Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Deciphering the Feast of Trumpets - By Matt Leasher -
Every year when the Feast of Trumpets (a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah), rolls around, prophecy watchers go into what I call, "high alert" in anticipation for the Rapture of the Church. I, myself, am one of those watchmen and this year there seems to be extra cause for excitement.
As many people may know, there are several similarities and parallels with the traditional aspects of the Feast of Trumpets compared to the Rapture, especially when viewed from the Jewish perspective. I recently came across a list of all the different Jewish names for the Feast of Trumpets and their meanings. I'd like to list them here with their meanings and their parallels to the characteristics of the Rapture of the Church and their possible relevance to this year! But first, please understand that I am not date setting, but rather discerning the times as our Lord calls us to do!
Names Associated with the Feast of Trumpets:
Rosh Hashanah - means "head of the year" and is the New Year on the Jewish calendar (Tishri 1), and is designated by the New Moon. The last new moon we had was during a solar eclipse over America. Traditionally a solar eclipse was recognized as a sign of coming judgment.
As I am writing this America is experiencing severe devastation on the west coast with the largest wild fire ever recorded in Los Angeles causing mass evacuations. The gulf coast is recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey and a potential record breaking size hurricane is threatening to possibly strike the east coast sometime very soon.
Teshuvah - signifies repentance. The Hebrew month prior to Tishri is Elul and it is designated as the month of repentance. It is customary to blow the shofar every day (except on Shabbat), leading up to the Feast of Trumpets.
Many have talked about the "Sign of Jonah" when the solar eclipse occurred last month and that it happened on the first day of Elul. Exactly 40 days later is the Day of Atonement and the number 40 in the Bible represents a time of testing or trial. The Lord instructed Jonah to give the wicked city of Nineveh 40 days to repent before He would judge the wickedness of that city with destruction. Nineveh repented and was spared God's judgment. Could the last eclipse be a sign that America and/or the rest of the world have 40 days left to repent before Judgment comes?
Yom Teruah - designated as the "Day of Shouting" accompanied by the "Awakening Blast" to call those that are sleeping in the dust to come to life.
At the Rapture the Lord will come with a "shout" and a "trumpet" when He first resurrects those that sleep in Christ and then translates us Christians who are alive to join them!
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Yom HaDin - means "The Day of Judgment". The "Judgment Seat of Christ" will likely occur immediately after the Rapture where all believers in Christ are judged for their works and given the crowns that they earned. (see Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15; and 2 Corinthians 5:10)
For those that don't go in the Rapture, it will certainly be a day of judgment for them as they will have to face the 21 sets of divine judgments that are outlined in Revelation chapters 6 through 18. It is important to note that the church is not mentioned once in any of those chapters.
Yom HaMelech - relates to the Lord being recognized as King of the universe. The coronation of kings traditionally occurred on this day and we can surmise that the coronation of the King Messiah will occur on a future Feast of Trumpets, perhaps at the Second Coming.
It is interesting to note that Stephen was the first martyr of the Church Age and that the "crown of life" that Jesus offers to the church of Smyrna in Revelation 2:10 is called the "stephanos" in the Greek, likely named after Stephen. This makes Stephen the first member of the "bride of Christ" to enter heaven.
When Stephen was about to die he saw Christ "standing" from His seat next to the Father to welcome him home. When the Rapture occurs Christ will once again leave from His seat next to the Father to come and get the last remaining members of the bride of Christ. There are some theologians that believe Stephen was martyred on the Feast of Trumpets, possibly even as early as the same year that Christ was crucified.
Chevlai shel Mashiach - is a Hebrew phrase meaning "birth pangs of the Messiah" and is recognized as "the time of Jacob's Trouble." Jacob's name was changed to Israel after he wrestled with God (Genesis 32:28).
When Jesus was asked by the disciples about the end of the age, He told them that those days would be the beginning of "sorrows" (Matthew 24:8). The Greek word for sorrows is "odin" and it means "birth pangs." The prophet Jeremiah spoke of the birth pangs of the Messiah in Jeremiah 30:6-7:
"Ask now and see,
Whether a man is ever in labor with child?
So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins
Like a woman in labor,
And all faces turned pale?
Alas! For the day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob's trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it."
The "time of Jacob's trouble" is synonymous with "Daniel's 70th Week" and the seven year Tribulation period. After the Rapture of the Church, the Lord's attention will return to Israel as she suffers through the afflictions of the Tribulation period.
