We continue with our list of 12 burning fuses.
These represent significant endtime trends that may be defined by their
rapidity and explosiveness. These are notable even more so in our day, where
many of the enormous technological shifts of the past century are fizzling
out. For example, the speed of travel, after accelerating from horse and
buggy speeds to the jet, has not advanced in 5 decades. The impact of
antibiotics is near its zenith of conquering the germ. Global communication
and interconnectedness is near its maximum practical impact (though possibly
still becoming cheaper). Very likely, advances in agricultural productivity
are slowing … and so on.
But is this also true of the future impact of technology in general?
Aren’t the limits of technology boundless? Just as people may have
underestimated the advances of technology a century ago, would it not be
reasonable to trust in the ingenuity of mankind to drive further
Yes and no. We firstly say no, as the ingenuity of mankind is not without
limit. Only God Himself is infinite. But we also answer yes, as there is at
least one more technological development that has the potential to impact
the souls of humanity.
Final Prophesied Impact of Technology
We venture the opinion that technology has at least one more role to play
in the prophetic timeline of the world. In fact, it is connected to one
other endtime fuse that we have already reviewed in Part I—Post-Familialism.
More and more people are choosing to remain single, and this is in part
linked to the increase of self-love and narcissism.
What is narcissism?
Borrowing a definition from World of
Psychology, this is a trait evidenced by “egotistical preoccupation with
self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he/she is
perceived by others.”1
Readers will agree that such inclinations are anti-social and evidence a
lack love for others. This is the last prophetically-significant frontier of
technology, we think … the facilitation of “self.” And, it is having a rapid
The “Self” Enabled Through
The most pivotal technological developments over the past several
decades, as everyone will know, have been the internet and the personal cell
phone. The adoption of these two consumer services has been more rapid than
any other new technology ever before. Crucially, these two developments have
lately converged into one leading edge—the smart phone. The conversion to
internet-connected cell phones (basically, that’s what smartphones are) is
even more rapid, exceeding the adoption rate of the basic cell phone.
This is significant, as it opens the gateway to the ultimate “dotage upon
the individual” (the self), though within a centrally controlled, global
nexus of connections. We will explain why.
Consider these statistics: While it required over 30 years for the
telephone to penetrate one-quarter of North American households, the
internet achieved the same penetration level in less than 7 years.
Similarly, the adoption of the cell phone was also quick, requiring only 13
years from the time of invention. Consider that 419 million mobile cell
phone devices (which include smartphones) were sold worldwide in the 3rd
quarter of 2012. At an annualized pace, that represents one phone for a
little more than 4 people in the world! (The global population is 7.0
Within this cell phone demand explosion in recent years, has been a
sub-trend to buy smartphones. Hundreds of millions of these devices are
being sold. In the period cited earlier, 172 million of mobile devices sold
were smartphones—for example, the Apple iPhone or the Android, among others
But why should the advance of these communication and media devices be
more significant than any other? The key difference (besides the speed of
adoption) is that the internet-enabled smartphone is a personal item. These
are designed for the voice communication and internet usage of the
individual human. TVs and a land-based internet connection, on the other
hand, tend to be a household purchase (at least, that was the case
Readers may be wondering why these developments are so prophetically
noteworthy. Where is the connection to the Bible?
Just where do we find any mention of an end-time burst of personal
mobile devices in the Bible? Is this an evil technology that should not be
used? Let’s first turn to the Bible before we return to our further
examination of this end-time “burning fuse.”
Apostle Paul wrote this to Timothy: “But mark this: There will be
terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves […],
unholy, without love, […] without self-control, […] not lovers of the good,
[…] conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy
Paul is clearly speaking of the last days. An identifying characteristic
of that time he says will be people preoccupied with the “self.” By
definition, such people must be worldly. Why?
Despite the fact that many so-called Christian ministries today cater to
the “self,” the Bible never endorses this emphasis. Actually, the Bible
counsels the exact opposite. We are to “deny” ourselves. Jesus
said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke
9:23). It could not be any clearer: Whoever wants to be a disciple of Christ
must therefore deny “themselves” and be selfless.
To be self-seeking has consequences both for individuals and
societies, according to the Bible.
Paul says that “[…] for those who are self-seeking
and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger”
(Romans 2:8). Moreover, a focus on self does not align with the duty to
love. “Love is patient […] It does not dishonor others, it is not
self-seeking” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5).
preoccupation with the “self “is not godly; and moreover, a mass emphasis of
the self would indeed be a condition witnessed in the last days. And if this
is so, we can further know that it will represent an age that will be
corrupted by deceitful desires. Why? Again, because the Bible tell us so.
Paul says: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put
off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires”
(Ephesians 4:22). Therefore, a last-day world of ungodly people still
mastered by their “old selves,” will surely lead to a loveless and deceitful
consumer culture and society of the self.
how could the preoccupation with the self, gain such reinforcement and
enabling in a world with billions and billions of people? Technology
provides the means.
Glorifying the Self
Consider these developments of the internet. Today, online tracking
systems have the ability to build a personal profile about you. All your
online activity is tracked. (Nothing you do online is secret!) With this
information, these systems make inferences about your likes, tastes and
views. Doing so, they can then target advertisements to you specifically
that are likely to attract your response. This is called “social graphing.”
