The Emperor’s New Clothes

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two con artyists who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. [1]

A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two tailors who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothes themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the weavers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor suspects the assertion is true, but continues the procession. [1]

I often think of this folktale when I witness modern day people believing that which is ostensibly lies.  As the above excerpt from an Wikipedia entry points out, the people of the fictional town went along with the delusions of the emperor because they wanted to appear (to the emperor) to be worth of their positions and in doing so this charade appeared to be the course of least resistance; in other words living the lie was the easiest course to follow.  How often do we do the same today?  How often do we ignore the truth of God’s Holy Word and follow the lies of modern day deceivers?


A colleague recently asked me of my opinion regarding a certain televangelist; exactly who is unimportant as many evangelists such as the one my friend inquired about typically tell the same misleading lies.

The televangelist in question is known for his “feel good” messages, his insistence that God wants us to be happy.  While some of what this (and other televangelists) preach is from the Bible his teachings usually take scripture out of context and certainly the ambiguity is so great, people take the innate message wrong and interpret it to justify all sorts of questionable activities.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  1 John 4:1 New King James Version (NKJV)

We generally identify the will of God as being given to us contained in the Bible: a holy book filled with a wealth of wisdom about the plan God has for his creation–his will–but shrouded in allegories and metaphors which are defined or interpreted through two thousand  years of religious dogma.  Does any new interpretation of God’s will–his plan for us–have value when it contradicts established teaching?  This is what John meant when he said to test the spirits, to compare their meaning and effect with established doctrine and dogma. Apparently he felt it was obvious that any teacher who taught concepts in variance with core teachings were in effect false prophets, false teachers.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

In John’s narrative of the Gospel of Christ he gives us this statement, a very powerful statement as in the Greek it would have been an intense statement saying “I, myself, and only I, am.”  This was one of six such powerful statements, two of the others are:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
John 8:58

“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”
Matthew 22:32

It is easy to infer that Christ was saying that he was God in human form and that the instruction of God as outlined in the Old and New testaments were his.  Elsewhere Jesus tells us this;

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Matthew 7:21-23

Jesus is saying that we must do his Father’s will–his will–if we are to expect to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  He also gave us this allegorical statement;

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14

This is generally interpreted to mean that the “way” in which he was instructing us to live was at best difficult, not one that was easy or full of material delights, while the easy way, the comfortable way, in fact lead to destruction.  Apparently Jesus knew many would come after him telling people of an easier way, a message that tickles ears of those unwilling to follow Christ’s commands, Jesus went on to say in the very next verse;

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Matthew 7:15-20

Jesus often used the analogy of fruit and the vines or trees upon which such grows;

“I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

From apart from me you can do nothing,” apart from his teachings, the word of God, we will not prosper nor enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Many of these latter day televangelists teach feel good messages, ideologies that are easy, that appeal to  the sensibilities of modern man, messages that tell us we do not have to change our ways or become as born again as Jesus said in John 3:3;

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Which means that we must give up our ways that are in conflict with the word of God. These modern day false prophets tell us that we must do nothing but pronounce our belief in God and usually send the ministry a donation or buy the evangelist’s latest book or DVD.

The evangelist my colleague inquired about is known to preach that God wants us to be happy, to enjoy ourselves, and he infers that this is all we need to do, does any of the verses mentioned above agree with this man’s supposition?  When Jesus said that you must do the will of the Father which infers abiding by the teachings and doctrine of the Bible, the cornerstone that Christianity is built upon, how can you believe the “fruits” of these modern day ministers that teach concepts that contradict the whole of Christian doctrine that has been researched and held as truth by millions of people for two Milena?

In light of this I see a comparison between these modern day false prophets and the tailors that defrauded the Emperor.  And just as the subjects in the emperor’s realm chose to remain silent and “play along” in the charade elsewhere be exposed as “un-believers” many today remain silent and play along with the charades peddled by  those who are as wolves in sheep’s clothing.







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