Kiddushin / Nesu'in - is the wedding ceremony and implies that the wedding of the Messiah will take place on the Feast of Trumpets. When the Rapture occurs, Christ the Bridegroom will come to receive His bride and take her to His Father's house. (John 14:1-4)
All of the similarities and parallels between the ancient Jewish wedding traditions and the Rapture of the Church are too extensive, to go into all of the details here. I highly encourage you to do a study of it on your own and you will be sure to be blessed!
Natzal - or "the day of the natzal" and also refers to the resurrection of the dead. Natzal in the Hebrew (Strong's H5337), means "deliverance, to deliver, to snatch away, take away, to rescue." Basically, "natzal" is the Hebrew correspondence to the Greek "harpazo" which means "rapture"!
Shofar HaGadol - refers to the "last trump." The last trump blown after a series of trumpet blasts on the Feast of Trumpets is a long bellowing blast. Paul referred to the "last trump" when he described the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.
"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
Yom Hakeseh - means "the hidden day". Isaiah 26:19-21 mentions God's people "hiding themselves" after the dead are raised and the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.
Psalm 27:5 also reminds us:
"For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock."
Rosh Hashanah has also been referred to as the "hidden day" because it is the only Feast of the Lord's seven Feasts given in Leviticus 23 that begins on a New Moon. The start of the Feast can't be determined until the first sliver of the moon reappears, after it has come out of "hiding", and is seen by two witnesses. Because of this there is a two day window when the Feast can begin, so no one knows the day or the hour!
Lastly, the Feast of Trumpets has also been termed as "The Day of the Opening of the Gates." In Jewish tradition the gates of heaven would open up on Rosh Hashanah allowing the sinner to repent before God and have his name written in the Book of Life that would then be sealed on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
During this time the High Priest would go into a chamber in the Temple and "hide himself" from the people (Israel), until the Day of Atonement when he would then come out and determine whether Israel had been forgiven of sin or whether Israel would suffer judgment.
Currently our High Priest, Christ Jesus, is in heaven making intercession for the saints (Hebrews 4:14), and will soon be coming out of His place to judge the world for their iniquity (Isaiah 26:21).
In Revelation 4:1 the apostle John is raptured up to heaven to be shown the things that must come afterward, meaning after the Church Age that was outlined in the previous chapters 2 and 3. When John is taken up it mentions that "a door was opened in heaven."
Jesus said of Himself:
"I am the door, if anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:9)
If the Feast of Trumpets is known as the "opening of the gates", then it certainly could apply to the Rapture of the Church where the Lord descends and the church ascends in and out of heaven!
With all of these parallels and similarities between the multiple meanings of the Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture of the Church followed by the Tribulation period, is it any wonder why prophecy watchers get excited when Rosh Hashanah comes around!
Before I close this commentary I would like to address the ever so common misusage of the verse that no one can know the day or the hour. When Jesus made that reference in Matthew 24:36 and also in Mark 13:32, the preceding verse in both of those passages says,
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."
Then, Jesus said, "but of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
With that in context, when will the heavens and earth pass away? After the 1,000 year Millennium reign of Christ. So Jesus was clearly not talking about the Rapture at all. The context of both of those chapters is the Tribulation and His Second Coming.
Furthermore, our Lord is very orderly and the Church and her Great Commission had not yet been ordained when He made that statement. So why would He tell them they would not know the hour that it would end when He didn't even commission it yet. The disciples would have no idea what He was talking about.
However, they would understand that He was talking about the Tribulation period because the Tribulation is spoken of all through the Old Testament, (referenced as the Day of the Lord). The new heavens and the new earth was also already written by Isaiah as well. (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22)
That verse is the most misquoted verse in the Bible and used as an excuse to not be watching by far too many people that should be watching.
Jesus' words in Revelation 3:3 clearly imply that the church IS supposed to be watching and knowing the "hour" of His return.
"Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you." (Revelation 3:3)
All of the seven letters to the churches end with the admonition:
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Notice churches is plural. So that message about watching and knowing the hour of His return applies to the entire Church Age. What we never want to do is be dogmatic about any certain date, but there is nothing wrong with being on high alert on one of the Lord's feast days that He has ordained to be His appointments.
"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Israel Wipes Out Iranian Chemical-Bio Facility - By Kit R. Olsen - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/09/07/israel-wipes-out-iranian-chemical-bio-facility/
Get ready for the Rapture. Believers are one major step closer to going home.
