Herod to Judas
This study looks at the New Covenant era, starting with King Herod as a type of Antichrist working in opposition to the Messiah. The continued conflict between Satan and the Word of God is then shown in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, the warnings of apostasy in the Church by Jesus and the battle against syncretism that continues from the Old Covenant times into the Church period. The battle between “the seed of the serpent” and “the seed of the woman” is on open display in the Gospels, as the corrupt religious elite of the time, who Jesus calls “vipers,” are in conflict with the Messiah. The Genesis 3:15 “Protoevangelium,” – the first gospel proclamation – receives its fulfilment at the cross, when Satan claims his greatest victory, with the crucifixion of the “Seed of the Woman.” However, three days later Satan experiences his greatest defeat when Jesus, is raised from the tomb, the triumphant victor, “the Seed of the Woman,” crushes the head of the serpent. The study finishes with Judas as the mystery of iniquity among the disciples and as a type of Antichrist.
Herod the Great, a Type of Antichrist
Antipater I was a convert to Judaism who settled in Idumea (Negev region of Israel), he was the founder of the Herodian Dynasty and father of Herod the Great. Antipater was an Edomite, a descendant of Jacob’s brother Esau, while Herod the Great’s mother was the daughter of a noble from Petra (in southwestern Jordan), which was the capital of the Nabataean kingdom. Antipater became a high-ranking official in Idumea, a man of great influence and wealth. So, although Herod the Great was an Idumean by birth, he was tied to the land of Edom from both sides of his family, however, as his father had converted to Judaism, Herod also became a practising Jew.
Therefore, as a descendant of Esau from his father’s side, Herod was a child of the flesh; he and his sons would be in conflict with the child of promise, Jesus. Herod as a child of the flesh is a type of the Antichrist:
- He was filled with pride and arrogance.
- He was deceptive.
- He was Politically astute, manipulative and ruthless when the need arose.
- He ordered the death of the innocent (the children under the age of two in Bethlehem).
The Serpent’s Deception Fails
Satan manifests as both a serpent and a dragon in scripture: As the serpent he is the deceiver, working as he did in the Garden of Eden, causing people to doubt God’s Word, blind them to the truth, speak lies into their lives and deceive them with evil masquerading as righteousness. As the dragon Satan is a blunt instrument of warfare, he seeks to kill, steal and destroy. In the Gospels we see Satan switching back and forth between dragon and serpent in his attempts to put an end to the ministry of the Son of God – Jesus.
Satan’s efforts as the serpent is clearly visible during the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus, the Seed of the Woman is confronted by Satan the deceiver (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-12):
- Lust of the flesh: Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread”. Jesus replied, “You shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
- Satan’s second temptation – Lust of the eyes: Satan said to Jesus, “All these (kingdoms of the world) I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus replied, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”
- Satan’s third temptation – Pride of life: Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down (from the Temple pinnacle), for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’.” Jesus replied, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”.
Jesus responded to each temptation by quoting scripture, the lessons taught throughout the history of Old Covenant Israel. Satan is defeated by the Seed of the Woman using the Word of God.
Jesus Is the Word, the Logos
Scripture identifies Jesus as the Son of God, the gospel of John expands on this title by referring to Jesus as the Word, the Logos of God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:1-2, 14a)
The use the Greek noun “the Word” in John 1:1 is unique, being used to identify Jesus as the exact expression of God’s Word and will, thus He is God’s Word personified. In Jesus, God expresses himself with complete clarity:
- “My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me” (John 7:16).
- “These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me” (John 14:24).
- “I have given them your word and the world has hated them …” (John 17:14a).
Note, that the world did not only hate Jesus, it also hated God’s Word. Man’s so-called wisdom is in total opposition to God’s Word, it is “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (James 3:15). Just as God’s Word is represented in Jesus, man’s wisdom will be represented in the Antichrist.
