Apr 10, 2008

Is Financial Armageddon Here?

By Wilfred Hahn

By now, everybody knows it. It’s front page news. Tough economic and financial times have hit Western economies … notably the United States. Securities markets are reeling and financial companies are falling like flies.

Is it financial Armageddon … the start of the big, deflationary bust that pitches the entire world into the final economic crisis? We have had this question put to us several times and not just from Christians. It is a hazardous question, and not just for reasons of economic accuracy but also theology. Therefore, we need to tread lightly. But, we admit our bias: No, this is not the final Financial Armageddon. Recent financial events ricocheting around the world are surely part of process that will culminate in the prophesied event. But for now, if anything, current financial down-turns represent little more than another station stop on the road to a thoroughly globalized world and a launch point for the next world-wide economic boom (should the Lord tarry, of course.) We’ll yet put this perspective into the context of a pre-tribulational view.


For now, and true to form, grim news and dour economic data are being spewed out in North America. No doubt you have read the reports. Perhaps over 1.5 million US households this year may default on their mortgages and perhaps lose their homes. As many as 10% of all US households are now upside down (meaning the house is now valued less than the outstanding mortgage) according to some analysts, with much worse to come.


The US economy at large, according to economists, is now in recession. US and other international financial institutions are likely to face losses mounting to as high as $2.7 trillion before the current credit “revulsion” is papered over. And, the US dollar is again plumbing new lows against the euro … surely to crash much farther so everyone thinks … even while the price of commodities such as gold, oil and foodstuffs surge … at least, until recently.


However, we’ll stop there. Recounting obvious headlines doesn’t do anyone a service. Frankly, it is much too late and it would actually only serve to mislead given the dynamics of “crowd psychology” playing out at present. Consider that the euro has already soared some 90% against the US dollar in recent years and that the housing bubble peaked almost 3 years ago. Now that the great majority have come to recognize the reality of what we have warned about for years, we need to look ahead to the next stage. (We are not prophets, just common-sense analysts.) If that is so, to what perspective should we then orient ourselves? What should we expect next?


To be sure, the world is currently facing a financial crisis that is most certainly the worst since the 1930s. This should not be a surprise. And, it is indeed a palpable possibility that a financial meltdown may yet get much worse in some parts of the world. But, it certainly is not the end of the world nor is it likely to spell doom for the majority of the world’s population. The direct impact of the credit system breakdowns of late are largely confined to the Western nations. That is not to say that there will not be reverberations around the world. Yet, once this period has passed, some countries will emerge much weakened, and others will be in a more powerful position. (Likely, the United States, will have lost some strength and authority.) However, the key thing to see is that world will have moved to a more centralized, globally-coordinated state. What we are witnessing today is simply part of the pattern of that long continuing process.


While there surely are real consequences for many households in North America, we must take a global view and not forget that there is a world financial system today that is much bigger than just America. To be sure, it is thoroughly compromised — a post-modern, relativistic, immoral system that is in the service of the Mammon spirit. It is specifically designed to deceive and entrap. Frankly it is surprising how few Christians are wise to this reality.


Bible readers who understands things of the end (eschatology) know that an economic and financial control structure takes form; a boom in (false) wealth takes place; and an elite group of wealthy complicitors emerges even as a greater part of humanity become entrapped slaves. All these processes, though perhaps not yet complete, are clearly observable today. Much worse manifestations occur in the Tribulation itself.


Consider that the global trend of financialization is the bedrock — the very seedbed — of the endtime power structure that underpins the last-day ecumenicism and rulership of the final Antichrist. It is the trends of globalization, globalism, financialization, corporatization … etc. — all of which are related — that provides the sinew and connectedness of a last-day world that has staked its hopes and faith upon the common commercialism of mankind. We have commented on this role numerous times (See the book, Endtime Money Snare: How to live free.)


All of which serves to make this point: None of these outcomes can happen if the world’s financial systems collapse before its time. It is a perspective that also applied to the Y2K hysteria which swept the world in the late 1990s (including, we might note, various pulpits and ministries).


