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Is Big Brother Coming?

Is Big Brother Coming?

  Original Air Date: 2nd September 2020

Discover what the Bible has to say about what our government will look like in the near future. Will Big Brother become a soon coming reality? See for yourself from the pages of your Bible as prophecy foretells what is to happen. Tune in to learn more!

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

A World Wide Dictatorship Coming?

In the Book of Revelation, John saw two beasts in a vision. One rose up from the sea and the other from the earth. Bible students understand these to be human leaders wielding power over the nations. Their power reaches its climax in the latter days, when this unholy alliance seizes far-reaching control over people’s lives. They even force people to take a mysterious mark, without which they are virtually cut off from society.

The Book of Revelation predicts this will happen. But how could such a thing occur in our enlightened age? Will people really give up this control over their lives?

We’ll explore that today on Tomorrow’s World. And we’ll get a glimpse into the coming society these beasts will shape. And we’ll see how you and your family can escape the terrible trap set by these two powerful figures.

During this program, I’ll be offering our free study guide, The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-coming Reality? So get ready, you won’t want to miss requesting your own copy of this hard-hitting booklet.

So, is Big Brother coming? I’ll be right back with the answers.

A Society Under Total Surveillance

In 1948, George Orwell wrote the book, “1984.” In the novel, he imagined a world governed by a totalitarian dictatorship bent on controlling the population. By cameras and spies everywhere, Big Brother dictates their movements, their behaviors, and even their words. The author coined the phrase, “Big Brother is watching you,” to describe this suffocating level of personal surveillance. George Orwell was an insightful critic of his time, and what he envisioned was government becoming more oppressive, until it controls virtually every movement of every person held under its sway.

The Book of Revelation does describe such a time. It tells of two ruthless leaders who share an alliance and oppress their people like no time in history. Let’s read about it, in Revelation 13, verse 1.

“Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.”

When compared with Daniel chapter 7 in the Old Testament, we can see this beast is a combination of four world-ruling powers culminating in the Roman Empire. This empire collapsed in 476 AD. That’s the mortal wound described in verse 3. Also in verse 3, his deadly wound is healed. That is the reconstitution of the empire under Justinian in 554 AD, with the aid of the Pope in Rome. This revived Roman Empire would have successive revivals, with the final appearance in the time of the end.

The Beast out of the earth is the second beast, described in verse 11.

“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.”

This beast is also powerful, and it represents a religious leader. He does great wonders to deceive the masses. He appears to be an emissary of Christ, but speaks with a very different message, the words of the dragon, who is Satan the Devil.

In verse 16, we find how these two dark forces team up to coerce the population into taking a mysterious mark:

“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (vv. 16–17).

Is this Big Brother? This sounds a lot like Orwell’s society of “1984.” Think of the suffocating repression of personal rights this is describing. It sounds shocking to us who live in liberty-loving, open societies of the Western world. But Revelation 13 shows this is coming.

These two beasts will not last long. But they will arise in the last days, just before Christ’s return. How do we know this? Because we also read, in Revelation 19:20, that Jesus will destroy these two individuals, at His coming. So, it’s yet to happen in the future.

COVID-19 Monitoring a Disturbing Precursor of Privacy Invasion

Some people feel we already have Big Brother now. They point to restrictions made by our governments because of the coronavirus, for example. When COVID-19 hit, governments around the world moved to get the spread of the virus under control. Restrictions on travel, employment, recreation, and groups meeting together were instituted in many places.

And through this time, some of these measures have been rather unusual. One company, called Draganfly, has developed drones that can be used to detect sick people even from above. Here is how the CEO of Draganfly describes his company’s product:

“What these cameras can do is actually detect fever, which is very different than detecting just temperature…. They can detect sneezing. They can detect your heart rate, your respiratory rate, and they can also detect social distancing” (“Coronavirus News: Pandemic drones to monitor fever, Crowds from above,” WABC-TV, ABC7NY.com, April 15, 2020).

Quite a remarkable device. But some ask, is this technology a little alarming? When a drone, without your consent, determines if you have a fever? Is Big Brother here now?

Let’s get a little perspective. It’s not a great sacrifice to stay six feet away from others, or wear a mask. And it’s a good idea to wash our hands. Christians should do what we can to protect our neighbors and our families. Jesus explained that in Matthew 22:39, when He said, “…love your neighbor as yourself.” Paul also exhorted Christians to obey the government, as long as it doesn’t cause us to disobey God. As stated in Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities….”

