The Leaven of Herod

In the Gospel according to Mark, the Lord Jesus warns us about the leaven of Herod. In Mark 8:15 the Bible says, “And he charged them saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.”

         In Matthew twenty-two, there were three groups that tempted Christ: the Herodians, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees. When they all finished questioning Him, they finally said that from that day forward they would ask Him no more questions because no one could withstand Him. In that story, the Lord Jesus pronounced woes upon the religious system of His day. Christ said to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. He said to beware of the leaven of the Sadducees, which is doctrinal error. We should also guard against the doctrine of the Herodians, or the leaven of Herod. What is it? The leaven of Herod is worldliness. The Sadducees lived only for the present; the Pharisees were hypocrites, and the Herodians were worldly.

         The world is not becoming more Christian; Christians are becoming more worldly. The ideas of the Herodians were purely political. They did anything to promote the famous Herodian family. Even though the family of Herod is dead, the idea that the world needs a political saviour is very much alive today. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

         I do not mind asking politicians, “What do you believe about the great moral issues of our day?” or saying, “Let’s vote morality up and immorality down.” If a man says he is for abortion, I am against what he supports. If a man says he is for homosexuality, then I am against what he supports. 

         However, the church of the living God has gone into great error today by becoming so politically involved. We want the best moral representatives we can get to represent us politically; but we must guard against putting our hope and trust in the things of this world and in any political system. Every Christian adult should be registered to vote and become as involved as possible with this country. Our task as Christians involves more than making the world a better place from which to go to Hell. We must not move our hope and trust from where it should be, which is in the Lord.

         God’s work is not done through religious coalitions. It is done through individuals and churches that are determined to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are not careful, we get ideas like, “If we just had a great religious coalition, think what we could do.” For example, there is something today called the “Christian Coalition.” I do not belong to it. I am a Christian, but there are many people in that coalition who are not Christians. They would be much better off to call it a “conservative” coalition than to call it a “Christian” coalition. I have no problem calling it a conservative coalition, but I have a real problem calling it a Christian coalition because they fly the Christian flag over too many things that are not Christian. I appreciate the information that I receive about voting records and issues, but it is still not necessarily “Christian” in the definition of Scripture.

         The only hope we have is not in an attempt to reinstate “moral values.” The only hope we have is in a spiritual revival. When revival comes, the moral fiber will be raised on the tide of spiritual revival.

         May God keep us from being infiltrated with the leaven of Herod, which is worldliness. The idea of allowing a little of the world into the church in order to reach the world does not come from the Lord; it comes from the Devil. All of us are in the world, but as God’s children we are not of the world. This world system is not a friend to biblical Christianity.