" Do we all need a very large wakeup call? "
The Year 2000 Computer Crisis : How

Keywords: usenet, future, millennium

Here it is folks! T2K prophecy fulfilled! Remember a few months ago and the talk about how the 2000 virus would spark millennial prophecies? This is the first I know of:

Dear Andrew and List,

I will try to share as best I can what I understand about the Year 2000 Computer Crisis. I want to note early that for those wanting to learn more about the technical side of this crisis I recommend the following URL: http://www.year2000.com

While I am quite well prepared to discuss the crisis in a professional sense, I am far less prepared to discuss this issue in a spiritual sense. And as I wrote initially, I believe it is the view of this crisis as seen through God's eyes that really matters. What is He saying to us? How are we to respond?

I am greatly encouraged in the Lord! I believe we are on the verge of the shaking and sifting that you and your subscribers describe. We may have to pass through the war zone before this is done but I do believe we sit on the very edge of Eternity and Christ's return!

I believe we will have a most astounding opportunity to see the idols of this earth system vanish in smoke. I believe we must be spiritually determined and willing to ask God to do everything that is necessary to sever any cords that bind us to this world. To teach us to trust in Him.

I am inspired to read your messages and the special prophetic insights that you and your subscribers are sharing about these last days. I do sense that God is going to do something beyond our greatest expectations in this final harvest. I want to be a part of that. I want to see sin destroyed, hurts healed and relationships mended.

The text that follows is divided into two parts. The technical issues are described in the first section titled " The Year 2000 Computer Crisis: How ". The section titled " The Year 2000 Computer Crisis: Why " describes what I think are the fundamental spiritual issues associated with this crisis.

Grateful to be His,

Ivan

istrand@indiana.edu


The material gets quite detailed at times. It may help if I introduce this with a question that may be the very basis of this crisis:

" Do we all need a very large wakeup call? "

The Year 2000 Computer Crisis : How

Week One may be very quiet. Week One is the first week after Midnight. Midnight is December 31, 1999. We are three years from Midnight. What is this thing called the "Year 2000 Problem"? What is the big fuss? Aren't there any solutions?

The Year 2000 Problem:

Thirty years ago second and third generation computer systems began to arrive in the accounting departments of government, education and industry. In 1967 I watched the first IBM System 360 being installed in the Indiana Corporation where I had just finished training to be a computer programmer. Computers were new, the software was new and everything having to do with computers were *very* expensive. Particularly storage.

My Indiana company performed all the primary accounting functions in these early years on computer systems that contained 16,000 bytes of computer program memory! One inch of 3/4" wide computer tape would store 500 characters of information! We programmers did our computer programming on a word-processor that didn't have a back-space key! It was called a key punch. One computer card for each line on this page.

The mindset of the programmers and computer managers was heavily skewed toward efficient use of computer storage. Each character of information that had to be stored for each transaction could have major effects on the accounting expense for the organization and thus on the profitability.

The Year 2000 Problem was born in the design of computer systems in the 1960's. The design choice was to represent the date with six numeric positions. YYMMDD: Year, Month, Day. January 4, 1966 was 660104. And today is 970215, February 15, 1997. Accounting departments, programmers, managers, CEO's and the directors ignored the correct design and stored dates in the computer files without the century. I believe it is quite fair to say that many of the above people didn't even think through the issue. Or for some unknown reason were not 'permitted' to think through the issue.

What is the big fuss?

Most if not all of the computer data planet-wide that stores date information based on the Gregorian Calendar uses this abbreviated form of the numeric date. We refer to this as the "six-digit date". Two of the most common uses and troublesome problems with the six-digit dates are 'time spans' and 'ordering'.

Time spans are calculated in the computer by subtracting two dates. Thus my age is calculated to be the current date minus my birth date. Today is 970215: Feb 15, 1997. My birthdate, stored in the computer records is 420201: Feb 1, 1942. Using the year from each date, my age is 97 - 42 = 55 years old. On the same day in 1999 my age will be calculated as 99 - 42 = 57 years old. On the same day in 2000 my age will be 00 - 42 = -42. Minus 42 years old! Feb 15, 2000 will be stored as 000215, if no changes are made to the current data formats and computer programs. Calculations that have dates in two different centuries will not work properly with a six-digit date!

