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Current Events & Trends: November/December 2023

by Beyond Today Editor Estimated reading time: 9 minutes. Posted on 1-Nov-2023
An overview of events and conditions around the world featured in the November/December 2023 issue of Beyond Today.

Governments spying to silence potential critics

A recent commentary by John and Nisha Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute pointed out that, “on any given day, the average person is now monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways by both government and corporate eyes and ears” (“We the Targeted: How the Government Weaponizes Surveillance to Silence Its Critics,” Aug. 29, 2023).

While the piece goes into more depth on some of these elements, here are some highlights: “Consider just a small sampling of the ways in which the government is weaponizing its 360 degree surveillance technologies to flag you as a threat to national security, whether or not you’ve done anything wrong.

“Flagging you as a danger based on your feelings . . . [by] an artificial intelligence surveillance program that can detect ‘sentiment and emotion’ in social media posts . . . Flagging you as a danger based on your phone and movements . . . Flagging you as a danger based on your DNA . . . It’s only a matter of time before the police state’s pursuit of criminals expands into genetic profiling and a preemptive hunt for criminals of the future . . .

“Flagging you as a danger based on your face. Facial recognition software aims to create a society in which every individual who steps out into public is tracked and recorded as they go about their daily business . . . Scientists are also developing lasers that can identify and surveil individuals based on their heartbeats, scent and microbiome. Flagging you as a danger based on your behavior . . . including gait recognition (the way one walks) . . .

“Flagging you as a danger based on your spending and consumer activities . . . Flagging you as a danger based on your public activities . . . looking for any hints of ‘large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals’ . . . [and] such ‘suspicious’ behavior as people buying pallets of bottled water . . .

“Flagging you as a danger based on your social media activities. Every move you make, especially on social media, is monitored, mined for data, crunched, and tabulated in order to form a picture of who you are, what makes you tick, and how best to control you when and if it becomes necessary to bring you in line. As The Intercept reported, the FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies are increasingly investing in and relying on corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior . . .

“Flagging you as a danger based on your social network . . . the people you might connect with by phone, text message, email or through social message . . . What this creates is a ‘guilt by association’ society in which we are all as guilty as the most culpable person in our address book.”

The Whiteheads comment: “Now the government wants us to believe that we have nothing to fear from these mass spying programs as long as we’ve done nothing wrong. Don’t believe it . . . The government’s definition of a ‘bad’ guy is extraordinarily broad, and it results in the warrantless surveillance of innocent, law-abiding Americans on a staggering scale. Moreover, there is a repressive, suppressive effect to surveillance that not only acts as a potentially small deterrent on crime but serves to monitor and chill lawful First Amendment activity, and that is the whole point. Weaponized surveillance is re-engineering a society structured around the aesthetic of fear.”

This ties back to a quote from President Harry Truman that opened the commentary: “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”

This is the way to totalitarianism, and America and other Western governments that espouse freedom are on that track. The Bible speaks of a time soon ahead when the world will be plunged into even more severe repression under what the book of Revelation calls the mark of the Beast, where no one will be allowed to buy and sell—participate in commerce—without demonstrating compliance to the system. This will be part of the final European revival of the Roman Empire.

 

China seeks new world order

When world leaders gathered Sept. 9-10 for the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, the year’s premier diplomatic event, the absence of China’s president Xi Jinping was palpable. As reported by Michael Schuman in The Atlantic, Xi “deemed it not worth his time. His absence sends a stark signal: China is done with the established world order” (“Xi Jinping Is Done With the Established World Order,” Sept 9, 2023).

The story goes on to say that “Xi is willing to hang on to some established institutions, such as the United Nations, that he thinks he can repurpose to promote his global aims. But apparently, the G20 wasn’t one of those . . . Xi has been pushing rivals that he thinks he can dominate or pack with friendly clients. One such form is the BRICS group of developing countries, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa” (ibid.).

The same piece interestingly notes: “Xi seems to perceive the future as a binary competition between his China and the United States. But he is mistaken. The global order that is now emerging has multiple centers of power, each with its own goals and interests. China will not automatically be the primary beneficiary of the coming world order, nor will the global South necessarily flock to its banner in a renewed anti-colonial struggle.”

Quite true. The Bible shows that China, Russia and other Asian nations will form a major power bloc in the end time. But they will be overshadowed by a European power, and these two forces will confront each other in global war, leading to massive loss of life and imperiling human survival if not for God’s intervention.

 

Recent disasters: taste of more to come?

