By Scott Johnson
I remember in the 50's how we were taught in school about the very troubling effect of "propaganda" in other countries. Propaganda, we learned, is--information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. The propaganda surrounding Jesus' tomb was prolific. First, the religious order of the day, continued to call Jesus, "the deceiver", and quickly decided to ask Pilate to seal the tomb so that a greater deception would not happen: The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first." "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. (Mat 27:62-66 NIV)
When Jesus' body was not found with the stone rolled away, another concoction of propaganda was created by the same religious order: While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Mat 28:11-15 NIV)
This 1st Century propaganda was designed to nullify Truth. Jesus was a "deceiver"---False! The report of Jesus's body moved by his disciples--False! The report that Jesus did not rise from the dead--False! All of the propaganda was false--as it always is!
I am 60 years later from my early understanding about propaganda, but am shocked, dismayed, saddened, and heart-broken---that our beloved USA now has become a center and mega horn for the promotion and distribution of propaganda: climate propaganda, genetic propaganda, inclusion propaganda, political propaganda, national debt propaganda, abortion propaganda, marriage propaganda, and yes, even morality propaganda.
Propaganda is nothing new. From the days of Jesus until today the objective is still the same, to deceive the people, to disengage people from the truth: "Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father." "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." (Joh 8:39-47 NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then..............! (Eph 6:10-20 NIV)
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]