A Biblical Response to Government

igwt-house

Did you know that the Bible has a lot to say about how we should regard and relate to the government? One passage that addresses this is found in 1 Peter 2:13-17.

1 Peter 2:13-17 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

This passage provides at least five important insights regarding government.

1. GOVERNMENT IS GOD’S IDEA

1 Peter 2:13 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake …”

Some people of faith act as if government is an enemy to be battled, when actually God created the concept of human government and guides it for His good purposes. 1 Peter 2:1 therefore says we are to submit to government “for the Lord’s sake.”

Romans 13:1-3 states this even more clearly: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”

Not only is God the author of human government in general, but He guides the appointment of individual government leaders. Daniel 2:21, “He removes kings and establishes kings.” Note that this even includes ungodly leaders who do not acknowledge the Lord.

Exodus 9:16 God raised up Pharaoh, the ungodly leader of Egypt, for his purpose

Isaiah 45:1 Cyrus, the ungodly leader of the Persian empire, is called God’s “anointed”

Jeremiah 43:10 Nebuchadnezzar, the ungodly king of the Babylonian Empire, is called God’s “servant.”

John 19:11 Jesus to Pilate, the ungodly Roman governor, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.”

2. GOVERNMENT SERVES AN IMPORTANT PURPOSE

1 Peter 2:13 “… as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right”

God has ordained five “human institutions,” as they’re called in 1 Peter 2:13.

  • Marriage

Purpose: to connect people

Genesis 2:24 two “become one flesh”

  • Family

Purpose: to create people

Genesis 1:28 “be fruitful and multiply”

  • Church

Purpose: to grow people

Ephesians 4:11-12 “to the building up of the body of Christ”

  • Work/Business

Purpose: to provide for people

Genesis 2:15 “the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

  • Government

Purpose: to protect people

1 Peter 2:14 governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. (See also Romans 13:3-4.)

Notice that each of these five institutions has a different role in society. When one institution attempts to do what it was not created to do (i.e. the church doing the government’s job, or government doing the family’s job, etc…) problems and confusion invariably ensue.

Government’s primary role is the protection of the people. When it does this well, it is functioning at its best.

3. THEREFORE, WE SUBMIT TO GOVERNMENT

1 Peter 2:13-14 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors …”

Since government is God’s idea and has been created by Him for an important purpose, we are to “submit” to it. This word submit is from the Greek term hupotasso, which was a military term meaning “to rank under, to be subject to.” Just as good soldiers follow orders and obey their commanders even when they disagree with them, we are called to submit to human laws even when we do not agree with them, recognizing that God has given government leaders legal rank over us for His good purposes.

This might well raise a few questions:

a. Does submitting to government mean we shouldn’t be involved in politics?

No. We are fortunate to live in a country where the government, as Abraham Lincoln declared, is one “of the people, by the people, for the people.” In other words, the American citizenry are, in a sense, in charge. So, it is good for all Americans to vote. It is good for us to speak up about what concerns us. It can even be good to respectfully criticize our government’s decisions or rally others to be involved in a just cause. Some will even sense God’s call for them to run for office, accept a government appointment, or work for the state, following in the example of esteemed men and women of God such as Moses, Joseph, Daniel, and Esther. After all, if we who are God’s people do not participate in government when we are given the chance, then we certainly have no right to complain if government does not function as we would like it to. As Plato said centuries before Christ, “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”

b. Does submitting to government mean we relinquish our rights?

No. If we want to keep our legal rights, then we need to claim them. We see this demonstrated by the Apostle Paul in Acts 16:37 when he was illegally arrested for preaching about Christ and he scolded the police and civic leaders for violating his civil rights as a Roman citizen.

c. Does submitting to government mean we follow the laws even when we disagree with them?

Yes. For example, Jesus showed that we should pay taxes even when the government will use the money unjustly (Mark 12:13-17).

d. Is there ever a time when it is ok to break the law?

The only exception to obeying the law is when it clearly contradicts the command of God, who is our highest authority. The author of our passage demonstrated this himself in Acts 5:29. There we read of Peter being arrested and commanded to stop teaching about Jesus, but he replies, “We must obey God rather than men.”

