When Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency was accessing metadata and message content from telecommunications companies concerning private individuals, Germany loudly complained about NSA spying through the use of such material.
Now it appears that Germany’s protests were highly hypocritical – they have been doing the same thing. The magazine Der Spiegel reported last Sunday that the German equivalent of the NSA has secret deals giving them access to data sent over 25 major internet service providers. Source: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/german-nsa-has-deal-to-tap-isps-at-major-internet-exchange/
The use of such surveillance methods appears to be wide-spread and ever-increasing, even if often illegal. I dare not speculate what new technology is now utilized that we don’t know about or even imagine. I probably read too much science fiction – or maybe not. The TV show Person of Interest may not be far off the mark.
As private citizens, we have reason to be concerned, but I suspect that there is little we can do to change the situation. Even if our reluctant Congress came to an agreement on the matter, there is no guarantee that the executive branch would enforce any legislation against these practices. Assuming security agencies would bother to ask for permission, with secret courts, how would we know?
The British historian Lord Acton stated, “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Abuse of power often results when well-meaning procedures established to protect us are then misused. Every human has a fallen nature and the temptation is just too great for many.
So I wondered, what does the Bible say about this situation?
God has strong concern for justice, fairness, and equitable dealings. The Golden Rule mandates that people be respected and treated in the same way we want to be treated. Our Bill of Rights recognizes these principles, including the First Amendment right to privacy.
But prophecy predicts a different scenario before Christ returns.
Rev 13:2, 3-10, 16-17. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. . . . He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
This prophecy describes a totalitarian regime which rules the world, using economic coercion as a tool to force compliance. All opposition will be crushed. As revealed by the Snowden disclosures and resulting discovery of other programs, technology gives governments ever more efficient means to identify, locate, and suppress dissenters.
What should be our response? Panic? Hopelessness?
Not if you read the end of the book. Jesus promised to return as the Righteous Judge who will restore God’s justice in the world. See Revelation 19-22. So we have hope.
The passage in Revelation tells us what to do:
- Be sure you have a right relationship with God. If you have trusted in Jesus as your Savior, your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If you have not, do so now. Go to: http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally/index.htm
- Don’t be surprised. Christ warned us this would happen before His return.
- Endure patiently and faithfully.
- DO NOT take the mark. Trust in God for His provision, even to the point of death.
Remember, the night is darkest just before the dawn.