A sobering time bomb is ticking away, even now as you read these words, right in your own life and in millions of others just like yours. This time bomb can do more collective damage than 1000 tons of TNT, create more real destruction than a galactic battle scene in a Hollywood Star Wars movie, even break up more lifestyles than the H-bomb that exploded over Hiroshima during World War II. This time bomb can blow your life to smithereens, unless you find the fuse and dismantle it now. You have little time&emdash;at most about one year. What is this time bomb, and how can it be defused?
by Jerry Gentry
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:6).
It is called "y2k," an abbreviation for "year 2000." The government knows about it. Big corporations are studying it. Chase Manhattan Bank has allocated $250 million, Citicorp $500 million, to fix it. Major news magazines and television have featured stories on it. Yet, there remains widespread ignorance and denial about the impending consequences of this millennium bug. The original computer companies inadvertently created it, decades ago, in order to save storage space and money. "Y2k" ramifications are truly earth shattering. Will civilization as we know it survive the year 2000? Will you survive the day that "knowledge. . . shall vanish away?" (1Cor. 13:8).
This problem makes the ancient Tower of Babel look like a picnic in the park, Mt. Vesuvius look like a fourth of July fireworks display, and the Titanic seem like a toy boat sinking in a bathtub. This time bomb called "y2k" promises to wreak havoc with mainframe computers and many PC's worldwide, beginning in 1999, possibly sooner. Believe it or not, "y2k" was prophesied over 2500 years ago, in your Bible, with some detail. It is a verified fact, not a speculation. The full impact of this explosion is yet to hit planet earth. When it does, one thing is certain: Life as we know it will not be the same.
Solve this computer problem, and brother, you will be an instant trillionaire. Fix this bug and companies will line up at your door and pay your price. Governments will yield to your superiority. And millions of individuals will "thank god" that you saved the world from shut down! You will write your own ticket; everybody, except a remnant, will line up at your door and follow your lead from chaos back to ordered prosperity.
But you say, "I don't have a mainframe computer, so I am not in danger." Not so, as you already know, if you have done just a little reading on y2k, the mother of all computer "viruses."
When we pause to reflect on the advancements of our twentieth century, it is awesome. During this century, the world has exchanged horse and buggy for automobile; traded kerosene lamps and candles for electric lights; given up milk cows for plastic jugs from supermarket coolers; brought plumbing indoors; and advanced from sailing ships to nuclear ships and flying ships that carry passengers half way around the world in less than 24 hours. Yet the most remarkable advancement of all has come along in just the last half century and supports all of the above modern conveniences. In short, computers make all the above possible. And without correct information instantly supplied and processed by computer, none of the above will work right.
Information is handled in many ways, but, most efficiently, it is handled electronically, that is, by computers, which control almost everything. Your bank deposits and credit cards, the inventories of merchandise you buy at the store, the water from your tap, the car you drive, the gasoline you pump, the electric power and other utilities that supply your home, and hundreds of other support functions of your life are all computer dependent. Mainframe computers are the brains that keep the trains and trucks moving, the coal delivered and burning, the power grid up and running, airplanes flying, the mail moving, and most important of all, the paychecks arriving.
Information controls everything you do. Much information, or knowledge, that orders and serves and supports modern life is stored in computers and is date dependent. That is the "y2k" catch. Without the right date, mainframe computers shut down or spew out bad data. Unless that "date field" in mainframe computers is soon fixed, "y2k" will crash computers worldwide and explode what we have come to take for granted as the "good life" into a thousand bits, to coin an expression.
Here is a brief explanation of the magnitude of the problem, how it all started, and what it will take to fix it.
As we now approach the year 2000, a problem has come to light with the big mainframe computers and most smaller PC's. They all have a "Millennium Bug." That is, all these computers were designed decades ago (back in the fifties and sixties, though PC's came along later), without making provision in the date field for the century, which was "assumed" to be "19--." Computers worked fine, then and now, under that assumption. There is only one catch. These computers think the year 1999 is followed by the year 1900, instead of 2000. Multiple problems are created by that assumption.
The "y2k" problem all began decades ago when companies manufactured punch card systems for banks and other businesses. The old punch cards had limited space for punching holes. Each hole in a certain place on the card represented a number or letter of the alphabet, thus information was stored. The punch cards facilitated everything from accounting to bank deposits and withdrawals to order processing to record keeping of various kinds. But the cards took up lots of space, and were cumbersome to work with. Card readers were big and slow, as they processed information by reading the holes on the punch cards, which were fed by hand through card readers. A better solution was conceived.
