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An Unrecognizable Place

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By Samuel David Meyer

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”

 Jeremiah 6:16

As we move through time, the world as we know it is experiencing a remarkable transformation. Spurred by a global pandemic, the rise of liberalism in the United States, and futuristic technology, our planet is quickly becoming an unrecognizable place that is very different from the world that existed just a few decades ago.

The transformation now in progress has been a long time coming, but the pace of this metamorphosis has dramatically increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most significant and most notable changes to our present reality is the manner in which governments operate. Countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, have all adopted draconian measures under the auspices of controlling a deadly virus. Suddenly, the masses found themselves in a situation where freedoms previously enjoyed were revoked due to a public health crisis. Thirteen months after lockdown procedures were first initialized in the United States, it has become second nature for many people to stand six feet apart from others, avoid handshakes, and don face coverings when out in public. All the while, the public pines for the day when freedom is restored, but to get there, we are told we must be vaccinated against Coronavirus Disease, commonly referred to as Covid-19.

In the United States, a day that is considered synonymous with freedom is Independence Day, which occurs every year on July 4th. In March 2021, American President Joe Biden suggested that the American people may be able to enjoy small gatherings on this holiday in 2021 if enough people receive their Covid shots. Now the President is warning that this opportunity to enjoy freedom might be revoked. “Back on March 11, I outlined a vision of what America could look like by the Fourth of July – an America that was much closer to normal life that we left behind more than a year ago,” Biden recalled. He further went on to say, “To celebrate our independence from this virus on July 4th with family and friends in small groups, we still have more to do in the months of May and June. We all need to mask up until the number of cases goes down, until everyone has a chance to get their shot.” (1) The President seems to be under the mistaken impression that the American people need his permission to gather with friends and family. This sentiment is shared by others, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. On April 22, 2021, the mayor informed the public that any impending return to freedom hinges on their cooperation in receiving the Covid vaccines. “One of the things we can say to people is if you want to get rid of masks, if you want to get rid of the social distancing, if you want to get rid of restrictions – go get vaccinated,” he demanded. “We’re going to have to keep masks and restrictions in place until we’re 100 percent sure we’re out of the woods. And the best way to know we’re out of the woods is to see those vaccination numbers go up and up and up.” (2) To further grasp the authoritarian mentality of liberals, we need look no further than CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen. In a recent appearance on the leftist media outlet, Wen complained that the American people will have no incentive to be vaccinated if states continue to remove Covid restrictions. “If everything is reopened, then what’s the carrot going to be?” Dr. Wen said in reference to the common metaphor of the carrot and the stick. She further went on to say, “How are we going to incentivize people to actually get the vaccine? So that’s why I think the CDC and the Biden Administration needs to come out a lot bolder and say, ‘If you are vaccinated, you can do all these things. Here are all the freedoms that you have.’ Because otherwise, people are going to go out and enjoy those freedoms anyway. (3) In a similar fashion, Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam also tied the Covid vaccines to freedom. “How do we collectively partner on making sure folks understand that the facts and science are there, that the health and safety of our communities is reliant upon us getting vaccinated? And that the freedom that so many folks want, and the local control, will be facilitated best when we have the most folks vaccinated in the community,” she said. (4)

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It should be obvious that if “freedom” is inextricably linked to receiving a vaccine, it is not really freedom at all. Furthermore, this conditional freedom could prove to be a constantly moving target. In April 2021 Pfizer chief executive officer Albert Bourla stated during an interview that people will likely need to be vaccinated again against Covid in the future. “A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and twelve months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed,” he said. (5) If the American people’s freedom is contingent upon a vaccine, and more booster shots will be needed possibly every year, will personal freedom be revoked if someone fails to be revaccinated? It should be noted that while politicians and health leaders are insisting that everyone be inoculated against Covid, receiving the shots is no guarantee that a person will not contract the virus. On April 21, 2021, the New York Times reported that a nursing home in Kentucky had a Covid outbreak after an unvaccinated staff member brought in the disease. Despite the fact that 90 percent of the facility’s residents had been vaccinated, twenty-two people who had received the vaccine still got sick. (6)

To be sure, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world, and many of these changes could be permanent. However, it is not just the disease itself that is changing the world, but it is also the push to vaccinate the global population that is a dramatic change. In an encyclical entitled Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis emphasizes the need to inoculate everyone against Covid-19. “I reiterate my call to government leaders, businesses, and international organizations to work together in providing vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy,” the Pope wrote. He also articulated the need for the world to adopt a “global governance” system to ensure the vaccines are distributed effectively. “There remains an urgent need for a global plan that can create new or regenerate existing institutions, particularly those of global governance, and help to build a new network of international relations for advancing the integral human development of all peoples.”  (7) Thus, we see that Covid-19 could be the catalyst usher in a new world system and a global government. 

