|Herodians - |
Matthew 22:15, etc.; Mark 12:13, etc. Upholders of the Herodian dynasty, regarding it as the safeguard against direct pagan rule which the Jews loathed, and also as the best compromise between the ancient faith and pagan civilization. Hence they were said to look upon Herod the Great, Antipus, and Agrippa successively as Messiah. Thus, the Herod's were forerunners of the coming antichrist, and like the Old Testament antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 8,11), they paved the way to apostasy by an introduction of Greek refinements, theaters, etc., and a blending of honours to pagan gods along with the recognition of Jehovah and the law. frontHEROD above, and 1 Maccabees 1:10-16). A falsely presumed political necessity was their plea for supporting the Herod's, however unfaithful to God, and even for supporting the Roman government, in so far as the Herodian dynasty leant on it.
Thus on the side of maintaining the Jewish polity they coincided with the Pharisees; on the side of their lax and scarcely orthodox views and means for maintaining it, they had common ground with the Sadducees. Hence what is termed "the leaven of Herod" (Mark 8:15) is "the leaven of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). After Christ's miracle on the sabbath "the Pharisees went forth and straightway took counsel with the H. against Him how they might destroy Him" (Mark 3:6). The legal zealots joined with the Jewish politicians, adherents of the ruling dynasty, in getting rid of One who thwarted the views of both alike by setting up a spiritual kingdom adverse both to legalism and to the temporal kingdom of Herodianism.
The same coalition appears at the close of Christ's ministry: "the Pharisees sent unto Him their disciples with the Herod" as "spies, feigning themselves just men, that they might take hold of His words, that so they might deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor" (Matthew 22:15-16; Mark 12:13; Luke 20:20). With flattering words to Him as "not accepting the person of any" (by which compliment they "tempted" Him to pronounce against Caesar) they asked "Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar?" designing if He said "no" to give Him up to the Roman governor, if "yes" to stir up the people against Him as violating the law (Deuteronomy 17:15). "He perceived their craftiness, and said, Why tempt ye Me? show Me a penny."
Their acceptance of Caesar's currency showed they accepted as a fact Caesar's rule: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Man as made in the image of God owes himself to God (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 9:6; Acts 17:29; James 3:9; Luke 15:8-9). Because Judah had not given herself to (God, she was now under Caesar. "Their question therefore was as if an adulterer were to ask, was it lawful for him to pay the penalty of his adultery" (Claudius).
2 Chronicles 12:8; Jeremiah 27:4-18; Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14; John 19:11. Obedience to Caesar is an application of the higher principle of obedience to God, from whom all power is; Christ's reply unites rather than separates the Christian's political and religious duties. Yet, such is man's perversity, they had the impudence soon after at Jesus' trial before Pilate to say, "We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a king" (Luke 23:2).