Debate, the free flow of information, the examination or scrutinization of facts and evidence are all things that we appreciate in a free society. We appreciate it because we all desire truth, we all value truth even when we don’t like what it may say about us. No sane person desires to be lied to; no sound-minded person revels in the thought of being deceived. Yet, there are some who are desperately afraid of the truth, some who are sickened by the idea of an informed society. These can be identified by their tyrannical dispositions and their love of power.
At the onset of the divided Kingdom, the Hebrew nation was divided in two. Ten tribes were under the headship of Jeroboam while Judah/Benjamin was allegiant to Rehoboam (Cf. 1 Kings 11:35-37). In an attempt to maintain influence over the ten tribes Jeroboam hatched a plan to mitigate any loss of power. Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” 1 Kings 12:28 His reasoning was clear: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 1 Kings 12:27 Jeroboam kept the people from worshipping in truth to maintain his power and influence.
Now, take your mind to the Gospels and read about similar principles enacted by the Pharisees and Scribes. The Holy Spirit vividly records the intention of the religious elite as it relates to Jesus. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” John 11:47-48. The people were following Jesus; they loved Jesus because Jesus loved them, cared for them, showed them a better way of living, and promised them eternal life. The Jewish elites could not allow this Jesus to so ruin their prominence by exposing their pomposity and pretentiousness (Matthew 23), so they sought to stifle His influence. … the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. John 19:22 (See also John 12:42).
After the establishment of the church, this sinful attitude manifested itself in the lives of Christians. Diotrephes, a name synonymous with spiritual tyranny, is a prime example. To maintain his death grip on the brethren, this man went above and beyond. I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. 3 John 1:9-10 To maintain his power and influence Diotrephes: 1) Stifled Communication between an apostle and the church, 2) He engaged in character assassination of those he perceived as a threat, 3) He resorted to intimidation of the brethren even going so far as to “put them out of the church” as if it was his church out of which to put anyone! His actions, albeit not as atrocious as the Pharisees and Scribes in ultimately murdering Jesus, were based on the same principles and fueled by the same motivations.
The actions of these groups and individuals are still perpetuated in our society today. Truth is still being censored; freedom of speech which is a concept fundamental to the Gospel (Cf. Acts 4:19-20) and inherent in creation (Genesis 1:26) is frowned upon and, there is an ever-increasing threat to those who speak and practice the Truth. You see, truth in its beauty and purity is powerful (Romans 1:16-17 & 2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The Truth can change lives (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The Truth can change eternal destinations (John 20:31). The Truth cuts to the heart (Cf. Acts 2:37 & Hebrews 4:12). The Truth and obedience to it will set an individual free from any and everything contrary to God (John 8:32). Truth is power, a power that tyrants aim to keep for themselves. that’s why they hate the truth, that’s why they hate you the speaker of truth, and that’s why the Church will always be in the crosshairs of tyrannical regimes because she is the pillar and ground of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Make no mistake in order for tyrants to persevere truth must be muzzled.