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Extension G: On predicted fears and distress

Fear... Luke 21:26 ... distress, waves roaring and powers of heaven shaken.
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; man's hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
The result: "Then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."

The exhortation: "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." ( Luke 21:28. Italics added.) Fear, then, distress. Overall, it is good to notice in this predictive area the current sociological, psychological and political realities of the national fears.

"Distress of nations" is so clinically accurate a designation that it burrows deep into the twisted torment of the complex situation, built so well, as it is, on the shaking grounds of unbelief. ( As with earthquakes in California, you can't insure against it.) To this, however, let us look in some detail: "the sea and waves roaring". In this oceanic counterpart to psychic disturbances in the race of man, there is a fascinating trio of development, that bears on the fulfilment.

These relate to: sea level, heat energy and continental shelf exploitation. Let us see.

The Adelaide Advertiser, Nov. 2, 1988 brings record of a possible temperature elevation affecting both Australia and the world, in weather: the long publicised greenhouse effect of increasing CO2 and correlative pollutant considerations. The program,'Beyond 2000' in the same year dramatised possible developments to a much more extended degree, in a science setting. Possible effects include a melting of ice caps, raising of sea level through this and expansion following greater temperatures, greater energy in oceanic wind and wave systems, possible increase of the already considerable cyclone, typhoon winds and devastation and displacement of weather patterns, with radical possible climatic, and national, alterations of productivity.

In addition, there has been publicised the possibility of exploding an atomic bomb on a continental shelf (the rather shallow 'fringe' before the eventual deeper water) near a major continent, so that the effects might be expanded in the relatively small mass of water, inducing tidal waves to harass, harm or even ruin vulnerable (and numerous) coastal cities, such as abound in the U.S.. Thus the technical, military and oceanic elements are in juxtaposition for this prediction to have far wider fulfilment, even than what is already visible. It has been noted elsewhere, but has this precise relevance to the current topic being pursued.

1990 showed itself a year of raging seas in England and in Europe, where a vehemence and scale of oceanic disturbance arrested the world. Our various inputs into Nature are having, by their sheer scale and relative abandon, a cyclotron style potential for large scale energic impact; and water is a mobile medium! 1991 is worse, with the 6 figure Bangladesh human catastrophe, with its 'fearful sights', and missionaries describing the wave and typhoon assault on the low-lying areas as beyond all they have known.

The sea and waves, the failing for fear, the powers of heaven shaken, as by the atomic bomb, once thought possibly capable of shearing off our atmosphere, and certainly releasing structurally bound power in matter into blasts of freed energy, that is injected into the system: these things come upon the world in precisely the series of matching events that Christ predicted. It is like a safe combination, for unlocking; so these mutually supportive elements of the prophecy for what precedes the return, visibly, of Jesus Christ, whatever their particular causation, have this warning consequence from the One who made the system, the elements and the people within it, and so predicted. It is He "who forms the mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what His thought is" (Amos 4:13). In this chapter of Amos, God declares both the sin and the sentence for the straying people, chronically conditioning themselves to restless rebellion; and in Amos 7, we see the tender pleas of the prophet met by the figure of a plumb-line: in the end, the wall is not to be straightened and is going to fall. The end of the Age is a time of falling, as foretold by the God who 'declares to man what His thought is', and has long done so. (Cf. Isaiah 44:21-28, where the provisions of a particular mercy are clearly added.)

"Perplexity" (Luke 21:25) is predicted in this combined syndrome of a sin-soaked civilisation reaching towards its... destiny... Perplexity well describes the attitude of mind often expressed, as different means are explored, and their penalties, for dealing with this and that missile; or with germ warfare, or nerve gas; or with radiation difficulty contingent on such and such a defence, or offence; and all this is variously pondered; and as cost problems are digested; and the defence problems in turn associated with the economic problems are surveyed... and so on, and on.

Here to be seen are fears and concern for safety, means and events, the necessities and preferabilities; and the predicted perplexity of the powers that be. Why ? "For the powers of the heavens will be shaken" - this is what we are predictively told, some 2000 years ago, in prophetic explanation of the coming syndrome, one the twentieth century has made its own. Indeed the earlier intimations of this sort of event, reach back hundreds of years earlier yet, to the Psalms:

Of old You have laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure, yes all of them will grow old like a garment: like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. but You are the same, and Your years will have no end.
That is Psalm 102: 25-26 - it is this verse which is quoted in chapter 1 of Hebrews which, in 12:26-27 exhorts:
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks ... whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Isaiah spoke similarly in 51:6 -
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not be abolished.
In Isaiah 24 we see the theme of judgment and termination addressed on a world-wide scale:
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. therefore the curse has devoured the earth ... it will come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth, the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit ... then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed ...
This shaking of the powers of the heavens is what is predictively foretold, from some 2700 years ago; and here from Christ, is prophetic explanation and announcement of the coming syndrome, one the twentieth century has made its own: fear, distress, perplexity. And what is this perplexity ?

