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Wednesday, August 15 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Herod
The Hasmonean Dynasty Replaced By The Herodian Dynasty
The time of the first coming of the Messiah (see The Rock Of The Church; also A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem) was one of change for Jerusalem - again. Over the previous centuries, after the city of "Jebus" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan) was taken by the Israelites themselves (see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David), it was ruled by Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon and The Babylon Exodus And Exile), Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia and Iran's Greatest Leader Was Pro-Zionist), Greeks and Seleucid Greeks (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) and then a restored kingdom of Judah by the people of Judah themselves (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Hasmonean Kingdom).
But the time of the Jewish Hasmonean Kingdom was then over. Rome had risen from an ancient city state under a king (about 500 BC), to a republic (see The Politics Of Rome) and then to an increasingly aggressive military empire (see Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). Jerusalem was about to be ruled by foreigners again, but the transition from Hasmonean Jews to Romans would be accomplished through a foot-in-both-camps man from Idumea who had become a converted Jew by the Hasmoneans. He is known to history as Herod, or Herod the Great (although the only thing "great" about him was his evil and barbarity). The Hasmonean dynasty of Jerusalem was replaced by the Herodian dynasty.
Herod was the son of Antipater, an Idumean (Idumea was the Greek term for Edom, the territory south and east of the land of Israel that had been inhabited by the descendants of Jacob/Israel's brother Esau, who was also known as Edom; see also The First Meeting Of Israel And Esau). Herod's mother was Cypros, a Nabatean (at that time, the Nabateans were an Arab people who inhabited the area from Syria to what is today Saudi Arabia; see also Paul's Geography Lesson about what and where "Arabia" actually means). By genealogy, Herod would today be called an Arab, not a Roman.
In 47 BC, Julius Caesar appointed Antipater as procurator (from a Latin word meaning "a manager of another's affairs") of Judea. Antipater eventually divided it among his sons, with Galilee originally being given to Herod, however Herod's political fortunes continued to rise (like all political puppets, he was apparently the easiest to manipulate as he dangled from his Roman strings). Mark Antony appointed him as tetrarch of Judea in 40 BC and then the Roman Senate declared him to be "king of Judea" (which included Jerusalem). Although docile to his Roman masters, Herod was a sadistic tyrant to his subjects (as attested most notably with his "slaughter of the innocents" at the time of the birth of Christ, as we will read).
Perhaps thinking of King Solomon's splendor centuries before (considering Herod's renovations and expansion of the Second Temple, that had been constructed at the return in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah about four centuries earlier; see A History Of Jerusalem: Ezra And Nehemiah), Herod fancied himself as a great builder. He spent vast sums on reconstructing and beautifying cities of Judea. The city of Caesarea (named after Caesar) and the ancient city of Samaria (that Herod renamed as Sebaste, again after his Roman masters) reached their greatest eloquence during the time of Herod.
Herod's greatest architectural showpiece was the Temple in Jerusalem, which became known as "the Herodian Temple," or "Herod's Temple" - which was occupied by men who were as subservient to Rome as Herod was (e.g. see Annas And Caiaphas). Herod's motives may have been different in regard to the Temple than for other places in Judea; Herod was, nominally, a practicing Jew, by his supposed conversion by the Hasmoneans (who, ironically, Herod replaced as the ruler of Judea and Jerusalem). By that time however, the religion of the people of Judah had become very much more the "traditions" of the religious parties, such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees (see The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees). The basis remained of what the LORD had given them long before, but over the centuries they had drifted away from the genuine meaning and purpose of that Truth and Law. It was for that reason that the Messiah rebuked them all, including Herod (while Herod the Great died when the Messiah was an infant, Herod's political and religious dynasty still very much existed at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ - see The Herods).
"7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 7:2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.
"Where is He that is born King of the Jews?"
Herod the Great is most infamous for his attempt to kill the newborn Christ after he was informed of the birth by the "Magi" (see Why Did The Magi Come?).
"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
The flight to Egypt to escape Herod, and Herod's slaughter of all male infants under the age of two followed. Both events fulfilled prophecies.
"2:13 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, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Herod died not long afterward (see Whatever Happened To Those Romans?), however his ruling family dynasty survived in Jerusalem and Judea. Another prophecy was therefore fulfilled when they "dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets."
"2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 2:20 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.
"There shall not be left here one stone upon another"
The Messiah's famous "Olivet prophecy" (named after the Mount of Olives) was given in answer to a question about the Temple that had been built by Herod.
"24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down [see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?].
Fact Finder: (a) Why did the Messiah go to "Herod's Temple" as a place of worship? (b) What will the Messiah be doing from that location when He returns?
This Day In History, August 15
718: The Second Arab Siege of Constantinople.
1057: Macbeth, King of Scotland, was killed.
1096: The Church of Rome armies of the First Crusade set out from Europe to "liberate" Jerusalem from the occupying forces of Islamic Turks. Championed by Peter the Hermit in 1093, Pope Urban II had sanctioned the crusade at the Council of Clermont in 1095 (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1261: Constantinople fell to Michael VIII of Nicea.
1519: Panama City was founded.
1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier began his return trip to France after his first voyage to Canada.
1537: Spanish conquistador Juan de Salazar y Espinoza founded Fort of Our Lady of Asuncion, later Asuncion, Paraguay's capital.
1620: The Mayflower set sail for the "New World" from Southampton, England with 102 English "Pilgrims."
1658: The League of the Rhine was established under French protection after France's King Louis XIV failed to be elected Holy Roman Emperor; Sweden's King Charles X began a second war with Denmark and besieged Copenhagen.
1744: The second Silesian War began with an invasion of Saxony by Prussia's King Frederick II.
1914: The Panama Canal was officially opened.
1940: The German Luftwaffe (air force) suffered its greatest losses for a single day during the Battle of Britain - 75 Nazi aircraft were shot down by the Royal Air Force.
1945: Korea was liberated from 35 years of colonial rule after Japan's defeat in World War II. The peninsula was divided into the Communist North and capitalist South (just as French colonial forces divided Vietnam into North and South a decade later).
1947: Britain partitioned India into the dominions of India and Pakistan, thereby creating two independent nations. Pandit Nehru as became Premier of India and L. Ali Khan became Premier of Pakistan.
1969: The 3-day "Woodstock Music and Art Fair" opened at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in New York State. With an attendance of over 400,000 misguided young people, "Woodstock" became the most infamous satanic festival of idolatry, fornication and dope-addiction of its time (see also The First Rock Star).
2007: A magnitude 8.0 earthquake in the Pacific devastated areas of Peru; over 500 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.