Living in a Total Surveillance World
By Pastor Hal Mayer
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Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining me today as we study God’s word again. We need to see the things of God more deeply and apply them to ourselves in these last days. I am amazed at how rapidly prophetic events are unfolding. In the past, we could read the prophecies of the Bible and recognize WHAT is going to happen in the future but if you are like me, you may have wonder HOW they are going to happen, especially since some of them seemed so impossible under the circumstances 10, 20 or 30 years ago. But now we often can see HOW those things are going to develop. In fact, they are developing before our eyes. So, the important question is whether you and I have a strong hold on Jesus. He is the only way we will ever survive the future.
Today, we are going to study something that most of us thought ten or twenty years ago would have been impossible. But now it is a reality and it is a serious challenge to your faith and your faithfulness to the Lord. While at present it doesn’t seem, on the surface, as if the total surveillance society is hostile to your faith, you can be sure that underneath the surface, and behind the scenes, it is laying a foundation that will surely impact your freedom to worship according to the Ten Commandments. The new environment is absolutely devastating to the U.S. Constitution, which is now but a shell of its former self. No one has changed its language, but it has been repudiated by America’s leaders just the same. And the same basic rights and freedoms of citizens in other countries face the same threats. Never before in history has there been so much information about your personal life, your movements, your communications and even your thoughts and plans been available to snoops and government agents who may already be adversaries of your faith.
So, get ready. What is coming upon the planet is exactly what the Bible predicted. Revelation 13 tells us that there is coming a totalitarian global government that will enforce Babylonian worship by cruel and despotic means, to the point where those who refuse to go along with the new world order religion will be killed. Sound outlandish? Perhaps. But then the Bible is full of outlandish predictions… until they actually happen. And when they do, they will seem reasonable, or at least they will be justified as reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances.
We have been studying the life of Elijah in light of our times. And though we will go further into his life in due time, we are going to study a related matter today.
You may remember that in the time of Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel had developed a strategy to impose the worship of Baal on Israel, God’s church that included an intense domestic surveillance program that jeopardized the lives of the prophets of the Lord and which also kept Elijah in hiding during the time of drought. In those days it was dangerous to live a righteous life. It was dangerous to worship the true, living God of Israel. It was dangerous to oppose Ahab and Jezebel’s worship laws, which enforced Baal worship and forbade the worship of God.
Friends, that is the way it will be in the last days, when the third Elijah will have a very important and similar work to do. The circumstances will be very similar, but on a global scale.
Jezebel represents the false religion of Babylon or the Papacy. Here it is from Revelation 2:20. Speaking to the Christian church at Thyatira, Jesus says “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”
There was a lot of wicked stuff going in Thyatira. And it called forth a reproof from Christ. But Thyatira also represents the era of the Middle Ages in which the Papacy rose to power and played the spiritual harlot. Like Jezebel, the popes imposed their own Babylonian-style religion on the people and persecuted those who were the true followers of Jesus and who lived by the Bible. The Middle Ages under the inquisition also developed a surveillance program to keep its citizens under control, and keep money coming into the coffers of the church. In the name of keeping society secure from apostasy and wickedness, the church imposed a wicked system that forced her Sunday worship and other violations of the law of God on the masses. There were serious penalties, even death in some cases, for owning copies of the Bible or for teaching anything that would be different from the established teaching of the Catholic Church.
The aim of a surveillance society is control. The plan, at least among the evil principalities and powers, is to eventually impose the worship of Satan, the dragon. Revelation 13:4 says that “they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast…” In order for this prophecy to be fulfilled, there must be a total surveillance society so that these powers control the human race. And it happens that we are now finally there, or nearly so.
We need to understand the concept of a total surveillance society much better than we do. But before we begin, let us pray and ask for God’s precious Holy Spirit to speak to us as we study.
Or Father in heaven, today we are on the brink of eternity. Compared to the times before, we are very close to the close of probation. We need your precious Holy Spirit to understand and discern our times. So, today we invite His presence as we study. We ask that You will teach us how to think about the news that unfolds each day. Show us how prophetic our times really are. As we open your word and as we consider our times, let us be richly blessed and urgently called to prepare for the almost overwhelming surprise that is coming upon the whole world. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Turn with me in your Bibles, if you can, to Proverbs 15:3. This is a short, but very important verse that tells us something about surveillance. Here it is. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
Now, isn’t that interesting? Did you know that there are two systems of surveillance on the human race? In fact, the great controversy between Christ and Satan involves surveillance in a dramatic way on both sides. You see, Satan wants everything that God has. But he has a different purpose and a different way of going about it. God is merciful and full of love. He is also a righteous judge and makes no mistake in His evaluation of character, actions and behavior. He understands the motive. And His love brings with it mercy on the repentant sinner. So He has a perfect right to keep an accurate record of everything said and done by everyone on the planet.
