A Tyrant and Jesus

In Daniel 8, the angel Gabriel explains to God’s prophet Daniel the nature of a specific evil pagan king who is coming down history’s chute.  Daniel, about 500 years before Jesus will be born, has been allowed to see a vision representing the next few colossal kingdom shifts in the world, and in particular given special insight into one future king.  

By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. 

Daniel 8:25

I just want to take a quick minute point out that it is the nature of bad rulers to be proud.  From Pharaoh in Exodus to the beast in Revelation, Belshazzar in Daniel to Herod in the Gospels, from Nero to Stalin Kim Jong Un, bad kings want to set themselves up as gods.  They want to be worshiped.  They want to be feared.  They want to be adored.  They want your hearts and your money and your very selves.  And they will react violently when they don’t get them.

Contrast that with the King of Kings.  

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

John 13:3-5

Two very different pictures, Daniel 8 and John 13.  

The Bible does a good job of our preparing our eyes for tyrants, and preparing our hearts for the true King.  

The One whose hand will break all the unbreakable tyrants.  


He Doesn’t Control Some Things

That’s right.  He controls all things.  

Is a trumpet blown in a city,and the people are not afraid?  Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it? 

Amos 3:6

Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?  Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? 

Lamentations 3:37-39

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Acts 4:27-28

And this is very, very Good News.  

The greatest comfort I can give a child of God, and I can only give it to a child of God (meaning someone who has been adopted by God through faith in Jesus Christ), is that God is in total, absolute control of your pain.   And the reason why that’s comforting for the Christian is that God promises to work all things together for the good of His elect.  

This is a God whose hand predestined the worst sin in history for His people’s rescue.  

He does no evil, but neither is He perplexed or surprised by any evil.  And He will work all things together for His good purposes.  

From the other side of Christ’s return, there will not be one moment of history, from Eden’s tree to Calvary’s Cross to Hitler’s Holocaust to Hell’s shut doors, where Satan will be able to say, “Well, at least He didn’t get to work that one out for His purposes.”  When all is said and done, God’s glory and beauty and His people’s good will be pulled from every page of history, even the bloody and awful and scary ones.  And the greatest proof of that is Christ’s bloody and awful Cross.  

Some of you who are born again and in chaos or agony need to internalize this.  

What is frustrating to the unbelieving heart is peace to believing one:  There is no sovereign but God.  

I am telling you to pray to the God who will roll up the sky like a blanket, who set the Milky Way spinning as though it were a top, who fashioned all our souls from His own creative heart.  This is not a God who will win at the last second on a Hail Mary.  I am here to tell you there is a King in the Heavens.  A King.  God is not a powerful figure with good intentions who can only do so much.  This is the King of all creation, and He is taking audiences with all who will call upon Him in faith.  

There is nothing that befalls us that is not ordained by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Keep all your gods, America.  I have met the only One who can save a man like me.  

This God is in control.

A 30 Second Plea

John the Baptist was willing to be jailed for telling King Herod that he should not be committing adultery with his brother’s wife.  Shemaiah the prophet had the boldness to tell king Rehoboam about his folly even though there were 180,000 soldiers standing behind the man.  

Christian, do not mortgage your integrity or spiritual authority by whitewashing the evils of an earthly king.  If you alter your standard of wickedness because of a political leaning, because this time the perpetrator is on your political team, then you’ve revealed which king you’re really worshiping at the moment.  And it isn’t the One in Heaven.  

The world needs more John the Baptists.  Because the world needs more repentance.  

Heaven help us if we ever defend Herod’s adultery because we like his tax plan.  

2 Thoughts On Herods


 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled.

Matthew 2:1-3

In a day of bombast and one-upsmanship among many at the forefront of the American vessel, I thought two things when I read this this morning.  And I think both things are supported by what the Spirit and Apostles tell us about Herod the Great and the Herodian sons who reigned after from this chapter in your New Testament all the way to Acts 12.  


  1. A man who does not like being upstaged is a man who wants to be worshiped.  
  2. Fragile and tyrannical kings will, in the end, be threatened when their subjects worship the true God, because the true God is something they can’t mold to their own liking. 

All Herods want to be gods, and so all Herods are troubled by the real God.  No matter what lip-service they might pay to Him.  Remember, Herod Antipas liked listening to John the Baptist, but when the choice was between the prophet’s head and his own pride, the decision was made before the party wound down.  

Food for thought(s).