The past few days have seen an unprecedented number of alarming revelations on the pervasive nature of the surveillance society: Verizon — AT&T — Prism program — NSA, — companies and government in cahoots against citizens' privacy. So what should our attitude be? Should this news worry us?
Blanket denials from Microsoft, Google, and Facebook — with efforts to clear their names, despite evidence to the contrary — are the opposite of what AT&T and Verizon did in response to similar reports — admitting that they opened their systems to the National Security Agency. But who is to know? How can the average person sort out truth from the toxic mixture of half-truths and not so obvious lies?
Edward Snowden — the NSA Prism whistleblower who recently fled to Hong Kong — points out that the very value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. "I don't see myself as a hero," he said, "because what I'm doing is self-interested: I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity." ... "What they're doing poses an existential threat to democracy". ( http://www.guardian.co.uk )
But no matter what the truth in today's world of spies and lies, there is of one thing of which we CAN be certain — such technology WILL be used to control citizens and impose the mark of the Beast in the future — as no one is going to be able to buy or sell without State approval. That is what is prophetically implied by Revelation 13:17. But how can we cope within such an environment? How does God expect us as Church members to view the surveillance society rapidly taking shape all around us?
The last 200 years has seen mankind move from an agrarian position held for millennia into a period today utterly dominated by communications and science. This is clearly the time predicted by God to the prophet Daniel when He told him: "shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." But with this technology comes an increasingly sinister ability — also prophesied — that is destined to be given to a totalitarian "all-seeing" powerful State! A facet of this can already be seen here in the UK, where the number of CCTV cameras in our towns and cities is truly staggering. Everywhere you turn, you are being watched. Numberplate cameras, shop cameras, traffic control cameras, congestion charge cameras.... they are now absolutely everywhere.
I remember reading a comment made by someone about the current state of affairs here in the UK in regard to the book '1984' by George Orwell. They pointed out that '1984' was meant as, "a cautionary tale — not a how-to manual or textbook!" And yet, when you read what is coming from the Beast power, you can see how we do indeed find ourselves — right now — sinking steadily "into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science" as Winston Churchill cautioned. God warns us in Daniel that the Beast is indeed to be, "dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet" (Daniel 7:7) But God has also laid down His own plans!
When we witnessed the takeover of the Church (the Israel of God) from the top — from inside the organisation — did it just happen to work out that way? Or was it in reality a part of some vital lessons that God had for His end-time Church? For Christ appears to warn His people of a need to watch, having been caught napping when previously our spiritual house was broken up: "But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 24:43-44). It does not say for certain that the attack on physical Israel will be orchestrated unexpectedly from within, but it does seem to clearly caution those of us in God's Church not to be caught napping again! And surveillance appears poised to play a huge part in the eventual outcome..... "that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:17)
But while we watch such events begin around us, knowing that they will finally end in a time when, in the world, "men's hearts will fail them for fear" (Luke 21:26) , we need to be sure we are doing what it also says a little later in this passage, and "look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28) Notice: we are to both "look up" — and also, "lift up your heads". Not only do we look to God for the return of Christ (look up), but we need to do so in an upbeat, positively expectant way as well. And one of the greatest ways we can do this — while witnessing the steady creep of dictatorial powers of government — is to keep firmly in mind God's total surveillance system over every aspect of human life — both ours and theirs!
Revelation 13:10 talks very plainly of "the patience and the faith of the saints" , and does so in the specific context of the emerging beast power. One key aspect of this passage is "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity" We therefore need to "lift up our heads", assured that all the creeping, insidious and invasive surveillances within our society that affects us does not go unnoticed by God. Those who give the mistaken impression that they somehow form the ultimate arbitrator and judge in such matters had better consider........
God possesses a much more intrusive, much more impressive surveillance system than anything puny man may build. His system gets to the very heart of the matter — the heart of man himself!!
In a similar way, Revelation 13:10 also declares: "he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword." Again, notice that it says "must be killed with the sword" . Throughout scripture this aspect is reinforced. Even back in the time of Noah this was the case: "Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Genesis 9:6) This concept forms the very basis of capital punishment found in scripture. And again, God is not mocked but can read the heart in all cases .......
As we witness such things in this world, understand fully that these people will ultimately have nowhere to hide. This is "the patience and the faith of the saints". God's surveillance is total and utterly accurate. Remember how Ahab tried to escape justice by disguising himself after Micaiah prophesied his death? ( I Kings 22:30) But he still died — exactly as the word of God through Micaiah stated (I Kings 22:34,37). In the same way, at the end-time the demise of those who "kill with the sword" will inexorably come to pass, either by the hand of man, or by the hand of the Eternal Christ on His return. (Habbakuk 3:14). But die violently, they shall!
