We live in a time when mistruths are plentiful, and plentifully disseminated all over the whole world. The advent of the internet has not proven to be a tool of enlightenment and spiritual growth as much as a source of false information. It is easy to deceive the masses on the information superhighway, since the vast majority of what may be seen online is controlled by only five organizations, and each of these organizations are controlled by one small, elite group of people. Outright censorship, shadow-banning, algorithms, and the like have become effective means of controlling what the average person sees over the internet.
Thankfully, it is still not impossible to find the resources needed if one knows what to look for and how to look for it – on the net or otherwise. Most governments still allow contrary points of view to exist but do their utmost to shield the public from learning what they are, or the reasons they are believed. The censorship is very deceptive, so much so that you would not even be aware you were being misled without first critically questioning whether or not you had been taught lies. It is difficult to learn and grow under these Orwellian conditions.
China is far ahead of us in the struggle to control individual thought, enslaving the minds of their own people, and criminalizing speech – especially Christian speech. Those who publicly question narratives put forth by state authorities are killed or imprisoned. Thus, they are able to easily silence the truth using weaponized fear and coercion. We saw this unfold when Li Wenliang brought attention to the dangers of COVID-19, which later led to an international pandemic. Since his warnings did not agree with the party line, he was silenced. He later perished, purportedly, from the virus he discovered.
When the international community laid the blame for the pandemic at the feet of the Chinese Communist Party, they were forced to issue an apology for disregarding Li’s research, and silencing him as he attempted to warn fellow doctors. Nevertheless, information about the virus, or anything the Communist Party does not want to be known, is still heavily suppressed. Much of the internet is censored, and international social media is entirely forbidden. Chinese deception is an entirely different animal than the deception utilized by western countries, and the corporate entities they subsidize.
During a European mission trip in 2005, I had the opportunity to share the gospel with several Chinese immigrants. What they said they had been told about Christianity astounded me. They expressed that Christians are considered to be worshippers of the Roman pope, fond of drinking human blood, and our rituals include drowning infants in water drums, among many other devious acts. The only knowledge they had of believers in Christ was based upon outright lies or deceptive misrepresentations. They knew utterly nothing about the Bible or Jesus Christ because that information had been intentionally omitted and substituted with lies. By definition, this is censorship.
While the deception of those enslaved by Communism is no surprise, how do we handle the lies thrown our way? How do we release ourselves from the spiritual blindness so prevalent in modern American culture? How do we break through the falsehoods dominating our universities and academic textbooks? How do we filter the deception on television and the web, even as the lies go so deep that the devil deceives “the whole world”? (Rev. 12:9). As we examine history, we notice so few ever questioned the propaganda they had been taught by those in authority. Someone once coined the term, “sheeple”, because people tend to blindly follow whoever leads them, like sheep.
Appropriately, Jesus often referred to his own followers as sheep, because even Christians helplessly follow wherever they are being led. Thankfully, Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for those sheep (Jn. 10:11). He always restores and recovers the lost one, bringing it back into his fold (Lk. 15:1 – 7). Therefore, nothing is wrong with being a sheep, as long as the one who is leading you will faithfully take you in paths of righteousness, restore your soul, comfort you with truth, abundantly showering blessings of goodness and mercy all the days of your life (Psa. 23:1 – 6). However, we must also be aware there are false shepherds who deceive, and they lead the “sheeple” astray from the truth.
This is what we are seeing on a mass scale today. The false shepherds of this world care only for themselves. They seek to control the world with powerful deception or, in the case of China, at the barrel of a gun. Scripture describes them as “brutal” and “harsh” (Ezek. 34:2 – 4). They do not sacrifice anything, nor do they feed the flocks with truth. Instead, they thrive on lies they have received from their father, the devil, and those with hearts hardened to the truth heartily receive their erroneous teachings (Jn. 5:43; 8:44). They do this out of selfish ambition and pride. They hate and suppress the truth in unrighteousness, seeking to silence those who promote it (Rom. 1:18).
The Lord promises to one day remove the false shepherds and punish them for their lies, thereby granting unbridled truth to the world (Ezek. 34:7 – 10). Then, he will judge between the fat and the lean sheep (v. 20). The sheep who feasted on his truth in this age will be richly rewarded for holding fast to him, having received the spiritual sustenance provided them in this life. The true and legitimate Son of David, the “one shepherd” of God’s people, will personally execute judgment in the land, and all will be just among the sheep (vv. 23 – 24; Jn. 10:16).
If believers humbly submit to the Author of life, they will be ready for the coming of the good shepherd. They must trust in this true Shepherd of the flock because he alone provides “all things pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Pe. 1:3). They must not allow themselves to believe the deceptions of the false shepherds in media, government, academia, and even in their churches. They must search for truth in God’s word, and expose the lies, “casting down” every false argument that raises itself up against “the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5).
The Bible is the source of the light they seek. No matter the threat, or cost, they will courageously stand in the face of tyrannical lies and evil, speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ straight from its blessed pages. They will submit to human governments, insofar as it pleases their Heavenly Father, but they will defiantly resist any government forbidding the free exercise of faith in the knowledge of truth.
Li Wenliang was a dedicated believer in Christ (he had written a spiritual testament affirming his Christian faith), and he bravely gave his life in defense of truth. To no avail, the Chinese government attempted to cover up the fact that he died believing in Jesus Christ. His final words included a quotation of 2 Timothy 4:7 & 8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth is laid up for me the crown of righteousness”.
Li’s example emboldens us to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). May we all live, and die, courageously taking a stand against the world’s deceptions, choosing to righteously speak the truth of the good shepherd. After all, no deception can stop the gospel from going forth, and giving liberty to all who hear it. As Jesus stated with no uncertainty, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. – MAH