But not Lucifer. Satan is not motivated by love, except love of self. He wanted God’s power in heaven. He said, “I will be like the most high” Isaiah 14:14. He bent every effort to convince the unfallen angels to join him. And tragically, one third of them did.
When Lucifer was cast out of heaven, he got man to replace his loyalty to God with loyalty to himself. That started the process of sin. And he succeeded in getting man to worship him instead of God. But there have always been a few who have been loyal to God no matter what. And those he persecuted relentlessly. Today, he is stealthily preparing to do this again. Bible prophecy reveals that he will be successful in getting the loyalty and worship of the whole world except for a few faithful souls who will refuse to buckle under pressure. Here it is in Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” In other words, if you are loyal to God, you will face a serious time ahead.
Satan works by force, or coercion, using human laws that restrict conscience and enforce disobedience of God’s law. God, on the other hand, works by persuasion, offering eternal life for those whose loyalties remain true to the principles of heaven’s law.
The key distinctive sign of loyalty has to do with worship. God’s law tells us to worship Him on the seventh day of the week. But Satan wants to substitute that with the first day of the week. He has gotten much of the world to follow his plan. The Papacy claims to have changed God’s law from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week and many churches follow her lead. The Bible predicted this in Daniel 7:25. Speaking of the great religious power in the last days, the Bible says that “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws…”
There is only one global religious power that has ever claimed to change God’s time and God’s law. That power is the Papacy. In the name of being the vicegerent of Christ; in the name of being God on earth, Rome has changed the day God set aside to cease from secular labor and spend time with Him, and replaced it with the invention of Satan. Rome and her followers worship their god on Sunday instead of worshipping the God of heaven on His appointed Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. The Catholic Church is determined to disobey God and require all to worship on Sunday. This has been her practice for 2000 years. It is still her practice and it will be her practice until the very end of earthly history.
All this will be a heavy burden in the day of judgment for those who seek to change God’s time and God’s law and thereby pervert His words. Listen to what the prophet Jeremiah says about those who do this evil work. I’ll read from chapter 23:36. “For every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.”
Historically, Rome enforced Sunday worship by penalties. She demanded total submission to her claims and her authority. And she is aiming to do that again as we near the close of time. This is just as Satan would have it. Rome is his instrument to gain religious control of the whole world. Globalization is the political and economic means by which he can bring the structures of human organizations and individuals under his control. He is working to organize the entire planet under his banner through the new world order.
And surveillance is very important for the new world order to achieve its goals. The primary purpose of the information gained by surveillance is to provide evidence in a time of judgment or trial, or to accuse. During the papal inquisition in medieval times, the tribunal used the information gained by surveillance to accuse its victims. It is the same today. The fear of accusation is intimidating. So, data collected by surveillance becomes a powerful tool in the hands of government to enforce compliance to its ever increasing demands.
Notice that the verse that I read at the beginning says that the eyes of the Lord see everything both good and evil. And notice that God keeps a record of everything. It’s found in Revelation 20:12. After the millennium God will judge the wicked. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
So, God has a surveillance system. Not only is it a total surveillance system, everything is recorded and kept forever, or at least until the end of the millennium when the final judgment occurs.
Satan is very jealous about God’s system of universal oversight. He wants this too, but his purposes are unholy and unrighteous. He has to spend a lot of your money and the money of many others to build a human technology-based surveillance program that is so extensive that no one can escape the snare. Oh friends, this is the time to make sure that you are living by the principles of heaven. You want the testimony that we find of Daniel.
Listen to what it says in Daniel 6:4, 5. “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
It was Daniel’s worship that they tried to use to destroy him. They were cooperating with Satan. And notice that they set up surveillance on Daniel. They tried to find something wrong with him. No doubt they investigated all his accounts. They looked into his personal practices. They tracked where he went. They spied on his relationships. They conducted espionage on him. It says they “sought to find occasion against him in relation to his work for the king.” They thought he was like them, making side deals, taking bribes, or enriching himself at the king’s expense. But Daniel was clean. These spooks dug deep into his life. They poked around every thing trying to find something by which to accuse Daniel before the king. But they failed, utterly failed. They were baffled, confounded and defeated.
