The Desire for Heroes

Norbert Lieth

It seems that superhero comic adaptations are dominating the landscape of cinema, streaming video, and television. What used to be a pastime for adolescents now thrills the masses. Where does this yearning for heroes come from?

Due to the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Focus published an editorial on February 25, 2002 called “Time for Heroes—Why People Yearn for Idols.” In it, we read the following about the return of heroes: “Especially after the turning point of September 11, the long-ostracized heroes are back in demand.” This “hero boom” hasn’t diminished since then, but has steadily increased. Superheroes, demigods, and supermen are setting the tone for the entertainment industry. Their stories seem to arouse a deep-seated need, especially in the people of the West, who are turning away from God more and more. Heroes are the substitute gods of our secularized society.

Mankind is in search of role models to serve as examples. Focus noted at the time:“The perseverance, the ‘superhuman power,’ the willingness to sacrifice and suffer have always been part of the essence of a hero. He is a relic of the old ‘warrior societies’ and the product of an ‘archaic world of thought.’ […] Dedication and fighting for certain values prove the hero, through his willingness to sacrifice his physical integrity or even his life. […] The hero is pursuing a specific goal; he has an objective, a mission he doesn’t abandon. This unique form of stubbornness, the absence of any self-doubt, applies to the ancient heroes of antiquity […] through our current pop-heroes. […] The famous classical philosopher Karl Kerenyi recognized the ‘splendor of the divine’ in the hero’s immobility. […] The longing for the superman […] is so great because individuals secretly desire the alpha position. […] Through its strategy of recklessly developing force, the National Socialists perverted the ideal of the hero.”

There was once an age of heroes, the generation at the time of the Flood. This “end time” was very close to divine judgment. It is said about this time, “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (Gen 6:4; cf. Job 1:6, 2:1; 2 Pet 2:4-5; Jude 6-7). These “sons of God” are, in our opinion, fallen angels who left their homes and dwelled in the bodies of men—perhaps warriors, authorities, heroes, or famous men. Interestingly, it was believed in antiquity that heroes or famous men were descended from “gods” through intercourse between “gods” and humans. This suggests that the fallen angels, described as the “sons of God,” presented themselves to men as “gods” and seduced them. As the cited commentary shows, the “splendor of the divine” can still be seen in heroes today.

Jesus compares the end times with the time of Noah and says, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26). Could our time of so much heroism and superhumanity be the introduction to these days of Noah? In any case, there are amazing parallels.

Mankind “urgently needs heroes, no matter where they come from,” Focus wrote over 15 years ago now. This longing hasn’t broken off, but has only intensified. Perhaps the moment is even closer than we think, when a false Jesus will appear as a hero and ruthlessly enforce his goal and his evil mission. He will act as a role model and become a leading figure, an idol, for the world. He will be the “superman” the world demands, and he will demonstrate his superiority in all spheres. He will be so sure of himself that he will win many people to his cause. He will be the hero everyone was longing for, the “Avenger,” “Superman,” or “Guardian,” who is doing signs and wonders that everyone will look up to. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev 13:3-4).

Only One will be able to defeat this “hero”: the Lord Jesus Christ upon His return (2 Thess 2:8). It is very instructive that every time the Bible talks about the last anti-Christian empire (e.g. Dan 2, 7, 8, 11), the remarks end with the Lord Jesus returning as the “stone cut out of the mountain,” as the “Son of man,” or as the “Prince of princes,” to put an end to this empire and establish a kingdom Himself that will never perish. Revelation also ends with the glorious triumph of the second coming and the reign of Jesus. He is the hero of all heroes, King of kings and Lord of lords!

Today, our earth is increasingly being openly led and attuned to the coming reign of terror in the Great Tribulation. But soon after comes the Lord, to whom the last word and all the kingdoms of this earth belong: “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Rev 19:6).

Midnight Call - 01/2019

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