Staring At a Severed Head Forever!

Staring At a Severed Head Forever!

"So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, 'Give me John the Baptist's head here on a platter.'" -- Matthew 14:8 NKJV

She had held the grudge for quite some time -- how dare that religious fanatic tell her that she was living in sin! She'd get even with him if it was the last thing she'd ever do and that meant silencing him forever so that he would never bother anyone again!

Then the opportunity came -- as her daughter danced sensuously before the king (Herodius' second husband) and assembled guests, the king rashly offered to give her anything she wanted even up to the half of his kingdom -- surely that in itself indicated that he was extremely well pleased with the evening's "entertainment!"

The Scriptures are very clear that Herodius was thinking ahead to this opportune moment -- the daughter, having been prompted by her mother, didn't hesitate in her response to the king's generous offer -- "Give me John the Baptist's head on a platter!" And so the execution was immediately carried out and Herodius had her grand moment of revenge!

Do you suppose as she gazed into the lifeless eyes of God's prophet that she grinned and said something like this -- "Now I got you, you %%##**%%## (expletives deleted), and you'll never bother me nor my family again, ever!"

Blind, vain, and very stupid woman! It could very well be that Herodius now has to stare at that severed head forever. Just a part of the torment she has to endure, with no morphine to numb the intense pain.

Yes, it is possible to have those brief moments in which it seems one has successfully exacted sweet revenge -- a time to gloat and enjoy as it appears that one has made the "opponent" pay for the trouble and whatever degree of hardship that opponent has inflicted which has stirred up the lust for getting even, no matter the cost.

What the "victor" fails to realize is that the gleeful time of revenge is but very temporary at best. There is a death scheduled for every member of the human race with something scheduled to happen after that death -- no exceptions to this!

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment... -- Hebrews 9:27 NKJV

The majority of persons in this world are totally unprepared to deal with what they will be facing on the other side after death has stilled their heart and their lungs no long inhale and exhale air!

And so it was with Herodius -- there is no record that she ever regretted her action -- if she had truly repented, the Scriptures would certainly have revealed such a life transforming experience, since a very high profile personality was involved.

Jesus gave us a rather detailed account as to the extent of eternal torment experienced by those who have chosen to defy God and refuse to repent of their sins.

In the New Testament book of Luke and in the 16th chapter Jesus gives us a historical record of a rich man and a beggar, named Lazarus, who experience death. Lazarus ends up in a paradise environment totally free of pain, cares, and troubles after having lived his earthly life in misery and pain. The rich man is in extreme discomfit in a number of ways:

    an experience of unrelieved torment in flame - "… I am tormented in this flame."

    an experience of unclouded memory - "Son, remember that in your lifetime…"

    an experience of unrestricted vision - "…being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

    an experience of unfulfilled cravings - "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."

    an experience of unanswered prayers - "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'"

Now then, are you ready? Observe the grand entrance (minus the drum roll) into Hell by a powerful, vain, and very ignorant woman whose name is Herodius. In her earthly life she had been taken to task for her sin by God's servant -- a no-compromise, no "dialog" prophet by the name of John the Baptist!

As mentioned earlier -- Herodius' choice was to reject that "ray of light" God gave to her and her 2nd husband, Herod. Like a fast acting poison, the desire for revenge consumed her and finally the time arrived -- and in the privacy of her living quarters she gloated and chuckled as she gazed at the severed head now sitting amidst small pools of blood on a platter! Maybe when Herod came home she even held up the platter as she wore a demonic grin on her face and in a voice laced heavily with venom she yelled, "I finally got him -- that fanatic %%##**%%##!"

There may have been a few years pass from the time of her assumed "victory," but then came the moment in which Herodius breathed her last breath and her heart made that last thump in her chest.

Oooops! There it is again -- that severed heard on a platter -- only this time something is different -- there is so much pain -- and a new torment in her consciousness -- the clear realization that this spokesman for a holy God was right on target and she was very, very wrong. Maybe if she just shuts her eyes then at least it is blotted out of her vision, but that doesn't seem to work -- what is this, for every time she thinks she has shut her eyes she still sees that severed head and the eyes in that head that seemed so lifeless during her revenge moment while she lived on earth now seem to burn a hole right through her being -- and if she turns her head to try to look somewhere else, there the head is, right in the center of her view, no matter where she looks! It is now very obvious that she will have to exist with that unrelenting torment forever and ever and ever……..!

It's too late for Herodius and none of us can change her circumstances even if we wanted to -- no going to where she is now and removing the platter and the severed head upon which it sits so that she no longer has to stare at it!

So that leaves you and me with a critical question -- is there a platter with a severed head on it in our lives? Some long term resentment -- some intense grudge we have carried for years -- a soul-poisoning attitude -- or some involvement in that which is diametrically opposed to all that God represents by way of holiness, truth, and love?

How about repenting of that which can only bring eternal and indescribable torment after death -- a rerun of what Herodius is experiencing, the rich man as described in Luke 16, and countless others who chose to reject God's offer of mercy and forgiveness.

Talk it over with God -- express your regret for all those acts, attitudes, and desires which He condemns -- ask Him to forgive and heal you -- ask Jesus Christ to come into your life as Savior and Lord -- consciously state your desire to live for Him and obey Him for all the rest of your time upon earth. You'll never regret it for time and certainly never in eternity!

For further help see: How to Become A Christian -- use reverse feature on your web browser to return here.

October 24, 2005
Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
Western PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy, PA
AND Non-Affiliated registered voter, Cambria Co. PA

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