The Future Of Money

Long before the coronavirus pandemic surfaced, a trend towards a cashless society was already emerging both in the United States and abroad. In fact, the famous credit card company known as Visa declared a “war on cash” in 2017. At the time, the company announced a program that offered restaurants up to ten thousand dollars if these establishments would stop accepting cash. “To Visa, a cashless culture means convenience, security and ease of use. That translates to freedom for consumers and merchants alike,” claimed Jack Forestall, who was head of Visa’s global merchant solutions at the time. Visa’s chief executive officer, Al Kelly, also chimed in, stating, “We’re focused on putting cash out of business.” (8) In December 2018, Pew Research published a study which found that 29 percent of adults who were surveyed in the United States reported that they use no cash during a typical week. The study also found that only 53 percent of respondents said they “try to make sure they have cash on hand just in case they need it.” (9)

As countries around the world began to initiate lockdowns in the spring of 2020, the use of physical currency dropped like a rock, and digital payments soared. In Italy, which was one of the first countries outside of China to issue stay-at-home orders last year, e-commerce transactions, which by nature are always cashless, increased by 81 percent between February and March 2020. (10) From the start of the pandemic to this present day, cash transactions in the United States have decreased by 8.3 percent. (11) According to the digital payments processor known as Square, Inc., the coronavirus pandemic has sped up the trend toward a cashless society in America. “The steady increase in cashless adoption rates during the course of the pandemic is emblematic of a renewed preference for digitization among business owners and consumers. In the United States, specifically, we estimate the shift away from cash in this past year would have taken nearly three years without the pandemic,” Square said in a report entitled “Making Change: One Year of Payments and the Pandemic.” (12) Thus, we see that the pandemic has greatly hastened the trend toward a cashless society.

With cashless payments on the rise and a growing interest in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, officials in multiple countries are talking about developing their own digital currencies. Unlike the cryptocurrencies that exist now, however, these new digital currencies would be backed by each country’s central bank. This includes Norway, which according to Bloomberg News is said to already be “the world’s most cashless place.” At this present time, a miniscule three to four percent of transactions in Norway are conducted with bank notes or coins, so implementing a digital currency would not be much of a leap. Thus, Norges Bank, which is the official central bank of Norway, has announced they will conduct research over the next two years which will include “experimental testing of technical solutions” related to a digital form of money. Bloomberg economist Johanna Jeansson attributed this new interest to the pandemic, stating, “A few key points explain the accelerating interest (in central bank digital currencies). The Covid-19 crisis has propelled a drop in cash demand as more people shop online. Also, private digital money such as Facebook’s Diem is spurring policy makers to explore options of their own, and finally, as large economies such as the U.S. and the euro area look into the issue, others are more likely to follow.” (13)

Meanwhile in the United States, the Federal Reserve has been hard at work researching and developing prototypes for a digital currency of its own. Some of the findings of this research could be revealed as soon as July of this year. This development prompted Josh Lipsky, who is the director of the GeoEconomics Center at the Atlantic Council, to say, “The fire has been lit. The world is moving very quickly on these projects.” (14) Not to be outdone, the United Kingdom’s finance minister, Rishi Sunak, announced in April 2021 that he had instructed the Central Bank of England to begin research on a digital currency, which some are already referring to as “Britcoin.” “We’re launching a new task force between the Treasury and the Bank of England to coordinate exploratory work on a potential central bank digital currency,” Sunak said. (15)

More than sixty countries are experimenting with digital currencies, but none are as far along as China. The repressive Asian country has already unveiled a digital currency that is now in use in the real world. According to reports, this new currency will give the Chinese government unprecedented insight into the spending habits of its citizens. This fact prompted Eswar Prasad, who is the former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division, to say, “If I cannot buy you a coffee without the government knowing about it, I do worry about what this could mean.” (16) The threat to privacy is real, and it will be a concern in every country that uses a digital currency, not just China.