This sad and gross, this chronic and inexpungeable perplexity, despite all the so modern access of powers and knowledge ( which Daniel also foretold, 12:4 ): it reflects the inherent inability of human wrong to seduce divine right. It attests the resources of man the rejecter of the Redeemer, and the illusory character of any other Rock (1 Corinthians 3:11,10:4). It reminds us of the decisive dictum in Amos (4:12) ''Prepare to meet your God!'' (cf. Rev. 11:15-18, 19:12-16, 16:16)

Endnotes for Chapter 8

*1 'Wars' Within and Without... Let us collate some elements.

The Australian, February 16,1985 provides a Reuter article on some elements of more recent wars. It is relevant to ponder it.

''Armed conflicts have taken up to 21 m lives since World War II and in 1983 about 4 m troops were fighting in 75 countries, says a UN study released today.''

21 millions lives during a 40 year recess from declared World War ...! The testimony is not ambiguous. Wars and rumours of wars flourish like a virus at work.

Total military expenditure for 1984 was estimated at more than $800,000,000,000 (inflation now means this would be more, in current dollars, by a considerable margin, for the cost at that time). That was calculated for that time to represent over $130 for every man, woman and child on earth - something more than the average per capita income of 'many developing countries, which in turn spent almost three times as much on their military as they did on health services'. Destruction of life, then, can find more funding than its preservation ... whatever the reason.

In addition to this singular lack of serenity upon the earth in this generation, fitting into the pattern of the total signal situation as foretold by Jesus, there is conspicuous a series of further disintegrative and disastrous conflict situations - in mini-wars which are yet more than this, to the sufferers from them. Thus the report proceeds to state:

Conflicts displaced people from their homes and countries by the millions, and poor countries were overwhelmed by the influx of refugees.

We read further:

The common legacy has been bitterly divided societies, discredited authority, debased institutions, brutalised populations (*21), lawlessness and a surfeit of arms in the hands of ex-combatants at odds with society.

Jesus predicted just such a situation as an index of His near return to this same earth, which having crucified Him, continues to seek to explore the possibilities on each other!

And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 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 24:12-14 ).

Also being fulfilled as a prediction, and of parallel testimony, is II Timothy 3:1-5:

But this know, that in the lat days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Military war, social war and war inside many bodies called churches (see *13, *14 and *16 infra for exposition and detail on fulfilment on this): it is all here, manifold, multiform, raging. Wars and rumours of wars are becoming almost deadly in decibels, threatening life, a focal feature of our civilisation.

Elements of Paul's testimony are also readily seen fulfilled. The testimony of the eyes, laments of teachers, of parents, stress of the police as crime rates and criminal attitudes escalate - medical multiplication of stress related police retirement has become a major financial burden and topic of tension - together with exposures of the Press, and frustrations of many employers marvelling at the content (or inadequacy of it) of teaching, and the attitudes to zeal, industry and order: all attest the fulfilments.

Not man becoming increasingly good - as though, contrary to all Nature there were to be automatic improvement, like the 'magic' painting pages which turn to colour on application of water, such is their manufacture and design... it is not this that we find. Despite the confident predictions made before man's conduct in the wars of this century made such suggestions strange dogma indeed, nothing has happened except the exact opposite. Behaviour divorced from Christ has become as ragged as other worn out clothes, and unserviced spirits in mankind, grew as gangrenous as neglected wounds. So far from the 'automatic' generation of wonderful things, we have seen the pathological generation of degenerate lives; and with this, war, turmoil, struggle, strife, with disorder and degradation. All that has risen has been the cost of such folly.

We find, as our Age progresses, man marvellously drawn to evil, to defile himself, his life and his conscience, to abort good instincts, aims and self-control, exactly as predicted; to derange his systems with food, drugs, absurd forms of sex and any other irrationality that occurs to the 'liberated' mind. Such is the trend which, so far from arrested, is declaring itself more and more blatantly, as though having a compulsive neurosis on the fulfilment of Matthew 24:11-12 and 11 Timothy 3 and 4.