Overnight, Israel destroyed the main chemical-biological facility run by Iran in the heart of Syria (September 7, 2017). The facility was used to develop chemical biological weapons as well as medium range missiles; this is the most intense and serious attack by Israel against Syria (Iran) in the last ten years; it is the same facility that Assad used to develop chemical weapons launched against his own people (under Iranian auspices and the knowledge of the Russians).
This information was reported from Galilee this morning by Amir Tsarfati, whom I have cited often in my writing since 2009. Ten years ago Israel destroyed the plutonium manufacturing nuclear reactor in Syria built and developed by the North Koreans.
The facility Israel just wiped-out in Syria was run and built by the Iranians and their proxies, Hezbollah. The location of the facility was close to a Russian air base. Incredibly and mysteriously, Israel was able to achieve this attack without Israeli aircrafts being detected by the Syrian system.
This situation is in a developmental stage. It is being reported that Prime Minister Netenyahu is saying even moderate Sunni Arabs are supporting this situation as they are all terrified of Iran and its ability to destroy the entire region. The word is coming out that Iran is promising a severe retaliation.
It is no coincidence that the Israelis have been having intense military drills in Northern Israel for days, most probably because they expect Iranian/Hezbollah retaliation for destroying their evil facility. The word is coming out now that Iran is promising a severe retaliation.
This is a huge prophetic development and an indication that the most biblically prophesied war, the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (Gog-Magog) is getting closer. In my book, Israel's Guaranteed Future Glory, I wrote about some of the events that will lead up to this epic battle and how I would not be surprised if: "An incident involving some destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities is very possible in the near future, even before the Gog-Magog incursion."
The Israeli's just did that today on September 7, 2017 by attacking the main chemical and biological facility in Syria run by Iran and Hezbollah. The following is an excerpt from Israel's Guaranteed Future Glory, relating to this and other prophetic Middle East events.
The Timing of Isaiah 17
The destruction of Damascus is foretold in the book of Isaiah and Jeremiah. It is possible that Isaiah's prophecy could be fulfilled at the time of the Gog-Magog war, and actually be destroyed when God unleashes His mighty power as detailed in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Although it does seem like the destruction of Damascus could happen at any time, especially since Syria is engulfed in internal fighting. ISIS is on the move and the entire country is in serious trouble.
Some people think Damascus will be destroyed by a nuclear attack-which is possible during the Tribulation. But a major nuclear attack prior to the Tribulation would cause a great deal of radioactive fallout and cause too much damage in the entire area. Jerusalem is only 134 miles from Damascus. Even a tactical nuclear weapon could easily cause serious problems. Verse 1 states, "Damascus will be a ruinous heap." How this cataclysmic prophecy will be fulfilled is unknown. We cannot say for sure how this will happen or what God's plans are for the fulfillment of this prophecy.
ISIS and Muslim rebels have surrounded the ancient city of Damascus, and the entire country is in serious crisis barely holding on. (Since March 2015, Assad has steadily lost territory in the northwest, south, and central Syria to an array of groups including the Islamic State, the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, and rebels who profess a more moderate vision for Syria.)
Damascus is known to be a major hub for terrorists. Syria's involvement in the ongoing aggression to eliminate Israel will bring catastrophe to that nation. Additionally, current news reports point to extreme political and civil devastation continues to grow within Syria. As far back as 2007, Israeli intelligence discovered that in the desolate Syrian Desert, a facility was in the process of manufacturing nuclear weapons.
It was being aided by North Korea. Of course, Israel did what she had to do and sent a few jets overhead to take care of the problem. The Israelis were able to unscramble the radar so the visit was a complete surprise to the Syrians and everyone else involved, including Iran. It is often said that Syria is just Iran's proxy. Russia also, is a great ally and defender of Syria arming the anti-Israel neighbor with missiles and other weapons.
In February of 2011, Western Intelligence agencies discovered another nuclear plant in Syria, in a Damascus suburb. In addition, a German newspaper, the SÃ¼ddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), reported that it received photos of the site, but will not publish them because inferences can be made as to when they were taken, and thus to who leaked them. In addition, Washington's Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) published photos on February 23, 2011 of one of three more sites that are believed to be connected to the Al-Kibar facility destroyed in 2007, as reported in Arutz Sheva, Israel National News on February 24, 2011.
