In the last part of our study about Artificial Intelligence (AI) we looked at the visions of Daniel and the angel’s explanation of those visions. Some of those visions concerned great empires that would come into power within a few centuries. We call those “near” future events. Some of the visions concerned a great empire that would come into power thousands of years later. We call those “deep” future events. It is in those “deep” future prophecies that we find the use of AI.
We left off last time with the angel explaining the future of two warring kingdoms and how their wars would impact Israel. We know from history that those kingdoms were the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt and the Seleucid Empire of Syria. The vision and angel’s explanation switched from “near” future events to “deep” future events in Daniel 11.
And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. Daniel 11:35-37
The angel used the phrase “the time of the end” a second time just a few sentences later.
At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him. At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 11:40 – 12:3
It is clear from the angel’s explanation of Daniel’s vision that it is about the “time of the end” we find described and detailed in the New Testament.
The Real War
What’s going on here? Is this just about earthly kingdoms fighting each other or is something else in play?
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel. Genesis 3:15
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ Matthew 4:8-10
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8
The real war is between Jesus Christ and Satan. Something terrible happened in the far distant past, possibly before time began. God created Satan the angel to worship and serve Him, but Satan rebelled and became a great enemy to God (see Ezekiel 28:11-19). Satan deceived the first humans and has continued to deceive families and nations to this day. However, God sent His Son into the world to “destroy the works of the devil.”
As we look at prophecies about the “deep” future, we are looking at how Jesus Christ will dismantle and destroy everything Satan does. Satan has great power and will use the latest human technology in his play to expand his power, but it is nothing in comparison with the power of the Almighty Son of God.
Satan and AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a fairly recent advance in technology when I became a Christian more than 50 years ago. As we mentioned in earlier parts of this series supercomputers were still in their infancy and AI was just getting off the drawing board. How quickly things have changed. Knowledge has grown so rapidly in the last 20 years that we are now living in a world that is very different from what I experienced as a young person. Depending on your age, it’s a different world than your parents and grandparents experienced in their lifetime. AI has played a big part in that change.
Satan has always used human technology to his advantage. Satan has deceived families, tribes and nations for thousands of years. People have fought each other with everything from spears, swords, battering rams and chariots to guns, tanks, jets and missiles. Jesus told His followers about Satan and said he is a deceiver, the father of lies, and a thief who has come to steal, kill and destroy. Satan’s desire is to dominate humanity that they would worship him. God’s desire is to save humanity that they would worship Him. So, what did God do? He sent His one and only Son into the world to save those who believe in Him and to destroy the works of the devil.
As crazy as our world seems right now, the craziness will come to an end. However, things will get much worse before they get better. That’s where Satan and AI come in.
The Beast and AI
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. Revelation 11:7
We are introduced to someone or something halfway into the Revelation of Jesus Christ called “the beast” (thērion – brute, wild beast, monster). The word is used figuratively for someone with a brutal, bestial nature. The question for us is who or what is the beast.
Jesus, in answering His disciples’ question about the end time, told them about false christs, false prophets and “the abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24; Mark 13). The Apostle Paul, in responding to questions about the end time, told Christians in Thessalonica about “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition” and “the lawless one” (2 Thessalonians 2). The Apostle John wrote Christians about “the Antichrist.” Are these different people or the same person? Is it the same person the angel described to Daniel as the “king of the North”?
I believe all of the prophecies about the end of time point to all of these being the same person or being. The events outlined in Daniel, Matthew 24, Mark 13, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 11-19 show a consistency in the events concerning the domination and desperation of one individual who wields brutal power in the world. Question for us is how that individual might use AI for his (or its) purposes.
Man or Machine?
The angel in Daniel 11 described the king of the North in human terms. Jesus described the false christs and false prophets in human terms. Paul described the “man of sin” in human terms. John described the Antichrist in human terms. But what about the “beast” of Revelation? Human or machine? Let’s begin with Paul’s description.
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 – 4
Paul wrote two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica to address theological issues – some of them being eschatological (time of the end). Though Paul had taught them about the “time of the end” when he was with them (Acts 17), the Christians had became confused. Paul addressed the coming of Jesus Christ for Christians in the first letter and the great apostasy that would precede Christ’s coming in the second letter.
The Thessalonians worried that the “day of Christ” had already come. Paul told them that “Day” would not come until there was a great “falling away” (apostasia – defection, revolt, departure, desertion) and the “man of sin” (anthrōpos tēs anomias) is “revealed” (apokaluphthē). Paul also described the “man” of sin as the “son of perdition” (huios tēs apōleias).
The order is important here. Paul told the Thessalonians that a great apostasy (falling away) would come first, then the man of sin would be revealed. The man of sin would oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped. He would sit as God in the Temple of God and show himself that he is God. That’s pretty specific. The Temple of God on earth was located in Jerusalem, but the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD. Paul was looking to a future event that we now know was at least 19-hundred years from the time of Paul’s writing.
Paul had more to communicate about the issue with the Thessalonians.
Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12
Paul said that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” However, he also said that someone “now restrains” the lawlessness. What’s that about?
“Lawlessness” has been in the world for thousands of years, but it will reach its worst point during “the time of the end.” Here’s how bad Jesus said things will get:
For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. Mark 13:19-20
That statement is stunning. “And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved.” What leads up to that time of terrible tribulation? The Apostle John explained it this way:
By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:2-4
The “spirit of the Antichrist” is that the Son of God did not come in the flesh. That “spirit” was in the world in the 1st century AD and is still in the world in the 21st century.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, explained it this way. It’s the first thing He said in answering His disciples questions about “the end of the age.”
And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. Matthew 24:4-5
Jesus also said this to His disciples:
And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up anddeceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:10-12
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Matthew 24:23-25
Lawlessness is strong in our world today, but God is restraining it until He finishes His purpose for this age. That is another type of mystery:
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’ Romans 11:25-27
Paul said the restraining would continue until “He is taken out of the way.” Once the “Restrainer” is taken out of the way, “then the lawless one will be revealed.” Who is the “He” who is restraining and will be taken out of the way in the future?
We know that the Holy Spirit is working in the world today to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The Spirit also guided the apostles into all truth and told them “things to come” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit told Paul the time is coming when the Spirit will no longer hold back (restrain) the great evil of the time of the end. He will be “taken out of the way” (ek mesou genētai – change or transition out from the middle or among) and then the “lawless one” will be revealed.
The “coming” of the lawless one will be according to the working of Satan with “all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” It is for that reason that “God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.” The man of sin is going to deceive the world and God will send a strong delusion so the world believes “the lie.” What lie?
I believe that Paul’s teaching from 1 Thessalonians 4 and 2 Thessalonians 2 describes the same event. Those Christians who are alive when the Spirit of God is “taken out” of the world will be “caught up together” with the resurrected bodies of Christians who have died during the past two-thousand years (also read 1 Corinthians 15). The instaneous disappearance of millions of people in the “twinkling of an eye” along with the Holy Spirit removing His restraining power on the world will lead to a great lie that the “man of sin” will tell the world. What will God do? God will send a great delusion on the people remaining in the world to believe “the lie” of the “man of sin,” the Antichrist.
How would that work? How would the entire world believe a lie? Yes, God would send a strong delusion over the world’s population to believe ‘the lie,’ but what lie would the ‘lawless one’ tell?
In the next part of our series we will open the Book of Revelation and see how the “man of sin,” the “Antichrist,” the great “beast,” will use AI to his advantage to build a global empire to control the world after God’s Spirit no longer restrains lawlessness on planet Earth. We’ll also look deeper into the question of whether the “beast” of Revelation is human, machine or a hybrid of the two.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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