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The End Times According To Isaiah, Part 2 - By Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/end-times-prophecy/the-end-times-according-to-isaiah-part-2/
We're beginning this installment in Isaiah 2:6 and will continue through chapter 4. Having given us a brief overview of Israel's Kingdom Age, Isaiah will now back up to provide more detail concerning the time just preceding the 2nd Coming.
The Day of the Lord
You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans. Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots. Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made. (Isaiah 2:6-8)
Here's another hint that in the End Times Israel will accumulate great wealth. Ezekiel also made reference to Israel's wealth in the time leading up to the battle of Ezekiel 38-39. To explain Gog's motive in forming a coalition to attack Israel, God had Ezekiel reveal his thoughts. "I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people-all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land." (Ezekiel 38:11-12)
A group of nations standing on the sidelines will confirm this, asking, "Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?" (Ezekiel 38:13)
Today no such plunder exists. Therefore there's no motive for Russia (Magog) to lead the attack. All the talk about destroying Israel is based on religious issues, something that doesn't interest Russia. So there really isn't any incentive of the kind Ezekiel mentioned to goad Russia into action. However, if Israel was to discover massive oil reserves, as some believe will happen soon, that would be a different story. Russia has a strategic interest in the world's oil. A large discovery in Israel could serve as a tempting pay-off for Russia, sufficient to justify leading the Moslem coalition in its religious quest to destroy the Jewish nation.
A number of insiders say it's only a matter of time before this happens, putting Israel awash in petro-dollars with the promise of billions more to come. They say Moses prophesied this in Deut. 33:19 & 24. Knowledgeable men are drilling in Israel today on the strength of these prophecies and early results are promising.
So man will be brought low and mankind humbled-do not forgive them. Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty! The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:7-11)
Notice that the Lord isn't just talking about Israel here, but all of mankind. By the time He's finished there will be no doubt as to Who is exalted and who is not. Zechariah spoke of the day of the Lord's return this way. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. (Zechariah 14:9)
Later Paul would write: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11) By the way, acknowledging Him as Lord is a good thing to do, but it won't solve the unbelieving world's problem. After He comes back it'll be too late for them to accept Him as their Savior and escape the judgment. They'll be led off agreeing that He really is Lord and admitting that they refused His offer of pardon.
The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, for every trading ship and every stately vessel.
The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear. Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.
In that day men will throw away to the rodents and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship. They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? (Isaiah 2:12-22)
Three things mentioned repeatedly here give us a vivid scene of the End Times. Arrogant men, having engaged in idolatry in defiance of the Lord, hiding in rocks from the wrath of the Almighty. Please remember, idols aren't necessarily little statues. Idols are anything that man holds to be of greater importance in his life than the Lord. Zechariah 13:2 says, "On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more," declares the LORD Almighty.
And in Rev. 6:15-17 John wrote: Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"
With the opening of the seven seals, the Wrath of God will have come and mankind will begin experiencing the consequences of their disobedience. Like their first father Adam, they were only given one rule, to believe in the one He has sent (John 6:29), but they refused.
Isaiah 3 ... Judgment On Jerusalem And Judah
Now Isaiah's focus will narrow to deal specifically with the Jewish people
See now, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water, the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder, the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.
I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them. People will oppress each other- man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable. A man will seize one of his brothers at his father's home, and say, "You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!"
But in that day he will cry out, "I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house; do not make me the leader of the people."
Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. (Isaiah 3:1-10)
Israel will experience a vacuum of leadership. There will be no common purpose among the people. Their only thought will be for survival. They will search in vain for someone to help them solve their problems, but no one will be found. Having enjoyed great wealth, they will now have so little that a man with a coat will be thought to have leadership potential.
Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.
The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: "It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?" declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. (Isaiah 3:10-15)
As Peter wrote, The Lord knows how to rescue Godly men from trials, while holding the unrighteous for judgment. (2 Peter 2:9) One way the Lord judges rebellious people is to give them unworthy leaders who take them farther from God's truth into the deception of mankind.
If you're reading this carefully, you can see the parallels to our current situation in the US. We've enjoyed such wealth, and now that it's being taken away, we don't know what to do. We look around for someone, anyone, who says he can fix the problem regardless of his experience, or lack thereof. We have an irrational hope that all our problems will be solved within the next several months and when it doesn't happen we'll all be upset. We don't realize that as rebellious people we have no right to expect that God will give us leaders who can solve our problems. More likely we'll be taken further off the path.
