Have you been deceived? Observe these verses:
Daniel 6:7-8 (NIV 6-7)
"So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said:"
"May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den"
Audio files (free download)
The NIV has given us a very good English version. But we should need a little explanation om the verb for "come as a group". It is "hargíshu" from Aramaic "regash" - in Hebrew "ragash" - which means to "gather together" but in a riotous fashion, to crowd. Even when it is not probable that they should come before the king tumultuously, as some kind demonstrations we can see in these times - the protocolar greeting shows us another thing - the word implies that they came with a demanding attitude, with no place to discuss or negotiate. Their attitude was intended to show the king that there was a serious matter to solve, and when they say that "have all agreed", it is meant to make him believe that they were seriously discussing this "difficult and important matter" of the kingdom.
This most unusal decree is hard to explain. What kind of difference should make the prohibition of worship in a month? But some biblical experts mean that the conquest of Babylonia by Persia implied - as in every case where people with different religions meet - a conflict between "gods", and to substitute some idols for other ones could create religious altercates. This prohibition was intended to make people meet unregarding religion, and a month is a rather short period that showed that it was a temporary issue. If the decree should be forever, then it would represent a prohibition of religion, and made the whole thing worse.
Of course, the explanation is only a facade. The real motive of the edict was to take Daniel away. We can see how they make he king a "god" to appeal to his vanity and how they lie by saying that "had all agreed" - because Daniel himself was not in the conspiracy. All features in these verses show us a MANIPULATION.
Which ones are a manipulation's features?
First of all, lie. But also to use a snare and to hide the real motive. Let's see every one by itself:
1) FALSENESS: including lie or adulteration of the truth (a mix of thruth and lie)
2) DECEPTION: a manipulation prepare a snare to us, enticing us to do something whose results we don't expect and we don't want, but the manipulative one does.
3) CONFUSION: The real purpose is never presented to us, because the idea is to deceive us to do something we shouldn't if we know why are we doing it.
Why did they use manipulation? Why didn't they come before the king and simply said, "we don't want that Jew as the second man in the kingdom, and especially we don't want him as our chief"?
The Word of God has an answer to this in 2nd Corinthians 11:14 : "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light". The apostle Paul is talking about false ministers which disguise themselves as apostles and rebut Paul's teaching, to teach something else. He compares them with their father Satan, because manipulation is evil.
Why does Satan comes disguised?
We have showed in a previous message (Daniel 5:18-19) some of the ways God speaks to us (through our conscience, the writings, creation and history) Every person has a code about what is right or wrong, and a heart decision to do something or not. A manipulation uses a snare to deceive us and make us do something we don't want to, without being aware it. If Satan says directly to us, "do as I say, forget God and any principle of yours", a very few ones should obey him.
Let's see how manipulation takes place in the Scriptures:
MANIPULATION IN EVE'S TEMPTATION
Satan's purpose was to make the first human couple to fall. But he comes before Eve as a friend, someone who shall "show her the truth" so that she would know how God had "deceived them" so that they would not be like Him. We can clearly see it in Genesis 3:4-5:
"You will not certainly die", the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil"
Observe the lie of the evil one: He accuses God of manipulation - it was God who said something to them because of a devious intent - and he changes God's words. Satan's manipulation was intended to make them eat of the forbidden fruit, and he deceived them by making them believe that this act should help them.
MANIPULATION AGAINST THE LORD IN HIS MINISTRY
Same old devil came disguised when Our Lord was fasting in the desert, lead by the Spirit of God, in order to tempt Him. We read in Matthew 4 about these temptations:
"If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread"
After 40 days fasting, it's usual to be hungry. And Our Lord, the Son of God filled with the Spirit of God, had certaninly the power to cause stones to become bread. Satan's word seems to be a counsel in favor of Him. But He would have obeyed the devil, not His Father.
"If you are the Son of God", he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:"
"He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone"
This is a strange temptation. It's been said that the devil was inciting Him to perform a spectacular show of supernatural power in order to get fans, and it's possible. It's even possible that the end of the manipulation was to lead Him to suicide (Satan didn't know exactly what was Jesus capable of in human form, because the evil one is not omniscient) Whatever be the reason, he was confronting the faith of the Son of God: "if you really believe that which the Bible says, you can do it without dying". And in both temptations, Our Lord defeated Him with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
Those temptations were conceived to cause Jesus to fall, but Satan introduces them as some ways to help Him. When the Lord defeated him, the devil let Him alone - just for a little while. But during Jesus' earthly ministry, Satan tried to manipulate Him all the time.
Our Lord was a Jewish prophet. In Judaism by that time was usual to receive instruction through questions - even to teach the Scriptures through questions as well. Then it was a proper and common way in Isreal to approach a man of God to ask him about God and the Scriptures.