As God looks to execute vengeance on those who require it, He also is watching over His people.. "Then they that feared the [Eternal] spake often one to another: and the [Eternal] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [Eternal], and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." (Malachi 3:16-17) Jesus Christ points out: "the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30) ..... and ...... "the eyes of the [Eternal] run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." (II Chronicles 16:9) And again: "The angel of the [Eternal] encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." (Psalm 34:7)
God's surveillance system works in both directions. Not only does it allow God to punish those who need it, but it also allows His Spirit-begotten Sons to be watched over. After all, He fills heaven and earth and nothing escapes His attention (Jeremiah 23:24, Psalm 139). If He said of those who needed to return to build the physical temple, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the [Eternal], thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11) , how much more will He ensure this is the case for those who will form His Holy Spiritual Temple — the very Bride of His Son? After all, this Temple, this Bride, is the main purpose of this present phase of God's plan and even the existence of the age as it is now.
But God's Plan is not focused here within this present, temporary, chemical existence. It is the Plan of Real Life — Spirit-Born Life — the same kind of Life that Christ and the Father enjoy and have enjoyed from eternity (John 1:4; 17:5). We are destined to become the Spirit-Born Sons of God in the everlasting Kingdom of God, as part of the Family of Almighty God. That Gospel — Good News beyond man's wildest imagination — is utterly sure, absolutely true, and as reliable as tomorrow's sunrise, as they both rest on the same unswerving, unshakeable Word of God! So we can be sure our God will use the all-powerful surveillance system of His Spirit to accomplish it. In fact, we can stake our lives on it — Literally!!
And within that overall biblical context Psalm 94 clearly shows.... God can see both the wicked and the just in total clarity — and it is THAT reality, which must indeed remain the patience and the faith of all of us:
French President Hollande: “crisis in Europe is over”
Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy: “worst passed for euro”
“Dow Jones smashes through 15,000…”
“economy is recovering…”
Michael Snyder from theeconomiccollapseblog.com presents the ‘reality check’ – and there is no good news for the world’s financial system. He presents 18 signs that massive economic problems are erupting all over the planet.
“This is no time to be complacent. Massive economic problems are erupting all over the globe, but most people seem to believe that everything is going to be just fine. In fact, a whole bunch of recent polls and surveys show that the American people are starting to feel much better about how the US economy is performing. Unfortunately, the false prosperity that we are currently enjoying is not going to last much longer.”
These people have believed the media reports telling us that all is well – things are improving – the panic is over.
All this does is create a false sense of security!
“Just look at what is happening in Europe. The eurozone is now in the midst of the longest recession that it has ever experienced. Just look at what is happening over in Asia. Economic growth in India is the lowest that it has been in a decade and the Japanese financial system is beginning to spin wildly out of control.”
The Bible warns:
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them…” (I Thessalonians 5:3)
“One of the only places on the entire planet where serious economic problems have not already erupted is in the United States, and that is only because we have “kicked the can down the road” by recklessly printing money and by borrowing money at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately, the “sugar high” produced by those foolish measures is starting to wear off. We are going to experience a massive amount of economic pain along with the rest of the world – it is just a matter of time.
But for the moment, there are a lot of skeptics out there. For the moment, there are a lot of people that are declaring that the problems of the past have been fixed and that we are heading for incredibly bright economic times ahead.”
French President Francois Hollande: “…the crisis in Europe is over”
The Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy said that "the worst has passed for the euro.”
The Need for a Reality Check!
“Unfortunately, those people appear to be purposely ignoring the economic horror that is breaking out all over the globe. The following are 18 signs that massive economic problems are erupting all over the planet
#1 The eurozone is now in the midst of its longest recession ever. Economic activity in the eurozone has declined for six quarters in a row.
#2 Italy’s economy has now been contracting for seven quarters in a row.
#3 Industrial production in Italy has fallen for 15 months in a row. It has now fallen to its lowest level in about 25 years.
#4 The number of people that are considered to be “seriously deprived” in Italy has doubled over the past two years.
#5 Consumer confidence in France has just hit a new all-time low.
#6 The number of unemployed workers seeking a job in France has hit a brand new all-time record high. Many unemployed workers in France are utterly frustrated at this point…
#7 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole has just hit a brand new all-time record high of 12.2 percent [that’s over 20 million people unemployed].
#8 Youth unemployment continues to soar to unprecedented heights in Europe. The following is from an article that was recently posted on the website of the Guardian that detailed how bad things are getting in some of the worst countries…
“In Greece, 62.5% of young people are out of work, in Spain it’s 56.4%, then Portugal with 42.5%, and then Italy with 40.5%.”
#9 Youth unemployment is being partially blamed for the worst rioting that Sweden has seen in many years. It is Sweden’s worst disorder in years and has shocked the country and provoked a debate on how Sweden is coping with youth unemployment and an influx of immigrants.
