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THE HIDDEN FACE OF THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT
In Western democracies, citizens are accustomed to voting for their representatives in government. Democratic principles and national constitutions assure us of a voice in determining the policies and powers that rule us. What most of us don't realize, however, is that these rules have changed profoundly. These changes endanger us in a multitude of ways, but no one gave us a chance to vote on the political transformation.
We have already entered the era of the shadow government, a term I will use in this book to refer to powerful agencies that collect data on every one of us. The shadow government observes our private lives and monitors our finances. It tracks your movements and mine. It listens in on our communications, records our purchases, and archives our decisions and preferences in permanent computer files.
The natural reaction to hearing this is to say, "They have no right to do that!" In a truly democratic society, the power lies with the people and not with the government. But in this era of the shadow government, we have lost most of our personal rights. And the loss of our privacy is one of the most evident and most ominous outcomes.
You have no say in determining what they learn about you and how they use the information. Because this unelected authority operates in the shadows, it is not subject to meaningful oversight by any democratic institution or recognized arm of government. Intelligence agencies, legislative bodies, the courts, regulatory agencies—no center of elected, democratic political power has any real authority over the shadow government.
We are living in a dangerous time, when governments throughout the world have allowed an unprecedented network of shadow governments to grow and consolidate power. Those who are starting to control our lives from the shadows conduct massive surveillance and exert extensive military power in countries around the world. While these activities are largely invisible to ordinary citizens, elected governments are aware of the shift in power.
THE UPHEAVAL FOLLOWING 9/11
When radical Muslims hijacked four commercial airliners on September 11, 2001, and commandeered them on suicide missions to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we all realized the world had changed in a way that was hard to accept. What we didn't see coming was the way this attack on American soil would introduce a profound shift in power in Western nations. In response to the now-visible threat of Islamist movements against democratic countries, governments took drastic action, making unprecedented changes in national security measures. This went far beyond tighter security at airports and military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ostensibly to protect the free citizens of their nations, governments intensified their surveillance of all of us. A troubling feature of modern society is that the security measures taken by governments have become increasingly secretive. Governments can spy on anyone
without due cause or due process. They no longer have to obtain judicial approval, undergo legislative review, or be held accountable to any elected body, such as a senate or parliamentary subcommittee. The real political power is now hidden so that no one but insiders and intelligence agencies knows who wields power at the top levels of national governments. Increasingly, anonymous military, intelligence, and security officials have taken control of Western societies in the name of national security.
If you wonder how this could happen, consider two things. First, there is the constant threat of attack from rogue nations, radical Muslim terrorists, and antidemocratic forces in possession of weapons of mass destruction. And second, there are the rapid and extensive advancements in invasive technology, a critical tool in the hands of those who make the calls for the shadow government. These two developments have converged to shift the power away from elected governments and into the hands of hidden decision makers.
All of this has prophetic significance, which we will explore in a later chapter. It is no accident that the necessary technology exists to enable a world dictator, for the first time in history, to control the earth's population. As intellectual and political elites take over the levers of power, consolidating their control over scientific, economic, and military technologies, the shadow government can secretly manipulate the entire world. And not just the world as a whole, but the lives of individual citizens. No one is protected from their invasive surveillance.
The religious intellectual Pierre Teilhard de Chardin pointed out the overwhelming power that would be wielded by a group of brilliant thinkers dedicated to the cause of unrivaled world government. He wrote, "Nothing in the universe can resist the cumulative ardor of a sufficiently large number of enlightened minds working together in organized groups."
Almost a century ago, John Buchan, an important figure in post–World War I British politics, wrote an intriguing novel titled The Power-House. In it he explored a fictional group of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals who moved behind the scenes of politics, international finance, and business to subvert the national sovereignty of Western governments. The goal of this group was to create and control a system of global government. A self-appointed group of wealthy individuals allied with Western politicians and former key political leaders would hold the real power over democratic nations.
HOW THE RULERS WENT INTO HIDING
Until the last century, political power was concentrated in very public and widely venerated leaders such as kings, governors, and even dictators who were not shy about making known their power to rule their nations. Some went out of their way to remind citizens exactly who was in control, such as the public displays and massive monuments used by Adolf Hitler in Germany and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union.
However, in the last half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, a new political power paradigm came into being. In place of highly visible leaders, we now have elected representatives who exert only limited control, while the real power resides with a separate group. The most powerful individuals who control our nations and our lives do their work behind the scenes. They are joined by current and retired political leaders who, along with certain wealthy and influential figures, form an open conspiracy to produce a new global government. Their goal is to replace all existing independent democratic governments.
