ELPIDA THE SYROPHOENICIAN
32 AD – Village of Cadasa, Sidon, Phoenicia
Elpida could not help but laugh. The story she told him went back a few years after she left Greece. She had visited many temples, shrines and religious centers along the route she followed on the coast of Asia Minor. Epimenides identified that the unknown god was a foreign god. In her search, she had learned of a variety of gods from multiple cultures. She had discounted the deities of Rome who were practically the same Greek gods but with Roman names. She also discounted the gods of Egypt, Africa and an even little known fierce people of the frozen north. At that matter, she had serious doubts that the unknown god was part of any polytheistic system. However, there was one god that interested her. It was the Phoenician god, Baal. Even, if the Phoenicians worship other gods, to the them, he stood out as being aptly called Ruler of the Universe, Rider of the Clouds, Almighty, and Lord of the Earth. At least, she thought.
When she arrived in Tyre, her search took another turn. Baal was not so powerful as his title entailed. Where once the temples of Baal dotted Phoenician territories throughout the Mediterranean in the past, but what Elpida found in the capital city was just a dilapidated one room structure with a very beat up small bronze statue. Through the words of a disillusioned priestess, Baal had lost his standing among the Phoenicians long time ago. His downfall was popularly credited to the conquests of the Babylonians, the Greeks and now the Romans. But the priestess had relunctantly revealed that Baal’s downfall was actually caused when he was defeated on a lone mountain of Carmel by the sea. When pressed for more, she revealed that Baal was defeated by the God of the Jews.
“By the God of the Jews!? I have not heard of this before,” cackled the old cart driver. “And I thought that this trip was going to be boring. So, please continue.”
“Well, I left Tyre and proceded to Cadasa, where my family was from, and it was there I got to learn about the one God of the Hebrews.” Elpida told him that after she settled in, she found a small settlement of Jews nearby. She befriended an old Jewish couple, who were the only ones of that tight-lipped little community that would talk to her. From their tutelage, she learned of the one God that created the world in just six days; and who have flooded the entire Earth for the evil of early man. This one God had chosen a single man, Abraham, from among all mankind to build the nation of Israel. The same nation he later saved in such a spectacular way from the four hundred year clutches of Egypt into the very land she lives on today. Time after time, the people of Israel needed saving and everytime the one God had undeservedly redeemed them quite miraculously. Interestingly enough, Elpida had observed that in every form of the Lord’s salvation, he had imparted the use of a redeemer… a human savior.
“You would think that their God would get tired of saving them especially when they continued to disobey him,” said the old cart driver. “Why would he do that, I wonder?”
“From what I understood, their God made a promise to the Jew’s ancient patriarch, Abraham, thousands of years ago,” she answered.
“Three promises, actually,” she answered. “The first is about the land which will be theirs… forever. The second was made to Abraham himself.”
“Fascinating. Do tell.”
“Well, according to the stories, their God took him out to look at the night sky and count the stars. Then he said, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ ” [Genesis 15:5] Seeing the incomprehension in his eyes, she explained, “His promise was that Abraham would always have descendents.”
“Ah. How about the third promise?”
“Well, this is where it gets interesting. The third was actually part of the first and seems like it was actually made for us… that is, we who are not direct descendents. Somehow, through Abraham’s offspring all nations on earth will be blessed. [Genesis 26:4] I was curious, so, I pursued it. And what I found out was about a legend of a coming Messiah. A Messiah who may be walking this land… today.”
I hope you are enjoying the 38th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.
Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.
Until the next post.
PS… If you want to support my writing, please purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.