Herod the Great: The First Antichrist
He wanted to kill Jesus… Right from the start, the enemy had his sights set on Jesus’ death, to which he used Herod to bring this hopeful reality – But the enemy was only being short-sighted, for he knew that one day, the promised redeemer would crush the head of the serpent (see Genesis 3).
We will be reading soon, but first, let me explain… Joseph has this dream, where he was warned of an imminent danger and that he needs to take Jesus and Mary and flee to Egypt. It was Herod’s mission to slay all male children under the age of two. We don’t know how many children were slewed – quite a bit or only a little. They were able to escape successfully, which was good for them to survive.
Eventually, Herod dies, and Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were able to return to Egypt and live safely. When they arrived, Joseph saw Herod’s son, Archelaus, in power – so they went on to Nazareth.
Luke passes over this episode; however, Matthew explains the prophecy of Hosea 1:1, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” In addition, the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, has something to say on this in 31:15, “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”
NOW, let’s explore the Bible verses for this story, Matthew 2:13-23, “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 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. 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 enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 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. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 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.”