To recall, the Y2K mania ended up being more of a psychological crisis than an unsolvable technical problem. Some intrepid observers early on defused concerns about Y2K with the simple deduction that computer technologies were essential to global interconnectedness and therefore were absolutely necessary to bring about a number of conditions that were clearly prophesied in Scripture. (See Dave Hunt’s book Y2K: A Reasoned Response to Mass Hysteria, 1999.)


As such, it was a reasonable conclusion that the world would not succumb to a Y2K-type holocaust before the prophesied Antichrist could complete his program. And, while we cannot know the exact time that any crisis will occur, we at least know that apocalyptic events play out inside the 7-year tribulation period (and therefore after the rapture — the harpazo).


To illustrate the role of fear, in the 1990s this writer was still managing a large global investment operation and needed to plan for the Y2K issue in various parts of the world. It was actually comforting to witness the high levels of concern at the time. Why? It ensured motivation and action to solve what was really a simple technological problem.


The same consideration applies to the world’s developing financial system and the current crisis. Consider then this perspective: If you believe that the current financial meltdown is the start of “THE” global financial and economic bust, then you may have missed the rapture. This perspective does not at all deny the imminency of the rapture, a doctrine we consider as inviolable. The fact that we are even considering this question should quicken our hopes to the promise of His coming very soon! The Antichrist needs an integrated, functioning, global financial system to bring about his agenda. Therefore, all that we are postulating here is that the final world-spanning financial crisis does not occur until the Tribulation period … probably near the mid-point. Of course, smaller financial crises will occur before that point, but these will all be survivable and play a necessary role in prodding further global commercial convergence.


The great financial fears (as in the Y2K saga) now hastens the actions of policymakers and central banks around the globe. They are fighting the current financial crisis tooth and nail, working every possible trick of financial alchemy in their toolkit. As this takes place, the seeds for the next boom are being laid … the next stage of globalization and world deception. Very likely, at least one more inflationary world boom will begin, though there is no telling how soon this might occur. Near the peak of one of these booms (if not the next one) may be the time where “as ye think not” (Matthew 24:44) that the Lord may come ... when people are “eating, drinking … marrying.” (Luke 17:26) Of course, that is speculation as we do not know the “day nor the hour.” However, it is also true that the Lord’s first appearance will not be in the midst of a world-spanning crisis. It is more likely that the False Prophet and Antichrist will seize the advantage from such an occurrence.


If events proceed as per past progressions, we should expect the next boom to be world scale; enveloping the entirety of all nations; firmly entrenching mankind in the last-day money snare … the systemic Babylonian colossus of Bible prophecy. It could be argued that 60% and more of the world’s population are yet only marginal participants in the world’s emerging commercial structure. Much more globalization could lie ahead. But before anyone might get too elated about this prospect, let’s ground our perspective in a Dispensationalist, pre-tribulational view. We must make three points.


Above all, the Lord’s return is imminent. Whatever the theories or speculations, we could be with Him at any time and our sojourn upon earth completed. We would have no more chance to set things right … to shed our idolatries and worldliness. The Bema Seat lies ahead.


Secondly, certainty about the time of future events has not been given to man. We can know the season and such things as the destination point of the path upon which the world is traveling, but we are not given the hour or the day. That means that even though we may theorize that another global boom may be underway at some point and that the final “big financial meltdown” need wait until the Tribulation, these give no assurances of anything near-term.


With respect to the world’s headlong rush into the last-day super-religion — the merging of God and Mammon — we can be sure of its occurrence. The world is on a path to destruction … morally, economically and spiritually. We have the more sure word of prophesy on that point. On this road, there are serious, scary financial tremors (also wars, pestilences, earthquakes … etc.) through which many people (greedy, na├»ve or otherwise) will suffer or profit greatly.


This brings us to the third and final point. Deception and corruption remains the mode of the world’s developing systems. The successive economic booms of the world … the temptations of the rising endtime apparition of great wealth … the greater material comforts … the “cares of this world” … the ever ensnaring endtime money trap … they all play upon the affections of Christians. Who then can sustain such an assault on the affections and still stand ready at all times for His coming? “Pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36)