feast: What I Believe About Conspiracy Theories
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 20-Oct-97; Sermon #FT97-09; 79 minutes
John Ritenbaugh addresses the controversial topics of conspiracy theories, Sovereign Citizenship and the New World Order. These, for too many, burn up countless hours of precious time in vain speculation and useless anxiety. The drive toward one world government is a transparent reality having several biblical prototypes (Genesis 10:8-13; Daniel 2:36-44), all inspired by demonic opposition to God's rule (Ephesians 6:12; II Corinthians 4:4: Jude 6; etc.) There is nothing new in this game-plan; conspiracy seems to be a part of our human nature. Satan, manipulating self-interest and pride in various groups and individuals, will only be able to hold his inharmonious confederation together for a short while. If our fear is not in God, this conspiracy will distract, immobilize, and paradoxically tempt us to compromise with it. Our fear ought to be in God who has sovereignty and the final say over all things (Isaiah 8:11-13).
Absalom Agents of change Antiochus CIA Epiphanes Beast B.F. Skinner Branch Davidians Deceit Demons Espionage FBI John Dewey George Bush KGB Malachi Martin Militia Nebuchadnezzar Nimrod One world government Pride Ruby Ridge Satan Spiritual characteristics Sons of Belial Spy Tower of Babel United Nations
I'm going to make a change of pace in what I have been delivering but the subject is still somewhat the same. It has to do with the world, but I'm going to deliver this largely in the sense like an Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course study, sort of like a question and answer thing. I'll ask a number of questions and give a series of scriptures that show the answer.
This is about a topic that is controversial. It's been a hot topic, both in and out of the church, and that is the subject of the New World Order and conspiracy theories and sovereign citizenship. It's not going to be too much on sovereign citizenship because I'll tell you right flat out here that people who get themselves involved in sovereign citizenship are showing very plainly where their high tower is, and it's in the world. It is not in God's work at all. This person is trying to save himself from the wrong kind of things.
It has caused some disturbance within the greater church of God. I think that we have probably lost two or three families over it. It hasn't impacted on us very largely but it is, nonetheless, something that we need to think about and understand from a biblical perspective.
Is the world being drawn toward a one-world government? Are there people in the United States of America and in Western Europe and in Russia and in other places working to draw us into its web? Is there a confusing conspiracy underway, or is it all a hoax? Is nothing of that sort going on? Does the Bible indicate at all the possibility of something of this nature being possible?
Let me tell you right up front that I do believe that it is going on, that it is very important prophetically, and that its occurrence must occur before the return of Jesus Christ. But let me also tell you that it is not something that I give a great deal of time to. I give it almost no attention at all anymore once I became satisfied of its existence and once I became satisfied that God is sovereign and everything is under control, and what I do has more to do with my faith in God than it does anything that is taking place in this world. So I have just set it aside as something that is really nothing more than could be a very dreadful spiritual distraction.
My conclusion was reached because I discovered over time that much of the information on it is based on assumption and speculation, and very much of the conclusions that are drawn are largely circumstantial. They seem reasonably solid, but they are largely circumstantial and there is not a great deal of proof that can be documented for individuals. But certainly the evidence that is gathered out there in the world leans strongly in that sort of a direction. So I came to see that this was a confusing waste of time and that Satan is a master at throwing out red herrings and confusing subtleties that will lead a person to burn up long periods of time that could be spent much better in other areas of life.
Secondly, over a period of time I discovered that this thing is not secret at all. Very much of it is right out front and it is in the public, and it is not a conspiracy in the normal sense of the word. Yes, there is conspiracy going on, but it is not your normal type of conspiracy.
This is an operation that is being done now very much right up front, but I'm also convinced that the general public doesn't know where to look for truth about this. Even if they were told, I am sure the overwhelming percentage of them would not believe if you told them where the proof of this is—and that proof is in the Bible. Since they don't believe the Bible, they're not going to believe the proof, the evidence, that you would give them. Thus, there is a great deal of needless accusation and speculation that is published under the guise of truth.
Third, this is not a conspiracy involving only American liberties, but rather it is a movement designed to bring the entire world under dominion of one government. In it there are sincerely deceived men and women being used, persuaded because they feel this is mankind's last best effort to save us from destruction. These people are not stupid. They know, just as we know, that mankind now possesses ultimate weapons. And they know from mankind's record of history for 6,000 years that every time mankind has gotten a weapon, eventually that weapon has been used to suppress the liberties of other people and to grab power for the self. So they (these sincerely deceived people) feel that they are in a race against time and human nature, and they feel that mankind's last best effort is to have a government, a supranational government, that is able to exercise control over all nations.