They had no choice but to set him up so that his worship became the central focus of their attack. In this, we see a prophetic story about the end of the time that shows us the relationship between surveillance and the Sunday law. Those with whom Satan and his earthly agents like the NSA will find no fault, will be faced with laws that conflict with their obligations to God, in particular, they will face a law requiring the abandonment of the seventh day Sabbath as a day of rest and worship, replacing it with Sunday. God’s people will stand in stark contrast with the wicked world, just like Daniel stood in stark contrast to those wicked presidents.
Satan cannot stand to see anyone truly worship God with the whole heart. He will try to find any fault he can use to discredit you. But there will be those he cannot discredit by all the surveillance and all the spying. He will only be able to find fault with them concerning the law of their God.
Would that be you? Are you one of those? Friends, if you aren’t living a consistent life, this is the time to straighten it out and get it right. If you aren’t living the way you should, please take the time now to organize yourself so that no one will find any fault with you. You can live above the wickedness of the world by the grace and power of Christ.
Satan cannot see everything. He cannot read the heart. His power is limited. He cannot duplicate God’s compassionate surveillance system. He can only set up a counterfeit that is ruthless. Don’t think that the NSA is friendly to your relationship to God. Don’t think that other government spying organizations are going to overlook your faults when you are called upon to stand loyal to God.
The digital age has provided many benefits. Digital technology is a powerful tool that can be used for very good purposes. But Satan has ungodly purposes in mind. He lets people use the technology for their own advantage, but all the while he is building the infrastructure that he needs to control your thoughts and actions if he can. And it isn’t just in America that this is happening. It is also happening in quite a number of countries.
Let us try to understand what has led up to the place where we are now in terms of surveillance. Some people think that the NSA began its spying after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. But that is erroneous. The NSA was created in 1952 by President Harry Truman through a secret Presidential memo (similar to an executive order). He did it on October 24 when the attention of the nation was distracted and engrossed by a presidential election. The executive order went into effect unnoticed on November 4 of that year, the day of the election.
“Wikipedia – National Security Agency”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nsa
Wikipedia – United States presidential election, 1952
Only those who needed to know knew the secret order. And the new agency thrived in the shadows of a government that was dramatically expanding its social programs and agencies designed to address problems that had little to do with secret activities.
Great debates were raging over the Vietnam War. There were race riots and the people of the United States were so engrossed in these public social and political matters that they didn’t even notice that the NSA was growing into a behemoth that would one day become the most comprehensive surveillance agency the world has ever known.
The number of people employed by the NSA is officially classified, but estimates range throughout its history from 59,000 to in excess of 93,000. Today, estimates are lower, perhaps in the 30,000 – 40,000 range. Private contractors, similar to the types of organizations Edward Snowden worked for, however, could add many thousands more. Today, there are 16 intelligence gathering agencies in the U.S. government alone, not to mention several run by the British government and those of other nations that are less known.
Wikipedia – National Security Agency
Wikipedia – United States Intelligence Community
After 9/11 however, President Bush initiated what became known as the “Total Information Awareness” program. It was intended to do the very thing that the NSA is doing now. But public reaction to the President’s plan was quite strong and it was finally renamed and taken from the public eye. The government continued to establish the capabilities of collecting and analyzing mass data from U.S. citizens anyway, secretly, by putting the pieces together in the NSA.
New York Times – Total Information Awareness
Wikipedia – Total Information Awareness:“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Information_Awareness
TechTarget – Total Information Awareness
The September 11 attacks gave the NSA an excuse to dramatically increase its intrusive surveillance. In a book called Top Secret America, Dana Priest and William Arkin expose the dramatic growth of the security or surveillance state since the 2001 attacks. Congress had created the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, but not so with the National Security Agency. And since it’s beginning, the NSA has operated without congressional oversight and without hardly any congressional knowledge.
The agency is enormous. Located at the Fort Meade, Maryland military installation, its headquarters is built on 350 acres, has 1,300 buildings and 18,000 parking spaces. The main building contains 3,000,000 square feet, or more than 68 square acres of floor space. It is easily more than four times the size of the U.S. Capitol. It has its own post office, fire department and police force. The NSA is Maryland’s largest consumer of electricity.
The NSA also has facilities in Pennsylvania, California, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Hawaii, Tennessee, Washington, Virginia and elsewhere including Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, Germany and New Zealand. All up, there are 10,000 locations around the U.S. alone, plus those in other countries.
