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The English words hero and heroes originated from the Roman / Latin word heros, which itself originated from the earlier Greek word heros, which meant a demigod, or "people god." Humans have made "heroes" for themselves since very ancient times. Some even used the word "hero" in their name. The most well-known of them in Bible History was Herod, or actually the Herods (the "Heroes") since there are 4 specifically recorded in the Scriptures, ranging from "Herod the Great" who attempted to kill the newborn Christ, to his successors such as Herod Antipas before whom Jesus Christ was brought after His arrest, as well as Herod Agrippa I who had the apostle James killed, and Herod Agrippa II before whom the apostle Paul was brought as a prisoner.

The "Heroes"

Antipater was a political ally and close friend of Julius Caesar (see Ancient Empires - Rome). After Antipater was murdered in 43 B.C., his son Herod, later known as Herod the Great, established the now-familiar family name - the choice of name made obvious the family arrogance.

Roman King Herod the Great was a brutal and wicked man who is perhaps most remembered for his murderous decree at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem:

"And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother [see Mary; see also What Would Mary Really Say About Idolatry?], and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him." (Matthew 2:13 KJV)

In an effort the kill the Child that had escaped him, Herod then ordered the killing of all male children of Bethlehem and vicinity, two years of age and under, in what has become known as the "slaughter of the innocents":

"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 inquired of the wise men." (Matthew 2:16 KJV)

After Herod died, an angel again appeared to Joseph to tell him to return from Egypt.

"But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 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 ... And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." (Matthew 2:19-20,23 KJV)

Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great and his Samaritan wife Malthace. He was tetrarch of Galilee during all of Jesus' human life. Unlike his father, who had tried and failed to have The Savior killed, this Herod saw it happen. He was the Herod that spoke with, and actually took part in the mocking and physical abuse of, Jesus Christ after His arrest:

"When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. And as soon as he knew that He belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see Him of a long season, because he had heard many things of Him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned with Him in many words; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. And Herod with his men of war set Him at nought, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him again to Pilate." (Luke 23:6-11 KJV)

It was also this Herod who earlier had John The Baptist beheaded. See John's Last Days.

Herod Agrippa I was the son of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grandson of Herod the Great. He was tetrarch of the provinces previously ruled by Lysanias II, but eventually he possessed the entire kingdom of his grandfather, with the title of king. It was this Herod that had James, the brother of John, executed. He then imprisoned Peter with the intention of killing him also (Acts 12:3-5), but God had an angel go in and get him out (Acts 12:6-10).

"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also" (Acts 12:1-3 KJV)

Like all of the rest, Herod Agrippa had a very high opinion of himself until one day, about 44 A.D., the people's reverence for their "hero" went too far, so The Lord made an object lesson of him:

"And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost." (Acts 23:21-23 KJV)

Herod Arippa II was the son of Herod Agrippa I and Cypros, and great-grandson of Herod the Great. Claudius (see Roman Emperors) made him tetrarch of the provinces of Philippi and Lysanias, with the title of king. He enlarged the city of Caesarea Philippi, and called it Neronias, in honor of Emperor Nero. It was before him that the apostle Paul made his defence at Caesarea (Acts 25:13-27, 26:1-32).

"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered" (Acts 26:1 KJV)

Fact Finder: How will the ultimate fulfillment of the prophetic antichrist regard himself as a "hero," or demigod?
See The Spirit of Antichrist

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