The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

November 1997

 

Contents

1) Computers and the Year 2000 (Y2K)
2)
Faith is the Victory
3)
Email From Ohio

 

Computers and the Year 2000

     

     Babylon destroyed?

     Sheep cloned! The next step, humans. Interesting! How much different are fallen men today than they have ever been?

 

     Nimrod & Babel

     The name, Nimrod—"we will revolt"— points to some violent resistance to God. Nimrod was called the mighty hunter before the Lord, i.e., "in opposition to Jehovah..." (Keil.) "Meaning, a cruel oppressor and tyrant." (Geneva.) The story is well known: Nimrod—a son of Cush, who was a son of Ham, who was a son of Noah—established the first imperial kingdom, an empire in the area of Babylon and Assyria, in the land of Shinar, very soon after the flood. Babylon is well known from Nimrod downwards as the symbol of the power of the world in its hostility to God. (Keil. God clearly revealed in the Book of Daniel that even Babylon does God's sovereign will on this earth.)

     According to Josephus, Nimrod persuaded his fellow men not to ascribe their happiness to God, but to their own courage. Nimrod also "gradually changed the government into tyranny,—seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them in to a constant dependence upon his power." Nimrod built the tower to "be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach ! and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers!" The multitudes were very ready to follow Nimrod in his revolt against God, gladly receiving the idea that it was cowardice to submit to God. So they agreed together to build the tower.

     Thus, Nimrod and his imperial kingdom, Babel, is a symbol of man's attempt: to revolt against God; to make a name for himself and for mankind, rather than a name for God; to take the glory away from God and cause men to be filled with their own importance—their happiness depended upon themselves, not upon God; to consider it "cowardice to submit to God"; to turn men against God, and in order to do this, the tyrant must bring others into constant dependance upon himself—thus Nimrod became the first tyrant; and to cause others to rebel against God. Clearly, Nimrod's spirit is very much alive and active today in fallen men's never ending attempt to throw off the bands and cords of God's law. (Ps. 2.) In order to get men to forsake God, the Nimrods of our day have become very skilled in using tyranny to accomplish their goal. And Nimrod's goal continues—a one-world government controlled by the very few, just enough men in control to make the government function. In order to accomplish the one-world dream, men must be forced away from God (government education), convinced that they must depend upon the state (entitlement programs) and that their happiness lies withing themselves (self-esteem).

     Sadly, the multitudes were all too ready to follow Nimrod in his dream against God. So they willingly threw themselves into helping him accomplish his dream; they worked hard to build the tower against God.

     Since Nimrod, man's goal has been to rebel against God and get out of the reach of God's judgment against sin, as Nimrod sought to do with his tower. Man has tried many means throughout the centuries to free himself of any fear of or accountability to God. Psalm two describes man's foolish efforts to get away from God, but just because they are expensive, foolish and useless, does not mean fallen man gives up—he does not. Modern fallen man uses everything he can imagine in his rebellion against God, e.g., science (falsely so called), medicine, laws, and most recently in man's advancing warfare against God, high technology. The age of computers has probably brought Nimrod's dream closer to reality than any other time since God confused the languages at Babel.

     Has God changed? Will the Lord God allow today what he refused to allow at Babel? This pastor does not think so. Where will the Lord draw the line as he did in Nimrod's day and say, "That's enough?" Only he knows—our only responsibility is to continue to stand against evil, develop and apply his word into society and do all we can to advance his kingdom on earth.

     When we consider fallen men's united attempt to fulfill Nimrod's dream of a one world government under a tyrant, we should go back and read what happened to Nimrod's dream:

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (Gen. 11:5-9.)

     Has God changed? Will the Lord God allow today what he refused to allow at Babel? There are many who might say, as I at one time said, "We don't have to worry about it. The Lord is at the door, and about ready to come back. We will be removed, and he will straighten out the mess." But what if he does not supernaturally remove his people from the mess they have caused by their indifferent withdrawal from social issues? Will Nimrod's dream come true?

[W]hich they have imagined to do. God said that when fallen men unite with a common goal against God and his kingdom on earth, nothing would be restrained from them. So the Lord confounded their language, that they were unable to understand one another's speech. Maybe I am an "optimist," but it appears to me that the Lord is doing just that again. Computers have been the main tools of the tyrants; now it looks like those tools are about to be confounded so that they may not understand one another's speech as they try to communicate to one another. (Who do you suppose caused the programers of the years past to overlook the Y2K problem?)

     A final note before we consider confounded their language. When we pray "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," we are praying for God's judgment against evil. Just a superficial reading of God's word shows us that the righteous will suffer with the wicked in God's times of judgments against the wicked.