Time span calculations are undoubtedly the most pervasive and largest issue that must be dealt with to "solve" the Year 2000 Computer Problem. Expiration dates, eligibility dates, financial interest calculations, payment due dates, anniversary dates, re-stocking dates. All these examples and many more depend on the correct number of days, months, and years between two dates. For any calculation involving dates after January 1, 2000, the current computer programs create errors like the example of age shown above. Many inventive people are attempting to devise a way around this deficiency. And there have been some very clever and helpful solutions! But as I will show later, the "technical" side of this problem is not the major challenge, important as it is.

Ordering of data is the second most troublesome problem with six-digit dates. Dates are used very frequently to sort computer records into ascending, descending or identical-date order. And this ordering is important. Computer programs expect to find the records containing the dates in the correct place.

Computer records are created, for example, for a students expected tenure in a university program. In 1996 we created date-based records for each of four years for a student entering the undergraduate program. Records were created for years 96, 97, 98, 99. These were the years associated with each of the years in our four-year programs beginning with the current year, current semester. Since some students begin in the Spring semester, we did the same thing in January of this year. For these students we created date-based records for the years 97, 98, 99, 00. And of course "we" know that the last two years of the students date-records for this student represent the years 1999 and 2000. But the computer doesn't see it that way.

At many points in our system we will order or sort information based on these and many other dates in our computer files. Asking the computer to sort the first set of records in ascending order results in 96, 97, 98, 99. Student records presented in that order will look right and be handled properly. No surprises. Asking the computer to sort the second set of records for our newest student, the computer will do exactly what it is told. The order of our student records sorted in ascending order by year will be 00, 97, 98, 99. Student information for the year 2000, the '00' record, will come *before* the information for the year 1996, the '96' record. This incorrect ordering or sorting is the second-most common underlying problem that needs to be changed in our computer systems. And the impact is enormous.

Aren't there any solutions?

Yes there are solutions. This is not a complex technical problem. The solutions are straight forward. The changes to repair the sick programs are reasonably simple. As our examples above suggest, this is not the stuff of rocket science!

Solving this is really a major management problem. Or if you will, a "business problem". We know what the technical deficiencies are and how to fix them. The question is "will we". Do we have the stamina and resolve. This is where the story gets difficult.

I have tried to evolve a metaphor or analogy that will help describe what it looks like to an "insider". To a person who can see the people, problems, the arguments, the denial, the anger, the procrastination, the dis-belief, the scoffing. To a person who has for the last twelve months been working on a S.W.A.T team whose goal is to plan a way out of this crisis for our university. A team whose major challenge is *not* technical. It is working with others to convince those who can help and others who should be involed that the problem is real, the problem is big and the problem is complex. I believe the following analogy will help describe the nature of the Year 2000 problem and why the solution will be difficult.

You *must* leave town in three weeks!

All members of your community *must* leave town in three weeks! You don't know why, you don't know where. You only know two things. One that you *must* leave town within three weeks secondly that each part on your car must be inspected before you can safely set out on the trip. If there are bad parts, they must be replaced or repaired. To be sure of the safety of your family you must inspect or have inspected each and every part. This is going to be an extremely rough trip and you *cannot* leave without subjecting your vehicle to a complete review.

My father, who is an amazing mechanic informed me there was 10,000 parts between the two bumpers on an average car some number of years ago. So imagine, if you will, the task before you! Each of those parts in every car in your community must be removed, inspected and if faulty, replaced or repaired. A daunting task.

After only a little time passes you realize there are wrinkles in the plan. It isn't going to be as straight forward as you thought. Or were told by the local radio announcer who told you what you needed to do!

You have a job. You realize the importance of getting out of town, but you can't simply stop working on everything else! You just can't. Besides, it is winter and you have to finish cutting and splitting the wood. You have to stay warm the next three weeks. And you sure can't find anyone else to do the work on cutting and splitting the wood! They are all busy trying to inspect their cars.