I'm going to give you an overview of why I believe it is going on. I also believe that it's going to be very successful, but it will still culminate short of its goal. I also hope to be able to show you evidence, that is at least a foundation for my feelings regarding this, because it is not taken from men, but directly from God's Word, and I feel sure that we can believe it.
Let's first define the word conspire from several different Webster's dictionaries. It literally means—this is kind of funny really—"to breathe together." Conspire means to breathe together. It is a word that indicates a unity. It means "to combine, to cooperate toward an end." So far, so good. It looks like an innocent operation, but usage through the centuries has caused the word to take on evil connotations. Thus it has come to mean "to combine secretly for unlawful purposes, to plan and act secretly, especially in order to commit a crime, to devise someone's ruin." Synonyms are "plot, plan, scheme, intrigue, connive, and contrive. "
The foundation for a message like this does not begin with God, but rather Satan, because God Himself would never be involved in something of this nature, nor would He have us involved in something that has evil, sinful connotations. First we need to see Satan's authority and his position established.
Jude 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
This is one of a series of three examples that Jude uses to show the surety that God's judgment will fall upon sinners (those who are committing sin as a way of life.) So he says, then, that the angels left their first estate, or left their place of habitation. Habitation refers to either a place of living or a place of responsibility. In this case it refers to both: a place of living and a place of responsibility. That means then, brethren, that for you and me we have to recognize that their habitation was the earth. That was their place of living. That was the place of their responsibility.
Let's take this one step further because we know we can fill in with Revelation 12 and Ezekiel 28 and come to understand that pride entered Satan and he conspired with angels who were under his authority and convinced them that God was not being fair with them and that they should rise from the earth and attack God.
Ephesians 6:12 For we [meaning Christians] wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
From this we find that our warfare is against them and they—these angels who rose up against God—look upon us as invaders. And as any invaded land would do, they look upon themselves as rising to defend their habitation (as we would look at it), their home and territory despite the fact that they probably know that God has given this earth to us as an inheritance.
What we have here is a spiritual parallel of Israel coming out of Egypt, going through the wilderness, going to Canaan as their inheritance, but Canaan was already inhabited. And the Canaanites rose up to defend themselves against those people that they looked upon as invaders. Who knows? They may very well have known that God had promised that land to Abraham and to his descendants, and this wave of a couple of million people coming toward them were the descendants of Abraham.
Rahab seemed to understand that there in Jericho, so it's very likely that the Canaanites already knew these things. God doesn't do things in a corner. He witnesses to people when He does something. So I am sure that the demons are very well aware that they are defending themselves from those who are going to take over their land and they are going to fight in order to hold it.
II Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
In this verse we find Satan's religious position defined, or shown, or revealed. He receives homage as the one worshipped by the unconverted. Thus, the world pursues his plan and yields to his temptations while at the same time neglecting or rejecting the reign, the realm, the kingdom, and the rule of God.
We'll add one more thing to this as we show the character, the position and so forth, of Satan the devil.
Job 41:34 He beholds all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.
By means of symbolism, Satan's position in terms of attitude is defined. Pride is rightly defined as the father of all sin, and the word children is used in the sense of showing the characteristics of, or that which is descended from. You've heard of the sons of Belial. They were not literally children of Satan, but they showed the same characteristics of Satan, or I believe, "the son of foolishness" would be a more specific definition of Belial. And you can look at your own children and you can see that they definitely have physical characteristics of you, and of your wife or your husband.
So the word is used in this sense, that those who are the children of Satan show his characteristics. It is important to understand this. Jesus used this same principle back in John 8:44 when He told the Jews that they were of their father the devil. He was not literally their father, but He was alluding to this same principle that they showed the spiritual characteristics of their spiritual father who was Satan the devil. He mentions specifically lust, "and the lust of your father you will do." That's what we're dealing with here. The dominant sin of all mankind has its roots in pride, which is idolatry. It's usually self-worship.
I John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
Or as it should be translated, "lies under the wicked one." That is the correct translation. In other words, here is an all-inclusive statement of position in terms of the earth. The wicked one, Satan, holds authority over all of the operations of all of the cultural systems on earth. He is the king or holds authority over what the Bible calls "the world."
