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Tuesday, March 1 2016

Matthew 2: Escape From Herod and The Rachel's Children Prophecy

"Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod"

The Messiah was born when the Roman Empire was beginning. Its first emperor, Octavian, who had just become "Caesar Augustus" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars which has a photograph of an in-his-lifetime actual sculptured portrait of him) is famous for declaring the census that resulted in the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Messiah's birth in Bethlehem (see also Bethlehem In History And Prophecy).

"2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:1-7 KJV)

The Roman Empire

At the time of the birth of the Messiah, the Roman Senate (see The Politics Of Rome) had appointed Herod (who thereafter became known as "Herod the Great") as the "king of Judea" - with life and death dictatorial power over the people. Herod then began transforming much of Judea into a Roman reflection of himself.

Herod's greatest architectural showpiece was the expanded Temple in Jerusalem (it was constructed over the actual rebuilt Temple in the time of Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah; see Zerubbabel's Return, Ezra's Journey From Babylon and The Arrival Of Nehemiah's Cavalry), that became known as "the Herodian Temple," or "Herod's Temple" - which was occupied by men who were as subservient to Rome as Herod was - but were "great" within the limits of the little world that they had created for themselves.

Herod's reasons 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 to Judaism by the Hasmoneans, the "Maccabees" (who Herod replaced as the ruler of Judea and Jerusalem; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Hasmonean Judea). By that time however, the religion of the people of Judah had become little more the "traditions" of the religious parties, such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees who invented Judaism (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism and Israel Never Knew Purim, Hanukkah Or Judaism).

Herod is most infamous for his attempt to kill the newborn Messiah after he was informed of the birth by the "Magi" (see Why Did The Magi Come?) - and for the "slaughter of the innocents" in his attempt to do so.


"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.

2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way." (Matthew 2:1-12 KJV)

Note from the map above that the Messiah's flight into Egypt was not out of the Roman Empire, but out of Herod's jurisdiction in the Roman Empire. Herod then fulfilled another prophecy with his "slaughter of the innocents" (see The Rachel 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.

2:14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

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. 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

2:18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." (Matthew 2:13-18 KJV)

The death of Herod partially solved the problem, for the time being. Other Herods would follow - and in years to come would bring about the deaths of John the Baptist and then the Messiah (see The Herods and Lethal Lust).

"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.

2:21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

2:23 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 2:19-23 KJV)

Fact Finder: What did the Messiah prophesy about Herod's Temple? When did then happen?
See What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?


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This Day In History

This Day In History, March 1

752 BC: Romulus, the legendary and semi-mythical first king of Rome, was victorious over the Caeninenses (see also The Politics Of Rome).

The Spread Of Rome 509 BC: Publius Valerius Publicola, Roman consul, won the first triumph of the Roman Republic after his victory over the deposed king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus at the Battle of Silva Arsia (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

293: Roman Emperor Diocletian and Maximian appointed Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as fellow Caesars - beginning of the Tetrarchy or Quattuor Principes Mundi ("The Four Rulers of the World").

1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama arrived at what is today Mozambique, on his voyage to India.

1562: Roman Catholic troops massacred over 1,000 Huguenots as they prayed at Vassy, France, starting the First War of Religion. The 40 years of conflict ended when Henry IV of Navarre seized the French throne and granted the Protestants partial freedom.

1565: The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was founded.

1632: Samuel de Champlain was appointed the first governor of "New France" (northeastern North America; see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).

1692: Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good and Tituba were brought to court in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning "the Salem witch trials" (see also What Is Sorcery?).

1815: Napoleon landed in France after returning from Elba, where he had been after being forced to abdicate in April 1814. Britain put only a small fraction of its military forces into the relatively minor wars of 1776 and 1812 against the U.S. revolutionary colonies; the bulk of the British army and navy was involved in fighting Napoleon's French Empire throughout Europe and Africa e.g. British Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo.

1845: U.S. President John Tyler signed a bill to authorize the annexation of the short-lived Republic of Texas, after its independence from Mexico.

1871: German troops entered Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

1896: The Battle of Adowa in Ethiopia between the Ethiopian army of King Menelik II and Italian forces. The Italians, outnumbered 80,000 to 20,000 were routed. The decisive Ethiopian victory checked Italy's attempt to build an empire in Africa comparable to that of the French or British.

1917: During the First World War, the "Zimmermann Telegram" was published; the message from the German foreign ministry to Mexicans encouraged them to go to war against the U.S. to recover their lost territories in alliance with Germany.

1932: The infant son of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped. The child was found dead on May 12.

1941: Bulgaria joined the Axis Powers and allowed German forces to enter the country.

1960: Approximately 20,000 people were killed at the Atlantic seaport city of Agadir, Morocco. The city was destroyed by 2 earthquakes, a tidal wave and fire.

1966: The Soviet Venus III landed on Venus. It was the first spacecraft to land on another planet.

1985: The Pentagon accepted the theory that a nuclear war would block the sun, causing a "nuclear winter" i.e. there would be no "winner" in a nuclear war.

1992: Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia.

2003: The International Criminal Court held its first session in The Hague, Netherlands. The Court has remained mostly impotent because most of the greatest war criminals of the modern age escape justice in their militarily-strong nations. Only the weak and the losers of wars face that Court's "justice." True justice is surely coming however; no one "gets away with" anything (see What Happens After The Messiah Returns?).




Copyright © Wayne Blank