This is the sort of thing we tend to associate with nations that do not have a long history of democracy. However, the hidden leaders of shadow governments operate in both totalitarian and democratic governments throughout the world. Since the end of World War II, the secret global elites have been bolstered by political, financial, military, and governmental leaders from North America and Western Europe.
Just as our generation was transformed by the attacks of 9/11, the world was changed almost a century earlier by the terrible devastation of World War I. For the first time, Western nations saw that a massive war could annihilate humanity. The First World War introduced chemical weapons, poison gas, machine guns, and artillery that killed more than forty million soldiers and civilians. (I include in these figures casualties of the 1918–22 Russian civil war.) Many of the leaders of Western nations concluded that the most pressing global need was to eliminate the possibility of a future genocidal world war. That concern gave birth to the formulation of a New World Order, which in theory would eliminate the possibility of a future world war. The stated goal of this globalist agenda was to protect humanity from the devastating technology of war. To protect us from another world war, they reasoned, it would be necessary to eliminate every one of the sovereign, independent nations that could wage war against any other state.
In the protracted negotiations of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, a number of key Western leaders came to believe that the only way to preserve humanity was to form a partnership involving the real, secret leadership of numerous Western nations. In the name of protecting the world's population from future war, this secret group subverted the historic system of sovereign governments.
Initially, they created the League of Nations, which proved to be ineffective. Despite good intentions, the League of Nations failed to prevent the outbreak of a second world war. German, Italian, and Japanese aggression bathed the world in the blood of more than sixty million dead before the Allied victory in 1945. During and following World War II, those who had hoped but failed to create a global government renewed their efforts. In light of possible unrestricted nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States (and later, China), they formulated a new international body that came to be known as the United Nations (UN). What wasn't announced publicly is that the UN was the global elitists' next step in launching in embryonic form the coming world government. Members of the Council on Foreign Relations (created after WWI and still a powerful influence toward global government) virtually wrote the UN charter. This group was dedicated to the proposition that the sovereign states of the West must be secretly joined in a global compact that would make future war impossible. While the goal of world peace was laudable, the unfortunate result was that the foundation for a global government was laid without the knowledge of or approval from the citizens of the Western nations that were affected.
THE COMING EVIL
It will be difficult for many readers to accept my argument that widely respected political and business leaders would support plans to eliminate the United States and its Constitution in favor of the tyranny of a secret global elite. However, as we will see in later chapters, a series of international crises changed the thinking of these leaders, spurring the consolidation of power in the shadow government. Two world wars, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and the constant threat of attack from radical Muslim forces fuel the move toward globalism. And what we have seen so far is only a hint of what is to come.
We are rapidly approaching the greatest crisis in history. Jesus Christ warned that humanity would experience an unprecedented crisis just before He returned to establish His eternal Kingdom on earth. Jesus prophesied a "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21). The prophet Daniel foretold that the terrible time of tribulation will last seven years and will conclude with the battle of Armageddon and the Messiah's triumphant return to earth (see Daniel 9:24–27). The biblical prophets also warned that the most evil man in history would arise during the final generation of this age. This man will be empowered by Satan to seize political, economic, military, and religious control first in Europe (as the revived Roman Empire) and then over the entire world population. This mysterious individual is identified by several names throughout Scripture, including the "lawless one" (2 Thessalonians 2:8–9, NIV), the "man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:3), "that Wicked" (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 John 3:12; 5:18), and even "the mystery of iniquity" (2Thessalonians 2:7). Yet most people know him by the name used by the prophet John, who called him the "antichrist" (see 2 John 7). This completely evil man will embody Satan's ages-long passion to set himself up as god to be worshiped by all of humanity.
You and I will live to see the most terrifying dictator in history arise to rule the world. He will embody pure evil, and he will demand that all people worship him as their only god or they will be annihilated.
TECHNOLOGY IN THE HANDS OF THE ANTICHRIST
In the past it was difficult to understand how any individual could exert complete control over humanity, as is foretold in the Bible. The book of Revelation, for example, describes devastating military attacks from the air, the deliberate poisoning of one-third of the planet's land and water, and the destruction of two-thirds of the earth's population. Serious students of the Bible naturally wondered how these predictions could be fulfilled. Did the prophecies speak of actual future events, or were they only allegorical symbols referring to a spiritual war between the forces of good and evil? In our generation we know enough about warfare, technology, and shifting political allegiances that we can begin to see how one man could exercise such power throughout the world. For the first time in history, it is possible to contemplate the potential for humanity's complete destruction in a global war. In the chapters that follow, we will look at prophecies that describe the Antichrist's rise to power and the nature of the global government that he will control. The Antichrist will become the dominant political, military, and religious figure in the world. God revealed these truths to awaken Christians to the signs of Christ's return to earth, when He will take His followers home to heaven.
