by Terry Wane Benton
There was the truth that Jesus was in fact raised from the dead, and then there were the opposition forces who needed to keep the nation from converting to Jesus. They wanted to stay in control of the crowds and keep their wealthy pockets padded. To lose control to Jesus would mean that their lies would be exposed, and they would lose their ivory palaces of wealth and power. So, this first effort at propaganda was to claim that the “disciples stole the body.” But this was too much of a risk to the soldiers if they let it happen, so that piece of propaganda did not last long. There were now too many eyewitnesses who were saying that they saw the risen Christ. The propagandists were not able to refute the evidence of their own scriptures that prophesied of the Suffering Servant dying for our sins and then having his days “prolonged” (Isaiah 53), or David saying that his soul would not be left in Hades nor his flesh seeing corruption (Psalms 16). God’s word had been taught as true and fully dependable. How could the left (left of truth or propagandists) refute all the verses that described Jesus? It was a landslide of evidence that they would have to explain away. Add to that tremendous amount of evidence the fact that they cannot produce the dead body of Jesus and many people had already seen Him alive again. It was becoming too much to keep explaining away and covering up. Acts 1-7 shows each move the left made.
The next move was to command the disciples (by local government authority) to not teach in Jesus’ name anymore. The disciples said they had to obey God over man. Then they threatened and beat them, but they were too excited about the risen Jesus and the Truth of all that this implied about really having forgiveness of sins and a real hope of eternal life. The left could not squelch their enthusiasm for the truth. They tried censoring them and killing them but to no avail. They wore their beatings as a badge of honor. Jesus suffered for them and now they are glad to suffer for Him. The propaganda wars continued in Acts 6 when Stephen was falsely accused of speaking against the temple and the law of Moses. But Daniel had long before prophesied the fall of the temple (Daniel 9:24ff). Was Daniel guilty of insurrection and speaking against the temple? No! Was David speaking against Moses, who was tied to the Levitical priesthood, when he spoke of the Lord being a priest after the order of Melchizedek? (Psalms 110). That was a change of the law projected right there in their own scriptures. Combine that with Jeremiah 31:31ff and you know that there was a “new covenant” coming that would be greater than the old (Hebrews 8-9). So, it was a propaganda war to quiet the messengers. If you can intimidate and silence the messengers of truth, then truth becomes a lie. People forget so easily!
When you cannot sort out the truth from propaganda, you have to watch and weigh the evidence, and demand to see the evidence. If you are denied access to evidence, there is a war for minds. One side wanting to get the evidence out for people to see, and the other side trying to silence those voices. We’ve seen these same kinds of mind-control wars going on all through history. On Pentecost Peter laid out the case for believing Jesus is “now both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:22-36). Many were convicted (Acts 2:37) and aligned themselves with the truth (Acts 2:38-42). The truth set them free from doubt, and the power of the leaders of Israel. It freed them from an aimless life, and from a misled life, as well as from a condemned life. Their conscience could be clear because they now knew the difference between truth and the false information that they had been fed. Jesus truly is both Lord and Christ. That truth has set many people free (John 8:30-31). It still sets us free today! Have you been listening to the devil’s propaganda? Have you heard the evidence of Jesus?