by Todd Strandberg
What's going to happen when the millennium arrives? Besides the fact that we'll still be beginning the year with 19--, I'm expecting very little fallout from the year 2000 glitch. I've come to believe the growing Y2K mania is demoniacally designed to create a state of disillusionment and disappointment ahead of the rapture and the tribulation hour. If Bible prophecy has an Achilles heel, it would have to be the fact that most of us in the "doom and gloom" business are overly fixated on looking for the advent of calamity, chaos, and commotion. If you really want to know the proximity of the rapture, look for the advent of doubt, disbelief, and despair.
Down Memory Lane
Way way back in the early 80's, I remember thinking to myself, "Boy! when the year 2000 arrives, there are going to be a lot of people expecting Christ's return." If I had to guess, I would have assumed that the current hype surrounding the year 2000 would be centered around numerology. However, it appears that the millennium computer glitch is destined to rule the roost as the main catalyst of end-time speculation.
As it stands right now, you'd be hard pressed to find a prophetic ministry that isn't heavily promoting the Y2K bug as being some sort of unavoidable doomsday.
Not So Fast
When I first heard of the millennium bug, I was very intrigued by the ramifications of a massive computer shut down, but I was also immediately bewildered by the lack of specific examples of programs that will cause computers to go tilt.
All I would see in the secular and prophetic media were repeated descriptions of what might go wrong when all of the clocks strike 2000. It's very easy to concoct doomsday scenarios, and it's even easier to find someone that's inclined to broadcast such dire warnings.
It didn't take me very long to find myself in total conflict with the blossoming Y2K craze. The more I investigated the problem, the more I realized that Y2K is based more on possibilities than hard evidence.
Here We Go Again
After hours upon hours of research, I've come to the conclusion that we are unlikely to experience a computer meltdown. Instead, it appears that we are headed toward a similar repeat of the great prophetic date-setting hoaxes that have occurred in the past.
Because one of the main purposes of Bible prophecy is to warn people, Satan is always trying to discredit it. With a new millennium and possibly the tribulation drawing very near, I'm sure the devil would think himself to be an absolute fool if he were to pass up such a prime opportunity to tarnish the end-time message.
Historically one of Satan's most destructive and most frequently used tools has been the cultivation of false end-time dates.
Tonight I'm Going to Party Like It's 1843
Some very good examples of how damaging date-setting can be are the well-documented predictions made by William Miller. The dissolution that resulted from his 1843-44 series of predictions was so profound, the time period came to be known as the Great Disappointment.
As a direct result of the Miller Movement, an untold number of Christians deserted their faith, two well-known cults can directly trace their root back to the debacle, and the unsaved of that day mocked and laughed themselves silly.
During other date settings episodes, mobs of Christians flocked to the Holy Land, farmers abandoned their crops, businesses shutdown, dangerous convicts were set free, and people bankrupted themselves by giving away their life savings.
Satan hasn't exactly been saving himself up for the millennium. I've noticed a continuous stream of rapture dates being generated the past few years. Lately, there's been so many brought to my attention I've decided to ignore all but the most widely disseminated predictions.
Lights, Camera, Deception
With the advancement of radio, TV, and the Internet, the demonic forces that promote false dates now have the ability to reach incredible heights. If this current trend continues, I believe the devil will reach what must be his grand finale. We may end up referring to the days following Jan 1, 2000 AD as the Greater Disappointment.
In our day and age, the combination of prophecy and mass communication has become a much more volatile mixture. It wasn't too long ago when false dates were spread by just tracts, lectures, and word-of-mouth. Today, we have an all pervasive mass media, offering the realism of sound and video.
If we were to just witness the same type of the misdeeds that resulted from previous false predictions, the coverage we have today would have a devastating affect on the end-time message. During the Miller movement, it was reported by a newspaper that several people actually jumped from roofs and treetops in hopes of synchronizing their leaps with Christ's return. Most of those who jumped were either critically hurt or they fell to their deaths.
Imagine turning on CNN and witnessing a group of fanatical believers making a similar jump from high-rise buildings at the stroke of midnight. The public airing of something like this could easily spell the end of the modern day prophetic movement.
A Time of Doubt and Scorn
Very few people realize that the time period preceeding the rapture is described by the Bible as being one of great doubt. There are a number of examples, 2 Peter 3:3-4 being the most profound: "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
I've notice the scoffers are already at work in the Christian book stores. A growing number of books have been published that debunk and highlight the failings of some of today's so-called end-time prophets. Several authors who have books in the pipeline have contacted me searching for information.