As nations begin to roll out their national digital currencies, it is generally expected that they will not supplant physical currency at first. However, it is not difficult to imagine that as time passes and the usage of digital currency becomes more commonplace, physical currency will slowly fade into the background until it is finally gone forever. For those wondering what a cashless world may be like, patrons of the grocery store chain known as Whole Foods will soon get a glimpse of the future. The chain is owned by Amazon.com, which announced in April 2021 that locations in the Seattle, Washington, area will soon allow customers to use a biometric payment to purchase their groceries. The process involves associating a credit card with the palm print of a human hand. At checkout, the shopper will simply have his or her hand scanned to complete the purchase. (17) In times past, customers at retail shops were sometimes asked, “Will you be paying with cash, check, or credit?” In the future, perhaps customers will be asked, “Will you paying with cash, credit, smartphone, implant, or hand?”

Robotics & Automation Gain Momentum

Robots equipped with artificial intelligence, or AI, have long been the fodder of science fiction stories. These stories would run the gamut from cutesy-friendly robots who befriend mankind to killer soldiers who threaten to wipe out humanity. The reality in the present day is beginning to bear a strong resemblance to the science fiction of yesteryear, and as we progress through time, robots and automation are beginning to play a more prominent role in everyday life.

For some, this development is a cause for great concern. In fact, more than one hundred experts on the topic of robotics joined forces in 2017 to issue an urgent warning regarding the development of artificial intelligence and “killer robots.” Speaking of killer robots, the warning states, “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.” The warning further states, “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.” (18)

Just under four years later, the warning of 2017 seems to have fallen on deaf ears. While thirty countries have agreed that killer robots should be banned, the United States, Russia, the State of Israel, and China have all flatly refused to stop their research into such endeavors. (19) The United States Navy is already conducting experiments with ships that can travel thousands of miles without human intervention and hunt enemy submarines. The United States Army is experimenting with robotic technology that allows tanks to locate targets and aim guns without help from human soldiers. The United States Air Force is involved, too, as they develop armed drones that operate independently without any human controllers at the helm. (20) Despite the inherent dangers, the American military is determined to press on with the development of these weapons. Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan, who was the director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center at the Pentagon until he retired in 2020, was quoted as saying in regards to robotic weapons, “We are going to do it. We are going to do it deliberately. We’re going to follow policy.” Shanahan also described what he thinks the future of warfare might look like. “We are going to be shocked by the speed, the chaos, the bloodiness and the friction of a future fight in which this will be playing out in microseconds at times,” he said in 2019. (21)

Eccentric billionaire Elon Musk, who is the founder of Tesla Motors and the Space exploration company known as SpaceX, has in times past warned about the coming dangers from artificial intelligence. However, rather than stop the development of this technology, he is advocating a different approach. According to his reckoning, the solution is for human beings to become part robot so that we will be able to survive in the future. To make this happen, Musk founded a company known as Neuralink in 2016, which aims to develop a human brain to computer interface. (22) When we read about these seemingly far-flung ambitions, our first inclination may be to think the brain chip will never come to fruition, or that if it does, it will be way off in the distant future. However, it should be noted that Neuralink is already implanting their brain chips in animals. In fact, a video posted online in the spring of 2021 shows a monkey named Pager who is implanted with a Neuralink brain interface. The technology allows this monkey to play video games using only his brain with no hand-held controller. After the video was posted, Elon Musk sent a message on Twitter declaring, “A monkey is literally playing a video game telepathically using a brain chip!!” (23) Implants for humans could be coming soon. In February 2021, Elon Musk announced on Twitter: “Neuralink is working super hard to ensure implant safety and is in close communication with the FDA. (Food and Drug Administration) If things go well, we might be able to do initial human trials later this year.” (24) When the time comes, the brain interface will be installed with the help of a surgical robot that replaces a piece of the human skull with the chip. “It actually fits quite nicely in your skull. It could be under your hair and you wouldn’t know,” Musk boasted. (25)