Why couldn't all this be done electronically? Instead of punching holes in paper cards, why not "punch" the same information electronically onto something magnetic (tape, disk drive, or memory chip)? Exactly. Soon a profession of "programmers" arose to write "code" using special "computer" languages. The computer industry was born. It was a big savings in time and money to store information electronically, rather than on punch cards and other paper. Computers saved time and money in the speed of processing. Electronic "punch card space" (hard drives and memory chips) was expensive back then, though. So, programs were developed which, for example, dropped the "19" from the year "1960," just like the old punch card system had done. The electronic storage space saved by dropping the "19" from the year field, saved companies lots of money. Everything was fine. It would be a long time before the year "00" would roll around, not to be worried about much back then.
The cost of computers has come down dramatically over 40 years. But the old original machine language created by compiler programs, and containing two digit date information, was never fully replaced, especially in the "mainframe" computers. In addition two digit year information is potentially buried in billions of lines of code worldwide. AT&T alone has some 500 million lines of language code, which needs to be inspected and debugged. In addition to the "software" problem, millions&emdash;perhaps billions&emdash;of hardware chips not "y2k" compliant, are imbedded in unidentified products including electronic ignitions in automobiles, aircraft systems, control systems for ships, high tech military equipment, power grids, and a host of other machines and gadgetry.
With the problem identified, it would seem to be a fairly simple factor to "program" a solution. However, such is definitely not the case. Computer languages have long since changed. Even if one company fixes it's internal computers, communication with other computers not reprogrammed would cause reinfection. In short, just about every system that supports our modern way of life will fail unless the problem is fixed in time. Japan's fiscal year 2000 begins in August, 1999, which is a key date to watch.
This century has brought on an incredible "knowledge explosion" through the proliferation of information of every kind. It is safe to say that our modern way of life is heavily dependent on computers to store and process that information. Of the time in which we live, it was prophesied of old: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Dan. 12:4). Yes, these words of Daniel show that the world would some day experience two things: 1) Almost instant and widespread travel over the globe ("many shall run to and fro,"); and, 2) the explosion of information ("knowledge shall be increased"). Only once in all of human history&emdash;at "the time of the end"&emdash;would these two circumstances come together. It is only in our generation that these two things are happening, never before.
At "the time of the end," Daniel says, "knowledge shall be increased." Another prophecy records: "My people are destroyed, for lack of knowledge," (Hosea 4:6). Students of Bible prophecy see a natural y2k connection in the language of these two verses. Here is that connection explained.
Bible believers may rightly ask, "How can it be that 'my people are destroyed, for lack of knowledge' in an age when 'knowledge shall be increased,' thus enabling flights to the moon, regular Shuttle trips into space, and even a trip to Mars that sent back photographs?" The answer lies in meaning of the Hebrew word for "destroyed" which is "damah." This word means "to be dumb or silent; hence to fail or perish; trans. to destroy." "To be dumb or silent" is precisely the response expected from mainframe computers due to the "y2k" bug. In tests of this problem, computers generally shut down. They would not run. They were "dumfounded" by the "00" date. A mainframe computer does not recognize the year "00" as a valid date, so the system becomes "dumb or silent; hence it fails!" which is the precise meaning of the Hebrew word "destroyed" as used above by the prophet Hosea. How amazingly accurate the Bible is! And all this could happen at only one specific time in human history&emdash;"the time of the end."
"The mystery of iniquity" (2Ths. 2:7), or life ordered by humanism, continues to grow and ripen "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25), that is, until "the end of the world" (Matt. 24:3). Technology is wonderful, but misguided computer technology has facilitated usury, distribution of pornography, proliferation of falsehood, bloodshed, adultery, homosexuality and every iniquity under the sun. The knowledge explosion of the twentieth century serves the god of humanism, not the God of the Bible. Without the restraining and guiding hand of God, humanistic knowledge has brought us to this brink of "destruction,"&emdash;dumfounded&emdash;or shut down, which the whole world is about to experience, at least temporarily. Plenty of computer experts agree on that point. It is not a question of whether, but of how long, shutdown of major supplies and systems will continue. One day? One week? One month? One year? Longer? All this results from the lack of two digits in a computer's date field! How ironic! Modern civilization, for all its wonders and conveniences, is "destroyed [dumfounded; silenced] for lack of knowledge" of a mere two digits. Certainly our modern way of life, facilitated by information technology under computer control, does not recognize that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov. 1:7), that beginning point of all right perspective and priority. The religion of humanism, through computer controlled technology without Biblical foundation and restraint, has brought civilization to the point of destruction "in one hour"&emdash;"for in one hour is thy judgment come. . . For in one hour so great riches is come to nought" (Rev. 18:10, 17). Is this "the end of the world?"