Not only so. The very technological changes and advances have produced not only the column of vapour predicted by Joel, and confirmed in the deployments of divine power through Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:19): as a major mark of the advancing phases of the age which proceeds till Christ returns - the A-bomb and the H-bomb obliging the predictive word with hats off, as it were, powerless to proceed except in accord with the word of God. In fact, there is more.

The very disease syndrome covered in Zechariah 14 and, in part, in Revelation, has also made itself manifest. Strength and sickness, brilliance and malady alike are there; and they are here ... with us distinctively, translated accurately into history, now.

This rather startling item of detail, the soaring atomic cloud, is as secure a reference-point to our Age as is the vapour composition: the form and the substance 'clap hands together' in fulfilment. But what of the disease ?

It too is astonishing. The extended itemisation of Revelation 16:10, found in Zechariah 14:12, was taken as a syndrome to a medical doctor, an atheist or agnostic. What did he make of this physical condition predicted for the fearful turmoil, as the phase of this Age came near to its end ? ( In Prophecy Phase II, Ch.9 infra, we look in more detail at the location, but this chapter of Zechariah being also that in which Christ re-appears, in a sequence, it is clear it is near the end.)

He confirmed that it fitted well, the description in Zechariah 14, with the atomic radiation syndrome: in the eye, tongue and body wastage pathology noted by the prophet. The leukemia wasting away, and the ulcerated tongue and the serious eye conditions related aptly, he indicated.

We have noted the entire accuracy of Peter and Joel's reference to the vapour cloud famous for our atomic explosions, but what does it say of this prominent disease for the same period ? It is this which is written:

''Their flesh shall consume away while they stand on their feet. And their eyes shall consume away in their sockets. And their tongue shall consume away in their mouth'' (Zechariah 14:12).

This, says Zechariah (14:12), is the plague. Specially prepared for the ultimate assault on Jerusalem, in this Age, it has the appearance of this Age's weapons most markedly upon it.

It is in the theme of the returned Jews fighting off a multinational assault on Jerusalem that this prediction occurs, and of the Jews in turn, repenting of their 'piercing' of the Lord whom they had rejected. That is the overall context in Zechariah 11-14, and to this we will in some detail return in Chapter 9, infra. Zechariah 14 goes on to show that this time is leading up to the return of the Lord, the Messiah crucified and now coming in power and judgment (Zechariah 14:3-4).

Thus, together with the column of vapour signal reflected from Joel, by Peter in Acts so dramatically as he characterised the Age and its dénouement, this makes fascinating newscast. Not enough that it was stated nearly 2000 years ago; more yet, Joel gave it out for the ravishing of the earth as it would come to approach its eventual judgment, some 800 years even before that. There is a certain composure about the word of God; it is what you might expect of a sovereign of this magnitude, Lord of Lords and the God of creation. Not merely the facts, the details, the trends are right: the style and manner has an inimitable assurance which lacks bluster and simply reigns supreme.

*2 The occasion was that of Australian aid to Ethiopia.

*3 See this Chapter, Extension on primary, secondary and tertiary pollution on earth, infra. This is Extension A, pp. 691-697 infra.

*4 See also Chapter 9, Section 6, Extension 1, pp. 931-943 infra on systematic aspects of this topic. Also see Extension F: On the work of God's Word on the Gentiles in the past, with Special Reference to Christ's General Testimony on the Undeterrable Force of God's Word... (Matthew 5:17-19) - pp. 712-714 infra.

*5 AFP-PA Reuter was reported in The Advertiser, Adelaide, April 14, 1990 as follows: The sun is shrinking, Chinese scientists say. In the 273 years from 1715 to 1987 its radius shrank 410 km, according to Wan Lai, a research fellow at the Shanghai observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. (This further source is of interest.)

*6 Extension D: On the delusive dignity of the war syndrome: Daniel's 'god of fortresses' - the 'personification of war', as Professor E.J. Young puts it. See pp. 707-709 infra.

*7 Extension E: On the eighth day - the second darkness. See pp. 709-712.

*8 Matthew 7:13-14 speaks of the way to life - and the way is narrow. It is Jesus Christ the only Saviour, both come and crucified, and by grace, the very ground of pardon (John 14:6, 6:54, 63, 5:24, 10:9, Romans 3:2-28, 4:2, 5:1, 9-11, 10:9, 1 John 2:26-27, Galatians 3:3-13). Nor does it widen, as if truth or righteousness took wings because God is good!

