SHAPE OF THE FUTURE (4C)

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4 – WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

4-A. Merger – Two Separate Beasts Become One “Iron and Clay” Dominion
4-B. “The Kingdom Shall Be Divided”
4-C. Role of Technology in the Antichrist and False Prophet’s New World Order
4-D. What the Future Holds
         On the Political-Economic Level
         On the Religious Level

4-C. Role of Technology in the Antichrist and False Prophet’s New World Order

Earlier, we learned about how nations exhibit both a physical and a spiritual geography. And how in ancient times the borders of the two geographies normally coincided. It was simpler then. That is, the culture of the conquering power tended to stay within the boundaries of its military conquest.

For example, the Greek Empire left behind the “bronze” imprint of its philosophically minded culture everywhere. And Greek temples honoring her mythological gods continued on and were adopted by the Romans who came later. The Romans in turn imposed their own form of government and emperor worship upon the world of their day.

But nowadays, because of modern technology – television, easy travel, electronic funds transfer, instant communication and exchange of information, and so on – a nation’s culture (its “spiritual geography”) can expand far beyond its physical borders.

As for modern technology, the Scriptures do refer to this peculiar feature of modern life in somewhat cryptic terms. For example, the “beast” with the “ten horns” is pictured as having “great iron teeth” and “nails of brass”, as being able to “make desolate” by “the overspreading of abominations”. (Daniel 7:7,19, 9:27 – KJV) These sound like symbolic references to the peculiar mega-destructive armaments that exist in today’s world, which the Antichrist will use to conquer certain nations. “All the world… worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is able to make war with him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4)

As for the other “beast”, the one coming “out of the earth”, he works to promote worship of the Antichrist through an “image” of him and uses that “image” to raise persecution against the “non-worshipers”. He also organizes the world’s economic system by use of a “mark” and a “666-number”. These are all fairly obvious references to modern inventions in media technology, electronics, computerization, cashless economis. Each End Time “beast” (superpower) seems then to be a technological base from which their respective “heads” (Antichrist and False Prophet) can operate.

The Antichrist’s rise to power and adulation before the world requires the combined technological resources of the two superpowers.  If the EU is the base for the Earth-Beast, it is easy to see how this superpower can supply the educated manpower, advanced media and computer technology, and money and credit systems needed for the rise of the Antichrist. From Russia will come a military society, extensive weapon systems, and a huge supply of natural resources. These two “beasts” and the two geographical “feet” that harbor them symbolize these two geographical-technological-political superpowers that are appearing before our eyes in these last days. So there is the “physical geography”aspect of these kingdoms.

But now, as far as the “spiritual geography” goes, this is where the limits of geographical and political borders seem to vanish. Because of modern technology, cultural influence can be a rather fluid thing in today’s world. Already we are seeing the Euro-American version of Materialism, this new secular religion, spreading in both Russia and the EU, and in most of the rest of the world, because of technological advances in media advertising, credit systems, and money transfer. (Revelation 17-18 expresses in graphic terms this religion or system of Materialism, which is called there the “great harlot”.)

Regarding this cultural fluidity, we can see how this has worked with the American empire. Although America has military bases all over the world, nevertheless, her political boundaries are confined pretty much to her own territory. Unlike the colonial empires of the 16th to 20th centuries, she does not exercise official, government control in other nations.

But she doesn’t have to. America’s financial and cultural boundaries do extend all over the world. The “great harlot” of Revelation 17-18 symbolizes very well this type of modern empire – one that has amassed great wealth for herself at the expense of poorer nations and then spread her cultural decadence all over the world. Sad to say, these chapters seem to describe the downward spiral of the American empire – the decadent, even oppressive, nature of her influence in the world. Not in days gone by. But in the world of modern times, and probably more so in the near future, America seems to resemble all too well the ominous picture painted in those chapters of the Revelation Book.

In similar fashion, the Antichrist/False Prophet empire will try to spread itself everywhere; and in today’s world much of that conquest can be accomplished financially and culturally without having to cross physical borders. Stock exchanges, the cashless economy and system of electronic funds transfer have made it easier for the money magnates to establish huge domains of economic influence. With this modern technology it is possible now to link every country and neighborhood around the world in a uniform economic system through cashless transactions, credit systems, and the future “mark of the beast”. So, in this respect, much of the world has already fallen to the low-profile, yet powerful rulers of capitalism-materialism.

As for the demagoguery surrounding the Antichrist, media communication, with its ability to leap across political borders, will easily generate propaganda, worship, and fear of him in the world at large. As soon as he arrives on the scene, this worship-of-the-Beast religion will spread far and wide in a very short time through the False Prophet’s manipulation of modern media technology.

And so, because of the effect of these technologies, this could have a lot to do with the overlapping, or mixture, of the iron and clay symbolism in the feet of the image. These new technologies can extend the dominion of power-hungry men far beyond the range of militarily established borders. In the past, certain demagogues (Napoleon and Hitler), both from Europe, tried to conquer Russia.