You are qualified to do some of the work on your car but in many cases you will need help from a mechanic. One who can correctly evaluate the piece and help you make a decision. Or possibly who can help you remove the piece so *you* can inspect it. Or possibly help you order a satisfactory replacement because the piece you took off is no longer available. Or possibly who can help you weld the piece you took off because it would have been ok but because it was rusted in place you broke it when you removed it from the car. But remove it you must! And to complicate matters, you may or may not have all the specialty tools to remove the parts much less analyze their reliabilty for this. Because you noticed that two days ago the sign on the window of the local auto tool store said. "CLOSED: No More Tools To Sell. Left town yesterday."

Quite soon you become aware that there are 500 cars in your little community and only 10 mechanics! Now normally, that would be ok. Cars don't need mechanics all the time. Supply and demand selects the correct number of mechanics for a community over time. Given a little scheduling freedom, there will be enough experts to get the work done. Even when a person has an emergency and needs it done quickly. But now?

Everyone needs the mechanic! And at the time, of course, when everybody else needs the mechanic. In reality there may be enough time to complete the task for all concerned. There may be enough specialty tools. The mechanics may have enough time to give to all who need their help. If.. If... everybody stays calm. If as the critical day gets close, everyone concentrates on their job and doesn't *panic*. As long as greed doesn't set in and mechanics start accepting bribes for favoritism that the heads of the household are more than happy to pay to assure that their family at least has a chance to escape.

If the parts the mechanic orders get there on time, if everybody does absolutely all they can to help themselves, if they will just get started! If anyone who has any skills at all will get under the car and get dirty if they can be of help! If the mechanics are not easily discouraged by nervous customers, don't give up, throw up their hands and just head out of town before the critical date!

I'm sorry to say, but...

This is a very close description of the Year 2000 "crisis". I will draw some parallels and describe the differences.

The date is fixed: Jan 1, 2000, at the very latest, all computer programs must have been inspected and either approved as "ok" or fixed. This is the *first* time in the history of software engineering that the due date could absolutely not be changed.

The trip will be rough: When the clock moves us into the beginning of the next century, all computer programs will undergo the most stringent and threatening test of their life! The computer rooms across the globe will *not* be happy places to be on Saturday, January 1, 2000. At the very *best* it will be a rough trip!

Resources are limited due to the time remaining: There are a lot of parts. At our university we have 3,000 different admistrative computer programs consisting of 3,000,000 lines of computer instructions. Each line (part) must be inspected one way or another and approved as "ok" or replaced or repaired.

There are enough computer programmers, managers and experts to solve this problem. But.. it will be an incredible juggling act to manage these people in an environment that is un-friendly and under immense pressure to meet an impossible schedule. There will be no resources to spare. The fires in Kuwait were put out in an "amazingly" short amount of time after the war. Reason? Experts were brought from around the world to this *one spot on the globe*. Everyone concentrated and heroically accomplished the task. Now? There are "computer" fires in every nation, state, province, town and city across the globe. There are no extra resources.

Replacement parts may not be available: Much computer software is 10 or 20 years old. It performed a specific task when it was written and still does. It can be a complex technical problem to recreate some of these working applications from scratch. In some cases it is almost impossible.

Documentation is not available for all automobiles or software: It can take time to come up with the documentation for an unusual car that is quite old. Additionally, there must be documentation for *every* part. Or if not, the mechanic must be smart enough to understand, diagnose and certify that the part is ok and ready for the long trip. Now it may be that a neighboring mechanic or programmer might accept a call from an associate to help on a sticky issue. To share knowledge. Particularly on an unusual car part from an odd manufacturer. Or an accounting package from a software supplier who may or may not still exist. But if the other mechanics down the streets are too busy to sleep? If there are angry customers continuously on the phone and standing in the waiting room wondering "when will it be done"?

Nerves will shatter, bribes will be common: The environment of computer professionals is tense this very day. And the change from day to day is *not* linear! As nerves are frayed and programmers and managers throw up their hands and say "I can't take it!" each remaining day carries less weight in completing the task on time. Early retirements, career changes and simply walking away from the workplace and worse will occur. These things are beginning to happen already.

I have worked for several great managers over my thirty years in this profession. I know the characteristics of a good software manager, the types that are needed to manage this project. Fact: Some of the very best are saying: "No thank you. I don't want to be a manager for this project." Some of the best programmers and analysts are hiding in the corners hoping they won't be 'volunteered' for this project.