 

     I am sure everyone by now is familiar with the quickly approaching Y2K situation. Every time I hear of the problem's mention or read an article about it, I am vividly reminded of what took place with Nimrod and Babylon. There are those who say that the Y2K problem is a lot of noise about nothing, which it may or may not be true.1 However, here are some facts to consider:

     First, a young man for whom I preformed a "coverture" marriage ceremony some time ago now works at a major Japanese auto plant in Lafayette. He has a Japanese friend who works in the accounting office at that large auto factory. Out of the "clear blue," the friend told him that those in authority in the company are getting all their assets out of paper and into tangible assets. They are fully convinced that the Y2K problem will bring down the financial system, world-wide.

     

     Second, Franklin Sanders wrote concerning the "Baby Bells:

 

NOT EVEN A BUSY SIGNAL

     Recently I talked with a man working in management for one of the Baby Bell telephone companies. In August. 1997 he attended an in-house Y2K seminar open to all employees, but targeted at Information Services (IS) folks.

     FIX THE VENDORS

     First problem they raised was vendor compliance. If Baby Bell becomes completely compliant, there is still the problem of their vendors' compliance—vendors with whom they exchange information by computer.

     After sending the third (3rd) set of letters asking vendors if they were aware of Y2K and what they were doing about it, only 26% of their vendors had responded by 8/20/97.

     FIX THE NUMBERS

     Baby Bell seminar leaders stated that they were tracking 470 computer applications for Y2K problems. Of that number, 77 had been reported Y2K compliant, 36 had been outsourced to fix, 29 had been ''packaged" and 55 would be replaced.

     Whoops, that only adds up to 197. What about the other 273? They said nothing, so my acquaintance concluded that Baby Bell has no idea what's going on with them.

     FIND THE MONEY

     Baby Bell IS managers told the seminar that funding for the entire Y2K IS program had not yet been secured. In other words, they were planning, and hoping they would get some money to carry out the plan.

     Baby Bell was also building a "time machine" to test their Y2K corrected programs. Completion of the time machine had been scheduled for 12/97, but my acquaintance hadn't been able to find out if they were on schedule. COUNT & FIX AT THE SAME TIME

     Baby Bell estimated they had more than 100 million [sic] lines of computer code to check. They had chosen not to skip the separate code assessment phase, and move ahead with remediation and conversion at the same time they check the code. Instead of fixing mission critical code first, you just fix whatever turns up next, important or unimportant. Problem is, you may find yourself spending months on perfecting code for the toilet security system, eating up time needed to fix code that controls telephone operations.

     As a guess my acquaintance said that the 77 applications Baby Bell claims complete must represent less than 25% of the 100 million lines to be corrected. If Baby Bell is now 25% compliant, as much as 75 million lines remain to be checked, converted, and tested. And since the time machine won't be ready before year end 1997, it appears they just won't be able to meet the Y2K deadline.

     WHY THEY WON'T MAKE IT

     If one person could fix - identify, convert, and test—one line of code per second, and he worked eight hours a day, five days a week with Saturdays and Sundays off, he would need thirteen years to fix 100 million lines of code.

     Working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, he would need 3 years and 4 months to fix 100 million lines of code.

     Problem is, nobody can identify, convert, and test one line of code per second. After you identify the problem and convert it, tests often send you back to re-fix it two, three, four, even five times. And there's a limit to the number of people you can put on the problem - diminishing returns in efficiency.

     Bottom line seems to be, Baby Bell will NOT make the deadline. Considering their inter-twinedness, if one telephone company doesn't make it, none of the others will.

     And without telephones, it doesn't matter whether banks, military, government, water systems, and electric companies meet the Y2K deadline or not - everybody will be out of business. * - - F. Sanders.2

     Third, the Y2K Challenge

     "Year 2000 problem a challenge for SEC, mutual fund investors" is the headline for an AP article in the Indianapolis Star, 11/16/97. A few high points from the article are:

As what could be a fateful date in the history of computer technology draws even closer, many mutual-fund investors are starting to pay close attention to the year 2000 problem. Experts have been working for some time now to head off a crisis that could arise from a simple-sounding matter: Many computer systems, now set up to read years by their last two digits, will lose track of dates as 1999 turns to 2000. ... "The more I study the year 2000 problem, the more convinced I am that Y2K is bound to disrupt economic activity," says Edward Yardeni, a prominent Wall Street economists with the firm of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Inc. ... But it's clearly a matter worthy of your attention long before the actual transition date arrives. Most fund investments are no longer documented with share certificates, but rely on computerized confirmation slips and account statements. ...

     We are not far from a very unusual event that has happened only one other time in history, AD 1000, and that is AD 2000. The following is from Gary North's ICE newsletter. He has asked for pastors to help him sound the alarm. See sample letter at end. Check out his web site, http://www.remnant.org

     Gary North's letter is as follows.

Dear ICE Subscriber:

Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity: but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand (Ezekiel 33:2-6).

     What if the threat is even more destructive than a sword? On the other hand, what if it looks a lot worse than a sword, but may in fact be a Ginzu paring knife ($6.95 plus postage and handling)? Do you sound the alarm? Do you wait for clearer vision? Do you say nothing? That's the position I find myself in. Again.