A brand new data processing and storage center has just been completed near Bluffdale, Utah at a cost of $1.5 billion. It is reportedly capable of storing extremely large amounts of data on the scale of exabytes, or zettabytes. Some reports say the new Utah facility is able to store and process up to five zettabytes of data, which is equivalent to 250 billion DVDs. If all that data was stored on paper in traditional filing cabinets, the cabinets would cover 6.6 million square miles.
The data center is also reportedly capable of processing all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls and internet searches plus all types of personal data trails, such as parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases and other digital “pocket litter.”
The place is projected to consume 65 megawatts of electricity, which will cost $40 million a year and it will consume 1.7 million gallons of water per day. Perhaps an energy shortage or a serious drought would bring the whole system to a halt.
NPR – Amid Data Controversy, NSA Builds Its Biggest Data Farm
Wired – The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center
The NSA collects on a daily basis 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other types of communications. It also analyzes huge volumes of “transactional data” collected by itself or other government agencies, which include domestic emails, bank transfers, credit card transactions and travel and telephone records. They monitor key words and other selectors of all communications collected.
Wikipedia – National Security Agency
The Wall Street Journal – NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows
As Agency Sweeps Up Data
The Washington Post in a series of articles called Top Secret America, which led to the book I just mentioned, summarized the findings of a rather exhaustive study of the NSA in 2010 by saying “The top-secret world that the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work… After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.”
According to Top Secret America, an estimated 854,000 people have top security clearances for the NSA, which is more than one and a half times the number of people that live in Washington, DC. In and around Washington, DC, 33 building complexes dedicated to top secret intelligence work have been built since 2001 or are being built. Together they are more than three times the size of the Pentagon, more than 22 times the size of the U.S. Capitol with about 17 million square feet of space. Analysts publish 50,000 reports a year, more than anyone can read and are therefore routinely ignored. In addition the NSA is building a huge new facility in the desert in Utah to further expand its spying operations on American citizens and others.
One retired military General involved in the NSA said, “The complexity of this system defies description.”
The Washington Post – A hidden world, growing beyond control
The revelations of Edward Snowden caught many by surprise. It certainly caught the NSA by surprise. They say he “stole the keys to the kingdom,” among the more than 1.5 million documents he spirited out of the bosom of the NSA.
But perhaps it would have also surprised and shocked America’s founders. One wonders if the founders of the United States would even recognize it any more. They set up a constitution to prevent such intrusion on its citizens. They had rebelled against the “writs of assistance,” which were essentially spying expeditions on the colonists. They could see that the power of surveillance over the citizenry is an important tool of tyranny. They had no clue what the digital age would do, nor did they envision it. Yet, they wisely established a constitution that would require a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity in order to justify such a deep intrusion into the private lives of citizens. Today, it is vital to be more vigilant than they. But the NSA and other secret government organizations largely ignore the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution that forbids unreasonable search and seizure.
Wikipedia – Writ of assistance
“PDF – The NSA’s “General Warrants”:
How the Founding Fathers Fought an 18th Century Version of the
President’s Illegal Domestic Spying”:https://www.eff.org/files/filenode/att/generalwarrantsmemo.pdf
The Sydney Morning Herald – Snowden stole ‘keys to the kingdom’: NSA
The digital age has certainly changed the way the NSA works and has given them far more power than the East German Stasi during the cold war which used surveillance to remove the liberties of the people living under their control and maintains the communist party’s power.
CNN – Germany’s Stasi past looms over NSA spying furor
How America and the other five-eyes nations (which include Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand) have developed such complete surveillance capabilities is nothing short of astonishing. The East German Stasi, the KGB and every other totalitarian state would have been green with envy to have the resources these supposedly free nations now control. The United States and the other five-eyes nations are developing their surveillance powers very similar to previous totalitarian regimes, through an elaborate network of laws that empower the surveillance and erode the constitutional and other rights of their citizens.
The Guardian – David Cameron makes veiled threat to media over NSA and GCHQ leaks
Spiegel – Passively ‘Sniffing’ Data: How Mobile Network Spying Works
The Guardian – US and UK struck secret deal to allow NSA to ‘unmask’ Britons’ personal data
The Guardian – Australia accused of using embassies to spy on neighbours
In the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the U.S. Congress enacted the Patriot Act which gave the government considerable powers of surveillance and erected a huge security infrastructure that is far more extensive than anything seen on the planet before.
In essence it completely overthrows the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.”
Wikipedia – Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
In the last ten years, the U.S. government with the cooperation and even the collusion of Presidents Bush and Obama, Congress, judges and others has developed a surveillance system that completely disregards the U.S. Constitution as well as the intentions of the founding fathers in writing it. It has in effect repealed the fourth amendment and opened the legal floodgates to spy on U.S. citizens, consolidate power and erect the systems of tyranny over American society.