Is Satan a deceiving, plotting conspirator? If he is, his children—his spiritual descendants—are going to show the same characteristics or the Bible isn't true. Is Satan a deceiving, plotting conspirator?
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle [My margin says cunning. Isn't that a word that gives you confidence? If a person is cunning that word has very negative connotations. There's evil contained and implied within that word cunning, especially the association with the serpent. It makes that especially true.] than any beast of the field [Again remember the parables of Matthew 13—the field is the world and Satan is more cunning than any other beast, as it were, of the world.] which the LORD God had made.
In Revelation 12:9 (which Mr. Armstrong repeated so very frequently, but I want to get this in here) it says very plainly,
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
That brings Jude 6 right around full circle. We know they left their first estate on earth and they were cast right back to their first estate which was the earth. Now they are here and they are trying to hang on to it and they are fighting against you and me and they are deceiving all the other people on earth because they want to hold onto their territory. The primary characteristic, the very thing God mentions to you and me at the beginning of the book, is that the serpent is the most cunning of all.
We know more of the story—that he conspired with other angels to do what they did. And the children of the world are children of Satan spiritually and they will show the same kind of characteristics. So he has deceived and he has plotted with men to turn men against God and to worship him instead, all the while they are thinking that they are worshipping the true God.
Has mankind, under Satan's sway, ever before attempted to bring the whole world under one government?
Genesis 10:8-12 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
I want to draw our attention to this word before. "He was a might hunter before the Lord." The word literally means "face"—that which is in the front and which appears to another facing you, like face-to-face. Nimrod was a mighty hunter facing the Lord. The word before literally means, "that which turns." It has a wide variety of usages. It can be translated facing, before, in front of, or against.
Against is the correct translation here. You can tell that by the context. He was a mighty hunter against the Lord. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord in the sense of fighting against. You don't turn your back on your enemy. You face him and he faces you.
Nimrod was against; he was facing the LORD in battle, in antagonism, rather than in submission. That's shown in the context by his conquests. The beginning of his kingdom was Babel. There's more here than meets the eye. He conquered Babel. He conquered Erech, and Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. He was bringing these (probably city-states) under his control and forming them into one nation. Nowhere did God give the right to dominion over other men in this regard by conquering them, and that was what Nimrod was doing.
The Sperling Translation translates that phrase, "He began to be a despot." So he was a despot against God; and he was deceiving, he was manipulating, he was controlling those that he brought under his dominion. We have the story that we went through in Genesis 11. Satan and his demons, through Nimrod, conspired against God to bring mankind into one government against God.
Remember I said before, "God doesn't destroy those things that are good. He doesn't intervene like this unless something is evil." But this was something evil against God and against God's purpose. That's why He stepped in and confused the languages, because this was something that was going directly against God's purpose, against the timeline that God had worked out in His own mind.
There we have the first example in the Bible of people under the sway of Satan. They were under the sway because they were his children spiritually and because they were antagonistic to God's purpose. That's how you can tell. They weren't submissive to it or obedient to it.
Here we have mankind's first attempt to bring all of mankind under one government. You can see right from the very beginning in the book of beginnings, Genesis, where God shows that bringing governments together under man is not part of His purpose. That's antagonistic to God.
Let's turn to Daniel 2. I mentioned that this was just mankind's first attempt (as far as we know anyway). There is not a great deal there in Genesis 1-6 that would indicate that they were gathering into nations in this same manner.
Daniel 2:36-39 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings: [Here is a supragovernment over many nations.] for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell [that's kind of an inclusive statement], the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has He given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold. And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
Each one of these four governments, with God's permission, was a supra-world government (in this case). But I'm just giving you this right now as evidence that there have been other attempts at world government. I think one of the reasons why God is permitting this is at least to give us a record to show that supra-world governments don't work when they are governed by men. It's a witness to us so that we will understand to stay away from this thing. It's enough to know that it's happening.
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings [the last of the 4 kingdoms] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
This verse is a reflection on the fact of what is coming. There is a one-world government coming that is going to be under God and it's going to be given to His saints.
Daniel 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth [and this is what we are looking at in our day], which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. [This is one of the verses that I was thinking of when I told you that it's going to be very successful, but still fall short of its goal.]
