Television watchers have witnessed the greatest celebration on this planet, since perhaps the tower of Babel. With all the TV hoopla coverage of the "successful" rollover into the year 2000, it would be easy to forget one basic fact: Many if not most of the world's computers are still not fixed. And millions of faulty embedded chips are still in place. The recent year end bash was designed to perpetuate and unify the inhabitants of our "one world," and to glorify a system the Bible calls "mystery, Babylon the Great" (Rev. 17:5). In retrospect, what does the Millennial 2000 celebration portend for our future? What is the meaning of this celebration for remnant Christians? What should we expect now?
by Jerry Gentry
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jer. 5:31).
"And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day" (Amos 8:10).
Instead of a dramatic dagger blow to the heart, due to Y2k computer failure, the recent Millennium rollover at midnight found the earth and its inhabitants celebrating a great, world unifying event. No major glitches were reported and the weather was clear around the globe. Yet, the well documented and unfixed computer problem has not gone away.
The Bible speaks of "the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion" (Isa. 34:8). Is that year upon us now? Will the year 2000 usher in "the day of the LORD'S vengeance" spoken of by the ancient prophets of the Bible? The next twelve months will tell us much. For "surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). Further, the Biblical new year begins not in January but in March.
What do the ancient prophets reveal to us today, concerning the advent of the year 2000? The world's computer systems continue to operate through "work arounds" and computer patches. Human readiness and contingencies continue to alter and prop up what would otherwise be fully automated systems. What happens when humans do not identify and implement the proper contingency plan in time? Are we still in danger of potential major Y2k related breakdowns as the new year progresses?
The human factor in disaster prevention was dramatically illustrated recently, when a house near this writer's home burned to the ground. It was a home converted for use as a lettershop. A neighbor's brush pile burned out of control, and fire swept across a grassy yard two days earlier. A stump was then left smoldering for two days, which later ignited a second grass fire under windy conditions, which in turn ignited a pile of cardboard boxes piled next to this house with wooden siding, causing the house catch on fire. Firemen were ultimately able to save only the lot, after three fire trucks gave up their full supply of water into the inferno.
This destruction was preventable, if any number of people had taken proper action in time. First, the original burn pile raged out of control two days earlier, under windy conditions which alone signaled a dangerous mistake. A fire truck had been dispatched and the burn piles and grass fire were extinguished then. As owner of that burned out house, I was informed of the problem and the solution already implemented, and was told not to worry. I was relieved, and did not check the site myself. However, a dead tree stump at some distance across the fence line continued to smolder. The fire marshall volunteered to douse that smoldering stump, but a forestry employee said, no we will bull doze it. A bulldozer never arrived. Two days later, on the last day of the year 1999, that stump blazed up, and an employee then took a garden hose and doused it as best she could, then left work, thinking there was no danger.
Another employee witnessed smoke out her window every hour or so, during the middle of that day, she said, as she worried that the house might catch on fire. Since she had made the original 911 call two days earlier and reported the original grass fire, she made no further calls, even though she witnessed worrisome smoke from out her window some one hundred yards distant. Ultimately, she witnessed flames rising from the house, and only then did she call to report the house on fire.
You would think that someone -- the neighbors who originally started the burn piles who were also home that day; the employee who saw smoke from out her window; the other employee who doused the stump just before she left work two hours earlier; the fire marshall and the forestry person and others present two days earlier -- any of these people could have prevented the loss of that house and its contents. Even the firemen who arrived after the house was blazing approached the fire from the side of the house not yet ablaze. When the water was exhausted, the fire raged up again, before another fire truck and more water arrived. Simply moving the fire truck around to the back yard, which had plenty of room, and dousing the point of ignition first, might have saved much of the house. As it turned out, the house and contents were a total loss.
Such is one example of a string of human errors by people who normally would have done much better. Ultimately weather -- the windy conditions -- drove the grass fire in the direction of the house and ignited it.
This example relates to more than just the loss of this house and contents. This example relates to the fundamental Y2k problem worldwide. As long as people step in and successfully pull off "work arounds" in time, things can continue pretty much as usual, even when Y2k problems crop up. But we must remember that there are millions of "smoldering Y2k stumps," called non-compliant embedded chips, in computers all over the world, waiting to start little "electronic grass fires." Now if the "digital winds" are right and people don't come up with successful contingencies immediately, those little "digital fires" can ignite bigger "fires" -- economic, political, military, etc. -- which in turn can actually get into the heart of our world's institutional house and set it ablaze.
