Most Trojan horses do not have tails or manes. Evil does not always carry a pitchfork and dress in red, but arrays itself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Troy was a city in the territory of Troas, now in the nation of Turkey. It was the focus of the Trojan War, which started about 1,200 BC—during the time of the period of the Judges of Israel. One version of this event suggests that the city of Troy had been under siege for up to ten years. With little apparent progress, the attacking Greek forces conceived a plan of deceit to trick the citizens of Troy into believing their attackers had given up the prospect of conquering their city.
Galatians 5:16-25; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
Reportedly it was Odysseus, the Greek commander, who conceived the idea of constructing a large wooden horse, hiding a select group of soldiers in a secret cavity inside the horse, and waiting for the people of Troy to pull the horse inside their city. At night, as Odysseus’ plan went, the select group of soldiers would emerge from hiding through a trap door in the stomach of the wooden horse, opening the city gate to reinforcing Greek soldiers, and conquering the city.
What is known about this historical event is related in Virgil’s epic poem, The Aeneid, and other works by Dionysius, Apollodorus, and Quintus of Smyrna. From these works, we discern that the horse was constructed over a period of only three days. The horse was the city emblem of Troy. It was hoped that the citizens of Troy would regard the horse as a good-will gesture on the part of the Greeks and receive it as a gift, taking it into their city.
An additional element of the Odysseus’ plan called for one person to remain behind with the wooden horse while all of the other Greek forces set sail, leaving the city of Troy and the territory of Troas. That night they would return under cover of darkness and prepare to enter the city.
Only one soldier was reported to have volunteered to remain behind to help ensure that the plan of the Greeks would work. His name was Sinon. On the designated day, Odysseus and the Greek forces set sail, appearing to retire from the siege of the city of Troy to their homes in Greece. Coming out of Troy, the citizens found the wooden horse and Sinon, who successfully convinced them that the Greeks had left him behind. During the long siege of Troy, the Greeks had on one occasion desecrated the temple of the goddess Athena at Troy. Sinon insisted that the horse was intended to atone for that desecration and help ensure that the Greek fleet would enjoy sage passage to their homeland.
Sinon’s story was met with rejection on the part of at least three important citizens of Troy. Laocoon, a priest, anticipated the plot and warned, “I fear Greeks even those bearing gifts.” Helen of Troy also guessed the plot and in apostrophe called out to the men inside in the anticipated voices of the soldier’s wives, but with no success. King Priam’s daughter, a soothsayer in Troy, insisted that the horse, if taken into the city, would be its destruction and the demise of the royal family.
Against the advice of these, the citizens pulled the horse into their city. That night, the Greeks emerged from the horse under the cover of darkness, opened the gates of the city for their returning comrades in arms, and burned the city.
Many times Satan deceives believers into pulling Trojan horses into their lives and into the Church. False teachers lead congregations and denominations astray from the truth. The influence of church leaders is weighted toward evil by personal, modest, and lavish gifts given by “the Greeks.” The destruction of gossip is overlooked as it is cloaked by the gifts of “the Greeks.” The result is the same as it was for Troy.
Troy burned because Troy turned from the advice of its leaders.
Likewise, the Church is destroyed (in part) when it turns from living up to biblical standards of conduct—when it fails to allow the fruit of the Spirit to be the criteria by which gifts are given and received (Galatians 5:22-25). The church must not allow evil to advance under the guise of generosity!