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The Apochryphal history of the Maccabees seems too fantastic to be anything more than a glorified account of Judas, the "Hammer", son of the Israeli priest Mattathias, and the struggle of his family against the Seleucid Greek Empire. Much of 1 and 2 Maccabees does, in fact, read like J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional "Return of the King", complete with war elephants and David-like stands of a brave Jewish remnant against the Greek military juggernaut. What many do not realize is just how much the Bible has to say not only about the Maccabees, but about their spiritual Israeli predecessors and their end-times reemergence in the form of the mysterious "144,000" of the book of Revelation. To understand God’s working in and through the Maccabees is to understand His future workings through this other, final Israeli fighting force. In the tenth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus Himself is seen celebrating Hanukkah and the Maccabean victories on Jerusalem’s temple mount. It seems He was also anticipating His leading of an end-times Israeli "firepot" army of the "144,000" from that same temple mount in a final victory over a powerful anti-Christian military force as recorded in the fourteenth chapter of Revelation. The story of the Maccabees therefore touches us all. The Bible clearly shows us their relevance in the history of Israel and also the future of the entire world. It is a story both intriguing and exciting, but it also carries a warning: These are the days of the New Maccabees, the 144,000, and the world will not be the same.

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