     In 1979, I hired Dr. Angelo Codevilla ("Dr. X"), Sen. Wallop's advisor, to write an article for Remnant Review: "The Danger Is Defeat, Not Destruction." It dealt with the firststrike nuclear missile capability of the Soviet Union. I pulled the copyright. Some 500,000 reprints went out, I think. In 1986, Dr. Art Robinson and I wrote Fighting Chance, on the need for a civil defense system. Dr. Robinson mailed out some 300,000 copies.

     In August, 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed in a bloodless coup: the largest empire ever to fall without a military invasion or centuries of prior disintegration. So, was I wrong to sound an alarm? No, because I went by what was possible at the time. A wise military strategist plans in terms of what the enemy is capable of doing. not what he is going to do. You can't know for sure what he is going to do, only what he may be capable of doing.

     We now face a new enemy, and, as Pogo Possum said, he is us. Rather, he was us. More to the point, he was a handful of computer programmers in the 1960's who decided to conserve a then-precious and costly resource, hard disk space. As a result of that ancient cost savings, it is at least possible that, beginning on January 1, 2000, we shall enter a period in which the Great Depression will look like a time of comparative social and economic stability. We may be about to enter the crisis era that P. A. Sorokin predicted in his book, The Crisis of Our Age (1941): the end of modern, materialistic, sensate culture. I could be wrong. You should not take my word for this. You should, however, begin checking out what I say within the next 30 days. It's that late in the scenario.

     The modern world may be facing its greatest challenge of the century. Because you and I live in this world, we will go through the wringer if this challenge is not met. What I'm about to discuss has society-wide implications (and I don't mean the United States alone), as well as personal implications. Here is the problem: planned obsolescence with no known cure. Experts took a calculated risk. They bet the whole world. Our world.

     You may have heard about this. It's called "the year 2000 problem." Four ancient, nearly forgotten computer languages run on most of the world's mainframe computers: COBOL, RPG, assembly, and PL1. These are old IBM 360 and 370 computers. The "sons of 360" also use them. They all have a glitch. In the 1950's and 1960's, hard disk space was expensive. It isn't today, but it was then. So, in order to save space, computer programmers wrote their code to respond to two-digit dates: 1963 became 63; 1985 is 85.

     Problem: 2000 becomes 00. The computers can't tell the difference between 1900 and 2000. Every unrevised computer program that is year-sensitive starts acting nutty when 00 appears in the system's memory banks. Consider an annuity, which tracks how much is left to pay over the years. Or an insurance program. Or a retirement program. When 00 replaces 99, these programs start spewing out meaningless calculations. Everything from that point on must be done by hand (i.e., desktop). This will hit in 35 months!

     Think two words: Social Security. In 1989, 30 years into the problem, the Social Security Administration finally hired a team of programmers to fix the problem. This repair job is not yet finished. Social Security now promises -- a government-guaranteed promise -that sometime in 1998, its revised program will be, in the terminology, year 2000 compliant. Get these three words into your vocabulary. Your survival may depend on them, the answers you get, and the strategy you execute.

     On December 11 (1996, ed), the Wall Street Journal ran a story on Allstate Insurance. That company started working on this problem two years ago. It now has 100 programmers working on it. Allstate expects to spend at least $40 million. (Postings on one World Wide Web discussion group that covers this issue reveal that mainframe programmers now get $100 an hour.) The insurance industry can't wait until 2000. It sends out policy renewals for the year 2000 in 1999. This industry must be year 2000 compliant by late 1998.

     The Gartner Group has released a widely quoted estimate that it will cost businesses world-wide $600 billion to solve the problem. But firms have to start now. Congressman Steven Horn conducted hearings in April, 1996, on the U.S. Government's vulnerability. Cost estimate to fix the problem: $30 billion, but all agencies must start now. A lot of them haven't. I have visited Web sites on this problem that were put up by the Army, Navy, and the Air Force. They admit that the military's systems are dependent on a fix by Dec. 31, 1999. This is no joke. This is no drill. This schedule must be met. But will it?

     I have a good friend who did the original programming 20 years ago for Medicaid. I was on the phone with him for hours in mid-December. He told me the following:

The code that I wrote and the other team members wrote cannot be revised in time. The states have "patched" it for two decades. The original code's documentation is gone. The code's compilers [organizers] are gone. Medicaid is a state program. The states don't know where I am. Nobody has called me. Our team is scattered. Medicaid will go under on Jan. 1, 2000.

     Is he correct? I don't know. I have talked with another close friend who is well informed on telecommunications matters. He thinks that Social Security and Medicare will meet the deadline. He didn't mention Medicaid. He is an optimist. Is he correct?

     Then there is the IRS computer in Martinsburg, West Virginia. It's an old IBM system. My optimistic advisor says that it will suffer major problems in tracking depreciation schedules. But will the whole system collapse? Technologically, probably not, he says. But, he says, the IRS loses up to 20% of its data files each year anyway, which is why they can't provide data on cases older than three years. I ask: If taxpayers in 2000 think they can't be caught, many will stop paying. If they stop paying, the tax system will collapse. If revenues drop, what happens to the government debt markets? I mean every government on earth! Think about the interest rate implications. 20%? 30%? What?

