The Expository Files

Are You Okay With Y2K?

Number 12of 12 in the Second Coming Series
 


It's New Year's Eve December 31, 1999. The clock strikes midnight and...your electricity goes off. The telephones stop working. You try calling 911, but the police and emergency services are nowhere to be found. The computer at your local bank crashes. ATMs shut down. Computer malfunctions cause breakdowns in nuclear reactors and strategic missile systems as well as disruptions in world trade and oil shipments. Government payroll checks and Social Security checks may not be delivered. Crime begins to run rampant. This "Domino Effect" causes gold and silver coin premiums to rise. All because of a well-known computer bug called, "Y2K." "Y2K" is an abbreviation for "Year 2000."

The computer industry insiders are predicting everything from mass transit shutdowns, to power outages, to banking failures, to defense system crashes. Even institutions which are ready for the changeover will not be willing to connect with other computer systems unless they can be proven to be Y2K compliant. Think of what would happen if the following facilities went down and stayed down for months or even years: banks, railroads, public utilities, telephone lines, military communications and financial markets. What about Social Security and Medicare? The doomsayers are calling this "The End of The World As We Know It." Depending on the writer or speaker, this has ranged from the Biblical end of the world, to the economic, ecological, nuclear or moral end of the world.

What would Jesus have you do in the face of this supposed millennium time bomb? Is the Y2K computer bug part of God's overall scheme prophesied about in books like Daniel and Revelation?

Before looking for the answers to these questions, let us first consider just what this Y2K computer bug really represents.

HISTORY OF THE Y2K COMPUTER BUG
Back in the 1950s when computers were the size of office cubicles and the most advanced data-storage system came on strips of punched card stock, storing data was expensive...very expensive! Every effort was made to minimize the amount of space needed to store data. Several scientists, including a Navy officer named Grace Murray Hopper, developed a standard programming language called "COBOL" (the acronym for "common business-oriented language"). To save precious space on the 80-column punch cards, COBOL programmers used just six digits to render the day's date: two for the day, two for the month, and two for the year. It was the middle of the century, and nobody cared much about what would happen at the next click of the cosmic odometer. For example, the year 1995 became just 95 when stored. The "Y" in Y2K stands for "year." "K" stands for a thousand. Thus, Y2K means "Year 2 thousand." Therefore, the millennium bug, or Y2K, is the widespread computer glitch in which dates are read as six-digit numbers, with the year indicated by the last two digits. At midnight on December 31, 1999, the numbers "00" will pop up in the date fields. Computers which are not "Y2K compliant" may assume that it is the year 1900, causing systems to spew out inaccurate or incomplete data when they interpret the date to be the year 1900.

Recently I was riding in a friend's brand-new pick-up. When I asked him what year it was, he promptly informed me that it was a 1900 model according to the paperwork. Needless to say the car dealership where he purchased the truck was not "Y2K compliant". That is, their computers do not recognize the year 2000. This is not a big problem in purchasing a truck. However, let's say you opened a savings account at your bank in 1980. When the year 2000 arrives the bank's computers may interpret the year to be 1900 instead of the year 2000. The bank's computers will conclude that your personal savings won't exist for another 80 years. Some experts fear that certain electronic appliances such as VCRs, microwaves and fax machines may include built-in date-sensitive microprocessors which, if not Y2K compliant, could cause essential functions to break down.

BUNDLES OF BOOKS ON Y2K
Conspiracy theorists of every religion, occupation and hue have flooded the book shelves.

* "Y2KAOS" by Andrew Gause warns of the possibility of the U.S. falling under Martial Law due to the anticipated chaos that will result.

* MILLENNIUM BUG & THE YEAR 2000 a video by Ken Klein. He believes Y2K will be the disaster many are predicting, and more. This video will awaken you to the seriousness of the problem and help you prepare.

* SPIRITUAL SURVIVAL DURING THE Y2K CRISIS by Steve Farrar. He believes Y2K may be a divine judgment upon our nation.

