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2008 In Review

The Year In Prophecy- Part 2

By Ron Graff

Matthew 24:6-8


4 - Rumors of War

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
- Matthew 24:6-8 (NIV)
Wars and Rumors of Wars

The Greek word for “rumors” is usually translated “hearing.” We have many wars going on, but in addition to these we hear about all kinds of conflicts that are brewing. Our age of constant news and Internet blogs keeps the rumors going all the time. For every actual act of terrorism there are many threats, carefully released to keep the population nervous. Every angry word spoken by the North Korean dictator or the Iranian President is reported and magnified until damage is caused, just by their rhetoric. The Cold War, which disappeared for a while after the break-up of the Soviet Union, is back. Talk abounds about untested methods, like an “electro-magnetic pulse” (EMP) bomb that even an unsophisticated enemy could use to paralyze the United States. Then there is Cyber Warfare, and the list goes on. Only those who live in these last days could experience such a variety of “rumors of war.”

Internet Blogs and You Tube Submissions

While writing this story, my spell-checker didn’t recognize the word “blogs.” It is such a new expression, but it has already had a huge impact, and will continue to be even more influential in the future. This phenomenon allows every person on the Internet to express his or her opinions, or in the case of war, to express his or her fears. Blogging allows you to “publish yourself.” And You Tube allows you to “broadcast yourself.” Information does not have to be true to spread like a virus on the Internet. This gives rise to rumors of all kinds, including rumors of war.

Terrorism


Threats

In an age of terrorism, a militant person doesn’t have to actually detonate a bomb to cause chaos. He only needs to make an anonymous “credible threat,” to cause evacuation of buildings, shut down airports, and get the attention of the news media

The New Cold War


The New Cold War

The Soviet-era Cold War between Russia and the United States was probably the most dramatic example of “rumors of war.” The incessant build-up of nuclear weapons that would hopefully never be used; the policy of “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD) to keep the superpowers in balance; and the periodic displays of military preparedness kept war on our minds for decades.

It was a great relief for Russia and the United States to work together for a while after the fall of the Iron Curtain. But there are definite signs now that Russia, under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is returning to some of its old Communist ways.

In February a Russian Tupolev 95 bomber buzzed the USS Nimitz twice while a second bomber circled nearby. Four F/A-18 fighter planes were sent to intercept them but there was no further aggression.

Russia

Russia’s August invasion of Georgia, which was part of the old Soviet Union, was “A signal to everyone,” according to Russian scholar Michael McFaul of Stanford University, that “Russia is going to try and dominate this region of the world.”

In November, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Venezuela, and the two nations conducted joint naval exercises in the Caribbean. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice countered by announcing that the US will not go forward at this time with an exchange of nuclear technology with Russia.

China

Three Russian warships then traveled to Cuba for the first time since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

China is also building its military might. In January, Admiral Timothy Keating, the head of the US armed forces in the Asia-Pacific, said that it is troubling that China's new weapons are apparently able to go far beyond their stated goal to "to protect those things that are ours". In March China announced a 17.6% increase in its military budget (US$57.22-Billion). This marks the 19th year in a row that China has allocated a double-digit increase for military spending. They have the most active cruise and ballistic missile development in the world.

Wars and Rumors of War


EMP Bomb

Periodic warnings are made by nuclear watchdogs that a country like Iran or North Korea would not need to deliver a barrage of nuclear bombs to heavy population centers with sophisticated guided missile systems. They could simply explode one atomic bomb at a high altitude above the U.S. and the “electro-magnetic pulse” radiation would disable the country’s electrical and communications systems.

CyberWar


Cyber Warfare

Now that our whole culture is so dependent on the Internet, authorities are concerned about two kinds of cyber warfare that could do considerable damage. The most obvious one is cyber-espionage. This is no longer the domain of a few relatively harmless hackers. Large governments like China have developed the capacity to spy on a huge scale using the Internet.

The other threat is disruption of the Internet. The country that is able to disable or subvert the Web will have a great military advantage.

Economy


GLOBAL GOVERNMENT


5 - Global Financial Crisis

Not only is the world racked by wars and rumors of war, but it is in danger of financial collapse because of the events of this past year.

The United States experienced a domino effect leading to the worst financial conditions since the Great Depression. For some time unwise mortgage lending practices were used to allow many people to own homes they couldn’t really afford. People bought homes at the peak of their inflated value. As early as June, clients of Royal Bank of Scotland were advised to prepare for a full-fledged crash in the global stock market. Other experts sounded the alarm as well. Then the cost of oil skyrocketed, causing a financial crisis in both families and in business. Bankruptcies spiraled out of control. Unscrupulous heads of financial companies bailed out with their multi-million dollar “golden parachutes,” leaving their companies vulnerable to failure. A trickle of bank closings led to a massive failure. The stock market plummeted. The government tried to stem the tide by appropriating unimaginable amounts of “bail-out” funds (that they didn’t have, and would have to borrow from some of our world enemies).