#10 An astounding 10 percent of all banking deposits were pulled out of banks in Cyprus during the month of April alone.
#11 Economic growth in India is the slowest that it has been in an entire decade.
#12 Suddenly Australia is experiencing some tremendous economic challenges. The following quotes are from a recent Zero Hedge article…
“We’re seeing a much sharper contraction in the Australian economy than we’d anticipated four or five months ago.” Coffey MD, John Douglas. The engineering group has seen its shares, which traded above $4 in 2007, hit 10 cents last week.
#13 The financial system in Japan is beginning to spin wildly out of control. The Japanese stock market has now declined about 15 percent from the peak, and many believe that the yen will continue to get weaker and that interest rates in Japan will start to rise significantly.
#14 Global cash flow is declining at a rate not seen since the last recession. This indicates that we could be headed for a global credit crunch.
#15 Real wages continue to decline in the United States. Even though we are being told that the US is experiencing an “economy recovery”, real weekly earnings have declined from $297.79 in 2010 to $295.49 in 2011 to $294.83 in 2012 (the preceding calculation is based on 1982-1984 dollars).
#16 Wall Street is buzzing about the fact that “the Hindenburg Omen” appeared at the end of last week. So exactly what is “the Hindenburg Omen”?… When the Hindenburg Omen makes an appearance, it supposedly means that the US stock market is likely to experience a serious decline within the next 40 days.
#17 As I wrote about the other day, the Sentimen Trader Smart/Dumb Money Index is now the lowest that it has been in more than two years. That means that lots of “smart money” has been getting out of the market and lots of “dumb money” has been pouring in.
#18 Margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange has set a new all-time high. The following is from a recent Market Oracle article…
“Margin debt — that’s the amount of money borrowed to purchase stocks — on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) reached its all-time high in April. Margin debt on the NYSE registered at $384.3 billion as the key stock indices hit new record-highs (source: New York Stock Exchange web site, last accessed May 29, 2013). The highest margin debt ever reached prior to this was in July of 2007, when it stood just above $381.0 billion. At that time, just like today, the key stock indices were near their peaks and “buy now before it’s too late” was the prominent theme of the day.”
Whenever margin debt spikes like this, a stock market crash almost always follows.
Wall Street has had a good couple of years, but it has been a “false prosperity” that has been pumped up by reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve. Just like all of the other stock market bubbles that we have seen in recent years, this one is going to burst too. And as Marc Faber recently pointed out, this bubble has been particularly beneficial to the wealthy…
The fact that the US stock market has set new all-time record high after new all-time record high in recent months means very little. At this point, the stock market has become completely divorced from economic reality. When this current bubble bursts, the adjustment is going to be very painful. Wall Street will likely whine and complain and ask for more bailouts, but they may find that authorities are not nearly as sympathetic this time.
Much of the rest of the world is already experiencing the next major wave of the economic collapse. Reckless money printing by the Fed and reckless borrowing and spending by the federal government may have delayed the inevitable in the United States for a little while, but those measures have also made our long-term problems even worse.
There was one piece of advice that Ben Bernanke included in his commencement speech to students at Princeton recently that I thought was particularly ironic…
“Don’t be afraid to let the drama play out.”
Will he take his own advice when the next great financial crisis strikes the United States? That seems very unlikely.
Unfortunately, things are not going to be so easy to fix this next time.
What happened back in 2008 was just a preview.
What is coming next is going to absolutely shock the world.” (theeconomiccollapseblog.com)
Do Not Use The Stock Market To Claim An Economic Recovery. The Stock Market And The Economy Are Not The Same.
One of the things that is deceiving many people about the true economic situation is the state of the US Stock Market. Surely the situation cannot be that serious when the Dow has passed through 15,000?
The following article explains:
How often have we been told that the economy is recovering?
“By my count we are now in our fourth “Recovery Summer.” The recession was officially (and mistakenly) declared over in June 09. Yet, no data series in economics supports the claim.
At the end of May 2013, the Dow closed at 15,100. The difference between these two closes represents an increase of 99%. This result provides the ammunition for the economic cheerleaders.
Stock Market and The Economy Are Not The Same.
The stock market is not the economy. Over the long term, its performance and that of the economy tend to correlate well. However, we are in a period where markets are less influenced by economics than by government interventions. The liquidity pumped into the economy and financial asset markets is highly unusual and cannot be maintained much longer. My take is that the stock market reflects Federal Reserve pumping more than an economic recovery.
Stocks in general and home prices in many markets are literally back to 2007 bubble levels. The savings rate is as low as it was in 2007 and total debt is rising again, as mortgages and business loans more than offset a smaller federal deficit. So sustained growth from here would mean an even bigger asset bubble than the one that nearly destroyed the global financial system, while a return to recession would mean plunging stock and home prices.