When Jesus speaks, they are not just His words, they are the Father’s Words. However, the “enmity” of Genesis 3:15 involves a battle between the Word and the contamination of the Word by man’s wisdom. The Seed of the Woman at enmity with the seed of the serpent. Jesus said, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:43). In this profound statement Jesus emphasizes that He is the representative of the Father, yet He is rejected, for another – the Antichrist – who will come in His own authority, with the philosophies of man, and he will be accepted.
Jesus Warns of Apostasy in the Church
The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matt. 13:31-32)
The Parable of the Mustard Seed was taught in rhetorical hyperbole. Here, Jesus uses a shrub/tree coming from a seed (John 12:24) to represent kingdom growth, consistent with other tree/kingdom references (Ezekiel 17:23; Daniel 4:11-21). The seed’s growth attracts the presence of birds that come to roost in the tree. According to kosher laws most birds are not kosher and cannot be eaten, the kosher birds are: chicken, turkey, duck, geese, quail, pheasant, pigeons and doves. All other birds are not kosher, with carrion birds such as vultures at the top of the list (Matthew 13:4,19; Revelation 18:2). The foul (excuse the pun) birds contaminate the kingdom while taking advantage of its benefits.
The picture painted in the Parable of the Mustard Seed by Jesus, is of the humble beginnings of the church experiencing an explosive rate of growth. It grows large and becomes a source of food, rest and shelter for both believers and false professing individuals, that seek to consume or take advantage of its benefits, while residing or mixing among what was produced by the seed (1 Corinthians 5:1;6:7;2 Corinthians 11:13; Galatians 1:7). In other words, Jesus predicts that while the Church will grow extremely large from just a small start, it will not remain pure. While this is not a condemnation of the “bigness” of modern Christianity, it does show us the greatest burden that comes with it. The Parable of the Mustard Seed is both a prediction and a warning. May we listen to its message.
The Parable of the tares and the wheat (Matt. 13:24-30)
The parable reveals that the field is not left to the “wheat,” the devil sows “tares”. Notice that the devil cannot change the “wheat”, but he can sow “tares” in such quantities as to completely change the aspect of the field. The servants of the Lord are at present forbidden to gather the “tares”; they are to let them grow until the harvest. As the harvest is at the “end of the age”, the parable teaches that there is to be a two-fold development of good and evil down to the end of the age. The good growing better and the evil worse. Christ will come back when the wheat of the Church is ripe, and that will be when the “tares” are also ripe. The “tares” will be gathered up into bundles ready for burning.
The Parable of the yeast and the dough (Matthew 13:33)
This parable is a simple story, taking a snapshot from the every day life of a woman in the home preparing to make bread. The woman takes yeast (leaven) and mixes it into dough, in time the whole of the dough is leavened. The leaven in this parable is not the Gospel; leaven in the Bible is a type of evil – sin (Lev.2:11; Matt. 16:6-12; 1 Cor. 5:6-8). It represents false doctrine. Leaven is a species of corruption produced by fermentation and tends to putrefaction, left to itself it will corrupt the whole batch of dough. The gospel does not work that way, or the whole world would have been converted, also the meal is not humanity. The meal does not come from the “tares” but the wheat. The meal represents the “seed” of the Word. The woman hid the leaven, why hide the gospel? The woman represents a “false system,” she is the Jezebel of the fourth church (Thyatira), or the Great Whore of Revelation 17. The leaven is false doctrine that infiltrates the Church such as image worship, justification by works, liberal doctrines, prosperity theology, the social gospel etc.
Jesus Warns of the Battle against Syncretism
“The gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the church)” (Matt. 16:18).
Jesus said these words to the disciples near Caesarea Philippi at the foot of Mount Hermon. The correct exegesis of this scripture is very important.
For Gentiles today the word “gate” means a barrier that must be breached to enter – gates are a barrier that prevent entry. So, the “gates of hell will not prevail against the Church” is interpreted as Christianity breaking into the unreached cultures of the world. This is a clear error of scripture being interpreted through cultural bias. We need to interpret the scripture from the perspective of the cultural understanding of the disciples.