In addition, these systems can predetermine what information you will
want to see when you are browsing the web. Says Omar Tawakoll, founder of
BlueKai (a firm whose clients track more than 80 percent of the U.S. online
population): “Hyper-targeted ads will follow us to TVs and cellphones.”
The new breakthrough is this: Today, everything is about you. Ads are now
targeted to you specifically—the you that is the one and only me, myself and
Even if one is not using the internet to shop, but rather to search for
information, even here “personalization” is becoming the norm.
observer: “Courtesy of technology, we can now receive all our information
from people who agree with us—which is exactly what human beings want. And,
the new economics of media makes it extremely profitable for
information-providers to pander to what we want to hear.”2
This is disturbing as it means that the internet is becoming a controlled
system, pre-screening what it will allow you to see. However, what’s even
more significant, is that all these technologies cater to the likes and
proclivities of the individual. It all feeds a trend of individualism … the
world of me … the single.
The social media
revolution is a companion trend. What is meant by social media? We here
refer to such services as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others, that
achieve their connectivity and platform over the internet. With these
services, everyone can individually be on display and on show to the world.
Taking license with
William Shakespeare’s phrase from the play As You Like It, today,
“All the world of me is a stage.”
The worldwide connectivity of the internet is said to open up a range of
consumer options and information. It is argued therefore, that the internet
represents the welcome unshackling of the individual, ushering in maximum
freedom. Actually, it is likely to be the complete opposite.
The Good or Evil of Technology
No doubt, readers
may think that we see nothing of value in the many new technologies of our
day. Not at all. The internet and the cell phone offer great convenience. We
even wonder if one could survive without them, though they have barely been
20 years in existence. [This article was partially researched through the
internet.] Technology in and of itself, is not evil. That would only be
possible through the agency of human action and motives. It is up to the
individual to decide for what purposes they will use any technology … good
awareness of the potential side-effects of technology is urgent. All the
conveniences of technology come with a price—a trade-off. We quote here an
excerpt from an earlier book, The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free
(now out of print):
The successful advance of technology has opened
mankind up to tremendous spiritual seduction, both subtle and direct, even
though science is not evil in and of itself […]. Hardly anyone reading this
[article] will not have succumbed to its comfortable inventions in one way
or another. Some will have swallowed the whole hook, line and sinker, flatly
rejecting the existence of God. These people instead choose instead to place
their full faith in the present and future promises of technology and the
intelligence of the human brain. Though this group is rapidly increasing in
size over past decades, they are still small in number. Most of us would
reject their conclusion as being much too extreme and stark. It’s too
obviously wrong. It is for that reason that the subtle seductions of
[science and technology] are much more dangerous. We are not aware of […]
these seductions [as they] do not confront us in terms of black and white
trade-offs. They stake their advances in tiny steps of convenience and
novelty. Though we still consciously believe in the existence of God,
sub-consciously He has become very small. We have allowed our faith in
technology to whittle Him down. Now God is only the weatherman or the God of
random chance. We need to better understand how the advances of technology
impact our faith.
[…] they pose the same proposal to our souls: To
trade a higher vulnerability to worldliness for new convenience; to opt for
increased exposure to a godless world in return for higher material comfort.
[…] We must see that all the conveniences and pleasures offered by new
technology come with a price. In some ways ‘high-tech’ is no exception to
the adage, ‘There’s no free lunch.’ Every improvement comes with a new
vulnerability in spiritual terms.
Thoughts to Ponder
What we are witnessing today is the proliferation of personal
connectivity devices. Why is this significant? It provides two-way
communication and information within a globally interconnected and
controlled system, that facilitates the emphasis of self. This is a
development foreseen by the Bible. Ultimately, it actually becomes an
instrument of bondage to the “self,” and also centralized control of the
entirety of humanity.
Now, everyone in the world can be on their own stage; to have their most
personal wants and lusts catered to; enjoying the ultimate in individual
customization to their interests and beliefs. We dare state that this is the
emerging end-time world of the self … the celebration of the individual …
the single life. The consequences of these choices are already destabilizing
societies in a number of insidious ways.
Quoting Joel Kotkin, “Traditional values have almost
without exception been rooted in kinship relations. The new emerging social
ethos endorses more secular values that prioritize individual personal
socioeconomic success as well as the personal quest for greater
We can indeed
benefit from the new inventions of science and technology, yet not allow
them to affect our focus upon the Lord, nor to abandon a Biblical worldview.
We must constantly fend off subtle and luring inroads into our minds and the
fleshly proposals to our wants, if we are to stand separate from the deceits
of a last-day world.
But most of all, we rejoice in the fact that we have a personal Lord.
He knows each of our needs, tendencies, vulnerabilities, wants, weaknesses
and talents on an individual basis. There can be no higher personal care nor
purer love and motive for relationship with each of us (individually) than
through Jesus Christ.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
We can “log-on” with Him at any time through prayer. The Holy Spirit is
the only infallible interconnection with the entire Body of Christ.
Technology can only provide a cheap and deceiving substitute if we are not