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,