In Biblical time gates were complex structures, with many rooms and chambers constructed within. They were not only for defence – kings and city elders had council meetings there (Ruth 4:1), and markets were also erected at the entrance to cities. To the disciples “the gates of hell” would be the strategic plans of Satan.
Very close to where Jesus and the disciples were gathered, at the foot of Mount Hermon is a large cave, inside which was a seemingly bottomless pool. This pool was subsequently destroyed by an earthquake, but the cave is still present for tourists to visit today. The area is now a picnic site, where a stream (a tributary of the Jordan), flows from a fault line in the mountain. The Greek influence on the community of Caesarea Philippi during the Gospel period, is evident in that the cave was seen as one of the entry points to Hades – a gateway to hell. It became a place of Pan worship, because the presence of the spring water would be a place where nymphs would congregate, attracting the attention of the god Pan.
Temples at Panias (called Banias today as Arabic does not have the letter “p”)
There were four temples constructed at Panias:
- To the Emperor – the worship of man as god.
- To Zeus – The god of the sky, and ruler of the Olympian gods. The name Zeus is a derivative of the Greek word Theos meaning “god.” Zeus was an alter ego of Nimrod, who was ruler of Babylon and stood on top of the Tower of Babel.
- To Nemesis – she was the goddess who sought revenge against those who succumbed to hubris and disrespected the gods. The goddess is an alter ego of Semiramis, the wife of Nimrod.
- To Pan – a demigod, who was driven by a quest for pleasures of the flesh, with a focus on the lusty and lecherous. For Pan there was no such thing as bad sex, so bestiality with goats took place at his temple at Panias.
The correct exegesis of the scripture, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the Church),” is that Jesus is stating that the plans of Satan will not prevail against the Church. As this statement is said at the “Gates of Hades” at Banias, where the four Temples stood as a corrupting influence for the people of Israel, the warning is clearly that the syncretism of “Babylon Religion” will contaminate Christianity, but will not succeed in prevailing over Christianity. The Temples were influential in the Hellenization of the Jews, especially during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes IV (a type of the Antichrist). The “Babylon Religion” would also represent a danger to the Church – but will not prevail, as the last days will see a cleansing of “man’s wisdom” from the Church, preparing a pure spotless bride for the returning Bridegroom.
“Mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes’” (Rev. 17:5), was established by Nimrod and Semiramis, who sat at the entrance of Bab-El (the gates of god) and planned a religion where the philosophies of mankind would replace God’s Word. Jesus, at a place that was considered to be an entry to Hades, states that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the Church).” As we saw earlier, outside the cave are four temples, one dedicated to man as god, one dedicated to the pleasures of the flesh, one dedicated to Nimrod, and the fourth dedicated to Semiramis. The plan from hell is that man’s wisdom will subvert God’s wisdom – that is the essence of Babylon Religion. The attack on the word of God takes many forms – man creating new religions, humanism, syncretism, pluralism, heresy etc. The Church needs to recognise that God hates man’s wisdom replacing or contaminating his Word. The Church must not justify the philosophies of men.
Jesus Refuses to Exalt Mary
The book of Luke (11:27-28) records a very important narrative, which counters the exaltation of Mary by the Roman Catholic Church. A woman attempted to have Jesus exalt Mary saying: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” Jesus does not fall for this trap to elevated Mary, which is the essence of Babylon Religion, but responds by saying; “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Every attempt Satan made to contaminate and corrupt the work of Jesus is foiled by Him.
Jesus Warns of the Increase in Deception
In Matthew 24:3 the disciples ask Jesus “what will be the signs of your coming and of the end of the age.” The very first warning sign Jesus gives His disciples is “Watch out that no one deceives you,” (24:4) pointing to the religious deception in the last days that will not only be in the world, but also in His Church. While all the other signs are given only once by Jesus, the warning of deception is repeated twice more:
“Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” (vs. 11).
“For false Christs (anointings) and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect” (vs. 24).