And yet, some of these COVID-19 restrictions seem to be going further than anything we’ve ever seen. Perhaps that’s why some evangelicals make a direct connection between the recent government actions and the biblical mark of the beast. Notice this article from Yahoo.com on May 14, 2020. The author says that some evangelical pastors have claimed that the government is creating…

“…implantable microchips that could be used to control the population under the guise of tracking COVID-19 infections and immunity…” (Some evangelicals fear the ‘mark of the beast’ from a coronavirus vaccine,” News.Yahoo.com, May 14, 2020).

Are we seeing the mark of the beast? Is it being introduced now, under the guise of COVID-19 monitoring? Has Big Brother arrived?

Let’s be clear. There will always be evil actors who seek to gain power through any means. But Revelation 13’s description of the mark of the beast is something on a totally different level. COVID-19 treatments or policies are not the mark of the beast.

With that said, it is a little unnerving that health officials are using technology that is ever-more intrusive. For example, a crucial element of fighting any contagious disease is contact tracing. That means, when someone gets sick, health officials interview the sick person to find out who they have been in contact with. They then can track down others who might be infected. Knowing who’s been infected allows you to know who to quarantine. And quarantine is not a bad word—it’s a biblical principle used to contain contagious diseases.

But new technology even available on a cell phone takes this tracking process to a totally new level. It’s something that George Orwell might have envisioned in his novel. Consider this report from Amnesty International:

“Media reports suggest that Ecuador’s government has authorized GPS tracking to enforce compliance to quarantine. The Israeli authorities’ move to permit the security service to use cell phone data of infected persons has already raised privacy concerns…. In South Korea, authorities have been sending health advisory texts which have been accompanied with personal details of infected patients…” (“COVID-19, surveillance and the threat to your rights,” Amnesty.org, April 3, 2020).

In other words, some governments are controlling and even distributing very personal, private information, such as health records. As the website goes on:

“Once personal data is collected, there is a real danger of it being shared and used for purposes other than health tracking.”

COVID-19 tracking efforts are not the mark of the beast. Social Security numbers or implanted chips are not the mark of the beast. However, it’s not hard to imagine the beast power deploying technology similar to what’s being developed today. Today it’s used to save lives. Tomorrow, it may be used to take lives.

Have We Willingly Brought “Big Data” Into Our Lives?

So, maybe a Big Brother type of society is starting to develop. The COVID-19 crisis does seem to show technology being developed and used in more invasive ways than ever before. But before we sound the alarm, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves, what was our tech like before the coronavirus?

In December of 2019, a New York Times opinion piece appeared, entitled “Total Surveillance Is Not What America Signed Up For.”

“Your smartphone can broadcast your exact location thousands of times per day, through hundreds of apps, instantaneously to dozens of different companies. Each of those companies has the power to follow individual mobile phones wherever they go, in near-real time. That’s not a glitch in the system. It is the system. If the government ordered Americans to continuously provide such precise, real-time information about themselves, there would be a revolt…. Yet, as a society, without ever focusing on this profound choice, we’ve reached a tacit consensus to hand this data over voluntarily, even though we don’t really know who’s getting it or what they’re doing with it…” (NYTimes.com, December 21, 2019).

The article concludes that maybe this decade, that began roughly around the time when the App Store was founded, in 2008, will be remembered as the decade in which we were brainwashed into surveilling ourselves.

If you have a Smartphone, this tiny computer you carry around in your pocket is sending all kinds of information about you to people you don’t even know. Information about your private emails, your buying patterns, photos of you and children, and even your health information, if you have a device that collects it. We would never consent to this much private information about us going out, if it weren’t so convenient for our lifestyle.

In January of 2019, Fox Business host Stuart Varney made this assessment:

“You’ve heard the expression, ‘Big Brother.’ It’s taken from George Orwell’s book ‘1984’…. News flash, Big Brother has arrived. Big Brother is already watching you. On our program recently, China watcher Michael Pillsbury described a global surveillance system, using facial recognition, which allows the Chinese government to watch anyone, anywhere, in real time. If that’s not a modern day Big Brother, I don’t know what is!” “Big Brother is already watching us: Varney,” FoxBusiness.com, January 30, 2019).

Maybe Big Brother was already beginning to take shape in our society before COVID-19 arrived. In one of the great ironies of our time, maybe we are welcoming him into our lives in exchange for the conveniences of tech. Consider some more examples of our labor-saving smart devices today.

