“And on an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering and address to them, and the people kept crying out. ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died” (Acts 12:21-23).
Obviously, the angel was at someone’s service, for we read: “Angel of the Lord”. Who was it that struck Herod so that he was eaten by worms? It was not Jesus, because John says: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:17). Jesus did not come to judge the world, but to save the world (John 12:47). Jesus does not contradict himself. Could the Father have been the one who sent the angel to strike Herod? What does Paul say about God the Father? “For this is good and pleasing before God our Savior, who wants every man to be saved” — Herod included; therefore He could not have killed someone he wanted to save. It could not have been the Spirit, either, as the Spirit took Jesus’ place, and Jesus only saves (John 14:16,18).
The one who struck Herod was the angel of Jehovah, by the following reasons:
The angel of Jehovah was against the Egyptians: Ex. 14:19-20.
The angel of Jehovah was against the Canaanites Ex. 33:2.
The angel of Jehovah was against the Assyrians 2 Kings 19:35.
The angel of Jehovah does not forgive anyone Ex. 23:20,21.
The angel of Jehovah is a persecutor, not a defender Ps. 35:5.
The angel of Jehovah became an enemy to his own people Is. 63:9,10.
The angel of Jehovah terrifies the servants of the Lord 1 Cor. 21:30.
The angel of Jehovah curses Judges 5:23.
The angel of Jehovah turns himself into Satan Num. 22:32.
All of these occurrences happened before Jesus was born, that is, before grace came. The acts of the angel of Jehovah are the acts of Jehovah, so the angel announces the works of Jehovah, as it happened with Moses in Ex. 3:1-8, and also with Gideon: “Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, ‘Jehovah is with you, O valiant warrior” (Judges 6:11,12).
Jehovah was the killer of men as he condemned them to death in Gen. 3:17-19 and Rom. 5:12. We should not be surprised if his angel is also a killer. With respect to those, before Jesus was born, who were killed while eaten by worms, History records the following names: the Greek philosopher Acasto, son of Pelias, died eaten by worms; the poet Alemane, also Greek, and the philosopher Ferecides, died eaten by worms; Calistenes, the philosopher, and the jurisconsult Mucius, also came to the end of their days eaten by worms (Vida de Homens Ilustres, by Plutarch 4: 451); Feretina, queen of Cyrene, city of Simon the Cyrenian, died as she was eaten alive by worms; and Herod the Great (39 through 4 B.C.), who in forty six years built the Temple of Jerusalem, a cruel king, which in a fit of jealousy sentenced his wife Mariana and his three children to death. This was the one who commanded the slaughter of all the children from two years of old and younger, in an attempt to eliminate Jesus. He died eaten alive by worms, and deservedly so. His grandson Herod Agrippa beheaded James, brother of John (Acts 12:2). This is the king referred to in the beginning of our study, who died eaten by worms because he did not give glory to God (Acts 12:21-23).
Jehovah had a preference for killing people yet in the womb. Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat reigned in the place of his father. He was an evil king for he gave orders that the sword killed his six brothers. Also, because he had married the daughter of the evil king Ahab, he walked in the evil ways of Ahab. Jehovah smote him in his bowels: “So after all this Jehovah smote him in his bowels with an incurable sickness. Now it came about in the course of time, at the end of two years, that his bowels came out because of his sickness and he died in great pain” (2 Chr. 21:18,19).
The second book of Maccabees it is registers how Antiochus Epiphanes, the eighth ruler of the Seleucid dynasty (175-164 B.C.) died (1 Macc. 1:10). He raised a great anger among the Jewish people for stealing the ornaments of the temple and putting up a large statue of Jupiter in the Holy of Holies. He prohibited circumcision, destroyed all the sacred books, and ordered the sacrifice of pigs on the altar, offences that started the revolt of the Maccabees. The one who was insulted the most was Jehovah, who stroke him in the bowels, and he died, eaten by worms, and while still alive, his flesh fell off in his pains, and the stench was so terrible that no one could stand (2 Macc. 9:9).
This all reminds us of Is. 66:22-24, where Jehovah is going to display before his chosen ones, in the New Earth and the New Heaven, the corpses of his enemies as they are eaten by worms, in the midst of the eternal fire that cannot be quenched. This proves that it was Jehovah who stuck Herod Agrippa by the hands of his angel, and if the angel of Jehovah is killing in the New Testament, the curses of the Law are in full force, and Jehovah is operating in fury and rage.
If Jehovah is operating in this manner, he is not the Father of Jesus, as the Father of Jesus gave everything in the hands of the Son (John 3:3; 3:35).
The Father reconciled all sinners to himself in the cross, not counting their trespasses against them (2 Cor. 5:19). Jehovah, on the contrary, blamed Herod Agrippa. This also proves that the ones who are saved by Jesus Christ are rescued from the curses of the Law and of Jehovah; the other ones are exposed to these plagues, pestilences and curses, as was the case with Herod.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira