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Understanding and Dealing with the Ministry and Administration of Lies

Created: Saturday, 12 August 2023 10:20
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Ebere NwankpaEbere NwankpaThis correspondence is a summary and brief of strategic importance. It is a letter to the Church of Christ to observe and to be aware. It is a call to action. There is a measure of urgency and need accompanying it. The subject of our attention and examination is truth and reality, by discussing the curious and progressive diminishing of truth and its pronounced effect on reality. Many readers would agree that the perception and currency of truth have depreciated like paper currency in our lifetime. Our collective reality is thus poorer for it.

Many can wistfully recall what one dollar could buy a few decades ago. The purchasing power of truth has suffered a similarly rapid decline at the very same time. Moreover, certain powerful inflationary trends, most notably the ministry and administration of lies, keep driving down the value of truth with the consequence that our reality is now at or below the poverty line.

Past and Present

And yet, truth is an absolute value. Still is. It is too precious to be commoditized or bartered with. However, this declaration of truth has gradually but persistently trended downwards from the heights of wide acknowledgment and acceptance to new lows of controversy and alternate or parallel reality. This is not to say that there was a time in the past when all people lived by the truth. That would be inaccurate. Even so, the past is useful in assessing the value of truth in at least one way. Most of us can agree it has decreased in value over time, and steeply too. We can remember when even those who did not adhere to the truth at least acknowledged it. Today, the decline has descended to the point where the value of truth has cratered, and its very nature and essence is a matter of debate. This has not always been the case.  

This downward spiral is not accidental, natural, or procedural. Rather, it is a planned, organized, orchestrated, and foretold spiritual and material phenomenon. First, lies and lying, as a spiritual and physical phenomenon, was an introduction, an importation into the created world where it did not exist before. When the cunning serpent, the devil, accosted Eve in the Garden of Eden, he resorted to well-crafted and appealing lies to deceive her (Genesis 3:1-6). Note, dear reader, that the devil chose this weapon out of many others in his arsenal to lead with. Second, among the indices of the last days is what the Apostle Paul called the “mystery of lawlessness,” comprised of “lying wonders” and “all unrighteous deception.” The emergence of technological wonders like deep fake and other reality-bending simulations are alarming illustrations of this (2 Thessalonians 9-11).

At the most basic level, lying is a weapon of choice and intention. It is necessarily strategic and deliberate. It is a direct and offensive weapon dressed in the apparel of conversation, communication, logic, philosophy, discourse, and argument. It should also be noted that God Himself was the first target of the devil’s lies in Eden, aimed at discrediting His word. Anyone who can lie convincingly against God can lie equally persuasively about and against everybody and everything without seeming to.

Deceit, after all, has to be both convincing and disguised to be effective. Today, this malevolent being lies even about his existence. He would like you to think he does not exist. Fancy that. It would seem that the enemy has perfected a strategy and tactic of employing lies at an industrial but targeted scale to thwart and delay the move of God in the nations. This phenomenon is both scriptural and contemporary.

Jesus & The Pharisees

By the time Jesus confronted the Pharisees in John 8:42-47, the deceit of Genesis had evolved into a stubborn delusion, a fixed false belief resistant to Truth.  This passage is an excerpt of Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees. We should note here, given the subject at hand, two things initially. One, Jesus Himself is a manifestation of Truth. Two, owing to this abiding disposition, Jesus always spoke the truth as a matter of principle and practice. He is, therefore, the greatest standard and example of truth.

Note that the Pharisees were religious and political leaders renowned for their knowledge and learning. Knowledge, learning, and truth are not necessarily allies or co-travelers. Indeed, Knowledge and learning can be deployed in the service of truth or lies. Previous to the portion of the scripture referred to above, the Pharisees had contended with some emphasis that they were the children of Abraham and God. Despite Jesus’ best efforts, it proved to be an entrenched and inflexible frame of mind.

Undeterred, Jesus disagreed pointedly. Instead, Jesus traced their spiritual ancestry to the devil, the father of lies, for whom lies is a native language and a primary means of communication. This reference denotes at least two things. One, Jesus aptly and accurately highlighted the spiritual identity of the Pharisees, and two, set up lying in this context and level - As a devilish, systematic, structural, and dynamic enterprise. An administration of lies. Note that Truth is both a person and a value system and orientation. Similarly, lying is personified by the devil. It is also an opposing and contentious value system and orientation. Fatherhood is impossible without children; it is an identity based on relationship. Hence, Jesus's reference indicates a system of relationship and followership, shared identity, traits, and orientation.  

The Pharisees deftly exhibited this character in many ways. For brevity, I shall mention two prominent examples. One, when Jesus healed a man who was demon-possessed, blind, and mute, the crowd that witnessed this profound miracle was amazed and wondered if Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 12:22-24). When the Pharisees heard what the people were saying, they circulated the lie that Jesus was casting out demons with the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons. Not only was this a lie, the Pharisees knew it to be a lie. Recall that when Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council, met Jesus at night, early in His ministry, he confessed that the Pharisees knew that Jesus was a teacher come from God (John 3:2). Therefore, the expression and action referred to here was an intentional and strategic deployment of lies as propaganda, to limit and undercut the effect of that miracle, and attack Jesus’ identity and credibility.

Two, when Jesus was crucified, the Pharisees specifically requested that the tomb where Jesus was buried be secured to preclude the possibility of Jesus’ disciples stealing His body to prove that he had risen from the dead (Matthew 27:62-65). When the guards reported to the chief priests the miraculous circumstances of Jesus’ resurrection, they were given a large bribe and told to circulate the narrative that Jesus’ disciples came at night and stole His body. This lie remained in currency for a while, perhaps till today (Matthew 28:11-15). The scam and trappings of this ministry, the desperation, conspiracy, and bribery, to name a few, are on display here. And so is its relative success. The effrontery and efficacy of this enterprise defined and limited the narrative of Jesus’ resurrection.

The Contemporary and Future Challenge

The essential problem and challenge of the contemporary and post-modern era are summarized in Psalm 12, verse one, which reveals a specific odd and dire state of affairs. There is a cry for help owing to a scarcity of godly and faithful people. The level of difficulty associated with speaking or living the truth has increased. It is much easier to capitulate and surrender to the prevailing agenda and fashion of falsehood. It is the path of least resistance and convenience. In our days, the godless are bold, and the godly hide. The abnormal is normalized and even celebrated.  

Why is this so? It is not accidental or random. There is a deliberate and purposeful dynamic at work. Verse two divulges the reason for this problematic situation. The public space has abundant, outpouring, and maximal expressions of deceit, vanity, and lies. These are not just casual and loose expressions. They are systemic, consistent, atmospheric, and governmental in nature. The very presence, operation, and volume of this administration of lies have driven truth, godliness, and righteousness into the margins and peripheries of the public space. The regime of lies is calculated and calibrated to oppose and extinguish truth, godliness, and righteousness. The stakes are high. It is a zero-sum game. There is a fierce warfare of opposing narratives, and the flattering account of deceit and lies is running ahead.   

Verse four is profound and pivotal. Here, we see the mantra and motto, the operating system of the adherents of this dark art. They are not in the shadows anymore, nor are they reticent or shy. They are considerably composed and poised. There is a measure of boldness and surefootedness that they have acquired. One can even venture to say they exhibit signs of intoxication with the success and power they have attained. There may have been a time when mischief was hidden and underhanded. However, all that was temporary and fleeting. The ministry of lies is now a stronghold, a mountain; its believers speak with assurance.

They say, “With our tongue, we will prevail.” This is the language of conquest and preeminence. The speech of those who have won a contested prize. It is the language of state capture and the subjugation of institutions. It is the speech of those who refuse restraint and who do not recognize any authority but themselves. Nothing else matters. It does not matter the franchise and mandate of the people, the burden of election rules, the demands of morality and righteousness, or any loyalty to the principles of democracy. What matters is their capacity, ability, and facility to prevail with the strategic deployment of the administration and expression of lies.

This administration is not a harmless or victimless pursuit. Verse 5a poignantly states the consequence and effect of this phenomenon – The oppression and affliction of the poor and needy. Indeed, the mass disenfranchised of society is the audience and target of their speech and communication. They communicate that their victory is certain and that opposition is futile. They represent reality, they say, and the way things will continue to be. By speaking voluminously and incessantly, they have filled the atmosphere with a barrage of lies to the detriment of truth and created a reality where threats and intimidation silence dissenting voices.   

Verse 8 is a significant step further still. “The wicked strut and parade about as they celebrate the exaltation of the basest of men”. This speaks to a carefully coordinated campaign to manipulate and dominate the public space with an array of triumphalist and hectoring content fronted by brazen and provocative actors whose brief is to stir things up and extend the frontier of an alternative reality further and farther until the abnormal becomes normal. In many instances, these activists borrow the language of morality and equality as they appeal with the aid of appropriated and commandeered humanistic rhetorical devices. You might recognize this strategy in the rapid narrative and societal transition that is intent on redefining gender from being a biological fact to becoming a social construct. Also, but equally important, this movement is pressing on with plans to colonize and control the future by investing heavily in education worldwide.  

Among the more alarming manifestations of the contemporary and future evolution of the Ministry of Lies is the technological variant and dimension. The ability to generate and spread fake news on both an enormous and surgically targeted basis is well known. This overt and subtle manipulation of information is already in the bloodstream of the vast information ecosystem causing viral infections and terminal information challenges. Several powerful nations have a highly efficient, modern closed information space dominated and trafficked by approved content. Some others outsource this function to powerful private interests to the same effect. The facilitation of groupthink and action now has a profoundly powerful tool. 

