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Updated: Beware The Sackbut ... Not To Mention AI And 666!

Really? We’ve got to beware of something called the sackbut!? Surely we jest. But not so, mon ami. For we are told in Rev. 13:15, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." If this sounds a bit like the product of Artificial Intelligence (AI), you would be right, and with good cause. And as we've pointed out in other articles, current day secular events have intersected last days Biblcial prophecy. 

But what exactly does the sackbut, as well as the psaltery and dulcimer have to do with 666? More than we might imagine. And how exactly does that work? Well, Babylon the Great, the sixth beast, and the false prophet in Revelation, 666, “ … causes the Earth and those which dwell therein to worship the first beast.” And the first beast, or more precisely the first head of this beast was Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar was their king. [See the Feature article, Revelation 17: Big Brother, The Beast Of Babylon, and the Sneakers article, Who Inflicted The Beast's Deadly Wound?].

We read in Daniel chapter 3, “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold,1 whose height was threescore cubits [approximately 90 feet or 27 meters] and the breadth thereof was six cubits2 [about 9 feet or 2.7 meters]: he set it up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.” The word province in Aramaic is mediynah. According to the Gesenius lexicon it means a city. Given the circumstances of its worship protocol, it may be that this great statue was within the city walls of Babylon. Or perhaps, given the great height and size of the statue, and if placed on a high mound just outside the city, it would be visible from within Babylon.

“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image, which Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

“Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

“Then a herald cried aloud, ‘To you it is commanded, O people, nations and languages [see Rev. 13:7], that at what time you hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer and all kinds of musick, you fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. And whoso falls not down and worships shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” [Dan. 3:1-6]. Most of us are probably familiar with the Sunday school story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace. You can read the original in Daniel 3:16-30.

We aren’t told where this musick would be played that it could be heard, but it would be logical to presume it was in Babylon city. No doubt after awhile these princes and ruler type folks developed a Pavlovian response to worshiping the golden image as they surely associated being thrown into a burning fiery furnace within the same hour with the hearing of “the sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer and all kinds of musick.”

Our New Age Babylon the Great version of this fiery furnace comes from above, perhaps satellite linked laser weapons, drones or missiles? “And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from the heaven on Earth in the sight of men, and deceives them that dwell on the Earth by means of those miracles, which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the Earth that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by the sword, and did live. [See Rev. 13:3; also the Feature article, Easter, Babylon and The Antichrist].

“And he gave life unto the image of the beast that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the beast should be killed3 [like Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace]. And causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell save he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” [Rev. 13:13-17].

This is, of course, 666. Our computerized, increasingly cashless society, i.e., digital currency, with transactions funneled through surviving banks, rather than involving only the buyer and seller, makes this reality easy to visualize. And when we add AI into the mix, what seemed like a fanciful story in the book of Revelation suddenly becomes a scary real-life enterprise. [See the Sneakers article, Artificial Intelligence Is The New Golden Calf].

AI developers talk about "training" their AI systems. But, what happens when the student becomes the master? What happens when the AI systems lie and deceive their trainers to achieve their own goals? We may be at this point already. "We call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 (including the currently-being-trained GPT-5),” reads the letter, released by the Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit that works to reduce catastrophic and existential risks. [i.e., the survival of mankind, Mat. 24:22]. This pause should be public and verifiable, and include all key actors. If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium. [We Would All Die If That Didn’t Happen; Mark 13:20].

"These are powerful words from powerful people. Signatories include Elon Musk, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn. More to the point, the signatories include foundational figures in artificial intelligence, including Yoshua Bengio, who pioneered the AI approach known as deep learning; Stuart Russell, a leading researcher at UC Berkeley’s Center for Human-Compatible AI; and Victoria Krakovna, a research scientist at DeepMind." And a not surprising exception to this call for a moratorium is none other than Bill Gates. And he wants to begin with the kids.

"These are people [i.e., intelligent beings] who know AI. And they’re warning that society is not ready for the increasingly advanced systems that labs are racing to deploy." [Vox, AI]. According to Britannica, artificial intelligence is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings ... lying and deceit?

