Ever since the fall of Lucifer, he has really only had one primary objective, which was for others to follow him. He craves worship, and desires followers to fill his ranks. However, in order to do this, one needs a message, and a means to deliver said message. To the third of the angels who followed him, Lucifer’s message was that they could overthrow God. To mankind, his message was that we could become like God. His message was a lie, built on a foundation of lies, delivered by the father of lies.
It is to this point, that this article is directed. The Bible talks about the world progressively getting worse and worse, until the point in which God removes His own before allowing the worst period of judgment to ever happen. I have listened to many within the Pre-Tribulation circles over the years who earnestly believe that we, the Church here in the west, are destined for persecution ahead of the Rapture. I am not convinced of that. They point to the rise in secularism and paganism in the culture as evidence. They point to the seemingly dramatic increase in the antichrist zeitgeist. They point to the previous Obama administration, who did everything in its power to destroy normalcy and the family. They point to the rapid rise in the persecution of Christians around the world by Muslim fanaticism.
And to these points, I would agree in part.
However, there has always been persecution.
The world has always been pagan and secular.
There has been an antichrist spirit in the world since Christ’s ascension.
None of these is “new” things when looking at the big picture.
Remember, it was the Apostle John writing in the first century who said this;
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
1st John 5:19
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1st John 2:18
He wrote that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit more than twenty centuries ago, and history has borne out that truth. The persecution first came by the Jews, then the Romans, then the Byzantines, then the Muslims, then the Roman Catholic Church, and most recently, by atheistic/secular regimes. It is only now (the last forty years or so) that the persecution by the Muslims have come back full circle since they maintain such a large foothold over the Middle East and Africa.
In terms of paganism, the world has almost always been pagan. By pagan I mean, any religion or belief system that replaces the knowledge of the one, true God with someone (or something) else. With the exception of possibly the first generation families (Adam and Eve and Noah’s immediate family), the faith in the one true God seems always to be the exception to the rule, not the norm.
In regards to the antichrist spirit (which could have only come after the real Christ came), the corruption of the one, true faith has been present since the first century. It first came by the Judaizers, who insisted that Christian’s return to the obedience of the Law for salvation. Next, came the Gnostics, who sought to impart secret knowledge into the faith by inserting false gospels into the mix. Then, it came by corrupting the true faith by institutionalizing it. So instead of the church going out into the world, the world came into the church. This began to happen when Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. It was at this point, that paganism and Christendom (as a religion) began to merge.
This ecumenical fusion worsened until it birthed the Holy Roman Empire in the year 800AD. This monstrosity degenerated and culminated in the bloody and misguided Crusades, which helped create the blasphemous Knights Templars as well as the Rosicrucians, the Jesuits, as well as the Inquisitions. However, this monopoly over Christendom began to dissipate in part with the Reformation of the 15th-16th-centuries. Even still, the Reformation was only a brief spiritual respite. Soon after, the Reformers began to quench the Spirit again by means of adding dogma, works, and morality to the one, true faith. However, the real victory through all of this was that the stranglehold the Roman Catholic Church held over Christendom, was finally shattered. The development of the printing press by Gutenberg in the 15th-century, as well as the Reformation of the 16th, finally allowed the Gospel to be mass-produced in different languages.
Interestingly, the First and Second Great Awakening of the 18th-century, resulted in the Dispensational Movement of the 19th. It was in this same century, (the 1800s) that also saw the greatest rise of pseudo-Christian religious movements in more than a millennium. It seems that every time God began to move amongst the people, Satan was right there trying to lead as many astray as possible. If the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches (Rev. 2-3) speak to the progression of the church eras since the First Century, then the 1700-1900s would largely speak to the Philadelphian Church era.
We then come to the 20th-century, which saw the greatest wars the world had ever seen. It also saw the greatest technological advances in human history. For roughly six thousand years, mankind was limited to the speed of horse. With the previous century’s development and harnessing of steam and coal-powered engines, technologies were simply the next logical step.