Never Underestimate Israel When Dealing with Iran
An incident involving some destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities is very possible in the near future, even before the Gog-Magog incursion. As difficult and challenging as it may seem strategically, Israel may find a way to take out the areas that house Iran's nuclear weapons programs such as the Fordo site located deep in the mountains of Iran, near the city of Qom or the area where the Bushehr nuclear plant that resides in Iran (Elam).
I have heard reports given by Amir Tsarfati, that Israel has been going into Syria, Iran's strategic ally, taking out some of their caches of weapons. It has been reported for years that Israeli war planes have targeted military sites including Dimas, 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) northwest of Damascus and located on the Damascus-Beirut road at the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains.
They also targeted Damascus International Airport, 25 kilometers east of the capital. Perhaps the Israeli's have some other clever clandestine strategies in mind to put an end to Iran's potential nuclear holocaust. I would not underestimate the Israeli's when it comes to protecting their homeland and their very existence.
Intense uprisings in the Middle East countries are quickly escalating. Iran is gaining more control of the entire region while its leaders are continuing to loudly threaten Israel and all Jews with comments like: "The Zionist regime will be wiped soon." Radicals are gaining strength, while traditional moderate Arab leaderships are weakening. Egypt has fallen apart and is in total chaos-a dangerous situation that most likely leading to an Iranian type extremist hard-line government-leading to its complete demise.
Lebanon, Israel's neighbor to the north has essentially been taken over by Iran gaining much closer proximity to Israel. Iraq is on the verge of being taken over by pro-Iran Shiite factions. It is very possible that Israel will defend herself against Iranian nuclear threats by using subterfuge or some kind of creative preemptive defense measures even before the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 takes place. We certainly are living in very perilous times in these last days.
It is impossible to keep up with the fast-moving events involving the Middle East. No doubt some of these situations are being methodically manipulated by those who have diabolical, hidden agendas and want to bring about "change." Change, that is not in the best interest of freedom-loving people. But God cannot be outwitted. He has the final say regardless of what governments, terrorists or pompous elitists try to do.
Arab Pundits Warn Iran Will Follow In Footsteps Of North Korea - by Ali Waked -
Arabic social media has been buzzing with commentary on the most recent nuclear test performed by North Korea, with many blaming the situation on the international community's nuclear deal with the Iranian regime.
Jamal Hweireb, an Emirati author who also serves as a government cultural adviser in Dubai wrote, "Iraq suffered a blockade for 13 years until 2003 when it was destroyed by Bush after he invented the lie about Iraq's atomic bombs all while giving a pass to two criminal countries, Iran and North Korea. Interesting."
Author, journalist and Syrian opposition figure Khatib Abdul actually expressed jealousy of Iran and North Korea, writing, "Iran declared that it will strengthen production of its missiles, North Korea has reached a hydrogen bomb all so that the West will take the two countries seriously. Us, the Arabs, what have we developed?"
Mahmoud Refaat, an international jurist from Egypt, wrote, "North Korea and Iran began their nuclear programs in the '90s. Iran took advantage of America's weakness and its difficulties when it invaded Iraq and developed its program and Korea is taking advantage of America's weakness now with Trump."
An exiled former Syrian government minister who opposed the regime of President Bashar Assad wrote, "Iran is applying the North Korean model in all regards to nuclear and ballistic armament and in all regards to its sectarian expansion in Iran, Yemen and Syria. Will we learn from our mistakes?"
Media personality Dr. Mahmoud Refaat wrote, "The hydrogen bomb was tested by the kid who controls North Korea while taking advantage of Trump's weakness as the weakest president ever in the White House. He did the test. Now he has a bomb and scares the U.S."
Director General of the Al Ummah Party in the United Arab Emirates, Hassan al-Diqqi, wrote, "Allah, may his name be blessed, is leading the tyrants of the world to their end through the actions of North Korea while they don't understand that this path will lead to their fall from power."
Senior Al Jazeera journalist Faisal al-Qasim wrote regarding China's condemnation of the test, "Here's a story, China protests the test of North Korea's hydrogen bomb. We really believe you; without you there wouldn't be a North Korea."
In an additional tweet, al-Qasim wrote, "Here's a story, Russia says it's seeking a diplomatic solution when it's clear to everyone that Moscow is the one inciting North Korea against the U.S. We've seen your diplomacy in Syria."