*9 Extension G: On predicted fears and distress fear... Luke 21:26 ... distress,waves roaring and powers of heaven shaken. See pp. 714-717 infra.

*10 Extension B: On the prediction of Jesus Christ: Unless those days were shortened, no flesh could be spared (Matthew 24:22). See pp. 697-699 supra.


The antichrist rule is to be sited or based in Europe. (See Daniel 7; and infra pp. 902-931, specialising on this topic.) Relative to this particular prediction of site (cf. Extension A, pp. 691 ff.), made for the world ruling antichrist figure, first let us note this. Disparity, like charity, can begin at home: but as to that 'home', there is an interesting recent review of the growing power and portentous seeming hegemony of Europe. It is in that nest the paramount viper is to be hatched. What however is to be seen happening to the nest itself ?

World War 11 past, Europe is growing from a pitiable condition to a sense almost of grandeur which, if not the 'glory' that de Gaulle saw for France, yet arises in the vast perspectives of its increasing mobilisation, towards an expected and a desired outcome. Spiralling this way and that, like a swallow, it moves as if on a migration 'beam', set deep in the bird's heart!

While Chapter 9 infra will deal with greater elements, we touch in what follows mainly on the economic prospect for this prophetically cardinal area: Europe.

The economic aspect of this development has much of interest, and current indications, despite a phase of political tremors, fears and adjustment, are that a fortress Europe may not merely be an economic fortress, but a massive trading ensemble of arresting force.

Thus in The Australian, October 6, 1992, we note "Europe's Sun Set to Rise on World Again", the title of an article, by Dr Ian Lowe of the Griffith University. In this, he features amongst other items, the argument of Professor Lester Thurow that: Europe seems likely to be the next "success story" of the century. He stresses that it is larger as an internal market, than is the U.S. or Japan, with economies of scale thus readily available without the need to 'go abroad'. This of course may be both cheaper and less subject to costly change. The second argument noted is this: that Europeean decison-makers have a flexible or inventive attitude to the future, not at all being inclined unimaginatively to assume a status quo situation, and hence are likely to be more adaptive and capable in catching what comes. Perhaps one might refer to this as conceptually strategic, commercial cum technical growth.

He urges the complementarity of Europe's skills, different regions contributing specialised parts of the whole, and illustrates with the Airbus consortium. Again, as example of fluidity and inventiveness of attitude, Dr Lowe cites the European commitment to less polluting, high speed trains.

Adjoining this article, is another from The Times. In this, the computing industry is given particular attention, for Europe; and there appears the concept that "the rules of trade will be written by the largest market and this will not be the US but Europe" (from the IDC Vice-President, Mr David Moschella). Why Europe ? Not merely is it the largest of those noted, as an internal market for itself, but Europe, it is asserted, spends less on computers currently, as a proportion of gross domestic product, than is the case for the U.S.. The concept is that this leaves room not merely for a larger market to saturate, but this for one currently less saturated. Put the two together and there is double scope for growth with the practice of inventiveness, and the rewards of scope and scale.

There is of course advantage for Europe in its post-war renovations... in being rebuilt with no small help from the U.S., however ironic some may find this. This is one ground both for relative newness of much structure and equipment, following its wartime demolition... and for a sense of change; and indeed, this is not necessarily a very distant prospect, with East Germany being rebuilt, partly from the vast stores of wealth accumulated in West Germany during its post-war renaissance. Costly it may be; but work called for can breed the atmosphere of adventure and change, the stimulus of challenge, the enticement of thrust - given the conditions for expansion.

With the U.S. heavily in debt (as Perot reminded it), where trillions is the name of the sum, lurching from its post as the world's greatest creditor to that of its greatest debtor in the decade of the 1980's: Europe is differently placed. Allied to hinterlands and degrees of mutuality, with very many at its doors, with Germany in particular far from mortgaged, this combination of tradition and change, size and scope, excitement in new combinations and awareness from old experiments, Europe now at last is getting beyond the stage of the remarkable, as a post-war reconstruction: it begins to appear in potential as a body of quite enormous economic thrust. If now, it is still quivering into formation, in this it is rather like a dragon-fly, looking complex, awkward and weak, while its wings are new and soft, but soon hardened to be forcibly aloft and vitally active. The means of dominance are beginning to loom. Moreover, put differently, all these things present are in a cauldron peppered with the stimulus of the past, prepared with a voracious appetite for things yet to come. The E.U.'s world trade share? 38% in 1990, v. U.S.A. 11% (The Australian 24/2/95).

