My grandma died on Anzac Day. And as it happened, I was in Gallipoli that very day, with other New Zealanders and Australians, visiting the Chunuk Bair New Zealand memorial and the Lone Pine Memorial and Cemetery. We were part of the April 25 commemorative ceremony for the soldiers who lost their lives on that Turkish peninsula during World War I.
From Gallipoli, I made my way to London, England, where Grandma lived when she died. That was when my cousin surprised me by mentioning that Grandma had died on Anzac Day.
“How did you know that?” His knowledge about the day, significant only to my part of the world, surprised me. He grinned with sheepish reflection and then related the day he found out about Anzac Day.
Lecture Of A Lifetime
Every year, my mother would mail a calendar from New Zealand to my grandparents in London. One morning, my cousin was perusing the calendar in our grandparents’ kitchen when he noticed the Anzac Day public holiday on April 25.
He asked Grandma what it stood for and on hearing what it was about, complained in mock outrage, “You mean they get a holiday just for fighting in a war in our part of the world? Sounds like an excuse for a day off to me!”
That was when my usually easy-going grandma gave him the lecture of a lifetime. By the end of the lecture, my cousin was left in no doubt on Grandma’s opinion about the contribution that Australians and New Zealanders made to the British war efforts in World Wars I and II.
My grandparents were born during World War I and were young adults by the time World War II came around, living in London during the blitz. Their personal memories of war were not something that was often talked about.
Grandma faced the reality of looking after a young family in an unstable Europe, where food rationing was in place and there was an increasing threat of the enemy invading their homeland. My grandfather was exempt from active military service and during the war undertook “government research.” We will probably never know the full story of what that involved, except that part of his role included interrogating men who claimed to be downed British airmen trying to return to England from France.
Some of these men were in fact enemies masquerading as friends—German intelligence agents able to speak with impeccable English accents and wearing British army uniforms, which made them appear to be something they were not. My grandfather’s job was to ask these men questions only a local would know the answer to.
Cover And Deception
The role of deception in war is recognised as a legitimate and expected tactic used to gain advantage over the enemy. During World War II, the London Controlling Section was specifically established to plan and coordinate strategic cover and deception plans.
Cover and deception is a military strategy used to influence an opponent’s behaviour by shaping their beliefs. Cover creates the illusion that something true is actually false. Deception creates the belief that something false is actually true.
“Cover conceals truth; deception conveys falsehood. Cover induces nonaction; deception induces action,” writes Thaddeus Holt, in his book, The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War.
Humanity first came in contact with these tactics in the Garden of Eden, when a serpent spoke to Eve.
Insinuating doubt about God’s instructions, the snake asked Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” ’
“ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ ” (Genesis 3:3–5).
The devil had disguised himself and presented himself to Eve as a beautiful and enchanting creature. He created doubt in her mind about God’s instructions, and even reassured her that “you will not surely die.”
The cover and deception that was first introduced by the devil has been repeated by humans ever since. But even worse, the devil also introduced the idea that God’s word cannot be trusted, implying to Eve that God was withholding something good by telling them not to eat from the tree.
The devil’s plan produced the action he was hoping for. Eve ate the fruit and gave it to Adam to eat. And with that single act of disobedience to God, the human race has been subject to pain, suffering and death, caught up in a war that has spanned thousands of years.
The War To Begin All Wars
It began when Satan (then called Lucifer), the angel who stood closest to God, decided, “I will raise my throne above the stars of God . . . I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13, 14).
The results of the strife that this caused are noted in the Bible: “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation 12:7–9).
When Jesus was on this earth, He described the devil as “a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:43, 44).
Satan’s murderous acts are not carried out in the way that we might expect. His acts of murder are executed through cover and deception—Satan steals our eternal lives by causing us to look away from God, the Source of life. He creates distractions that cause us to neglect things that are of eternal importance. He introduces a multitude of theories and spiritual philosophies to confuse or to conceal the only way that we can have eternal life.
We still see the goodness of God in our fallen world: we see His amazing creation and the beautiful things He has made for us to enjoy; we have food and clothing, and love the families and friends He has blessed us with; we see how He hears and answers our prayers.
But the one act of love by God that stands out above all others was when He sent His one and only Son Jesus to this earth, to become human and to suffer and die on the cross—dying our death in our place, that we might have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
We are not strong or clever enough to detect or withstand the cover and deception tactics the devil puts in operation for our destruction.
But God is. And He invites us to take shelter in Him. He invites us to do what Eve and Adam failed to do in the beginning: to take God at His word and believe what He says.
"God has opened the way that we might be safe as we walk through this world “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2).
Adam and Eve had to pay the consequences of disobeying God, because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
However, God had also set in place a plan to save us from death. Romans 6:23 continues, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:25, 26).