     What about credit cards? One programmer posted a message on a year 2000 discussion forum that I follow daily. She says that she has revised 30 ATM (automatic teller machine) systems. Some were year 2000 compliant; some weren't. Some used four digits; some didn't. Her conclusion: the ATM systems as a unit will default to 2-digits. She didn't say it, but this implies that there will be a major breakdown. It is crucial that your bank's credit card be year 2000 compliant now. You dare not trust a promise of "real soon now."

     A posting from England reported that the man had contacted his local water works company. It was still using a mainframe IBM machine. The water works engineer was unfamiliar with the year 2000 problem. What about your local water and sewer system? Is it year 2000 compliant now? Are you sure of this? Are you going to find out? When?

     You may be thinking: Why not just transfer all the mainframe data to a new desktop PC, which has more far power than an IBM 370? Nice try, but no cigar. It's not computer power that is the problem; it's the code that tells the computers what to do. These are highly specialized software programs. New ones that do the same work will have to be written, tested, and then told how to communicate with old IBM code that has been patched for 20 or 30 years. The computers don't speak each other's language. So, data will probably have to be re-entered by hand: worldwide, there are billions of files. Who will do this? How fast? Shouldn't it have been done already? Is it now too late to begin?

     We have 24 months. And by we," I mean every government that is still using the old hardware, i.e., which means almost all of them in the West. I mean every large business that still has a mainframe at the heart of its operations. One large Canadian bank is in the middle of its repair. It estimates that the fix will cost $80 million. This assumes, of course, that the programmers can complete it on time, glitch-free. The managers have announced: "The revision is in progress: don't worry!" This is a statement of faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).

     Allstate's programs have over 40 million lines of code. Change one digit on one line, and you can affect any of 40,000 subprograms. Every alteration must be consistent with all the others, including 20 years of patches. When America Online repaired a minor part of its code in late 1996, one line of code contained one mistake. AOL went down for a day.

     When all the revisions are complete, the team must run them through a compiler, which coordinates the 40,000 subprograms. My ex-Medicaid code writer tells me that the original compilers are long gone. He says the new ones will not work right. When the corrected code is compiled, for every correction five or six new errors will appear. Here is what one Allstate programmer told the Wall Street Journal: "When I started here, I thought I would come in, write a thousand lines of code, and change the world. Now, I'm afraid to change even a single byte. Everything is just so complicated."

     But, you assume, everyone must be working on this. Wrong; in very few companies is anyone working on it. Companies that have begun working on it are on a very tight schedule. They are totally dependent on programmers -- teams of programmers -- who can deal with ancient code. They may not meet the deadline. "Sorry; we did our best. Maybe in 2002. But we need to be paid in cash, starting today. Meanwhile, data will have to be temporarily entered on desktops." How will huge companies create internal control systems that allow full coordination and easy access to desktop-entered data? How will they build in data security? To ask these questions is to answer them. The corrections had better work!

     I contacted a full-time computer programmer regarding the scenario in this letter. I did not want to mail it out without consultation. Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Prov. 11:14). Because his employer is a famous software design company, he asked to remain anonymous. I trust him. He wrote:

1. On all (even slightly) complex upgrade projects I have always told the customer it is cheaper to rewrite from scratch than to try to retrofit the old software. I cannot even read my own code after 6 months unless it is copiously documented. I can almost never read someone else's code or follow their logic. Systems with 20 years of patches would be nearly impossible to fix.

2. Good programmers do not want to get into year 2000 fixes because there is no future in it (beyond the year 2000).

3. Testing "fixes" is close to impossible. Many systems pronounced "Year 2000 Compliant" may fail when the real year 2000 hits.

4. The internet will not fail in the year 2000.

5. I think a rewrite is possible -- if:

a. it runs on the Internet (possibly an intranet - a private Internet)

b. uses Internet technologies

c. enough time is given

d. the goals of the rewrite are vastly simplified.

The last point is a political one. Complex regulations full of complex rules and exceptions will have to be jettisoned. A flat tax program would be a lot easier to write than a system using today's tax laws.

The number of possible interactions on a Pentium Pro chip is greater than the number of particles in the universe. The possibility that government employees and their hired contractors will fix the millennium bugs enough to avoid a catastrophe has got to be nil.

The only chance we have is vast deregulation and decentralization of government and large centralized organizations - especially 'near government' ones.

I am going to make sure I have plenty of cash, food, and survival gear on hand come January 2000.

     I have been discussing this with a friend in the insurance industry. He says there are three large software vendors that supply 90% of the programs for local agencies. One sent out warnings about the year 2000 . . . in early 1996. It is now scheduling repairs. It is offering these repair services on a first come-first served basis. My friend says that under half of the nation's local agencies are year 2000 compliant today. He thinks that 10,000 of the nation's 30,000 local firms will go bankrupt in January, 2000. There will be no client base to sell, either. Their clients will depart, en masse, in the first three months of 2000. It will be a bonanza for firms that are year 2000 compliant . . . if the banks are still open.

