so often warned his followers. The false philosophy, and the “science falsely so called” of Paul’s time, was Greek teaching, which breathed the spirit of Plato and his students. {1901 SNH, SDP 183.2}


Plato’s writings have replaced the Bible with many, and a large number of modern writers, both of prose and poetry, recognize him as their intellectual leader. The philosophy of this man was often good, and he admired truth; but the error lay in admiring or assenting to truth, and failing to live it out. His followers came under the condemnation of Christ, together with the Pharisees, of whom he said, “They say, but do not.” {1901 SNH, SDP 183.3}


Here, in Greek religion and Greek learning, was the most subtile form of that mixture of truth and error which Satan offered at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which existed from the days of Eden to the time of Greece. Babylon enslaved the bodies of God’s people, Medo-Persia made laws to slay them, but Greece captured their minds, and enslaved them to her ideas. She counterfeited so neatly, so adroitly, the spiritual teachings of the Old Testament; and so quietly, yet so surely, wound her tendrils about God’s people, that her slavery was far worse than that of Egypt or Babylon. It is this influence which must be taken into consideration while following the history of the Greeks as given by Gabriel. {1901 SNH, SDP 184.1}


The angel had said, “When I am gone forth [from Persia], lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.” And of Greece, he says, “A mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.” It is in this language that Alexander is introduced in the divine records. He was not a Greek, but a Macedonian, the son of Philip of Macedon. He stands in history as one of those strong characters whom God uses in spite of the fact that they are unacquainted with him, and know not his manner of working. Alexander, in Greek history, corresponds in some ways to Cyrus, the Persian. {1901 SNH, SDP 184.2}


Alexander, as a boy, showed an indomitable will, and as he grew to manhood the trait strengthened. He was educated by Aristotle, the illustrious pupil of Plato, in the wisdom of the Greeks. When twenty years of age, Philip, king of Macedon, died, leaving the government to Alexander. This was the year 336 b. c. Alexander united the independent states of Greece, and placed himself at the head of their amphictyonic council. The Greeks were ambitious, and the new general organized an army for foreign conquest. {1901 SNH, SDP 184.3}


The third kingdom was represented by a leopard with four wings on its back. This symbol covered the time not only when Alexander was king, but during its divided state, as well. The swiftness of conquest is well represented by the wings of a fowl; the cunning, insinuating nature by the lithe form of the leopard, and the mingling together of truth and error in its doctrines and practices by the spots. “Can the leopard change his spots?” No more could Greece give truth without a portion of the false; no more can truth and error be separated in that system of education founded upon the wisdom of the Greeks-her philosophy, her myths, and her nature teaching. {1901 SNH, SDP 185.1}


Again Daniel saw the progress of this third nation, as a rough goat coming from the west without touching the earth. This marks the rapidity of the conquests carried on by Alexander. It was Granicus, Asia Minor, Issus, Tyre, Gaza, with the surrender of all Egypt; Arbela, Babylon, Susa, Bactria, and India-all in the space of eight short years. Having conquered those who opposed him, he planned to unite the extensive territory over which he bore sway. He was an organizer and diplomat as well as a general. By marrying a princess of Babylon, and giving several members of the royal family of Persia in marriage to his generals, he sought to win the favor of the conquered races. It was while in Babylon, directing affairs in that ancient Eastern capital, that Alexander died, probably as a result of intemperance and excess. He was still a young man, but the nations of the world bowed at his feet. {1901 SNH, SDP 185.2}


In following the rapid conquests of Alexander,-symbolized by the goat which touched not the ground,-no mention has yet been made of the Jews. As God brought Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus in direct contact with his people, that they might know the God of heaven, so he permitted Alexander to learn of him. While that conqueror was passing from Tyre, after its surrender, toward Gaza, which guards the entrance into Egypt, he stopped at Jerusalem. Josephus states that great consternation filled the city when it was known that the Greek warrior was coming. But the high priest, Juddas, had a dream in which he was bidden to go out to meet Alexander, arrayed in his priestly garments, and accompanied by the temple officers clad in white. {1901 SNH, SDP 186.1}