Abdullah al-Shayji, a political science professor at the University of Kuwait, warned that Iran may follow in the footsteps of North Korea, writing, "We will see a replay of North Korea's defiance of the international community through tests of nuclear weapons, hydrogen bombs and ballistic missiles by Iran within 10 years! How are we preparing for that day?"
An activist with the Muteb network wrote, "If Korea challenges the world, know that China wants something from the U.S. or from the international community. Korea is the hammer by which China strikes!"
Saudi activist Muhammad al-Subeyii wrote, "This stupid bear will make the world respect him and even compete to form an alliance with him. Whoever has weapons today, the whole world becomes his friend."
End of Days? Eclipse, Hurricanes, Wildfires, and Now Earthquakes and Tsunami in Mexico - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/94556/end-days-phenomena-8-4-earthquake-mexico-leads-tsunami/#w5sx2qVqWmGeHD8z.99
"It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since the nation came into being. At that time, your people will be rescued, all who are found inscribed in the book." Daniel 12:1 (The Israel Bible™)
8.4 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico, killing at least six and generating a tsunami. The quake, which was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, struck 74 miles off the southern Pacific Coast at 12:49 a.m. ET Friday. The United States Geological Survey reported several aftershocks, most registering more than magnitude 5.
Mexico's civil protection agency reported this was the most powerful earthquake to hit the capital since a 1985 quake destroyed sections of Mexico City, killing thousands of people.
Initial waves were recorded at the Mexican cities of Salina Cruz, Puerto Madero, and Huatulco between 0.3 and 0.7 meters over tide level. They predicted waves between 0.3 and 1 meters for the Cook Islands, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guatemala, and Kiribati. Waves below 0.3 meters were forecast for countries as far as Australia, Japan, and Vietnam.
This is the most recent in a wave of major natural disasters in that part of the world. Texas suffered the costliest natural disaster in US history when Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast two weeks ago. The hurricane dumped a record 51.88 inches of rain, causing 38 deaths and $190 billion damage from the massive flooding.
In the wake of the hurricane-generated disaster, less attention has been given to wildfires raging across eight states in the western United States, forcing thousands to flee their homes. Millions of acres of forest have been burned in the past week, creating hazardous breathing conditions in many parts of the Pacific Northwest. In California, the La Tuna fire near Burbank has burned nearly 7,200 acres, becoming the largest fire ever recorded in Los Angeles in terms of area.
The troubles are far from over as Florida braces for a potential hit from Hurricane Irma, the second of three hurricanes born under the solar eclipse as it passed over the Atlantic Ocean less than three weeks ago. Irma, a category five hurricane, is the most powerful storm ever recorded over the Atlantic and had recorded sustained winds of over 190 MPH. Across the Caribbean, at least 13 people are confirmed to have died in the storm. On Thursday, the storm hit Puerto Rico, leaving more than one million people without electricity and 56,000 people without water.
Though it is impossible to predict the path of a storm, meteorologists warned Irma could turn north and hit central Florida over the weekend. Florida's Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties in his state, ordering 7,000 National Guard troops to report for duty by Friday morning.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of the most prominent rabbis of this generation, warned that Miami is in grave danger from Hurricane Irma and that people should evacuate.
Yet another eclipse-touched hurricane, dubbed Jose, is still developing in the Atlantic Ocean.
One week before the solar eclipse transversed the continental US, Breaking Israel News was the first news service to publish an article about a prediction in the Yalkut Moshe, written by Rabbi Moshe ben Yisrael Benyamin in Safed in 1894. Rabbi Benyamin predicted that when a solar eclipse occurs at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul, as this one did, "It is a bad sign for the other nations, bringing great damage to the kings of the East, and bringing great storms and death to animals."
At the time of the eclipse, meteorologists predicted that the three storm systems under the path of the eclipse would not develop into significant hurricanes. Four days later, the prediction of the Yalkut Moshe was revealed to be accurate.
Rabbi Daniel Asore explained the purpose of natural catastrophes in the end-of-days.
"It comes as a natural phenomenon, but it is really meant to affect the people," Rabbi Asor said to Breaking Israel News. "Natural disasters are meant as a warning, like a father slapping the table in order to warn his children that they are doing something that angers him."
Of more concern at the time of the eclipse was the escalation in hostile relations between the US and North Korea. Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion, identified the "kings of the East" in the prophecy as Kim Jong Un, the despotic leader of North Korea. Since the eclipse, that situation has further deteriorated with North Korea firing a missile over Japan's airspace and initiating an underground test of a hydrogen bomb.