Whether you accept this conclusion or not, don’t be fooled by the performance of the stock market.There is little other than inflationary Fed policy to justify financial asset prices.” (dollarcollapse.com)
Many financial analysts are pointing out the similarity between 2007 and the present time. Here is one example:
“Talk about mixed messages. Stocks are at record levels and housing is booming, which implies a 2007-style bubble. But incomes are falling at a near-double-digit rate which implies a fairly serious slowdown. So which will it be: blow-off asset bubble or a double-dip recession? Who knows? But note how extreme both scenarios have become. Stocks in general and home prices in many markets are literally back to 2007 bubble levels.” (dollarcollapse.com)
“…things are not going to be so easy to fix this next time. What happened back in 2008 was just a preview... What is coming next is going to absolutely shock the world.” (theeconomiccollapseblog.com)
In a Plain Truth article, ‘ Prepare to Greatly Reduce Your Standard of Living!’ Mr Armstrong warned:
“The United States and the British peoples did inherit the NATIONAL and MATERIAL promises of the Birthright promised unconditionally to Abraham. Therefore God has FULFILLED His unconditional promise of the Birthright to Abraham.
Once fulfilled, in the British and Americans, retention of it by us became CONDITIONAL on our performance. And WHAT HAVE WE DONE with all this vast wealth, economic prosperity, and world power?
We have made physical SCIENCE the new Messiah — our false God — which boasted we no longer needed to wear the swaddling clothes of superstition, or lean on the crutch of religion. SCIENCE promised to deliver us from all our troubles! But it failed utterly, and only produced the weapons of mass destruction that can now erase all humanity from the earth.
Our educational systems worshiped at the shrine of the false god of EVOLUTION, making it the foundational approach and basic CONCEPT upon which all KNOWLEDGE is based! Evolution is the atheist’s attempted explanation for the presence of a CREATION, without a CREATOR!
Our governments have been corrupt. Our business, industrial, economic and commercial systems have been shot through with deception, dishonesty, selfishness.
We have adopted the WAY OF LIFE of Satan — utter selfishness, lust and greed, envy and jealousy, competition in every walk of life — business, politics, sports, society — leading to violence and destruction! We have rebelled against the authority of GOD over us, worshiping the false gods of science, evolution, and greed. We have gone the WAY of SATAN! And Satan is the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4).
And now, FOR OUR OWN GOOD, an all-wise and all-loving God is about to PUNISH our nations, in order finally to bring us to HIM! But already the noose is around our necks, and is almost daily tightening! Skyrocketing inflation, devaluation of the dollar in all foreign markets, other economic ills are starting GREATLY to reduce our standard of living!” (Plain Truth - 1980-01)
This was written in 1980!
Thirty Three Years on, where are we NOW?
Our standard of living HAS already been greatly reduced!
Mr Armstrong concludes his article with a final warning:
“I warn you, PREPARE greatly to reduce your standard of living! Even GREATER punishments are to follow!”
In his co-worker letter dated January 20, 1983 Mr Armstrong wrote:
“Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
I have to tell you now that the outlook for the United States and the entire world is bleak and foreboding indeed! Based on world news, observation and personal contacts with world leaders – based on Bible prophecy and a long life of experience, I have to tell you now that the entire world economy is in a drastic nose dive. Civilization itself is stricken with spiritual, moral and economic sickness unto its death – the end of this world!
But there is also good news!
There is good news for the Work of God – the best ever! And the big good news (the word gospel means “good news”) is the new civilization – the World Tomorrow – the Kingdom of God – is soon to follow! God’s Church – the living and the dead in Christ – will then emerge into a new world of peace, happiness, abundance, with eternal life.
Bible prophecy shows what soon shall occur – why the world is now sick on its deathbed – why the rising unemployment, the sick economy, the immorality, crime, violence and world evils.
I have seen much of this in ninety years of event-packed experience. The world has not lived God’s way. Now the final result of the selfish way of living is converging on the whole world in its final climax at the end of this world.”
“What happened back in 2008 was just a preview. What is coming next is going to absolutely shock the world!”
by Mr Armstrong
Russia in Prophecy - part 1
broadcast 1980s - played Wales UK 15 Jun 2013
|"Now for the past two or three weeks we've been going through the prophesies - what's going to happen to the United States? And I think we are all very much concerned also about what's going to happen to Russia?" (4.1 Mb)|
by Jon Bowles
Plan for God's Feast
given Wales UK 15 Jun 2013
|The apostasy finally moved to allowing people to choose the date of their "autumn conference". But it did not begin there. It began when they failed to recognise what God's Feast of Tabernacles was for. The sermon examines: A commanded assembly; Where God places His Name; In temporary dwellings; As students; Picturing Millennial teaching. (12.5 Mb)|