Herod’s Spirit Is Alive And Well

Herod the Great caused a lot of ruckus in his day and he was a very murderous man. It was bad enough he would kill off many of his own family, but the worst thing he did was try to murder the Messiah. That still happens today.
Herod’s Spirit Is Alive And Well
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2016 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

The world is really stirred up today {1}. Sure we can point to one person or another but we are taught from Ephesians 6:12 that there is the spirit realm of darkness behind every person who has not fully surrendered to Christ. Do not get me wrong, they are still responsible for what they do, but we must realize there are dark spiritual forces at work. We must both defend ourselves and take a holy stand against them.

Herod the Great was no exception. Choosing to be godless his sinful flesh was motivated to remain in godlessness and grow in godlessness.

He was that Herod (there were a number of men by that family name) who sought to destroy the Christ Child, because he did not want his kingship to be overthrown.

He was Rome's puppet king over Judea. In prior years Herod's dad, Antipater, assisted in strengthening the Roman empire {2}. To show his appreciation, Julius Caesar of Rome made Antipater a tax free citizen and procurator of Judea, and allowed Antipater to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem {3}. Julius Caesar was assassinated, and so was Antipater. However, Herod, a son of Anitpater, remained very good friends with Rome. Thus, the Herods enjoyed favor from Rome and were given positions of power over some decades. Rome made Herod King of Judea in 40 BC, but he could not bring Jerusalem under his control until 37 BC.

During his lifetime Herod the Great {4} killed 45 main Sadducee leaders, his two sons by his wife Mariamne, Mariamne herself, Mariamne’s mother, and another person named Antipater (a son of Herod by another wife who was definitely trying to overthrow his father). Additionally, depending upon which historian you read, he had arranged the death of a grandson by drowning, or, in the least, was suspected of doing so. Caesar Augustus had said of Herod that he would rather be Herod's pig than his son {5}. 

Herod was very afraid someone would overthrow him. Herod was considered by some (but not by most Jews) to be King of the Jews, so he was very disturbed when he learned the Magi came looking for the one BORN the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-3). When he realized the Magi would not return to him and tell him where the Christ Child was, he saw to it that every male child two years old and younger was killed in Bethlehem and its surrounding area (verses 16 to 18).

Before this, we read in verse 13, “. . .  an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.’” Though Herod has been dead for over 2,000 years the unholy spirit that influenced him is very much alive today. “Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him” may speak to us in the following manner.

I. Herod (The spirit behind him)

Satan, ultimately, is the primary force within the realm of darkness that inspired Herod to remain godless and continue to act godless. Isaiah 14:12-14 shows he desires to be the supreme sovereign. He even wanted Christ to worship him (Matthew 4:9)! The devil wants full control of his realm of darkness, wants nothing to detract from it, and seeks to add to it, including reclaiming those who had left it.
Satan, it could be said, enjoys working with humans, catering to the desires of their sinfulness. We are sinful by nature because Adam surrendered to the lie of the devil when he said (Genesis 3:4-5), “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Satan suggested man could and should have control and man agreed, forgetting that we were designed to depend upon God. Now, unless one surrenders to God through Christ, each person is just a “puppet king” of the devil.

The devil influences the people in his kingdom of darkness in various ways. Looking at our chosen text from Matthew we see the devil considers Christ a threat to his dark realm. So he wants nothing to do with Christ and would keep everyone from trusting in Christ. He wants those in Christ to defect and return to his very dark realm. Satan fears and hates Christ more than Herod ever did, so he attacks the human relatives of Christ through antisemitism. Satan persecutes and attempts to corrupt the spiritual seed of Christ, those who trust in God through Christ.

Again, this is seen through the voices and actions of his “puppet kings.” Consider well Psalm 2:1-3, “Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against YHVH and against His Anointed, saying, 3 ‘Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!’”

II. The Young Child

Christ being Herod’s target as recorded in Matthew speaks to a number of things {6} prophetically and devotionally. Concerning the prophetic, consider well that after almost 2,000 years of non-existence Israel was geographically and politically reestablished in 1948. Since that time many nations have desired, and sought after, its eradication.

Foundationally, and most importantly, is the devotional aspect: When someone receives Christ as their Savior, the Word of God says His seed is in that person (1 Peter 1:23) and it could be said that as His seed grows Christ is formed in that person (Galatians 4:19). And so a line of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" has, "O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today."

III. Herod Will Seek

Satan does not want anyone to surrender to God through Christ, and he does not want anyone in Christ to remain in Christ, so he will in some way attack or interfere. He will attempt these things in a number of ways, but let us look at three main ways he tries to destroy the "Christ child" within us as described in the parable of the sower explained by Christ in Mark 4:14-20:

"The sower sows the word. 
15 These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;
17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."

Verse 15 shows that when someone comes to Christ, unless they continually make a commitment to God, the enemy will try to distract or dissuade them in some way. Or, someone comes by with a "convincing" "reason" as why not to stay in Christ. A few months before this message someone who really needed to rededicate her life to Christ had attended a church service. While there the Holy Spirit touched her life in such a way I could tell on her face a spiritual work had taken place. However, she left the


state for a month to visit relatives. Upon her return I could tell she had lost the glow she received. There are more details to the story but I should not give them.