Possibly the greatest technological feat humanity has ever overcome, was that of information processing and delivery. It could be argued then, that the Internet has done more to advance man’s knowledge than any other invention. It is simply the single greatest platform for information sharing the world has ever seen to date.
The Internet is a place where with the touch of a button, you can learn the history of the world. In fact, you could learn about any subject. You can buy and sell anything you desire. You could live-stream events from around the world, and even events that are off the world. Any genre of movie, book, or music is at your disposal. News and opinions flood the marketplace of ideas, with every possible position and philosophy at your fingertips. Any kind of research and data can be created or taught, and every conceivable educational vocation is there for the choosing. Most importantly though, is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is reaching all around the globe in ways that even missionaries could not do.
However, having all the information in the world at your fingertips also comes with some buyers’ beware warnings, primarily, in dealing with the deluge of false information (fake news). And much like everything else in the world today, there is a dark, underbelly to the Internet. Some places online are so dark and malevolent, that even a single exposure could scar the conscience for life. Some things cannot be unseen, or unheard. If the eyes are the gateway to the mind, and the mind is the gateway to the spiritual domain, then Satan is most interested in destroying or corrupting that connection any way he can.
While Satan certainly delights in and has his claws into these darkened corners of the net, that is not where he thrives. Satan thrives in the arena of half-truths and distractions. He thrives in the arena where something is almost right, but amiss somehow or someway. He loves to blend in just enough truth to make something seem correct, but not enough to save the soul. Satan also thrives in distractions and delays. When Scripture says, today is the day of salvation, Satan says, tomorrow. Moreover, until Satan can completely control the flow of information on the Internet (as of today, he does not), Satan will continue to obfuscate the truth of the Gospel and the immediacy for the need of eternal salvation.
For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so, will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:24-30
So when looking at the time surrounding the Lord’s return, the overarching question then becomes one of liberty and access.
Will the Rapture occur at a time when the Internet is heavily censored or even offline, or will things be much as they are today?
We know that after the Rapture occurs, the world will enter into its final human phase and that a singular world government known as the Beast will arise. According to Scripture (Rev. 13), it will control everything, including access to information. However, we are talking about the months and years leading up to the Rapture event, as well as the gap in time between the Rapture and the official start of the 70th Week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27).
We here at the end of 2018, assume (rightly or wrongly) that when the Rapture takes place, much of what has been written and taught about concerning Christ’s return will still be accessible in the time leading up to and thru the Rapture. There are two juxtaposed positions on this that seem on the surface, contradictory. The first is that Satan wants to control the flow of information so he can shut down the truth of the Gospel, and prevent it from going anywhere. The second point is that in order to do so, he would have to upend our current system, which will give a wake-up call to the masses possibly ruining his plans. Since no one knows when exactly the Rapture will occur, it makes strategic sense that Satan will want to control as much as he can beforehand, without upsetting the applecart and tipping his hand to the world at large before the Rapture.
He does not want people around the world to access the live stream news feeds or Internet search engines to discuss and examine what just happened in the aftermath of the Rapture. He is doing that subtly now with a seemingly demonic coup d’étatover much of the tech industry. If you simply do a search on how Google is helping create censored search engines for China or blocking conservative or Christian voices on Twitter and Facebook, you can see this already taking place. Not just that, but with much of the tech world’s obsession with creating Artificial Intelligence and advanced, autonomous robotics, it seems we are living in a science fiction novel.
Tactically speaking, if Satan had his way, he would completely shut it down, or at least completely control it so that when the Rapture happened, he could immediately cause an information blackout. Then, he could reshape the message coming out to say whatever he wants it to say.
An even more fundamental question is could the Internet be completely shut down in our day?
Granted, there are places in the world today such as Iran, North Korea, and China, where the Internet is already greatly restricted. Nevertheless, information still manages to find its way into these places, much in the same way the black market thrived under a Nazi-controlled Europe at the height of World War II. What would be the justification for doing so? It would have to be something that affected every nation equally, and keeping the Internet online, would result in grave danger for the planet. Given how much of the world’s economies, industries, militaries, governments, etc., are dependent upon an operational Internet to function on a daily basis, the likelihood of that happening before the Rapture seems highly improbable.