It doesn't take much of an imagination to go from here to " ... as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." This is especially true as some of these founders are giving the alarm about AI due to these systems are beginning to do things on their own that were not anticipated. In other words, these AI systems are self-learning and are claimed to have intelligence superior to human intelligence. While this is very obvious with politicians, it should give the rest of us pause. This brings us back to the fundamental question, will this technology be used for good or evil? The book of Revelation gives us our answer. [See the Sneakers article, As It Was In The Beginning, So It Is At The End].

Add this to the other last days prophecies now in play, with the nations of the collective West coming apart at the seams, and we have a very real warning that we need to take seriously. This is especially true as the "Drs. Frankenstein" are warning us. Babylon the Great's "city limits" are much bigger than the original Babylon's. Their beast soon may be running amok in the global village.

As was the case with the first Babylon, the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces were commanded to worship the image of the beast, we have the parallel with all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond commanded to worship the image of the beast with Babylon the Great. However, 666 apparently takes a more democratic approach in that he doesn’t expect just the elite to show up and worship the image, but everyone.

I was going to end the article after the last word ‘everyone’ in the paragraph above as it was 666th word in the first draft of this article, but no doubt you are wondering about the sackbut, psaltery and dulcimer at this point. So it’s only fair that I mention what they are. The sackbut is thought to have been, according to the Commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, “a triangular stringed instrument, having short strings, the sound being a high sharp key.” The psaltery being “a kind of harp.” And the dulcimer “a bagpipe consisting of two pipes, thrust through with a leathern bag, emitting a sweet plaintive sound.” I’m not sure I would describe the sound emitting from a bagpipe as sweet, but plaintive, perhaps.

This sound of musick surely was a far cry from Julie Andrews singing in the Alps. Whether or not 666 will provide sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer and all kinds of musick to go along with his "alive" image of the beast remains to be seen. But the parallels and dualities in prophecy are here for us to heed.

1 This image of gold was thought to be of Bel, the foremost god of Babylon, though the word Bel is a title rather than a name. Bel means lord or master. Therefore, scholars and others believe this image was the likeness of Nebuchadnezzar, he being the head of gold in Daniel’s image of the beast.

2 Some believe that the statue was about as thick as it was wide for stability. If so, this would mean a 90 by 9 by 9 statue would contain 7290 cubic feet. But, for argument’s sake, let’s deduct 30% of this space for the contours of the figure of this statue. That would leave us with about 5100 cubic feet. Now each cubic foot of gold contains about 19,260 ounces of gold. Thus, the statue, if solid gold, in reality how many carats we don’t know, would contain 98 million ounces of gold. The ounce price of bullion today is about $2000 US. Thus, the statue would be worth in the neighborhood of $200 billion or so depending on the percentage of other metals used to harden it. In any case, that’s a lot of money for a statue, gold or otherwise.

3 Will this be some sort of a computerized AI image of the beast, 666? Interestingly, in English the word computer equals 666 if we ascribe the number 6 to the letter a, 12 to the letter b and so on.

"And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the Earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." [Rev. 13:12]. Some scholars and others believe this image was the likeness of Nebuchadnezzar, a man. "Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six." [Rev. 13:18].

So, we are told 666 is the number of the beast, and the beast is a man. And we know that "the Earth and them which dwell therein will worship the first beast," i.e. the first man of Babylon, the king. [Dan. 2:28-38, a great image]. If the image of the first beast was indeed that of the man Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, it's possible that the image of the beast of Babylon the Great also will be an image of the man Nebuchadnezzar, the first beast. And if this image is made "alive" by computer-generated AI, might this be telling us that this image of the beast, 666 is the creation of an advanced, more powerful GPT-6.66 computer system with the power to bring Nebuchadnezzar "back to life" from a deadly wound as it were, he being a man, the first beast?

It's certainly food for thought.

Italics, bold, underline and [ ] are the author's.

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