Daniel 7:25-27 And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
While God is going to establish His one world government (and that is prophesied and it is sure to occur), Satan is drawing his forces into a one-world government that is a counterfeit of God's. The New World Order is nothing more than the biblical beast being formed before our very eyes, and we, and all the rest of Israel, are not excluded from their plans. In fact I would have to say, considering the power of Israel, its prosperity, its wealth, and all the great gifts that God has given, that it is the plum that everybody is after. When I say Israel I mean all of Israel: Australia, Canada, Western Europe, and South Africa. These are the nations above all that these conspirators want to bring under the umbrella because this is where the power resides on earth at this time.
In chapter 11 we have an important element in the development of this that is described pretty clearly.
Daniel 11:21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person [This person, the type, was Antiochus Epiphanes. We don't need to go into him except to state that he is the type of the beast. I want you to see what it says about him.], to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
It's talking about conspiracy here, folks. The beast is not going to take over the kingdoms of this world, at least at the very beginning, by war. He's going to come into his power through flatteries.
Daniel 11:22-23 And with the arms of a flood [large numbers of people] shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant [which at that time would have been the high priest]. And after the league made with him [coming into power through treaties] he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
We're getting clues from God that this conspiracy, which is working, is not going to require a huge army to put into effect. All it's going to take is very strategically placed people—people who are in positions where they wield a great deal of authority and they can exercise that authority at just the right time in just the right place. Remember I mentioned in the sermon how Malachi Martin said that he (he was actually talking in this case about John Dewey) corrupted especially the American educational system. It didn't take a lot of people. All it took was people in the right places at the right times where they could wield a great deal of influence over others.
There are names I know that you are familiar with who were compatriots with John Dewey like B.F. Skinner, and Thorndike, and John Watson. They were all positions of authority and they used their expertise to corrupt the very foundation of American education. So this legally is going to be done, and it is in operation already in much the same way.
Daniel 11:24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done [those who preceded him], nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time [a short period of time].
He's not going to last long in office, but he's going to be quite successful for a period of time. Let's drop down to verse 32. He's still talking about the same person and the same system.
Daniel 11:32-39 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries [meaning those who know about the New Covenant, Christians, and the love of many will wax cold. He's going to corrupt by flatteries]: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword [martyrdom], and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. And the king [this is the beast] shall do according to his will; [Who can make war against the beast?] and he shall exalt himself [II Thessalonians 2:4 shows he sets himself in the temple of God showing himself as God], and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: [By the time he gets in there then military force and power begins to become important to him.] and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
That's pretty clear up to that point. What he is doing now (and I sincerely believe we are close enough to the end) is that he is working his thing wherever he happens to be, that he is using these people to create loyalty to himself and to his cause, and at the same time he is gradually undermining, introducing leaven, as it were, to the present governments creating disloyalty to them, while at the same time stirring up social trouble through political, justice, educational, religious, and social systems.
There's nothing new about any of this. This is what Adolph Hitler did in order to subvert Germany to his cause. And this is what Stalin and his predecessors in Russia did in order to subvert the Czar's and the governments there. This is what we watched in the Cold War period as nation after nation fell to communism, infiltration through fifth column efforts and taking advantage of internal conditions and bitterness that might result from whatever happened to people who were already in power.
Let's go to Psalm 2. These are the same tactics that we see described in the parables that Richard went through before the Feast.
Psalm 2:1-2 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD. . .
Did you notice that phrase—"the kings of the earth"? We're not talking about demons now. We're talking about human beings who "set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord." They are conspiring.
Psalm 2:2-3 . . .and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder. . .
I wouldn't doubt that we are looking at something here that comes very close to what Satan used against the angels who were under him.
Psalm 2:3-12. . .and cast away their cords from us. ["You poor people. You're being enslaved."] He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion [the establishment of the government of God]. I will declare the decree: the LORD has said unto me, You art my Son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I shall give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O you kings: be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son [submit to Him], lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.
"Of the earth" gives an indication that God is dealing with something that is worldwide in its scope, and this whole Psalm can very easily be seen to be end time in its application. It is just prior to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God that the action shown in Psalm 2 takes place. They are conspiring against God. Are they not going to fight God? Yes, they are.
Psalm 83:1-5 Keep not your silence, O God: hold not your peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, your enemies make a tumult: and they that hate you have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against your people, and consulted against your hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against you:
Well, that's pretty clear. Another indication of conspiracy against God and His people, and the implication from these first couple of verses is that they are taking this crafty counsel and conspiring together while you and I are in the place of safety—"His hidden ones." I don't think I'm going too far out in saying that.