4. WE HONOR GOVERNMENT LEADERS

1 Peter 2:17  “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

Not only are we to submit to ruling authorities, but we are called to go even further and honor them. This can certainly be a tough sell in our day, when insulting government leaders online or in the media has become almost a sport for some people. The temptation to participate in this is nothing new.

“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.” – Aesop, born 620 B.C.

“Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain

Some may even argue that today’s leaders are so uniquely despicable that we have no option but to disrespect them. However, when Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:17, the king, or Emperor, was none other than Nero. We would be hard pressed to find any leader in history who was more evil or corrupt than this man. A short list of his well-known offences includes rape, incest, and widespread murder, including the assassination of his own mother and a heinous genocide against Christians that would ultimately include the execution of Peter himself.

How can we honor a leader who behaves so dishonorably? Again, just as soldiers salute even those commanders they do not like or respect, so we show honor for the office even if the person holding it is unworthy of it (see also Titus 3:1-2.)

5. WE THEREBY SILENCE OUR ACCUSERS

1 Peter 2:15 “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

What good can come from submitting to and showing honor to government in this way? Besides pleasing God by our obedience to Him, we in doing so may hope to silence (literally “muzzle”) those who ignorantly oppose God’s people. We demonstrate that though we regard ourselves as citizens of a heavenly kingdom (Philippians 3:20, Colossians 1:13), we are also model citizens of this world. Anyone who would persecute us must therefore do so without just cause.

In other words, if the world is going to hate us, let it hate us for our stand for the Gospel, and not because we deserve it. As Peter explained,

“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:14-15).

Furthermore, we remember that we who are God’s people are engaged in something much more important and enduring than earthly politics. Our ultimate mission is beyond this place that we’re just passing through. If we are model citizens of this corrupt but temporary world, we may gain a hearing to tell some people, including even some government leaders, the way to a more glorious eternal home.

© 2015 Frank Erb

Who Should We Vote For?

Vote for Jesus t-shirt

In my last post I addressed the question of whether followers of Jesus should vote. That brings up another important question. Who should we vote for?

I remember reading through the statewide voter guide before the 2003 special election for California Governor. Among the many candidate statements was one from Kevin Richter of Manteca, who described his qualifications as simply, “I breathe.” As bad as that was, it was better than the statement from candidate Trek Thunder Kelly of Venice, California, which began, “Dear Voters, Please vote for me, thus breaking the Seventh Seal and incurring Armageddon.” No, I didn’t vote for either of these guys, though 1,505 other people did.

It’s not always so easy to know who or what to vote for or against. Here are some simple suggestions to consider if you haven’t already cast your ballot:

  • An online search will yield lots of information about candidates. Just enter their name in a search engine or on Youtube.
  • Focus on a candidate’s proven values and character.
  • Check out their leadership history and how they’ve voted or spoken on important issues.
  • Don’t believe any campaign advertisements or mailers until you’ve checked their accuracy. And if they contain twists of the truth, what does that say about the person or group who made the ad or mailer?
  • If there are election races or propositions that you don’t know anything about (which is probably the case on today’s long ballot) it’s better to skip them than to cast haphazard votes.

We would be especially wise to follow the advice that Moses received regarding the appointment of leaders to assist in governing the Israelites:

Exodus 18:21 “You shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.” 

Notice that these leaders were to be:

  1. out of all the people – Common people who understand common issues.
  2. able – Proven to be qualified for the task.
  3. fear God – Humbly submitted to God and His word.
  4. of truth – Completely honest, all the time.
  5. hate dishonest gain – Without a hint of corruption or greed.
  6. leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, of tens – Fit for this particular position.

Hmmm, … do you suppose that rules out Trek Thunder Kelly?

I’d love to hear any other advice you have for deciding who to vote for. How do you do it? 

Should Christians Vote?

As we approach another election day, I have heard from some friends that they will definitely vote, and from others who say they won’t even bother. This brings up an important question: “Are we, as followers of Jesus, obligated to vote in public elections?”