The revelations of Edward Snowden, who is now living in temporary asylum in Russia, have provided compelling evidence that the NSA has wholly violated the fourth amendment. If it had not been for Mr. Snowden leaking one constitutional violation after another to the London Guardian, and the Washington Post, we would not even begin to comprehend the magnitude of the NSA programs, or the intentions of the governments involved. Since the revelations began, the NSA and its equivalent organizations in some of the other five-eyes nations have come under enormous pressure globally for spying on their own citizens, foreign leaders and dignitaries, etc.
Sydney Morning Herald – US monitored phones of 35 world leaders
USA Today – Europeans outraged over NSA spying, threaten action
Spiegel – Europe Furious Over US Spying Allegations
The Guardian – Spain warns US of breakdown in trust after new NSA revelations
Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance of phone records likely violates the Constitution confirming what many have known or suspected all along. In his scathing rebuke to the NSA, he said the intrusion of privacy is “almost Orwellian.” The case is still pending appeal, so the final result is not clear. But what is clear to most thinking people is that the massive surveillance is taking America and other nations much farther than they have ever gone before in intelligence gathering among their citizens.
USA Today – Federal judge rules against NSA spying
Sydney Morning Herald – US phone snooping ‘almost Orwellian’
All of this is very satisfactory to the Vatican who plans to “sit as a queen” over the kings of the earth (see Revelation 18:7). The Papacy is waiting in the wings to bring her faith and worship into the laws of the new world order. But she is waiting for the systems to be erected and implemented so that she can use the kings of the earth to her own advantage to enforce them. Keep in mind that it would be impossible to impose a global system of worship, including universal Sunday laws, unless there was a way to enforce them on a global scale. The Bible predicts a global totalitarian regime that will rule the nations and require worship of the beast. The destruction of the fourth amendment is necessary to the destruction of the fourth commandment.
Revelation 13:15 Says that the new world order led by the United States will be so controlling that there will be death penalties for failing to worship according to the dictates of the religious laws that are sure to come. Here is the verse. “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15
The NSA has not limited itself to collecting data on American citizens. It has also shared that data, unredacted with other nations, namely Israel, but also probably with others. No doubt the five-eyes nations share data with each other too.
Washington Times – NSA shares raw data on Americans with Israeli spy agency
Voice of Russia – NSA’s ‘five eyes’ – Australia, UK, Canada and New Zealand – collect and share personal data with US
Sydney Morning Herald – Fresh spy leak shows Australia offered to share data on its citizens
There have been many disclosures about the unconstitutional activities of the NSA in the reams and reams of information from Edward Snowden. Perhaps the most significant was the revelation that the telecommunications companies in the United States, starting with Verizon have surrendered to the NSA and provided them with huge volumes of private phone records, otherwise known as “meta-data” of millions of Americans on a daily basis, none of whom were suspected of committing a crime, as required by the U.S. Constitution.
Verizon telecommunications was served a top-secret court order by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), demanding that it turn over the phone records of millions of its customers to the NSA on an “ongoing daily basis.” Verizon hands over an electronic copy of all “call detail records created by Verizon for communications abroad and wholly within the United States, including the phone numbers involved, calling card information, time and duration of calls, the electronic identity of a device used, etc.
The government says that the meta-data doesn’t require an individual warrant because it is “transactional information” rather than actual communications. Though the government says they are not collecting the actual conversations, the meta-data is loaded with detail, which can easily be used to track the movements of a given individual, identify networks of friends and associates, how often and when they were contacted and from where, and much more. From this detail, they can put together a clear picture of a person’s regular activities, whether they are living a double life, basic health information, etc.
The Guardian – NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily
The Obama government, and the Bush government before it, apparently views the constitution as advisory, but not legally binding.
And the system involves a sophisticated form of bribery. Verizon was chosen to participate in a ten-year contract worth $10 billion to provide “cloud and hosting services” to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The lesson? Crimes against the U.S. Constitution can pay very handsomely.
News Center – Verizon Corporate – U.S. Department of the Interior Selects Verizon to Participate in $10 Billion, 10-Year Cloud-Hosting Contract Vehicle
The NSA also tracks social media. They know what you have posted on Facebook and Twitter, when it was posted and who read what you posted. The program, known as PRISM, allows the NSA and the FBI to tap directly into the central servers of the nine largest U.S. internet providers and extract all manner of data including audio, video, photographs, emails and even connection logs, which means that it can track an individual’s movements as well as his network of contacts. One career intelligence officer said the PRISM program was so invasive that the FBI and NSA “quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.”
