The Minister of Propaganda
We’ve seen it in Fascist and Communist societies: There will be “Ministry of Information,” or some other seemingly benign designation, which task it is to bolster the reputation and esteem of the government while slandering and savaging those who speak against it. Such “ministries” of governments are merely purveyors of propaganda whose task it is to reward loyalists and punish those who manifest their lies as seditious and treasonous.
So here we are introduced to a second beast rising out of the earth, perhaps from the same abyss the torturous creatures came in chapter nine. This beast exercises the authority of the first beast but does so “in its presence and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast whose mortal wound was healed.” Thus, it appears that the second beast serves the first beast in the way of propaganda and rewards and punishments. As we spoke yesterday of Satan aping the Lord God, we now see this aping of the Holy Trinity with an unholy un-trinity: The dragon (Satan), the first beast (Antichrist), and second beast (False Prophet). (I say “un-trinity” because there can be no oneness of natures or homoousios among these three “apes.”) The beast even apes the resurrection! When one gets right down to it, the devil is truly a most pitiful creature. (I do not say, “pitiable.”)
We should note that the tool of this second beast (“False Prophet” in 16:13, 19:20, 20:10) is deception. He is “allowed” (again speaking to our Lord’s sovereignty) to perform signs and wonders making fire come down from heaven and even making the image of the first beast speak appear to speak. (We see in Communist countries massive images of the leader posted everywhere.) Whether such signs are delusions or demonically-inspired wonders such as Pharaoh’s magicians could perform is uncertain (Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:7). But we are reminded from Deuteronomy 13:1-4 that even if a prophet should perform miraculous signs but then say, “Let us go after other gods,” we must not listen to him. And our Lord warned us that in the end, false christs and false prophets shall perform signs and wonders that, if possible, would fool the elect. And then he adds, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:24-25). It happened in ancient Rome, in recent history, and it will happen again: a state department of propaganda will deify the leadership and demand obedience and worship. It’s what such a government must demand in the face of a religion that worships and obeys the true God. There cannot be two masters. Those who refuse to worship the state must be slain. But those who are slain will live again!