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April 2016 Prophetic Observer

For printable version, click here.


 

“Gates” of Hell?

By Bob Glaze

I have been attempting to understand and use my computer since my first one in 1994. However, it is a second language that I did not learn when I was young—because there were no computers when I was young. On my wall is a shadow box that contains a Big Chief tablet and a big, fat #2 pencil. Underneath that box is a label that reads “My First Computer.” We learned to add, subtract, and multiply in our heads and didn’t have any problems until calculators came along. We didn’t miss electronic gizmos because there were no AA batteries. We read to educate ourselves and learned of things that we didn’t know existed. As children we entertained ourselves while our imagination ran wild, which  led to inventions and work ethics. Our dreams were not for wealth and power but for happiness and love. Sex was a noun, not a verb. We learned to grow and prepare our own food, and to store it and keep until the next growing season. We depended upon God. 

Now we have computers. We no longer have to study and analyze; it’s just a click away. We use them to calculate, order dinner, pay our bills, and make decisions for us. We have forgotten the art of penmanship and using our noggins to figure in our heads and to make decisions. We have become slaves to them and depend upon their artificial intelligence. We have even forgotten how to plant a hill of beans, much less how to preserve them. The world will surely stop spinning if we run short of AA batteries or the grocery store runs out of food. We have forgotten God. Has the computer been a tool of the devil all along?

We are all caught in its web, no pun intended. Each morning at about 6:30 I arrive at my office. The first thing I do is turn on that devil’s tool. While it’s booting up, I make coffee so that I can make sense of what I am about to observe. For the last several weeks, a box appears first, advising me that I need to install Windows 10. I get scared when I see Bill Gates giving away anything, and insisting I take it. After its initial failure to lure me in, the box tells me it is ready to install. I still resist because I have seen its problems and I don’t like a box telling me what to do. 

Finally, on March 10, Bill gets tired of being refused and begins to install Windows 10 automatically without my permission. However, Bill doesn’t know about my secret weapon, Marvin, who rushed in and kicked Bill out. Now I am on Bill’s hit list and he will make a special effort to thwart my resistance. The very first thing on the following Monday morning when I turned “it” on, I found that my email had been hacked. 

So we began to wonder why Bill, a billionaire, would insist on giving away something as valuable as his bread and butter. But, now after reading his mail, things are becoming clearer. My first step was to read Bill’s “Privacy Statement,” which was very revealing. He assured me that Window’s 10 was for my own good. The following is a sample of what he said:

Data We Collect: Examples of data we may collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; location, browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; voice, text and writing input; and application usage. … Experience data may be collected through the use of cookies or similar technologies.

How We Collect Data: Microsoft uses a number of methods and technologies to gather data, such as: Internet-enabled features in the Program software and services that transmit information to Microsoft; and technologies like cookies and web beacons.

How We Use Data: Microsoft uses data we collect from the program software and services to operate, improve and personalize Microsoft products and services. … Microsoft shares some data with our partners to improve how their products and services work with Microsoft’s products and services.

Controlling the Transmission of Data: Many features that transmit data to Microsoft are enabled automatically. You will not have the option to turn off the transmission of data for certain features in the Program software and services.

Disclosure of Data: With your consent … we share some data collected in connection with the Program with third parties. … We may share or disclose information about you with other Microsoft controlled subsidiaries and affiliates, and with vendors or agents working on our behalf.

Data Handling: Microsoft is committed to protecting the security of your personal information. … Personal information collected by Microsoft may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country where Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries or service providers maintain facilities.

To read the entire disclosure policy, see www.microsoft.com, Privacy Policy.

To accept Windows 10, we are giving Bill permission to actively spy on us and share this information with other organizations and vendors. I am naturally skeptical and wish to read what others are saying that have the same fears. This isn’t a recent concern according to Newsweek, Microsoft is not the only privacy concern. “And as The Guardian points out, ‘both Siri and Google Now requires access to the user’s personal information to personalize responses, with both Apple and Google offering developers the ability to deliver personalized ads to users based on information such as app installs’”(www.newsweek.com, 8/1/15). We might also point out that AT&T is also monitored.

21st Century Wire asks, “NSA Partner in Crime? Microsoft Admits Windows 10 Auto-Spying Can’t be Disabled.” The article continues that even though much has been said about the spying of NSA on American citizens, nothing has been said about the loss of privacy due to the increasing new digital Big Brother State. “One such partner in crime appears to be Microsoft Corporation based in Redmond, near Seattle. Upon further examination, it appears that Microsoft’s new ‘operating’ (policing) system, Windows 10, gives itself permission to watch every move through its built-in spying feature” (www.21centurywire.com). 

Bill’s next version of Windows 10, “Redstone 2,” has been delayed until spring of 2017. Some speculate that this delay is to line up with a new wave of Microsoft-branded devices. Some sources indicate that the update may contain language to include the ability to work with Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

It is also worrisome that Bill will offer a customized version of Windows 10 to the Chinese government. It will be government approved and include Chinese-selected anti­virus software. With China’s history of having the ability to hack into U.S. government computers, it seems that our safety will be compromised. With the software, Bill will be able to have access to hundreds of millions of Microsoft users across China. 