Let's go back to Genesis 37. I just want to pick up another indication that because mankind is under the sway of Satan the devil, they are sons, as it were, of his spirit, of his teaching, his attitudes, and they are going to reflect the same kind of approach to life and conduct in life.
Genesis 37:18 And when they [that is Joseph's brothers] saw him [Joseph] afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
Do men conspire secretly to do something evil? Let's go to II Samuel 15. I'm giving you these verses because I want you to see in the history of Israel that over and over again this proclivity shows its face. The subtitle of this chapter is "Absalom revolts against David."
II Samuel 15:1-4 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy [Here we go—something that might be a point of bitterness] came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city are you? And he said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, your matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear you. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which has any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
Here it is. It is spelled out one step after the other of how these facilitators, how these agents of change, how those who infiltrated the school systems, and how those who have infiltrated the justice system of the United States, the political system of the United States, and I am sure other nations as well, are subverting it just like Absalom did.
II Samuel 15:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
This method of infiltration, tares among the wheat, works like leaven unless individuals recognize it for what it is and put up their defensives against it. You can look at other conspiracies in I Kings 21:7-16 as Jezebel conspired against Naboth in order to get Naboth's land. Naboth (poor fellow) ended up dead. Jezebel did the conspiring.
Are conspiracies part of the stories that you read in Judges? Oh, one right after the other. We might almost say it's part of our DNA. It's right inside of us. It's not in the DNA; it's in the mind because of Satan, though.
Did the people of the land conspire against Ezra when they were building the temple? Did the people of the land conspire against Nehemiah when they were building the wall? Both of those books are a story of conspiracy from one end to the other. Somebody tried to undermine what the Israelites were doing there. It is all through there, as well as the books of Kings. It shows a great deal of it.
Now what about Jesus? Was Jesus ever conspired against? Well, very much so. Let's go back to Mark and we'll pick up the principle here. This is after Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath day.
Mark 3:6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Is that a conspiracy? It is. My margin has a reference there and they changed the word to "plotted." As I told you the dictionary says that a synonym for conspire is to plot. In Matthew 22:15 this is a rather mild conspiracy, but nonetheless it is there.
Matthew 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk.
Here it wasn't for the purpose of killing Him necessarily, but they wanted to try to trip Him up.
Matthew 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death:
There, again, they were plotting His death. The New English Bible, by the way, translates that verse 1, "they met in conference to plan the death of Jesus."
In Matthew 28:12 is another conspiracy, but in this case the conspiracy was to hide the fact of the resurrection from the people of the land. In Acts 5:33 is another conspiracy, except that this time the conspiracy was against the church. In Acts 9:23 the context there is Paul and he was let down over the wall in Damascus, but the people got together and plotted how they might kill him. Moffatt translates the word there conspired.
We could go on and on here, but I won't for the lack of time. I think that there's enough evidence given that conspiring is a part of man's way of life. It comes to those seeking power, or desiring to win, or to impress, to get the upper hand, almost as naturally as breathing. Sometimes it gets into the dumbest areas—I mean serious, but dumb.
I'll give you an example. A lady in Texas conspired to have a teenage cheerleader killed in order that her daughter would be the head cheerleader. Conspiracy is a part of human nature. People will bribe in order to get their way. That is a conspiracy to get the upper hand, to get an edge on the competition.
During this past year the Federal Trade Commission sued three of the largest compact disc manufacturers because they conspired to keep the price of compact discs higher than they should have been. In the article that I read in the newspaper, it wasn't a problem with the price per se that the FTC was concerned about, but the fact that they conspired to hold it up there. I don't think it's been resolved yet, and we're paying a great deal more for CD's than we should be paying. These people are raking the money in because it hasn't been resolved yet.
Let's consider another area here. Does God use men to carry out His purposes among men? Well, the answer to that is obvious. God sends His ambassadors. God sends His prophets. God sends His apostles. God sends pastors and teachers. God sends His people. Every single one of you is an ambassador of His Kingdom. Your citizenship is there and you represent Him, and God is working out His purpose by and through men.
Paul said that God has determined to save man through the foolishness of preaching. Angels aren't preaching to you and me. It's human beings who are just as weak people as you. That's the way God has chosen to do it. God uses men to carry out His purposes.