* THE MILLENNIUM BUG by Michael S. Hyatt. On January 1, 2000, the world could erupt in complete chaos as banking systems break down, businesses collapse, municipal services cease.

* Y2K: THE MILLENNIUM BUG A BALANCED CHRISTIAN RESPONSE by Shaunti Christine Feldhahn

* 2000 A.D. - ARE YOU READY? By Peter and Paul Lalonde.

* PLANET EARTH: 2000 A.D. by Hal Lindsey author of THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH.

* 2001: ON THE EDGE OF ETERNITY by Jack Van Impe.

* THE MILLENNIUM MELTDOWN: YEAR 2000 COMPUTER CRISIS by Grant R. Jeffrey. This author predicts that on January 1, 2000, your entire life will change because of the "Year 2000 Computer Crisis." He explains how this crisis may usher in the Antichrist's coming world government and a cashless society

* THE YK2 PROBLEM: A GIANT STEP FORWARD FOR ANTICHRIST by Dr. N.W. Hutchings & Dr. Larry Spargimno, 1998. Dr. N. W. Hutchings is president of the Southwest Radio Church, one of the foremost prophetic ministries in the world. Y2K is shown to equal 666.

* TIME BOMB 2000: WHAT THE YEAR 2000 COMPUTER CRISIS MEANS TO YOU by Edward Yourdon and Jennifer Yourdon. Gives a programmer's point of view on the issue.

Let's not forget the Bible when considering the Y2K Millennium Bug. As we will see later, God has some pertinent information regarding Y2K.

MILLENNIUM CULTS
Not only is there a broad spectrum of doomsday scenarios found among these books, but there are some old and new cults which have been focusing their attention on the year 2000. Understandably these cults may pose a greater threat to mankind than the Millennium Bug.

Some who consider themselves Christians are expecting the Second Coming of Christ and/or the Antichrist. Monte Kim Miller of the Concerned Christians cult believes he is the last prophet on earth before Armageddon. Miller, who reportedly believed he talked to God each morning before he went to work, was said to claim that America was Satan and the government was evil. Miller has predicted he will die on the streets of Jerusalem in December 1999 but will rise from the dead three days later. Several members of that group were arrested recently in Jerusalem. They were planning a shootout with police ahead of the millennium in the hope of bringing about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. A source said cult members believed that being killed by police "would lead them to heaven."

Some Jews are anticipating the coming of the Messiah. A cult called "The House of Yahweh" warns of impending doom if the temple is not rebuilt soon. Islamic fundamentalists, e.g., the Intifada, anticipate the rise of the Muslim faith. Hindus expect the coming of the Kalki Avatar in the years 1999-2003.

Several paramilitary militias with apocalyptic and/or racist undertones exist. A white supremacist group resides in eastern Oklahoma's fortified town, Elohim City. Their leader, Robert Millar, believes that Christ has been revealing himself for the last 2,000 years and that a series of disasters is about to strike, during which the unworthy will be cleansed from the Earth.

Believers in Native American prophecies such as the Hopi prophecy claim to see the fulfillment of these "prophecies."

The Sukyo Makikari cult of Japan has been passing out leaflets warning that mankind may be annihilated by the "baptism of fire" in the year 2000.

Even in Russia there is concern about a cult based in Siberia called, the Church of the Final Testament. Russian officials fear a mass suicide attempt by this cult as the year 2000 approaches.

Which of these groups, if any, has the truth about Y2K? Surely, they are not all correct!

SECOND COMING PREDICTED IN Y2K
Scores of so-called end time prophets are tying Y2K hysteria in with poor religious teaching about the significance of the year 2000 and are predicting worldwide tribulation. Some believe that Y2K-related disruptions could represent the "signs of the times" Jesus spoke about in Matthew chapter 24.. Some even predict that computer and infrastructure failures will clear the way for the rise of the Antichrist and the Tribulation period. According to Irvin Baxter, Jr. of END TIME Magazine, Y2K is just the sort of thing that God could use to create a financial catastrophe - worldwide. This is where the Antichrist could step in. Men like Baxter are going so far as to set up a calendar of events showing the time table by which these prophecies will unfold.

