Ninth Witness (A. D. Chronicles Series #9)

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Overview

Riots and revolts spread across Judea. Twelve-year-old Yeshua is in Jerusalem—“about his Father's business” in the Temple—as his panic-stricken parents search for him amidst the chaos. Readers will enjoy reading this interesting story from Christ's youth. This is the ninth book in the A.D. Chronicles series. Includes historical maps and a discussion guide for individual or group study. Tyndale House Publishers

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Overview

Riots and revolts spread across Judea. Twelve-year-old Yeshua is in Jerusalem—“about his Father's business” in the Temple—as his panic-stricken parents search for him amidst the chaos. Readers will enjoy reading this interesting story from Christ's youth. This is the ninth book in the A.D. Chronicles series. Includes historical maps and a discussion guide for individual or group study. Tyndale House Publishers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609810375
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Series: A. D. Chronicles Series , #9
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library Unabridged, Library Edition
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) have written over 45 works of historical fiction. That these best sellers have sold more than 10 million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards affirms what millions of readers have already discovered—the Thoenes are not only master stylists, but experts at capturing readers’ minds and hearts. Bodie and Brock have four grown children— Rachel, Jake, Luke, and Ellie—and five grandchildren. Bodie and Brock divide their time between London and Nevada.
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Read an Excerpt


ninth witness


By Bodie Thoene Brock Thoene
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008

Bodie and Brock Thoene
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-0-8423-7532-0



Chapter One Sunset was quickly approaching. The appearance of three stars and the inability to distinguish white thread from black would usher in the Feast of Purim. It was the fourteenth of Adar in the 3767th year of Creation and one month before Passover.

Rabbi Mazzar, standing before the Scripture cupboard in the Nazareth synagogue, drew forth the scroll of Esther, the reading mandated for tonight's celebration. Tonight and tomorrow all Jews would celebrate the miraculous deliverance of the Jews of Persia from the clutches of the evil Haman. While reviewing the megillah of Esther, the congregation would revile Haman and extol the courage of the heroine and her uncle Mordechai.

It had been almost five hundred years since the events recorded in Esther had taken place. In the centuries following, empires had risen and fallen; Israel had been restored to greatness and had withered again.

The aged rabbi reflected on the passage of time. Esther's story had been read when the land of Israel was a province of Persia; when it had been annexed by Alexander the Great; when it had belonged to the Ptolemys of Egypt; when it had been under the thumb of the Seleucids of Syria; when it had enjoyed the brief sunlight of the Maccabees.

Tonight a Roman governor ruled the land. Though the empire had held sway over Judea for close to a hundred years, now, for the first time, Rome ruled Jewish affairs directly, instead of through a puppet king.

The rabbi stroked his wispy beard as he cast his mind back over the turmoil of more recent years. This year marked the eleventh anniversary of the death of King Herod. Interesting connection that: The remembrance of Esther's heroism and the death of Herod were two occasions when it was forbidden to fast or to mourn.

Herod's death, coming at the end of a string of murders, persecutions, and tortures, was acknowledged each year throughout Jewry. In the Galil they rejoiced quietly, for Antipas, son of the Butcher King, ruled here.

The rabbi shook his head sadly and peered out at the gathering darkness. Recent futile attempts to reestablish Jewish independence had failed miserably. After some initial success, including surprising the Roman garrison at Sepphoris, the Zealots had been defeated. Even now they were being hunted down. Like pinching out candle flames, the remaining pockets of Jewish resistance were being crushed.

All day today Roman legionaries, recruited from hereditary Jewish enemies like Idumeans and Samaritans, wielded hammers. They were not widening the Imperial highways or building another aqueduct or even repairing fortifications damaged in the revolt. They were crucifying the latest batch of captured rebels.

Though the executions were conducted along the main roads and not beside Nazareth's winding lane, the rhythmic thump of mallets, punctuated by anguished shrieks, echoed up and down the hillsides of the town.

The families would come to the synagogue tonight because it was their custom to do so. Mazzar would supervise the reading of Esther, because it was the right thing to do. What no one could instill in the occasion was any feeling of celebration. Where was the provision of the Almighty on this night? Where was there a Mordechai for this age? Where an Esther?

Antipas had even denounced Archelaus to Caesar, siding with the religious types he despised with the notion that they would support his claim to the throne.

Instead, now a Roman occupied the royal palace.... A Roman sat in the chair of state.... A Roman laid down the law in Judea as if there were no proper King of the Jews. And the religious establishment, from the newly appointed high priest on down, toadied to the Romans.

It was more than enough reason to be drunk.

The foolish rebellion in Antipas' tetrarchy had cemented the fact that he would not be named king, but Antipas blamed the uprising on Rome. If the Empire had only waited awhile before launching their stupid census. Rome's heavy-handed presence had sparked new calls for a mythical messiah and summoned forth the revolution that would usher in a glorious, resurgent Jewish kingdom.

