In the brilliantly done and grossly underrated movie, No Way Out, Russian Intelligence has developed a clever scheme where it has transplanted children into the United States, who will pose as American citizens, but who have been indoctrinated as emerging Russian spies. They will go through America’s educational system and will pursue careers that place them at the pinnacle of power. Their obligation is to embark upon career paths that give them access to national secrets at the highest level so that they can pass them along to their Russian contacts. The thing that makes this film such a treat to watch is that the screenplay writers do not leave any clues throughout the movie to the Russian intelligence officer’s identity. This, you do not discover until the last few minutes of the movie. 5 stars!
Infiltrating one’s enemy is as old as civilization. In perhaps the most celebrated effort to secretly penetrate the forces of the opposition, the Aeneid, depicts the turning point in the Trojan War when the Greek army leaves a huge, wooden horse at the entrance of the city of Troy in what appears to be a gesture of good will before seemingly sailing back to Greece in defeat. The Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a spoil of war; however, they were unaware that there were 30 highly skilled Greek soldiers inside. Later that night, the Greeks sailed back to Troy and surreptitiously gathered at the entrance of the city, while the men inside the wooden horse crept out and opened the gates for the Greek army to enter.
The Trojan War ended decisively because the Greeks deployed an illusion that disarmed the Trojans’ suspicion and blinded them to their enemy’s deception. The most adroit of Trojan warriors, leaders, and citizens may have seen through the ploy as a hoax; however, those at higher levels of authority could not comprehend the seeds of their own destruction and to their peril, opened the front door and rolled out the red carpet for the enemy.
There has been an ongoing historical debate over whether the Trojan War was fact or fiction. However, the salient point of Virgil’s depiction of the deception by the Greek army is that those who are charged with the task of leadership have an awesome responsibility since they are often the only barriers between civilization and its destruction. This is why in all democratic nations, the decisions of the presidents and other top leaders come under such intense scrutiny. Unlike the mistakes of the average citizen, poor judgment on the part of the national leadership can cause the destruction of society. It is believed by some historians that President Herbert Hoover’s failure to act decisively during the economic turmoil of 1929 is what caused the Great Depression. This is not to say that he did nothing during the onset of the Great Depression as some historians have advanced, but it is argued by some that he demonstrated poor judgment during a time of economic crisis in America.
Historians may never agree on the role that Hoover played during the incipient stages of the Great Depression. However, in an age where tin-pot despots are attempting to ascertain weapons of mass destruction; and when the multi-trillion dollar derivative market has the potential to destroy national economies around the world in a matter of minutes; and considering that the globe is connected through the sinews of cyberspace and one cyber-attack could set off World War III, national leaders must weigh each word that they utter and each policy that they promote.
Adolf Hitler’s arrogant refusal to consider the apprehension of his generals over his decision to invade Russia in 1941 was the turning point of the war. In the game of “What-Ifs,” Germany would have still been at the mercy of a nuclear armed United States if Hitler had conceded to his generals’ demands and delayed the invasion of the Soviet Union. Had he been more circumspect in his war aims, it is clear that the end game of World War II would have been much different. Hindsight graphically demonstrates the folly of Hitler’s decision; however, the challenge that will confront national leaders during the rise of the son of perdition will not be political, economic or military. The challenge that all people will face with the beast of Revelation 13 (see Part 1 of this series) will be to sift through his charm and near invincible deceit to see his poisoned guile.
The book of Jude provides us with a key to discern the snares of deceitful men and simultaneously demonstrates the consequences for those who lack the spiritual perception to distinguish prophets of God from snake oil salesmen:
3.Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4.For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:3-4, emphasis mine).
Jude is advancing an urgent message for the saints to challenge them to seek the truth that was once delivered to the earlier church. At least three decades after the death of Christ and the birth of the Church, the message in that region was so diluted that evil men had been able to slither past the church’s leadership into positions where they were imposing much harm on the congregation. This is profound, because these men slipped in past the apostles, past the bishops, past the prophets, past all those who had been charged with protecting the church from the mystery of iniquity. Jude graphically demonstrated that the church is not immune to surreptitious invasions by deceitful men if the saints have lost their passion for truth, because truth is the only insulation against deception.
Jude’s admonition is not unprecedented: The Scripture is littered with examples of wicked men infiltrating the church. In fact, combating fraudulent leaders and men with evil agendas who furtively entered into the church was the single most prominent issue that faced the apostles. Apostle Paul spent three years ministering in Asia Minor, and before he journeyed to Jerusalem, he warned the church leaders that wolves would sneak into the church and devour the flock. He was also concerned that notwithstanding three years of preaching and teaching, some of the church leaders who he trained would rise up and speak perversely against God’s Word and attempt to create cult followings:
28.Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29.For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30.Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31.Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears (Acts 20:28-31).
Why is the church such fertile territory for fraudulent leadership?
…to be continued
Note: Prelude to the anti-christ started out as a 12-part series; however, it has now taken on a life of its own and has evolved into 18 parts.