It is very compelling for many people, particularly in America, to see the collapsing freedoms and growing persecutions across the world and want to do something to protect ourselves. This makes many choose to store certain items for times that are coming (or potentially upon us already) when chaos rules. My family disagrees with this viewpoint.
Before the attacks start coming in, there are two important things to consider. First, we have a good amount of food and survival gear as well as plenty of protection within our house. It’s not a coincidence that my children’s favorite pastime is weekends at the shooting range. Second, we have nothing against those who choose to live the “prepper” lifestyle. It’s a natural reaction from certain points of view.
There was a time not too long ago when we were what some would call “amateur preppers”. We bought long-term food stores. We maintained an independent water supply. We have family members who have enough guns and ammunition to hole up in solitude indefinitely without fear.
The reason we shifted our views away from deep preparations can be broken down into three categories.
1. Tribulation is an opportunity
This isn’t a call for people to go looking for trouble. We aren’t suggesting that everyone needs to go give away Bibles in China or preach the Word in Iran in hopes of getting arrested and persecuted. Some are clearly called to do such things, not for the sake of the persecution they’ll receive but to make disciples of the nations. Bold actions like these aren’t for everyone.
What we are saying is that the Bible makes it very clear that those who overcome their fears and face the tribulations, trials, and persecutions that are becoming increasingly robust around the world are blessed for their diligence and faith.
Matthew 5:10 (KJV)
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 5:3-5 (KJV)
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
James 1:2-3 (KJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Our first goal is to accept the gift of salvation. Our second goal is to spread the Gospel to those we can touch. Once those two things are ongoing, we should continue to keep our security and health, but not at the detriment of either of the first two goals. In fact, Yeshua spoke of the importance of keeping the faith now for the grace to come instead of trying to focus on saving our bodies in this life.
Luke 9:23-25 (KJV)
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
Total faith means knowing that whatever God has in store for you, whether it’s what we consider to be positive or negative, we must see beyond the effects on this life and believe that how we handle everything can be a merit at the time of judgment.
2. The Principalities and Powers are watching
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
A look at the news on any given day will reveal two disturbing trends: the various governments and other entities of the world are tightening around us while the people are becoming more confused and looking towards sinful solutions.
The concept of having guns pried from our cold, dead hands is seeming to be more and more likely of a scenario.
Between technological advancements, emboldened governments, and desperate leads in and out of governments, it’s very unlikely that anyone can be truly safe. The only choices may end up being to die defending the farm or to face persecution. It’s definitely possible to do both, to be a prepper while still maintaining the right connection to faith, but it’s part of human nature to rely on our own works when we focus on solutions like those.
As I’ve discussed before, Christians shouldn’t prepare at an extreme level for an economic collapse. Again, we’re not suggesting that people should abandon their gold or silver. It simply can’t be a priority as it takes away from the proper focus of this life – unending love and faith in Yeshua as our Lord and Savior.
At no point would we ever recommend sitting back and watching our liberties fade into history. There are times to fight. There are times to hide. There are times to adjust. Of course, the one universal is that there is time for prayer, repentance, and service to our Lord.
3. Faith through the Armor of God is sufficient
As I’ve made abundantly clear on my other site, I do not believe in the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture. Those who are alive when the end times come will face tribulation whether they have guns or not.
There is a false security that is created when the works of our hands are used to solve problems as big as the tribulation from the Bible. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t act, but the real action comes from preparing our souls and putting on the whole Armor of God.
Those who prepare for catastrophe are distracted. We all are to some degree with everything that is in front of us in this world. One of our goals should be to remove or properly handle these distractions.
Being a prepper doesn’t make anyone any less of a Christian. It just makes being a good Christian harder. Of course, that could be said about pretty much everything in this world that’s not centered squarely on the Bible’s teachings.
Is technology making it feel like time is speeding up?
Some of the things they put out at Truthstream Media are extremely compelling. Then there are times when their videos are a bit blah. This is one of those times, but don’t be discouraged. There’s actually some pretty interesting information to glean from all of this.
Time does seem to be getting faster, or at least passing faster. Most attribute it to age. Some have speculated about the changing speed of light which scientists have demonstrated is getting slower. Since time, space, and light are all relative to each other, a slowing speed of light would actually make us feel like time is getting faster. But the notion that Truthstream Media latched onto is both the real likely cause as well as an interesting bit of information in and of itself.
Our attention spans are dropping thanks the prevalence of information and media in our lives. When once it could take hours just to download a television show, today we can stream movies without interruption on our smartphones. We’re able to bounce around from website to website, app to app, all in our search for the next stimulation, the next dopamine hit.
Since we’re able to get information more quickly, is that the reason our attention spans are growing shorter? Is that also the reason time seems to be moving faster? Know knows. It’s a decent video, albeit not their best.
Endless Mayfly: Iran’s disinformation wing that attacked America, Israel, and Saudi Arabia online
There are times when Iran seems to be one of the most sophisticated nations in the world when it comes to covert operations. They don’t have the level of techniques employed by espionage experts in the United States, Russia, or Israel, nor do they have the technical prowess of China or North Korea, but they have a level of deceptiveness that makes them formidable nonetheless.
But when it comes to disinformation campaigns, they’re ineptitude is almost comical, as Citizen Lab revealed early this morning. The media and technology watchdog and research group has built a reputation for uncovering some of the most complex disinformation schemes conducted across the internet. Their comprehensive uncovering of Endless Mayfly is another huge feather in their bountiful cap.
Here are the key findings from their report:
- Endless Mayfly is an Iran-aligned network of inauthentic personas and social media accounts that spreads falsehoods and amplifies narratives critical of Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel.