But often we find that the "disciples" didn't want to learn something at all, but to manipulate the Lord. Observe this cases:
"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus,"
"Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
"They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them,"
"Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her"
"Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her,"
"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you", Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin"
This people with so strong "zeal" about the Law were not especially interested in the enforcement of the law. The Word says clearly that they said this as a temptation, a trap to get Him accused. If the Lord said, "kill her", then it was against His preaching about God's love and God's mercy. If He said, "don't kill her", then He would be a strange spritual leader teaching not to obey the Word of God. The Lord's answer is one of His most known words, and a perfect expression of the Holy Spirit, showing the manipulative ones that "all [of us] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". It means, that they deserved death as much as the adulteress.
We read about manipulation in other case, when they asked him about the taxes:
"Keeping a close watch on him, they [the teachers of the law and the chief priests ] sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him:"
"Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
"He saw through their duplicity and said to them",
"Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?"
"Caesar’s", they replied.
"He said to them, "Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s"
In this manipulation, both "yes" and "no" should be fatal for Jesus. "Yes" should make Him abominable to his followers. All of them were Jews under Roman rule, and it was detestable to them that Rome conquered Israel and that Jews had to pay taxes to a foreign Empire. And "no" would make Him to a seditious troublemaker, arousing people against Rome, giving the Romans a reason to put Him in jail. Nevertheless, Our Lord answered again with a supernatural wisdom, in a word which supports a doctrine of the church, the separation of civil and religious power.
MANIPULATION AGAINST ISRAEL
The disguised devil is also seeking to destroy Israel. Not only in the times of the Old Testament, but nowadays as well.
Let's take a look to a coarse manipulation which is evident in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Where is it? Let me tell you, the same guys who are crying about "protecting the rights of the Palestinian people" are denying citizenship to millions Palestinian refugees and refuse to recognize the State of Israel. Their antisemitism has infected many who hear their retorics without analizing tha causes behind, The real question nobody ask himself is, who caused those millions Palestines to live as refugees?
It is a fact that many Palestinian Arabs are living as refugees. Observe the following numbers:
In Syria: 13 refugee camps with 1/2 million refugees
In Lebanon: 12 refugee camps with 1/2 million refugees
In Jordan: 10 refugee camps with more that 2 millions refugees
In Israel (in the area under PA control) : 19 refugee camps with circa 3/4 million refugees
A very revealing fact is that almost a half of this camps exist from the 1940-50s, caused by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948-49. In that war, five Arab nations attacked Israel with the purpose of make it disappear. Palestinians who lived in Israel left their houses and lands so that "Allah's armies" should invade Israel and defeat the "Zionist invaders", but the newborn baby Israel defeated the Arab armies of those five nations, and the Palestinians remained in other countries. Most of the other camps exist from the Six-Days war (1967) when Israel took back the territories that they had lost in the previous war. Even in the territory of Judea and Samaria, which is mostly under the "palestinian authority" rule, almost a million Palestinian Arabs live as refugees.
This is incredible. Let's put it as it is: an "authority", a "government" - which has the sympathies of many atheists and antisemites in the Western countries, who are in a fight to make them a "state" under hard press of their Muslim "brethren" - that "authority" has THEIR citizens as refugees in a territory under THEIR control. Usually, refugees don't work with farming or in factories, don't go to universities or get some instruction to become specialised workers of some kind. The "palestinian authority" is not at all interested in raising "citizens", but "refugees", persons without work and without home, living of costly international contributions, and getting an "education" in hatred of Jews and "the right to return" to Israel and make it to a Muslim Palestinian caliphate.
Maybe you wonder why are the other Muslim "brethren" in quotation marks. The million Palestinian Arabs - mostly Muslims - living in other Palestinian Arab countries - mostly Muslims - have been refugees in those countries for three generations. This is non-sense to me, who lived as a refugee in a Swedish refugee camp for ONE MONTH.
Somebody could argue that the reason is a difference in welfare between Sweden and the Arab Palestinian countries. But this is not the reason. That reason could make a difference of waiting one month versus wating one year. Too little difference, they say? OK, waiting three years. More? OK, waiting ten years. But, PLEASE, not THREE GENERATIONS! There is another reason there: somebody wants the situation to be "outrageous", "inhuman", "intolerable". Somebody wants to create a feeling of "how unjust it has been to create a Jewish State". But, if you're not an antisemite - I mean if you don't hate Jews - let me tell you a secret: the Jewish State is not the reason of the existence of millions Arab Palestinian refugees. If Israel's Arab neighbours wouldn't attack Israel ever, there wouldn't be any Palestinian refugees.
The authorities in those countries DON'T WANT their Palestinian "brethren" as citizens among them. That's the real motive. To fix the problem of the Palestinian refugees could take five years, ten years, but those governments DON'T WANT to solve the problem. They prefer to create headlines all around the world showing the "terrible conditions of the Palestinian refugees, who lost 'their country' because of the Jews". They want to keep them as refugees because "when they finally defeat Israel and cast away the Zionist invaders, those poor Palestinian will come back to 'Palestine' ". Not even Jordan, which was included in the British Mandate of Palestine, has given citizenship to those Palestinians, living in the only country in the world which could be called "Palestine".