The Bible does not directly address the question of voting, probably because voting as we know it was unheard of in biblical times. Nevertheless, some today would say that it is our obligation as Christians to vote since we live in a representative republic where voting is a civic duty, and so we must vote because God commands us to submit to our government leaders (Romans 13:1-2). Others would say that they feel free before God to abstain from voting, or maybe even a conviction to not participate in worldly government. Since there is no explicit biblical command regarding voting, and since our government makes it optional, I consider this decision to ultimately be a matter of personal conscience between each person and God.

At the same time, I believe it is foolish for us to not vote whenever we can. Here are six reasons:

First, God has blessed us with a unique and wonderful privilege. No people in history have had the opportunity to participate in their government as we can. Why would we neglect such a gift?

Second, the decisions our elected officials make can have an enormous impact on many people for good or for bad. Our vote is a way for us to uphold justice and righteousness, which God calls us to (Proverbs 21:3Galatians 6:10).

Third, who in this world is in a better position to select good leaders than those who humbly and prayerfully submit to God and seek His wisdom (James 3:13-18)?

Fourth, for God’s people to abstain from voting is to invite tyranny, especially in a culture that seems to be increasingly hostile to people who follow Christ.

Fifth, just as Paul claimed his rights of Roman citizenship to avoid unjust punishment and advance the Gospel, so we would be wise to take advantage of all our rights to further God’s work in the world (Acts 16:35-40Acts 22:25-29Acts 25:6-12).

Finally, someone who does not vote does not have any right to ever complain about or criticize any decisions our elected officials make. This alone should be enough to drive many to the polling place!

What do you think? Can you think of any other reasons to vote … or not?

“Bear One-Another’s Burdens”

What do you do when a brother or sister in Christ starts to stumble in their relationship with the Lord? Galatians 6:1-10 has the answer.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:1-10, ESV.)

(Message given by Frank Erb at Creekside Church in Rocklin, California on Sunday, September 14, 2014.)

Capitol Bible Study: A Politician’s Downfall (Mark 6:14-32)


Mark 6:14-32 And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” 15 But others were saying, “He is Elijah.” And others were saying, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen!” 17 For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; 20 for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him. 21 A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee; 22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” 23 And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head. And he went and had him beheaded in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away his body and laid it in a tomb.

There were many leaders of Israel who were named “Herod,” several of whom are mentioned in the New Testament. The Herod of today’s passage is Herod Antipas. He ruled over the regions of Galilee and Perea from 6AD-39 AD, a time period that covered all but the first few years of Jesus’ earthly life.

HEROD ANTIPAS’ STRENGTHS:

Any leader who stays in one position for forty-two years must have some positive qualities, and Antipas was no exception.

  • He was a capable economic leader. Archaeological excavations show that his region prospered during his reign, even in the rural areas where one might expect poverty.
  • He led some large infrastructure projects. He was not much of a builder compared to his father, Herod the Great, but Antipas did restore the city of Sepphoris located three miles from Nazareth. He also built a new capital for Galilee on the west side of the Sea of Galilee, named Tiberias in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar. Tiberius had a palace, a stadium, and hot baths, but it was reportedly built over a cemetery and so many devout Jews refused to enter the city.
  • He was politically astute. Unlike his brother and co-tetrarch, Herod Philip, Antipas took care not to offend his Jewish subjects with graven images and pictures of pagan temples on the coins he had minted.
  • He was religious. He recognized that John the Baptist was close to God and he enjoyed listening to him teach (Mark 6:20).

 HEROD ANTIPAS’ WEAKNESSES:

Though Antipas had some obvious strengths, today’s passage shows that he was also a man with many serious character flaws.

  • He was overly-ambitious (6:14). In Mark 6:14, Antipas is called “King Herod,” since this is how he liked to be addressed, but this was a title he never actually held. His father, Herod the Great, had made it clear before he died that he wanted future leadership in Israel to be divided among his sons. Since Israel was a client state of Rome, Antipas and his brothers traveled there after their father’s death to receive their commissions. Antipas argued that he ought to inherit the whole kingdom, but his brothers maintained that their father’s will ought to be honored. The Emperor upheld Herod the Great’s wishes, and Antipas was appointed as a tetrarch (a ruler of a fourth) under Roman control (Luke 3:1). Years after the death and resurrection of Christ, Antipas traveled to Rome again, this time to request the right to use the title King. His request was denied by the Emperor. Furthermore, his brother, Agrippa, accused Antipas of stashing weapons and conspiring against Rome, upon which the Emperor removed him entirely from office.
  • He was Guilt-ridden (6:14-16). Antipas thought Jesus was John the Baptist who had come back to life. This was a manifestation of his guilty conscience. He knew he had sinned against God by marrying Herodias and murdering John the Baptist. Instead of confessing his sin to the loving and merciful God, he tried unsuccessfully to repress his guilt.

