Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Past Defeat and Present Threat of AI

In my previous article called The Times of the Gentiles, I wrote about artificial intelligence (AI) as a key aspect of the rising Iron-Clay world empire that will be ruled by the antichrist, and I warned that AI presents a formidable threat to mankind. I showed how the book of Revelation may contain an example of AI technology that will be used by the false prophet to force people to worship an image of the beast. Today I would like to draw an analogy between AI and another Ai that's found in the Bible. By doing this comparison, and enumerating some lessons learned from Ai, I think you will be able to see the relevance of that defeat to the existential threat of AI that we are going to be facing in these end times

The Defeat at Ai
First let's review what actually happened at Ai. For this we go back to the book of Joshua, where it is recorded how he led the Israelites across the Jordan into the promised land after the death of Moses. His mission was to lead the nation to possess the land that the Lord had given them. Under his leadership and guidance, they were to go into the cities and conquer their enemies one by one, destroying them and taking over the land.

Initially they got off to a good start. Immediately after crossing the Jordan, they conquered Jericho, which was a great victory considering its great walls that surrounded it like a fortress. The next city to take was Ai, but here is where they ran into trouble. Joshua sent scouts to reconnoiter Ai, and they returned with an overconfident attitude, recommending that only a small contingent of the Israeli fighting forces be sent to conquer Ai. After their first victory at Jericho, which was a major one, they assumed Ai would be easy in comparison due to the fewer numbers of enemy people living there. Here is what happened:

"Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, 'Go up and spy out the land.' So the men went up and spied out Ai. They returned to Joshua and said to him, 'Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.' So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water." (Jos 7:2-5)

This was a major defeat that immediately followed their major victory. What a humbling experience! What could have gone wrong? Why couldn't they defeat this relatively smaller city when they had destroyed Jericho the way they did?

The reason was that there was sin in the camp. Before they took the city of Jericho, Joshua had placed a ban on all items in the city. He said:

"The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the LORD; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD." (Jos 6:17-19)

So to summarize that, aside from taking Rahab and her household alive, they were to destroy everyone else in Jericho. And they were forbidden from taking anything in the city at all for themselves. Joshua said that anyone that took any of the plunder for themselves would would make the camp accursed and bring trouble on it. All silver and gold was to go into the Lord's treasury.

The problem was that one of the Israelites named Achan took some of the plunder and kept it for himself. The Bible records:

"But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel." (Jos 7:1)

Note that the sons of Israel were all viewed as having acted unfaithfully, because of the sin of one man. Since he rebelled and took some of the contraband, this caused the Lord's anger to burn against Israel. But Joshua didn't know about this matter yet. He was perplexed and distraught over the defeat at Ai and immediately went to God in prayer to ask why it happened.

"Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. Joshua said, 'Alas, O Lord GOD, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?'" (Jos 7:6-9)

As you can see, this was a serious blow to the Israelites. And here is the answer the Lord gave Joshua as to why it happened:

"So the LORD said to Joshua, 'Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst. Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, "Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the LORD, the God of Israel, has said, 'There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.'" (Jos 7:9-13)

The Lord told Joshua that the reason the sons of Israel could not stand before their enemies and turned their backs before their enemies was that they had sinned, they had transgressed His covenant which he had commanded them. They had taken some of the contraband, stolen it for themselves and then used deception to keep it hidden among their own property. Thus they had brought down a curse on themselves. God promised not to be with them any more until they had removed and destroyed the stolen contraband.

Then through a process that the Lord directed, it was discovered that Achan was the culprit. He confessed to Joshua that he had taken some of the contraband and hidden it in his tent. 

"So Achan answered Joshua and said, 'Truly, I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.'" (Jos 7:20-21)

Then they sent messengers to his tent to fetch the concealed items and they brought it back to Joshua and all the people. And just as the Lord directed him to do, Joshua removed the items from the camp, along with Achan, and there in the valley they burned the contraband with fire and stoned him and his family to death.

"Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. Joshua said, 'Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.' And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day." (Jos 7:24-26)

Afterward the Lord told Joshua to arise and take all the men of war back up to Ai, because he had given into Joshua's hand its king, his city, his people, and his land. Remember that they had already consecrated themselves to the Lord once again, as He commanded them to do through Joshua (7:13). Then just as the Lord commanded, they went up to fight against Ai and totally defeated it. What a big difference from the first attempt they made! 

Lessons Learned from Ai
We can learn some important lessons from this terrible event. Defeat is always certain when there is sin in the camp. Don't expect to walk in victory when you have transgressed God's covenant. We should never take things the Lord has commanded us not to take, or steal or deceive. Your sin will always find you out. You can be sure that you will not be able to stand before your enemies, if you walk in disobedience to the Lord. There is a strong connection between disobedience and defeat.

Likewise, when even one person in the church has sinned and continues on unrepentant, refusing to confess his sin, then that congregation cannot stand before their enemies; they will turn their backs before their enemies, for in a sense it is like they have become accursed. God's presence will not be with them anymore unless they take proper measures to deal with it. 

Under the New Covenant in Christ's blood, we do not stone people to death. But the one who has sinned must repent before the Lord and confess their sin to Him. They must take whatever steps the Lord directs to address the matter, so that everything can be restored properly. They must make restitution. That will vary from one situation to the next. They may need to go and apologize to someone, seeking forgiveness, and return something they have stolen. They may need to destroy something that the Lord had forbidden, which they had in their own possession. They may even need to confess publicly what they have done in certain instances. As I said, it will vary, but the whole situation must be made right in God's sight, according to His Word and led by His Spirit.

The apostle John wrote: "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us." (1Jn 1:8-10)

The apostle Paul wrote: "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom 8:1)

This is very comforting to those who genuinely repent and confess their sin. But Paul also said:

"For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Rom 8:13)

And "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Gal 6:7)

Even though we are under the New Covenant, there are still very serious consequences for sin. In the book of Acts we see some examples of this, such as the death of Ananias and Saphira in chapter 5. And in chapter 5 of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he instructed them to expel the wicked man from among them, who was a man that was sleeping with his father's wife. Because this sexually immoral person was practicing this sin with the church's full knowledge and he was unrepentant, he had to be excommunicated or dis-fellowshiped from their midst. Yet very few churches ever go to such lengths to deal with sin. Very few are willing to confront sin.

On the other hand, when the people of God consecrate themselves to the Lord and remove all devoted and forbidden things from their midst, as well as all evil doers, and walk in holiness, righteousness, and truth, then they will be a terror to their enemies. The enemy will not be able to stand before them. And this is true of any church that does this, too. They will walk in victory over all the power of the enemy and through Christ overcome the world.

Artificial Intelligence
What does all of this have to do with artificial intelligence or AI? It has a lot to do with it. The reason is that AI is considered by one leading expert named Elon Musk to be the greatest single threat to human existence. And there are many factors that lead us to believe it will be a key component in the kingdom of the antichrist. If that is so, then AI represents a potentially formidable enemy to the Church. If it falls into the wrong hands, it could easily be used for evil purposes. This is true for all the same reasons that the world does not want rogue elements or terrorists possessing nuclear technology or nuclear weapons capability.

A human being is no match for a nuclear weapon. They are helpless before it. We could say the same of other technologies like guns. A person is no match for a gun. And guns in the hands of evil people can be used to terrorize them, as we have seen countless times throughout history, including the recent Las Vegas massacre. Likewise, a human without the power of the Holy Spirit is no match for future, advanced forms of AI technology, if they are harnessed for evil purposes.

Since we know that apart from Christ, all men are sinful, we know that there is no question AI can be misused to harm people. And since we know from Scripture that an evil dictator will rise to global power in the last days, this technology becomes a potential tool in his arsenal to use to control people. If you don't believe me, then just read my article called The Times of the Gentiles, and you will see what I mean. 