The LORD says, "The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the LORD will make their scalps bald." In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding. Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle. The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground. (Isaiah 3:16-26)
In ancient times captured women were branded, their heads were shaved and rings were put through their noses, by which they were led off in rags to servitude. Pictures from the holocaust reflect a more modern adaptation. In the End times the people of Earth will see this yet again.
Isaiah 4 ... The Branch Of The Lord
In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, "We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!" (Isaiah 4:1)
Beginning in Isaiah 3:16 the Lord had Isaiah speak against the vanity of Israel's women. Their wealth and their pride will be taken away to the point where multiple women will be willing to join together and agree to pay their own expenses to come under the legal protection of one man through marriage.
In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. (Isaiah 4:2-6)
When the Messiah comes He'll bring a Spirit of judgment and a Spirit of fire to cleanse the world. Living believers will be welcomed into the Kingdom (Matt. 25:34) while unbelievers will be taken away to eternal punishment (Matt. 25:46).
Concerning the women of Zion, there's a beautiful picture here of the Messiah washing away all their impurities. In verse 5 the word translated defense (KJV) or canopy (NIV) is chuppah, the Jewish wedding canopy, symbolizing that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 4:1 and "marry" all of them by bringing them under His protection, to be called by His name. And in verse 6 the word translated tabernacle (KJV) or shelter (NIV) is sukkah. It's the name of the shelter that Jews build on the Feast of Tabernacles, to symbolize the Lord dwelling with them. The pillar of fire by night and cloud by day complete the memorial of His time with them in the wilderness, (Exodus 13:21) and announce that once again God will dwell with His people in a time of complete protection and provision. Get ready, Planet Earth, you can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah.
Israel's flailing democracy - Caroline Glick -
For many Israelis, the impeachment investigation against Trump parallels efforts to fast-track probes against Netanyahu. But the U.S. impeachment bid is a sign that America's democracy is far healthier than Israel's.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement on Tuesday that she is opening an official impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump struck many Israelis as yet another sign that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump are in the same boat. Both are being hounded by legal elites who will stop at nothing to oust them from office.
There are parallels between the two leaders.
Pelosi's move followed the leak of a whistleblower complaint to the U.S. intelligence community's inspector general. The complainant alleged that during a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July, Trump sought the Ukrainian leader's assistance in advancing his 2020 re-election prospects. This is arguable.
During the call, Trump asked Zelensky to speak with U.S. Attorney General William Barr about the private cybersecurity company Crowdstrike. Crowdstrike is the private contractor that was hired by the Democratic National Committee in the spring of 2016 to investigate the hack of the DNC's computer server.
Crowdstrike concluded that the DNC's server was hacked by entities related to the Russian government. The DNC never permitted federal investigators to take possession of the breached server or receive Crowdstrike's full report. Despite the fact that they were never given the opportunity to verify Crowdstrike's claims, those claims were the basis of the U.S. intelligence community's assertion in December 2016 that the Russian government hacked the DNC server to interfere in the 2016 election. It was also a foundation of the claim that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia against the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016.
In his conversation with Zelensky, Trump said, "Our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike ... the [DNC] server, they say Ukraine has it. ... I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it."
Trump also talked with Zelensky about former Vice President Joe Biden, now a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
During his tenure in office, Biden was responsible for U.S. ties with Ukraine. As investigative journalist Peter Schweitzer reported, in April 2014, Biden's son Hunter was appointed to the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company. Over the next 16 months, Burisma paid Hunter Biden $3.1 million. Biden joined the company while Burisma was under criminal probe by British and Ukrainian investigators.
In a post-vice presidency appearance before the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden bragged that he had conditioned the provision of $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to the Ukrainian government-loan guarantees that had already been approved by President Barack Obama-on the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor carrying out the investigation against Burisma. Given the stakes, the Ukrainian government bowed to his demand. The prosecutor was fired, and the loan guarantees were extended.
Speaking of Biden's admitted intervention with the Ukrainian prosecution, Trump said, "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me."
Democrats claim that Trump's discussion with Zelensky constitutes an illegal solicitation of foreign assistance for his 2020 reelection campaign. Republicans counter that Trump was reasonably trying to understand what happened to the DNC server in 2016. The story has served as a basis for claims that his presidency is illegitimate, and continuous investigations of his campaign.
