Retelling a not-so old story in a contemporary context……
I read a story of a tragic event in a very prosperous and fabled city many moons ago. It is a story of its most famous king, albeit a bit ‘unorthodox’ king’ who was rejected by the very people he had come to serve and what became of the city afterward. One of his very own inner councilors, the one closest to him, betrayed him to his enemies for 30 pieces of silver. The people rejected their king and chose a notorious corrupt liar and thief in his stead. How could a beloved king come to be hated so much and gotten rid of by his very own people? What became of that great, fabled, and prosperous city afterward? Well, sit back and let me share the story with you.
We will start with how he became king in the first place. The citizens of that once great nation had been for a very long time led by academicians, philosophers, lawyers, career politicians who were the ruling class. Even though the ruling class members were divided into two factions or groups and disagreed on specific issues, they were actually different sides of the same coin. These lorded over the people and did not care about the needs and welfare of the citizenry. Many people had become poor, sick, needy for their very basic needs. Even though these leaders, scribes, and politicians promised them many things, they never materialized, and the people lost hope. The people were taxed exorbitantly without receiving many benefits from the rulers who governed them without mercy or love. The heart of the ruling council had become very cold towards ordinary citizens. They instituted many stifling laws that restricted ordinary citizens from benefiting from the country’s economy. Only the ruling class members got more affluent and more prosperous, while the ordinary citizens got poorer and poorer.
It was amid such hopelessness and disparity that the popular prince rose to become king in the land. He sounded sincere and spoke directly to people’s needs and desires. He intimately understood people’s predicament and helped them overcome their challenges. Many sick people got healed of their ailments by him, those who were blind now could see, and those who were lame could walk. He gave freedom and liberty to the people, and those who were in bondage were delivered and set free and given a second chance to live.
Everywhere the king went in the land, many people followed and gathered around to hear his words of wisdom. He showed genuine love and care for the people who had not felt such from their leaders in a long time. The affection he had for the people endeared them to him; they loved and adored him. He brought hope back into the lives of the people, hope for the present and the future. He turned many unbelievers into believers and enemies into friends. He changed the minds of many people, and those who were living wayward lives became productive.
He was approachable, and all could come to him for help; he turned none away who needed his help.
Due to his rise in popularity and fame in the land, the hitherto divided ruling council members found common ground to unite and became jealous and conspired to get rid of him. They planned several ways to trap him whenever he made a statement. They misrepresented his words to the people intentionally to cast him in a bad light. They accused him of things he had not done; all these were done as part of the plot to sow the seeds for his eventual removal.
But the Prince did not fear the ruling class; he exposed their hypocrisy and showed how they have deceived and stolen from the people to enrich themselves. Everything the prince said about the ruling council was true, and the people knew it also. The Prince was so brilliant that the ruling class could not lay any finger on him or argue with him for any wrongdoing.
He told the ruling class that they had laid heavy burdens for the people to bear while enriching themselves and living at the expense of the ordinary people who paid for their sustenance. On the other hand, the prince gave whatever he possessed to help the poor and needy people from society and took nothing from the people. These things made the ruling council members grow more jealous and determined to get rid of him as soon as possible. They had lost their popularity and support of the people and become desperate to maintain their privileged positions and honor in society at all costs, even if it meant the prince’s demise and all those who purported to follow him.
After the prince had declined several attempts by the people to be made king, he finally accepted the honor of being made king and was crowned in a pompous triumphal entry into the capital city where the ruling council reigned and retained their influence. The prince’s crowing as King in the capital city was a significant event that showed that the ruling council’s end was near. This newly crowned King would end all their influence, authority, and power, and they could not allow that to happen.
It was the last straw to break the proverbial camel’s back. Hitherto, the Prince had retained popularity and sway in the outer provinces of the land, but this time he was bringing the fight to their doorstep in the capital city. They quickly moved into gear and implemented the plan they have hatched since he came onto the scene three and a half years ago. Many people had gathered in the capital city because of his coronation as king, some came to support him, and others to oppose him. It was also a famous festival when many visitors come from the outside provinces into the capital city. In this melting pot, the two factions of the ruling council members united to activate their plan.
