Summary: How do I find real, true joy?
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Philip II was, in many ways, like King Uzziah of Judah. Both had material possessions (gold and silver) and a strong military, and because of that, both had hearts that were lifted up with pride (2 Chr 26; Is 2). In the spring of 336 BC, Philip II celebrated the wedding of his daughter Kleopatra to Alexandros, king of Molossia, in the theater at Aigai. Diodorus describes the wedding procession and Philip’s arrogance.
Philip included in the procession statues of the Twelve Gods wrought with great artistry and adorned with a dazzling show of wealth to strike awe in the beholder, and along with these was conducted a 13th statue, suitable for a god, that of Philip himself, so that the king established himself enthroned among the Twelve Gods (Library of History 16.92.5; LCL 8.95).
Moments later he was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. Truly, “pride goes before destruction and the haughty spirit before the fall” (Prv 16:18)!
Diodorus of Sicily goes on to summarize the life of Philip in these terms:
Such was the end of Philip, who had made himself the greatest of the kings in Europe in his time, and because of the extent of his kingdom had made himself a throned companion of the Twelve Gods (Book 16.95.1; LCL 8.101).
The second possible background for this passage are two statues of Julius Caesar and Augustus that stood somewhere in the forum (market place) of Philippi. They have not been discovered archaeologically, but it is known that they existed because of coins minted by Augustus, Claudius and Nero. The bronze coin of Augustus had on the reverse, “three bases: on [the] middle one, [a] statue of Augustus in military dress crowned by [the] statue of Divus Julius wearing toga” (Burnett, Amandry and Ripolles 1992:308, coin 1650). During the reign of Claudius, similar coins were minted, but with his head on the obverse and the two statues on the reverse. Underneath the statue was an inscription in Latin DIVVS AUG (Burnett, Amandry and Ripolles 1992:308; coins 1653 and 1654). This inscription was put up after Augustus had been deified in AD 14.
Most likely Paul would have handled his coin while he was in the city. Both Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus were mere mortal men who were deified by the Roman Senate after they died. The Lord Jesus Christ was God manifest in human flesh!
The Heroon, or shrine, of Philip II. The people of Philippi worshipped Philip II as a deity. The Apostle Paul may have had this temple in mind when he wrote about the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 2:5–11). Gordon Franz.
The Apostle Paul could have been thinking about the Haroon of Philip II and/or the statue of the deified Caesar in the Forum when he penned the words,
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but he made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Phil 2:5–8 NKJV).
With these verses, he set forth the ultimate example of humility, the death of the Lord Jesus, for the two sisters to follow. Paul went on to say,
The world has had many leaders who wanted to go up and make themselves great.
But one King... Came down.
"How many kings stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats became the least of these?
How many gods have poured out their hearts
to romance a world that was torn all apart?
Php 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The path to joy does not pass through self-exaltation and actualization, but through humility...
Humility: I am gladly small.