New course explores the Herods of ancient Palestine

By December 13, 2022

Palestine (MNN) — Bethlehem Bible College will explore rulers of ancient Palestine in a new course: Herods in the Holy Land.

The course will cover Herod the Great and also his sons and grandsons. The Herods ruled in the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, including the time of Jesus’ ministry.

Haytham Dieck, the course instructor, says, “They had a wide impact, especially in the Bible. Each one of them did something in some way or another. Truly, there is a Herod’s heritage. Of course, the biggest heritage is of Herod the Great, his building, and his legacy.”

Herod the Great built a temple in Jerusalem that was even larger and more magnificent than Solomon’s. He also constructed the Herodium, a lavish palace built into a small hill.

Herods vs. kingdom of God

But he treated his people brutally, slaughtering Jewish scholars and even members of his own family. The magi visited Herod the Great on their quest to find Jesus. His fear of losing power led to a massacre of children in the region.

His son Herod Antipas followed in his footsteps. Dieck says, “He ordered the beheading of John the Baptist. Jesus called him a fox (Luke 12:32), and even in the trial of Jesus, the Herod he met was Herod Antipas. He mocked Jesus.”

The course contrasts the Herods with the kingdom of Jesus. The Herods constructed buildings, but Jesus builds a people. The Herods ruled through force, But Jesus through love.

The course goes on to cover Herod Agrippa. Dieck says, “He died in Caesarea when people start to glorify Him as a god. And he accepted that. He did not say anything. In a way, he was happy to know that. And then suddenly, he was struck down. And according to the Bible, worms actually ate him.”

“For this kind of Kingdom, eventually the ruler wants to stay here forever. They want to be glorified as a god.”

Paul encountered Herod Agrippa II, who expressed interest in the news of Jesus.



Header photo courtesy of Bethlehem Bible College.