In September 2023, Mediterranean Storm Daniel dumped massive rain on the North African nation of Libya, causing horrific flooding that left more than 11,000 dead as of the time of this writing—with 20,000 still missing. “The floods came without warning, sweeping entire neighborhoods off the map and sleeping families out to sea . . . In Derna, the worst-hit city . . . a whole district had been dragged away by the raging waters” (“In Libya’s Flood-Shattered East, a Disaster of ‘Mythic Proportions,’” The Washington Post, Sept. 14, 2023).

As awful as this was, an even greater disaster happened earlier in the year. On Feb. 6, 2023, southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria were rocked by massive 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes, causing great devastation, including the deaths of 50,000 people. Aftershocks and other independent earthquakes followed soon after. Many have blamed government officials for the collapse of substandard buildings, while officials have in turn blamed developers. It’s true that better building practices would have saved lives, but many would still have died.

Experts in nearby Israel are concerned that increased earthquake activity next door and within the country signal that a strong earthquake here is not long away (“Experts Agree: Dramatic Increase in Earthquakes May Herald ‘the Big One,’” Israel Today, Feb. 23).

Scientists have also been expressing concerns about a hole 50 miles off the coast of the U.S. state of Oregon spewing up hot “fault lubricant” so that enough is not left for the tectonic plates here to slide smoothly. The resultant stress could unleash a catastrophic magnitude-9 earthquake in the Pacific Northwest (“Experts on Red Alert for Mega-Earthquake Off the US Coast—After Discovering a Crack in the 600-Mile Long Fault Line at the Bottom of the Pacific,” Daily Mail, April 14, 2023).

And further concerns are noted about a nearing eruption of the Campi Flegrei volcano, believed to be a supervolcano, on the west side of Naples, Italy, across from Vesuvius on the east side. This would be devastating. “More than 1.5 million people have their homes inside its 7-mile long (11 kilometers) caldera”—and many more would be affected by toxic ash and resultant tsunamis (“Europe’s Most Dangerous ‘Supervolcano’ Could be Creeping Toward Eruption, Scientists Warn,” June 9, 2023).

Bible prophecy foretells increasing seismic events and other natural catastrophes in the world leading up to Christ’s return, including massive earthquakes in the land of Israel soon before and when He arrives (see Matthew 24:3-8; Revelation 11:13; 16:18-19; Zechariah 14:3-5). The Greek word seismoi used in Matthew 24:7 also refers to great storms—shakings or commotions of the air (see Matthew 8:24, where the singular form is translated “tempest”).

Our hearts go out to all who’ve suffered in the recent tragedies and those who will be impacted by the calamities to come. Some will ask why God would allow such things to happen, yet there are a number of important factors to consider when disaster strikes.

 

Major cities plan to ban meat by 2030

As reported at The Federalist, “fourteen major American cities are part of a globalist climate organization known as the ‘C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group,’ which has an ‘ambitious target’ by the year 2030 of ‘0 kg [of] meat consumption,’ ‘0 kg [of] dairy consumption,’  ‘3 new clothing items per person per year,’ ‘0 private vehicles owned,’ and ‘1 short-haul return flight (less than 1500 km) every 3 years per person’—goals laid out in 2019 report “The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5 °C World,” reemphasized in 2023 (Evita Duffy-

Alfonso, “These 14 American Cities Have a ‘Target’ of Banning Meat, Dairy, and Private Vehicles by 2030,” Aug. 19, 2023).

Headed and largely funded by Democrat billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the organization is made up of nearly 100 cities across the world.

Some corporate “fact-checkers” have argued that the meat and dairy bans and travel and clothing limits are not actual policy recommendations but merely considerations for emissions reduction and urban renewal. But these are specifically labeled targets—actual goals.

These and other extreme maneuvers are really not about saving the planet, but asserting more elitist government control over the world’s population. Indeed, more than 1,600 scientists from around the world recently signed the World Climate Declaration, stating there is no climate emergency and no need for climate alarmism (“More Than 1,600 Scientists, Including Two Nobel Laureates, Declare Climate ‘Emergency’ a Myth,” Just the News, Aug. 28, 2023).

As the Federalist piece warns: “Ultimately, the climate coalition’s goals are anti-human. People generally need meat and the protein it provides to flourish. Banning meat and dairy, restricting calories, genetically altering the human body, and impoverishing the masses will hurt the planet and people . . . It will do more than hurt people—it will kill many of them.”

Scripture classes forbidding the eating of meat among end-time demonic teachings: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

Be careful to not be seduced by the dark forces directing the socioeconomic and political movements of this world.

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