To stop the King, the conspirators needed one of his cabinet members and chief supporters to betrayed him. They enticed one of his assistants/deputies an ambitious, selfish, and greedy young man with 30 pieces of silver to betray him. He betrayed him while acting as if he loved him (with a kiss) and acting as if he was being patriotic and working in the interest of bringing peace to the land while hiding his selfishness and greed for money and power. Without this betrayal, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for the governing council to have laid his hands upon and ‘convincingly’ convicted him.
They brought other false witnesses against him to accuse Him of instigating a rebellion, of inciting the people to cause an insurrection or with falsehoods. They brought trumped-up charges against him, breaking the land’s governing law by which he could receive the harshest punishment of the land.
Thus, the Prince’s reign was cut short after just three and a half years when he started to govern and bring change. Many had hoped that after being crowned king, he would have continued to complete the works he had started, transforming their lives.
Based on the false accusations and lies brought against the Prince, the people rejected his kingship. They chose a notorious character who had a bad reputation for being a corrupt liar and a thief in his stead.
It was a great miscarriage of justice, and many of his followers were heartbroken and in despair when his reign was cut short. Others, who supported the ruling council’s lies, rejoiced. His followers were also labeled insurrectionists and similarly persecuted afterwards. A very tragic turn of events, one might say. If this event happened today, which side of the fence will you dear reader be? History is said to have a way of repeating itself.
When a miscarriage of justice occurs on earth, it does not go unnoticed in the Righteous Judge’s chambers on high in the heavenly places. Nothing which happens on earth escapes the omnipotent creator of the universe and all creation.
It happened that many of the Prince’s ardent followers and supporters remembered that He foretold that there would be no peace in the land if they rejected him as King. He vividly predicted that their enemies would come and destroy their fabled land, cities, and way of life. Indeed this prophecy came to pass, and the fabled city was destroyed and burnt down entirely by its enemies some years after being rejected as king. Very few escaped the slaughter which occurred. The ruling council members and their families were all killed; fathers, mothers, and children were not spared. The beautiful, fabled, and great city was reduced into a ruinous heap. Those who survived the massacre were sold as slaves. The calamity described is so great that it would not be beneficial to write all here.
Those who escaped destruction unscathed were the Prince’s followers who took his advice about the signs when the time of calamity was near. It is said all of them safely escaped the city before it came to ruin.
So that is how the fabled city, country, and land came to ruins and desolation, by treachery, betrayal, disloyalty, corruption, and falsehoods, not different from many other great nations empires which came before it and after it. The story could happen in our world today, and its important to learn lessons to love the truth and be on the right side of history so as to escape the Righteous Judgement of the Judge above who sees all things and hears all.
Let us love the truth and stand by it at all times. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, instruction, and understanding (Prov 23:23). Let us love our neighbors as ourselves and not betray them or be disloyal to them. Let’s eschew selfishness and greed and instead learn to be sacrificial in our public service in our communities and societies.
There comes a time in the affairs of men when the governing authorities in a nation become very corrupted and things fall apart. We have observed this in the rise and fall of great nations and empires from antiquity to now, i.e., Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome?, and the United States? The causes are the same, corruption in all levels of society, injustice, lawlessness, treachery, bribery, untruthfulness, greed, jealousy among others vices- the fallen nature of man. Time tested laws of the land get changed by the whims of men to suit their nefarious plans.
Psalm 94:20 asks “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?” ESV states “Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute?” Definitely No!! it continues… “They band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.” (verse 21). When that time comes it is the responsibility of its righteous law abiding citizen to do what is right and not follow blindly whatever the fallen leadership tells them. We have vivid examples of Daniel and his three friends Hananiah, Misael and Azariah in Babylon, who refused to obey unjust decrees of the king about worship, and were proven right in the end.
As humans we are not perfect, that is why we need a Savior who is incorruptible and can bring us into everlasting righteousness. The nation which will endure in troubling times is the nation which will abide in the Savior’s righteousness and live faithfully according to His laws which do not change under any circumstances and remains the same as from the beginning of time. Proverbs 14:34 states “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a [a]reproach to any people.” May we have the discernment to understand the signs of the times and act according to the Words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach), the names which literally means SALVATION.