Let us now consider some reasoned arguments about what the year 2000 will not be.

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE YEAR 2000
The Bible Doesn't say that THE YEAR 2000 WILL BE THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
History suggests that predictions of the Second Coming have often accompanied the end of each century. As the year 1000 approached, a similar phenomenon regarding widespread "millennium prophecies" occurred. In 1899, the "experts" predicted that by the year 2000 several letters from the alphabet would be dropped as no longer necessary, strawberries would be as big as oranges and kissing would be outlawed as bad hygiene.

Now, in the middle of 1999 many wanna-be Christian commentators and scholars are pushing their sensational predictions. They simply dig out this or that Bible verse, call it a Last Day's prophecy and then find some current event to fulfill it. Every fact seems to begin to fit and every event becomes an apparent proof of the "truth" that the end is at hand.

The Bible does not teach that Jesus Christ is about to return or that these events are prophetic fulfillments heralding that return. Jesus clearly stated, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven" (Matthew 24:36). Paul prophesied, "The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Now who are you going to believe: Jesus and Paul or myriads of preachers who cannot even begin to agree among themselves much less harmonize with the Bible? No matter what happens with the computers, on January 1st our future will be determined not by the Year 2000 computer bug, but by the Lord Jesus Christ.

THE YEAR 2000 WILL NOT MEAN A COMPUTER CATASTROPHE
Two extreme viewpoints exist ranging from "Alarmist" to "Denial." That is, some believe Y2K will have a world-changing impact while others believe it will be a non-event. Some tell their audiences to "Prepare to hunt for food." In Christian Computing, Steve Hewitt states that Y2K is no more than a "bump in the road." John Bollinger, CNBC Commentator, said he would be flying on New Year's Eve to prove that planes will not be falling from the sky.

None of the extremes which the so-called experts have claimed will occur before the dawn of 2000 have happened. One such prediction was that months before January 1, 2000, the world's stock markets will have crashed. Another is that a worldwide run on the banks will create havoc in the investment markets. On April 1, 1999, the United States, Canada, New York State and Japan rolled into their fiscal year 2000. This was supposed to have created chaos as budget computers refused to operate.

However, as mentioned above there have been some problems. Take, for example, the case of a 104-year-old woman who was sent an advance-registration notice for Kindergarten because the computer thought she was four years old. On the other hand, Air Combat Command's year 2000 project turned up only two isolated examples of Millennium Bug glitches in their whole system: a timed security vault and a navigation system on a fire truck. People don't seem to realize there are very few electronic items that are aware of the current date, and there are even fewer items that depend on dates to function. I hate to rain on their doomsday parade, but the biggest problem with Y2K many only be a few bigger-than-normal utility bills and some inconveniences. Furthermore, computers have always had bugs in their programming. Y2K is just one among many.

THE YEAR 2000 IS NOT 2000 A.D.
A.D. is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase "anno Domini" meaning "the year of the Lord."

Who formulated the current method of counting the years, and how accurate were they? When will the third millennium actually begin? In 525 A.D. a Sythian monk in Rome, Dionysius Exiguus (Dionysius the Little), was preparing new tables for determining the date of Easter, and he decided to abandon the pagan calendar in use at the time, that was based on the first year of the reign of Emperor Diocletian (29 August, 284). Instead, he began a calender based on his calculated year of the birth of Jesus Christ. To determine this he relied upon two Bible passages.

* Luke 3:1 - Jesus was baptized in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius
* Luke 3:22,23 shows that Jesus began His ministry immediately after His baptism at about age 30.

Scholars today refer to the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus who stated that Herod died shortly after an eclipse of the moon and that this sets the date of the birth of Jesus (Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVII, Chapter VI, end of 4th paragraph). Dionysius concluded that it had been at about 4 or 5 B.C. instead of 1 A.D. Droves of pilgrims plan to travel to the Holy Land to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of Christ's birth, some of them expecting to see His Second Coming. However, according to the current calendar, 1996 would more accurately be the 2000th year since the birth of Christ. Thus, we are already in the third millennium!

