Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on Luke writes:
“Soon they were replaced by lesser men, however, and these compromising leaders held onto the Land of Promise, not by trusting God to protect and provide for them, but through political maneuvering and backroom deals. They accepted the help of Rome to keep other invaders out. Unfortunately, their politicking left them with the mere illusion of autonomy.
LIKE ACCEPTING FAVORS FROM THE MAFIA, THE HELP OF ROME CAME WITH STRINGS ATTACHED. THOSE STRINGS BECAME ROPES, WHICH THE ROMANS REPLACED WITH CHAINS.
Rome had come to rule Jerusalem through a puppet leader, a descendant of Esau, who sat on the throne God had promised to the descendants of Jacob. This usurper, Herod, jealously guarded his ill-gotten title, ‘KING OF THE JEWS,” and killed anyone who threatened to take it away, including members of his own family. Meanwhile, the priesthood had become a corrupt crime syndicate and the temple a funnel for their money. Those who loved God and cherished His law lacked the power to change Israel’s future. The rich and powerful saw no reason to trust God for anything. Understandably, those who hoped for the coming of the Messiah and the restoration of Israel finally lost all hope. Theirs had become an impossible situation.”
“Herod was not of Jewish blood. He was a wealthy Idumean, according to Josephus. Idumeans descended from Esau, who “despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:33-34) and lost it to his scheming brother Jacob. Herod apparently decided to turn the tables on history and snatch back what his forebear had bargained away; the right to rule Israel. Political support from Rome and a strategic marriage to a Jewish royal gave him the crown around 40 BC, and he kept it through bloody intrigue for more than forty years.”
Julian Huxley called that ‘Religion without Revelation’
“It is obvious that any religion which lays primary emphasis on salvation in the next world will be something of an obstacle towards getting the best out of this world as speedily as possible.
Once we have rid ourselves of this doctrine of a Divine Power external to ourselves, we can get busy with the real task of dealing with our inner forces.”
Carl Teichrib “Games of Gods” writes:
“In the early 1960, Columbia University professor, Amitai Etzioni, remarked that ‘Modern society is to a large degree a bureaucratic society…The most powerful social units which make up modern society are bureaucracies.’
Certainly we must operate with law and order. I do not deny this, nor would I wish to live otherwise. But we have moved far from the transcendent nature of TRUE LAW, which supersedes class distinctions and generations, remaining anchored in a reality that surpasses politics. In the West this was the TEN COMMANDMENTS, which gave us LIBERTY WITH RESPONSIBILITY.
In the technically managed society, however, law is replaced with REGULATION. The result is a constant state of flux as new approaches are necessary to modify public and private behavior. ‘RULES’, therefore, change with cultural whims and lobbying pressures and the never ending demands of political bureaucracy. It is the soft-Modernist MACHINERY OF THE WEST. Everything needs to be ordered and categorized; everything must be numbered, even as the regulations themselves are counted in the tens of thousands.
For example, at the end of 2016 the US FEDERAL REGISTER – a listing of regulations and notices added or amended by the federal government – topped out at 97,110 pages for that year alone. This number does not include the mountain of state, city, municipal and county regulations, nor the multitude of other rules and codes we regularly bind ourselves with. And everywhere it is the same; the hall mark of Western civilization is micro-management.
We have become saturated in the numerical organization of life, from birth to school to profession to grave. But it makes sense. When naturalism is our basis for reality and scientific materialism our source of authority, when consumerism becomes our purpose and product of our identity, then what is MAN BUT A NUMBER?
HUMANITY SIMPLY TURNS INTO ANOTHER THING TO BE ENGINEERED, ANOTHER STATISTIC TO BE CATALOGUED. WE BECOME A HUMAN RESOURCE.”
“Herod pretended to be ‘a good Jew’ by eliminating pork from his diet, but he indulged an insatiable appetite for murder – a heinous violation of the sixth commandment. He built a magnificent temple for the God of Israel – an architectural wonder in its day – yet appointed one corrupt high priest after another. He taxed Jews through the temple in keeping with Old Testament Law but then used the proceeds to break the first commandment, building cities and temples in honor of the Roman emperor and his pantheon of Roman deities. The ‘days of Herod, king of Judea’ were prosperous for the powerful, but horrific for everyone else.”
Gabriel reveals to Zechariah:
• His prayer has been heard
• Elizabeth with bear him a son
• His son’s name shall be called JOHN
• He must not drink wine or strong drinks
• He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb
• He will bring many Jews to the Lord
• He will go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah
• He will prepare the people for the Lord