Verses 16 and 17 speak of "rocky places." Here a person is reluctant to let the Holy Spirit "break up the fallow ground" (Jeremiah 4:3, Hosea 10:12). Perhaps they listen to teaching that just makes them feel good and never, or hardly ever, encourages them to examine their lives so that they might be pliable in the hands of God. Or, sure enough the spirit of the enemy encourages some unsaved people to somehow pester or discourage the new one in Christ. Again, the evil spirit that was behind Herod has sought out the "Christ Child" in that person who then yields to the darkness, and the "Christ Child" cannot stay.

The thorns of 18 and 19 have three ways in themselves to destroy the Seed: "the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word." I think anyone reading this understands so there is no need to elaborate except perhaps on "desires for other things." That can be a host of possibilities. One thing I feel led to mention is that some people actually desire a mere religion than a relationship with God through Christ. Some early Jewish converts to Christianity had this problem, and hence the occasion for the Epistle to the Hebrews. It still happens today with folks that want to stay in the Roman Catholic Church, Episcopal Church, and others where there is an abundance of colorful tradition--as well as false doctrines and false hopes.

Instead of falling prey, or succumbing, to any of these let us obey the Holy Spirit’s directive in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,”. Let means permit. The word of Christ means His clear, unadulterated written Word. Today there are oodles of translations, "translations" {7}, versions and paraphrases, most of which deviate to varying degrees from what God actually said. Please use a reliable translation {8} like the New King James or something by Jay Green.

Do not just read the Word, but study and memorize it. Today there are a number of electronic Holy Bible study tools. I mainly use the downloadable "Online Bible" {9}. Research that would sometime take hours before personal computers came out now takes only a matter of minutes, if not seconds. There is no reason today why many Christians, especially in North America, cannot be spiritually strong, well-nourished in the the Word of God.

Then there is the spoken Word. The Holy Spirit will speak {10} to each saved person's heart (John 16:13). In regard to this, the following must be said: The Holy Ghost will never tell anyone anything that is contrary to the written Word or is not in harmony with it. The Holy Ghost / Spirit will at times reveal something in Holy Scripture that will explain to you, to a degree, why you went through a certain situation in your life and what to learn from it.

IV. To Destroy Him

We have already mentioned how the political enemies of Israel seek to destroy them. It is almost as if they could just completely eradicate Israel then that would make the written Word of God null, invalidate its teachings, and portray Christ as a myth. In reality, each person knows deep within themselves that if they come to Christ they will give up their sins in which they currently take pleasure.

Even if the seed of Christ develops in a person the devil would still like to destroy it. The Galatian church was doing well until they began to believe the teaching of those that insisted they follow the Jewish law. As a result, Paul by the Holy Spirit wrote (Galatians 4:19), “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you . . .” As you see Paul detected the seed of Christ within some of the Galatians was destroyed by the teaching of works righteousness.

Instead, we must (James 1:21), “. . . lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." Additionally, we must (James 4:7), “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We are to fully and continually trust in God through Christ, feast on His Word and stand upon it. We must remain in Christ and let Him grow within us.

Notes:

{1} Please read Tornado Warning (From God) for additional insights at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M325 .

{2} Bruce, F. F. : New Testament History (Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, NY: 1969) p13

{3} At this point I ask the reader to consider the rise of Donald Trump in 2016 who had insisted a wall be built on the U.S. Mexican border, and who, after his being elected POTUS, was asked by the Jewish Sanhedrin to help rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

{4} Menzies, William W.: Understanding The Times Of Christ (The Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO.: 1969), pp. 18-21

{5} Ellison, H.L.: From Babylon To Bethlehem (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1984), p. 112

{6} For further insight please listen to “The Deadly, The Dead, The Diseased, And The Devoted ” at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M226 .

{7} Whenever I repeat a word, phrase or title and using quotation marks on and instance I am indicating there is the real and the fake. There are works that call themselves translations, but are not, and are often attempt by some religious groups to  "validate" their false teachings and / or non-Biblical practices.

{8} Please read Holy Bible Translations Both Good And Bad at http://thesureword.expertscolumn.com/article/holy-bibles-good-and-bad .

{9} http://onlinebible.net/ North American downloads. 

{10} For more insight please click on the links at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M421 .

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by January 30, 2017 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M433 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 19-12-2016 88 2

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    Sometimes, we remain grounded, immobile, longing for the past, when events in life are pushing us forward to change plans and directions. The story of Herod is teaching us to not be stuck in the past, but we open so we recognize when there are circumstances edging us on to change for the better.
    reply 0
  • goldstay  17-12-2016
    Most people would only regard Herod as the villain in the story of the birth of Jesus Christ but reading and reflecting anything about the Herod gives a deep impact to society, our lives and the world... Thank you for sharing your reflection...
    reply 0
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