THE YEAR 2000 IS NOT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM
Even if the calendar of today were measured along millennial lines, the true third millennium would not occur until January 1st, 2001, due to the fact that there was no year 0 A.D.

* 1 - 1000 A.D. would have been the first millennium.
* 1001-2000 A.D. would have spanned the second millennium
* 2001-3000 A.D. will be the third millennium

Therefore, January 1, 1997, may have actually marked the end of the 2000th year since the birth of Jesus Christ as well as commenced the third millennium!

HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS RESPOND TO THE Y2K PROBLEM?
DON'T FRET ABOUT Y2K- FEAR GOD

Fear mongers who feed on the fears of others have capitalized on the Millennium Bug. True Christians, on the other hand, are commanded to share their faith with those whose hearts are fearful about the future and with the words of the Bible to comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18). In these hours when the world is filled with uncertainty, we have a message of hope. Rather than fearing the collapse of computers or society as a result of Y2K problems, the Scriptures call upon us to fear God. Jesus said nothing is to be feared but God. "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28).

DON'T WORRY ABOUT Y2K-TRUST GOD
Only those whose lives and hearts are in continual fellowship with God have reason enough not to worry.

"Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:30-34).

Those who so trust in God don't need to worry about what will happen if the banks fail and they lose all their money. They do not need to worry about food shortages or the Stock Market crashing or even rioting in the streets. Christians have something better than a self-contained fortress in the country. They have a God in heaven who cares and watches over them.

If you want to be ready to face the Millennium Bug head-on, the first thing to do is to get your heart and life right with God, When we face big problems, we may not know how to solve them; but we can know God. It has been well said, "We don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future." It is certain that, God is Y2K compliant and so is the Bible and the Book of Life by which we will all be judged at the end of time.

DON'T BE FIXATED ON Y2K -- BE COMPLIANT TO GOD'S WILL
Some people are already heading for the hills, literally. One man has built what he hopes is a self-sufficient home in the country, complete with power generators, water supply, and food sources as well as guns and ammunition to fight off potential armed mobs. Websites advertise everything a person needs to know in order to survive Y2K. So-called experts claim everyone must have plenty of toilet paper, flour, and sugar stockpiled. Upstart Y2K entrepreneurs are selling books on everything from milking your cow to building a barn. One minister recommends from the pulpit that his flock buy Coleman cookers and bottled water, and he even gave them pointers on what types of guns to buy.

This kind of fixation on Y2K is driving some people to the extreme, causing them to cut themselves off from the world. People are going to northern and western states and hiding out with gold bars.

Either the computers will work or they will not work. Whether or not you are year 2000 compliant during this Millennium madness may be of little concern. It is far more important to consider whether or not you are compliant with the Will of God. Are you saved? Have you obeyed the simple Gospel of Christ?

Hear the Gospel of Christ

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Repent of your sins.

"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38).

Confess that Jesus is the Christ.

"that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9,10).

Be baptized (immersed, i.e. buried in water, Romans 6:3-5) to wash away sins.

"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16). "`And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'" (Acts 22:16).

If you have not taken all five of these steps, then your soul is not in compliance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the New Testament book of Acts of the Apostles, there are many examples of how people became simply Christians by taking these very same steps. We would be honored to study these examples with you. Other scriptures also teach these facts, such as Romans 6:3-18 and Galatians 3:26-29. The way to become a Christian is the same today as it was 2,000 years ago. Please let us assist you in becoming so today by contacting the author at 972.254.1295 or 972.641.4351. Or e-mail drvess@juno.com.

Remember, "now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2), not December 31, 1999.

Editorial Footnote
Bro. Vess preaches for the Forum Terrace Church of Christ in Grand Prairie, Texas. They published this tract in the fall for distribution in their community.
 


By Daniel R. Vess
From Expository Files 6.12; December 1999


 

 

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