Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 24 February, 2013

"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Ps. 92:13)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

John the Baptist’s Public Ministry (12)
John’s Imprisonment  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:1-20
Text: Mark 6:17-20

I. How Did It Come About?
II. How Was It Viewed by Herodias and Herod?
III. What Were Its Effects on Jesus Christ?
Psalms: 5:1-8; 26:6-12; 105:15-21; 119:161-168

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Justice and Mercy  [download]  [youtube]
Scripture Reading: Psalm 89:1-37
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 4

I. In the World
II. In the Church
III. In the Gospel
Psalms: 96:8-13; 27:1-5; 36:5-11; 89:1-6

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

The Standard Bearers are on the back table for subscribers. A bi-monthly letter from Rev. McGeown to the PRC and free devotional booklets for March are also available.

John McAuley was hospitalized yesterday as the result of a fall at his home. A scan showed a skull fracture, so he expects to be in Antrim Hospital for another couple of days. Please remember John and the Murrays in your prayers.

Monday Catechism:
6 PM - O.T. Beginners (Bradley & Alex)
6:45 PM - N.T. Juniors (Nathan, Jacob & Joseph)
7:30 PM - Heidelberg (Timothy)

The Tuesday morning Bible study will be held this week at 11 AM. We will look at the signs of the times and the nearness of Christ’s return.

The Belgic Confession Class will meet this Wednesday, at 7:45 PM, to continue article 19 on the revelation of Christ’s Deity while on earth.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) is entitled "Joseph in Prison" (Genesis 40) by Rev. R. Kleyn.

The Council will hold their monthly meeting on Monday, 4 March, at 8:15 PM.

Offerings: General Fund - £614.70.

Website Additions: 2 Afrikaans, 2 Hungarian, 1 Norwegian, 1 Portuguese, 1 Russian and 1 Spanish translations were added.

PRC News: Randolph PRC called Rev. Griess (Calvary, IA).

Quotes on Herod’s Sin of Adultery

John Calvin: "The atrocious character of the deed was in itself sufficiently detestable and infamous: for not only did he keep in his own house another man’s wife, whom he had torn away from lawful wedlock, but the person on whom he had committed this outrage was his own brother ... the disgrace of a pretended marriage" (Comm. on Mark 6:17-29).

Albert Barnes: "This Herodias was a granddaughter of Herod the Great. She was first married to Herod Philip, by whom she had a daughter, Salome, probably the one that danced and pleased Herod [Antipas]. Josephus says that this marriage of Herod Antipas with Herodias took place while he was on a journey to Rome. He stopped at his brother’s; fell in love with his wife; agreed to put away his own wife, the daughter of Aretas, King of Petraea; and Herodias agreed to leave her own husband and live with him. They were living, therefore, in adultery; and John, in faithfulness, though at the risk of his life, had reproved them for their crimes. Herod was guilty of two crimes in this act: 1st. Of adultery, since she was the wife of another man. 2d. Of incest, since she was a near relation, and such marriages were expressly forbidden, Lev. 18:16" (Comm. on Matthew 14:3-5).

J. Feather: "And now the way was open for the guilty pair to be married, if we dare call their adulterous and incestuous union by such a high and holy name. So they live together—Herod, whose divorced wife is still alive; and Herodias, his sister-in-law and niece, whose husband is also still alive" (The Last of the Prophets—John the Baptist, p. 125).

F. B. Meyer: "We need not dwell on all the terrible details of that disgraceful sin. But every circumstance which could deepen its infamy was present. Herod’s wife, the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia, was still living; as was Philip, the husband of Herodias. The liaison commenced at Rome, when Herod was the guest of his brother Philip, while apparently engaged on a mission of holy devotion to the religious interests of the Jewish nation ... [John] arraigned the guilty pair before God; and, laying his axe at the root of the tree, calling on Herod’s conscience, long gagged and silent, to take part in the impeachment—he said, in effect: ‘I summon you before the bar of God, and in the pure light which streams from His holy Oracle, your consciences being witness against you, you know perfectly well that it is not right for you to be living as you are living. Thou shalt not commit adultery’" (John the Baptist, p. 111).

