In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, the Apostle Paul warns the believers that there would be a falling away from the Gospel Truth, which they had been taught and had believed. In fact, he specifically says that this iniquity was already at work. This falling away or apostasy was restrained, but Paul says it would be revealed and would eventually be destroyed at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This Christian apostasy was restrained by Paganism, the current religion of the Roman Empire at the time of the Apostle. When Paganism was removed out of the way by the armies of Constantine, a changed Christianity was the new religion of the Empire. The figure head of this falling away is called "that man of sin" who exalted himself above everything, “…so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
One of the important attributes of this apostasy to notice, which is emphasized in Thessalonians, is its ability to deceive. Verse 9 talks about its "signs and lying wonders”. Verse 10 talks about deceivableness of unrighteousness”. Verse 11 talks about a “strong delusion”. This system deludes people with its fake signs and wonders. When Constantine fought the battle at Milvian Bridge, he did so having said he saw a sign in a dream. This is a pretended sign or lying wonder. Many of these have been claimed by popes and emperors.
Daniel 8 tells us about the “king of fierce countenance”. This king equates with the Roman power. Again it is noted that this power is known for deception. Daniel 8:25 says that though his policy he shall cause craft, which is deceiving or fraud to prosper. Daniel 11 reveals more information about this king. Using language which is picked up by the Apostle in 2 Thessalonians, Daniel 11:36 says, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself about every god…” Daniel 11:37 goes on to tell us how this king would change his religion, an early prophecy of the change from pagan to Christian which transformed the Roman Empire. The King of fierce countenance in Daniel, is the deceptive “man of sin” in Thessalonians.
A System of Deception and Fraud
Here then we have a Roman Christian system, of which a preeminent characteristic is deception and fraud. This system would continue in the earth until it would be destroyed at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation 16 speaks about the coming of Christ in verse 15. In verse 13, three later day symbols are mentioned, who are all of Roman lineage; the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. Notice the one adjective which is used with the prophet — “false!” The same characteristic that we have seen in the other chapters. From this “false prophet” and the later-day Roman political systems which he is associated with, come forth 3 corrupting teachings. They too are said to work miracles — these would be the same fake miracles as we saw in Thessalonians. These teachings and fake miracles bring all the nations of the world against Israel in the battle of Armageddon.
Notice the order of events as prophesied in Revelation 16.
1. Frog Spirits teachings go forth — the philosophies that will gather the nations against Israel.
2. The return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. The gathering of the nations to Armageddon.
We see then that first deceptive false teachings go out into the world and turn the nations against Israel before Jesus Christ returns. Revelation 16 is telling us that those living in the period directly preceding the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, will live in a time of false information, propaganda, deceit and fake news, which will cause the nations to be gathered together against the Hebrew development in Israel. If we take the message of Revelation 16 for our time, we should be very skeptical of everything we hear on the mainstream media as regards Israel and anything else.
Honest Reporting recently rounded off an examination of instances of YouTube banning content by saying:
"To paraphrase a quote wrongly attributed to Orwell but which resonates strongly today as we seemingly edge towards the dystopian society that he predicted: 'In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.’"
We are living in a time of “universal deceit”, this is exactly what the Lord Jesus said it would be in Revelation 16. Jesus specifically warned his servants who would be living just before his coming, that it would be a time of deceit and falsehood.
Media Bias and against Israel
During the recent war when Israel was attacked by Hamas in Gaza, there were many examples of deceit in the media. The mainstream media as usual, emphasized Israel’s operations in Gaza against the terrorist organization Hamas, over the 4300 + rockets fired by Hamas at Israeli civilian centres. Here are some examples of deceptive media reports during the conflict.
A CNN analysis was entitled "Hell has been unleashed in Gaza" and is typical of the type of the reporting on Israel in the mainstream media. Reading the analysis any logical person would think that Israel had unleashed hell on Gaza. However, Hamas had started the war and by the time of the “analysis” had fired well over 1000 missiles targeting Israeli civilian centres. In order to find this out, you have to read to about halfway through. Seeing that on average only 16% of people read a webpage word for word and seeing that readers will on average only read 20% of the text on a page, most CNN readers will never know this. The analysis does state near the beginning that, "Since Monday evening, Israel's aerial operation has left more than 60 Gazans dead, militants among them, but more civilians, according to figures from the Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry. More than a dozen of them were children.” A few crucial pieces of information are missing from this sentence. First the "Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry” is operated by the terrorist group Hamas — their numbers simply cannot be trusted. Secondly at least half of the quoted number of casualties of children were killed by a rocket fired by Hamas that didn’t reach its target. The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza documented a Hamas rocket that fell short of its target and killed 8 civilians including 6 children.
Seeing that the terror organizations fire their rockets from civilian areas away from the periphery of the region, the rockets have to travel over civilian areas in Gaza before reaching Israel. During the war in Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired, as already stated, 4,300+ rockets, targeting Israeli civilian centres. 680 of these misfired and exploded inside Gaza, killing and injuring the civilian population of Gaza.
The analysis also misrepresents the blockade of Gaza, stating, "Cut off from the rest of the world by an Israeli blockade of Gaza’s land, air and sea dating back to 2007, many of Gaza’s inhabitants are dependent on foreign aid to survive.” It is true that Israel blockades Gaza to stop them acquiring arms, and the tools and materials to manufacture rockets. However, Gaza borders not only Israel but also Egypt. Egypt imposes the same blockade on Gaza. Israel lets a constant stream of aid material into the strip.
The New York Times is an influential newspaper with a circulation of about 375,000. On May 28 the cover of the New York Times featured pictures of children that were killed in the Gaza conflict. The headline was “They Were Just Children”. The introductory text reads, “At least 67 people under age 18 in Gaza and two in Israel were killed during this months conflict according to initial reports. They had wanted to be doctors, artists and leaders. Read their stories.” How much information the New York Times had unearthed to report on their stories is doubtful. The third picture on the top row featured a picture of a little 6 year old girl. However, doing a search by image on Google of her returned results back in 2018 when she had apparently been killed also. The anonymous girl has been used countless times to falsely accuse Israel of killing children. Again one of the main sources for the article was the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. One of the “children” was a 17 year old fighter in the Hamas terror organization. Not readily apparent, but once again, a number of the victims were killed by Hamas terror rockets that did not make it. There is only one answer for such shoddy biased reporting and that is that it is not shoddy, but carefully crafted in a way to make Israel into the aggressor.
During the recent Gaza conflict there were demonstrations elsewhere in Israel in support of Gaza. Two Christians who do a podcast called the Joshua and Caleb report came across and documented a staged demonstration near the large Palestinian city of Nablus. There were a couple of Israeli soldiers quite far away casually watching, but otherwise there was no Israeli presence. Only a number of the press and many protesters throwing rocks at no one except an empty road. Yet there were constant “protesters” being taken away in Ambulances. The pictures from this staged protest are now available for sale on Getty Images, one of the largest suppliers of news images in the world. The Getty caption says, "Palestinian protesters confront Israeli troops at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus city in the occupied West Bank on May 18, 2021, during a demonstration in support of those under bombardment in Gaza.” This is a total fraud. There were no Israeli troops being confronted. There were no Israel defence forces or riot police to hurt protesters, yet the “wounded” were being taken away in ambulances. The press knew this was the case, but reported a complete fraud.
At the root of this bias is a believe that the Palestinian Arabs have a moral right to the land of Israel. That justice is on their side. It is believed that the Jewish state is a result of “colonialism” and that the Jewish people have no right to the land. Any historical connection of the Jewish Hebrew people to the land is denied. This is in effect calling the God of Israel unjust, unjust for bringing the Jewish people back to their ancient land. This is the spirit will bring the nations to Armageddon.
The trending hashtag on social media during the conflict was #freepalestine. What this means as seen on placards at demonstrations all over the world, is to "free Palestine from the river to the sea”. This is a call for the total destruction of the state of Israel. It is in effect a call for another Holocaust of the Jewish people. It is the hashtag of Armageddon.
This has been David Billington with you for this week's Bible in the News. Come back again next week God willing to www.bibleinthenews.com