King Herod the Great
King Herod was a shrewd and clever tyrant, and he was a great builder. Today, some 2000 years later, the remains of his incredible structures, including his fortress of Masada, are still visible in Israel. He built Masada because he was afraid that someone would try to take his kingdom. He even had his own sons executed because he perceived them as a threat to his kingdom. It was said in Herod’s day, “Better to be one of Herod’s pigs than his sons.”
In the video below, Greg Laurie further explores the question: Who was King Herod the Great?
The New King: Jesus Christ
When wise men from the East came to Jerusalem asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2), Herod suddenly realized there was another king in town. The Bible says Herod was troubled. He told them, “When you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also” (Matthew 2:8). Just as the wise men were true worshipers, Herod was a false one. He was hostile toward God, yet he masqueraded as a worshiper of Him.
Don't Be King Herod
Herods by the dozens sit in the pews of many churches today. Outwardly, they appear devout and deeply religious, but inwardly they are living a lie. They don’t know God. They don’t have a relationship with Him. They may sing the songs and give to the offering. They may do all the right things, but it doesn’t mean they are true worshipers, because God looks on the heart.
If your life is not right with God when you come to worship Him, not only does it fail to please God, but it is offensive to Him. What does God see in your heart? There are plenty of false worshipers today. Are you a true one?
Taken from "True Worshipers" by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).
Did King Herod tax on the order of Rome?
The objection is vigorously urged that Herod was a rex socius — an allied king, and that all taxes in his dominion must, therefore, have been levied by himself. But it is difficult to see how Herod was entitled, in fact, to be called a rex socius, since the term means one allied, in commercial language, a partner. Herod was wholly the creature of Augustus; originally set as king, not as having any hereditary claims or being even of Jewish descent, but because he could be a useful instrument in the hands of the Romans. He was hated of the Jews both as an alien and as of a cruel and despotic nature, and he held the throne ouly through the fear which the Roman support inspired. Josephus mentions many instances, showing how far he was subjected all his reign to the emperor and to his representatives, the governors of Syria. A clear proof of this is seen in the fact that the Jews were forced to take the oath of allegiance to Augustus as well as to Herod. (Joseph., Antiq., xvii. 2. 4.)
To say, then, that Augustus would, from regard to any royal rights of Herod, make him an exception, and not carry out his general policy of taxation in his dominions, is to make the Roman ruler a constitutional monarch and to attribute to him a softness of disposition which is indicated by no other acts of his public life. And there may have been special reasons why, before the death of Herod, known to be near his end, and his sons quarreling about the succession, Augustus should have had this enrollment made; for he must have foreseen the probability, if he had not already formed the determination, that his kingdom should speedily be made a Roman province.
Adapted from The Life of Our Lord upon the Earth by Samuel James Andrews.
Photo Credit: WikiMediaCommons/publicdomain