In the ashes of a Y2K fiasco Satan would have total freedom to set up his tribulation kingdom. If someone came to power that matched the biblical description of Antichrist, any warning cries against him would be met with
Aiding The Enemy
Whenever a person directly ties an upcoming date or event to Bible prophecy, they run the risk of doing harm to the Bible's validity when nothing happens. I've heard several prophecy speakers say, when Y2K causes the computers to go haywire, the Antichrist will be the man who has the solution.
I also heard one well-known commentator say that the "distress of nations" and the "men's hearts failing them for fear" found in Luke 21:25-26 will be caused by the millennium bug. Of course, if he's wrong, the word of God becomes discredited in the eyes of the world.
Here in Omaha, I saw on TV a Y2K commercial produced by a local church. The ad featured the church's Pastor walking through a computer store basically saying, you'd better make your peace with God before the year 2000 arrives. A message like this might pack the unsaved in for the Dec 26, 1999 Sunday service, but again if nothing happens, don't expect them back on Jan 2, 2000.
Bugs In The Millennium Bug
While researching the Y2K doomsday scenario, I found several aspects of this growing mania to be highly flawed. I've listed below some of the major objections I had to the millennium bug.
Y2K Is Already Here
The most obvious problem with the Y2K bug is the fact the Year 2000 is already being factored in various computer calculations. The only connection computers have to the concept of time is what we program into them.
If we were going to have a Y2K meltdown it would have already started. Things like insurance policies, bonds, product expiration dates, budget outlays, repair schedules, driver licenses, credit cards, and a host of planning programs are all currently using dates that stretch past the year 2000.
The simple fact we're not constantly hearing about one computer system after another going crazy tells us that the problem is apparently rather limited in scope.
If most cash registers are currently accepting credit cards with expiration dates that go beyond the new millennium, it's hard to argue that they'll fail to do so when the year 2000 arrives.
Y2K in 1999
By the time Jan 1, 2000 AD arrives, we should already know if the millennium bug is a major problem. During the year 1999, there are 3 time periods that will actually hail the arrival of the year 2000.
When the calendar switches over to Jan 1 1999, millions of computer programs that live 365 days in the future, doing forecasting, will find themselves confronted with the year 2000. If we do not hear about a large number of computer anomalies this coming January, I highly question why we should expect to find any the following year.
Starting 1 April 1999, which just happens to be April Fools Day, a number of our government agencies will start their fiscal year 2000 on this day. For anyone who's on a government pension, their reporting year for 2000 AD begins 1 April 1999. Canada's government is reported to be a heavy user of this date as it's new fiscal year.
The ultimate test for Y2K will come Oct 1, 1999. All remaining federal government agencies and a large number of businesses begin their fiscal year on 1 October. If fiscal year 2000 arrives and nothing significant happens, the millennium bug will simply be a dead issue.
Trouble Finding A Date
Another big problem with the Y2K scenario is the fact that very few programs operate on a date system that includes the year. When we get to the year 2000, the only item in my house that will known that it has arrived is the computer I'm now typing on. Even in the average work place, there's a limited quantity of computers and equipment that recognize the year.
Some electronic items you would assume make use of the year, in fact do not. I was surprised to learn the computers aboard the global positioning satellites (GPS) that circle our planet, lack yearly calendars.
I've seen a number of Y2K news stories that featured traffic lights blinking out of control. As far I've been able to find out, there is no known traffic light on the market that has a system employing the full year.
It's also been widely reported that the millennium bug might cause nuclear missiles to launch themselves. Accidentally launching a nuclear missile
isn't exactly as easy as setting off your smoke detector. There are a number of mechanical and physical processes that need to occur before a missile can be can fired.
Is Your Computer 29,940 AD Compliant?
With all this talk about equipment not being able to operate beyond the year 2000, several individuals wanting to know if their consumer goods will operate past the new millennium, advanced the clocks on their equipment items and made some interesting discoveries.
Not only did they work, but they maintained a valid date well beyond 2000.
One person found that his video recorder would display the correct date up until 2017. I read that some other randomly tested items were found to have the correct dates up until 2005, 2038, 2040, and 2100 AD.
If you own a Macintosh computer, it will display the right date up to 29,940 AD. With the life span of the average computer only being about 3 years, I seriously doubt people living in 29,940 AD will need to worry about upgrading their Macintoshes.