The "Internet of Things" Is Sending Us Back to The Middle Ages - By Joshua Fairfield -
Internet-enabled devices are so common, and so vulnerable, that hackers recently broke into a casino through its fish tank. The tank had internet-connected sensors measuring its temperature and cleanliness.
The hackers got into the fish tank's sensors and then to the computer used to control them, and from there to other parts of the casino's network. The intruders were able to copy 10 gigabytes of data to somewhere in Finland.
By gazing into this fish tank, we can see the problem with "internet of things" devices: We don't really control them. And it's not always clear who does - though often software designers and advertisers are involved.
In my recent book, Owned: Property, Privacy and the New Digital Serfdom, I discuss what it means that our environment is seeded with more sensors than ever before. Our fish tanks, smart televisions, internet-enabled home thermostats, Fitbits and smartphones constantly gather information about us and our environment.
That information is valuable not just for us but for people who want to sell us things. They ensure that internet-enabled devices are programmed to be quite eager to share information.
Take, for example, Roomba, the adorable robotic vacuum cleaner. Since 2015, the high-end models have created maps of its users' homes, to more efficiently navigate through them while cleaning.
But as Reuters and Gizmodo reported recently, Roomba's manufacturer, iRobot, may plan to share those maps of the layouts of people's private homes with its commercial partners.
Security and privacy breaches are built in
Like the Roomba, other smart devices can be programmed to share our private information with advertisers over back-channels of which we are not aware. In a case even more intimate than the Roomba business plan, a smartphone-controllable erotic massage device, called WeVibe, gathered information about how often, with what settings and at what times of day it was used.
The WeVibe app sent that data back to its manufacturer - which agreed to pay a multi-million-dollar legal settlement when customers found out and objected to the invasion of privacy.
Those back-channels are also a serious security weakness. The computer manufacturer Lenovo, for instance, used to sell its computers with a program called "Superfish" preinstalled. The program was intended to allow Lenovo - or companies that paid it - to secretly insert targeted advertisements into the results of users' web searches.
The way it did so was downright dangerous: It hijacked web browsers' traffic without the user's knowledge - including web communications users thought were securely encrypted, like connections to banks and online stores for financial transactions.
The underlying problem is ownership
One key reason we don't control our devices is that the companies that make them seem to think - and definitely act like - they still own them, even after we've bought them. A person may purchase a nice-looking box full of electronics that can function as a smartphone, the corporate argument goes, but they buy a license only to use the software inside.
The companies say they still own the software, and because they own it, they can control it. It's as if a car dealer sold a car, but claimed ownership of the motor.
This sort of arrangement is destroying the concept of basic property ownership. John Deere has already told farmers that they don't really own their tractors but just license the software - so they can't fix their own farm equipment or even take it to an independent repair shop.
The farmers are objecting, but maybe some people are willing to let things slide when it comes to smartphones, which are often bought on a payment installment plan and traded in as soon as possible.
How long will it be before we realize they're trying to apply the same rules to our smart homes, smart televisions in our living rooms and bedrooms, smart toilets and internet-enabled cars?
A return to feudalism?
The issue of who gets to control property has a long history. In the feudal system of medieval Europe, the king owned almost everything, and everyone else's property rights depended on their relationship with the king. Peasants lived on land granted by the king to a local lord, and workers didn't always even own the tools they used for farming or other trades like carpentry and blacksmithing.
Over the centuries, Western economies and legal systems evolved into our modern commercial arrangement: People and private companies often buy and sell items themselves and own land, tools and other objects outright.
Apart from a few basic government rules like environmental protection and public health, ownership comes with no trailing strings attached.
This system means that a car company can't stop me from painting my car a shocking shade of pink or from getting the oil changed at whatever repair shop I choose. I can even try to modify or fix my car myself. The same is true for my television, my farm equipment and my refrigerator.
Yet the expansion of the internet of things seems to be bringing us back to something like that old feudal model, where people didn't own the items they used every day. In this 21st-century version, companies are using intellectual property law - intended to protect ideas - to control physical objects consumers think they own.
Intellectual property control
My phone is a Samsung Galaxy. Google controls the operating system and the Google Apps that make an Android smartphone work well. Google licenses them to Samsung, which makes its own modification to the Android interface, and sublicenses the right to use my own phone to me - or at least that is the argument that Google and Samsung make. Samsung cuts deals with lots of software providers which want to take my data for their own use.