“We’ve also learned that Amazon’s home helper, Alexa, can listen in to what you’re saying, even when Alexa has not been asked a question: She’s always listening. Google operates Gmail, the very widely used email service. Google reads those emails…. Apple’s FaceTime has a bug that allows people to eavesdrop. Facebook knows everything about everyone. They’re following you. I wish I could say there’s a way out of all this, but I don’t think there is. We’ve opened the surveillance box and we can’t close it up….”

No, Google is not the beast and the App Store is not where you get the mark. However, could the technology we’re using daily, which we become dependent on, be preparing us to be manipulated when the dark days do come? What if it’s not Google that’s scanning our emails for marketing purposes, but censorship officials ordered to keep our messages politically correct? Could this happen?

In the book of Daniel, the prophet was given a glimpse of the world of the end-times. Among other things, this is what he recorded:

Daniel 12:4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

“Data” is the buzzword today. Companies are in a race to find ways to mine data and use data, to get consumers what they want before their competitors do. And we as consumers are happy to oblige them with ever more reams of data. All in the name of tech with newer, smarter functions. Knowledge is increasing.

Now is technology bad? Not necessarily. We use technology in this Work, and it helps us in our efforts. To a certain degree, if we live in this world, we have to use the technology of this world. When Jesus prayed for His disciples, before His crucifixion, notice what He said:

John 17:15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

We live and function in this world. But we should be bond slaves of God, not slaves of our devices. We should be careful to protect our personal information, educating ourselves in how to do so. We should be wary of scam artists, and protect our passwords. We should remember that for every new feature that requires more information, we’re making a tradeoff. We’re allowing a growing presence of invasive technology into our lives. Where will that take us in the future?

No, the beast has not yet arrived. But it is coming. And our society is being conditioned for its coming, and the stripping of personal freedoms that will be a part of society, when the mark of the beast is enforced.

The Beast Has Not Arrived Yet. What Can YOU Do to Prepare?

So, what should you do? At the beginning of this program, we saw that the Bible shows that the two beasts of Revelation 13 will arise, and unsuspecting masses will be coerced to taking the mark of the beast. That’s a mark that will identify a person as belonging to that system. But the prophet Ezekiel gives us some helpful clues on how to be identified with God’s mark, instead.

In Ezekiel chapter 9, God gave Ezekiel a sobering look at the destruction of Jerusalem that was coming in his time. Let’s read it in Ezekiel 9:4:

“And the LORD said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it. To the others He said in my hearing, ‘Go after him through the city and kill… but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark…’” (Ezekiel 9:4–6).

As our society descends into immorality and corruption, we need to take Ezekiel’s vision as a warning as well. When God allows the Big Brother society of the beasts of Revelation to descend on this world, He will provide a shield for His faithful and zealous people. What should Christians do? We need to take sin seriously. It’s because of sin that God will allow our lands to be punished. If you can see the writing on the wall, get on your knees and pray to God about it. Ask Him to intervene. Ask Him to guide our leaders. But most of all, ask God for help to not be deceived. Because these coming world dictators are going to deceive many, if not most.

The beast of Revelation has a mark. But God has a mark that He marks His people with. What is it? If we want to be protected in the coming years, we must accept the shed blood of Christ for our sins, we must be led by God’s Spirit, and we must keep His commandments. We find that one of God’s commandments is specifically mentioned as a sign between God and His people.

Turn to Ezekiel 20:15, where we find a description of the sins of the nation of Israel before it collapsed. Can we learn the lessons of judgment that came upon that land? Read it with me in Ezekiel 20:15:

“So I also raised My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands, because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols” (Ezekiel 20:15–16).

Have we in the Western world come to the point where many of us despise the laws of God? These commandments that God gave, saying this is how you will live, and thrive, and prosper? Do we now hold these words in contempt? Ezekiel 20:18:

“But I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God’” (Ezekiel 20:18–20).

Did you catch that? God told His people to love Him, to love their neighbors, to obey His commandments, including His sabbaths. And His sabbaths—which means the seventh day sabbath, and the annual holy days—would be a marker between God and His people. How is it that we take on the mark of God? We walk with God, we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we repent of our sins, and we commit to keeping His holy sabbaths.

The Big Brother society of George Orwell’s “1984” is not here yet. But there are signs that it is coming. Now’s the time to show our loyalty and faithfulness to God. Now’s the time to turn to Him with all of our hearts. In the dark days ahead, we want God to mark us as His people, His children, who have His Spirit, and His protection. Today’s intrusive tech is nothing compared to what is coming as Big Brother arrives. What do we do? We put our faith and our trust in God. He is our shield and our great reward in times of trouble.

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