     Here is our problem. Our debtors' checks to us will not be in the mail. Credit cards may not work. Many government computers will be working irrationally. If the government starts getting a million phone calls a day -- Where's my monthly check?" -- the busy signals will shut down the government. Every government. All at once. It's Tower of Babel time!

     Hardly anyone is budgeting to solve this problem. It is being deferred. Because there is no known solution that every company and every government can adopt in time, bureaucrats and employees are simply not thinking about it. Why bother? But in 1999, the public will be thinking about little else. The horror scenarios will be on TV, in magazines, etc. Everyone will want to know: Is the system that supports me "year 2000 compliant"? What about the systems that your system relies on? We won't know. We'll have to guess.

     This could be the ultimate domino effect in recorded history: the breakdown in the international payments system. Of course, if the optimists are correct, hardly anything will happen. I have heard it both ways from men whose judgment I respect. Here is the optimist's faith: "Somehow, a fix will appear. Somehow, every crucial mainframe system will be ported to a desktop computer." But if it's so easy to fix, why has Allstate budgeted $40 million to solve its problem? It started two years ago. What about other firms that aren't so flush with money as Allstate is? If most of the large, mainframe-dependent companies in the West are not compliant today, the payments system will collapse.

     Here's another problem, which is closer to home in 1998: PC desktops built before June, 1995, may also have Year 2000 problems. The technical problem here is the ROM BIOS. In the year 2000, millions of PC's will roll back to 1980 or 1984. Your ROM BIOS must be upgraded before this happens. Better to do it now rather than later. The Gartner Group has posted a warning about this: http://www.gartner.com/hotc/pcl096.html. The report says: "Either at a DOS prompt or through Windows, set the system date to 12/31/99 and the system time to a few minutes before midnight. Power the system off [don't you love techie talk?] and wait long enough for the date to have advanced. Turn the system back on, and verify if the year changed to 2000." If it's 1980 or 1984, upgrade the ROM BIOS.

     If this problem really is unsolvable, we are entering uncharted waters. There are too many interconnections. Deferral is too easy. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it can't be fixed, quit worrying about it." But if the payments system really can't be fixed, can you get far enough away from the largest dominoes when they start falling? At what price? When?

 

     A Digitized Tower of Babel?

     The men of Babel wanted to built a tower that would reach to heaven. They were building a one-world state and a one-state world. That dream still motivates would-be empire builders. The European Community plans to inaugurate a new currency, the EMU, and a new, coordinated central banking system, in 1999. Jean Monnet and Rockefeller's agent Raymond Fosdick were working on this New World Order back in 1920, at the Paris Peace Conference, as Fosdick wrote to his wife. Monnet (d. 1979) pulled it off . . . almost. The final pieces are to be put in place, 1999 to 2010. Consider Babel: "And The Lord said. . . ." Well, you know what the Lord said and what He did.

     Mainframe computers talk to each other. They have created a massive division of labor, worldwide. But they speak a language whose grammar may break down on Jan. 1, 2000.

     We are all interdependent economically. We are also dependent on mainframe computers -- how dependent, I don't know. That's why I'm sounding this warning. You will have to decide for yourself. If the world's computers really do go haywire in 2000, then we will be asking ourselves, and historians will be asking themselves 500 years from now: "Why did this happen?" The how will be easy to discuss: the price of hard disk space and the self-interest of computer companies. The why will be a matter of great debate.

     I believe the answer is God's covenant. Point four of the biblical covenant model is sanctions. "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field" (Deut. 28:15-16).

     The modern world denies this. Men believe that there is no relationship between morality and prosperity. They say to themselves, as evil, debauched men said 3,000 years ago, "Come ye . . . I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant" (Isa. 56:12). They think that we can offset the effects of a 30% national illegitimacy rate with a flat tax of 20%. They think we can create wealth by tinkering with the tax code, while a rapidly growing class of fatherless, lawless, merciless gang members spreads drug addiction to make themselves (and us) rich. It is as if the economists among us regard cocaine sales as a sign of productivity -- a component of any rationally constructed index of national economic output.

     I believe in the covenant. I believe that God really does bring predictable corporate sanctions on rebellious societies. Columbus' lecherous crew returned from the New World infected with syphilis, and adulterous Renaissance traders and soldiers spread it as far as China by 1510. Renaissance society, infected, lost confidence in itself and its future. This set the stage for the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

     The Millennium Bug may prove to be far more devastating than any staphylococcus. The social division of labor is more fully developed today than in any period in recorded history. Individuals are productive because they cooperate in a free market. This system relies on a trustworthy means of payment -- a highly complex system of payments. If this division of labor collapses overnight because of a payments crisis, what then?

