“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to what his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12
My hands have been busy doing much work recently. While the following might sound strange and perhaps it is, over the years I have found myself understanding person after person in the Bible and having experienced similar things, gaining a deeper understanding of what is recorded for us in the Holy Scriptures regarding these people. In this particular case, where I now have some additional understanding is with Solomon.
“I said in my heart, Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore regard pleasure; and this was vanity. I said of laughter, It is madness; and of mirth, What does it accomplish? I sought in my heart to gratify my flesh with wine, while leading my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, until I might find out what was good for the sons of men to do under the heavens all the days of their life. I made my works great; I built houses for myself; I planted vineyards for myself. I made gardens and orchards for myself, and I planted trees in them, of all kinds of fruit. I made pools of water for myself, to water the forest springing up with trees. I have bought slaves and maids, and had servants born in my house; I also had more livestock, herds and flocks, than all were before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered silver and gold to myself, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces. I got men singers and women singers for myself, and the delights of the sons of men, wives and concubines. I was great and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I did not withhold my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my share from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done, and on the labor that I had labored to do; and, behold, all was vanity and striving of spirit; and there was no profit under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
Just over a year ago I set off to very heavily contemplate every single thought, actions, direction of life, etc., and compare it to what the Bible says. I had determined to consider these things and correct what needed to be corrected, contemplating thoughts that I had years ago.
I had noticed that there were some things that years ago I had concluded were good for myself and my family, seemingly honorable before God, but I had backed away from some of those things, so I contemplated those as well, as it appeared to be more of a personal preference, not necessarily a difference between right and wrong. So understand as I go forward with this article that I am not necessarily condemning someone for certain uses of technology, however, we must each make up our own mind regarding these things before God Almighty (Romans 14:5).
Years ago I had determined to use cash as the predominant medium of exchange with nearly every local purchase that was made. I continued on this trajectory for quite a few years, but began to slack back, often using credit cards to make purchases. Over time there now is a society where there are rewards programs for just about anywhere you shop, from a small local retailer to the big box stores, they are everywhere.
When I moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, as far as supermarkets, we have six in this city. Two of them are Walmart, two more are Safeway and the final two are called Family Fare, a Michigan based company. The later two stores both require ‘membership’ in order to get the sale or discounted prices on their goods. Oddly where I had personally stayed away from Walmart for the majority of my shopping, in this they were actually the ‘good guys’ where the prices were simply the same for everyone, no membership or card required.***
*** Addendum *** There is more to this story. Companies are able to track shoppers in a variety of ways. The most high tech will track people via RFID chips and/or their smart phones as they move around the store. Yes people have chips in their credit/debit cards, as well as items of clothing and other things they might carry, whether or not they realize it.
However, for years, companies have been using face recognition to track and trace people, whether they paid in cash or credit. So, for example, if you used cash 98% of the time at a place like Walmart, but just once used a credit card, then it essence your anonymity would forever be gone and all of your purchases can easily be put underneath your ‘profile’ for the remainder of your days under the sun.
In fact, it had been said years ago that Walmart had the second largest computer (this prior to the fullness of the internet/tech companies), behind the federal government, which was nicknamed the ‘beast’.
There was a local man in a town that I lived in who was arrested for vandalism via spray paint. The local detective was able to go to Walmart, presumably with a warrant, and find out who had purchased that color spray paint recently at the store. *** End Addendum ***
To keep a long story short, Safeway had a rewards program and both stores had digital coupons that required an app or in the instance of Family Fare, they actually allowed you to scan your card and ‘put’ the digital coupon on. In essence, both of these stores would not allow you to get the sales, unless you played their reward/member program game.
So I contemplated some of these things about the rewards and decided to go ahead and give some of this a try, I had already been using a credit card that I would pay off every month, instead of cash in most cases. If you are going to do something, then you should do it right, so I applied for a new credit card that had a better rewards program than the ‘old’ outdated one I had. I also decided to go ahead and get a gas card that rewarded me with an additional five to ten cents off a gallon of gasoline when I used it.
Did it really matter, was my thoughts on not desiring to use these things right or wrong? Now I do value my privacy, so I did have an account at each supermarket that was not connected to my actual identity, of which I could use cash and still get the deals, while the other account was ‘up-to-date’. I should note, my household does not have a smart phone, we only have a single ‘dumb’ phone, aside from our regular landline phone. So it is impossible for us to download a convenient app to use. Both of these grocery stores allow someone to use a website to still be in the members/rewards programs and ‘clip’ the digital coupons. With a proxy, anonymity is still possible.
As a reminder, once again not going to stipulate that the decision that has been made for our family needs to be the same as yours, however I will give the conclusion that was made regarding this ordeal.