The Verge – NSA used PRISM to collect more than 200 million internet communications a year as of 2011
Breibart – PRISM: ‘They Quite Literally Can Watch Your Ideas Form As You Type’
And it isn’t just Facebook and Twitter. Google, AOL, Microsoft, Apple, Skype, and Yahoo also permitted their servers to be tapped by the federal surveillance agents to snoop and collect data on their users.
The Wall Street Journal – NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows
As Agency Sweeps Up Data
Catholic Online – Hideous new PowerPoint slide reveals NSA intrusion into Google security
“The New York Times – Angry Over U.S. Surveillance, Tech Giants Bolster Defenses”: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/01/technology/angry-over-us-surveillance-tech-giants-bolster-defenses.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
The Guardian – Snowden document reveals key role of companies in NSA data collection
The New York Times – N.S.A. Said to Tap Google and Yahoo Abroad
Another leak from Mr. Snowden revealed a program called “XKeyscore,” which monitors and records every email written by every American, every website browsed, searches as well as meta-data; virtually everything a user would do in a typical day on the internet, again without probable cause for such a process. The program even allows the NSA to collect real time interception of an individual’s internet activity. It allows an analyst to read the content of Facebook chats and private messages. They can also search by name, IP address, keywords, and other information.
The Guardian – XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’
The Wall Street Journal (August 3) explained that the NSA is remotely activating the microphones and cameras in Android smartphones and Windows laptops. The Journal said the FBI is using a variety of “hacking tools” to expand the scope of surveillance on millions of Americans and keeping them under watchful eye of big brother in Washington. Often the espionage involves loading surveillance software stealthily on a target’s computer using a link to a document that, when opened, installs the software. Once it is completed the federal government can listen to your conversations and watch you while you are in your own home. And they do so regularly according to people familiar with the programs. All of it is illegal except for a few instances where there is a validly issued warrant in accordance with the fourth amendment.
The Independent – WSJ alleges that FBI can remotely activate Android microphones and cameras
But the U.S. government isn’t content to listen to your phone calls and read your emails. It wants to look at your “snail mail” too. The U.S. postal computers routinely copy the outside of every envelope and store the data on every piece of paper mail that passes through the U.S. postal system. That’s about 160 billion pieces of mail each year.
Between the NSA and the Postal system, every form of communication whether it is electronic or paper is kept under continual surveillance.
But that’s still not all. The U.S. Federal Government keeps track of the movements and activities of its urban citizens. If you live in a city, the massive advanced camera-based system keeps track of you and your neighbors 24 hours a day. It supplements the cyber surveillance programs the U.S. government has in place in other agencies.
The system called Trapwire was revealed by the famous WikiLeaks website run by Julian Assange. The camera network is purportedly more accurate than modern facial recognition technology and has been installed under the radar of most Americans. Data collected by this system every few seconds is encrypted and sent to a secret facility to be aggregated with other intelligence. As usual it is claimed to be needed in the war on terror.
The New York Times – WikiLeaks Stirs Global Fears on Antiterrorist Software
RT – Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system
The intrusive surveillance goes even deeper. In 2013, it was disclosed in many news sources that the Internal Revenue Service was using tax audits as a political weapon. The IRS has been doing intrusive and illegal investigations of non-profit groups connected to the political party known as the Tea Party. The IRS was unnecessarily delaying their applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS has also been doing audits on people who were supporters of the Tea Party. This is a form of surveillance as well as political intimidation. It was only conservative and Tea Party groups that were being targeted. In other words, the IRS is being used as a political weapon against those who are against what the current administration stands for.
And it isn’t just the NSA and the IRS. In 2014 the FBI will begin its new program of surveillance including facial scans of people in public places, voice detection microphones and other features that will strip Americans of virtually all their privacy.
Catholic Online – Forbidden fruit: FBI to begin mass surveillance of Americans in 2014
Some people think that they have nothing to hide and don’t mind the surveillance. But this is a dangerous position. They do not understand the steps to tyranny. Nor do they know history, which is replete with nations who have gone down the same path. Letting the government conduct such intrusive surveillance opens the door to totalitarian rule. If the people permit the government to conduct unwarranted and illegal searches and surveillance, they lose their rights and liberties regardless of the reasons for the surveillance. When a government deprives its citizens of their basic civil rights, it has, by definition, become despotic.