     When governments raised tariff barriers in 1929-32, they brought on the Great Depression. Yet nations then were far less dependent on international trade than we are today. The break in the international payments system that the tariffs caused was nothing compared to the break in the payments system that will take place if Visa and MasterCard go dead, or the bank computers go dead, or if Social Security goes dead, or if all of them go dead in every industrial nation on the same weekend. "Happy New Year!" But not for long.

     But this break in the payments system is nothing -- a minor glitch -- if the water and sewer systems also break down. Think of what happens in Los Angeles if the city can't get water delivered predictably. I'm not predicting that this must happen. I am saying that if I lived in any city, I would not sit quietly and do nothing. I would find out. If I got evasive answers, I would sell my home and buy a property with a well and a septic tank. Soon.

 

     What You Had Better Do in the Next 30 Days

     A watchman who calls others to the tower and asks them to bring their binoculars has not abdicated his post. He has merely called for assistant watchmen. That is what I am doing now. I am hereby inviting you to become part of a research team. This project may well be the most important research assignment you have ever been involved with. Or it may turn out to be a waste of your time. But the stakes are so high that you had better get involved. Here's your assignment. I have included a sample letter that you can use to mail to your public utilities companies, your insurance agent, your bank, your money market fund, and just about anyone else you can think of who supplies you with the things that you need. You will be asking for assurance that his system is already year 2000 compliant and is fully tested. What you don't want to hear is: "We're working on it." Even worse: "We have appointed a committee to study this problem." Worst: "We are unaware of any such problem." If you get no written reply, expect the worst. Plan for it.

     Our world has trusted government and has worshiped science. It's time for a change. The question is: What will the costs of this change be? (See Luke 14:28-30.) 1 want to hear from you about this. Send me photocopies of evasive answers. How many dominoes are there? I think this problem may be for real. I honestly believe that we may be running out of time. I have sounded a warning. I am calling you to come up on the wall and take a close look at the dust I see in the distance. Is this an invader? If so, how big is the threat? I want you to do some basic leg work. If you sit there and do nothing, then your blood is on your head, unless, of course, nothing happens in 2000, in which case the egg is on my face. Give me your informed opinions, with supporting data. I'll report back, with comments and recommended strategies.

     Warning: we don't have 35 months to act if this crisis is really coming. The markets will begin to discount it early. Panic will hit before 00 pops up. The cost of taking effective action will become prohibitive for most people in 1999. If banking as an integrated worldwide system isn't fully year 2000 compliant today, then it won't make the deadline. If banking fails, the final year of the 20th century -- 2000 -- will truly end this century.

     There is good news with the bad. What if it is mainly government computers that are running the defective code? What if Allstate is not representative? What if most profitseeking firms have made the conversion already? We could see the end of big government, overnight, all over the world. Maybe the cloud of dust on the horizon is our deliverance. If so, we will go through some frightening times, but the outcome will be freedom. If you're dependent on a government check, however, you had better start investigating this problem.

     ICE letter, Gary North, Jan 1997, Box 8000, Tyler, Tx 75711

(Editor's Note: I strongly suggest that you contact your bank and other institutes that might control your finances, and if they are not "2000 compliant," you should seriously consider withdrawing your funds: They could easily be lost in the "2000" abyss.)

     Suggested letter:

Your street

City, state, zip

Date

Joe Jones [call to f ind out the name of the man in charge]

Computer Services Division

XYZ Company

Street

City, state, zip

Dear Mr. Jones:

     I'm concerned about a something I have been reading about in the press. It's a real problem: the disruption of mainframe computers on January 1, 2000. It's sometimes called the Millennium Bug: "2000" becomes "00." This problem is discussed in a detailed report by J. P. Morgan Securities, "The Year 2000 Problem" (June 22, 1996). You can download a free copy. (Get the capital letters correct, or you won't find it.)

www.jpmorgan.com/MarketDataInd/Research/Year2000/index.html

 

     Several Web sites deal with this: www.year2000.com is one of them. Another is Bill Cook's Web site, with over 100 links:

www.netcom.com/~wjcook/resource.html

     Congressman Steven Horn says that the Federal government is now facing a major crisis, and it will take $30 billion to fix it, if there is even time to repair it. There may not be, according to the Congressional Research Service.

     What I need to know is this: Has your organization had all of its mainframe computer code repaired? Has it been certified year 2000 compliant? Or, if your firm has hired programmers who are now repairing the code, let me know. If your organization does not in any way depend on mainframe software, let me know. If you're not the person I should be writing to, please let me know who I should write to.

     I want to be sure that I'm in no way dependent on suppliers that are dependent on code that may crash in the year 2000. I' m writing to everyone I buy from to get confirmation. I think everyone should do this. We are all highly dependent on each other. The threat of a domino effect is real. I don't want to get hit. I think you can understand my concern. (You may want to use my letter as a model for writing to companies that you depend on. Be my guest. We're all in this together.)