Ha! Rome's presence had prompted a torrent of executions and condemned Antipas to celebrate his birthday slobbering into his cups. His wife, a princess of Nabatea, had long since abandoned her husband's side at dinner with no pretense of humility. She despised him when he was sober; she abhorred him when he was drunk.

So be it! She was only a temporary expedient until a better partnership presented itself.

Antipas shook his head ponderously and wine slopped out of the jeweled goblet. A servant attentively refilled it while studiously avoiding his master's drunken glare.

Just let anyone claim to be the Messiah-that Anointed One! Antipas would crush him utterly ... and anyone who dared speak well of him or even the dream of him! If old Herod had been a suspicious, bloodthirsty tyrant, Antipas was fully prepared to out-Herod Herod!

* * *

The full moon rose in the constellation of The Virgin. Its bright gleam illuminated a colorless landscape. It created a ring in the sky from which all the other nearby lights, save The Lord of the Sabbath, were banished.

The reading of Esther proceeded as planned. Despite the unavoidably somber tone of the evening, the Scripture portions designed to be spoken in unison by the assembly and the roaring and hissing that accompanied each mention of the villain Haman's name were louder than Rabbi Mazzar had ever heard.

It took little pondering to realize the noise was not celebration but an earnest desire to drown out the screams of the crucified.

The square chamber of the synagogue was packed. Likewise, the Women's Gallery was full. No one wanted to be home alone tonight. If there was no joy in numbers, at least there was less terror because of being with all your friends and neighbors.

Other Purim feasts were given to drunkenness and revelry.

Not this night.

If the congregation was drunk with anything, it was apprehension.

The cantor chanted the words: "And the king said, 'Hang him on that.'"

Loud cheering, much applause, and the stamping of feet succeeded this decree.

"So they hanged Haman ..."

Even louder applause, mixed with hisses, groans, and shouts of derision followed this use of the villain's name.

"... on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai."

Looking around the congregation, Rabbi Mazzar saw strained hopefulness on each face: Would the Almighty ever intervene again in Jewish affairs? Haman's plan to slaughter Jews had failed, yet just out of sight-around the bend, down the canyon-Jews were being slaughtered.

True, some of the crucified were brigands and bandits, but some were patriots, eager for Israel to live again.

The story had passed its climactic moment: Esther had triumphed; Haman was dealt with; the rest was a song of victory.

Mazzar's eye lighted on the screen of the gallery where the women and children sat. What had attracted his attention was the face of his student Yeshua. It was pressed into a gap in the lattice, eager to hear every word.

The cantor arrived at another Scripture portion to be spoken in chorus, and the audience took up the refrain:

"Then Mordechai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced."

Mazzar saw Yeshua's face beaming as He chanted ... as if He were viewing the story as a present reality-not an oft-repeated legend or a far-off promise, but a contemporary truth.

Why was that?

The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor.

What a contrast this life of Yeshua was now compared to the gloomy expectations Rabbi Mazzar had when he'd first learned Yeshua's mother, Mary, was pregnant while still only bethrothed to Yosef. The dark thoughts and gossip of the villagers of Nazareth had been turned to light by Yeshua's kindness as He was growing up. The sorrow of His grandparents had been transformed to gladness and joy in the presence of Yeshua's laughter. The disgrace predicted for Mary had instead become honor through the virtue and wisdom of her son.

It seemed like few even remembered the questions that had swirled around Yeshua's conception. The villagers simply accepted Him as one of them.

Mazzar turned to look out the window of the synagogue. A frown of surprise added to the wrinkles on his lined face. A shadow crept across the moon ... but there were no clouds in the sky.

By the time the cantor sang, "The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them," others in the assembly had also noticed the celestial event.

It was impossible to miss: The eclipse was turning the moon to blood.

"Exactly what occurred just before the death of Herod eleven years ago," Mazzar murmured aloud.

When the reading neared its completion, the chorus was loudest of all:

"For Mordechai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people."

Another glance at his pupil brought yet another surprise to the rabbi. Now Yeshua's face looked grave, somber.

What was he failing to grasp that his student obviously perceived? Mazzar wondered.

What did the blood on the moon mean this year?

Digging Deeper into NINTH WITNESS

Dear Reader,

Have you ever wondered if God really cares about you? After all, if He did, wouldn't He intervene in your difficult circumstances? And what about all the evil in the world? Why do evil people seem to win, and honest folks get hurt? Sometimes life just doesn't seem fair. Justice is too long in coming.

If you've had these questions and thoughts, you're not alone.