But some experts will accept bribes! Whether or not governments draft experts to meet their needs, the supply/demand factors for these skills could drive salaries crazy in 1998 and 1999. If a person is committed to staying where they are until all the cars are inspected, it will be increasingly hard to turn down offers that will pay three years salary in one year!

And a good mechanic is hard to find. Someone who knows the car inside and out. Who doesn't need to refer to the manual to understand the function of each part. The best most productive mechanics will be hired away by the neighboring companies to be sure that *their* car will be serviced in time! So *they* can escape the town before the time is up.

And unfortunately, many organizations and companies will delay and delay and procrastinate. It will be costly. They will delay hoping that the problem will magically go away. They will procrastinate hoping that someone will announce that the warning to "get out of town!" was a hoax.

But there are differences...

The most glaring difference is this: Unlike the separate cars in our story above, each computer system is in some way dependent on another computer system. Whether it is the intra-office network of 10 computers, the entire Internet, the vast network of defense and international computer links, satellites and monitoring facilities, the problem is this: All, repeat all of these computers must "speak the same language". They must understand clearly the incoming and outgoing data on which they operate. And today, for the most part, they do "speak the same language". But it is the wrong language for dates later than December 31, 1999. And that language must change. For all computers.

What that means is this:

If these intertwining computer systems work in the future it is because they have all been changed, they have all been tested, and they all work correctly. The weakest link in the chain when it breaks will cause the chain to quit functioning as a chain.

Books could be and possibly will be written on these last two sentences alone. It is, I believe, the single most serious challenge we face in moving past Midnight, December 31, 1999.


The Year 2000 Computer Crisis: Why

Indeed, why? I believe the answer is in the question. Let me explain.

The technical dimension of the problem is reasonably clear. The problem is real, the problem is big and the problem is complex. The time frame is to repair the compter systems is fixed, technical resources are limited. Humanity sits on the brink, hostage to a computer that can do no more than move, add and compare 0's and 1's. Can this be true?

Technically, it is. But spiritually? Is God trying to tell us something in no uncertain terms? Has God permitted us to paint ourselves into a corner by our pride and greed? So that we can see the cost of ignoring the Designer? So that we can see the consequence of "leaning on our own understanding?" Will this crisis reach into the depths of every heart, every nation, every culture, because of the global penetration of this techno habit. Would we survive one day without our binary "fix"? Have we finally gotten to the end of our rope of cleverness and ingenuity?

I believe we have come to the end of our rope. I believe we will come to the point of acknowledging the depths of our poverty. I believe that deep down, *everyone* will eventually acknowledge their emptyness. And I believe that it is this awareness of our deep poverty and emptyness that is the answer to the "Why?". Why has this come about and why is it so difficult to solve.

Knowing that we have a problem and acknowledging our inability to solve it is one thing. Choosing the way out is quite another. Will mankind continue to shake its fist at the Creator and reject His plan of salvation? Will we defy any solution that requires our idols to be destroyed? Will we hold on to the last shred of human hope at the expense of our soul?

Sin is like that, isn't it? But is the hour of decision that may be upon us limited to those who blatantly reject God's gift of salvation? I'm not so sure.

Are we as Christian believers being shown the incredible subtlety of Satan's deceit? Will we see truth mixed with error as never before? Are we being trained through this crisis to discern clearly the source of the messages and words that we hear?

Will this crisis which creates so many questions that have no answers point us to The Answer? To our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Will we very soon understand the full weight of Jesus words: "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Mat 7:21.

I believe this crisis will help us as Christians know whether or not we trust God for *everything*. Whether or not we believe that God can still open the windows of heaven and feed us. Whether or not we believe God can cause water to pour out of the rock. Whether or not we believe God can provide for us when all lines of earth-based communication are cut and when the semi-trailer trucks, the tankers and the locomotives sit idle. Whether we believe God can protect us from and in the ensuing riots, plagues and burning cities.

One way to test our belief system is to deny us access to our treasures. To permit an environment of confusion among the computer professionals, to permit the record systems of the world to die in their tracks. To bring us to the point of understanding that all that we have lived for on this earth, all that we have invented, improved, struggled for and built is worthless. The pensions, the profit-sharing, the savings accounts, the equity in our homes. It is all gone. Or worse yet, not "accessible".