Sincerely yours,

Suggested Recipients

water & sewer company

electric utility

gas company

the banks that issued your credit cards

any institution that owes you money, such as:

banks where you have an account

your pension fund

your local independent insurance agency

the national insurance firms that issued your policies

your money market fund

your mutual funds

the college that keeps your academic records

the companies that keep your employment records

every company that supplies you with goods or services

     Your employer is dependent on the same kinds of suppliers and insurers. You should do whatever you can to persuade your employer to make similar inquiries. Maybe you can show him the kinds of written responses you have been sent by those companies you have contacted. If you receive evasive answers, or scary answers, take copies to him. Show him why you're concerned. Recommend that he take similar steps with the companies that supply him. You might hand him a print-out of anything important that you have found on the Internet. The more that you search the Web, the more information you will have. What you find there may help you to target other institutions that you think could be crucial to the payments system. Anything that breaks the payments system lowers the division of labor.

     Think through this problem in terms of this scenario: your debtors are not able to pay you, but your creditors are demanding payment. You're in a squeeze. What will you do? Start thinking of your fall-back position. Estimate now whether your debtors will be able to pay you. Are they likely to become your problem? Also, will your creditors be willing to re-negotiate? How long will it take for the courts to force people to pay? Will the claims courts be jammed? If so, what about your ability to get your debtors to pay you? This is the problem of a breakdown in payments. It shrinks the division of labor.

     When the division of labor shrinks, men rush for cash. When uncertainty increases they rush for cash. They pull cash out of their banks and don't re-deposit it. Think of what this will do to the fractional reserve banking system. We saw what happened, 1929 to 1932.

     The Federal Reserve will have to print paper money. If it does, what happens to the value of paper money? It will fall. So, there will be massive deflationary pressures if the FED does nothing (unlikely) or massive inflationary pressures if the FED issues cash to meet the demand. This raises the age-old question: In a banking system crisis, what will most people prefer to use for money? Paper? Gold coins? Silver coins? If official forms of money fail, what will you live on? Think about this now, while solutions are cheaper.

     The above letter should be seriously considered. The three scenarios are, brownout, blackout, and meltdown. There cannot help but be at the least a brownout.

Proverbs 22:3, A prudent [man] {c} foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. "(c) That is, the punishment, which is prepared for the wicked and flees to God for help. (Geneva.)"

     God has his punishment prepared for the Nimrods of this world. When and how will it be accomplished, I make no profession of knowing. However, it is the wise, prudent man who prepares when he sees clouds on the horizon. (See 1 Kn. 18:44.)

By His Sovereign Grace Alone,

Pastor Need

1 "The possibilities range from 'brownout' to 'meltdown'—three to six months of spotty, roving disruptions of power and services all the way to a return to the lifestyles of the poor and unknown 200 years ago." The Moneychanger, 12/1997. The Moneychanger, PO Box 341753, Memphis, Tennessee 38184-1753. A monthly newsletter "to help Christian people prosper with their their principles intact in an age of moral and monetary chaso." $95 a year, but $69 to readers of this report if you mention this report when you order. Almost certainly, the stock market is facing the Y2K problem. What will happen to the overpriced stocks then?

2 Ibid. In another article, "A HARD CHOICE NOW," Sanders states, "The Pentagon will not make the Y2K deadline. The IRS will not make it. The banks and monetary system probably won't make it. The infrastructure—electricity, food, water, sewage, transportation—probably won't make it. The rest of the government doesn't stand a chance of making it." He also points out that the Social Security Administration started working on the problem in 1986, before anyone else realized there was a problem. By 1996, they had corrected 60% of the 30 million lines of code. They planed to begin testing their corrections in 1998 in order to beat the deadline. However, the SSA recently announced that they found thirty-three million lines of code the SSA did not know it had.

 

Faith is the Victory

     We live in a in a tumultuous time of history. The word of God has not only clearly delineated the way to victory amid all the turmoil, by faith, but has given us examples for our encouragement.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2.)

     Parenthesis

     Note that it does not say, Looking unto YeHoSHua... When encountering authors who hate the name "Jesus," substituting some supposed "Hebrew" word, the reader should proceed with extreme caution, if at all. It is at the name of Jesus that every knew shall bow. Note Robertson's comments on Philippians 2:10 (That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth...):

{That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow} (hina en tôi onomati Iêsou pan gonu kampsêi). First aorist active subjunctive of kamptô, old verb, to bend, to bow, in purpose clause with hina. Not perfunctory genuflections whenever the name of Jesus is mentioned, but universal acknowledgment of the majesty and power of Jesus who carries his human name and nature to heaven. This universal homage to Jesus is seen in #Ro 8:22; Eph 1:20-22 and in particular #Re 5:13. {Under the earth} (katachthoniôn). Homeric adjective for departed souls, subterranean, simply the dead. Here only in the N.T. (Online Bible.)