Think of the "digital rivers" of "money" and information that support international banking, shipping, the military, etc. What happens when no major Y2k disasters occur for many days, allowing various watchdog agencies and company personnel to go off full alert, thinking all is well. Then, when least expected, potential "smoldering Y2k stumps" flame out of control. Even if people are watching for such events generally, if the conditions are right, and if a string of human errors occur -- just like in the case of the recent house that burned to the ground -- this world's institutional systems could be set ablaze in chaotic destruction.
Note precisely what one angel of the book of Revelation tells us:
"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird" (Rev 18:2).
"Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her" (v. 8).
God judged and destroyed the earth once by water: the next and final judgment and destruction will be by fire.
We all recently witnessed a great celebration via satellite TV, staged at every rollover point around the globe. These celebrations included the mightiest fireworks demonstrations ever staged on planet earth, illuminating the night skies from the Eiffel Tower of Paris to the Washington Monument in our nations Capitol and to cities throughout the world. Yet these every events were warned of by the prophet Isaiah:
"Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow" (Isa. 50:11). The world has celebrated; next comes great tribulation and sorrow.
Was this Millennium 2000 rollover event a premonition of a much greater "fire" of judgment which our God will soon kindle against his rebellious people, even as He warns?
"But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched" (Jer. 17:27).
As the end of the old year played out, record stock market prices and volumes were posted almost daily. Old records were broken again and again, as Wall Street celebrated the biggest economic expansion of all its history, far greater than the boom before the bust of 1929. The party spirit continues now into the new year, as confidence continues to soar. But what will be the end thereof?
Surely it will be a bust. Every market that goes up, without a corresponding increase in real, productive output, always comes down. This market is based on speculation, not on production. The stock market today is like the swelling of a great wall, right before it breaks down. The prophet Isaiah records:
"Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall [Wall Street?], whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant" (Isa. 30:13).
Christian, the question being asked during the old year was, "Are you Y2k compliant?" Few computers were made more than "Y2k ready," which meant that computer operators and programmers would be standing by, "ready" to fix whatever went wrong. The rollover was a great success, by using the "fix as needed" approach. A new question must be asked now: Will all the "work arounds" and contingency plans prevent major disasters to come? Will monitoring systems give reliable forewarning of potential "smoldering Y2k stumps?" Will any of these "digital stumps" flame out of control, at some unsuspected moment, and cause a domino effect upon other computer systems? Remember, the experts told us that non-compliant computers can reinfect compliant ones. Can digital international payments be transferred glitch free? What would happen if $100 billion disappeared into cyberspace, in route from say Tokyo to Bonn or from Hong Kong to London? What would be the consequence of another nuclear Chernobyl?
CNN reported that the United States sent $1 million in fire trucks including 6500 fire extinguishers to Russia near the end of the old year, to support the Y2k related preparations for nuclear power plants there. Why? It is well known that Russian computers were not reprogrammed for the new millennium. What will happen? Will those fire trucks and fire extinguishers be needed during the coming months? Someone thought so, or such a shipment would not have been made.
While the world celebrated Millennium 2000 with the greatest fireworks displays in the history of the earth, another fire was being kindled. It is the fire of God's judgment. It is an unquenchable fire, the fire resulting from God's sure word spoken by the mouth of His prophets. It is a fire that will burn away the chaff from the wheat, the dross from the silver and gold, and the false from the true.
It is the fire of God's wrath to come at the end thereof, when the "The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth" (Jer. 25:30).
Christian, you witnessed the recent fireworks clebration. But are you ready for the fires of judgment from God in the end thereof? Is your heart right with God today? If not now, when?
"Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire" (Isa. 10:16).
"And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day" (v. 7).
The fires of judgment are coming on this earth suddenly. Are you ready? Will you be burned in those flames, along with the chaff, the dross and all things that offend? Or will you come through the fires, as a member of that remnant unscathed by the flames of God in the end thereof?
"Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire" (Isa. 30:27).
"Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her" (Rev 18:8).
"And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning" (v. 9).
"Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come" (v. 10).
"And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more" (v. 11).
"And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!" (v. 18).
"And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate" (v. 19).
"Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her" (v. 20).
"And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all" (v. 21).
Christian, will you celebrate with the world, or will you live by faith and make ready to meet your God in the end thereof, when the the word of God takes hold and devours the wicked with the tongue of His flames?
"An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come" (Ezek. 7:6).
"For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry" (Hab. 2:3).
The end thereof. Is it upon us? No man knows the day nor the hour. But we can know the time frame, if we will hear his voice, who declares "the end from the beginning" (Isa. 46:10), even as the apostle Paul tells us in 1Th 1:1-6:
"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
"For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."
Christian, take heed, and follow the warning of Jesus, in Luke 21:34:
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."
Christian, "what will ye do in the end thereof?" The world celebrates and sleeps. You and I must be sober and diligent to watch, even unto the end thereof.