Even as the military researches its killer robots and Elon Musk readies his brain chip, robotic automation has made significant inroads into American factories. This transition has only intensified over the last year due to the pandemic. As shutdowns and social distancing requirements forced people out of the workforce, many of these workers were replaced by machines. “It was trial by fire as we went through Covid. Not because of Covid, but because the exodus of people forced the adoption of tech” said Mark Bulanda, the executive president of automation at the technology company known as Emerson. Although the manufacturing sector has improved in recent months, there are still 500,000 fewer manufacturing employees than there were prior to the pandemic. Many of these jobs will never return because of the transition to robotic automation. It is estimated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Daron Acemoglu that every automated device introduced into the manufacturing infrastructure replaces six human workers. This same professor warned that as many as two million additional workers could be replaced by robots by the year 2025. Thus we see again, yet another way in which the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world. “What happened in the past year was the pandemic.  A flashlight really shined on this issue for a lot of people,” said Brian Nachtigall, the director of business development for warehouse automation at Boston Dynamics. (26)

In the meantime, residents of Houston, Texas, will soon see robots traveling down their streets. The iconic pizza chain known as Domino’s announced in April 2021 that customers ordering from their Woodland Heights location on Houston Avenue might have their pizzas delivered by the Nuro R-2 robotic vehicle and delivery system. “Customers who are selected will receive text alerts, which will update them on R2’s location and provide them with a unique PIN (personal identification number) to retrieve their order. Customers may also track the vehicle via GPS on their order confirmation page. Once R2 arrives, customers will be prompted to enter their PIN on the bot’s touchscreen. R2’s doors will then gently open upward, revealing the customer’s hot Domino’s order,” Domino’s said in a statement. (27)

A Tidal Wave Of Distress

 Although the American economy has received a jolt in recent weeks from massive stimulus spending, the effects of this cash infusion will eventually wear off. When this happens, the American people could be facing a variety of difficulties. In particular, there are millions of homeowners in the United States who have been unable to pay their mortgages due to the pandemic. Catastrophe has been forestalled by mortgage forbearance programs which allow homeowners to postpone their monthly housing payments. However, the day is coming when mortgage payments will need to resume and many people will simply not be able to pay. “There is a tidal wave of distressed homeowners who will need help,” warned Dave Uejio, who is the acting director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. (28) As of February 2021, nearly three million American households had either postponed their mortgage payments or stopped paying them. (29) In a later statement, Uejio was quoted as saying, “We’ve seen a shocking increase in housing insecurity, with millions living precariously and months behind on mortgages or rent.” To stave off catastrophe, the CFPB is proposing a ban on mortgage foreclosures at least until 2022. (30) While this ban would help struggling owners in the interim, eventually the debts will need to be paid.

If you have noticed higher prices at the supermarket lately, you are not alone. As of March 2021, the cost of food has risen for ten straight months and reached its highest peak since 2014. (31) A headline from Bloomberg News puts it bluntly, stating, “The Grocery Price Shock is Coming to a Store Near You.” (32) The article cites Chris Nikoi of the World Food Programme, saying, “The relentless rise in prices acts as a misery multiplier, driving millions deeper into hunger and desperation. [It’s] pushing a basic meal beyond the reach of millions of poor families who were already struggling to get by.” (33)

Back in the United States, violence has surged in recent months to mind-boggling levels. Since March 16, 2021, there have been at least fifty mass shootings involving four or more victims. (34) Evil spirits are obviously running roughshod over the people as desperation seeps into our broken American society. As would be expected, liberal politicians are calling for more gun control measures, but gun control measures are not going to fix the evil in the hearts of the people. With this surge in violence, we see that the condition in our country is increasingly similar to the condition in the land during the days of Noah when “the earth was filled with violence.” Our Lord Jesus Christ warned us that the world would be in this same condition in the days leading up to His return.

In closing, as the world continues its rapid transformation, those who reside on this planet may someday look back and wish they could return to the way things were in the past. According to Scripture, the old ways are better though they are so often maligned by progressives. Jeremiah 6:16 declares, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” As the world moves at breakneck speed toward its final transformation, we know there will be no going back to the way things were, but we can move forward to an eternity with our Saviour. In the meantime, this world will become increasingly uncomfortable for the Christian people, but we understand that this world is not our permanent home. Galatians 4:26 declares, “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” We are further told by the Apostle Peter in II Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” If you have not yet repented of your sins and dedicated your life to God, I urge you to do so now.

Thank you all for your generous and kind support of this ministry. We appreciate all of you more than we can express with words. If you have any prayer needs, please remember that you are welcome to send them our way. We always give each prayer request individual attention. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Samuel David Meyer

This newsletter is made possible by the kind donations of our supporters. If you would like to help us, you may send your contribution to our postal address or donate online at http://lasttrumpetnewsletter.org/donate.

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