Already I do not like the aspect of all of any purchase being able to be tracked and traced by government agencies, large corporations, etc. What type of lunch meat I decide to purchase for the week, whether or not I had some ice cream or purchased a bag of apples, really is no one else’s business. However, I did see how easily and tempting it can be to get caught into a trap, for I found that these worldly rewards programs have a snare, unlike God’s rewards program for those who are truly Saved.
Month after month I would make a budget and find myself realizing that the extra $50-75 in free money (nothing to say about the free rewards products from Safeway that would be received, plus cash discounts) from my credit card company had me kicking the can down the road another month.
We use Christian Healthcare Ministries for our healthcare ‘insurance’ and I had also been using a credit card via their portal. I remember month after month contemplating that this had to come to an end, for they had sent out an email that credit card processing was costing them over $10 per month per family, asking for direct withdrawal (which we never do), however you can still mail a check.
I did the math, our credit card company was paying us $11.56 every time we charged Christian Healthcare Ministries monthly amount. In fact, to write a check and send a stamp would probably cost us close to a $1.00. You don’t have these thoughts when using a credit card at a place like Walmart, which if it is anything like a McDonalds where I was a manager years ago, the cost per transaction for them was set at four cents a swipe. As we run a small business, I only accept a credit card when there is absolutely no other choice. They take a good chunk of money, I will wait patiently for a check to come in the mail.
Let me draw off one more point and then I will wrap this up, looking at God’s Word to the conclusion that was drawn regarding this ordeal, much more could be said, but I am not trying to write a chapter for a book here.
We have two little kids, I prefer for them to grow up seeing their parents use cash, pocket change and write checks. When they are older, they will have to decide for themselves whether they want direct deposit, use a smart wallet, whatever, if the Lord hasn’t come to receive us yet, however, as the world continues on a trajectory to the setup of the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18), one can easily see that some of the BEST deals that were available from these grocery stores required a user to login to the app (or website) in order to get the ‘digital’ coupon.
So why the huge incentive, the loss-leader items just to get you to use their app? We could have saved even more if we opted to have someone do the shopping for us and load our vehicle (I do have limits, no matter what the savings are). In the end, one must consider and consider well what we are looking at.
These smiling, friendly reward programs that are everywhere from McDonald’s to your local Ace Hardware shouldn’t just be suspect, they are obviously conditioning the world for something or perhaps, as they would say, they just love to get the extra revenue from you and give you a cut for your loyalty. So where to turn for answers? Well the Bible is where to turn for the conclusion of the matter.
I suspect that the next few articles will be touching on these same sort of things, looking at the world, the direction that we are heading as a society and contemplating why people are not aware of what should be an obvious danger, thereby warning those individuals to ‘come out’ (Revelation 18:4) and seek God with their whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13), answering the knock on the door of the heart from Jesus Christ (Revelation 4:1), repenting and forsaking their wicked ways (Acts 17:30-31) and looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
When I began to contemplate these things, I saw the wretchedness of our society, wickedness prevailing everywhere, the battle between the ‘left’ and ‘right’, the overall direction of our society. Some of the questions as to how and why we got here simply couldn’t fully be answered. In some cases, like the rewards programs, I don’t have time to fully research it out, basing it off of research from years ago from a book I read that foretold of such a time that was coming (and indeed is here), realizing that it is actually worse than what they thought, because smart phones hadn’t been put into the equation. So what happens when I suspect something is far more sinister, but do not want to dig down and search out the depths (Revelation 2:24), I simply make a decision before God, go for it at whatever cost and continue on, using the Bible as my guide. Where full understanding is either not had or not willing to be researched, the simple conclusion to the matter comes from the Bible:
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who leads the whole world astray; he was cast out onto the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:9
Are the ways of this world correct? Are these rewards programs not just conditioning us for a coming cashless society or a society where every single purchase will not only be tracked and traced, but require the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18) for those who will have been left behind?
The very fact that there is not a local, regionally owned grocery store chain in South Dakota’s second largest city, at the edge of the beautiful Black Hills is precisely the problem!
These reward programs, though some are ill educated and themselves addicted to these apps on their smart phone, as part of their everyday life, even involve many small businesses, yet the monsterous purpose of them is to continue to consolidate their power, their wealth and snuff out the small businessman for those who look beautiful on the outside, with their nice buildings and branded PR looks, but inside what are they, what are we REALLY looking at, who are we really supporting?
Does not this information provide them, especially with the advancements of technology, such as AI, the information needed to continue to subdue our fellow neighbors, by forcing not only the ability to purchase bulk and offer savings, but mandating the loyalty through a cheap rewarded fast food treat (deeper than one would think, perhaps a different article one day???) verses loving your neighbor and purchasing a burger from the local guys on a REGULAR basis?
First, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear (Ezekiel 12:2), lets take a look at these big companies and if you can understand what I term corporate Babylon, consider and consider well, she also has a trait, one that will be mentioned.