In Ninth Witness, the Jews read the story of Esther, the queen who came into the limelight "for just such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). She and her uncle Mordechai were instrumental in the miraculous deliverance of the Jews of Persia from the clutches of the evil Haman, who wanted to annihilate them. (Interesting, isn't it, that throughout history other "Hamans" have arisen, including Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who collaborated with Adolf Hitler during World War II to try again to annihilate the Jews? Yet a remnant always remains.) But now, in the first century, it seems that God has forgotten the people He created. No Esther, no Mordechai, has arisen to right the present wrongs. Is there no justice? No hope?

Jude has seen far too much suffering in his young life. No wonder he longs to turn back the clock to when he, his mama, his papa, and his sister were all a happy family ... before the barbarity of Roman rule shattered their lives.

Zachai, the most hated man in Jericho, has had a wake-up call because of his meeting with Yeshua of Nazareth. Now is his time to take action. He must right the wrongs he has done ... and face those he has terribly hurt. Yeshua has shown him mercy, but will anyone else?

People like Rabbi Mazzar, Zachariah, Nakdimon, and Gamaliel wait and watch for justice to be done in the land of Israel. They are convinced God will provide, but hope seems so distant at times. Yet God's promises of His watchful care are evident all throughout the Scriptures.

Yosef and Mary are convinced that the Almighty has sheltered them for a reason. What plan might be unfolding in their lives? in Yeshua's life?

And, dear reader, what plan might be unfolding in your life?

If you are feeling discouraged, here's a secret we want you to know: Facts and Truth are not one and the same. The fact is, life is difficult; at times it can be overwhelming. The Truth? God never leaves us nor forsakes us. That Truth you can count on, in the midst of hard facts.

Following are six studies. You may wish to delve into them on your own or share them with a friend or a discussion group. They are designed to take you deeper into the answers to these questions:

How can you hang on in the midst of hard circumstances?

What if ... your life were different?

Why is it crucial for you to identify what facts are, what Truth is, and to know the difference?

Why is mercy-receiving it, giving it-such a high calling?

Can you really believe God's promises in Scripture?

What might God be doing in your life?

What are you longing for? searching for? Why not come home, as Jude did, to Yeshua? In Ninth Witness, may the promised Messiah come alive to you ... in more brilliance than ever before.

WAITING FOR JUSTICE

These was no justice in the world-none at all. -p. 5

Looking around the congregation, Rabbi Mazzar saw strained hopefulness on each face: Would the Almighty ever intervene again in Jewish affairs? -p. 7

If you could wave a magic wand and fix two things about the world, what would you change and why?

_______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

Have you ever wondered if God would intervene in your life-or in the circumstances of those you love? If so, tell the story.

_______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

Many people know the story of Queen Esther in the Bible. It's a most satisfying story, filled with the excitement of a dastardly plot, a villain we can love to hate, and two unassuming heroes who rescue an entire nation. Even better, the villain is not only stopped in his tracks, he receives a swift and just punishment ... the kind most of us, if we're honest, would like to see visited upon our enemies.

When the evil Haman plots to annihilate the Jews, he has no idea that he will end up dying on the very gallows he's constructing for his enemy. And all because of the courage of a young queen, who could have died for daring to approach the king without him requesting her, and the determination of her uncle, Mordechai, who chose to act once he heard about the plot rather than wait for someone else to change the situation.

In Ninth Witness, it's been almost five hundred years since the events recording in Esther took place. Once again, evil reigns....

READ

Tonight a Roman governor ruled the land. Though the empire had held sway over Judea for close to a hundred years, now, for the first time, Rome ruled Jewish affairs directly, instead of through a puppet king....

Herod's death, coming at the end of a string of murders, persecutions, and tortures, was acknowledged each year throughout Jewry. In the Galil they rejoiced quietly, for Antipas, son of the Butcher King, ruled here.

The rabbi shook his head sadly and peered out at the gathering darkness. Recent futile attempts to reestablish Jewish independence had failed miserably. After some initial success, including surprising the Roman garrison at Sepphoris, the Zealots had been defeated. Even now they were being hunted down. Like pinching out candle flames, the remaining pockets of Jewish resistance were being crushed.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from ninth witness by Bodie Thoene Brock Thoene Copyright © 2008 by Bodie and Brock Thoene. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2009

    Good book

    This book is great if you are a historian and a religious person. It seems to bring to life the people of the Bible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Jerusalem during the time Jesus was 12.

    I have been reading this series since I read the first one and look forward to the continuation of the A.D.Chronicles. Even though it is a novel, bringing the reality of the Hebrew culture, the lifestyle, and the the historical time line, opens a deeper knowledge of what Jesus could have experienced. The questions at the end of each book opens the possibility of discussion. These are good books and part of the A.D, Chronicles series.

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    Posted August 1, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2009

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