Also, “Windows 10 will be distributed to Chinese government agencies as well as certain state-owned companies through C&M Information Technologies. Of late, Chinese officials have been anxious about giant U.S. tech firms including furtive backdoors in its software, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding the National Security Agency’s spying programs” (www.zacks.com). In this case, will the Chinese be required to spy on its government and forward the information to our own NSA? Or, vice versa?

The obvious answer to this dilemma is to buy a Mac computer. However, after some searching we find that they too have a problem with “Big Brother.” Again, according to The Guardian the “FBI could force us to turn on iPhone cameras and microphones, says Apple.” “Eddy Cue warns precedent set by the San Bernardino case could lead to company being forced to turn users’ smartphones into surveillance devices. The FBI have demanded Apple’s help to brute force the passcode of the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone.” If the FBI is successful in forcing Apple to turn over the passcode of the killer, it won’t be long before the government forces them to turn over all passcodes so they can turn all iPhones cameras and microphones into spying on their users (www.theguardian.com). 

A little bit of dope soon leads to an addiction, and the same applies to our addiction to convenience. We no longer cook a meal on the stove, we “nuke it” in the microwave. Why? Because it is convenient. Convenience has become the “god” of this generation. We automatically go into the survival mode when anything threatens our convenience. We have become a society of habits and when our habits are disrupted we become confused and angry because we don’t know what to do next. If my computer doesn’t boot up, then what do I do? Everything I have worked on is bound in that little box. We are so predictable.

Satan is very subtle and patient. He will plan for centuries to place mankind into a mold that can be predicted and plotted. Now we have come to the point that the power-hungry elite can channel us to the slaughterhouse. A global government is dawning on the horizon, and masses are about to be numbered and classified. The information being collected on each individual will be used to confront and “mark” each individual with Satan’s symbol. Those that are confronted and refuse will certainly forfeit their lives by beheading. The “granddaddy” of all collection agencies is the United Nations. 

According to www.foxnews.com, “’Unprecedented’ UN global data gathering to add huge amounts of information for governments to collect.” “Six months after giving birth to a cluster of nebulous Sustainable Development Goals that aim to dramatically change the economic, social and environmental course of the planet, the United Nations is working on a drastic renovation of global data gathering to measure progress against its sweeping international agenda.” 

The world system, including the United Nations and its supporting agencies are networked to aid in gathering information. This “system” believes that it is to the point of a successful takeover except for the Christian element of this planet. Christ told Peter in Matthew 16:18 concerning the satanic system, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This verse means that the church will be on the offensive and “hell” cannot withstand it. The only force that is able to withstand Satan and his world system is the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit.

We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 about the “Restrainer”: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” The restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit came with the birth of the church and will be removed at the removal of the church at the Rapture. 

After the Rapture, the remaining world must face an uncertain future where chaos reigns and conveniences are a thing of the past. The common man will surely have to revert to using the Big Chief tablet and big, fat #2 pencil or accept the mark of the Beast. 


 

Infiltrated IV: Overcomers’ Victory Song

by Larry Spargimino

KnightIn this four part series, we have looked at the reality of spiritual warfare. Though the wickedness of the day is so evident, many Christians miss what’s happening. They have their pet phrases and tidy formulas that allow them a false sense of security.  Unwilling to count the cost and follow our risen Lord, Savior, and soon-coming King, these Christians are easy prey for dark forces that are supremely evil and superhuman in strength. It is only when we accept the Bible’s warfare worldview, as explained in this series, and live accordingly, that we will be able to sing the overcomers’ victory song. 

The Invading Kingdom

In the Gospels, the advance of the Kingdom is presented as a rout of dark forces—a fleeing of demons because power from God has come to earth. In Mark 1:15 Jesus appears, and He is preaching the gospel. He says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Following this, Jesus builds an inner circle, a team, to work with Him. He says, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (vs. 17).

Jesus then begins to teach in the synagogue at Capernaum where He meets a man with an unclean spirit (pneuma akatharton). The designation is used 21 times in the New Testament in the context of intense demonic activity that invades the mind, body, and spirit of the individual. “Unclean,” in its Old Testament setting, referred to ritual impurity, but in the New Testament it speaks of moral and spiritual defilement and, as such, could properly characterize our present age. These are “dirty demons” causing filthy perversions and damnable activities to be destigmatized by courts and so-called learned councils.

In Revelation 16:13 John sees “three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” Future Babylon’s indictment is that it has become “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Rev. 18:2–3).

As an added insight, we ought to note that preterists MUST understand the Book of Revelation as having already been fulfilled in the past. It supports their view that demonic activity is past because all the demons  are bound. If they would dare to let the book speak for itself they would see that the demons are alive and well, and will be released as a swarm that will darken the skies in the future (Rev. 9).

