With the state of the global financial markets in such turmoil, I’m sure that most of you folks naturally have assumed that Terry or I would address this issue. I am absolutely amazed at how quickly the monetary health of the world has deteriorated. Stock markets around the globe have been in an absolute free fall. The Dow Jones experienced its worst one-week plunge in history.
There is growing concern that the crisis will spread to other sectors of the economy. The lack of credit is decimating the auto industry. Investors on Wall Street have priced the stock of General Motors and Ford to levels that indicate the strong possibility of default. At one point, GM traded as low as $4 and Ford went below to $2 per share.
The nation of Iceland has probably been hit the hardest by the crisis. Home to just 300,000 people, Iceland epitomized the global boom in easy credit. Its banks have most of their business overseas, and they amassed a balance sheet that is 200 times the GDP of the whole Icelandic economy.
The boom has now turned into a bust. The situation has become so dire, Iceland 's government has been forced to nationalize the nation's top three banks. The whole country is said to be on the brink of bankruptcy. The potential losses are in the tens of billions, and Iceland only has a total GDP of $2.4 trillion.
I've long said that economic hardship is the mother's milk of prophetic progression. For this particular crisis, it might be better said that economic hardship is the steroids of prophetic progression. Over the past two decades, there has been an incremental movement towards the global economic system predicted by the Bible. In the past few days, we have seen a sudden leap forward. If the players in this tragedy didn’t act so clueless about what is going on, I’d assume they were part of a pre-arranged plot.
For the first time ever, central banks around the world joined together for a coordinated interest rate cut. The G7, normally nothing more than a photo opportunity for world leaders, has laid out a plan to make international banks more interconnected in the lending of money.
Many world leaders are calling for tighter control. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi proposed the idea of closing the world's financial markets while they "rewrite the rules of international finance." French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, "all actors must be supervised. We want a new world to come out of this [crisis]."
The U.S. Treasury Department’s role in American society has greatly expanded in the past couple of months. The world's largest bank is now in Washington D.C., with assets of $1.4 trillion. There is now a proposal for the government to take an ownership stakes in certain U.S. banks.
I think the greatest indication of the Fed's growing power is a new loan it gave to insurance giant AIG. When AIG received the initial $85 billion bailout loan, there was a huge amount of media attention to the process that led to the largest-ever federal loan to a non-bank. This past week, it became clear that AIG needed more money, so the Fed quietly handed over another $38 billion of taxpayers' money.
It’s been very nerve wracking to see the stock market plunge 40 percent since its high set last year, but I think something far more worrisome is on the horizon. When the Antichrist comes to power, he will utilize what is commonly called the mark of the beast to control the global financial system. Unless you have the mark, you can't buy or sell anything. Because anyone who receives the 666 mark is automatically damned, anyone on earth during the time of the mark will have to suffer martyrdom or extreme hardship to maintain his or her faith.
“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:11).
Man now has the technology needed to establish a global, cashless community. At this stage, the only thing really missing is the political will to set the mark into motion.
I believe the mark of the beast will come at the mid-point of the tribulation. The fact that we are seeing an economic force push for its implantation indicates to me that the time of the rapture must be very near.
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).