“Your president is not a crook!”
His shocking statement startled me as I stared at U.S. President Richard Nixon talking to me on my black and white television in October 1973. It was so dramatic and unsettling that the most powerful man in the world, who had his finger on the nuclear button, my president, would describe himself this way—even in the negative.
Yet during the long Watergate crisis the question on my 25-year-old mind was never whether President Nixon was a crook . In my generation’s mind it was whether he was a liar . Unable to overcome the mounting evidence being assembled by federal prosecutors and Congress, the president resigned 10 months later in August 1974 after a seemingly endless attempt to obfuscate, stonewall, divert, recast and to otherwise “spin” the facts.
That act set a precedent of expectation that our most important politicians are often, if not always, liars. And it led to the question: If you can’t trust your president’s word, can you trust your government at all? Now, almost 40 years later, very few Americans believe in their government.
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom,” said Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States. He believed this virtue was essential in all Americans or else the American “experiment” in constitutional republican government would collapse. One hundred years later, the 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt, said: “Truth-telling is a virtue that we should insist upon not only in schools and at home, but in business and in politics just as much. Nothing can make good citizenship in men who have not got in them courage … the spirit of truth-telling and truth-seeking.”
Now, yet another century later, the United States and governments the world over face a problem of biblical proportions—lying in politics. It’s not a pretty picture,
and it doesn’t bode well for the survival of the American system of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”—or for people anywhere. What’s behind the problem, and what will solve it?
The world’s worst political liar
Modern stories of political intrigue and even terrible figures of human history like Adolf Hitler can’t hold a candle to one infamous liar. He was the worst—and the best, in terms of most effective—liar. He still is. In fact, he is the very “father of lies” (compare John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×). All political lying in the history of the world is kid stuff compared to his governing deceptions. And snakes get a bad rap because of him.
Most people today don’t believe there actually was a devil in the Garden of Eden who manipulated the first woman and man into personal and societal self-destruction. The process of “selling” the forbidden fruit to Eve was identical to the political tactics of false promises impossible to deliver, misrepresentations, slandering of other candidates, pandering to voters, vain boasting and blatant distortions of reality by the modern 21st-century politician.
God had created the framework of perfect government in His loving relationship and role of Parent and Lawgiver. Satan lied about his political opponent, exalting himself as the champion of human rights over and against the Creator of all legitimate rights and aspirations—God the loving Father, who had formed Adam and Eve in His own image, given them a spectacular place to live, meaningful work, every good opportunity on earth for them and their children, and a future of ultimate security and endless peace and prosperity.
Satan lied about God’s ability to offer a better life, a more satisfying future and freedom of choice to Eve. In lying about God and His motives, the devil offered an alternative that appeared superior to and more appealing than the reality she was already experiencing. He aroused desire to rebel against true reality and good sense. He said if she would follow him, she could do what she wanted, choose to develop her own “knowledge of good and evil” and construct her own alternative reality apart from God. The devil was the ultimate “personal choice” candidate.
He said: “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it [the forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5 Genesis 3:4-5 4 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die:
5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
American King James Version×).
The devil got elected
In the end Satan got the woman’s vote, 50 percent of the electorate. He also got the other 50 percent, the man’s vote, because for Adam to have voted against Eve would have meant a deep divide between him and his wife and companion, the only other human being on earth. Desperate to maintain their bond, he joined her in sin—though he was not deceived (see 1 Timothy 2:14 1 Timothy 2:14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
American King James Version×). Satan got 100 percent of the vote through deception of the woman and manipulation of the man.
But Adam and Eve got massively snookered because the devil is a crook. He lied and stole their right and promise of security, peace, abundance and life. For believing and acting on lies, reality changed forever for them and their descendants. His promises were all a hoax—lies!
They lost their beautiful home, their job, their health—and they suffered and ultimately died. After the arrival of children, their immediate family was racked by violence—and this only grew worse among their descendants, who were increasingly corrupted by the devil.
The human race has resorted to choosing political saviors ever since to rule over them. But various lies, false promises and distortions of reality have produced the same miserable results for approximately 6,000 years of recorded history.
Chosen generation of virtuous truth-telling
Into this world of lies, Jesus Christ, the One who had formed Adam and Eve on behalf of God the Father, came as a human being (John 1:1-3 John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
American King James Version×, 14). He taught the truth and way of the Kingdom of God, a totally new level of existence for the human race based on truth-seeking and truth-telling. This is the path to true freedom for, as Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 John 8:32And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
American King James Version×).
The knowledge of the spiritual truth about God and personally knowing the Father and Jesus forms the foundation of virtues. God’s reality is unchangeable because “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18 Hebrews 6:18That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us:
American King James Version×). And Jesus told all to follow Him and “be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 Matthew 5:48Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
American King James Version×). Here is a faultless Ruler we can count on absolutely—One who intends for others to become like Him.
God is now developing a replacement government, civilization and way of life for people who will believe and live by His truth. The Bible calls such people “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim [demonstrate] the praises [virtues] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
American King James Version×).
That divine government—or Kingdom of God—will assume the leadership of the world when Jesus Christ returns to the earth in the very near future. Satan will be removed, and Jesus will take over as King, with His followers ruling alongside Him (Revelation 20:1-4 Revelation 20:1-4 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×, 6). We are to be preparing for that time now: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23 John 4:23But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
American King James Version×).
As a truly vertical thinker, you are being called and developed into a truth-seeker and truth-teller as you follow the truth of the Bible. Reject the devil and serve the rightful King—the God of truth. Tell the truth, live the truth and trust the truth. Of such is the coming Kingdom of God.