When Alexander met this company, much to the surprise of his army and generals, he bowed to the ground to worship the God whose name was on the miter worn by the high priest. He then accompanied the priest to the temple at Jerusalem, where the sacrifices were explained. Moreover, the prophecies of Daniel concerning the rise and fall of Babylon, the conquests of Medo-Persia, and its subsequent fall and the rise of a third empire were explained. Daniel, who had witnessed before Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, was then quoted to Alexander. The mighty conqueror was in the presence of the Spirit of God, and was given the message that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. Would he bow in submission, and let God conquer for him? This was the opportune moment in his life. {1901 SNH, SDP 186.2}


Alexander acknowledged God, but left Jerusalem and pushed forward in battle. Gaza fell. Egypt was entered, and there, in order to gratify a selfish pride, he had himself proclaimed son of Jupiter Ammon. He who might have become a son of God chose rather to be called the son of Jupiter. The result of Greek education and learning is fully exemplified in this one act. The outcome of such a choice-a fit consummation of all Greek teaching-was met at Babylon when the king, at his very prime, laid down and died with no hope for the future. It is sad but impressive commentary for those who seek the ways of the world in preference to the truths of God. {1901 SNH, SDP 187.1}


One thing which the inspired historian notes, is, that he would do “according to his will.” When man makes such a resolution, it means that he has been offered a choice between God and Satan, and has chosen the latter. There are but two minds in the universe, and he who rejects God may claim that he exercises his own mind, but it means that he is swayed by the mind of the enemy of God. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” for it brings liberty. The spirit which wishes to exalt self is imitating the philosophy of the Greeks, and its result is death; for Greek philosophy is but a continuation of the philosophy used to deceive Adam and Eve in Eden at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. {1901 SNH, SDP 187.2}


Alexander left no heirs to the throne who could hold the reins of government. His eldest son was a child of five. A number of strong men had acted as generals of the army during the march through Asia, and on the death of the emperor eight of these contended for supremacy. None, however, were strong enough to subdue all the others. For about twenty years there was war and contention. Finally in 302 b. c. it was settled that Ptolemy should hold Egypt; Seleucus should take Syria and the east; Lysimachus had Thrace and Asia Minor, and Cassander was located in Greece. The territory of Alexander was divided, but “not to his posterity;” neither was the strength of these four equal to that of Alexander, and the four partitions lasted but a few years. Greece, which was under the rule of Cassander, was taken by Lysimachus, thus uniting the western and northern divisions. {1901 SNH, SDP 188.1}


In 281 b. c., after intrigues too numerous to mention, Seleucus met Lysimachus and slew him in battle. This reduced the four divisions to two, the rulers of which were afterward distinguished as kings of the north and the south. Seleucus, the king of the north, now held territory which had formerly belonged to three generals, while Ptolemy retained the southern division. This agrees with the words of Gabriel to Daniel. The fifth verse, according to Spurrell, reads: “Then shall the king of the south, even one of his [Alexander’s] princes be strong; yet shall another exceed him in strength and have dominion; a grand dominion shall be his dominion.” The Ptolemy who gained Egypt was surnamed Soter, or Saviour, and on his death he was succeeded by his son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. The Seleucus who gained the three divisions was succeeded by his son Antiochus Soter, who was killed by the Gauls in Asia Minor. The third in the line of Greco-Syriac kings was Antiochus Theos, who was reigning in Syria while Ptolemy Philadelphus was on the Egyptian throne. {1901 SNH, SDP 188.2}