     The name Jesus represents the Lord God's human name and nature which He carried to heaven. Because the man Christ Jesus is in heaven, the redeemed have free access, with boldness, to the Holy Heavenly Father. (Eph. 3:8-13; Heb. 4:15; 10:19-22.) Though they are one and the same, the name given us by the Spirit as the Redeemer of fallen man and the Mediator of the new covenant the man, Christ Jesus not the "Lord YeHoSHua of the Old Testament." Beware of those who avoid the name of Jesus, for you will not follow their writings long before you will come across some very corrupt teaching.

     Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, completed His work by faith; His faith in His final victory over death caused Him to be faithful to the will of the Father; His faith caused Him to endure the cross, despise the shame.. which was involved in obedience to the Father. (He lightly regarded the shame that was involved in the cross because of what lay before Him: the joy of His exaltation to the right hand of the throne of God.)

     We must remember that the everlasting God is also the God of the Future: God Who appeared in the Garden to Adam, Who appeared to Noah both before and after the flood, Who appeared to Abraham and Who appeared to Joseph, was the God of promise (Gen 50:24). In fact, the God of Hebrews 11, the "Faith Chapter," is the God of promise. Notice Hebrews 11 is followed by chapter 12:2, Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, was a faithful high priest because of a promise.

     In other words, faith must be defined as hope in the future: the future will hold the fulfillment of God's promises. Therefore, to limit the Lord to the present is anti-Christian, for the Christian God is the God of the FUTURE. Notice the many things from Hebrews 12 which are based upon faith that the future, both immediate and distant, is controlled by Divine Providence:

1) v. 3, faith provides strength to endure: without faith one will grow weary and faint in his mind.

2) v. 4, faithlessness results in an inability to resist and stand against sin.

3) v. 5, faithlessness results in faintness in the chastening of the Lord.

4) vs. 6-12, faith strengthens the individual in the Lord's chastening. Note that only by faith do we understand that the chastening of the Lord is for our future good: that we might be partakers of his holiness. Faith looks past the present chastening to the resulting peaceable fruits of righteousness. (Cf. v. 6, Rom 8:28.)

5) v. 13, faith straightens our path and heals the lame because the lame will wander from the "straight and narrow."

6) v. 14, faith leads to peace (and holiness) with all men (except, of course, those who are against God's law, Pro. 28:4).

7) vs. 15-18, faith is God's condition for His grace which enables one to turn from the lusts of the flesh and the profane things of this world. Faith results in holiness, without which no man shall see God.

8) vs. 19-26, faith looks to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. Faith will not refuse to obey the words spoken by the Lord from the new city of the living God, the church, as Israel refused to obey the words spoken from the mount.

9) v. 27, faith will not be shaken as the kingdoms of men around us, built without Christ and His law-word, shake so hard that they collapse.

10) v. 28, faith provides the grace to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

     The first promise given to Adam was of future victory to the obedient people of God; every promise, including the promise of the Father to the Son, was of future victory to the obedient people of God. Without this faith in the God of the future, it is impossible to please God.

     Our strength to stand comes from faith in the future victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over all the opposition of the enemy. Without faith in the covenant-promise, Christianity loses its strength to stand against the evils of our day. The so-called faith of our day which has no hope in the future is no faith at all.

     Is it any wonder that the above mentioned hopelessness has overtaken the church? Obviously, sin will not be purged until faithlessness is purged.

Pastor Need

E-mail from Ohio

 

     Could you please add me to your mailing list I am very interested in your news letter and appreciate reading your Biblical Examiner on this site.. Thank You .. Could you send me a sample copy and your subscription information, as to cost and etc. Thank you and may the MOst High God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob bless you and your ministry. Beverly

Second Letter

     I just read your booklet about another Jesus, I must say it was profound and I must reread it over and over to fully understand the broader concepts here.. I always wondered why people who were Saved" just never acted saved,always talking about the full assurance of being saved, but never really reaching sanctification, could it be that we are never really "just" trusting in the atonment. I am surely going to reread this many times over.

     I prayed that I would see the truth and not be deceived.. I thought the Lord had led me from all trappings of formulas and "methods" but this is one more step of depth that I needed to hear and see for myself again. I truly hope and pray that He will continue to lead me from all the false things that I have been led to believe in. You are so right that this is just another formula to replace the atoning power of my Jesus I am writing this through tears and I am completely indebted to your booklet which I pray that I will have Gods will to share with others. Oh to say thanks overwhelms me with the love that the real Jesus has for me . What a relief . I am indebted to Him... This is surely no small thing.. I continue to ask for wisdom.. Why do I continue to search? This is why it is such  freedom and joy. This was just so simple , why do we not see the simpleness of the gospel.. Please send me this booklett to share with others.. I have thrown so many formulas out but this is the greatest priviledge.. I hope I make sense to you.. But I am eternally grateful... In such joy that the Lord led me to this time in my life... Beverly

From Hong Kong

To: tbe@tctc.com Subject: Please send me The Biblical Examiner, preferably hard copies, Thanks, Tse Ming Wai, Hong Kong.


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