Does God give people dreams, visions, and inspirations? Every service we ask for God's inspiration. God does that by His Spirit. Does God at times dramatically intervene in the course of our lives to bring something to pass that otherwise would not have happened? In other words, does God bring miracles to pass? Why, of course He does.
Does God plan far ahead—how about thousands of years, billions of years in advance? Of course He does. Does He plan far ahead how He is going to accomplish these things through men? Does God give His Spirit to those through whom He is going to accomplish these things?
You know the answer to every one of these questions is clearly yes. I ask all those questions for a reason. Satan is a spirit being. Does not he do the same things? Does he not use men? Does he not motivate men? Does he not inspire men? Does he not live in men until he totally possesses and controls them?
Luke 22:3-5 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he [Judas] went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
There's your answer. Satan is capable of doing things in much the same way that God does, however they always have an evil connotation to them. It's plain and simple. Satan ramrodded his plan through someone who received his spirit very willingly.
Satan's use of men is very similar to the KGB's operations using spies in the United States. The only difference is the purpose. The KGB's purpose is not to draw us into a world government, but to weaken and perhaps destroy us as an enemy. The KGB operates a web of people rarely known to each other, but in positions to influence decisions and to obtain information.
There never have been very many KGB spies in the United States, but the KGB induces these spies through bribes, sex, and psychological manipulation. The spy may have entirely different motivations for his disloyalty to his country. Often it is money. Sometimes it is revenge, feelings of power, or misguided loyalties. But each spy has his own interest and he allows himself to be manipulated to fulfill them.
People say, "How can men agree over generations of time in order to pull this conspiracy off?" Well, the answer to that is that they forget that Satan is not constrained by death, that he ever lives, that he's invisible to human eyes, and yet he has a mind and powers far superior to men. He, too, has his plans and is given many liberties by God to bring them to pass even to the extent of forming his own religions, governments, educational and economic and philosophical systems that counterfeit God's so closely that mankind, without the Spirit of God, is unable to tell the difference, and all of mankind is deceived.
What is it that drives men to do these things, to yield? It's self-interest, pure and simple. This is the drive that Satan works on to snare them to do his will, to manipulate their minds to the place where they see advantage to themselves to be disloyal to France, disloyal to the United States, disloyal to Canada, disloyal to the United Kingdom. He educates them with things that they feel will enhance their position and put them into places of power or prominence in what is coming. It's a very simple system that works upon human nature.
Remember what it says in Daniel 11 about the Beast, that he works deceitfully. He becomes strong with a small number of people. He is using flatteries in order to appeal to the dreams of men. He takes over without the use of military forces. God is telling us that it's not going to take a large number of people to pull this thing off. Satan has been working on this thing; we have been psychologically manipulated for well over a hundred years to bring us to the place where we will willingly give up our convictions. We're trying to get you to have strong convictions about what you believe so that you can't be manipulated by this super-being through the subtle forces that he is setting up.
When conditions are right, the Beast will be able to take over without firing a shot. Proverbs 1:10-15 shows very clearly—here in the opening to the book of Proverbs in instruction especially wisdom for young men—that people will cooperate together in unity and give all of their heart to crime. People will cooperate in crime. They will cooperate in conspiracies because the same evil spirit is working in all of them, even as we can cooperate with God and each other because each of us has the same spirit, the Holy Spirit, and it is working in us to produce things that are right, good, pure, and true. That's what the book of Ephesians, incidentally, is about.
Satan is not using one group to pull this off. There are many groups that have the same basic agenda and the same basic interests. The Bildebergers have theirs. The Catholic Church has its. The Jesuits have theirs. Opus Dei has its. The Masons have theirs. There's the Illuminati. There's International Communism. There's the United Nations. There's the Counsel on Foreign Relations. They're all going in the same general direction.
These groups, brethren, don't have to agree with one another perfectly. Understand that. Satan is the author of confusion. He's the most subtle and cunning of all the beasts of the field. They don't have to agree with each other perfectly. They don't have to cooperate with each other even. In fact, they don't have much time because of their specific interests and their methodologies frequently clash.
Is Satan's kingdom divided against itself? Of course it is, and it's not going to stand. So don't expect these people to cooperate with each other perfectly. They may go to war with one another. Satan doesn't care. He can always get somebody else to replace them. But they all do have the same basic common goal—that is to bring the world under one supranational government and to have one supranational religion as well.