It might seem to the casual observer that Greece was not in reality a ruling power in the sense that Babylon and Medo-Persia were universal monarchies. Let us see: From the first it has been noted that Greece was an intellectual ruler rather than a power which held the bodies of men in slavery. If we may personify Greek intellect in an abstract way, we may say that Alexander was the tool in its hand for building up a kingdom where it might hold sway. He did this work well; and while he individually fell, the Greek language, learning, and customs were introduced into all countries where his arms had opened the way. The Greek religion, with its mysteries, was accepted in Syria and Asia Minor; Greek games were celebrated in the eastern provinces. But Greek education took a position ahead even of her religion, and Greek teachers and scholars followed in the wake of the conqueror. Greek was the language most used, and Greek books were in demand. The city of Alexandria in Egypt was founded by Alexander, and it became the center of Greek learning. Egyptian idolatry and Greek philosophy sat enthroned beside each other. As the Encyclopedia Britannica states it, “In Egypt a Greek aristocracy of office, birth, and intellect existed side by side with a distinct native life.” {1901 SNH, SDP 189.2}


Israel had once been miraculously delivered from physical bondage in Egypt. They had been warned against fleeing to Egypt for protection in the days of Nebuchadnezzar at the siege of Jerusalem. They may have escaped the bondage of those earlier times, but they were captured by the learning of the Greeks. In the days of Ptolemy Soter, many Jews flocked into Egypt, and those who remained in Jerusalem and Palestine imbibed many of the ideas of the Greeks. {1901 SNH, SDP 190.1}


It has been stated that the history of Greece fills the time between the prophecy of Malachi and John the Baptist. We are now ready to appreciate the reason why Israel was so long without the sound of the prophet’s voice. God gave Israel a system of education, separate and distinct from the system of all other nations; a system which, if followed, would forever make it impossible for the people to go into captivity. But Israel often gave up her God-given system for the teaching of heathen nations. When the Jews returned from Babylon, they were strongly tinctured with Babylonian ideas of education and religion. This prepared them to accept with readiness the teachings of the Greeks. The rabbis of Jerusalem mingled the principles of Greek philosophy so thoroughly with the statutes of Jehovah, which they were commanded to teach the children, that from the death of Malachi to the birth of John the Baptist, there was not a family in Judah to whom the education of a prophet could be intrusted. {1901 SNH, SDP 190.2}


The Greek games were performed in Jerusalem itself, and Jewish youth, dressed only in the scarf and broad hat in imitation of the god Hermes, wrestled like the Athenian athletes. It is stated by Dr. Mears that the priests, when the signal was given for the sports, left their work in the temple to watch the games. Greek names replaced the Jewish in many instances, and even priests intermarried with the Greeks. It is no wonder that Gabriel gave specific instruction concerning the name to be given the babe of Zacharias and Elizabeth, for although there was once a time when every child in Israel was named under the inspiration of the Spirit, the Israelites had now chosen Greece in place of God. {1901 SNH, SDP 191.1}


The whole Jewish teaching was Hellenized; and when John the Baptist was born, his mother and father were commanded to leave the city of Jerusalem, and educate the child in the desert, away from the influence of the schools and society of the Jews. Christ himself never entered the schools of his day because of the mixture of the truth of God with heathen philosophy. Greek teaching exalted nature; but the Son of God could not hear the voice of the Father in the teachings of the schools, and he wandered through the woods alone, or in company with his mother. Then it was that nature, the great object lesson of the Creator, was opened to his expanding mind. Other Jewish youth sat at the feet of the rabbis, learning what the spirit of the Greeks taught, and they crucified the Lord of life. {1901 SNH, SDP 191.2}


Alexander’s act of reverence when he met the company of priests at Jerusalem should have been an object lesson to all Judea of what God by his Spirit would cause all nations to do. But so blinded by Greek teaching were those Jewish leaders, even at that time, that they failed to see this. Instead of flocking to Alexandria for the wisdom of Greece, nations should have sent their youth to schools of the prophets at Jerusalem, and scholars of the world should have sought wisdom from those who knew the God of wisdom. But it was not so. Israel then was as the church of to-day. Instead of leading by virtue of the spiritual life, she sought the wisdom of Egypt and Greece. Such things bring sadness to the angels of God. {1901 SNH, SDP 197.1}



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