Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Kiss the Son
Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
Mat 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
Few lives are as checkered as the life of Herod the Great. Few deaths are as miserable as his was. He was described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis."
His people, the Edomites (Idumaeans) were converted to Judaism under the Maccabees. Therefore they confessed the religion of the Jews and were circumcised, but the hearts of people like Herod were far from God. He tended to worship Caesar and self more than the Lord.
Although he did reconstruct the temple and outlying buildings, employing 1000 priests and slaves in the project, he did few favors for the Jews otherwise. The religious faithful despised Herod.
At 25, Herod was appointed governor of Galilee and at about 35 he was elected King of the Jews by the Roman senate.
In an attempt to gain the loyalty of the Jews, Herod married the teenage niece of his true Jewish predecessor and protagonist, Antigonus. Her name was Miriamne. However, this earned him more spite since he was already wed to Doris and had a 3 year old son, Antipater. He had the 2 of them banished.
3 years later, Herod and the Romans took control of Jerusalem, deposing Antigonus, and he made himself king over all the region.
In the style of the Romans, Herod became a paranoid potentate, killing many of his own family, Jewish priests and even his wife, Miriamne.
Here, we read of this ungodly fool's most egregious sin, the slaughter of the innocents. Not only was his paranoia piqued by the birth of this Galilean Child who was foretold to be born the "King of the Jews," but he was slighted by the wise men of the east. They were told to return to Jerusalem to report to Herod once they had located the newborn King so that he could also go and "worship him." Instead, they returned to their country another way, thus avoiding another meeting with this tyrant.
Our Scripture tells us that when he realized he was mocked of the wise men, he became so enraged that he sent soldiers to destroy all the children in the area of Bethlehem, from 2 years old to the newborns.
Did you catch that? It was the worshipful act of the wise men that angered Herod and triggered one of the most despicable acts of history.
In case you were thinking that God overlooked this massacre of innocents, let's look at history's account of what happened soon after to Herod.
Joseph and Mary quickly fled with Jesus to Egypt thanks to the message of the angel in a dream warning Joseph of the impending danger. While they were enduring their Nile exile, God's vengeance was unfolding upon Satan's henchman, Herod.
It is said that Herod suffered from depression, paranoia, chronic kidney disease and gangrene of the pubic region. Moreover, his last days were plagued with scabies, putrefaction and visible worms in and on his body. These maladies literally drove him to insanity.
I am reminded of God's law of sowing and reaping, that whosoever soweth to the flesh shall, of the flesh, reap corruption. Herod died as he lived, violently, miserably and insanely. All of the sorrow he caused others came back exponentially to visit him in his latter days.
God is not mocked! Herod, who was aware of the Scriptures, should have kissed the Son rather than trying to kill the Son.
Let the kings of the earth hearken to the Scriptures: Ps 2:10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
By the way, the innocents continue to be slaughtered here in our nation to the tune of 1.5 million per year. Those who countenance this great evil will also suffer greatly here and in the hereafter.