Europe is looking for its future, and for this, it is beginning to build; and that ? It is not only in Brussels. The "European Union" is Europe's U.S.A. ... 'U.S.S.R.'.

While the future will prove illusory in the end, being idealistically obscure and religiously confused in much, yet all things move towards the predicted driving force in Europe, at it once again; and this time in a vast combination as predicted! Confusion and delusion have not, in a dozen decades in Europe, managed to dispel the acrid dynamic before its fumes have again and again startled the whole world; nor is it predicted that they will do so this time. (Cf. pp. 886-889, 889-901, 905-906, 911-912, 922 ff., 930, 955 ff. infra.) The "partly strong and partly broken" 4th. kingdom (empire) of Daniel, which has exhibited and thus verified this characteristic to this day, has yet to have its final fling - and in what company!

*11Extension: On preludes to the performance of the prince of darkness
(John 14:29-31, Matthew 24:15).

Revelation 13 gives detail. In an intense cyclotron of blasphemy, the international political scene will come to exhibit a beast which, in the Daniel base for the term (Daniel 7), will involve political, social economic and religious tyranny, with that degree of aloofness from or ferocity, towards human realities and need, which makes the term 'beast', an apt one.

It is the 'dragon', symbolic norm for the devil - that arch-antagonist of all good, elsewhere called the "The accuser of the brethren," ''the adversary'' - who ''gave authority to the beast" (Revelation 13:4); and it is in this power setting that ''all the world wondered after the beast'' and gave worship to the devil who so exalted the beast. Impressed to stricken awe at such dealings, the world in its 'wisdom' is to experience worshipful wonder at the beast, deeming it incomparable, superlative: "Who is like the beast ?..." they ask, adding perhaps prudently, as it might seem to them, "and who is able to make war with him ?" (v.4).

Blasphemy in this anti-spiritual feast is to be soup and hors d'oeuvres, main course and all the sweets: to the beast was accorded a "mouth speaking great things and blasphemies", and accordingly he used it "for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, even those who dwell in the heaven" (v.6) - surely a very thorough-going job. There is a degree almost of conscientiousness in the beast's calamitous collusion with iniquity, blasphemy, artificial authority to the point of attacking anything which seems worth-while, whether on earth, the church, or in heaven, including its master and president, God Himself.

Impressed by such vocal audacity and vagrant arrogance, "All who dwell on the earth will worship him..." All ? It proceeds to qualify this: "All whose name is not written in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain from the foundation of the world" (v.8). To this book, the beast achieves no access. No computer inclusion is possible; he cannot alter this text any more than he can subvert the Bible. Indeed ( Daniel 7:25 ), he only "thinks" to change set times and law. He goes his way; the saints go theirs; and the Bible goes its way, and what it says comes, just as this very state of affairs comes ... because it has been said: by God. It does not come ... without justice; it does not arrive devoid of warning; but when it does come, as it is manifestly coming, it will not come without judgment (*21).

It is in 13:11, that we see a focus on something that looks astonishingly like the devil's Christ, his ersatz, his compilation, computation, construction, his 'special' creation, fashion model, special envoy and star. We read of 'another beast' that comes out of the earth. Certainly, its point of origin is not, in this state, heaven! The earth with its fulness of philosophy, pomp, pride, hatred and hollow holiness is the base for this receptacle of evil, spiritually filled with iniquity: like a 'plane taking off with its wing-tanks filled with appropriate fuel. And this? the fuel is indeed high octane, spiritually speaking, the very height of intoxicating power.

This beast has "two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon". Looking like a religious original, but in fact a plausible fake, this beast acts on the blasted heath of human ignorance to deceive, if it were possible ( it isn't - Matthew 24:24 ). Ignorance ? The temper of disbelief on earth will by then make such deception quite practicable in the muddled minds of misled vagrants: those many, long strangers to the knowledge of God, with eyes woefully and wilfully starved of sights of His power, and of the privilege of perceiving His wonder and grace.