The rise of the shadow government has significant prophetic implications. The rush to global government, paired with astonishing developments in surveillance technology, will enable the totalitarian regime of the Antichrist to introduce his dreaded Mark of the Beast system. If you know what to look for, you will see all around you measures that could make this system of global control transform into true world government. America's national sovereignty has been progressively eroded. One obvious example, seen almost daily in the news, is the fallout from the threat of global warming. To address this environmental issue, various UN treaties demand that American laws be harmonized with those of other nations in the name of globalization.
The issue is much larger than responding to global warming. With the loss of national sovereignty, we will also lose rights and freedoms we now take for granted. Over time, we will no longer enjoy the benefits of free enterprise, and we will lose the guarantees of political, economic, and religious freedom. The leaders that operate behind the scenes have adopted a philosophy of globalism, sharing the desire to become global citizens of the New World Order.
YOU ARE BEING WATCHED
You don't have to look far to see early indications of our loss of freedom. Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, national governments around the world broadened and accelerated spying activities against their own citizens. The creation of a total surveillance society has set the stage for the totalitarian police state described two thousand years ago by the prophet John in the book of Revelation. In later chapters, we will examine the growing use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, which is only one step removed from implanting computer chips beneath the skin of every person. This technology could easily be laying the groundwork for the fulfillment of John's prophecy about the totalitarian police state that will rule the world during the last three and a half years of this age, before Christ returns at Armageddon. The development of computerized information warfare can neutralize an enemy's economy, defenses, and infrastructure. Weapons using powerful electromagnetic forces can influence a country's weather, destroy a nation's computer systems, and even influence the mental processes of individuals. These technological advances give us a more detailed idea of the prophesied Mark of the Beast system and show how the Antichrist would be able to establish unrivaled global domination (see Revelation 13:16–18).
In later chapters we will look more closely at these developments, and we will examine the shifting geopolitical alliances between America, Europe, Russia, China, the Arab states, and Israel. A massive shift in the balance of power is laying the groundwork for the unprecedented military battles to come in the last days.
GOD'S DESCRIPTION OF THE LAST DAYS
A number of prophecies teach that Jesus Christ will return from heaven to take all true Christians home to the New Jerusalem in heaven. This will take place immediately prior to the seven-year Tribulation period, which will begin when the Antichrist signs a seven-year treaty with Israel. Christ's promise to Christians is the "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), which also is known as the Rapture. We are commanded by the Lord to rejoice in our continuing expectation that "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:4). The message of prophecy is not one of doom and gloom, as some critics have suggested. Rather, Jesus commanded His followers to respond with joyful anticipation when they begin to see the fulfillment of these prophecies.
Some Christians who are critical of prophecy teachers, including me, accuse us of being sensationalists because we take the prophecies so seriously. We are led to determine whether these predictions are being fulfilled by events occurring in our generation. The best evidence clearly indicates that we are living in the last days.
This is far from sensationalism. The Word of God commands believers to carefully consider the prophetic passages of the Scriptures. The apostle Peter assures us that "we have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19). Of the more than thirty-one thousand verses found in the Bible, more than one in four (27 percent) focus on prophecy. This suggests the tremendous importance of God's prophetic message.
The great scientist Sir Isaac Newton was fascinated with Bible prophecy. The discovery of thousands of his unpublished manuscripts in an attic at Cambridge University revealed that he wrote many more research notes and manuscripts about prophecy than he did on scientific matters. In his book Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John, Newton wrote, "And the giving ear to the Prophets is a fundamental character of the true Church. For God has so ordered the Prophecies, that in the latter days 'the wise may understand, but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand' (Daniel 12:9–10)."3 I agree completely with Newton's conclusion. As we will discover in this book, the evidence points to the fulfillment of God's plan in this generation. We will witness the sobering and yet faith-building events that were prophesied more than two thousand years ago.
At the center of Satan's attempt to use the Antichrist to take over the world—before his ultimate defeat at the hands of the Messiah—are the work, strategies, and agenda of the shadow government. At the top of that agenda is the destruction of your privacy.
From the Trade Paperback edition.