A Palestinian in Jordan should be citizen automatically, conforming to international law. But the international organizations - and even several western governments supossedly "democratic" and with "Christian" majority - have decided that Jordan is not to blame, but Israel. The Arab states which attacked Israel, and caused the wars which gave as result these millions refugees, those Arab states have zero responsability in the political arena. Israel is the only "bad guy", the one who "refuses to negotiate" and the one who is accused all the time by the "international opinion" makers.
The reason Israel has fought in all wars against the Arab neighbours is to avoid extermination, a new holocaust. The motive of the Arab countries which have fought the Jews is to make Israel disappear. Of course, they are disguised as "protectors of the Palestinian cause", a cause they themselves provoked. The fact that three generations Palestinians have been living in their countries as refugees, and being denied citizenship, is a good example about their "love for the Palestinian people".
Many atheist politicians, many Muslim politicians and a world wide antisemitic media are manipulating the "international opinion", and the right of free speech gives them that option. But you, as a child of God, have the right to know and defend the truth. Every one who makes use of the right of free speech doesn't use it to say the truth. And the Lord commands us to not have a share with liars or manipulative ones: "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22)
But it is not enough to the disguised devil to seek Israel destruction, to obliterate the people of God. Satan seeks also to destroy the church of God.
MANIPULATION AGAINST THE CHURCH OF THE LORD
In the book of Acts chapter 20 we can read the farewell address from Paul to the elders of the church in Ephesus, who he sent for from Miletus, a nearby city. When he's giving them instructions to continue with the mission in the church, he prophesies about two kinds of manipulative people which will hurt the church:
Acts 20:29 "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock"
Acts 20:30 "Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them"
These verses show us manipulative "teachers" from the church itself (who will "arise from your own number") and from without the church (those who "will come among you") and Paul prophecies how will they manipulate Christians:
1) They will not spare the flock: "spare" comes from Greek "fídomai". It means to "pardon", to "keep someone from evil", to "have mercy on someone", to "care for someone".
There was a time when it was usual to see these "wolves". The history of the church has been divided in several eras, conforming to the prophetical meaning of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. And a substantial change took place between 313 AD and 380 AD. In 380 AD became Christianity the official religion in the Roman Empire. Before 313 AD the church was a body and the state another one, which had been persecuting church to death. But at that time, the church was a congregation of holy people, believing in the Holy Bible and the Holy Spirit. "Fídomai", the verb we saw in Acts 20:29, shows us how the ministers of the apostolic era and even the era of persecutions used to lead the flock.
But Paul's prophecy was fullfilled when the satanical union state-church took place. The "savage wolves" from the Roman Empire had nothing to do with the holy apostles who suffered persecution, prison and even death because their Christian faith. Those new "ministers" extermined paganism with forced conversion and even death, and got caught up in a fight for supremacy which ended with the separation of the church in Catholic and Ortodox in 1054 AD. This division caused two models - both very bad - of state-church union. In western Europe, the Catholic church under the Popes rule - Pope was the bishop of Rome, not "the head of Christianity" - sought to submit all authority, even kings, under ecclesiastic power, it is to make the Pope kind of Emperor of the world. In Byzantium, eastern Europe and part of Asia, the civil authorities controlled the church. Both kinds of union were equally antibiblical and detestable until the Reformation, which established a separation of state and church, one of the basis of the modern western societies and a basical principle which guarantees Christian their freedom. It is not the state who determines what is or what is not God's word, it is the Bible.
The mission of the church is to save people by preaching about Jesus Christ. In the church you'll never find - until Jesus comes back - all persons, but only those who believe in Jesus and have received Him as Lord and Savior. But the secular state has the mission of governing on Christians AND everyone else (people with other religions or atheists) Then the state and the church have two entirely different missions. If you try to conform the doctrine of the church to include non-Christian persons, it is manipulative and satanical. It is impossible to be a Christian and atheist at the same time, or a Christian and a homosexual, or a Christian and a Muslim. If a Christian was an atheist, now he believes in God. If a Christian was homosexual, now he or she has abandoned that sin. If a Christian was Muslim, now he or she has converted. "Christian" is someone who is a disciple of Christ.
2) "Distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them" is another problem which has hurt the church from its very beginning. The letters in the New Testament include many warnings against heresies that were emerging in the church, a phenomen wich has been continuous even today. This is the motive that "sects" exist. They look like churches, they can say that the Bible is their fundament and that they believe in Christ, but they are not "Christian churches" and they are not considered "Christians" by the real ones. Some "distortions" include to deny the Holy Trinity, to deny salvation by faith in Jesus Christ's blood, and to accept sexual sin among the members of the church - homosexuality, polygamy, adultery and others.
The manipulative ones in the church don't start their message this way:
"May the Lord be with you! I give thanks to God who allows me to preach His word today. For all of you who don't know me, I'm a savage wolf who will govern this flock without sparing it"
They don't start a Bible study this way, either:
"This passage we read before is the Word of God. Amen? Now let me distort the truth a little bit, so that I can draw away some of you after me"
No, they don't do like that, actually. They preach and teach in a similar fashion than the real ones. How shall we do to avoid deception?
Stay with us and read the next message. May the Lord bless you.
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus comes soon!