Abraham Kuyper: "She [i.e., Herodias] was married, and Herod was married, but she had rejected her husband, and Herod his wife, in order that they two could live together in adultery. Her real husband was Philip ... Of course, Herod’s own wife, a princess of Arabia, constituted an obstacle in the way of this illegitimate marriage. But Herodias skillfully persuaded Herod to divorce her, and to let her, Herodias, reign as queen instead. Things happened in exactly that way. Herod rejected his own wife" (Women of the New Testament, p. 56).

Alfred Edersheim: "John’s open declaration of the unlawfulness of Herod’s marriage [to Herodias] as ... incestuous and adulterous ... part of his [i.e., John’s] Divine calling not only to have denounced, but apparently directly confronted Herod on his adulterous marriage" (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 1, pp. 658, 666).

R. C. H. Lenski: "Herod’s crime was a public outrage. [Herodias] had first married her own father’s brother and then ran away and lived with the half-brother of her husband, who was also her half-uncle and already had a legal wife. Two marriages were disrupted, and the new union was not a marriage. It was plain adultery and within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity ... No wonder John raised his voice in spite of Herod’s being the ruler. ‘To have’ = to have as wife. ‘The wife of thy brother’ brings out one great feature of the unlawfulness" (Comm. on Mark 6:18).

William Hendriksen: "this incestuous and adulterous relationship [of Herod and Herodias] ... such a marriage was incestuous. Was it not also adulterous (Rom. 7:2-3)?" (Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark, pp. 236-237).

Andrew Cornes: "It is not possible to contract a true marriage—a marriage in God’s eyes—while your divorced partner is still living. It is only possible to commit adultery. This is because the first marriage still exists. It may be for this reason that Matthew continues to call Herodias ‘Philip’s wife’ after she has divorced Philip and been remarried to Herod Antipas (Matt. 14:3f// Mark 6:17f, cf. Luke 3:19) ... You may be able to break the legal ties, you may be able to live apart, but you cannot destroy the marriage; your unity with your partner still exists in God’s eyes; the marriage bond can only be broken by death" (Divorce and Remarriage, p. 214).

Report of the Committee on Marital Problems: "most exegetes regard the marriage [of Herod and Herodias] as both adulterous and incestuous" (Acts of the Fourth Reformed Ecumenical Synod of Potchefstroom, South Africa [1958], p. 78).

Prof. Engelsma: "Reformed exegesis generally has seen more in the passage [i.e., Mark 6:18] than only the condemnation of marrying a (blood) brother’s wife ... the fundamental teaching of Mark 6:18 is that remarriage after divorce to anybody’s wife or husband is unlawful. That the neighbour sinned against is a relative aggravates the iniquity" (Standard Bearer, vol. 74, no. 17).

Rev. Steven Key: "What were the Pharisees looking for, when they presented this question to Jesus [in Matthew 19:3]? How were they looking to trap Him by such a question? The historical context will answer that question—if not entirely, then certainly in part. We read in verse 1 that Jesus came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan. That would be on the east side of the Jordan River, which was the region of Perea. That area of Judea belonged to the territory of Herod Antipas. It was very dangerous territory, therefore, to take any sort of a strong stand against divorce. You remember that Herod had taken as his wife, Herodias, who had been married to his brother Philip. He was married, therefore, to a woman who had been another man’s wife, and whose husband was still living. It was precisely because John the Baptist had spoken to Herod about his unlawful marriage, that John had been imprisoned and finally executed. Of that we read in Matthew 14. Furthermore, we read in Mark 3:6, that the Pharisees had taken counsel with the Herodians against Jesus, ‘how they might destroy him.’ It appears, therefore, that on the one hand they were setting a deliberate trap, thinking that when Jesus’ answer would be reported to Herod, it would lead to His execution, as had been the case with John the Baptist. If that plan did not work out, there were still other possibilities arising from this approach. Undoubtedly the Pharisees also took into account the kinds of people who followed Jesus. Many of them followed the rather prevalent teaching of the day that divorce could be readily obtained for virtually any cause. The Pharisees probably thought that if Jesus would set forth a strict view on divorce and remarriage, many of his followers would turn against Him. If Jesus’ answer still would not bring Him into that trap, the Pharisees were convinced that they would be able to catch Him contradicting the law of Moses. So they had reason to use divorce and remarriage as the subject with which they would attempt to take Jesus down. God, who sovereignly governs all things, had something else in mind, however. He would use this occasion to show us how Christ restores and maintains the holy and unbreakable bond of marriage."