 As one commentator explains, “Whenever a man does an evil thing the whole world becomes his enemy.  Inwardly, he cannot command his thoughts; and, whenever he allows himself to think, his thoughts return to the wicked thing that he has done.  No man can avoid living with himself; and when his inward self is an accusing self, life becomes intolerable.  Outwardly, he lives in the fear that he will be found out and that someday the consequences of his evil deed will catch up on him, in the uncertainty as to who knows what he has done. … Because the sinning life is the haunted life, sin is never worth the cost.” (William Barclay, The Gospel of Mark, Mark 6:14-15, p 147.)

  • He was immoral (6:17-18, 22). He divorced his wife and stole his brother’s wife (6:17-18), which was clearly against God’s law (Lev 18:16, 20:21). He also approved of his teenage step-daughter dancing seductively before his guests.
  • He was impulsive (6:23). He made an outrageous public promise that he should never have made.
  • He was Insecure and controlled by others (26). Antipas wanted desperately to be regarded as a great man and strong leader, but he was actually controlled by the opinions of others, especially that of his evil “wife,” Herodias. This explains why he made an impossible promise to Herodias’ daughter (“I will give you up to half of my kingdom”), when as a leader under Rome he had no authority to do so. It is also why he would not renege on this outrageous vow and lose face in front of those assembled at his birthday banquet. The historian Josephus adds that Antipas also feared that John was so popular with the people that he had the potential to raise a rebellion against him.
  • He was persistently unrepentant. God is always merciful. About eighteen months after Antipas killed John the Baptist, the Messiah Jesus himself stood before him, giving him one more chance to repent. Had Antipas learned any lessons after his transgressions regarding John? Unfortunately, he had not. Luke 23:11 says,And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Jesus with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.”

LIFE LESSONS FOR TODAY:

Jesus once warned his followers, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15). Perhaps by this he meant that all leaders could be tempted to follow the hypocritical and self-centered path of Antipas. Antipas certainly serves as a model for how some people function today. They compromise doing what is right whenever they fear that doing so might interfere with their personal or political ambitions. They may feel a tinge of guilt for their ungodly choices, but they quickly justify their behavior by saying they were backed into a corner by the expectations and demands of this or that person or group. In truth, they foolishly fear the rejection of men more than they fear the judgment of the holy God.

Frank

© 2014 Frank Erb

Capitol Bible Study: “Clash of Kingdoms” (Mark 6:12-32)

Mark 6:12-32 12 They went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. 14 And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” 15 But others were saying, “He is Elijah.” And others were saying, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen!” 17 For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; 20 for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him. 21 A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee; 22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” 23 And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head. And he went and had him beheaded in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away his body and laid it in a tomb.30 The apostles *gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. 31 And He *said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) 32 They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.

Today’s passage is a vivid example of the clash between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of heaven.

1. A Worldly King’s Reign (6:14 -16)

An identity problem: There were seven leaders named “Herod” mentioned in the Bible. All of them were part of the same family dynasty that ruled Israel for four generations. The ruler in today’s story is Herod Antipas. Antipas was obviously an insecure man, a weakness probably fueled by his desire to make a name for himself in a family that included so many powerful government leaders, especially his now deceased father, the famous “Herod the Great.”

An insecurity problem: In 6:14 he is referred to as “King Herod” because that was his self-designated title, but Antipas was not really a king. He was, in fact, a “tetrarch” (Matthew 14:1), which means a ruler over a fourth of the country. He and his brothers divided the rule of Israel, under the leadership of Rome. His territory included the regions of Galilee (northern part of Israel) and Perea (east of the Jordan river).

