According to a report on Live Science, archaeologists claimed to have found the very dance floor on which John the Baptist was condemned to death.
In the Gospels, we are told the story behind John the Baptist’s execution at the hands of Herod of Antipas. The prophet had been actively condemning the marriage of Herod Antipas to a woman named Herodias. She was the wife of Herod’s half-brother Philip, who Herod actually stole while visiting Philip.
Though the Romans were known for their notoriously low moral standards, even they were disgusted by Herod’s actions. Because of John’s constant condemnation of the marriage, Herod finally had John arrested.
“But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him about Herodias, his brother’s wife, and about all the evil things Herod had done, added this to everything else—he locked John up in prison,” (Luke 3:19-20).
It was apparent by this action, that the Baptist’s words were having an impact on people’s opinion of this marriage, and Herod wanted John stopped.
But Herod was hesitant about having John executed, because he feared how the Jews would react since they looked upon John as a prophet (Matthew 14:5).
So Herod’s wife, Herodias, hatched a plan to force Herod’s hand. She arranged to have her daughter, Salome, dance for Herod who was having a birthday party to which he invited all his key subordinates. The Greek words used to describe them are megistanoi (power elites) and protoi (leaders). These were key political, military and economic people in the region.
The type of dance that Salome performed was usually reserved for prostitutes which gives you a bit of an idea what was going on.
Herod, who had undoubtedly been drinking, was so inflamed by Salome’s dancing he promised his step-daugher/niece a reward of up to half his kingdom. After consulting with her mother, Salome asked only for John the Baptist’s head.
Even though, he didn’t want to execute John, having made this promise in front of all his key leaders, Herod presented John the Baptist’s head to Salome on a platter.
And now Győző Vörös, who is leading the archaeological work at the site of Herod’s palace in Machaerus, believes they have uncovered the very dance floor on which this had happened.
Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37-100), an ancient Jewish historian, wrote that Machaerus was the place where Herod had imprisoned and beheaded John Baptist and also noted that the execution took place in 29 AD.
The floor had been uncovered in 1980, but at that time those working at the site were completely unaware of its Biblical significance.
It wasn’t until 2020, that they realized this was probably the very floor on which Salome danced, after they discovered a niche in the floor that they believed was the remains of Herod’s throne.
The recent discovery of this floor’s connection to John the Baptist’s death is curious. Because both Mark and Jesus had several crucial things to say about what happened that eventful day.
First, Mark refers to it as a strategic attack:
21 A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee; (Mark 6:21 NASV)
In other words, what happened to John the Baptist was part of a larger strategy, as Satanic forces plotted to attack the Kingdom of God. And it is clear this included manipulating political leaders.
And secondly, Jesus summed up what happened with these words:
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. (Matthew 11:12 NASV)
In other words, this was not some random event, it was a preplanned, brutal attack on the Kingdom of God.
Having recently discovered the very floor where John’s execution was ordered may just be a coincidence, but considering what believers are encountering in recent days, perhaps it’s an ominous warning that the church is facing a similar spiritual attack today.