Leaving aside the weight of the opposing claims, the fact is that there is nothing unique about Trump's actions. As Mark Thiessen noted in The Washington Post, in 2018, three Democratic senators urged the Ukrainian government to continue investigations into Trump's alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
National Review noted that during the 2016 campaign, the Obama administration asked the Ukrainian government to open a criminal probe against Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort. So, too, revelations regarding the origins of the Trump-Russia probe that fomented the nearly two-year special counsel investigation showed that the Obama Justice Department based wiretap requests against Trump campaign officials on a dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, and compiled by a former British spy on the basis of contacts with Russian operatives.
Democrats calling for impeachment have never shown the slightest interest in investigating the Obama administration's actions. No Democratic lawmakers called to impeach Obama or members of his administration.
The criminal probes against Netanyahu relate to actions he took to secure positive media coverage that are similar, if not identical, to routine political behavior. The two major probes against Netanyahu-dubbed Case 2000 and Case 4000-allege that Netanyahu acted criminally when he met with media owners in bids to secure more positive coverage.
In Case 2000, Netanyahu is accused of having breached the public faith when he met with Yediot Achronot publisher Arnon Mozes in an effort to secure positive media coverage. Yediot's coverage of Netanyahu has been unstintingly negative. In Case 4000, prosecutors allege Netanyahu accepted a bribe in the form of positive media coverage on the Walla news portal from Walla owner Shaul Elovich. As with Yediot Achronot, Walla coverage of Netanyahu has been almost uniformly hostile.
Leading jurists from emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University to professor Avi Bell from Bar-Ilan University agree that the legal proceedings against Netanyahu are political and based on prejudicial and selective enforcement of statutes which prosecutors are interpreting inventively.
As is the case with the allegations related to Trump's dealings with Zelensky, the first problem with the probes against Netanyahu is that his actions were far from unique-although less successful than similar actions by other politicians.
In just one striking example of the inherent bias of the charges against Netanyahu, consider the behavior of the prosecutors in relation to Blue and White Party co-chairman and Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid, and his relations with Mozes and Elovich.
Today, post-election wranglings in Israel over governing coalitions are guided by varied assessments of the likelihood that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will indict Netanyahu. During the campaign leading up to the April elections, Mandelblit cast legal norms distinguishing politics from law to the seven winds. He took the unprecedented step of announcing that pending the outcome of Netanyahu's pre-indictment hearing, which is scheduled for this week, he intends to indict the premier on bribery and breach of trust charges over his dealings with Mozes and Elovich.
Now, as Netanyahu prepares for his pre-indictment hearing, the prosecution has leaked its intent to indict Netanyahu by mid-November. In other words, they have no intention to consider Netanyahu's defense claims. The outcome is preordained.
For many Israelis, Pelosi's decision to begin an impeachment investigation parallels moves by Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan to fast-track the probes against Netanyahu. But the opposite is the case.
Pelosi's impeachment bid is a sign that America's legal system and indeed its democracy is far healthier than Israel's.
For nearly two years, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his partisan investigators spent millions of dollars on a massive and barely veiled bid to find a legal excuse to oust Trump. But in the end, they failed. The evidence of collusion between Trump and his campaign and Russia simply wasn't to be found.
Mueller could have kept going. The media wanted him to. The Democrats wanted him to. But after feeding the media prejudicial leaks against Trump and aggressively prosecuting Manafort and other Trump officials on unrelated issues, Mueller ran out of steam. Although in his final report Mueller tried to provide Democrats with the means to continue the Russia probe on the political level, he closed down his investigation and went home. U.S. practice doesn't permit the indictment of a sitting president. But even if it allowed for indictments, the materials he had assembled were too weak to justify an indictment.
In other words, Mueller walked his prosecutors to the brink of political interference and then he walked them back. He did not replace politicians with prosecutors.
Until Mueller submitted his report, Pelosi used his ongoing probe to fend off pressure from the increasingly powerful radical members of her Democratic caucus to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump. Since then, Pelosi argued, rightly, that impeachment proceedings require a huge political investment and hold little chance for success. Most Americans oppose impeaching Trump. The Republicans control the Senate. If the House votes to impeach Trump, chances of getting the two-thirds majority of senators required to convict an impeached president and remove him from office are effectively nonexistent.
