commentary: Conspiracy Theory (Part Three)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 29-Nov-14; Sermon #1242c; 12 minutes
Conspiracies are attempts made by two or more people with strong convictions, believing they have a right to overthrow a detestable 'pretender' to power. This mindset derives directly from Satan the devil, who, by cunning and lies, deceived our first parents and moreover one-third of the angelic beings who inhabit now this earth with us. We need to remember the adages "those who fail to learn from history will repeat it" and "a leopard can never change its spots." Satan entered into Judas to bring about the murder of Christ by evil religious leaders, intent on hanging onto their ill-managed power. As Satan tried to murder Christ, he is also trying to murder members of Christ's church—His called-out ones constituting His Body. Satan, not a lazy being, has from the beginning attempted to influence heads of nations and religious organizations. We need to be aware that he will attack again and again. We can expect a full-scale attack coming in our time on God's called-out people.
This is the third commentary regarding conspiracy theories. The first covered a fact perhaps not known by many of us, and that is that conspiracies designed to overcome an installed government are not unknown in Israelitish or American history.
The second commentary involved a fairly detailed defining of the term "conspiracy," combined with an overview of elements necessary for forming one. We used the assassination of Jesus Christ as the model to establish the essential elements it takes to form a conspiracy. It takes two or more participants who have common complaints and desires, and who agree to cooperate to bring their yearning to pass. Conspiracies might begin easily, but keeping them going for the long periods of planning necessary to be successful requires patience and clear, strong convictions. Very necessary is a strong conviction in the conspirators that their cause is righteous and beneficial to others. They are therefore justified in seeking to accomplish their desire to overthrow the one or ones they hold responsible for their complaints and goals.
In this commentary, we are going to proceed by searching out whether there are indications in biblical prophecies that conspiracies will—not merely might—play a part in the events leading to Jesus’ return and the establishment of God’s kingdom.
The first element I want you to consider is that both biblically and historically, events have a consistent history of repeating over and over again. Dates change, the personalities change, and locations change, but what happens has already happened before. That is provable from Ecclesiastes 1:9.
Regarding biblical interpretation, you know this process by a well-known title. It is the principle of duality. We very often search the Old Testament to see what happened in Israel or Judah and if it did happen—whatever “it” might be—we are fairly certain it will happen in our lifetimes, too.
Why? Because that is the way human nature is. Thus the saying arises that "those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it." In this particular case, perhaps “condemned” might not be the correct term, but history will be repeated.
Why? Because some of the same personalities alive on the previous occasions are still on the scene, having the same characteristics they had before and they will follow the same pattern to produce the same activities. Another saying exists: A leopard can’t change its spots.
Consider again the assassination of Jesus Christ. It states in John 13:2, as Jesus’ final Passover meal continued, that,
John 13:2 During supper, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.
The key word there is “already.” Then, in verse 26, after Jesus was asked by the apostle John who would betray him, Jesus said,
John 13:26 “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him.”
Thus, Satan is revealed as having conspired to influence Judas to do the betrayal.
Understand this: Satan can’t help himself. Deception, combined with conspiring, is indelibly engraved into his character by means of constant practice, and he is urged on by means of an overweening vanity, centered in his belief in his personal greatness. It is known by virtually all that this continuously-living, created personality deceived Eve into sinning, but Revelation 12:4, combined with further information contained in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14, confirms that he conspired to draw one-third of other created angelic beings from their loyalty to the Creator God.
What I am getting at here—just to make it plain—is that it is within him to conspire almost constantly. That original conspiratorial move was long before Eden. Most clearly of all, Isaiah 14:12-14 gives evidence that he did this for the purpose of gathering power to overthrow the Creator God, and install himself as God and ruler over the creation. He was defeated and cast down to earth to share earth with mankind.
He hasn’t been lazily lying around, whiling away the time. He has continued on, deceiving all of mankind to lead all of us into disloyalty against God, even as he did with Eve and Judas. At this time, he can no longer kill Jesus but he can make a powerful attempt to kill Christ’s spiritual body, the church. So who is he conspiring against now? Well, it's the church, primarily.
This deceitful attack is clearly shown in Revelation 12. God has already given an account of the attack against the church before it happens. We also know he will not succeed. But along the way, he will create great havoc immediately before Christ’s return. It looks as though that time is just before us.
Pay attention to this subject from Psalm 2, because it forecasts that a huge, multi-national conspiracy is on the horizon:
Psalm 2:1-3 Why do the nations rage[we just sang this psalm, and we did it purposefully, because I'm the songleader!], and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.’
Notice the psalm specifically mentions nations, kings, and rulers. Satan, in a sense, is not bothering with the little people. He is going right to the tops of the nations—the leadership—to do the plotting, in and through them. Of course, the nations will follow their leaders. And the plotting is directed at overthrowing the LORD—this has not happened yet, but he is trying again—and His anointed, that is, the Father and the Son.
This prophecy is quoted by Peter in Acts 4 (in the very day the church was inaugurated) as proof that what the people there were witnessing then was a fulfillment of Psalm 2. That is, as we can now understand, Satan had inspired human leaders to attempt to overthrow what God was doing by assassinating Jesus Christ using deceived human leaders.
What God was doing was continuing His purpose of installing His Son into the very office He now holds in order that the Son will prepare others to fulfill those offices needed as the government of God begins its rule of earth under Jesus Christ. The formation of the church (Acts 4) was another step in God’s purpose. Satan understood clearly what this meant, and he had done his own preparations in a vain attempt to halt God at that time.
What we can understand is that Psalm 2 in forecasting that it will happen again as an end-time event. Satan will once again organize those he controls to scheme and attack. Why? Because the first attempt was not successful. But he can’t help himself. As I said earlier, Satan’s character is absolutely fixed. He cannot repent of what he is. He is totally hardened, and this future attack will happen in our time. It's coming, and we can be thankful to God that He warned us. It is coming.