The Real King of the Jews: Herod or Jesus?

by Sean Finnegan on December 14, 2008
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Part One: Herod

Family Heritage
Antipater the Edomite
1. caused strife between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus
2. supported Pompey and Senate but then switched to support Julius Caesar
3. declared procurator by Caesar

Rise to Power
At 25 he is put in charge of military in Galilee
The ___ was so impressed he was elevated to be in charge of the military in Cole-Syria
Once his dad died there was a struggle for power (Antigonus)
After his father was poisoned in 43 BC, Herod had the murderer executed. After returning from a campaign, he was offered the betrothal to the teenage princess Mariamne from the former Hasmonean dynasty who were the titular rulers of Judaea. Although he was legally permitted to have more than one wife, he banished his first wife Doris and her 3-year-old son, also named Antipater, and married Mariamne (known as Mariamne I).

In 40 BC, Antigonus the Hasmonean and the Parthians invaded Judea, and Herod fled Jerusalem to Rome for the first time. There he was elected "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate however, Herod did not fully conquer Judea until 37 BC. He ruled for 34 years.
Herod was run out of Judea and fled to Rome where he was appointed King of the Jews by Senate in 40 bc
Herod supported Antony against Octavian but following the battle of Actium he appeared before Augustus and through a remarkable speech and without apology won the emperor's favor
After three years he re-conquered Judea and became King
At the height of his rule his kingdom reached the size of David and Solomon

Two most important things:
1. reputation with Caesar
a. taxes
b. keeping the people from revolting
c. naming things after Caesar
2. staying in power
a. discover conspiracy plots
b. kill off any threats
1. Hyrcanus his favorite wife's grandfather
2. Aristobulus his favorite wife's little brother who was 17 and had just been appointed High Priest
3. Mariamne his favorite wife
4. Joseph his brother-in-law
5. his sons Alexander & Aristobulus
6. his son Antipater

Economic policy
Taxes remained high throughout his reign.
Caesarea Maritima port city

Process for making judgments
Story about first imprisonment of Antipater (his son)

Attitude on Religious Matters
External observance is important
Pluralism (No problem building temples to Caesar or other gods)

Family Life
Story about Mariamne
Killing Hyrcanus and Aristobulus

1. temple
2. mostly unknown today
3. Upon death his kingdom was split into three sections and ruled over by Herod Archelaus, Herod Philip, and Herod Antipas

Part Two: Overlap

Matthew 2.1-20

verse 2 Worship = pay homage to (i.e. bow before him in recognition that he is king)

verse 3 Why were they all troubled to hear that the King of the Jews had been born?

verse 4 Messiah = King of the Jews (cf. verse 2)

verse 6 a quotation from Micah 5.2

verses 7-8 typical deceptiveness of Herod

verse 11 this is the typical scene at the birth of a king (people paying him homage and giving him gifts).

verse 13 Jesus becomes a refugee in Egypt

verse 15 a quotation from Hosea 11.1

verse 16 though there is no external historical account of this incident, it fits perfectly with what we know of Herod

verse 18 a quotation from Jeremiah 31.15

Part Three: Jesus

Family Heritage
Through mother he was a son of Abraham and son of David (Matthew 1.1)
Son of God (Psalm 2.7-9)

Rise to Power
King by birth (Luke 1.31-33)
Given opportunity to take power by worshipping Satan (Luke 4.5-8)
He emptied himself (Phil 2.5-11)

Two most important things:
1. relationship with God
a. John 4.34
2. loving others
a. healing (widow of Nain's son)
b. speaking the truth (rich young ruler)
c. dying for others' sins

Building Projects
He will not only rebuild Jerusalem and Israel, but the whole world will be restored

Economic policy
Micah 4.1-4
guaranteed abundance of food

Process for making judgments
Isaiah 11.1-9

Attitude on Religious Matters
Power under through service (least is greatest)
Hypocrisy is detestable, what really matters is what's on the inside
Compassion on the outcast, the weak, the poor, the sick, the demon possessed

Family Life
Family redefined as "whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Mat 12.48-50)
Totally committed to his family

At present, 20 centuries later, there are 2 billion who claim to follow Jesus
When he returns his will rise and rule with him (Rev 2.26-28)

Which is your king?

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