The warning from Jesus is clear, spiritual deception (the gates of hell) in the world and in the Church will be the hallmark of the last days.
Jesus Must Die!
In Matthew 23 Jesus makes a strong connection between the Scribes and Pharisees and the evil of the serpent in the garden of Eden, calling the religious men vipers:
“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (Matt. 23:33).
The Scribes and Pharisees elevated themselves in the eyes of the people by being committed to ensuring that every aspect of the law was enforced, so much so they missed the spirit of the law entirely. Yet these men were not righteous, but were rather self-righteous hypocrites, whose exterior of religious piety hid a self-serving wickedness.
Jesus called these men vipers because they were “the seed of the serpent,” and from their mouth came the poison of deception that worked in opposition to the Seed of the Woman. Because of their evil Jesus declares them to be doomed; these religious leaders did not understand that the Judge who will sit on the White throne of Judgment, and test every word they had spoken, was standing before them. Jesus goes through the seven woes of Judgment against the Scribes and the Pharisees in Matthew 23. These religious men thought they were better than their ancestors who had killed God’s prophets, yet Jesus stresses that they are no better, and would continue to kill the righteous. He concludes His discourse by stating that as they were no better than their forefathers, so the punishment for killing God’s people will fall on them.
These proud men could not tolerate the verbal lambasting they had just endured, this made them even more determined to rid themselves of this man, they decided to murder Jesus. In doing so they were going to fulfill Jesus’ prophecy, they were no better than their ancestors, they were the accursed “seed of the serpent.”
These religious leaders, the serpent’s offspring, followed the tactics of their master Satan, and used treachery, guile and deceit, to plotted the assassination of Jesus. Satan’s greatest victory was attained through the crucifixion of Jesus, the serpent had struck the heel of “the seed of the woman.” However, three days later Satan’s greatest victory turned into his greatest defeat, when the earthquake struck and the tombstone rolled back to show the tomb was empty – Jesus had risen! Jesus is alive and he is soon returning to earth to claim His right to rule as King over His kingdom, overthrowing Satan’s earthly rule.
Genesis 3:15, The Prophecy Clarified
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15 is a “Protoevangelium,” – the “first gospel proclamation.” The seed promise finds its complete fulfilment in the Saviour who, in the fullness of time, was “born of woman” (Gal. 4:4). The woman’s seed being bruised unquestionably looks to the suffering of Christ on behalf of the sins of humanity. The fact that only Christ’s “heel” (in contrast to the serpent’s “head”) was to be injured, points to the Lord’s resurrection from the dead. Jesus’ death would not terminate the divine mission. However, to bruise the head is a picture of fatal and final destruction that Satan and Satan’s seed the Antichrist will experience.
There is a clear division in the allegiance of mankind. Much of humanity will side with Satan and his seed, rather than with the Son of God – the seed of the woman. This teaching therefore, stands in opposition to the modern notion that all men are inherently good and are therefore free to pursue the course of their own interests in life with Heaven’s approval. Genesis 3:15 contradicts universalism. The prophecy reveals that the glorious cause of the woman’s Seed would prevail ultimately. Satan and his forces will be crushed.
Judas, a Type of Antichrist
Judas was a common name in New Testament times, and is the Greek form of Judah – the most powerful and most important tribe of Israel. The irony of the name Judas is that it means “one who is the object of praise,” and there was never an individual more unworthy of praise than he. There is however the fact that Judas was most definitely a man of the world, his decision to follow Jesus was on a selfish level, Judas saw in Jesus a man that could benefit him, assist him, and profit him – Judas was all about self, he saw in Jesus a means to better himself, to use Jesus for self-gain. There are most certainly many in the world who would view this mentality as worthy of praise, the hyper-competitive and high-achieving people of the banking world would be one example. Judas was the “mystery of iniquity” – the evil that is at work in the world, that will one day culminate in the appearance of the Antichrist – inserted into the followers of the “mystery of Godliness” – That God would become man and dwell among us. Even today within churches around the world some people do not know Jesus on a spiritual level, but that use His name for self-benefit, self-profit, they represent “the mystery of iniquity” in the churches. Jesus had a wolf in sheep’s clothing among the inner core of His disciples, and we have wolves in sheep’s clothing amongst evangelical Christianity.
