It is time for us to learn a little more about Herod, the Great. He was known as “the madman who murdered many priests and his own family, including his wife,” “the evil genius of the Judean nation,” “and the greatest builder in Jewish history.” He was a loyal supporter of Hycrannus II and was named King (basileus) of Judea by Mark Antony. He had to win his throne by waging a 3 year war against Antigonus. He was married to one of Hycrannus’s daughters (whom he later killed), who also was an Hasmonean. He was a convert to Judiasm, an Edomite by ancestry, and brought many priests from Babylon intermixing them with the Jewish priests and their doctrines. His leadership of the Jewish religion was greatly questioned by the Jewish priesthood as he paid for his embellishments by exorbitant taxes which did not go to pay for the operation of the Temple of Jerusalem. He had no loyalty to Moses or that law and like other presidents, some of which we have today, feigned faith in what he did not believe. Interestingly, while Herod was re-building the Temple, he would accept no help from the Pharisees or Sadducees nor the doctors of the Law—he “did it his way.”
In Matthew 2:1-23 Herod is shown to be the King who became known for the “Massacre of the Innocents.” Alarmed at a replacement to his throne, Herod assembled the chief priests and scribes of the people and demanded to know where the Christ child was to be born after he had been informed by the Magi of His birth. They told him, Bethlehem (unlike Joseph Smith of the Mormon religion who said Christ was born in Jerusalem) It is interesting that no other external historical record is given of the “massacre” other than the Bible, yet not question, it is the reason why, in a dream, Joseph, on his return from Egypt, settled in Nazareth (to stay clear of Herod’s son who had been assigned to reign after Herod’s death). Herod killed himself. He always had had trouble with paranoia and depression. After his death, Archelaus was named king but was considered by Rome too incompetent to rule and was replaced by a Roman prelate until 43 A D.. That is how we got Pilate.
The Jewish religion was and is in a mess. After the return from Babylon and the lack of a prophet to give religious guidance, their religion was a combination of what most think of Christianity—a mixture of what they remembered, what they had practiced in Babylon in paganism, and what they added for the convenience of themselves. The priesthood had inter-married with pagans and serious consideration to “being of Aaron’s family” was not considered since none could oblige that were in power. There was a rabid attempt among all the Jews to trace their ancestries back to Jacob for pedigree. Any man who could was known by the title “Hebrew of the Hebrews” and was automatically given a place of supreme honor among the people. This explains the two chapters in the preamble to the ancestoral records of the Christ! One can understand why they who had this ability were immediately enemies of those who could not!! Like Herod, they great cause to destroy their qualified competitor, especially if they, like our Lord was able to “divide the sheep from the goats.” John 8:44
The peaching of Christ is pretty simple: “He that is of God hears God’s words. You therefore hear them NOT, because you ARE NOT OF GOD.” John 8:47 “Jesus answered them, ‘ I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you believe NOT BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP, as I said unto you. John 10:25-26 Christ taught in many places in parables. The words of our Lord were not for ALL men. To His disciples He said: “unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: but to them it is not given.” Matthew 13:11 “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables: and without a parable spake He not unto them.” Matthew 13:34