I wonder. What would I do if the last paragraph actually came true tomorrow morning? Am I truly ready to count on nothing other than my relationship to God? Do I really trust Him like I say I do?

-----------------------

I believe the true nature of our trust in God is going to be the primary test we will undergo in the near future. But I would like to share four other areas about which God may be speaking to us through the Year 2000 computer crisis. 1) Computerized systems that control people, 2) Computerized systems that control warfare, 3) Loss of electrical power and 4) The nature of the final conflict.

1) Computerized systems that control people.

Much of what we read about and much of the speculation concerning the last days has to do with sophisticated methods of tracking the movements and affairs of individuals. Information cards, bank cards, travel badges, retinal identification, micro-chips under the skin.

Massive databases hum along providing instantaneous information as to where we are, who we are with and our last five transactions at the bank. To those who are in control. To those with the power to know.

Maybe so. But this is not likely on the computer systems I know about. Not on the existing networks which will crash and burn in the next three years if they are not overhauled and repaired. Not by the computer systems described on the USA Armed Services web pages. Not by the computer systems which concerns Senator Moynihan who introduced Senate Bill S.22 "to establish a bipartisan national commission to address the year 2000 computer problem."

There may be hidden networks that don't use the defense and university data channels out of which the Internet evolved. There may be organizations and nations interlinked through some unknown system of computer-to-computer networking that bypasses all of the issues raised in the first part of this article.

But if there isn't? Must all the dramatic events dependent on these systems transpire before the year 2000? While the existing computer systems still work? Could this be a part of the most clever and deep deception ever? To cause us to worry about whether "this is the Mark of the Beast" or whether "that is the Mark of the Beast" or .... Is the logical "what if" speculation we learned from our computer spreadsheets turned back on us? Are we certain that if we work long-enough and think clearly enough that we will be able to identify and avoid the "mark"? Do our speculations about these systems distract us from hearing and learning to hear the voice of Jesus?

2) Computerized systems that control warfare.

In a similar way what does the Year 2000 computer problem say about computerized warfare? Does it imply that the defense, monitoring and war-making computers of the civilized world will grind to a halt on January 1, 2000 or before? Does it mean that the doors on the missle silo will open by themselves? Does it mean that they won't open even if commanded to open? Does it imply that the obvious offensive strategy is to wait for the clocks in the world to strike Midnight, December 31, 1999? Do we believe that computer systems exist "somewhere" that will continue to function as we cross over into the next century? And is this too a distraction? Is this Year 2000 computer crisis and all its complexity helpind us to understand that we should turn our focus more and more toward God?

3) Loss of electrical power.

I doubt if we can imagine the amount of orderliness and control that is based on the continuous flow of electrical power. How long would our communities function without electrical power? Do we acknowledge that the electrical power distribution systems and the massive telephone network are totally dependent on correctly-functioning computers? Computers that to the best of my current knowledge land right in the middle of the crisis described in the first half of this article.

4) The nature of the final conflict.

It is quite difficult for me to relate to many of the visions and dreams that appear on this Prophetic list and elsewhere. I think there is a clear reason. I don't think we have what it takes to come close to imagining the massive outpouring of the Spirit of God and the massive conflict with the Spirit of Satan in the final scenes of Time. I am grateful that God has given me the opportunity to learn about you and your gifts. Your visions and dreams. The message God has given you to share with us who have hearts to hear. Messages that describe events and scenes beyond the reach of our hearts and minds. Messages from Brother Andrew and the many gifted subscribers who share the insights God brings to their hearts.

I believe we speculate out of our experience at a level of reality that in no way approximates the awesome forces that will be unleashed in the very near future. It was a precious and special blessing to read the responses of the readers of this list and Brother Andrew regarding the MLM organization dedicated to promoting the ownership of gold. And while responding described money, business or different stores of value were, in and of themselves harmful, but rather the focus and motivation of this method of preparedness was pointed out to be man-centered and contrary to the direction we should be looking for our provision and safety.