Are you ready for y2k? Even if your computer is ready, is your heart compliant, right with God? Are you sure? Y2k demands above all that you comply with the knowledge of God and His Holy law, His Word. Otherwise, He says, "I will also reject thee" (Hos 4:6). Will you follow humanism, or the Word of God? Will you be deceived by a savior who promises to bring prosperity out of chaos? Will you be deceived by lying wonders? That is the real y2k challenge! "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20).
Y2k promises to bring devastation, for a time. Various other scriptures promise that God will "break down the wall " (Wall Street?) "that ye have daubed with untempered mortar ("slimy political rhetoric?"), and bring it down to the ground" (Ezek. 13:14), at that "great and. . . terrible day of the LORD." (Joel 2:31). "Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they [banks and stock markets] that bear silver [money] are cut off" (Zep 1:11). "For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, [again, Wall Street?] and of crying to the mountains. " Mountains and hills represent governments in Bible prophecy. Yes, people will cry for a solution from Washington. Instead, there will be a "a great crashing from the hills" (Zeph. 1:10). Washington, as we know it, will have no answers, but that is nothing new!
Such a day it is! "So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains [governments] shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground" (Ezek. 38:20). Every little stock exchange too&emdash;"every wall"&emdash;is coming down! The Bible says, "money is a defence," (Eccl. 7:12). Wall Street should be investing wisely, and protecting or defending the wealth of investors. However, greed among brokers and investors has long outpaced good judgment. Stocks are generally trading at 15 to 100 times earnings, an impossible bubble to sustain over the long run. Even without y2k, this unsustainable bubble must burst! Meltdown has already begun in Asia.
Yes, "for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?" (Joel 2:11).
Are you ready for y2k? Forget the computer problem. Is your heart compliant? Or have you given your heart over to the god of humanism, the idiot god of "do your own thing," "if it feels good, do it," etc. Yes? Then you are not ready for y2k. Preparedness for this disaster begins, not in a computer chip, but in your personal relationship with God.
Once big computers begin to go down, multiple chain reactions occur. Rail systems and truck lines, dependent on mainframe computers, grind to a halt. Without trains and trucks, no goods are shipped. Without wheat and foodstuffs, grocery store shelves are empty. Without coal delivered by trains, power utilities shut down. Without operational computers, banks cannot process transactions. Without computers, telephone systems fail. Will you be able to call out? Don't depend on it. Will your bank declare a holiday? Probably. Will you have electricity? It depends on where you are located, and the nature of the power company serving your home. For example, water powered generators will most likely be started up "manually," even when coal fired generators fail due to lack of fuel.
God's word is that foundational truth upon which all true knowledge is built. Could it be that "y2k" is the ultimate catch 22, to bring the arrogant god of humanism crashing down? Y2k is the inadvertent man made nemesis of our own destruction, which will open the way for a great savior, who will "speak great swelling words of vanity. . . [and], allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness" (2Pet. 2:18). Will y2k open the way for "the false prophet that wrought miracles before him [the beast], with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image" (Rev. 19:20)?
Of such a savior, the Bible states: "And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
"And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand" (Dan. 8:24-25).
Jesus taught, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Humanism denies foremost the knowledge of an all powerful God and His truth. "Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land" (Hosea 4:1).
Are you ready for y2k? Do you know for sure? Most people deny all warnings until calamity strikes. Denial is a reality of human nature that everyone must deal with. Y2k will be here, on schedule, in less than 18 months. It will not go away or solve itself. Yet, no one wants to consider facts that tend to mess up his personal comfort zone.
"Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant" (Isa. 30:13).
Are you ready for y2k? If you don't know, or are not sure, then pray for wisdom and seek God with all your heart. Pore over His Word every day. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Perhaps He will hear your prayer and give you a heart compliant with y2k. Perhaps God will "debug" your heart of self will, reprogram your motivation from pride, purge your conscience of guilt, even "create in . . . [you] a clean heart" (Ps. 51:10). Perhaps you will among a remnant spared in "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Rom. 2:5), whom God will "spare. . . as a man spareth his own son that serveth him" (Mal 3:17), in that day when "my people are destroyed [dumfounded; silenced] for lack of knowledge," even if it be only a mere two digits.