A moral problem: First-century historian Josephus explains that Herod Antipas visited his brother Phillip and his wife Herodias. Herodius, though married to Phillip, was actually Philip’s and Anitipas’s niece. Antipas and Herodius developed a relationship, and so Herodius left her husband/uncle Phillip and Antipas left his wife Phasaelis, and they married.

A fear problem: Antipas was controlled by his fear. He was afraid of his evil and power-hungry “wife” and afraid of his political reputation. If only he were more afraid of God.

2. A Heavenly Kingdom’s Response (6:17-18)

John the Baptist was the greatest man to ever live up to that day (Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28). As such, we can learn much about how to serve God from his example.

Some people today say that John the Baptist’s speaking out about Herod’s sin shows that all Christians have a responsibility to engage in political activism against immoral leaders and laws, but a careful look at this passage shows that John was busy with something very different than that. He was instead engaged in personal pastoral ministry.

a. John called ALL Jews in Israel, not just Herod, to repent and follow God (Mark 1:5) If we are going to address the sins of government leaders, we should do the same regarding the sins of others too.

b. John was not giving speeches about Herod’s sin. He spoke “to” Herod (6:18, Matthew 14:4), not about Herod. When we have a concern about someone, we should speak to that person personally if possible, even if they are a powerful leader (Galatians 6:1).

c. John did not lambast Herod’s corrupt leadership Instead, he focused on personal repentance before God, probably referencing scriptures like Lev 18:16, 20:21 and others that addressed Herod’s specific sins.

d. John focused his ministry on the Jews, who were God’s chosen people entrusted with His word. There is no mention of him rebuking the well known atrocities of the Roman Emperor or the other Gentiles leaders and citizens in Israel, some of whom were far more immoral and corrupt than Antipas. In a similar way, we are today to address unrepentant sins in the lives of those who profess to follow Christ (1 Corinthians 5:9-13), but proclaim the Good News of salvation to unbelieving sinners.

e. Jesus did not speak to or about Herod at all. One time, Jesus implied that he was going to ignore him (Luke 13:31-32), which is exactly what he did later (Luke 23:8-9). Jesus knew that John had already preached to Herod, so to do so again would have been as pointless as “throwing pearls before swine” (Matt. 7:6).

3. A Worldly King’s Reaction (6:19-28)

Antipas submitted to the demands of Herodias and had John arrested. He was then able to hear from John often (6:20), This was his big opportunity! The greatest prophet ever other than Christ was preaching to him! What a privilege! As Charles Spurgeon said, “Alas! the gospel seldom climbs the high places of rank and dignity. It is a great act of mercy towards nobles and princes, when they have the opportunity of hearing a faithful gospel discourse.”

Instead, Herod had John killed. Why? Pride: His ego was too big to admit his sin. Politics: He was too worried about appearing to be a weak leader if he confessed he had made a bad public promise. Cowardice: He was too fearful of Herodius’ to do the right thing.

God, in his mercy, gave Herod one more chance to repent. About eighteen months later, the Messiah Himself stood before Herod (Luke 23). Sadly, Herod on this day made friends with the Roman prefect of Judea, Pilot, as they united in their mutual rejection of Jesus (Luke 23:12).

4. A Heavenly Kingdom’s Reward (6:29-32)

Years later, Herod Antipas and Herodius traveled to Rome to request the right for him to be officially titled “King” over his territory. Instead, the Emperor removed him from office. Antipas and Herodius moved out of their country and into historical obscurity. As far as we know, they never did submit to God.

And what of John the Baptist? No sane person desires martyrdom, but moments after his head was removed from his body he entered into the glorious presence of the Lord where he lives now and where he will enjoy a rich future forever.

And so today, we each choose our path. Will we go Herod’s way, which is the way of this world? Or John the Baptist’s way, and enjoy a heavenly kingdom’s reward? Herod and John made their choices. Now it’s your turn.

Frank

(A printable formatted copy of this and other Capitol Bible Studies is available online at www.capitolcom.org/california/studies. Audio recordings of some Bible studies are also at www.frankerb.com or soundcloud.com/frankerb1.)

(c) 2014 Frank Erb