- Endless Mayfly publishes divisive content on websites that impersonate legitimate media outlets. Inauthentic personas are then used to amplify the content into social media conversations. In some cases, these personas also privately and publicly engage journalists, political dissidents, and activists.
- Once Endless Mayfly content achieves social media traction, it is deleted and the links are redirected to the domain being impersonated. This technique creates an appearance of legitimacy, while obscuring the origin of the false narrative. We call this technique “ephemeral disinformation”.
- Our investigation identifies cases where Endless Mayfly content led to incorrect media reporting and caused confusion among journalists, and accusations of intentional wrongdoing. Even in cases where stories were later debunked, confusion remained about the intentions and origins behind the stories.
- Despite extensive exposure of Endless Mayfly’s activity by established news outlets and research organizations, the network is still active, albeit with some shifts in tactics.
It was initially believed the organization was a Russian proxy, but their techniques and subjects eventually pointed to a likelihood of Iran being involved. While Citizen Lab rightly proclaims a likelihood instead of certainty of Iranian involvement, the data seems to be so clearly linked to Iran that there are only two reasonable explanations: either it is someone trying awfully hard to appear to be linked to Iran, or it’s Iran.
I’m going with the latter.
Their favored technique seems to be establishing fake websites with names close enough to legitimate websites that they’re able to fool prolific social media users and eager journalists dying for a juicy story. Buzzfeed News fell victim to one such instance on a website that looked identical to The Guardian, but that used a URL with a Turkish symbol replacing the “i” in “Guardian.”
They weren’t the only ones fooled. This operation seems to be quite vast.
But there were other obvious signs of falsehood that should have been noticed by the “useful idiots” propagating their disinformation. One article linked to from the report shows plenty of errors that a trained journalist should have noticed, and in this case, he did.
On November 5, 2018, Ali Al-Ahmed, a Washington-based expert in terrorism in the Gulf states and a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia, received a direct message on Twitter from “Mona A. Rahman” (@Mona_ARahman, now suspended).
After engaging in some polite conversation in Arabic with Al-Ahmed, “Mona” shared what appeared to be an article from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. The article contained a purported quote from former Mossad director Tamir Pardo, alleging that former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had been dismissed by Netanyahu for being a Russian agent. These allegations, if true, might reasonably be expected to strain relations between Russia and Israel.
The story sent to Al-Ahmed is so loaded with spelling and grammatical mistakes, it’s a wonder anyone could get fooled if this is indicative of the quality of Iran’s disinformation work.
If we assume Iran is, indeed, behind all of this, what does that tell us? We know tensions have been rising between Iran and both the U.S. and Israel. We can assume if they’ve been working at this since at least early 2016, they’ve had an agenda that extended to long before President Trump was elected. They probably found it unlikely he would be. So their goals weren’t to influence the U.S. elections as much as they were intended to shift sentiment from the rest of the world towards the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
The full report is a wonderful read. As research on such topics, this one is exhaustive and enlightening.
But it still doesn’t answer the question of what this all means for the geopolitical positioning of Iran. They clearly want something, but that something has very likely changed since inception. Their economy was starting to flourish when President Obama was in office. Under President Trump, their economy has begun a rapid fall, prompting alleged actions ranging from sabotaging oil tankers to preparing to strike U.S. targets. They are desperate, and having access to a disinformation organization may help them seed discontent with the United States as our military stance in the Persian Gulf becomes more aggressive.
Iran has been acting like a wild animal cornered by superior forces ever since President Trump started pulling back the layers of protection given to them by President Obama. What will they do next? Their desperation is showing.
U.S. points to Iran being behind weekend oil tanker bombings
Rumors of wars keep popping up in the Middle East and around the world as the United States continues to have our allies prodded and provoked. The latest example is Iran, which U.S. military officials have fingered for the wave of oil tanker bombings over the weekend.
BREAKING: The Associated Press reports that an American military team’s initial assessment of the 4 ships that were bombed over the weekend in the Persian Gulf is that "Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies" were behind the attack
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 13, 2019
The Associated Press reported that a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, “said each ship has a 5- to 10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, and the team’s early belief is that the holes were caused by explosive charges.”
Was this the intelligence the United States received last month, likely from Ali Nasiri, that prompted the dramatic increase in our military presence in the Persian Gulf? If it is, then this could mark the beginning of actions taken by the United States and/or Israel against Iran.
Not to sound too conspiratorial, but the timing of all this is strange. Now that the United States has a stronger military presence in the region, one would think it should have been enough to dissuade Iran from carrying out such attacks. This leads me to two possible conclusions:
- Iran wants to get attacked. Their economy is in such shambles and getting worse, they feel if they can prompt an attack against them while still being able to claim plausible deniability by using their proxies instead of their military, they will get the sympathies and aid from gullible nations around the world and continue to paint the United States and Israel as the aggressors.
- Someone staged the attacks to implicate Iran. Saudi Arabian proxies would be the most likely culprits.
The former is by far more likely than the latter, but nothing should be ruled out until we have all the facts.
Either way, Iran continues to play a very dangerous game, one they know they cannot win but that they hope they can survive until they get a handle on all of the moving parts in this situation. Even a massive attack from the United States could leave Iran with their current leadership structure intact; it would not behoove the United States to get involved in regime change now or any time in the reasonable future considering our track record in such things.
“We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything it will be a very bad mistake, if they do anything. I’m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, they will suffer greatly. We’ll see what happens with Iran.” – President Trump
I’m against getting involved in any wars that don’t involve us, but Iran continues to creep closer and closer to direct conflict. It’s as if they want us to attack while painting themselves as non-aggressors. These are dangerous times.
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