Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 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 (Matthew 2:1-2.)
Herod, the King. It is no accident that Jesus was born during the last two years of Herod the Great, who had ruled Judea, in the Land of Israel, 34 years. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (Galatians 4:4). God is never late; never early. To Him, timing is very important. It is true in our lives, also.
God’s promise through Jacob on his death bed (Genesis 49:10) was an abiding prophecy that is rarely studied but is pure gold. It focused on the tribe of Judah. Its fulfillment came to pass first through David the king, and continues through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
After King Solomon, the nation of Israel divided into two nations: the northern 10 tribes were called Israel. The southern two tribes were called Judea after Judah. Israel desecrated itself until God dispersed them into Assyria and they lost their identity. God had mercy on Judah (Judea) for about 150 years until at last they were so wicked that God sent Babylon to invade them three times. The last invasion was in 586B.C., at which time the Temple was destroyed, and Jerusalem was leveled. The Times of the Gentiles had settled in upon the land and continues to this day.
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Genesis 49:10). The king’s scepter in the hands of Judah has been interrupted but not ended. One day the Scepter of Judah will be completely restored. It has not departed.
Shiloh was born in a stable in Bethlehem and was rejected by Judea (Israel as it had become known in those days). God waited in mercy for 40 years for them to repent but they did not. In A.D. 70 the Roman general, Titus, brought a big army and destroyed Jerusalem and Herod’s beautiful temple.
Over a million Jews were slaughtered in this invasion. A huge stone memorial called The Arch of Titus is in Rome, Italy commemorating his conquering of Jerusalem. Carved into the stones is a procession of Jewish slaves brought to Rome in chains. I have a photo of this memorial as a screen saver photo and it sometimes circulates through my laptop.
For two thousand years the Jews had been without a homeland until 1948 when they once again took their place among the nations of the world. Against the advice of his military and State Dept., U.S. President Harry Truman recognized Israel as a nation, almost immediately. The United States was the first nation to recognize Israel. Truman’s mother had drilled into him as a little boy: “Be good to the Jew, Harry.”
This week, December 6, 2017, against the advice of his military and State Dept., U.S. President Donald Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and pledged to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. There has followed in the wake of that announcement, the disapproval of many voices and “three days of announced rage” by the Palestinians around Jerusalem and Israel. Jews are hated and despised just as their rightful Messiah was hated and despised.
The name Herod occurs 41 times in the Bible. The first time is in our text: Matthew 2:1. He married ten wives and had several children by them. Herod the Great was the first of seven Herodian kings. including sons and grandsons, who were also called King Herod. He murdered one of his wives and his three oldest sons. He was great in ambition and great in cruelty. It is no surprise that he would send out his soldiers to kill all the boy babies in Bethlehem.
The Scofield notes are, in my opinion, the best summary of information about Herod the Great out of about ten writers. “Called Herod the Great, son of Antipater, an Idumean (Gen_36:1). and Cypros, an Arabian woman. Antipater was appointed procurator of Judea by Julius Caesar, B.C. 47. At the age of fifteen Herod was appointed to the “government of Galilee. B.C. 40 the Roman senate made him king of Judea. An able, strong, and cruel man, he increased greatly the splendor of Jerusalem, erecting the temple which was the centre of Jewish worship in the time of our Lord.”
The Jewish historian, Josephus is a good source of information that almost all commentators consult. The picture is taken from Google and comes from a video about Herod). Ω
●Edited and reprinted from Good Morning: December 15, 2007)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 8, 2017 - FRIDAY
A.M. Daniel 11-12 P.M 3John 1
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Song for Today:
O Holy Night (4:36) (Josh Groban & Orchestra) (NBC – Rockefeller Center - 2002)
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