But in the future the EU and Russia won’t have to conquer each other militarily; but religiously, it could be said that each one will conquer the other. “You saw iron mixed with miry clay.” (Daniel 2:41 – RSV) And the result will be the worship of the Antichrist through the “mark of the beast”. And with this new religion or culture, the Antichrist and False Prophet can subjugate, or ensnare, much of the rest of the world. Many nations will escape the Antichrist’s military-political conquest, but probably very few will be able to avoid surrendering to the economic-spiritual conquest of the new world order.

This will serve then to paralyze a large portion of the world into submission without any physical conquest. However, even in spite of all this great power, it seems some nations do rebel, notably the “kings of the east” (Daniel 11:44, Revelation 16:12). And this eventually sets the stage for a new war, the Battle of Armageddon.

Anyway, that’s a bit far in the future. For now, let’s backtrack into the past a bit and trace the rise of technology and its effect on the growth of empires. During the Colonial Era, commercial trading houses based in Europe were busy plundering the natural wealth of newly-discovered territories. And the European nations established great colonial empires through this economic imperialism. The benefits of easier, long-distance travel were beginning to be felt. (How much more is this true today through the use of modern warships and air travel.) Thus, an empire could exist in a more scattered form throughout the world rather than being confined to adjoining land areas. The method of conquest, however, still required the use of war and the establishing of political boundaries.

But nowadays, what do we see? Because money can slip back and forth so easily through political boundaries, nations can be made to suffer financial collapse. With very little effort, huge fortunes can be drained off from anywhere in the world into the coffers of the money magnates of the world. Distant foreign masters can subjugate whole nations this way without the use of an army or establishing new political borders.

Easy loans, high interest rates, and other forms of financial trickery have been used with devastating effect on the poorer nations of the world to get them under the control of the western power brokers. Some Third World governments have managed to escape these economic shackles, but many have collapsed before the subtle, unrelenting force of this marauding “great harlot” of western capitalism. Jurisdiction over the economies of many nations has shifted into the hands of this vast commercial empire. And with that comes political control.

Then as the “great harlot” begins to collapse (as pictured in Revelation 17-18), it will be time for the earth-Beast to seize control of a world left in economic shambles and to hold nations hostage to his “mark” credit system. Being part of it will be a matter of survival. His enormous financial empire will also bring the masses under the watchful eye of computer surveillance and control. Already the infrastructure for this system has been set into place in much of the world.

Besides financial control, the False Prophet has another huge domain of influence at his fingertips – in the realm of media manipulation. Through satellite broadcasting he can subvert whole cultures and control public opinion in faraway lands. The somewhat decadent influence of television has long been undermining the values and mores of Western culture and has spread itself into the rest of the world as well.

The Russian Beast, as we understand from Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11, will conquer – geographically – the Mideast. But through the media, the Antichrist’s power can extend much further, so that fear of him can be felt all over the world. In this modern world, people will be well informed about the Beast’s superior military prowess. “All the world marveled and followed after the beast… and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? who is able to make war with him?’” (Revelation 13:4)

Besides communicating everywhere this fear and propaganda about the Beast, television and other forms of media technology can also make him the object of secular worship to people in every nook and cranny of the world. This is the powerful “image of the beast” spoken of in Revelation 13. (For more details on this, see post “Unraveling the Mystery of the Image”.)

So, modern media imperialism also turns out to be a form of religious imperialism that the False Prophet uses to spread the worship of the other Beast, the Antichrist. And by so doing, the False Prophet can draw the world more easily into his own net – the “mark-number” system – which, conveniently for him, is done in the name of the Antichrist. (Revelation 13:16-17)

So, on top of the Antichrist’s military imperialism, the world will be “conquered” through economic and media imperialism; and, we could add, the imperialism of computer surveillance, which is linked to the economic conquest. In this way, the conquest becomes very thorough. Here is how it may work: when a country gets taken over by the Antichrist through war, they are also getting taken over by the False Prophet; they will be forced to adopt his economic system. Or vice-versa, when a country’s economy falls to the “mark-number” system, that is, to the False Prophet Beast, they are forced to use the “mark of the beast” - which means giving their allegiance to the Antichrist.

This new world order, the one described in Revelation 13, will incorporate the modern inventions in media, computer, and commercial technology. But like its predecessor, Communism, the new totalitarian regime will be hailed in idealistic terms as the “brave new world” of the future, the progressive utopia long dreamed of by humanistic thinkers of the past and promoted by the False Prophet of the near future.

But such a system cannot survive if it tries to leave God out of the picture. Like the previous communist utopias or Hitler’s Third Reich, it will only collapse – another utopian dream turned into a nightmare – just before the second coming of Christ to rescue mankind from what will have become his lowest state, the worst mess the world has ever been dragged into by the forces of Darkness.

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21)

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