On March 15, 1917 the editorial board of the Communist Party newspaper Pravda welcomed a new member – Joseph Stalin. The name chosen for this flagship journal –‘Pravda’ – is the Russian word for ‘truth,’ though its original usage also referred to ‘justice.’ The first medieval law code of Kiev Rus (ancient Russia) was known as Russkaya Pravda (‘Russian Justice’).
Pravda was the official mouthpiece of Russia’s Communist Party, while its journalistic twin Izvestia (the Russian word for ‘news’) represented the Supreme Soviet (Russia’s top governmental body) and its positions on foreign affairs. Ironically, and due to the fact that many Russians knew that they were being lied to from both sides of the journalistic aisle (the Party and the Supreme Soviet), many Slavs tended to believe the exact opposite of what appeared in print.
A sly proverb was whispered quietly in those days: “In Pravda there is no news, and in Izvestia there is no truth.” (В <Пра́вде> нет изве́стий, а в <Изве́стиях> нет пра́вды; V ‘Právde’ net izvéstij, a v ‘Izvéstijax’ net právdy).
Stalin and fake news
The last few years have seen the term ‘fake news’ rise in prominence. It might be helpful to consider some origins of this modern expression.
In 1923 Stalin was credited as having coined the word dezinformatsiya (dis-information), though the term was probably created by Józef Unszlicht, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian CHEKA and later of the OGPU (State Political Directorate). A special intelligence office (‘Service A’) was formed whose tasks included ‘black propaganda’ – the active manipulation of an enemy nation’s intelligence system through the injection of credible but misleading data. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia of 1952 defined dezinformatsiya as the dissemination of “false information with the intention to deceive public opinion.” A classic example of these activities is found in George Orwell’s magnum opus 1984, a science-fiction fantasy based on Soviet Russian propagandistic ‘active measures,’ universal surveillance and behavioral modification.
Sir Winston Churchill noted on February 22, 1906 that “there are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.”
The prophet Jeremiah twice warned that Judah’s leaders were foisting fake news upon the Jewish people when they avowed that God was not about to bring judgment or plagues on Judah, and that all would work out just fine in the very near future. These false shepherds were proclaiming that the Babylonians would simply fade away and Jerusalem would not be destroyed; God’s judgment could be averted. Jeremiah wryly noted that “they dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). The ‘prophetic journalists’ of Jeremiah’s day may have controlled the narrative, but their hearts were cold and their message was false. Those who opposed Jeremiah’s prophetic words stood in opposition to God’s perspectives, whether about events close at hand or far into the future.
Paul Simon sums up the quandary some of us may be facing these days, “Who’ll be my role model, now that my role model has gone?” (in ‘You Can Call Me Al’). Many of us are discovering that we can no longer trust most of what the media says regarding current events (see below for more on this subject). So, if ‘Izvestia’ is not ‘právdy’ – if what is called ‘the news’ is clearly no longer ‘the truth’ – how can normal people figure out what’s going on?
The role of media in telling lies
An excellent book has recently been published. ‘Live not by lies’ (Rod Dreher, Sentinel, 2020). An accomplished journalist whose work has appeared in top newspapers, Dreher presents a prophetic challenge to our Western civilization. Totalitarianism is rising in the West, he notes, and its tactics are not a ‘copy paste’ of those in ‘1984’ – at least the way Orwell had then stated it, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stomping down on a human face – forever.”
Dreher warns us that ‘soft totalitarianism,’ the ‘Pink Police State,’ is coming in through our back door, worming its way into the hearts and minds of the West. Hedonism, narcissism, the pursuit of personal pleasure and satisfaction are the gods being worshipped today. While it is true that the Pilgrims sailed to America with a purpose and in pursuit of freedom – in order to live virtuous lives and to freely worship God – it is also true that their foundational goals have mostly faded from the public conscience and consciousness of the West. Instead, our eye-gates and ear-gates are tuned to other channels, all of which are connected to the ever present and all-watchful ‘Sauron’s Eye’ of Big Tech. This beast unwinkingly stores our thoughts, desires, purchases, passions and sins in secret clouds – waiting for the day when the information we have so freely given will be used against us to enslave and control.
Remember the media’s recent malignant role in dezinformatsiya – in falsifying the nature and goals of America’s 2020 street riots (as well as minimizing the physical damage caused); in advocating over the years the shameless violation of biblical perspectives and ethics regarding gender; in acting as a shill and stampeder of the masses for Big Pharma, concealing and twisting facts about many aspects of the current medical situation while pouring fear into billions of hearts; and in lulling whole populations to sleep about the creeping violations and neutering of civil rights now being legalized throughout the Western world through supposedly ‘temporary and emergency authorizations.’ As Edward Snowden recently pointed out, “the virus is harmful, but the destruction of rights is fatal.”
Mass demonstrations and riots in France, Italy, the Netherlands, etc, combined with an underwhelming response to free booster shots in Israel all demonstrate the free-fall loss of credibility that mainstream media (MSM) is garnering through its propagandistic narrative and tendentious reportage.
Those who basically receive their news from mainstream media on any of these abovementioned issues may not be up to date on what’s happening across the planet. In the same way as most people who listen to MSM do not understand what is going on in the Middle East and with Israel (since they are being fed a steady diet of jaundiced anti-Israel propaganda) – regretfully the same is true regarding these abovementioned issues. We suggest that it is worth your time and effort to get a more balanced and accurate handle on what is going on by digging more deeply and more broadly. It is even worth consulting the very sources that MSM and Big Tech boycott and censor.
‘Pravda’ (whether in Eastern or Western MSM form) can no longer be seen as a dependable source for either news or truth. Cracking open the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation is a better place to begin.
Last Days News
Rachel and I thank God for the time we spent living and ministering in Russia. One of the rich treasures we witnessed was how believers in Messiah Yeshua have suffered for their faith and through that suffering have come to understand more of God’s heart and grace. For older Russian-speaking believers, the reality of following after Yeshua and of bearing His cross was not a dry theological study but a living reality. For these precious brothers and sisters, the concept of Last Days suffering as believers was not an abstract issue to be experienced only by those on earth after the Rapture – it was a pillar at the center of their lives.
In the West today, believers often place great stress on experiencing a fulfilled life, having a good job and warm relationships, pursuing fun-filled leisure activities, etc. It may come as a rude shock for some of us to consider what the Scriptures say about the Last Days:
- But realize this, that in the Last Days difficult times will come (2 Timothy 3:1)
- Know this first of all, that in the Last Days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts (2 Peter 3:3)
Messiah Yeshua tells us that one of the benchmarks of the Last Days will be family splits and love growing cold:
- “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35; see Micah 7:5-6)
- “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12)
In his song ‘Precious Angel’ Bob Dylan laments how so many of his close friends refuse to move beyond the coolness of being ‘woke,’ while simultaneously refusing to really wake up and open their eyes to what’s going down:
- My so-called friends have fallen under a spell
They look me squarely in the eye and they say, “Well all is well”
Can they imagine the darkness that will fall from on high
When men will beg God to kill them and they won’t be able to die
(‘Precious Angel’; Bob Dylan, 1978, © Bob Dylan Music Co.)
Yet the God of Israel promises strong words of encouragement to the Jewish people. In the Last Days, after terrible things have befallen the sons and daughters of Jacob, YHVH will cause spiritual and physical revival to break out among them: “When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the Latter Days you will return to YHVH your God and listen to His voice” (Deuteronomy 4:30).
How to deal with unanticipated Last Days developments
Everyone who loves the Bible looks forward to the promised coming of Messiah. In 1 Peter 1:12 we are told that “even angels long to look into these things.” The Hebrew prophets “searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the times and circumstances” of these Messianic prophecies (1 Peter 1:10-11). In our day, many of us have a misplaced confidence that we will easily recognize the breakout scenarios leading to the final great eschatological events. It is true that these events will center in on the Jewish people; that there will be a rise in anti-Semitism, a gathering first of Middle Eastern nations and then of all nations against the Jewish state. Some of us are also aware that the amazing Jewish army of Ezekiel 37 will be birthed by an astounding move of God’s Spirit, doing exploits in the power of God.
Yet few of us would have imagined that the forces of the anti-Messiah would be activating their own Last Days dynamics and prepositioning strategies – driven by their hunger for world control and domination – under the seemingly benign cover of world health and the controlling of viral diseases. Global pressures are increasing. Experimental treatments having unacceptable levels of dangerous side-effects are being strong-armed on all ages and conditions of people under threat of civil liberties being ‘temporarily’ suspended. International surveillance systems are being ramped up, blocking trade and travel across the planet. Yet at the same time millions of people refuse to be intimidated, cowed or controlled. They are taking a stand for the liberties and rights they still have, at least on paper. Let us press in to discern the heart and mind of the God of all spirits – the One who has promised to restore and revive Israel – asking for His strength, courage, strategies and help.
How should we then pray?
- Pray for wisdom, discernment, provision and divine strategies to guide us in these very challenging days.
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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