The speech "like a dragon" ( Revelation 13:11 ), which is a special feature of this beast, is not that to which the elect are accustomed ( John 10:27-8 ), and not that which they 'know'. It is acutely important to note that the speech is not a good imitation; its tenor, its spiritual dynamic and perspective ... its accent is quite different. We will solve and settle things like this! ... comes the confident claim. It has the power of pursed lips and personal assurance, rather than that of purity and poverty of spirit; but for many, this difference will have been obliterated by years of cultural input, and of failure to respond, except with the sleep of death.

The description of verse 11 makes it clear that by now the religious element is quite explicit. It is payment time. What was seen, perhaps, as an unimportant implication is by now express and explicit. The cost of selling the soul may not have been spelled out in the large print; but by now the assumption is plain, though perhaps not put in just that language.

Those who have compromised as a way of life, and disbelieved the modern Noahs (the preachers of righteousness) in their call for separation from Rome, from the World Council of Churches and indeed from all unrighteousness, who do not find it ... convenient, may - unless mercy interfere in timely fashion - find themselves amongst the sleeping 'virgins' (Matthew 25:5 ff.) of whom Christ spoke. Ostensibly waiting for Him ( the bridegroom in the parable ), they have so compromised real concern for Christ, that in effect they are asleep. For many, 'Christianity' may have become another name for 'the love of me, my life and my thoughts, with good professional, pastoral care, to see that I get it.' In fact, for many such, psychology may have moved from being prominent, to dominant, and lord of all. In that capacity, however, this unhappy presumption and self-affirmation will not serve.

From this basis of devilish, dynamised and empowered unbelief - "he does great wonders" (Revelation 13:13), he directs worship to the first beast. In other words, the second beast is an accomplice of, a propagandist for and an executive agent on behalf of the first. He is a sort of Huxley to Darwin, to use a slight parallel.

Deception is his forte - "he deceives those who dwell on the earth by reason of the signs which he had power to do." These are done "in the sight of the beast" - evidently a willing participant in such a power-assist or booster. As they say (falsely) of all religion, but truly of this kind, 'It is all going to the same place.' The place in question here is that of everlasting destruction, appropriate for that which ultimately prefers, in the very presence of God, the absence of God. (Cf. John 15:21-23.)

II Thessalonians 2 makes it clear that the beast is indeed represented by a particular person who makes the mistake of "showing himself that he is God" - the ultimate insanity for that not so placed! The mystery of iniquity to which Chapter 2 refers is now summarised, summated, consummated indeed. But let us return to the items on the agenda as shown in Revelation 13.

Thus a world political and religious leader, enshrined in a suitable and satanic system, is to come and operate with great power, doing wonders; and he is to "give life to" the structure of worldly power and thought (v.15). More precisely, he is to "give life to the image of the bea

st". How could this be done ? What image could there be ? How is it to be conceived ? Apart from the general thrust of making visible that which is invisible, perceptible that which is invisibly personal, there is the question of operational medium.

For generations, this has been a mystery. Now computers in fifth generation complexity may begin to supply the answer.

Already some are referring to this oncoming fifth generation of computers as a 'superior form of life'. Now sensors and robotics proliferate. While the devil's form of life is not satisfactory to those who love God and value the very imaginative marvel of being able to create within themselves new parameters, by virtue of having been made in God's image in the first place as a race, yet to some such a soulless semblance and superficial substitute from a technological base could appeal. Back of it, would be the devil.

This stale substitute, of a 'life' which is circumscribed and conventionalised by a substitute, provided by a spirit who by comparison with God, is a mental midget, limited by the (admittedly exalted) character of his own creation by God: this may seem no loss to some. Chilled in heart and crushed in spirit, they still admire the modern marvels of artificial intelligence and its slave-like accommodation of human desire in many of its lusts. (The means is not in itself bad, but in this context it could well become an unfeeling substitute in slave format, for the personality which takes both source and meaning from God... a manipulated medium for the rebellious and essentially uncreative spirit of the devil.)

Let us look further at such a form of computing as this may involve ... realising that vast developments, not different in principle, but in impressiveness may be expected. First programmed to perform technical tasks, these computers have in subsequent 'generations' of the electronic marvel, gone, at least in appearance, rather further. Thus a sick personality has been programmed sufficiently well, it appears, to dupe or dull the discernment of a psychiatrist, in terms of distinguishing this from a living patient. Which is which ? the question comes, when contact with each is made by a base computer.