During the betrayal of Jesus, we see Judas is in the Garden of Gethsemane, leading the officials of the Chief Priest and a detachment of the High Priest guards. The “son of perdition,” Judas, was at the head of a crowd of religious leaders and soldiers, the apostate religion of the day looking to persecute the True Faith. The only other person in the Bible that is called the “son of perdition,” and is possessed by Satan is the Antichrist. The Antichrist will also be at the head of religious leaders and military forces that will persecute the Church. Judas is a type of the Antichrist, the seed of the serpent at enmity with the Son of God, and what were the disciples doing during this critical conflict between good and evil? Sleeping! The Disciples knew the scriptures and prophecies, Jesus had told them what was going to happen, and despite being repeatedly asked by Jesus to watch and pray with Him, the disciples were sound asleep, oblivious to momentous events about to happen before them. The Church has the Bible which records all the prophecies regarding the last days, and warns of false prophets and teachers arising during this time. We also have Jesus repeatedly in the book of Matthew warning that the Church must watch and pray, and what is the Church doing? SLEEPING!!!
Listen to some of the words of warning from scripture, that we should be paying heed to:
- Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus on the signs of the last days “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name claiming, ‘I am the anointed one’ and will deceive many”.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:3: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in anyway, for that day (the tribulation) will not come, until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed.”
- 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons”
- 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “…in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
- In Revelation 3:14-22, Jesus is standing outside the Last Days wealthy, apostate, lukewarm Laodicean Church, and He is about to vomit them out of His mouth.
We have been warned – we cannot remain silent. Not only should believers be sounding the warning of the growing apostacy in the Church, but they should also be committed to praying for their communities to be delivered from the growing deception.
The “Mystery of Iniquity”
The “mystery of iniquity (KJV)” that Paul writes about in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is evil at work in the world that will one day culminate in the appearance of the Antichrist, the evil is restrained at the moment by the prayers of the saints, but when the Church is raptured, Satan’s evil will no longer be hindered, the restraining work of the Holy Spirit, in answer to prayer, will be moved out of the way. Because the work of Satan is hindered by the Church, he will continue in his attempts at weakening God’s true Church through syncretism, contaminating God’s Word with man’s wisdom, and in doing so build up his own counterfeit apostate church. The aim of the counterfeit church will be to direct man away from God on a path to eternal damnation, and prepare the way for the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:3).
Jesus is the “mystery of Godliness”, which is when God became man. The Antichrist is the fulfilment of the “mystery of iniquity” – which is when Satan embodies a man and is worshipped by mankind. Judas is described as “the son of perdition” (John 17:12 (KJV]), he is a son of the author of perdition, Satan. Judas is the “mystery of iniquity” among the disciples of Jesus; Jesus confirms this referring to him as a devil (definite article in John 6:71). The Antichrist is also the son of perdition and “the mystery of iniquity”. He will have a disguise of righteousness but will obey the father of lies, Satan.
Judas is a type of the Antichrist
- He is the son of perdition – only Judas and the Antichrist are given this title, which means Satan enters into them and possesses them.
- He is a deceiver and liar.
- His self-centred desire for stature and wealth.
- His pretence at being a humanitarian and concern for the poor, (a social gospel).
- He led the religious powers of the day to persecute the Church.
- Judas’ betrayal and deception were part of God’s plan.
A study of the Gospel period shows that the spiritual battle by Satan to impose his will upon mankind, not only continues into the Gospel period, but picks up steam as he comes into direct conflict with the Messiah, the Son of God. With the formation of the Church Satan will focus his efforts on destroying that which Jesus has established, and when that fails Satan will change tactics and seek to contaminate the Church with his lies and deceptions, until the “Church” no longer represents what Jesus and the Apostle’s had established.