However, improbable does not mean impossible.
What if only the Christian websites were taken offline or banned? This seems more likely than shutting down the whole Internet; but still, given that our world today still has 193 independent nations all with their own agendas and do not answer to a single authority, this is largely improbable. The greatest of these 193 nations, the United States, remains the biggest proponent of free speech and freedom of religion in the world.
Yet, on October 1st, 2016, the US government under President Obama, handed over the last vestige of Internet control to an international, non-profit, stakeholder organization named the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. While at present, this gesture seems largely benign given the decentralized nature of the Internet, it may turn out to be more significant than we could have ever realized. We know that leftists and globalists were all supportive of this move, so it must mean at some future point, that they will control some aspect of access to the Internet we cannot understand just yet.
According to Revelation 13, the final global government will seize control of all buying and selling around the world. Since buying and selling online (ex. the Stock Exchanges or Amazon), makes up a huge portion of all Internet usage, this means, that this final Beast system will absolutely have control of every aspect of the Internet.
Technologically speaking, how do we get from where we are today, to the one the Bible describes is coming?
In order for us to get to that future state of a singular, tyrannical, global government, there would first need to be some fundamental changes to our current order. Any disturbance to the Internet will cost the global economies trillions of dollars/yen/yuan/etc. for as long as it's offline, and there is zero appetites for that kind of financial bloodletting. There is also no suitable alternative in place just yet to replace our current form of the Internet. So how do we get there?
Given the technology today, it would be next to impossible for a global political organization such as the United Nations (UN) to try to control the Internet from the top down. Our current form of the Internet is far too decentralized.
A crisis of a global nature must present itself that would justify taking all the current systems offline simultaneously. This crisis could also be the cause of the Internet going offline.
A new Quantum-powered Internet system will have to be brought online. Quantum technologies are the only ones capable of utilizing the necessary processing power and speed capable of running everything simultaneously. This new system will be the ONLY way people can get online in the future. This does not imply, however, that everyone will have Quantum-powered laptops and smartphones, only that the hubs (processing centers) will use Quantum-based technologies.
Since the introduction of a new form of the Internet is probably necessary, it also seems likely that a new form of financial system also accompanies it. Entrance to this new system will demand absolute loyalty in the form of a permanent, identifiable, mark that grants the user access to goods, services, information, and entertainment. That mark could come in the form of a chip, or some other type of biotech that is put into/onto the hand or forehead of the wearer, which grants them access.
Understandably, I am inserting numerous ideas and concepts into a single brief that some will have a hard time following, but bear with me. I mentioned at the outset that I did not believe the Church (the true Church) will experience widespread persecution and suffering ahead of the 70th Week of Daniel. This is not me accepting the normalcy bias, or more simply put, whistling past the graveyard wishing we don’t go into the Tribulation. I believe Scripture is clear that the true, blood-bought, born-again Church, will not enter into any portion of that seven-year Tribulation. According to Jeremiah 30:7-11, the Tribulation has two specific purposes, neither of which fit the Church.
I think that we see several streams of thought pervading Scripture that show that prior to the Rapture, the final generation will be moving along without a care in the world. This will be exacerbated by the Luke-warm Laodicean church, which will become the predominant form of church in the last days. This church will help shepherd in the blasphemous Harlot, who will then ecumenically unite all religions together, before directing that worship toward the Antichrist.
