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JOSEPHUS: Antiquities of the Jews: Book XIII, Chapter IX, Item 1 (together with the appended footnote) [Translated by William Whiston, A.M., Universal Book and Bible House, Philadelphia, PA.]:

But when Hyrcanus heard of the death of Antiochus, he presently made an expedition against the cities of Syria, hoping to find them destitute of fighting men, and of such as were able to defend them. However it was not till the sixth month that he took Medaba, and that not without the greatest distress of his army. After this he took Samega, and the neighbouring places; and besides these, Shechem and Gerizzim, and the nation of the Cutheans, who dwelt at the temple which resembled that temple which was at Jerusalem, and which Alexander permitted Sanballat, the general of his army, to build for the sake of Manasseh, who was son-in-law to Jaddua the high priest, as we have formerly related; which temple was now deserted two hundred years after it was built. Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision,* and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.

*This account of the Idumeans admitting circumcision, and the entire Jewish law, from this time, or from the days of Hyrcanus, is confirmed by their entire history afterward. See Antiq. B. XIV. ch. viii. sect. 1; B. XV. ch. vii. sect. 9. Of the War, B. II. ch. iii. sect. 1; B. IV. ch. iv. sect. 5. This, in the opinion of Josephus, made them proselytes of justice, or entire Jews, as here and elsewhere, Antiq. B. XIV. ch. viii. Sect. 1. However Antigonus, the enemy of Herod, though Herod were derived from such a proselyte of justice for several generations, will allow him to be no more than a half Jew, B. XV. ch. xv. sect. 2. But still, take out of Dean Prideaux, at the year 129, the words of Ammonius, a grammarian, which fully confirm this account of the Idumeans in Josephus: "The Jews," says he, "are such by nature, and from the beginning, whilst the Idumeans were not Jews from the beginning, but Phoenicians and Syrians; but being afterward subdued by the Jews, and compelled to be circumcised, and to unite into one nation, and be subject to the same laws, they were called Jews." Dio also says, as the Dean there quotes him, from Book XXXVI. p. 37, "That country is called Judea, and the people Jews; and this name is given also to as many others as embrace their religion, though of other nations." But then upon what foundation so good a governor as Hyrcanus took upon him to compel those Idumeans either to become Jews, or to leave the country, deserves great consideration. I suppose it was because they had long ago been driven out of the land of Edom, and had seized on and possessed the tribe of Simeon, and all the southern parts of the tribe of Judah, which was the peculiar inheritance of the worshippers of the true God without idolatry, as the reader may learn from Reland, Palestine Part I. p. 154. 305; and from Prideaux at the years 140 and 165.

ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA (ELEVENTH EDITION), VOL. 14, p. 210 [ excerpt from Item "HYRCANUS"; John Hyrcanus I]:

...high priest of the Jews from 135 to 105 B.C. ...
...at the same time he availed himself of the weakened state of the Syrian monarchy under Demetrius II, to overrun Samaria, and also to invade Idumaea, which he completely subdued, compelling its inhabitants to receive circumcision and accept the Jewish faith. ...

ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA: [an excerpt from the item "HYRCANUS, JOHN (Johanan)" in ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA VOL. 8, p. 1147 yields the following information]:

... However, after the death of Antiochus in 129, Hyrcanus achieved the complete independence of Judea and undertook extensive conquests throughout the whole of the land of Israel. At first he turned to the center of the country, seizing Shechem and destroying the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim. Later he conquered Idumea (Edom) and compelled its inhabitants to adopt Judaism. From this time the Idumeans became an inseparable part of the Jewish people. ...


"JOHN HYRCANUS, his son and successor, reduced Idumaea, or Edom, conquered Samaria, and destroyed the temple on Mount Gerizim. He compelled the Idumaeans to unite with the Jewish people by submitting to circumcision. ..."


"THE NEW BIBLE COMMENTARY", SECOND EDITION, Commenting on I Thessalonians 4:16-17 (p. 1057),makes this statement:
"The dead in Christ (16); cf. verse 14n.; I Cor. xv. 18; Rev. xiv. 13. Shall be caught up (17); Gk. harpagesometha, Lat. rapiemur, whence the event is sometimes called the 'rapture' or snatching away of the saints. In the clouds (17); cf. Dn. vii. 13; Mk. xiii. 26, xiv. 62; Rev. i. 7. To meet the Lord (17); Gk. eis apantesin tou kyriou.
When a dignitary paid an official visit or parousia to a city in Hellenistic times, the action of the leading citizens in going out to meet him and escorting him on the final stage of his journey was called the apantesis; it is similarly used in Mt. xxv. 6; Acts xxviii. 15. So the Lord is pictured as escorted to the earth by His people-those newly raised from death and those who have remained alive."
"The New Bible Commentary", Second Edition, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Printed November 1954, Reprinted 1956, 1958, 1960, March 1963.

"The freeing of slaves was due to the herculean efforts of whites. Would it surprise you to learn that the liberation they gained was due to the efforts of individual Christians who willingly gave their lives to the task of freeing slaves because they believed that slavery, with its attendant degradation and cruelty was not in keeping with true Christian principles? For example, the Christian statesman, William Wilberforce, introduced his first bill to abolish slavery in 1789. In spite of ridicule and abuse from his humanist peers, he worked for abolition of slavery for 18 long years before his bill was finally passed in 1807. The members of the House of Commons rose as a body to cheer and pay tribute to this gallant Christian gentleman and the years of abuse seemed of no consequence as he sat in his seat, head bowed, and tears running down his cheeks. A small man (his enemies contemptuously called him the 'shrimp'), he was frail, blind in one eye and short-sighted in the other. He was also a hunchback who, for the final 15-18 years of his life, had to wear a brace. In spite of these handicaps, Wilberforce and his friends became involved in a 16 year struggle to free slaves, which climaxed in 1833 with the adoption of a bill to abolish slavery throughout the entire British Empire. But it seems that facts such as this are of little interest to the media. The crusade, initiated and conducted largely by evangelical Christians, had the effect of sensitizing Christians and the general public to other pressing social and spiritual challenges. Wilberforce died three days after his Bill had been adopted by the House of Commons."

(Wilberforce - John Pollock - Constable & Co. 1977, as re-printed in The Rockcliffe Fellowship Bulletin)