Chapter 2 Part 2 Herod
Herod is the name of four kings over Jerusalem that we read about in the New Testament. This particular Herod was the first of the four. He was not a Jew but was appointed by Caesar to be over the realm of the Roman empire then known as Galilee. We read in Luke 3:1 "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness."
Herod had his appointment from Caesar and thus served at the pleasure of Caesar. Thus, Caesar could keep him as king or remove him from being king at any time. No doubt, the prospect of someone rising up to be king over the Jews was troubling to Herod and the news thereof if it came to Caesar would have been troubling to Caesar as well. When the wise men came asking, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" Herod and all Jerusalem were troubled: "When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him." It is easy to see why Herod would have been troubled for he saw the Christ child as being a threat to his position and authority and maybe even to his life. However, why was all Jerusalem troubled with him? Did not the chief priests, the priests, and the council all have their authority under the Old Testament law? Yes, but they had so polluted and corrupted the law and so entangled themselves with the privilege of spoils under Herod that the prospect of a king to rise up and reign over them they viewed as a threat to their position and authority as well. They also, no doubt, feared the wrath of Caesar as well.
Chapter 2 Part 3 The Star
The star is mentioned in the following verses of scripture:
1. Matt. 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. Matt. 2:7 "Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared."
3. Matt. 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. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
4. Matt. 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 inquired of the wise men."
From the above verses about the star, we can draw the following conclusions:
1. The wise men were shown a star when they were in the east that was to lead them to the Christ child. This star went before them to lead them in the way and ultimately came to rest over the house of where the young child was. The star apparently appeared to them when Jesus was born.
2. The wise men had turned aside into Jerusalem and had lost sight of the star when they were in Jerusalem, but when they left Jerusalem they saw the star again and rejoiced with exceeding great joy. When they made the false assumption that he would be in Jerusalem, the Lord withdrew his leadership from them, but when they removed themselves from Jerusalem, the Lord lead them once again. God tells us to walk by faith and not by sight. When we walk by sight (the natural reasoning of our natural mind) we do so without the leadership of the Lord. When we walk by faith, we have the leadership of the Spirit.
3. When Herod slew the children that were in Bethlehem, he used as a timetable to determine what children to kill based on the time that the star had first appeared unto the wise men. Thus, it had been two years since the time that the star appeared unto the wise men at the birth of Jesus until Herod slew the children.
Chapter 2 Part 4 Born King of the Jews
Matt. 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. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 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. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 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."
When Herod demanded of the chief priests and scribes where Christ should be born they quoted from the book of Micah: 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
Jesus was born a king. He did not become a king when he began his personal ministry or when he was crucified or when he was resurrected. He was a king from of old, from everlasting and was born into this world as a king. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. The scripture says that he was king of the Jews.
What the world back then did not know and what most of the world does not know today is that he was born King of the spiritual Jews not the natural Jews. According to Rom. 2:28 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." The true Jew is one that is born of the Spirit of God regardless of what nationality he might be in nature. The kingdom to which Jesus came to establish and reign in was not a natural kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom. Again, most people overlook the fact that this is a spiritual kingdom and are looking for Jesus to come in the future and to reign in a natural kingdom.
Jesus told Pilate that he was born a King: John 18:37 "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." Jesus also told him concerning his kingdom: John 18:36 "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." We need not look for a future natural kingdom, but rather rejoice in this spiritual kingdom that Jesus lives and reigns in now.
Chapter 2 Part 5 The Gifts
Matt. 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." In order to understand the significance of the gifts that were given by the wise men to the Christ child, we must put out of our minds the modern means and purposes of gift giving. Today a gift given to a child is usually based on need or entertainment. We give gifts based on our perceived needs of the child or based on what we think would be good to entertain the child. However, the Christ child had no need for either gold, or frankincense or myrrh. Furthermore, such gifts would have had no value in entertaining the child.
Gifts given back in the days that Jesus was born were given based not on need or entertainment, but rather based on what the gift-givers thought that child would become or accomplish in his life. For instance, a plow might be given to a child if they thought the child would be a farmer. In addition, a book might be given to a child if they thought the child would be a teacher. They might give a hammer to a child they thought would be a carpenter. Thus, gifts were given based on the belief of what the child would become or accomplish in his life.
The wise men gave to Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts represented what the wise men believed that Jesus was or would accomplish in his life.
Gold is associated in the scriptures with kings:
1. 2 Sam. 12:30 "And he took their king's crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance."
2. Rev. 14:14 "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle."
3. Est. 4:11 "All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days."
4. Lev. 8:9 "And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses."
5. 1 King 10:16 "And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. 17 And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom. 21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon."
6. 2 Chr. 9:17 "Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays:"
7. Ps. 21:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! 2 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head."
We conclude that the gift of gold indicated that the wise men believed that Jesus was a king and indeed they were right. He sits and reigns in the kingdom of God today.
Frankincense is associated with the priesthood:
1. Lev. 2:1 "And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon: 2 And he shall bring it to Aaron's sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:"
2. Lev. 2:15 "And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering. 16 And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD."
3. Lev. 6:14 "And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, before the altar. 15 And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the LORD."
4. Rev. 8:1 "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."
The wise men believed that Christ would be a high priest by giving him frankincense. They were correct because he is a High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisidec.
Myrrh is associated with burial. It was a spice that was wrapped around the dead bodies that were buried: John 19:39 "And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." Thus, the wise men believed that Jesus would accomplish great things in his death. Through the death of Jesus, we have the redemption of sins. Jesus accomplished more in his death than all of mankind has ever accomplished either in life or death.
In conclusion the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh represented that Jesus would be a King, a High Priest, and would accomplish great things in his death. Jesus is King of Kings, our High Priest after the order of Melchisidec, and saved us from the condemnation of sin through his death
Chapter 2 Part 6 Fulfillment of Prophecies
Throughout the gospels we see several Old Testament Prophecies fulfilled. In Chapter 2 there are at least five Old Testament prophecies fulfilled:
1. 2:5 "And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 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."
Micah 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
2. 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."
Hos. 11:1 "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt."
3. 2:17 "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 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."
Jere. 1:15 "Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not."
4. 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." This was spoken by the Old Testament prophets, but was not written by the Old Testament prophets, but revealed to us here.
5. 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."
Ps. 68:29 "Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee."
Ps. 72:10 "The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts."