“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do”
1 Chronicles 12:32
I remember the first time I heard Dr. Chuck Missler read this passage. He was laying out the contrast between finding out what the Word of God says and finding out what is really going on in the world. Knowing what the Bible says is relatively straightforward. “Be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11”, Chuck would say, reading the flagship verse of Koinonia House.
The Word of God is proven to be steadfast and true; a solid rock we can rely on when the vicissitudes of life threaten to darken our way. No matter the storms we suffer, we can trust in the Anchor that holds within the veil.
Coupled with that supernatural trust, we need people ‘ like the famed children of Issachar ‘ who have an understanding of the times, to know what must be done. This matters not only as citizens of our respective countries, but especially as members of the Body of Christ.
The problem, as Chuck would point out, though, is that finding out what is really going on is not a simple task. We may think that with the technological advances of the last century, reading the news from across the globe has become as easy as turning on the TV or scrolling through your Twitter feed.
Unlike the Scriptures, however, the shifting sands of the mainstream news media are not a fit foundation on which to build an accurate and useful worldview. The reasons for this are manifold. For one, humans are subject to an epistemological quandary: we are incapable of perceiving, let alone communicating, the objective truth of an event with complete accuracy.
Secondly, we are now dealing with the fallout of a post-modern worldview that infiltrated Western academia since at least the ’60s, and has subsequently saturated popular culture. Post-modernism as a philosophical worldview denies the existence of objective reality, favoring moral relativity and emotional “truths” over rigorous scientific fact.
Concepts such as ‘post-truth’ are given credence, and we are encouraged to boldly “speak your truth” as an act of personal liberation - whether or not “your truth” flies in the face of empirical data and time-tested principles.
Underpinning this deceptive philosophical paradigm is a subversive spiritual agenda, one that seeks to undermine external, absolute truths in order to separate us from the Truth Himself: Jesus Christ.
As Christians, this should come as no surprise, as:
“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”
1 John 5:19
We should expect the most powerful institutions of this fallen world to operate in service of the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Logically, this would include the mainstream news media, collectively the largest disseminator of information on the planet.
Despite the readily apparent logic of this assertion, so many of us have been taught to accept the nightly news reports as undisputed fact. We make lasting decisions based on what we hear on TV or read in the paper. We revere journalists as heroes who carry an immense social burden to inform the public, sometimes putting life and limb at risk in the process. And in some cases, this holds true.
Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that, more often than not, facts are massaged, narratives shaped, and key details omitted to present a view of the world that does not correspond to reality but rather attempts to construct a false reality to confirm the aforementioned spiritual agenda.
What exactly is this spiritual agenda? It can be inferred by taking a look at a few examples.
In the new film “Hoaxed”, a documentary about media manipulation that I co-directed, independent journalist Tim Pool recounts his journey to Sweden to investigate the effects of mass immigration in the wake of the Syrian migrant crisis, specifically the iron claw of censorship and ostracism that would smother anyone brave enough to criticize the Scandinavian country’s open borders values.
While we couldn’t include all the details of his experience in the film (as it already runs a solid two hours long), I will recount the run-up to Tim’s story.
At a rally in February 2017, President Trump famously decried the surge of rape and violence sweeping across Sweden since the influx of Muslim migrants had reached a tipping point. The media lambasted the President for failing to mention a specific incident. Subsequently, the bubbles of left- and right-wing social media lit up with acrimonious debate.
Tim Pool, of a rare breed of journalism committed to accurately reporting investigations, challenged anyone to pay for his flight to Sweden to find the truth of the situation. His trip was promptly financed by Paul Joseph Watson, of right-wing Infowars fame.
Upon arriving in Stockholm, he ambled around a Stockholm neighborhood, buying candy at convenience stores and generally doing what tourists do. He perceived no real evidence of migrant-related crime. Jubilant, the mainstream media reported his findings as proof that online reports of rape and violence in Sweden were the stuff of right-wing legend, designed to whip up racial hatred against the largely Muslim immigrant population.
A few days later, however, Tim visited the urban district of Rinkeby. Within mere minutes, the police arrived to inform them that they have been spotted and that a police escort was a necessity. Apparently, a group of around 50 men were masking up to confront the intrepid investigator.
He filmed the police van escorting them out of the plaza, even trailing them as they were driving away.
Later, when he made his appearance on a Swedish talk show (arranged before the Rinkeby incident), he was asked to recount this controversial occurrence. Apparently, the host neglected to translate him accurately. Instead, she reported the official police account that there was no police escort and that Tim Pool was simply lying.
Not only was Tim’s perspective not even offered to the Swedish audience to weigh in their own minds, but the media also colluded with the police to cover up the true nature of the incident.
To make matters worse, this official narrative was repeated in America by none other than the Washington Post, spreading a falsehood about Tim’s character to millions of people while covering up a confirming anecdote of a worrisome general trend.
In the film, Tim goes on to explain the incredible levels of censorship regular Swedish citizens face when they dare to speak out on this issue.
So now the question becomes: “Why does the media collude with Western states to cover up particular stories?” Could it be that they want to prevent any modern day “children of Issachar” from rising up?
Another pertinent example is the story of filmmaker Cassie Jaye, also featured in “Hoaxed.”
Rising to prominence as a young feminist filmmaker with a filmography intently focused on women’s issues, the doors to mainstream success were flung wide open for Cassie after each new successful project. As she was busy enjoying praise and support by such powerful organizations as Planned Parenthood, Cassie decided to make a film exposing the hate-filled, misogynist “Men’s Rights Advocates” (MRA) movement as the next entry in her feminist documentary catalog.
The stage was set for yet another level of success in her career. The only problem, as she was about to find out, was her commitment to telling the truth.
As she produced her follow-up project, eventually titled “The Red Pill,” she found that many of the so-called monsters of the MRA movement they interviewed were, in fact, thoughtful men with legitimate viewpoints that enriched the conversation.
Her own views began to change. In her words, she “expanded [her] views on gender equality.” She was honest with her audience and delivered a truthful work of art.
Then the backlash came.
Knowing she had a powerful film, she set out to meet the requirements to be considered for an Academy Award. This meant screening the film in LA and New York, and having it reviewed in one of the popular papers in each of those cities. In New York, Cassie’s publicist decided to submit “The Red Pill” to the Village Voice for review by film critic Alan Scherstuhl.
Instead of writing a review, Scherstuhl vented his frustrations at having to watch the film in a bitter rant. Even worse, according to someone at the Village Voice, Scherstuhl threw a fit in the office and refused to let the paper publish a one by two ad for “The Red Pill” ‘ another requirement for Academy Award qualification. This left Cassie and her team to raise thousands of dollars in a mad scramble to have the ad published in time by The New York Times.
Scherstuhl’s rant-review started a pernicious and persistent lie: that “The Red Pill” was funded by Men’s Rights Activists. In reality, Cassie crowdfunded her film on Kickstarter, and attracted donors of a wide political variety.
Nevertheless, this lie continued to be parroted by the international mainstream media, as Cassie found out during surprisingly hostile interviews on Australian news shows. Her film was eventually banned from Australian theatres after negative news reports and protests.
Between Tim Pool’s close brush with danger being covered up and the backlash Cassie faced for making a truthful film, are hundreds ‘ even thousands ‘ of anecdotes that form a pattern of “fake news” pushed by the mainstream media. The pattern is simple: Western values, which largely trace their roots to the Holy Scriptures, are under attack.
Islamic extremism in Western countries is rarely discussed on mainstream channels. Feminism, gender politics, and other destructive ideologies are oftentimes reported on in celebratory fashion, and subtly pushed into the minds of our children.
If the children of Issachar were alive today, they would not be basing their decisions on information coming from the mainstream news. Instead, they would take into consideration a wide variety of news sources, many of which are on the internet, the great democratizer of information publishing.
However, as alternative media sources are increasingly facing the grim specter of censorship by large Silicon Valley monopolies, the time for our sons of Issachar to rise up is drawing to a close. Let’s make use of the time we still have to gain understanding, so that we can let our fellow citizens‘and fellow members of Christ’s Body‘know what must be done.