But this model is flawed, in my view. We need the right to fix our own property. We need the right to kick invasive advertisers out of our devices. We need the ability to shut down the information back-channels to advertisers, not merely because we don't love being spied on, but because those back doors are security risks, as the stories of Superfish and the hacked fish tank show.
If we don't have the right to control our own property, we don't really own it. We are just digital peasants, using the things that we have bought and paid for at the whim of our digital lord.
Even though things look grim right now, there is hope. These problems quickly become public relations nightmares for the companies involved. And there is serious bipartisan support for right-to-repair bills that restore some powers of ownership to consumers.
Recent years have seen progress in reclaiming ownership from would-be digital barons. What is important is that we recognize and reject what these companies are trying to do, buy accordingly, vigorously exercise our rights to use, repair and modify our smart property, and support efforts to strengthen those rights.
The idea of property is still powerful in our cultural imagination, and it won't die easily. That gives us a window of opportunity. I hope we will take it.
Daily Jot: End time shaking on earth and in the heavens - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
An earthquake of 8.1 magnitude hit the southern coast of Mexico Thursday killing at least six people. The quake, causing a small tsunami and damage in Mexico City, was felt as far north as Austin, Texas. The Caribbean suffered 10 deaths as hurricane Irma swept through the area, making the island of Barbuda "virtually uninhabitable," according to the prime minister there. Irma is thought to be one of the most powerful storms in history--this, on the heels of hurricane Harvey that left Houston in shambles. In addition, there are cosmic disturbances. The Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a geomagnetic storm warning through today. Are these events related to, or signs of, the end times?
The increase in such destructive disasters and cosmic activity, such as the recent solar flares and solar eclipse, has many wondering if these are not signs of the approaching end times. In what is called the Olivet Discourse, Jesus, in the most complete and understandable chronology of end time prophecy, responds to his disciples' questions specifically about the sign of his coming, and the end of the world. Jesus answers first in Matthew 24:4, "Take heed that no man deceive you." In verses 7-8 he says, "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
There are many prophetic verses in the Bible that speak directly to the activity in the sky. 2 Peter 3:10 says, "But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise..." Jesus says in Matthew 25:29, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." Speaking of the sixth seal, followed by an earthquake, the sun becoming black and the moon as blood, Revelation 6:14 says, "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."
Ezekiel 38:19 tells of a great earthquake in Israel that levels the mountains. Verse 22 speaks of how the Lord will handle Gog (thought by many to be the antichrist), "And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood, and I will rain upon him...great hailstones, fire, and brimstone." Point here is context in that these chapters and verses are all prophecies of the Day of the Lord. The cosmic and earthly disasters we are experiencing today may be a type and shadow of the end times, but they are not the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is Israel-centric (not America-centric) and it is when these earthly and cosmic events are activated in their fullness immediately prior to Christ's return. According to Jesus in Matthew 24, there are yet many prophetic events to occur before the end.
Daily Devotion: Make Every Day Count - By Greg Laurie -
"You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer." -Job 14:5
I want to ask you a question. If you had one year left to live, how would you live your life? Would you live it any differently than you lived the year before?
This is something we must come to grips with, because as believers, we want to deal with reality. We want to face the facts of the brevity of life on Earth and the reality of eternity.
Sadly, there are many people today who live silly, shallow, wasted lives. Daniel said to King Belshazzar, "You have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up" (Daniel 5:27). Belshazzar was put on God's scale, and he didn't have enough weight. He was a lightweight. He had wasted his life. And there are a lot of people today who waste their lives as well.
As tragic as it is, a life being cut short is not the greatest tragedy of all. And to the point, who are we to say that a life is cut short? Isn't God the one who determines the length of our days? Doesn't Scripture say there is a time to be born and a time to die? It doesn't tell us when that time is. Doesn't the Bible say that our times are in His hands?
When our son Christopher went to meet the Lord at age 33, it was so unexpected. But Christopher was living for the Lord. He was glorifying God with his life, and he is in Heaven now. Obviously he is greatly missed.
But what is even more tragic than a life that isn't lived as long as we would like to see it lived is a life that is largely squandered and wasted.
Don't waste your life. Don't waste your year. Don't waste today. Make every day count.
FROM THE HEART
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