History already has plenty of examples of despotic rulers who have used their power to destroy others. We have historical examples in which mass numbers of people were murdered for being Christians or for opposing the evil practices of their ruler. For example, such things happened under Caesar Nero in the first century, and later during the Inquisitions, as well as under Hitler's Nazi regime, and later under Stalin and other leaders of the Soviet Union and its communist satellite states. This continues even today in countries like communist China and North Korea. So this certainly has a historical precedent.

That being said, if there is sin in the Church, how will the Church be able to stand up to the threat of AI or any other threat of the enemy for that matter? It won't be able to do so, because all its protection will be gone. It will be liable to destruction from its foes. The same thing that happened to the sons of Israel at Ai will happen to the Church in any confrontation with AI being used as a means of societal control or persecution.

Naysayers and Opportunists
Meanwhile there are those who downplay the threat of AI and tell you it's nothing to be concerned about. They point out that Isaac Asimov had an "us against them" attitude in 1942, when he wrote the three rules for robots in his book Runaround, which were meant to protect mankind from robots taking over the world. They try to characterize such an attitude as old-fashioned, unwarranted paranoia from seventy-five years ago. They encourage people to get with the times and embrace AI, so that they won't be left out and miss the chance to enjoy the benefits of it, or perhaps so that they won't be a hindrance to its progress and acceptance in society. Such naysayers are speaking the same way the spies did that Joshua sent to Ai, when they downplayed the threat of that city and advised Joshua to send only a few soldiers to fight against it. This is exactly what the enemy wants to accomplish through the use of such propaganda -- for everyone to let down their guard with respect to AI.

However, there are those with real intelligence who still recognize the threat of AI, especially in the form of autonomous weapons. Oren Etzioni, PhD, author and CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AIAI), suggested an update to Asimov's Three Laws of Artificial Intelligence. He has proposed his updated rules for discussion by the United Nations, in light of the enormous growth of the AI business globally.

Communist China has recently announced its intention to be the world leader in AI by 2030. And according to Frank Tobe's September 2017 Robot Report, Russian president Vladimir Putin has told a group of Russian students that artificial intelligence is “not only Russia’s future but the future of the whole of mankind… The one who becomes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world. There are colossal opportunities and threats that are difficult to predict now.”

Life Application
That's why now is the time to repent, for the kingdom of God is near. Now is the time to do some serious soul searching and seek the Lord while He may be found. Now is the time to confess our sins and make things right with the Lord and with our fellow man. Now is the time to seek deliverance from besetting sins and bondage in your life, which are demonic strongholds. It's high time we sought holiness and consecration to the Lord. We need to cry out to God and ask for the ancient paths, because so the church has allowed so much compromise with the world that it is now widely accepted and not even recognized as sin any more. Now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. But it will soon be over and then you will have to contend with the wrath of man, which will be followed by the wrath of God. It will soon be the day of vengeance of our God.

If you do not deal with sin in the camp now and cleanse yourself of it, then you will be no match for the enemy. You will be an easy target, and liable to destruction. You don't want that and neither do I. That's why we should take this warning seriously. Pastors should also take this warning seriously. They should first apply it to their own lives. They should then apply it to those in their own congregations over which they are in charge. They should preach against sin explicitly, naming sins that will keep people from heaven. They should expose evil and purge unrepentant evildoers from their midst, not allowing them to remain in the Church.

I realize this is a hard message, but if you don't want to hear it or heed the warning, then you will eventually be a victim of the enemy, and that will be much worse than the drastic measures I am proposing. Pray about this and ask the Lord what He would have you do. It's your choice. Choose this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB
Author's note: I also recommend reading The Times of the Gentiles, Sins That Will Keep You from Heaven, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Restored Truth, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Abominations in the Sight of GodThe Coming Wrath of GodWalking in Truth, Righteousness, and HolinessThe Evil Nephilim Giants, Demons Disguised as Humans, Wars and Rumors of War, The Dangers of DisobedienceDemonology 101, Demonology 201, Demonology 301, Baptized with the Spirit and Holy Fire Baptism.  Further reading: Baptized by Blazing Fire -- a Korean church's testimony.  I invite you to visit the Home page for this blog, and you can also find my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

No comments:

Post a Comment