Summary: The history of our world has demonstrated that earthly kings tend to be very vulnerable people who sit upon uneasy thrones that are subject to topple in the most unexpected ways.
Attempts to Bury the Truth
Matthew 2:6- 18 NIV
This past week in Canada we have seen our National Government decide to prorogue parliament. That's like the U.S. Senate closing shop for a 3 month unscheduled break. Many people are upset about this decision and see it as a blatant disregard to duty. For reasons only known to the Prime Minister Canada's government is taking time off at taxpayers expense. While these actions are upsetting it should come to us as no surprise to see people in powerful positions wield that power in order to follow their own agendas.
In today's scripture passage we look to King Herod who used his office in an attempt to bury a truth that belonged to the people. I do not know if that is the motive behind Canada's government at this time or not but it does demonstrate how we are all manipulated by worldly powers past and present.
Jesus arrival on earth did not go unnoticed by the world and the enemies of God. King Herod who was a puppet King of the Romans of that time was only part Jewish but enough to satisfy Rome. In order to win the support of the common people Herod had rebuilt the Jewish Temple but which would not be completed until after his death.
Herod knew he was a puppet and that as a puppet the strings that held him in place could be easily cut by Rome on any kind of a whim. Even an ancient prophecy could be cause to stir the people to rebellion. Herod was smart enough to have knowledgeable people around him who knew Jewish history.
The prophecy was from: Micah 5:2 NIV But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Approx 687 B.C.
The Magi's visit alerted King Herod to the fulfillment of the prophecy and Herod sought to eliminate the threat that Jesus created.
For if the baby Jesus was the child of Gods promise as Herod had feared then the people would want a new king even an infant king. Herod sought to rid the world of this competition to his throne. The history of our world has demonstrated to me that earthly kings tend to be very vulnerable people who sit upon uneasy thrones that are subject to topple in the most unexpected ways.
Herod launched a campaign of infanticide against all the baby boys two years old and younger in Bethlehem. He hopes to wipe out any and all rival claims to his position. We do not know how many were put to death but we do know that his actions devastated the families of Bethlehem and rather than extinguish the prophecy of Micah it fanned the flames.
For surely word spread from Bethlehem of that atrocity to neighboring villages that shook in fear wondering if their sons would be next. History does not tell us if Herod used Roman soldiers or hired killers to carry out the work but as King he could have used whatever means he wanted.
It is interesting to note that when the Jewish people were freed from Egypt as slaves by Moses it was God who killed the first born sons of Egypt that finally softened the Pharaohs heart.
Death had once created freedom for the nation of Israel but now death has found a way to enslave that nation's new born infant king in exile. Jesus the King of Israel is now exiled in the land where his subjects were once slaves.
Many, many people in our bible found themselves in and out of Egypt on many occasions for various reasons, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Isaac, and remember Jacob sent ten of his sons at one time to buy grain in Egypt.
Egyptian Christians claim that they are the oldest of the Christian churches they are called the Coptic Church to us. St. Mark is attributed with bringing the gospel to them sometime around AD 41.
Alexandria was the city where Christianity flourished and was home to one of antiquities great ancient libraries and seat of learning.
Tradition not scripture connects the ancient Egyptian city of Hermopolis with the flight of the Holy Family.
In that city was a huge pagan temple with statues of pagan deities that fell to the ground as the Holy Family passed or so tradition says. The temple lies in ruins to this day and to support their claim for this event the Coptic Church quotes from:
Isaiah 19:1 NIV An oracle concerning Egypt: See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them. Approx.700B.C.