By David Brandt Berg - November 21, 1970
THERE IS HARDLY A CASE WHERE A TRULY GREAT MAN SAVED HIS NATION, THAT HE WASN'T LATER VILIFIED or assassinated or deposed or imprisoned!
JULIUS CAESAR WAS ASSASSINATED, and he was the greatest Caesar Rome ever had. General Garibaldi of Italy saved his country and became such a hero that the people began to speak of making him a king, so that the monarchy immediately had him exiled!
THERE ARE MANY EXAMPLES IN THE BIBLE! Noah saved mankind by his obedience to the Lord; but his critics say, "Yes, but, look: he turned out to be nothing but a drunk!" Or Abraham, who really saved his family out of Babylon by moving to Israel. But there are people today who say, "What a rotter Abraham was! He mistreated his own wife, offering her as his sister to two kings to save his own neck."
IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW MUCH A MAN DOES FOR HIS PEOPLE or his country, or how great he is: They always have faults for which their enemies will never excuse them, and for which they sometimes get them in the end!
MOSES SAVED MILLIONS of the Children of Israel from Egypt, but from the time that they tattled on him for killing the Egyptian, during the whole time he led them, they were always blaming things on him, and were even willing to throw him over just for marrying a coloured girl! He was never appreciated or given due credit by his own people while he was alive.
MOST SAVIOURS HAVE HAD TO SUFFER THE HATRED OF THE VERY PEOPLE THEY WERE TRYING TO SAVE, and the people frequently ended up killing them. Poor Saul was a good king, anointed of God, and he helped save the kingdom and did a lot of good things--but what's he remembered for?--Nothing but his faults and his failures! David is classic example--a man who really united the kingdom and gave it its greatest era of peace and power and its initial glory--and what did he get for it?--He was deposed by his own son, who managed to persuade the fickle public that David was their enemy. And what's Solomon remembered for? Not so much as being the world's wisest man and great king who ruled Israel at the height of its glory; but he's ridiculed because of the number of his wives! It's always easier to tear down than it is to build! People are usually quicker to believe lies than the truth--gossip, slander, libel, defamation of character, villification.--The public enjoys a nice juicy dirty story about its leaders, and they rejoice when their faults and failings and failures are exposed! And I wonder how often you've heard: "I always knew he was a so-and-so--that there was something phony about him!" No matter how much good he did, people are quicker to find fault than to value virtue. They seldom remember the good, but they always remember the evil! The good doesn't usually make news, but the evil always hits the headlines! Fame is fickle and triumph is only transitory. The cream of the crop today is always the sour cheese of tomorrow. The same crowd that was crying, "Hosanna to the Son of David" on Palm Sunday, was shouting, "Crucify Him" the following Friday!
IF YOU'D VALUE THE PRAISE OF MAN--YOU'D BETTER CATCH IT QUICK WHILE IT'S PASSING, 'CAUSE IT'S SOON GONE. Only God remembers! And the square that was named Pershing yesterday is called MacArthur today and will be called by another famous name tomorrow--as soon as the former is forgotten!
THE APOSTLE PAUL, WHO BROUGHT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM TO THE WORLD, WAS PERSECUTED BY HIS OWN, AND KILLED BY HIS ENEMIES. Jeremiah, trying to warn his people of coming disaster, was threatened by his own family, beaten by his church, and imprisoned by his government!
NEARLY EVERY GREAT RELIGIOUS LEADER, REFORMER, AND REVOLUTIONIST, SUFFERED IMPRISONMENT AND DEATH, too often at the hands of the very people he was trying to save! There was always a Judas--always a betrayer--always an enemy within--who was willing to sell him out for some thirty pieces of silver.
CAESAR WAS KILLED BY HIS DEAREST FRIEND--his bosom friend Brutus! He was a good dictator--that really brought Rome together by his powerful rule, and then he was assassinated by his own friends, for fear of that very same power! "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me!" (Psalm 41:9).
THESE VICTIMS OF FAME ARE TOO NUMEROUS TO NAME--too common to recount! One moment they're praising you and the next they're stabbing you in the back--like Paul and Silas! At first they fell down and worshipped them as gods!--A little while later they tried to stone them to death!
WHAT ABOUT THE SO-CALLED VILLAINS OF HISTORY? Even the men like Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr thought they were saving their country, but have gone down in history as traitors and rebels, including "The Man without a Country". True, their intent may have been good, but some of them were deceived.
NEVERTHELESS, I AM SURE PHARAOH THOUGHT HE WAS SAVING EGYPT--but instead he killed it! Apparently Aaron thought the Golden Calf was the only way to keep the people together when he thought Moses was gone! I supposed even Judas thought he was helping the cause of the Zealots by betraying Jesus!
SOME OF THEM WERE WRONG--ALL OF THEM MADE MISTAKES--AND MOST OF THEM WERE CONDEMNED--even for the good they did! Who knows? Many who have gone down in history as heroes may really have been the villains of their day; and many of the so-called villains may really have been the heroes!
IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT THE "MINISTRY OF TRUTH"--THE VICTORIOUS HISTORIANS--DECIDE TO DICTATE! It all depends on which side won! It all depends on which side is writing the history!
SO WHO'RE YOU GONNA BELIEVE? You can't trust the history books! The only thing you can trust is the Bible!
WHAT ABOUT RASPUTIN--CALLED THE "HOLY DEVIL OF RUSSIA"? Was he holy--or was he a devil? Who knows? Maybe he would have saved Russia!--She was already on the brink of defeat and revolution when this mysterious monk came to power during World War I, through his influence over the Czar's family! Some believed he was all that held Russia together, and might have brought about peace with Germany and a peaceful revolution within! Others believed he was ruining Russia --selling her down the river to her enemies--and perpetrating the bloodshed!
IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHOSE SIDE YOU'RE ON! Was he holy?--Or was he a devil? Did he have the supernatural power and wisdom of God and help to control the monarchy and bring peace with the people and Russia's enemies?--Or did he wield the power of the Devil, lusting for more power--a glutton and a profligate--as some portray him?
WHO'RE YOU GONNA BELIEVE?--Which history book? Was he good-or was he bad? Like most men--whether they go down in history as heroes or villians--he was probably both--doing the best he knew how--doing what he thought was right! Whichever side you believe, his cruel assassination didn't save the country! A few months later, Russia fell to her enemies and to the communists!
SO WHO KNOWS WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED HAD HE LIVED! We'll never know! It all depends on who you listen to!
THERE WERE EVEN THOSE WHO THOUGHT JESUS WAS A CRIMINAL! To the Jews--Jesus was a bastard, a devil, a law-breaker, a winebibber, a glutton, a companion of publicans and sinners, drunks and harlots, and a destroyer of Judaism!--But to us He was the Saviour of the world! The Jews blame Him for breaking the power of their religious establishment, bringing on them the wrath of Rome, annihilating their country, and for all the persecution and problems that they have suffered since!--Instead of blaming themselves! We know that He was trying to restore the true religion, bring true faith, and saved the Jews from themselves and their hypocrisy. This was what Jesus tried to teach--a greater charity, even to your enemies!
IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU LISTEN TO, who you believe, and who you want to believe--whose side you're on!
EVEN THE VILLAINS OF HISTORY WERE NECESSARY! Where would the good guys be without the bad guys? You wouldn't appreciate the white-hats! Even the Devil is necessary--and the Scripture says that even the angels "durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee!" All things work together for good to them that love the Lord! (Rom.8:28) Even those that were wrong, were working out God's purpose!
WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY'LL SAY ABOUT US?--When they beat us, persecute us, and cast us into prison, and will some day kill us, for the "good" of the country--if not the world! The scribes, the Pharisees, the leaders of the corrupt church and establishment, the hypocritical parents, and the jealous rivals--What will they say?--What do they say? "They're a threat to the church, a danger to the country, perverters of our children, the enemies of education, disturbers of the peace, publicity hounds, lazy loafers, parasites of society, living in iniquity, free love, and adultery, drug addicts, criminals, revolutionists, subverters, seditionists, traitors, demon-possessed hypnotists, false prophets, destroyers of the true faith, enemies of the State, corrupters of our children, underminers of our System, friends of our enemies!"
OR WHAT ELSE DO THEY SAY ABOUT US?
BUT IF YOU WOULD ASK OUR OWN KIDS--WHAT WOULD THEY SAY--the kids with whom God has used us to save them from drugs and vice and crime, futility, hell on earth and hell hereafter? And what would some honest parents and our few friends say, who know the good we've done, and the souls we've saved, and the lives we've changed, and the usefulness, the joy, and happiness that we've brought to many, and the miracles God has done, the way He is blessing and using us for the Salvation of our youth, and as examples of what could and should be done to save them, and of what they can do to help themselves, by the power of His Grace! To hear them tell it, what would you think? It would be quite a different story!
AND YOUR LEADERS? ACCORDING TO OUR ENEMIES, THEY ARE THE WORST OF ALL--living in sin, crime, and false doctrine, leading the Children of God astray--false prophets of the Devil! If they could just get the leaders, the children would be saved! If they could destroy the leaders, they could save the followers! This they have tried to do and will continue to try till Jesus comes!
WHO'RE YOU GONNA BELIEVE?--YOUR LEADERS--OR THEIR ENEMIES? Whose history book are you reading?--Ours, or theirs?--God's or the Devil's?--God's Word, or man's word? It all depends on what you want to believe! It depends on whose side you're on!
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? How long go ye halting between two opinions?--If God be God, then serve Him;--If Baal be God, then serve Him!
If you're going to serve God, for God's sake, know what you're going to believe--and serve Him--no matter what they say!
AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE--WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!