Here is your enemy, those of you who are in Christ:
“And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth prostituted themselves, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her sexual perversities. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her sexual perversities. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:1-5
So you say what does this have to do with rewards, big box stores, loving your neighbor (more in a moment), etc.?
“And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every unclean spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual perversities, the kings of the earth have prostituted themselves with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the power of her luxury. And I heard another voice from Heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, so that you not share in her sins, and so that you not receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. By however much she has glorified herself and lived luxuriously, by the same amount give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow. Therefore her plagues will come in one day; death and mourning and famine. And she will be consumed with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. The kings of the earth who prostituted themselves and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance because of the terror of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come. And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of thyine wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, ointment and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, beasts and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. And the fruit that your soul lusted for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance because of the terror of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in one hour such great riches is come to nothing. Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What is like this great city? And they threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate. Rejoice over her, O Heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her! Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall by no means be found anymore. The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall by no means be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall ever be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall by no means be heard in you anymore. And the light of a lamp shall not ever shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not ever be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were led astray. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.” Revelation 18:2-24
You say, ‘no, no preacher, you must be mistaken, this is not right’ (Ezekiel 33:17), a common adage to any sort of rebuke, exhortation (1 Timothy 2:15) or correction. Yet understand that this is not to be seen, it is designed to be hidden:
“Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground. There is no throne for you, O daughter of the Chaldeans. For you shall no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones and grind meal. Uncover your veil, strip off the skirt, bare the thigh, pass through the rivers. Your nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, your shame shall be seen; I will take vengeance and I will not meet you as a man. Our Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel. Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for you shall no more be called the Queen of Kingdoms. I was angry with My people, I have polluted My inheritance, and given them into your hand. You have shown them no mercy; upon the aged you have laid your yoke very heavily. And you said, I shall be a queen forever; so you did not lay these things to heart, nor remember the latter end of it. Now therefore hear this, O voluptuous one, who lives securely; who says in her heart, I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children. But these two things shall come to you in a moment in one day: The loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in their fullness for the multitude of your sorceries, and for the great power of your enchantments. For you have trusted in your wickedness; you have said, No one sees me. Your wisdom and your knowledge have perverted you; and you have said in your heart, I am, and there is no one else besides me. Therefore evil shall come upon you, and you shall not know its origin. And disaster shall fall upon you, and you shall not be able to cover it over. And desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you shall not be informed of. Stand now with your charms, and with the multitude of your sorceries, in which you have labored since your youth. Perhaps you will be able to profit; perhaps you may prevail. You are wearied by your many counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers and the fortunetellers step forth and save you from what shall come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them. They shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; it shall not be a coal to be warmed with; nor a fire in front of which to sit. Thus shall they be to you with whom you have labored, your merchants from your youth. They shall wander, each one, to his own region; no one shall save you.” Isaiah 47
Pay close attention and compare these three passages, contemplating and seeking the wisdom of God to understand Isaiah 47:1. I’m careful here (Matthew 7:6; Deuteronomy 29:4). Now the additional trait, understanding the cost of living for me people verses the wages:
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your calamities that are coming upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who reaped your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Make your hearts firm, for the coming of the Lord draws near. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, that you not be condemned. Behold, the Judge stands at the door.” Jacob (James) 5:1-9 (SEE ALSO Revelation 4:1)
Now consider that last passage, knowing the plight of many, myself included, understanding the post-COVID world that we now live in, as the elite continue on whatever plans that they have, which will correlate with the prophetic future of the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) better known as the Tribulation, as prophesied in the Holy Scriptures.
The very fact that we have such high costs which can only further push people into using rewards programs, as well as feeding ‘the beast’ or corporate Babylon even more, allowing them to grow larger and the small ‘mom and pop’ businesses to close their doors (in all segments of society) fits right into the above mentioned passages of scripture.
So, if you haven’t guesses, my family went back to cash and we are focusing on God to provide the means to be able to switch every aspect of our weekly shopping, focusing on the small companies and ending with the larger ones, avoiding and simply paying more for not using these digital coupons, loving our neighbors, even when it costs more, simply living with less, if need be, for this seems to be honorable before God (Joshua 24:15) and I believe he will bless these endeavors.
“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all? Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:28-31 (SEE ALSO Luke 10:25-37)
Consider the wrath coming from God Almighty against Babylon, who is also a merchant of wares. 😉 If the stench of this harlot, this abomination, this filthy entity has reached Heaven (Revelation 17:4-5) then shall I engage in infidelity with her, loving her wares, loving her ways, her programs, her ‘rewards’, when she is hated by God? No rather I will focus on God’s rewards program and Him alone will I give reverence too, for He has set me free through Jesus Christ (John 8:32 & 36), His Son (John 3:16-21) and for that I will be forever grateful (1st Corinthians 15:9).
“But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it dawned upon the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1st Corinthians 2:9