New World Order

(Conspiracy Side-note: During the heyday of the John Birch Society in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, we had fascinating literature about the “Invisible Government” that picked candidates for office and controlled the finances of the world. The belief then was that the super-rich would periodically engineer events and prices so that stock market crashes would strip the wealth from ordinary people and make the rich richer. We don’t hear much about this any more, but one can’t help wondering if that is what has just happened to us.)

Economy

By Nov. 24, Bloomberg.com announced that the latest tabulations of what the government was prepared to provide comes to more than $7.76 trillion. This amounts to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year. Another way of looking at it, is that it equals $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. This total could pay off more than half the country’s mortgages.

It became painfully obvious that The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was out of date, and neither the IMF nor the World Bank had the power to police the global financial system in time of such an economic crisis. Even the newer G8 group of industrialized nations was hopelessly out of date without the emerging economic giants of Brazil, India and China among its ranks.

On Dec. 9th, Gideon Rachman of the UK’s Financial Times wrote an article entitled, “And now for a world government.” He argued that global warming, global financial problems, and a global war on terror, may cause us to accept the concept of a world government. Jacques Attali, an adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, says that that the "core of the international financial crisis is that we have global financial markets and no global rule of law". He suggested that we consider The European Union as a model for world government. He added that President-elect Obama is more inclined to global governance than President Bush.

European Union

Revived Roman Empire


6 - Preparation for a World Leader

The European Union itself has not seen much progress this year. There is not general agreement on a constitution for the group, and they have not succeeded in getting a temporary governance instrument called the Lisbon Treaty ratified. In addition, no personal leader has emerged that could inspire confidence and unity.

Tony Blair, past Prime Minister of Great Britain has served as the EU’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process. He has been telling some of his oldest allies that he might be willing to campaign for the new position of full-time president of the EU council. This role is characterized as "president of Europe".

Antichrist

False Christs

Last month, Benjamin Crème of Share International again stated that Maitreya, a messiah for the world, is living in London but has not yet been revealed. An announcement from the organization says that a great miracle will soon appear. It will be a large, bright star in the sky "visible to all throughout the world -- night and day." Most people do not expect anything to develop from this since Crème has sounded false alarms in the past.

Since the great crisis that calls for a world government is an economic one, there may be a financial genius waiting in the wings to be revealed.

The question remains: Who could lead the world into a successful global government?

Obama

This year’s Presidential election shows how a person can rise quickly from relative anonymity to a place of great prominence and leadership. President-elect Barack Obama made a truly amazing entrance onto the world scene, causing some people to ask the question, “Could he be the Antichrist?”

In a sense, any powerful and charismatic person could be Antichrist. For that reason, people have suggested that most American Presidents in our generation might be that ruler of the predicted final one-world government. We can not know who Antichrist will be until the Holy Spirit, the One who holds back sin, has been taken away, presumably by the Rapture. People may have suspicions about one person or another, but they can not know for sure who he will be until that time. The Apostle Paul wrote:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

5 Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8

There has already been a great deal of talk, even among non-Christians, that Obama is a messiah figure. Only time will tell what will come of all this speculation. It is not wrong to wonder about the possibility of any great person somehow becoming the predicted False Christ. But it is wrong to make unprovable accusations.

Mark of the Beast


Technological Progress

One day Jesus Christ's will return to take His church away before the coming "Tribulation." After the true Christian believers have been removed, the identity of the one-world ruler will be confirmed and people will be forced to receive "The Mark of the Beast" in order to be permitted to buy or sell.

Revelation 13:16-18

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.
- Rev 13:16-18

Technology

For years now we have known that we have enough computing and communications power to make the fulfillment of this prophecy possible. Computers continue to become more powerful. This year IBM developed a new US military supercomputer called "Roadrunner." It sets a new speed record of 1.026 quadrillion (thousand trillion) calculations per second. They have also started work on a government-funded project to develop computers that mimic human brains. They call this "cognitive computing", and their research will bring together neurobiologists, computer and materials scientists and psychologists.

There is also a new version of the Internet called “The Grid.” It was created at Cern, the particle physics centre that created the original web. It is incredibly faster than the Internet because it uses dedicated fiber optic cables and doesn't have speed-limiting telephone switching equipment. The 55,000 servers already installed are expected to rise to 200,000 within the next two years.

Mark of the Beast

One additional development this year could hasten the day that the Mark of the Beast could be implemented. Verichip, the implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) chip has been available since 2004, but most people have not wanted to accept one, even though it would be helpful for some, like Alzheimer’s patients, if they get lost.

Microsoft now offers an Internet program called HealthVault, where users can view their health data and can input helpful information. And now some people with a VeriChip will be allowed to access Health Link to interact with their health information online.

Many will accept the chip for practical purposes, like they have accepted Social Security numbers and credit cards.

The chip itself is not the Mark of the Beast. The actual mark is a visible sign of allegiance to the world ruler. However, the chip may be the technological link that makes world-wide control of buying and selling possible.

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Last Updated: 1/13/09

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