Whether a elder in the pulpit, a preacher on the street, or a believer seeking to be a faithful witness, we can all glean from this.
In Ancient Greece, heralds had a specific role in the culture with a specific reputation. It is that reputation that I am going to use as illustrative examples concerning a believer’s/preacher’s duty to spread the gospel. Although we know that the Bible is sufficient for life and godliness, still, illustrations are a powerful tool to help nail the truths deeper into our mind and make plain what is simply less memorable to some. With that said, here are some points that will help us reaffirm our calling as ambassadors and heralds of the gospel. Once again, these points are purely illustrative, not expository. But they nevertheless communicate biblical truth.
- A herald was often called kerukes, which meant “herald.” In Ancient Greece, the name was often ascribed to a traditional family of priests thought to have descended from Hermes. However, it was used for anyone that was designated to carry a message.
- The Bible declares that all Christians are now a royal priesthood and we are chosen to proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into light (2 Peter 2:9)
- Because Christ has saved us, we are now direct descendants of Him who has commissioned us to preach His gospel.
- A herald (kerukes) can also be associated with any kind of messenger (angeloi) or envoy
(presbeis), although not operating in the same manner as a herald.
- The Bible declares that we are ambassadors (presbeuo) for Christ, and that we are to implore mankind as though God was pleading with man through us (2 Cor. 5:20).
- Our ministry is angelic in practice. And though we are not, by nature, angels from heaven bringing the good news (evanggelizo) (Luke 2:10), nevertheless we are fellow servants with the angels and considered family in the work of being a messenger (Rev. 22:8).
- Kerukes were designated in a city to be watchers for prearranged signals in the sky that
communicated messages from considerable distances. The signals were communicated by
flag during the day, or fire by night. Whatever the message, heralds were to
interpret those signals and immediately declare them to the town.
- As Christians, our eyes should always be in the Heavens, looking unto Jesus and His word (God’s prearranged communicated message) and immediately declare them unto those who are in our town (Col. 1:27-29; Heb 1:2).
- Heralds carried a staff with them called kerukeion which not only established their identity and office, but it was also a visual reminder that they were under the care of the Greek messenger god Hermes. And just like Hermes, whenever they were seen with the rod in hand, it signified that they were about to announce an official message.
- We should always have with us our kerukeion – the Bible. This will serve as a visual reminder for others that we are underneath the authority and care of Jesus Christ our King. And this will assist in establishing our identity with Him as well as His authority. Whenever we carry this rod with us, it should signify to our hearers that we are about to announce an official message.
- Hermes was commissioned by Zeus to be his messenger and in turn, Hermes commissioned others to be heralds.
- Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, sent by the Father to declare this gospel in the world, and those who are true followers of Christ are commissioned by Him to declare it to others (Matt. 28:19).
- Some families appointed kerukes because it was an inherited right. Other heralds were elected and/or dispatched by a legislative assembly of leaders called boule.
- As Christians, we are adopted into the family of Christ, and therefore possess the inherited right to herald the gospel into the world.
- As the chosen of God, we are elected and dispatched as kerukes to preach the gospel
to every creature. Although this should be something that a local church should support, equip, and encourage one another to do, this is not always the case. In this instance, we must remember that our authority to share the gospel comes from Christ first and foremost.
- Heralds were often chosen for their ability to carry their voice over noise and distance.
- If we plan on preaching in the open air, a general principle is that we should speak to be heard. This requires skill and clarity on the part of the speaker so that every detail of the message is not muffled because of inability or negligence.
- Stentor, a herald mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, was described as having a voice as
powerful as 50 men. He was the herald for the Greek forces during the Trojan War. Although it is not mandatory to have this kind of voice, we must still speak to be heard.
- In military contexts, kerukes would be in close proximity to the commander to carry forth orders. Furthermore, they were called upon to rally the troops together, and also were sent out to recover the dead bodies of those slain (specifically in war) and bring them back.
- If you are going to be an Evangelist of the gospel, we should always remain close to the Commander (Jesus) in
order to carry forth orders that He has declared. It is a preacher’s duty not only to
carry forth the orders of the Commander appointed over him, but also in rallying the
troops to obey His orders. A good preacher will not only declare what Christ
commands to His enemies, but also declare to the allied forces that they are to be in
obedience to His commission!
Whether those dead in trespasses and sins or our brethren temporarily slain by sin, the herald is to bring back those slain and dead through the
resurrection power of the gospel proclaimed. We are specifically sent out to recover
these poor souls and bring them all back to God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- If you are going to be an Evangelist of the gospel, we should always remain close to the Commander (Jesus) in order to carry forth orders that He has declared. It is a preacher’s duty not only to carry forth the orders of the Commander appointed over him, but also in rallying the troops to obey His orders. A good preacher will not only declare what Christ commands to His enemies, but also declare to the allied forces that they are to be in obedience to His commission!
- Heralds were not only used to convey information, but collect it.
- We are not to be givers of information from our own will, but phonological reflectors of God’s will. We are to collect information and study God’s word so that we can clearly and zealously publish to the world that which we have already digested ourselves. Manual labor on an empty stomach is not wise; neither is preaching the gospel without filling up on His Word and Spirit.
- Greek heralds were sent out to declare policy, demands, and decrees abroad. Also, they
would announce warnings, or offers, to hostile cities or armies, as well as declare war itself.
More often than not, kerukes were denied entry into warring cities as a sign of protest or
- We are to be faithful in declaring the policies, demands, and decrees of God to all. We are to preach the warnings of God as well as His offer of peace to the hostile cities of the world. It is necessary, as a part of our duties, to reveal that man is already at war with God, and we must boldly stand before Satan’s Army to declare conditions of peace and judgment from the King.
- More often than not, we will be denied entry into many places in order to declare our message, but this should not deter us. Although done as sign of protest and insult against God, we are to be steadfast in delivering the message whenever possible (Luk 6:22).
As a final illustration, we will use a famous herald, Phidippides, as an example of a faithful messenger. According to myth, Phidippides ran 26 miles from the battle of Marathon to Athens to announce Greek victory in war. Depending on the source, the message was somewhere along the lines of “Joy to you, we have won” or “Rejoice, we have the victory.” It was after proclaiming this that he breathed his last breath and died.
As believers we have received the victory over sin, death, and hell. Christ has gone into the Most Holy place and atoned for our sins and has defeated the armies of darkness, making a public shame of them because of His sacrifice. Because this war is won, shouldn’t we also be running a spiritual marathon declaring “we have the victory?” Shouldn’t we be giving our very lives in order to publish this good news, even if it is the very last thing we say with our mouths? Phidippides, although myth, is a great example of dedication, swiftness, and perseverance in order to deliver a message that literally cost him his life. Are willing to run in the steps of Phidippides for Christ? To go the extra mile or two or twenty-six? No matter how it must be done, let us be found faithfully preaching the glorious gospel until our LORD comes for His bride.
-Until we go home