By Antonella Pedley and Betsy Mayer
In 1943, the fate of World War II hung in the balance. The Nazis were still going strong and Spain, which was neutral, teemed with German spies.
A uniformed corpse washed onto a Spanish beach. In his pockets were found a British identity card, pictures of a girlfriend, and ticket stubs. To his hand was chained a briefcase containing a letter entitled “Personal and Most Secret.”
Presumed to be a military courier who died in a plane crash, he received a military burial. But the letter contained sensational information and eventually landed on Hitler’s desk. The Allies were going to invade Greece. This was valuable information indeed, and Hitler moved an entire panzer division—90,000 soldiers—to Greece.
But Hitler had just fallen for one of history’s greatest set-ups: Operation Mincemeat. The corpse was no soldier at all. He was a Welsh homeless man who had killed himself by taking rat poison. The British Intelligence Service had fabricated the letter and his whole identity. The real target for invasion wasn’t Greece—but Sicily!
While the Germans waited for the Allies on the beaches of Greece, the Allies invaded Sicily and soon Mussolini was toppled from power. The Germans were now on the back foot, and the Allies didn’t stop until they reached Berlin.
When something important is about to happen, the enemy tries to divert attention from it by feeding false information. It’s an old trick, but it’s worked time and time again.
There are two historical time periods when our world was flooded with religious and philosophical ideas, which, compared to Bible truth, were largely deception and error.
The first time period was the 6th century BC. Confucius, born in 551 BC, founded Confucianism. Gautama Buddha (563–483 BC) founded Buddhism. Lao-Tze, a contemporary of Confucius, founded Taoism. Mahavira (599–527 BC) founded Jainism. Zoroaster (628–551 BC) founded Zoroastrianism, which later influenced Judaism, Gnosticism, and medieval Christianity.
These major religions not only exist today, but have millions of followers, and all their founders lived at the same time! Is this just a coincidence?
The other focal moment is the first half of the 19th century, clustered around the year 1844.
In the first half of the 19th century, the revisionist theological School of Tübingen, Germany emerged. It produced influential men who strongly shaped modern liberal Christian thought. Christian Baur re-evaluated the validity of the New Testament and denied the miracles of Jesus and the apostles. David Strauss tried to show that Jesus was just a “historical myth.”
A number of other religious movements were also born in the mid-19th century. In 1844 Joseph Smith died after having founded the Church of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. That year Bab Ali Mahomed gathered 18 prophets, he being the 19th, thus founding the Baha’i religion. In 1848, the Fox sisters started communicating with the spirit world, giving birth to spiritualism. Mary Baker Eddy founded Christian Science in this era. Karl Marx, who together with Friedrich Engels founded Marxism, published his Communist Manifesto in 1848. Mid-October 1844 marked the publication of Robert Chamber’s blockbuster Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation—a comprehensive view of the origin of the universe and life without any God and in a completely materialistic framework. In July 1844, Charles Darwin published his manuscript On the Origin of Species.
Was the explosion of religious and philosophical ideas during the mid-19th century just another huge coincidence?
Or could it be that the 6th century BC and the mid-19th century AD have such overwhelming significance and connection that someone was very busy trying to obscure their true importance with a flood of deception?
Well, in the 6th century BC lived the prophet Daniel, whose name means “God is my judge.” A Hebrew captive of King Nebuchadnezzar’s court, he wrote the most significant prophecies for God’s people in the Old Testament book bearing his name.
His 2,300-day prophecy, which predicted the cleansing of the sanctuary, spans the longest prophetic time period in the Bible. (In Bible prophecy, prophetic days equal literal years.) Beginning in 457 BC and ending in AD 1844, it also included the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9:25–27, which exactly pinpointed the years of Christ’s ministry and death as the sacrificial Messiah.
But it wasn’t until the Great Advent Awakening in 1833 that a clearer understanding of the 2,300-day prophecy was presented to the Christian world. This awakening revived interest in Bible prophecy and the imminent return of Jesus. It spawned the Advent movement of people proclaiming the first angel’s message of Revelation 14:7: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.”
Is it a coincidence that the meaning of Laodicea, the last church counseled by the “True Witness,” means “a people judged”?
In 1844, serious Bible students who compared the sequence of prophecies in Daniel 7 and 8 found an amazing link. The judgment referred to in Daniel 7 and the cleansing of the sanctuary mentioned in Daniel 8 were the same event! In addition, the event was taking place in heaven, not on earth! No wonder Jesus hadn’t appeared in the clouds to take His people home! Instead, He had entered the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary to begin the closing phase of the plan of salvation. This was a new idea to 19th century Christians who thought that the sanctuary’s significance had come to an end when Christ died in AD 31.
But back to the larger question, why is this message so significant that Satan tried to obscure it by floods of bogus information when it was first written in the 6th century BC and then again in the mid-19th century AD when its ancient prophecies were unlocked and proclaimed?
Once a year during the Jewish sanctuary service, a symbolic enactment of the judgment of Satan, the instigator of evil, took place. On the Day of Atonement, after the sanctuary had been cleansed from the year’s sacrifices for sin and the people who had confessed and forsaken their sin had been declared clean, the confessed sins were placed on the head of the scape goat as the originator of all evil. Then the scapegoat was taken into the wilderness and abandoned, depicting Satan’s 1,000 years of solitary confinement on this earth before his evil regime is ended. Rev. 20:1–3.
But, according to the Bible, the devil has one more trick up his sleeve. After the 1,000 years are over, the wicked are resurrected to stand before God for their sinful deeds. Satan deceives them into rushing the city with him in a last desperate attempt to overthrow God’s government. It’s a hopeless idea, but Satan convinces the whole host of evil beings to give it their best shot. Rev. 20:5–9.
What’s the takeaway for us today? If the devil can obscure your understanding of the sanctuary message by any means, so that you are not afflicting your soul and putting away your sins, he can add you to his list of pawns outside the Holy City.
Don’t let Satan cheat you out of your place in God’s kingdom and don’t let him exploit you in his last desperate war against heaven.