So you can expect that there's going to be competition among these people. There's going to be conflict and deceit because that's the way Satan is and they're going to reflect his mind.
Revelation 17:12-14 is kind of interesting. What it shows there is that this self-interest within man is so strong that even Satan cannot completely overcome it. Even though it is part of his own nature, he can't overcome it. Do you know what these verses tell you? They tell you that the beast is going to come apart at the seams. The Beast power will begin to fight one another because each one of those rulers wants to be the Beast. And the Beast consumes the false prophet. Do you understand what I mean?
But that is self-interest. That drive is so strong that it will fall short. Of course God is going to be working there and when God withdraws His influence that is holding it together; human nature is going to take over and their self-interest is going to drive them to turn themselves against what they previously had submitted to.
Are you people aware that this thing isn't hidden? George Bush, during his presidency, brought the topic up over 200 times in public forums. He is thoroughly enmeshed within it and, again, I think it's a matter of that he feels that this is mankind's last best chance. But he certainly was not trying to hide his feelings about the New World Order, because he looks upon it as something good. We can look upon it in the right way because we have the Bible.
Incidentally, just as an aside, but I think that it's a fairly important aside, there are organizations springing up all over the United States. I don't know about Europe. Of course you are aware of militia groups. You are aware of small religious groups like the Branch Davidians, and the sovereign citizen people.
And believe it or not (I think you know this), there are five or six general categories of groups here and they all believe very much the same things. I mean they have elements in common. Element number one is that almost every one of them believes that we are Israel. And almost every one of them has a fear of the abuse of government.
Here's what I'm getting at. You know what happened to the Branch Davidians. You know that they believed in keeping the Sabbath. They believed in keeping the holy days. They didn't have quite the same understanding as we do, but they were Sabbath keepers. They were holy day keepers. I think they were a spin off from the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
I think most of you are aware of what happened out there at Ruby Ridge in Idaho. Those two people, whose names slip my mind right now, were Sabbath keepers and they believed that the United States is Israel and in the book that was written about that attack on their home in Ruby Ridge, the Feast of Trumpets is mentioned, and Herbert W. Armstrong and The Plain Truth are mentioned.
What I'm driving at is it's going to be very easy to attach the scattered churches of God as being a part and parcel of that. Even though we are really separate from them and we are really living our lives by faith, because of these five or six commonalties that we have, they and we are going to get caught in the same web. Even though we understand that Satan's real thrust is against God's true people, these other poor people are going to get caught within it.
Isaiah 8:11-20 For the LORD spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. [But you, brethren] Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples. And I will wait upon the LORD, that hides His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him. Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwells in Mount Zion [a type of the church]. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
The background here is that Israel, the northern ten tribes, and Syria entered into an alliance and conspired together to defeat Judah, and this, Isaiah, is written for the people of Judah. But it threw the people of Judah into a great fear and because the people were so fearful and faithless toward God's ability to protect them, that he then prophesied that Israel, Syria, and Judah would be overcome by Assyria, a different group altogether.
He then gave specific instructions to Isaiah, what he should do and not do and here are the instructions to us regarding the conspiracy that is taking place in our day. This is especially important because this is the conspiracy to end all conspiracies. This is the mother of all conspiracies, as we might say, and it will affect us and perhaps even now is.
The instruction is: don't be afraid. Don't be afraid of it. Don't let it distract you into focusing your attention on it. Put your trust in God because He is sovereign. It is His plan that will come to pass. Let Him be your sanctuary. Don't become ensnared in this thing. Be patient. "I am with you," He says—with Isaiah. Keep your focus on the law and the testimony.
What do we mean by fear? We fear what we respect. What we fear we pay attention to. What we fear we may even honor or reverence. What we fear may even immobilize or mesmerize us. If our fear is not focused in the right place, it will be a tremendous distraction from God's Kingdom and very likely (maybe) cause us to lose our salvation.
Brethren, if you're involved in it, let go of it. It is going to come to fruition and there's nothing you can do to stop it. Just be warned so that it doesn't ensnare you. Because if your sanctuary is not in God, if your fear is not in Him, the sheer terror of what is going to develop is going to mesmerize you or frighten you into submitting to it, and it's only those who have strong convictions about what they believe in relationship to God who are not going to accept the mark of the beast, to submit to it.
Satan is so subtle that he throws out an awful lot of red herrings. Don't be distracted by them. Keep your eyes on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, receive His gospel, and be saved.