Benjamin Franklin famously said, “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”
This is quite in contrast to what U.S. President Obama recently said. He told Americans in a news conference that we cannot have a nation that is 100 percent safe and 100 percent private. To be safe, he says, we have to make hard choices.
“CBS News – Obama: “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls”“:http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-nobody-is-listening-to-your-telephone-calls/
But a massive and unrestrained surveillance program is also dangerous from a prophetic point of view. If ever there is going to be global worship, there must be a system in place to enforce it. An intrusive surveillance state is a very important tool to eliminate all opposition to the worship laws that are the prophetic destiny of America and the world.
Many of us have done things in our lives that are embarrassing and we would not want them stored in some data file to be resurrected when a political or social enemy wants to use them against us. Think bad credit, poor academic performance, sensitive medical diagnoses, web surfing habits, etc. All of these are very personal matters that should be kept as personal as possible.
Also, actions and behavior patterns that are not criminal now, may well become criminal in the future, such as worship habits and personal convictions.
The many programs of the U.S. Federal Government, as well as those of other governments in cooperation with them, place every citizen in these countries under threat of constant surveillance. There is an unholy alliance between the various branches of government including the executive offices, courts and legislatures to remove the constitutional liberties they possess and create a beast that will eventually even trample on the rights of conscience.
Let us read it from Revelation 13:11, 12, “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”
This is the prophetic destiny of the United States. The construction of a totalitarian surveillance state is necessary to those who believe that the U.S. Constitution must be done away with in favor of a new world order. Their hostility to the U.S. Constitution, and any similar documents and legal restrictions in any country knows on bounds.
In a recent interview, William Binney, a former NSA employee with 40 years experience with the agency, held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”
Wired – The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center
Amid all the controversy about the NSA surveillance, the people of God should ask an important question. Why has all this been revealed? What is the purpose of God in showing us all these astonishing revelations of government intrusion of private citizen’s lives? This question leads us to a very important prophetic point.
God has permitted all the revelations so that you and I may understand the nature of what is coming upon God’s people in the last days. Governments have their reasons for setting up such invasive systems. They may want more power or they may want control. They say they are using it to fight terrorism, which isn’t a strong argument any more.
But underneath it all, there are a number of reasons why God wants you and me to see the magnitude and intensity of spying on common people. First, He wants us to understand how close we are to the close of probation. Second, He wants us to see the magnitude of the struggle ahead. Third, He wants us to see how important it is to live our lives consistent with God’s law.
But think about this. Fourthly, by revealing all this to us, God is showing us the lengths to which Satan will go in order to eventually remove all earthly support from God’s people who love Him and keep His commandments. God is showing us this system so that we will understand that we cannot rely on our own wits to survive in the coming conflict. He is showing us that we will not be able to depend on the government to survive the last great struggle in the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan. He is showing us that we cannot depend on anyone, except in Christ alone. Every earthly support will be cut off. Every personal privacy will be removed. Every earthly technology will be inaccessible. Every earthly defense will be removed from us. We will have to have complete confidence and trust in God. God alone will be the protection of His people in the final moments of earth’s history.
So, don’t expect this thing to change. The government will refuse to rein in the NSA. The president won’t do it. The courts won’t do it. And the U.S. Congress won’t do it. Why do I say that? Because Bible prophecy says so. They have tweaked the system to prevent another Edward Snowden from doing it ever again. They will erect stronger barriers against whistleblowers and leakers and will tighten up all the seams so that there is no chance of their clandestine work ever being revealed again. But God has revealed a glimpse of it to us so that we can understand our times and the real purposes of those in power.
Washington’s Blog – Instead of Reining In Mass Surveillance, Obama Tries to Put Lipstick On a Pig
The New York Times – Restraining the N.S.A.
Listen to this interesting statement from the Desire of Ages, page 121, 122, “In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell. It will finally be decreed that they shall be put to death. See Revelation 13:11-17. But to the obedient is given the promise, “He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” Isaiah 33:16. By this promise the children of God will live.”
Now is the time to come under God’s protection. Now is the time to learn to be dependent on God. Don’t wait until the last minute to get yourself under the banner of Prince Immanuel. By then it will be too late. Your life must increasingly depend on a power from above, not the government.
Listen to these words from the book Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5 page 451. “By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near.”
Protestantism is certainly stretching her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power under the ecumenical movement. Through Spiritual Formation and the false doctrine of the immortality of the soul, Protestantism is steeped in spiritualism, now it appears that the United States is repudiating core principles of its constitution by emasculating the fourth amendment. What next? The next thing on the horizon would be to make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, especially Sunday worship.