The futuristic component of this malady is emerging apace with the arrival of deep fake techniques capable of manipulating voice and video imagery by seamlessly and realistically inserting or superimposing foreign and false information upon a preexisting audio or video file. Any audio and video recording can potentially be altered to portray or say anything. The days when Photoshop was cutting-edge are long gone. A massive new frontier of information manipulation has been breached. The cost of verifying information has rapidly increased as a result. Proving and authenticating information is now a forensic affair and will most likely remain so.    

 

Solution

The situation is by no means helpless or foregone. There is abundant assurance of God's attention, interest, intervention, and superiority in the matter. There is ample and adequate remedy and correction in the same twelfth psalm from where I have derived the discussion of the contemporary and future challenges. However, before I iterate these, let me first attempt to structure our orientation and thinking regarding the issue.

First, the church must engage meaningfully, overtly, boldly, and wisely. We may recall that our mission, as encapsulated by Jesus Christ, is to be the light and salt of the world. Whilst there is scriptural support for building up the church, our most relevant impact is to be on the world. We cannot be on the sidelines or maintain an insular emphasis on church programs. In truth, the church’s primary purpose is to prevail against the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18). Hell has let loose a torrent and deluge of lies to which the church must respond actively, effectively, and adequately. This would involve public, outspoken, and corrective activism, among other strategies.

Second, it is a matter of time and timing. We are told that perilous times will come in the last days and latter times, in which evil and corruption will be outpouring (2 Timothy 3:1-9). Notably, the Apostle Paul's example, Jannes and Jambres, were sorcerers who resisted the truth. They manufactured counterfeit miracles and signs to match those performed by Moses but only up to a certain point. Also, Paul spoke of the last days as characterized by lying wonders and unrighteous deception.

Equally and more importantly, the last days also herald the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:14-21), characterized by boldness and power. The last days are not merely a one-dimensional narrative of the dark side. The outpouring and manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the first-century church is but one iteration of many of the interventions of the Spirit on earth in this dispensation. This powerful and great resource has been given to the church precisely for the fraught times in which we live. The church must renew its acquaintance with the Spirit to forcefully and skillfully combat, tame and repel this lying onslaught of darkness.

Third, this is where we get back to Psalm 12 and verse 6. Here, there is an affirmation of the primacy and supremacy of God’s word and promises. In other words, in the midst of the marginalization of truth and righteousness, the intimidating organization and infrastructure of falsehood, the bluster and activism of liars, and the oppression of the poor, the word of the LORD still stands pure, refined, resilient, and sure. None of the noise and tumult can tarnish gainsaying God’s word. Its character, relevance, and efficacy are intact. Moreover, it is a powerful weapon that can be wielded in spoken and written expression to engage the tide of lies.

Fourth, at least two prayerful interventions can be gleaned from Psalm 12:3,5. One, we must insist that the Lord cut off all flattering lips and boastful tongues. This is an offensive spiritual intervention aimed at the heart and nexus of the cosmic impetus that produces the offensive material at its source. Two, we must beseech the Lord to arise on behalf of the poor and oppressed to rescue us. This lying regime furnishes an immense and large-scale system of bondage and servitude. This intervention is directed to relieve and end this imprisonment.

Lastly, recall that the central contention and confidence of the lying cohort is that they would prevail with their tongues while disavowing any supreme authority (Psalm 12:4). This claim is incomplete and deficient. Revelation 5:5 reveals the true overcomer who has prevailed – The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, Jesus Christ, the personification and manifestation of Truth.

There are two key references here. One, David never lost a battle. Consider that David fought the most battles among the warriors of the bible. Hence, that reputation is hard won. Two, in the discourse between Jesus and the Pharisees referenced earlier, Jesus was bold, outspoken, and forthright in His confrontation with them. In all His encounters with the Pharisees, including the ones where they sought to trap Him, Jesus was always superior in expression, wisdom, and power. The only exception was at the trials before His death when Jesus kept quiet to fulfill scripture.

Permit me to end with a reference to the illustration with which I began, Revelation chapter five and the other scriptural references shared here function as an unlimited reserve currency with which the church can effectively defend the Truth and its value, and limit the attacks on it.

It is time to use it.          

About The Author

Ebere graduated from the University of Ghana with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and English. He also has a Master's in Public Administration from Regent University in the United States. He has over twenty years of experience in governance, legal, and administrative matters in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. He was a former Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Council and Legal Matters during His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathan's presidency.

Ebere Nwankpa is a pastor, administrator, and businessman with a concerted and abiding interest in God’s prophetic counsel for Nigeria, Africa, and the world's nations. He is a member of Intercessors for Nigeria (IFN), and Intercessors for Africa (IFA). His books include Joseph - Prince of Egypt and Esther - Queen In Deed.

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