Orwell Was an Optimist
The second beast was allowed to impart life to the image of the first beast so that the image of the beast could talk and order the execution of those who would not worship the image of the beast. The second beast forces all people—important and unimportant, rich and poor, free and slaves—to be marked on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that no one may buy or sell unless he has the mark, which is the beast’s name or the number of its name.
— Revelation 13:15–17 (ISV)
Much has been written about this verse. In the last 10 years the Islamic implications of this verse have also been put forth.
However, whether the beast the world would identify with would have an Islamic, European, or Assyrian origin, there is another aspect to Revelation 13 that has not been discussed very much. That is the technology behind being able to enforce this restriction on commerce.
The Technology Behind Prophecy
To stop all transactions unless a person has the Mark of the Beast would need high surveillance on all aspects of a person’s life. The government would have to watch everyone’s movement 24 hours a day and also enforce a ban on transactions if someone tried.
The technology to make this a reality is here today and its ability to control every aspect of a person’s life is so advanced and so pervasive it makes the world George Orwell created in his book “1984” seem utopian by comparison. Absolute power and control breeds absolute evil. The books of Daniel and Revelation describe this final world order and ultimate evil that will come together under the reign of the Antichrist just before the return of Christ (Daniel 2 & 7, Revelation 13)
The surveillance society predicted in Orwell’s book is now becoming a stark reality in every country of the world. At all levels of government, the use of video monitoring is becoming widespread. In high crime areas, at major intersections, attached to downtown buildings and light poles, inside sports arenas and public facilities, along interstate highways, and mounted on every police vehicle, the constancy of surveillance is being felt by everyone. Virtually all public buildings and private commercial properties have mounted video cameras to watch your comings and goings. This is now true in every country around the globe, from the most advanced to even Third World emerging economies.
Combine this video surveillance with facial recognition technology and rapid license plate reading software and your movements are being tracked everywhere you go whether you like it or not. No earlier governments could have come close to the level of control now possible – not even the most extreme totalitarian regimes had this ability.
We have seen the Enemy
The outlook for civil liberties grows bleaker by the day, from the various government’s embrace of indefinite detention for its citizens and armed surveillance drones flying overhead to warrantless surveillance of phone, email, and Internet communications and prosecutions of government whistle-blowers. Meanwhile, countries are increasingly coming under the influence of a police-industrial controlled complex. The line between local and federal law enforcement is being blurred. We have seen the enemy of the State and it is us. And if true, as governments assert their technological advantage, its citizens are at an ever increasing disadvantage.
Seek and Destroy
Even more troubling, the technology used to spy on its citizens is being paired with technologies to kill them as well.
In the United States, the Sixth Amendment to its Constitution was intended to not only make sure of a “speedy and public trial,” but it was also supposed to prevent the government from keeping someone in jail for unspecified offenses. That too has been a casualty of the War on Terror. Between the National Defense Authorization Act’s (NDAA) indefinite detention clause and the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) legislation, which has been used to justify killing American citizens with drones without a court trial, the Sixth Amendment’s guarantees have become meaningless.
Other countries have followed the United States’ lead.
In August 2015, the British government authorized an RAF drone attack in Syria that killed two Britons fighting with Islamic State. This was the first acknowledged assassinated via drone strike against a British national by that country. ‘There was a terrorist directing murder on our streets and no other means to stop him.’ said David Cameron the British Prime Minister.
“Those of us who have criticized the Obama administration’s targeted killing policy have long warned that other states cite it to attempt to justify their own legal violations. The concerns were, however, over Russia, China and North Korea, not the United Kingdom,” said Mary Ellen O’Connell, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Drone strikes by surveillance craft are becoming more frequent and are being launched by more countries as the technology improves and costs go down. It is often becoming the assassination instrument of choice by many countries.
Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said countries like Pakistan that face ongoing threats from extremists threatening to overrun the central government see drones as “just another tool for them to use in that campaign [against militants].”
Rights are Disappearing
Due to rapid advances in technology and a heightened surveillance culture, the burden of proof has been shifted so the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty has been usurped by a new norm in which all citizens are suspects. Where once the police were expected to catch criminals and bring them to justice. Now, they are expected to stop crime before it happens. It is a noble goal, but the only way to stop a crime from happening is to watch all the people, all the time. This is exemplified by police practices of stopping and frisking people who are merely walking down the street and where there is no evidence of wrongdoing. Likewise, by subjecting innocent civilians to full-body scans and license-plate readers without their knowledge or compliance and then storing the scans for later use, the government state has erected what has amounted to the police-industrial complex. In such an environment, we are all potentially guilty of some wrongdoing. If someone is watched closely enough, they will be caught doing something wrong.
All of this surveillance requires someone to process it. This job for humans is impossible. Enter the computer. Computer software is becoming more sophisticated and inexpensive as time goes on and has become an important tool in a surveillance state.
Facial recognition software promises to create a society in which every individual who steps out into public (or stays in their home) is tracked and recorded as they go about their daily business. The goal is for the government to scan a crowd of people and instantaneously identify all the individuals present. People who are identified in the scan can be cross matched with a database to see if they are on anyone’s watchlist. They may of interest to the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Secret Service, National Security Agency, Interpol, Local, County or State law enforcement, or a host of other agencies that are watching people.
