The Giant: A Preview of Revelation 13?
Giants have always fascinated me. That’s probably why I reacted so quickly when Laura, my administrative assistant, asked me to go online and look up “The Giant.”
“Did you say ‘Giant’?”
“Yes,” she answered. “Go to the website thegiantcompany.ie. You’ve got to see this.”
“Awaken the Giant in You,” the website declares. The promotional material from the Ireland-based Giant Company calls its creation “the world’s tallest moving statue”—an ambitious cultural and commercial project that combines art, amusement, virtual-reality robotics, and artificial intelligence. Each Giant will stand more than 10 stories high. But there’s more.
These giants are programmable and capable of speaking, singing, and moving their heads and arms. They also shape-shift, assuming the forms of people. For example, in an instant, a Giant can look like Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, or Superman. It can even produce a Giant version of you! The ultimate selfie. Can you say, “Revelation 13:14–15”? The technology has arrived.
An Expression of Humanism
The Giant Company hopes to install 21 of these statues (or “billboards,” as the company claims they can be used), at a cost of $18 million to $24 million each, in 21 cities around the globe. It estimates they will attract 500,000 visitors a year and generate millions of dollars.
Not only will they be huge and able to speak and move, but these Giants also will be able to communicate with one another: “While every Giant is bespoke for its city and country, each is also a member of a family that can digitally communicate with other Giants around the world,” says the website.
This behemoth is the brainchild of entrepreneur Paddy Dunning, who envisions his Giants leading the charge “on promoting sustainable living and climate action,” as well as “other philanthropic endeavors.”
Dunning’s vision for The Giant will undoubtedly thrill many; but frankly, it gives me the creeps. His hope The Giant will become “part of a movement for change” and “save the planet” stems from the belief that man is innately capable of doing so. This is humanism. It attaches prime importance to human beings and sees technology as mankind’s salvation.
Today’s unregenerate masses are no different than they were thousands of years ago, when they tried to construct a tower called Babel (Gen. 11). In defiance of God, they worked to build the biggest, tallest ziggurat in an attempt to reach the heavens. Inherent in that build was humanism. It elevates people and denigrates God.
To those of us who know Scripture, The Giant probably conjures up visions of a future “giant,” one the Antichrist will authorize when he rules the world during the seven-year Tribulation:
And he [the False Prophet] deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast [Antichrist], telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast. . . . He [the False Prophet] was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Rev. 13:14–15).
We also know that—no matter how noble and altruistic Paddy Dunning may be—almighty God, the Creator of this planet, is the only one capable of saving it.
Not a Force for Good
Interestingly, Scripture mentions giants; and in each case, they present a problem for God’s people. In ancient days, the giants on Earth “were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (Gen. 6:4). Many Bible scholars believe they resulted from fallen angels cohabiting with women: Satan’s attempt to pollute the promised “Seed” of the woman (3:15) to prevent Jesus from being born into a fully human, Jewish family—which was necessary for Him to become our Redeemer. Jesus is the one poised to save the planet when He returns at His Second Coming to rescue Israel from the Antichrist and set up His Messianic Kingdom.
In Numbers 13, the sight of “giants” frightened 10 of the 12 spies Moses sent to check out the land God promised the Israelites (v. 33). Intimidated by such “men of great stature” (v. 32), all but Caleb and Joshua failed to trust the Lord, resulting in that generation wandering 40 years in the desert and dying as punishment for its disobedience.
And who can forget the famous Philistine, “Goliath, from Gath” (1 Sam. 17:4)? He was slightly under 10 feet tall and terrified everyone who saw him with the exception of a ruddy young man named David, who was destined to become Israel’s king. Goliath cursed the living God, prompting David to declare, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (v. 45). David then killed Goliath with a stone from his slingshot.
Great stature can be extremely intimidating. Perhaps that was why Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar erected a 90-foot-tall gold image and demanded everyone worship it or be killed (Dan. 3:1–7). He could have built a small image, but he wanted a giant one. When three Jewish boys (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) refused to bow to it, the king had them thrown into a furnace. But God rescued them.
The Giant Company does not want people to worship The Giant. Rather, it wants people to pay money to see it. Dunning’s venture is commercial. He is not in business to lose money. He’s in business to make it.
Yet it remains to be seen what others will do with the technology The Giant Company has harnessed. Will they use it to sell products? Will they use it for entertainment, turning themselves into giant selfies? Will they use it to help the planet? Who knows? Two things we do know: (1) What once seemed far-fetched stands at our doorstep today, and (2) the Bible is never wrong.
I’ll be watching with interest the progress of Dunning’s ambition. You probably should too.