Don't Let The Embedded Bugs Bite
Nearly every Y2K alarmist will mention the subject of embedded microchips. They'll first inform you how important integrated circuits are, running just about everything electronic. Microchips are found in coffee makers, microwaves, blenders, dishwashers, and televisions.
The praise of the microchip instantly turn ugly when we're told a large percentage of these chips will fail come the year 2000.
I spoke with someone who's familiar with the design of microchips, and he told me that the claims being made about embedded chips are totally false. The vast majority of chips have nothing to do with time and dates. He called the idea that most chips have a two digit date burned into their circuitry a total prefabrication.
The Fix Is In
Most computer programmers agree that it's relatively easy to fix the Y2K glitch. The debate has become primarily focused on how fast we can make the needed repairs.
The doomsayers will tell you the quantity of codes that need to be checked is so large that programmers will never make the deadline. In direct contradiction to these dire projections, a growing number of firms and institutions are reporting that their Y2K efforts are well ahead of schedule. The Federal Aviation Administration, the Pentagon, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Wall Street are all saying they will be done with their repair work Dec 31, 1998.
When it comes to searching for the Y2K bug, I witnessed first hand the process of validating a computer system to see if its Y2K compliant. I work at a military base, and this past May I was absolutely amazed at how quickly an assembled team was able to validate every computer in our department.
The Non-Y2K Compliant Toaster
Lately, the definition of what is Y2K compliant seems to be as nebulous as President Clinton's definition of what constitutes sex. You'll hear one report say 75 percent of a company’s equipment is not Y2K compliant while another report puts the number at 10 percent.
Some of the testing methods used for checking computers for Y2K compliancy are so stringent, they would fail the same computers if they were checking for Y1K (1000 AD) compliancy.
It puzzles me how so many authors could question the Y2K reliability of household items that completely lack a date and year function. Things like toasters, dishwashers, bread makers, blenders, and coffee makers are not only non-Y2K compliant, but their also non-compliant for any date. So if someone gives you an ugly tie for your birthday, just take it back to the store, and tell them you want to return it because it's not Y2K compliant.
Even if certain electronic items fall victim to the millennium bug, in most cases, they will still continue to perform their primary functions.
I've read about the now famous fax machine that was discovered to be
non-Y2K compliant. I found out the only problem with the machine was, come 2000 AD, the date displayed on the header of the page will be incorrect. The fax machine will still continue to send out faxes.
Computers, power plants, airplanes, and automobiles are all engineered to
operate in the face of major malfunctions. Most Y2K arguments are presented in a way that implies that all electronics operate like Christmas lights--one component goes out, and they all go out.
By their nature computers are designed to operate despite glitches. I've worked with the same computer system for the past 12 years, and I've never seen a day where every function screen was working properly.
If the Y2K bug is going to disrupt our world, it will need to overcome a wide variety of equipment items that have redundant, over designed, and failure-resistant features.
Bad Time For The Lights To Go Out? Not Really
One of the Y2K’ers favorite areas of attack is the nation's electrical
grid system. They love to point out how cold it's going to get in January when Y2K plunges everyone into darkness.
The middle of winter is always a bad time to suffer a power outage, but as far as the survivability of the grid system goes, it couldn't be a more ideal time to handle a Y2K related disruption of service.
Typical demand for electricity during New Year's is between 40 percent and 50 percent of peak summer demand. Air conditioners are the number one users of electrical juice, and, in January, most tend to be in the off position.
When you add in the 15 percent excess capacity used as a safety margin, we could have up to 75 percent of the power generating stations go off-line and still meet the demand for electricity.
It's commonly reported that computer programmers are working around the clock, hopelessly trying to fix millions of lines of software code before time runs out on them. It's also widely reported that everyone with the most rudimentary understanding of computers is being hired to work on the Y2K problem.
I've heard that this situation is not the case. The work is going at a steady pace and most of the fixes are being performed in-house. But rather than solely relying on what I've heard, I thought why not go to the financial markets for some answers.
If business is indeed booming, the stocks of these companies that specialize in Y2K should also be booming. I looked at quotes of some of the leading Y2K service firms, and I was surprised to find most of them have incurred huge drops in their stock price. The better performers have only lost half of their value, with the rest having declined as much as 95 percent.
Instead of hiring new workers, many of these companies, after losing large sums of money, are in the process of laying people off. If you think that the current stock prices are the result of corporate America not allocating the required amount to fix their Y2K problems, you might want to pick up some of these great bargain stocks. Of course, if Y2K turns out to be a huge bust, these companies will turn into really, really great bargains.