However today, these are the people (this last generation of unbelievers) who are living with the normalcy bias. These are they, whom Peter addressed as scoffing ask where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. (2nd Peter 3:4)
However, for the sake of this discussion, and because the Internet controls (or is instrumental too) pretty much everything, one of the major bellwethers for the signs of our times has to be control over the Internet itself. For the Internet to be completely shut down or controlled in such a way that all Christian content was removed or blocked, would itself mean, that the end to our current world order. Either that means the United States ceases to be a nation, or it transforms itself away from being a Constitutional Republic. Neither of those seems likely ahead of the Rapture of the Church, so long as the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to go out into the world. And for all its detractors, the Internet has been one of the greatest mediums for sharing the Gospel the world has ever seen. We have to remember what Christ said in the Olivet Discourse.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14
Therefore, if the Rapture happened right now, there would still be many who come to faith because they will search out what the Rapture is and why it happened. This seems in keeping with the countless martyrs who are killed in the initial stages of the Antichrist’s reign during the opening of the Seal Judgments (Rev. 6:9-11, 7:9-17). So how do we reconcile that with the Apostle’s Paul statement in 2nd Thessalonians?
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess. 2:9-12
We see here that Paul is not saying that everyone who is left behind is given over to the strong delusion, but only those who did not believe the truth. In order for there to be existing truth (presumably about what just transpired i.e., the Rapture), then there has to still has to be an open Internet for these truths to be discussed and examined.
We live in a world today where the Internet is still largely open and free. The Internet still allows the Gospel to go forth into most of the world largely eclipsing what the great missionary movements did in the previous two centuries. Even a simple little blog site like this gets hits from around the world hundreds of times. How much more do bigger ministries? Truly, the impact and reach of the Gospel will probably not be known this side of the Rapture.
Moreover, Satan knows all this, which is why he is using its current form to keep the masses distracted and enslaved to technology. Nevertheless, he is also moving the pieces around so that when the Rapture does happen, he can shut it down shortly thereafter so he can bring this new Beast system online. This may be how he quickly assimilates so much power in such a short period of time. How much convincing would people need after the Rapture to take the Mark of the Beast, when the smartphones we have today are practically appendages to our hands already?
Technically speaking, we are already in the Beast system now. We can see the messaging foreshadowing this coming delusion all around us. Secular academia teaches us that there is no God and we are just a cosmic accident who spawned via the Big Bang and Darwinian evolution. Modern psychology teaches us that there are no absolute truths, and that sin and evil do not really exist. For them, morality is just a sliding scale that is different for everyone. In the television and movie industry, sin is glamorized, and so many “rapture-esque” events are being attributed to everything (aliens, supervillains, etc.) except Christ. We have transitioned our current political systems to govern by crisis (Hegelian Dialectic). The geopolitical instability brought about by 20th-century nationalism brought about two World Wars. This caused a strong reaction away from nationalism and towards global governance.
They need the world to be in a constant state of crisis (global warming anyone?) to drive the masses into handing over their liberty and freedoms to a single authority. They are using the advancements in technology to achieve a greater degree of control than anyone in history has ever had. While most of the leaders today do not understand that they are promoting these things as part of a greater satanic agenda, but they are doing it nonetheless. They think they are accumulating great wealth and power, and that they can hold on to these things.
However, we know how this all ends. We know that the schemes of man and Satan will not prevail. We know that no technologies in the world will be able to overcome Christ either at the Rapture or during the Second Coming at Armageddon. All will the secret organizations who are trying to control you and the world will be exposed and brought to nothing.
But as we watch these leaders and forces consolidate power, recognize that their intent is not just human gain, but is from the very pit of hell. They are pawns being used by Satan to continue a lie that stretches back to before creation. And in the process, God is allowing this threadbare tapestry to continue to unwind at increasingly greater speed and intensity. It will seem as if the very foundations of the world itself are coming undone, and Satan will continually find himself having to patch the holes in a leaky dike, instead of running roughshod wherever he wills.
Some call these coalescing signs, the convergence. However we want to describe it, it is putting increasing pressure on the world’s leaders to come up with solutions to seemingly impossible situations. In their desperation, they will turn to a man who seemingly has the answers. He will take the world by using the tools at his disposal, chiefly, the new Internet, Artificial Intelligence; global surveillance platforms built by the world’s increasingly intelligence focused governments, blockchain technology, autonomous weapon systems, a unified and blasphemous religious order, as well as many other systems. None of these systems was in place even a generation ago. Neither will they be there a generation from now (at the rate we are digressing).
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28