We surveyed the expansive square filled with visitors. Looming in the background were the gates leading to the expansive Forbidden City. This was Tiananmen square in Beijing, China. As we meandered through the square, soldiers patrolled at every monument and stopping point. It was a stark reminder of the events of the student led protests that occurred in this very spot in 1989. Demanding reform from the ruling communist party, thousands of students gathered in the Square culminating on June 4th when the government declared martial law and forcibly put down the protesters. Some estimate that thousands died. Foreign reporters were forbidden to record the events but some photos and film were leaked to a horrified world.
I turned to my Chinese guide and pointed to an area of the square. “This is the area where the tanks came in when the students were protesting and…”
“It never happened!” My guide abruptly cut me off.
“But the news…”
“It never happened.” He looked straight ahead, stone faced.
The government denied this happened when there was incontrovertible truth, disseminated throughout the internet and the world media. Clearly the national policy was to change the narrative. In fact, the official response of the Chinese government declares that this was all biased Western propaganda and reporting, part of a conspiracy to weaken and divide China.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This quote is attributed to Joseph Goebels, the notorious minister of propaganda for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. It is applicable to many societies, including democracies like the United States. Even in our great nation, we have covered up shameful examples of racism and class warfare, all cloaked under the noble banner of patriotism.
As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.
Matthew 28:11-15 (NLT)
The greatest miracle that ever occurred is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even the Jewish leaders did not dispute this. Yet if they acknowledged it, they knew they would no longer be in power so they fabricated a story and bribed the Roman soldiers who were guarding Jesus’ tomb. As the Bible states, Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.
Nations and men will manipulate the facts to support their objectives. When there is an agenda to be carried out, lies will be repeated. Yet when faced with the overwhelming evidence of the Resurrection, even bribery and lies could not stop the Truth of God to spread throughout the earth.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.