Unfortunately for Pelosi, the Democratic base-including the media and the empowered radical faction of her Democratic caucus-have become deaf to reason. According to a Politico poll, whereas 70 percent of Democrats support impeachment, only 37 percent of the public does. The likes of Reps. Anastasia Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), like The New York Times and The Washington Post, live in an echo chamber. Members of the echo chamber are so cut off from those outside it that just as they cannot fathom anyone objecting to socialism, so they cannot imagine that anyone supports Trump or accepts the validity of the 2016 election results.
It is hard to know how the impeachment proceedings will play out, but a likely scenario is that the proceedings will damage Democrats more than they will damage Trump.
This then brings us back to Israel.
Like Pelosi and her colleagues, Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz, and Lapid and their colleagues on the left, claim that the very fact that Netanyahu is under investigation renders him illegitimate. They refuse to form a unity government with Likud unless Netanyahu is first ousted as Likud leader.
But unlike Pelosi, Gantz and Lapid don't need to make their claims themselves. Lapid, whose ministers gave preferential treatment to Yediot through government advertising contracts and received glowing coverage in the paper, does not have to argue the case for impeaching Netanyahu. He stands behind the ostensibly objective state prosecutions.
Pelosi's decision to open impeachment proceedings against Trump despite the great political risk involved going into an election year indicates that the radical faction has swallowed the Democratic Party. But more importantly, her move is a testament to the abiding power and fortitude of American democracy. The difference between the situation in Israel, where prosecutors happily abuse their legal power for transparently political aims, and the United States, where politically motivated prosecutors backed away from the brink and compelled politicians to take over their political investigations, is the difference between a flailing democracy and a resilient one.
Nearing Midnight: The Cancel-Culture News Media - Todd Strandberg - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
Most news organizations now have aligned reports with the exclusive task of finding negative information on targeted public figures. It seems like every story published today is the result of some form of vindictiveness. Members of this Cancel-Culture news media now measure themselves on how much damage they can inflict on their enemy, and it doesn't matter how silly they make themselves appear in attaining this goal. The following article from financial network CNBC is a prime example:
"President Donald Trump's United Nations speech was a snooze - at least for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The 81-year-old Ross took a nap - a very long nap - as his boss addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. Television footage of Ross showed the wealthy businessman sleeping soundly as Trump talked about a possible trade deal with China - which is part of the Commerce chief's portfolio - and the U.S. stance on Iran."
The story was reported as a top news item. In some venues, it was given more coverage than President Trump's speech. When it was reported to Ross about his sleepiness at the U.N., he said, "This is fake news." I agree with the fake label because a real major news outlet would not cover such a juvenile topic.
The Cancel Culture has gone after Jordan Peterson. He is a liberal Canadian professor who dares to challenge political correctness. A film company has produced a new documentary about him called The Rise of Jordan Peterson.
Did Peterson have any creative input on the film? None. It was always understood that it was independent, and he was very respectful of this and the creative process.
It is a given that many cinemas that have been asked to screen the documentary are not going to allow the movie to run. Some have told the makers outright that they thought the film was interesting and fair, but that they couldn't in good conscience contribute to the "cult of personality around Peterson" in any way. Even though Peterson agrees with 90% of what these fellow liberals promote, the standard is now 100% among the left.
Comedian Dave Chappelle is another person who should never be confused as having a conservative background; however, despite admitting he voted for Hillary Clinton, he bristles at the lockstep politics that nearly all leftist comedians follow. When he released his Sticks and Stones special for Netflix. The website Rotten Apples gave it a rating of 0% by selecting five radical leftists to review his performance. After a firestorm of negative news coverage in the alternative press, Rotten Apples relented by allowing the public to review the comedy, and it received a 99% positive rating.
I was not surprised that NBC's Saturday Night Live had fired new cast member Shane Gillis in response to racist and homophobic comments he posted on a podcast within the past year. Since SNL cares more about the leftist agenda than comedy, I seriously have to wonder if the following statement was just a pack of lies to use Gillis as a scapegoat:
"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL," a spokesperson for the late-night show said in a statement Monday. "We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard."
The Cancel Culture often gives a free pass to leftists that violate its rules. You may remember that Virginia governor Ralph Northam apologized for either being the guy in blackface or a KKK outfit in a university yearbook photo. Several months after the news broke, he is still on the job.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was caught in a similar scandal. The first photo that surfaced, showing Trudeau in 2001 wearing brownface as part of an Aladdin costume, would have been enough to turn some voters off from him forever. But, within hours, a second photo was published that showed him wearing blackface to sing the Jamaican folk song "Day-O," followed by a third video of him sticking his tongue out wearing dark makeup.