If they are on the list, those individuals can have their cellphone conversations bugged and their movements isolated and stored for later review. They can even have the cameras and microphones in their smartphones turned on and monitored, even if the device is turned off. (At many intelligence briefings, attendees are required to surrender their phones and sometimes remove the batteries.)
Computer algorithms have been developed that allow supercomputers to sift through the exabytes of data that are being harvested as text, audio and visual data.
A machine that harvests large amounts of data, analyzes it, and decides on what is important and what is not is a machine with something approximating human capacities. It is a machine that some would describe as having artificial intelligence (AI).
Take AI, add to it the advances in robotics and you have something akin to transhuman.
In researching this article, the author came across something interesting. In the Oxford Concise Dictionary, an alternative definition for the word “golem” is “robot.” I asked Dr. William Welty a research analyst in Advanced Communication Technologies and Executive Director of the ISV foundation, why “robot” would be an alternative definition. His answer was simple. “Because the Brits have a better knowledge of the English language than we do.”
The title of the popular Will Smith movie, “I, Robot,” could have well been called “I, Golem.”
A golem is a legendary creature made of clay and dust by human hands in a magical, artificial way to serve its creator. The word appears only once in the Bible where it refers to “unformed limbs (or embryos)” (Ps. 139:16). The Talmud relates the Sages could create living beings through their knowledge of Kabbalah. In describing the first 12 hours of Adam’s existence, the Talmud calls him a golem, a “shapeless mass” fashioned into a body that did not yet own a soul (Sanhedrin 38b). It also observes that “if the righteous desired it, they could [by living a life of absolute purity] be creators… Rava created a man and sent him to Rabbi Zera, who spoke to him and, receiving no answer, said to the man: ‘You are a creature of the magicians. Return to your dust’” (Sanhedrin 65b).
In the Middle Ages arose the belief in the possibility of infusing life into a clay or wooden figure of a human being, which figure was termed “golem” by writers of the 18th century. The golem grew in size, and could carry any message or obey mechanically any order of its master. This sounds very much like the characteristics of what people conceived of early robots.
Building an artificial intelligence is like building a golem. It is a creature made from dust and clay (sand, i.e., silicone) by human hands. Being made by humans, it would also have man’s sinful nature programmed into it. As the programming became more sophisticated, an AI would also grow in power. It would soon reach a point where its intelligence would exceed man’s. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Stephen Hawking may be right in saying the efforts to create thinking machines could have a capability that would pose a threat to man’s existence.
Is the Beast a Robot?
All the above leads to a very interesting hypothesis. There is a line of reasoning that the Beast spoken of in Revelation is actually a sentient AI, a working prototype or a robot so sophisticated that it comes alive.
A Fallen Man would have programmed the AI, but in the process, also programmed his sinful nature into the machine. The intelligence would eventually be faster and smarter than man’s “wet brain” and would become sentient and come to life. But since only God can create life, the “life” exhibited by this intelligence would be an imitation of life.
It would be demonic.
This Beast would merely be a manifestation of Satan pretending to be a living being. The Beast would be the culmination of the progression of man’s sinful nature taken to its logical conclusion.
Some believe it is after this intelligence “comes alive” Christ would return in His Second Coming and put an end to it.
The second beast was allowed to impart life to the image of the first beast so that the image of the beast could talk and order the execution of those who would not worship the image of the beast.
— Revelation 13:15 (ISV)
In the Book of Revelation, the False Prophet is allowed to give “life” to this first beast. If the first beast is an AI, who is the false prophet? Will the surveillance technologies combined with killing capabilities (decapitation?) play a part in enforcing the ban on buying and selling? And what is the significance of “6–6–6”? Is it a mark or is it a mistranslation in the text?
One thing is sure, advanced predictions about prophecy are almost always wrong. Ezekiel 12:13 is a prime example:
But I’ll throw my net over him. As a result, he’ll be captured with my net, and with it I’ll bring him to Babel, the land of the Chaldeans. He won’t see it, though he’ll die there. (ISV)
Ezekiel’s prophecy about Zedekiah made no sense before it was fulfilled. After it was fulfilled, it made perfect sense:
They executed Zedekiah’s sons in his presence, blinded Zedekiah, bound him with bronze chains, and transported him to Babylon [where he died].
— 2 Kings 25:7 (ISV)
The interpretations of prophecies found in Revelation may be the same way. They may make little sense now or be plain wrong. They will however be clear once they are fulfilled.
One thing we can be sure of. We need to trust in Him who has given us salvation and peace.
I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
— 1 John 5:13 (ISV)
You Commit Three Felonies a Day— Wall Street Journal
When Will We Be Transhuman? Seven Conditions for Attaining Transhumanism— Science Not Fiction
The Golem and the Limits of Artifice— The New Atlantis
Singularity and the Image of the Beast— Defend and Proclaim the Faith
– FROM: KHouse.Org