The Cancel Culture of First Century Judea
When Herod the “Great,” who had been installed in 37 B.C. as Rome’s puppet “king” over Judea, heard the disturbing news of the prophesied King of the Jews coming to the land, he did not seek to learn of the true nature of this King, or how humanity would be blessed by Him. In Herod’s eyes, such a person could only pose a threat to his monopoly of power over the region.
The account of Herod’s response to the coming of the Messiah is given in the second Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. It was as horrific as it was predictable. Herod dispatched troops to Bethlehem, ordering them to kill every male child under the age of two. Thus the event that was first heralded by the angels of Heaven under a standard of “Peace on Earth,” offered by God to humanity, was warped beyond measure in Herod’s poisoned mind, his response to it wreaking unimaginable suffering and grief on the people of Bethlehem.
Herod knew his reign was artificial and illegitimate, which made it extremely fragile. The Jewish people of the region thoroughly despised him. So like any “ruler” who does not derive his power from the consent of the governed, Herod was paranoid to the point of neurosis, fearing everyone and anyone who might possibly pose a threat to his tenuous hold on the throne. His obsession was so overpowering that it eventually drove him to the murder his own sons in an effort to forestall any attempt at his overthrow. So killing the innocent sons of others was entirely within his capability.
In so many ways Herod is reflective of those throughout history, who have sought power over their fellow human beings by attempting to supplant any other devotion or allegiance in them. The single greatest threat to their uncontested rule has been the recognition among people of the omnipotent God of goodness and love who is the same “yesterday, today, and forever.” This God does not bend to the cultural ebbs and flows of society as it arises to goodness and prosperity, only to wallow in self-absorption, and then inevitably descend into decadence and eventual squalor. Nor does He bow to the whims of those many vain humans who would aspire to hold ultimate dominion over the minds and hearts of a people.
So throughout history, the only option available to them in their twisted souls is to attempt to destroy any recognition of the God who created this universe and holds ultimate authority over it. In this regard, Herod’s appalling behavior was hardly an anomaly. Perhaps if he could cancel the heralded Messiah, he might maintain his presumption of unassailable power, though mortality was as imminent as the ruthless hand of Rome to potentially come down upon him, were he to step across any forbidden boundaries.
In recent centuries, the world has seen the advent of many such ideologies, deeming themselves the ultimate uncontested rule for all of history going forward, as they bubble up from the cauldron of blind human ambition, only to blow into oblivion as their promises of unending utopia collapse into chaos and calamity. The pattern is unbroken, and will remain that way, as long as mere mortals seek to be in control.
Yet they keep trying. First, the threat of the old order must be eradicated. The heritage of the people, whether it was the Old Testament prophesies of a coming Messiah to save humanity, or the promises of the “Blessings of liberty” secured to the posterity of those who framed and ratified the United States Constitution, are an obstruction to those with an agenda of consuming self-interest. Hence, on any pretense, they are attacked wherever they are manifested, whether it be as historic monuments, or in their accurate portrayal as taught to ensuring generations. Claims of statues being attacked on the basis that they extol slavery are mere facades, since the end goal is to eliminate any recognition of America’s heritage as it promoted “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” of one nation under God.
In the same sense that Herod wanted to do away with any hope in the minds of the people other than their fealty to him, the modern counterculture demands that the “morals” of America be redefined solely on its terms. The tenets of the Nation’s Judeo-Christian foundation are too starkly at odds with the noxious ideology of Marxism, which is the direction in which the leftists/socialists intend to take us by any available means. So just as Herod sought to know the place of the Savior’s birth from the Magi, under the phony premise that he wanted to go there to worship, the leftist counterculture of twenty-first century America promotes its agenda under the phony premise of “perfecting” the nation, when its real goal is total destruction of every good and decent precept of the American ideal.
Twenty centuries later, “King” Herod is but a detestable footnote to the monumental events of the era in which he lived, while Jesus and His message of redemption ring louder than ever across the world. Likewise, while the Marxists have made their name by wreaking unfathomable misery and death across the world in the past two centuries, everywhere they seek to ascend to uncontested power, they shortly fall into chaos and depravation Eventually, they are consigned to what Ronald Reagan referred to as the “ash heap of history.” Their fate will be no different this time around. The only question is whether or not “We the People” will let them trample our heritage, and wrest it from us.