What was initially assumed to be a deeply stupid and offensive costume at one theme party now looks like it was just one instance of a deeply troubling habit. Trudeau admitted he "made a mistake" in dawning the offensive makeup. Since he is the head of the Liberal Party, I doubt he will ever be forced to step down from office.
IKEA, the Swedish furniture company, became the target of the Cancel Culture after adding "Jerk Chicken" to their cafe menu in some U.K. locations. Jerk chicken is a Caribbean dish in which the meat has been dry-rubbed or marinated with a specific set of ingredients. IKEA's jerk chicken was served with a side of white rice and peas, which caught the attention of some on social media, who castigated the furniture giant because traditional "rice and peas" doesn't actually feature green peas, but kidney beans or gungo peas.
The firm pulled the item and apologized for its jerk chicken cultural appropriation. A few years ago, the reply would have been, "Are you crazy?" or "This is how we make jerk chicken." The ability of culture police to regulate the most trivial event in society shows how close we are to a totalitarian state. When the Antichrist comes to power, he may win praise by arguing that the liberals have gone too far.
"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (Revelation 13:4).
China's Mega-Surveillance State: Merging AI, Facial Recognition & Social Credit - By Aaron Kesel -
China wants to give its prisoners (populace) the ability to pay with their faces to ride subways; this will be combined with its social credit program -- which already tracks the communist nation's citizens traveling -- and if points are too low, it prevents travel.
The new program, which must have been assembled from George Orwell's apparent instruction manual 1984, is slowly rolling out throughout China in several cities, The Standard reported.
In Shenzhen, China, home of OnePlus, Huawei and internet giant Tencent, the city has released a new government system for elderly Chinese. This new program will allow residents of China over the age of 60 to register for free subway rides, using just their face as their ticket.
If you think this is just a one-off, you would be utterly wrong. This form of facial recognition is already being experimented in other cities including Jinan, Shanghai and Nanjing according to the South China Morning Post.
China is planning to merge its 170+ million security cameras with artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to create a mega-surveillance state. This compounds with China's "social credit system" that ranks citizens based on their behavior, and rewards and punishes depending on those scores.
The effort of using facial recognition as a ticket -- especially as an incentive -- is spreading across the world, starting with entertainment concert venues which Fight For The Future and dozens of artists strongly oppose as Activist Post reported.
That's not all -- even retail is pushing to forcefully indoctrinate society to use facial recognition technology as an anti-theft mechanism to be introduced in a thousands of stores using biometric software FaceFirst to build a database of shoplifters, as Activist Post reported.
Lately, BIG brother has been pushing the use of surveillance technology, from Amazon helping law enforcement with its Facial Rekogntion software, DHS wanting to use it for border control, to the Olympics wanting to use the tech for security.
Further, some of the biggest airports in the U.S. -- estimated at 16 airports across the nation -- are now scanning us as we board international flights. CBP (Customs And Border Patrol) expects to scale up the program to cover more than 97 percent of passengers flying outside of the U.S. by 2021 according to NextGov.
It's all a part of U.S. President Donald Trump's "Biometric Exit" agenda, which was originally signed into law under the Obama administration, BuzzFeed News reported.
Further, the policy director of U.S. CBP believes that facial recognition has already become essential. The agency's head Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John Wagner has also hilariously said that its facial tracking technology isn't surveillance, as Activist Post reported.
In 2017, Homeland Security clarified their position on domestic spying stating that Americans who don't want their faces scanned leaving the country "shouldn't travel."
"The only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling," the DHS wrote in a document.
This nightmarish reality if it comes to fruition will see everyone scrutinized and their bio identics in numerous government databases. This would allow anyone access to our biometrics at any single point in time, whether that's our fingerprints, face, voice, or financial purchases for advertisers.
If that wasn't bad enough, Chinese scientists have recently developed an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled 500 megapixel cloud camera that's capable of panoramic capture of an entire stadium with the ability to target a single individual in an instant, Global Times reported.
The upgrade to facial recognition technology is developed by Shanghai-based Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Changchun, capital of Northeast China's Jilin Province.
Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics aren't the first researchers to advance facial recognition. There is also Shanghai-based YITU Technology which has evolved the facial recognition industry by being able to identify a person within a matter of seconds from a database of people, even if only their partial face is visible, CNBC reported.
The evolution of facial recognition technology is further documented by researchers at the University of Bradford have found that "facial recognition technology works even when only half a face is visible," according to EurekAlert. Although, this upgraded technology hasn't been tested by police to this writer's knowledge, and let's hope that it never is, for if it does civil liberties and privacy will cease to exist.
If Americans aren't careful we will soon have the same surveillance state and facial recognition dystopia that Chinese citizens now have in 2019.
Already, facial recognition cameras are being suggested to be installed in subways, trains and bus stations like recently in New York. Earlier this year, the head of the MTA's finance committee, Larry Schwartz, called for the installation of surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology to catch and deter criminals.
Although, the Chinese have gotten a head start on everyone with their social credit program that is already being flaunted in the U.S. and its world-famous Chinese Firewall preventing its populace from speaking out, arresting dissidents, imprisoning Muslim Uygurs aided by big tech like Google.
Privacy advocate groups, attorneys, and even more recently Microsoft, which also markets its own facial recognition system, have all raised concerns over the technology, pointing to issues of consent, racial profiling, and the potential to use images gathered through facial recognition cameras as evidence of criminal guilt by law enforcement.
"We don't want to live in a world where government bureaucrats can enter in your name into a database and get a record of where you've been and what your financial, political, sexual, and medical associations and activities are," Jay Stanley, an attorney with ACLU, told BuzzFeed News about the use of facial recognition cameras in retail stores. "And we don't want a world in which people are being stopped and hassled by authorities because they bear resemblance to some scary character."
Meanwhile in the UK, YouGov carried out Britain's first national survey on public opinion regarding the use of facial recognition tech by the Ada Lovelace Institute. The institute found that, out of 4,109 adults aged over 16 questioned on the opinions of the technology -- a massive 55 percent said they wanted the UK government to impose restrictions on the tech.
In addition, a 46 percent of respondents said they want the right to opt-out of the use of facial recognition technology and 61 percent of people opposed the use of facial recognition tech on public transport.
On the other side of the hemisphere, another national survey in the U.S. of 3,151 U.S. adults in December take by the Center for Data Innovation, found only one in four Americans believe the federal government should strictly limit the use of facial recognition biometrics technology.
The survey also indicated Americans are more likely to support a trade-off to their own privacy caused by biometric technology if it benefits law enforcement, reduces shoplifting or speeds up airport security lines.
Only 18 percent of those polled stated they agreed with strict limitations on facial recognition tech if it comes at the expense of public safety, compared to 55 percent who disagreed with such limitations.
However, a poll from the Brookings Institution in September 2018 contradicts that and found half of Americans favored limitations of the use of facial recognition by law enforcement, while 42 percent felt it invaded personal privacy rights.
There is still hope for Americans with Congressmen being opposed to the use of the technology and calling for a "halt" of its deployment. However, despite Congressional hearings on the matter police departments across the U.S. like Detroit have decided to go forward with a facial recognition program for police. The program has already drawn severe blowback with activists protesting the decision.
Already, we have had several wins in this long fight and there are signs of hope. First, San Francisco banned facial recognition technology being used by the government in May of this year, then Somerville, Massachusetts, and Oakland, California followed suit.
The rapid growth of this technology has triggered a much-needed debate to slow down the roll out. Activists, politicians, academics and even police forces all over the world are expressing serious concerns over the impact facial recognition could have on our society.
Several lawmakers have even chimed in to voice concerns about Amazon's facial recognition software, expressing worry that it could be misused, The Hill reported.
A Senate bill introduced in March would force companies who want to use facial recognition technology on consumers to first get their consent. If that happens as soon as the ink is dry Amazon's Ring and Amazon's Facial Recognition which heavily relies on facial recognition technology could be banned across the U.S.
Congress under the House Oversight Committee recently held a bipartisan discussion on the issue of regulating the use of facial recognition technology and biometric cameras.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said, "there are virtually no controls .... Whatever walk of life you come from, you may be a part of this [surveillance] process."
The committee's top Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.) also expressed "It's time for a time out" on government use of the surveillance technology.