There is one more reason why God has revealed all this to us. By exposing something of the NSA’s capabilities, we learn that only the power of God can overthrow this system of surveillance and control. And when it has reached is zenith, when it is all powerful, and when it has been used to enforce universal Sunday laws to bring the whole world under Satan’s control, then God will knock it all over. All the massive programs, all the vast spying technology, all the global networks will come crashing down as God’s people are delivered.
Friends, we are truly in the last days. We are approaching the most challenging and difficult time for God’s true people. Those who obey all of the Ten Commandments will find themselves under threat of imprisonment, fines and even the death penalty for their faithfulness to God.
But let us never forget that there is a Watcher and a Holy One who has all the agents of surveillance under His own watchful eye. No injustice done to His faithful people is unobserved. No oppressive act is missed. No abuse of liberty unseen. Every move to restrict God’s people is carefully and faithfully recorded and stored in the heavenly books ready for the final judgment when all accounts will be reviewed before the Highest court in the universe from which there is no appeal, the judgment seat of Christ. They will have to give a final account, a final reckoning. They are under surveillance by the heavenly Watcher, the Holy One of Israel, who is watching carefully over His people.
King Nebuchadnezzar was no different than rulers are today. He saw himself as all-powerful. He was proud and arrogant. He was a despot and he had no qualms about tyranny. God-given civil liberties and personal rights meant little to him, just as they mean little to many rulers today. Like Nebuchadnezzar, many modern rulers do not think that they will ever have to give an account for their wicked schemes to remove liberty and bring in religious tyranny upon all people.
But God did something to Nebuchadnezzar that humbled him. It stands as a testimony against modern leaders who would try to resurrect the tyranny of Babylon. They are in essence resurrecting the spiritual worship of Babylon though many of them have no idea what they are doing.
Listen to Nebuchadnezzar’s description of his dream, which was literally fulfilled in his life. As ruler and dictator of Babylon, he was likened unto a lovely tree. This is in Daniel 4:10-17.
“Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.
“I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him: and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”
Notice the divine surveillance by the heavenly watchers. The holy watchers are important to understand. They understand every action. They understand every motive. Their judgment is just because they are righteous and have full knowledge. No earthly potentate can match this level of surveillance including right down to the heart and motives.
Now the lesson, America was also like a beautiful tree. It provided protection for the persecuted, a pleasant place to live for the oppressed of every nation. It was a land of opportunity and promise.
America is also depicted as a beast, which starts out as a lamb but ends up speaking and acting as a dragon. Are we seeing the transformation of American from a lamb to a dragon going on right now in the rise of the surveillance state? Is there a change of heart in process? Is it possible that America will be cut to the ground like the tree in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?
Notice that the purpose of this sentence on Nebuchadnezzar was to show him who really is the ruler among men. Even the worst rulers on the planet are given time to rule by the God of heaven in order to show what kind of men they are. They are given opportunity to acknowledge and cooperate with the God of heaven. But if they do not, if they push on with their imperial plans, if they continue to put arrangements in place to oppress the people and remove their liberties, they will be judged accordingly.
Removing God-given liberties and personal freedoms in any nation or among any people is the same as rising up against the principles of heaven, for God was the one who authored those inborn liberties and love of freedom. Those rulers who are working to establish totalitarian principles on a national or global scale are in fact rising up against the law of Jehovah. They are under control and are being manipulated by the dragon or Satan, who is preparing for the final conflict with Christ in the person of His people.
The books of heaven are more accurate than even the massive digital systems being developed today on planet earth. The apostle John says that these books of record will be opened and all those who had lived on the earth will be judged by what is written in them about their deeds.
Most people don’t realize that there has always been surveillance by the God of heaven. Satan wants to use surveillance too in his war against Christ. So, all this should not surprise us.
May the Lord help us understand the new surveillance state as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. I hope you understand that we are getting very close to the close of probation. This is the time to clean up your life so that it is wholly consistent with the law of God. Let your life be pure and holy, not just because of human surveillance, but because you love God and you want to honor Him at a time in history when to uphold His law will be considered treason.
May God bless you and keep you faithful.
Let us pray. Our heavenly Father, oh how much we want to be under your protection. We would rather You be the judge than a human agency. Today’s total surveillance state is laying the foundation for globalism and global worship. We can see it clearly. So, please help us to live righteous lives. Give us Your power and Your Holy Spirit so that we will be free from sin and live unto God’s righteousness every hour of every day. And thank you for revealing to us the significance of the time in which we live. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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