True, forecast or expectation for a sick personality may be easier to make - through mental loss of the flexibility of normalcy - than is the case for a sound person. Yet the effort was made with a human subject with results of no small interest. With vast amounts of ever-increasing knowledge available (cf. Daniel 12:4), from various hook-ups, an impressive appearance could be given to anyone using such power for political, or even religious domination. In Belgium a computer of enormous ground space was actually called 'the beast' - it has related to facilities for systematising Common Market data. Alluding to these data, Dr Charles E. Taylor, who publishes Bible Prophecy News, adds that the largest computer complex in the world is in the Monet Building in Luxemburg. Like the other, this is centrally situated both for the Common Market and for any later developments in the European area, for the spirit of antichrist as predicted (cf. Chapter 9, Part B, The Coming Consummation, pp. 902-911 infra) by Daniel.

Thus with the data structured to represent and 'sell' worldly philosophies, and approaches by standardised and standardising means - especially 'useful' in putting computers to work in education - and facility for gaining data and making necessary computations with it, an electronic 'substitute' for life might indeed function. Equipped with the fast advancing voice synthesiser technology for input and output, it might evoke a sense of marvel: 'life' might ignorantly but delightedly be attributed to this marvel of the beast. To the sinister-satanic intelligence using it, it would constitute a most useful puppet, a tour de force and perhaps an instrument of terror. Nevertheless, what the beast wanted for life, and what might ironically and indeed satirically be called 'life', it could have.

To be sure, it would lack the essential power to cast one's spirit to the truly omniscient God, and to create beyond all program. Indeed, understanding and imagination are not mobile beyond what is earlier foreseen and thus contemplated in principle by its authors. This image is only 'still' life in the ultimate sense, but not life at all in the spiritual sense. However, the devil's works always lack the essence of truth and reality, from which he has long since parted company ( John 8:44 ). The issue is always the temporary plausibility of the pretence. It applies morally; and here it will apply technically.

For hectic and increasingly desperate man, as so well foreshadowed by Henri Spaak, this form of dependency, indeed of slavery of soul and subjection of spirit, might appear as the most worshipful life, fulfilling base and basic human drives without God, in a way to be seized and admired, in the presence of the technological and delusive image before which he is to prostrate himself in such measure.

At first indeed, it might seem, to the independence crazed mind of mesmerised man in his millions, to be exhilarating. This could be one reason for its acceptance. Such supine yielding to the marvels of order and power, in the mighty nation, have happened widely from the days of Rome onwards; and indeed before. Dictatorial powers of government, in delusive settings of seemingly more than human grandeur, are structured as if the acme of destiny. Yet they fall like an unbalanced rock on a mountain peak. They are without foundation.

To revert to more modern Europe, the Danielic setting for these final lurches of man: Hitler's own appearance of promise and deliverance, as it seemed to many at first, is only one more format. Similarly, the Communist worship of their dictatorial dervishes like Mao, which lead to talk of 'personality cults' whilst in principle being rather pseudo-religious cults of an entirely different order: these continue the modern tradition with a rush. Jung Chang recalls the line ''Chairman Mao is the red sur in our hearts'', noting that the ''personality cult had endowed Mao with demonic power'', ''he was the idol, the god, the inspiration'' ... inspiring famine, death, devastation and torture ... (op. cit. pp. 367-369, 444, 487; 346, 364, 426, 450; 293-312, 358, 377, 387, 440-441, 447-448, 659). Often dehumanised, deaf to God, man here looks to man for divinity, and constructs atheistic mirages whilst becoming understandably so delirious with spiritual thirst, that ever madder deeds seem to find expression.

A world at bay, with international problems seeming insurmountable, might look(*22) to just such a power, with even headier awe at its inverted holiness, one more time. New in form, such a delusion is old in fact. The appetite denied grows with the ever hoped for means to come...

The power, nation or group controlling this 'image' facility, dynamised by the evil personality noted above, in commerce with the devil himself, would have massive clout internationally, once attaining superiority in force. To attain this, there is one more ploy of this deceptive lamb-like beast with the dragon's voice: the image of the beast is manipulated to focus and inspire a reverence for that beast which is already established (Revelation 13:4-6,12-14), as they cry "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him ?" (13:4). Proud pyrotechnics are the spectaculars that enhance the illusion (13:13), with masterpieces of delusive ingenuity. Already we are seeing the strategist concerned at the dangerous capacities of the nation which first makes the next generation computer break-through.

*12 It is quite fair to say - 'the world rejected...' As to response: do the nations bow to Him ? is His will consulted ? are His precepts visibly a constraint in the affairs of the nations ? Hardly.