Fight For The Future has previously launched a first-of-its-kind interactive map that tracks where in the U.S. facial recognition technology is being used and where it is being resisted, along with a tool-kit for local activists who want to help kickstart a ban in their city or state, as Activist Post reported.
Consent to be identified by the government whenever and wherever we go is approval to have the government decide whether, when, and where we are allowed to travel like China. Making our faces be our travel card is put bluntly: a very dangerous precedent to allow.
We can't change our facial structures, all of a sudden you could find yourself being blocked from services just because the government doesn't like you or your politics.
If all else fails, I suppose we could all use anti-facial recognition lasers like the protesters in Hong Kong did to disrupt the systems. At least until the artificial intelligence evolves to the point which even George Orwell couldn't have imagined.
Daily Jot: Schiff happens - Bill Wilson -
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) is under fire for purposely fabricating with his own version President Trump's transcript with the President of Ukraine. In his opening statement for the House Intelligence Committee hearing, Schiff read a false narrative of the transcript at the epicenter of the Democratic Party's impeachment accusations. Schiff said, "And what is the President's response-well it reads like a classic organized crime shake down. In essence, what the President Trump communicates is this..." Then he fabricated the conversation. After the soundbites and media rush to publish, Schiff later said he meant to be "at least part" in parody. Schiff's ethics already are under fire.
In March, Judicial Watch, an educational foundation that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics, and the law, filed an official complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics about Schiff's controversial contacts and communications with two congressional witnesses: Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS and Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer. The complaint asked that Schiff be investigated about his meeting with Simpson in Aspen, Colorado, in July 2018 and that he and his staff coordinated with Michael Cohen on Cohen's testimony to congressional committees. Cohen's testimony is alleged to be false in several important respects, according to Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch filed a previous ethics complaint on April 13, 2018, against Schiff and Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) for improperly confirming classified information in violation of House rules, but the Committee has yet to take any public action on the complaint. "Rep. Schiff has an ethics problem. His and his staff's irregular communications with anti-Trump witnesses reflect poorly on the credibility of the House and its committees' investigations," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "It has long been apparent that Rep. Schiff can't be trusted to lead the Intelligence Committee, so we hope that Democrats on the Ethics Committee stop protecting Mr. Schiff and take action."
Schiff is just one example in many of how unethical politics is deeply rooted within the branches of government. There is a lot of discussion among the media pundits about Trump calling this impeachment inquiry a "coup" attempt. He is being ridiculed for his remarks. This entire continuum reaching back to Fusion GPS, the Obama FISA request to spy on the Trump transition team, the Mueller investigation, and the blatant statements of people, such as Hillary Clinton, that Trump is an illegitimate president all lead to the conclusion of an ongoing attempt to remove the president from office. The impeachment is just one legal way that they are now trying. Psalm 94:16 asks, "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers?" Who will rise up for our nation against the evildoers? Let us stand together for justice. If Schiff happens, let's flush it!
Daily Devotion: The Necessity of Wise Living - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
That very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed. And Darius the Mede took over the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.-Daniel 5:30-31
Every nation has a lifespan. The powerful Persian Empire continued for 208 years. The glory of Greece was eclipsed after 268 years. Mighty Rome ruled for nine centuries. The United States of America is 243 years old and counting.
Ancient Babylon lasted around 86 years. And in the fifth chapter of Daniel, we find the story of its fall.
The Babylonians felt their city and their nation were invincible. After all, they had a complex series of walls-some as high as 300 feet. Water was plentiful, because the mighty river Euphrates ran through the city. And they had stored up enough food to feed their population for the next twenty years.
But at this moment historically, they didn't know the Medo-Persian forces, under the command of Cyrus, were right outside their walls.
King Belshazzar's grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, had died. Prior to his death he had a dramatic conversion after a period of insanity. Belshazzar, on the other hand, went out of his way to mock God. And that never ends well.
While Belshazzar feasted and drank wine from vessels that were taken from the temple in Jerusalem, a hand appeared and wrote on the palace wall. This is the moment when the banquet hall became a courtroom. And God said to the king, in effect, "Your number is up."
Judgment was at the door, literally. The Bible tells us, "That very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed. And Darius the Mede took over the kingdom at the age of sixty-two" (Daniel 5:30 NLT).
There will be a last night for every person, a last night for every nation. There will be a last meal, a last statement, a last breath, and then . . . eternity. We need to live our lives wisely, because we don't know how much time we have.
FROM THE HEART
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