So here is Jesus, in the synagogue at Capernaum. The man with the unclean spirit is convulsed and in agony.

Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.—Mark 1:23-27

This had a powerful effect on the people. “They were all amazed.” They started talking among themselves and asked, “What new doctrine,” or teaching, “is this?” A question suggesting that prior to this time people were plagued by dark forces and were totally helpless in their grip; but now that Jesus had come, a new period of spiritual deliverance, and even conquest, had arrived.

Then we read that Jesus, James, and John entered the house of Simon and Andrew. Peter’s mother-in-law is sick with a fever. The following verses clearly describe how the kingdom advanced:

And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.—Mark 1:31–34

Jesus continued His ministry with the healing of a paralytic on the Sabbath (Mark 2:1–12). After an interlude of unspecified duration, Jesus continued  healing, setting large groups of people free from “plagues” (3:10), and driving out “unclean spirits” (3:11–12). In Mark 3:20–30 Jesus is charged with being in league with Beelzebub. Jesus makes it clear that His demonstrations of power show that He has bound “the strong man.” Indeed, the advance of the Kingdom was accompanied with the  routing of demon forces.

Boyd comments on this and says the kingdom of God “was  something the New Testament authors prayed for, not something they considered already accomplished (Matt. 6:10; Lk. 11:2). The only way it would be brought about was by overthrowing the illegitimate kingdom that was in place” (God at War, p. 185).

So, How Do We Rout Demons Today?

In many circles the words “spiritual warfare” make people nervous, and with good reason. There have been a number of techniques developed that are not scriptural. Their effect on the forces of darkness is to make them laugh with amusement at those “silly Christians.”

It’s very dangerous to try to talk to the devil or his helpers. Even Michael the archangel didn’t. Rather, he said to the devil: “The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9). Nor is there any scripture that says we need to first find out the name of the demon. Arnold expresses great wisdom when he writes: “The silence of Scripture on the issue of strategy is quite evident. When we consider that the New Testament records the spread of the gospel into pagan lands (Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy) where idols and occultism held sway, it is very surprising to find no mention of a strategy that stresses discerning, naming, and praying down territorial spirits” (Three Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare, p. 161).

We need a new way—a more  biblical way—of looking at spiritual warfare.  It is essential that we see spiritual warfare as that which is characteristic of Christian living in the modern  world. The moment an individual gets saved, we are flung onto the battlefield. You can’t live the Christian life without being confronted, sometimes on a daily basis, with the forces of darkness. Just as the early Christians burned their books of magic with their “tricks of the trade”  and began to incorporate basic biblical principles that led to revival described with the words, “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed”(Acts 19:19–20), we too, need to “burn” the methods so commonly espoused by “spiritual warfare experts.” In short, we shouldn’t be focused  on a method of spiritual warfare, but on a life of spiritual warfare. Here’s what it looks like.

  1. Be a person of prayer, and in your prayer ask God for guidance in how to pray, and what to pray for. The Holy Spirit is the Guide and Energizer for effective prayer (Eph. 6:18; Rom. 8:26). Our intercession needs to be guided by the Word of God and the Spirit of God. “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.” An important part of our praying is to specifically ask God to hinder the dark forces that are at work: (1) around you; (2) in your home; (3) in your church; (4) in your community.
  2. Share the gospel, for it is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). And don’t forget to pray for the progress of the gospel. Paul asked the Thessalonians, “pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men” (2 Thess. 3:1–2).
  3. Guard your heart (Prov. 4:23), and follow the exhortation of 2 Corinthians 7:1: “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Filthiness is not only in your flesh, but also in your spirit.
  4. Remember that dark forces exploit the prevailing culture, and in this way they hold individuals in bondage—a bondage so deceptive that people don’t even realize that they are in chains. Culture is not neutral. American culture is downright hostile to godliness. Make sure you have more than Christian beliefs (that’s only a starting point); make sure you have a Christian worldview. People with Christian beliefs are easily duped; people with a Christian worldview will stand strong.
  5. Strive for personal and corporate purity. Be careful about what you allow in your life, and what you allow in areas where you have some measure of leadership—home, workplace, local church. “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6:12).
  6. Remember Ephesians 4:3: “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Satan wins many victories over cranky Christians who are willing to split hairs and find heretics under every pew. Scripture makes it very clear that we are to contend for the faith (Jude 3), but some become very contentious and seem to think God endorses their mindless dogmatism. When Christians divide over minute issues of personal preference, the demons move in. We must make a distinction between personal opinions  and biblically-grounded truths that constitute the core doctrines of the Christian faith. If you have ever been in a church business meeting were people are fussing with one another, the Holy Spirit is grieved. And you know it.
  7. Strive to bring peace and satisfaction to your home and family life (this, for some, may be the hardest part of spiritual warfare). “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). If you do these simple things you will be in the choir of those who sing “the overcomers’ victory song.”