Herod the tetrarch - This was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. See the notes on Matthew 2:1, where an account is given of the Herod family. The word tetrarch properly signifies a person who rules over the fourth part of a country; but it is taken in a more general sense by the Jewish writers, meaning sometimes a governor simply, or a king; see Matthew 14:9. The estates of Herod the Great were not, at his death, divided into four tetrarchies, but only into three: one was given by the Emperor Augustus to Archelaus; the second to Herod Antipas, the person in the text; and the third to Philip: all three, sons of Herod the Great.
Herod the tetrarch - See also Mark 6:14-16; Luke 9:7-9. This was a son of Herod the Great. Herod the Great died probably in the first year after the birth of Christ, and left his kingdom to his three sons, of whom this “Herod Antipas” was one. He ruled over Galilee and Perea. See the notes at Matthew 2:15. The title “tetrarch” literally denotes one who rules over a “fourth” part of any country. It came, however, to signify the governor or ruler of any province subject to the Roman emperor - Robinson, Lexicon.
Heard of the fame of Jesus - Jesus had been a considerable time engaged in the work of the ministry, and it may seem remarkable that he had not before heard of him. Herod might, however, have been absent on some expedition to a remote part of the country. It is to be remembered, also, that he was a man of much dissoluteness of morals, and that he paid little attention to the affairs of the people. He might have heard of Jesus before, but it had not arrested his attention. He did not think it a matter worthy of much regard.
The warning message of John was in the same lines as the warning to Nineveh, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). Nineveh repented, and called upon God, and God accepted their acknowledgment of Him. Forty years of probation was granted them in which to reveal the genuineness of their repentance and to turn from sin. But Nineveh turned again to the worship of images; her iniquity became deeper and more desperate than before, because the light had come and had not been heeded. 2SM 149.1
John called every class to repentance. To the Pharisees and Sadducees he said, Flee from the wrath to come. Your claims to Abraham as your father are not of the least value to you. They will not impart to you pure principles and holiness of character. Ceremonial sacrifices possess no value unless you discern their object, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. You turn from God's requirements and follow your own perverted ideas; and you lose those characteristics which constitute you children of Abraham. 2SM 149.2
And pointing to the rocks in wild confusion around through which the stream was winding its course, he said, “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:9). 2SM 149.3Read in context »
John informed his disciples that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Saviour of the world. As his work was closing, he taught his disciples to look to Jesus, and follow Him as the Great Teacher. John's life was sorrowful and self-denying. He heralded the first advent of Christ, but was not permitted to witness His miracles, and enjoy the power manifested by Him. When Jesus should establish Himself as a teacher, John knew that he himself must die. His voice was seldom heard, except in the wilderness. His life was lonely. He did not cling to his father's family, to enjoy their society, but left them in order to fulfill his mission. Multitudes left the busy cities and villages and flocked to the wilderness to hear the words of the wonderful prophet. John laid the ax to the root of the tree. He reproved sin, fearless of consequences, and prepared the way for the Lamb of God. EW 154.1
Herod was affected as he listened to the powerful, pointed testimonies of John, and with deep interest he inquired what he must do to become his disciple. John was acquainted with the fact that he was about to marry his brother's wife, while her husband was yet living, and faithfully told Herod that this was not lawful. Herod was unwilling to make any sacrifice. He married his brother's wife, and through her influence, seized John and put him in prison, intending however to release him. While there confined, John heard through his disciples of the mighty works of Jesus. He could not listen to His gracious words; but the disciples informed him and comforted him with what they had heard. Soon John was beheaded, through the influence of Herod's wife. I saw that the humblest disciples who followed Jesus, witnessed His miracles, and heard the comforting words which fell from His lips, were greater than John the Baptist; that is, they were more exalted and honored, and had more pleasure in their lives. EW 154.2
John came in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the first advent of Jesus. I was pointed down to the last days and saw that John represented those who should go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to herald the day of wrath and the second advent of Jesus. EW 155.1Read in context »
At the very moment when the feasting was at its height, a bloodless hand came forth, and traced on the wall of the banqueting room the doom of the king and his kingdom. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin,” were the words written, and they were interpreted by Daniel to mean, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.... Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” And the record tells us, “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.” Te 49.1
Little did Belshazzar think that an unseen Watcher beheld his idolatrous revelry. But there is nothing said or done that is not recorded on the books of heaven. The mystic characters traced by the bloodless hand testify that God is a witness to all we do, and that He is dishonored by feasting and reveling. We cannot hide anything from God. We cannot escape from our accountability to Him. Wherever we are and whatever we do, we are responsible to Him whose we are by creation and by redemption.—Manuscript 50, 1893. Te 49.2
Awful Result of Herod's Dissipation—In many things Herod had reformed his dissolute life. But the use of luxurious food and stimulating drinks was constantly enervating and deadening the moral as well as the physical powers, and warring against the earnest appeals of the Spirit of God, which had struck conviction to the heart of Herod, arousing his conscience to put away his sins. Herodias was acquainted with the weak points in the character of Herod. She knew that under ordinary circumstances, while his intelligence controlled him, she could not obtain the death of John.... Te 49.3Read in context »
The awful spectacle appears just as it was. Satan, his angels, and his subjects have no power to turn from the picture of their own work. Each actor recalls the part which he performed. Herod, who slew the innocent children of Bethlehem that he might destroy the King of Israel; the base Herodias, upon whose guilty soul rests the blood of John the Baptist; the weak, time-serving Pilate; the mocking soldiers; the priests and rulers and the maddened throng who cried, “His blood be on us, and on our children”—all behold the enormity of their guilt. They vainly seek to hide from the divine majesty of His countenance, outshining the glory of the sun, while the redeemed cast their crowns at the Saviour's feet, exclaiming, “He died for me!” SR 424.1
Amid the ransomed throng are the apostles of Christ, the heroic Paul, the ardent Peter, the loved and loving John, and their truehearted brethren, and with them the vast host of martyrs; while outside the walls, with every vile and abominable thing, are those by whom they were persecuted, imprisoned, and slain. There is Nero, that monster of cruelty and vice, beholding the joy and exaltation of those whom he once tortured, and in whose extremest anguish he found Satanic delight. His mother is there to witness the result of her own work; to see how the evil stamp of character transmitted to her son, the passions encouraged and developed by her influence and example, have borne fruit in crimes that caused the world to shudder. SR 424.2
There are papist priests and prelates, who claimed to be Christ's ambassadors, yet employed the rack, the dungeon, and the stake to control the consciences of His people. There are the proud pontiffs who exalted themselves above God and presumed to change the law of the Most High. Those pretended fathers of the church have an account to render to God from which they would fain be excused. Too late they are made to see that the Omniscient One is jealous of His law, and that He will in no wise clear the guilty. They learn now that Christ identifies His interest with that of His suffering people; and they feel the force of His own words, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40. SR 424.3Read in context »