As to extent: The Gospel, it was predicted by Christ, would gain a world-wide proclamation. He stated:

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations: and then shall the end come... (Matthew 24:14 - cf. II Peter 3:8-10).

What in fact has happened ? Christian missionaries have gone out from the church in multitudes to Africa, Asia, China and Japan, Indo-China and Mongolia, to Europe and to England, Ireland and Scotland in earlier times, yes and back to Europe from there; to Australia and South America; to the islands of the sea, as forecast in Isaiah 42:10,4, 24:13-16. Meanwhile the Bible has been translated into 310 languages, the New Testament into 695 tongues and parts of scripture have been rendered in addition into 902 languages with a total performance touching 1907 languages. (These data are from World News, Feb. 1989, United Bible Societies, in the World Report - p. 223.)

Radio has taken over some of the distance and reached swarming multitudes of people by high power emitters - requiring only a minimum of translators, beaming into vast continents like Russia. Gospel recordings have played a part, as have language translators working in teams and with modern methods, to reduce translation time for the Bible and reach multitudes of languages. Tribes have been aerially located and missionaries moved in to death (as with the South American Auca Indian case) if necessary. Death, in kindness and concern in presenting the gospel, is by no means a mute testimony as Elizabeth Elliot's follow-on from her martyred husband shows, in tribal developments.

Satellites now loom for use in distant parts like Northern Australia, in actuality or prospect, for TV, which on all sides moves into homes where messengers are few. Electronic feet bear codes, symbols to which God made our cells responsive in His marvellous construction in the beginning - biological cells being always sophisticated in fact. Thus electronics moves to expand the work of aeroplane and radio, still powerful though surpassed, whilst literature crusades abound.

Our current point is that this prophecy of Jesus Christ is fulfilled in ways so diverse, divergent and dynamic that it is an audio-visual of Biblical authenticity to see it duly happen, like children sent out of Class to do a task: And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14.)

With it, there is the COMMAND that is correlative to the prediction, fulfilled with the penetrating power implied by the personal presence guaranteed by God, in the name of Christ:

Go therefore and makes disciples of all the nations, baptising them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you even to the end of the Age (Matthew 28:19-20).

Back of the command is the pronouncement of power (effective in propulsion, compulsion): - ''All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.''

The combination is not accidental:

Go therefore ...

This is an implication which has logic, law and licence combined; and the task, like the prophecies concerning the approach to the end, is coming near to an end.

*13 See Extension C: On the predicted falling away (cf.Extension B), esp. on morals.

*14 C.S. Lewis, famed Christian Professor at Cambridge University who played a very important role in England in his field, during and after World War II, one of the greatest writers of this century indeed, was in the Church of England and said:

Once the layman (i.e. the non-clergyman) was anxious to hide the fact he believed so much less than the Vicar: he now tends to hide the fact he believes so much more. Missionary to the priests of one's own church is an embarrassing role; though I have a horrid feeling that if such missions work is not soon undertaken the future history of the Church of England is likely to be short.

This statement, in Christian Reflections p. 166, epitomises a trend. In its setting, it is one more vigorous verification of the word of God (cf. pp. 699 ff. infra).

*15 Hundreds of prophecies in the old Testament bore on Christ and were duly, as always, fulfilled. We are not pursuing that particular topic here. It was this same Jesus Christ who said (John 14:6):

I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes to the Father except by Me.

It was Isaiah who wrote, concerning Christ being hustled with profound rejection to the Cross:

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.
When you make His soul an offering for sin, He shall SEE His seed,

{That is, when you receive Him (Isaiah 53:1, John 1:12), He will see you as a child of God - this is life's entry. It is thus He prolongs - you prolong His days here (''Christ in you'') through His sacrifice. By this sacrifice (Colossians 1:21-22), He shortened His earthly days (Psalm 102:23-102:10-13 is cited in Hebrews 1:10-12).}

He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper
in His hand... By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
{that is, acquit them by bearing their sins }
for He shall bear their iniquities ... Isaiah 53:10-11.

In all solemnity, one must ask : Are you one of that "many" ? Have you made His soul, His life an offering for your sin, accepting the sacrifice rendered ?

He saw life not when but because He saw death; and that life, is it yours ?

*16 See p. 308; Chapter 4, pp. 374-386; and Chapter 2, pp. 103 ff., 109 ff. supra.

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