In a similar way I believe the man-centered responses to this computer crisis clearly argue for some very rough times ahead. I believe what I have attempted to share with you today may well describe another warning sign that God is giving us to help us keep our Spiritual guard in place and to increase our thirst for His voice. Maybe it is to help us discern the subtle deceptions that are closing in around us and would ensnare us. Maybe it is to bring us increasingly to our knees humbly before Jesus seeking His wisdom and judgement as we walk through the mine field of these last days.

------------------

I thank you for the opportunity to share this with you. I would be greatly blessed to hear the words and insights that God brings to you on this subject. I am willing to respond and clarify where I can.

I want to acknowledge clearly to you that while I have a reasonable level of confidence in my technical analysis of the computer crisis, trying to put words to my sense about the God-focused dimension of this issue was very difficult. And maybe that is as is should be.

For as I stated at the beginning of this section, I believe the question "Why" is, in fact, the answer. In my opinion there are *no* earthly answers that describe the way out of the crisis. I believe the reason for that is that God, in His great mercy is giving us an enormous chance to see that He is the only way out. That He is the only Way. That He is "The Answer".


Dear Brother Andrew and List,

I too as a newcomer to your list have been incredibly blessed by the insigts and sharing from your ministry and the sharing from the participants of your list.

I too am increasingly grateful for the financial pressures the Lord has ordained or permitted in my life over the last four years. Seeing and sensing the tumult that is coming I am eternally grateful God helped me loose the strings that tied me to this earth system.

Like another subscriber I do not feel I have a prophetic gifting. I do feel God has gifted me in music and discernment. These are the areas I ask for your counsel and insights today.

I do feel sensitive to the hurts and tension that is beginning to shake my family, church and friends. Both belivers and non-believers are becoming tense. I am increasingly sensitive to this in part because of my profession. I am a computer programmer/analyst and currently am working with a group of people on the Year 2000 Project at our university.

There is an emerging computer crisis of immense proportions on the horizon. Depending on the day, the reaction to this approaching cloud is either disbelief, denial or dis-orientation. Having worked in this career since 1966 I have a somewhat unique opportunity to help people understand the scope of the problem as well as deal with the possible solutions. The level of confusion, hostility and hopelessness raises each day. Were it not for the Hope I have in Christ, I would be sinking in despair. I desire to share that Hope with my co-workers and friends.

I believe there is a major connection between this global computer crisis and the crisis we expect in the last days before Christ returns. While I am tightly connected with several discussion groups that deal with the professional aspect of this crisis, I have not yet found any Christian discussion groups or writings dealing with the connection I believe this has with God's warnings about these final hours. I am very interested in learning about those who have insights into this subject. I believe God may be leading me into a more intense ministry in this regard and I would be grateful for your prayers.

Your teachings and insights, articles and visions on music have been totally engrossing. I feast every day on the things God has taught me through your ministry and exhortations about the place music will have in the final moves of God. It is exciting beyound words!

I am a songwriter at heart for many, many years. I have written a handful of songs in the last 25 years. But in the Spring of 1995, God began pouring music through me. Simple, short songs based closely or entirely on Scripture. Easy to sing, easy to rememember. And they keep coming.

I am not sure where God is going with the music he has layed on my heart. And your writings and Brother Ryles visions have been a great encouragement. Since I am totally new to this "new" music teaching I would ask these questions. Is anyone actually ministering with this new music now? Are there people to talk to, listen to, share with concerning this music?

Four weeks ago I couldn't even spell "prophetic". By that I mean I had background or exposure in this gift. God has been awesome in teaching and leading me through a mine field in the last four years. I am open to his guidance and leading. I am SO blessed by the balanced and God-focused manner with which you caution about "too much, too little". Paricularly your careful treatment of the Toronto/Pensecola manifestations. I see each day the incredible importance of discernment and a lifeline to God through Scripture, prayer and His abiding presence.

Thank you for your ministry. And thank you dear subscribers for sharing your concerns, visions and dreams that help me focus on the ways that God is working and leading his followers as we are being prepared for battle. I continue to pray that God will prosper the work he has for each of you to do in these critical days.

I know that soon we may not have the precious advantage of this Internet pathway to share and learn. I thank God that He brought me to you at this time.

Ivan Strand istrand@indiana.edu


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