Has the financial bust of the Apocalypse started after all? One could be tempted to think so. Since financial markets began to fracture more than 15 months ago, waves of selling, unwinding and deleveraging have continued unabated around the world. Just before this writing, the entire global stock market had fallen 55% (as represented by the MSCI Barra, All Country World Index in US dollars. See chart on back page.) Imagine that? By more than half, or almost $36 trillion! Of course, there has been rampant devastation everywhere, not just in the stock markets. US housing values are sinking the fastest since the Great Depression and everything from bond markets to art and used trucks are deflating in value.
Any extra-terrestrial visiting this planet would greatly wonder about a civilization that is so fickle about the value of its wealth. Of course, we know better. This world—which Christians surely live within, but its values do not endorse—is vulnerable to mankind’s idolatries and vain confidence. In fact, it is hubris and confidence taken to the extreme—mankind’s confidence in its surveys of confidence—that has brought the planet to this brink. But is it the beginning of the end?
Well yes … and no. Yes, great global events such as are occurring now must be seen as part of mankind’s progression to an end … actually, one of several ends that still lie ahead as the Bible tells us. But it is not yet the start of the Great Apocalypse, though surely very close. We lay out the reasons for this perspective in the recent article series, What Chance a Global Financial Apocalypse Now.
Then what does the present global financial storm signify? We think at least two … perhaps three developments. Firstly, it is the natural outcome of bad, bad economic policies and financial management. Here, leaders and voters can be blamed. Any common-sense observer will confirm this view. The world is simply reaping what it sowed. A second one is that a massive world crisis is required at this late, great stage of global economic and financial integration. For this, accountability can be given to powers in high places (Ephesians 6:12) but also flesh and blood complicitor elites. But why? This current crisis will serve the familiar role of catalyst, drawing most nations together and further setting up the conditions for the last-day 10 kings (more about which in a moment).
A third corollary development that must fall out of this prophetic fulfillment of 10 kings, is that the world must first enter an age of multipolarism. What is multipolarism? It is a world power arrangement that is balanced between many countries and not dominated by one or more powerful nations. Certainly, there can be no world power structure comprised of 10 kings as the Bible prophesies (Daniel 2:41-42, Daniel 7, Revelation 12, 13, 17) if there is one superpower that can ignore or undermine such a world order. We have recently written a 2-part article series on this exact question, entitled Endtime Shoe: Fitting The World for 10 Toes. We touch on a few of its points in this article.
Financial Meltdown: How Much Further
We have long expressed our concerns that the day of a financial meltdown was becoming ever more probable. (In fact, we laid out the possibilities for such a scenario in the 2002 book, The Endtime Money Snare.) But, we are not prophets. It has not been given to mankind to know the near future, thankfully. Yes, the Bible clearly lays out the future in advance, but it provides no specific calendar dates for this dispensation. It would be a much more chaotic world than it already is, were humankind to be given the capacity to know the near-term future (in other words, perfect future visibility). It couldn’t work, given mankind’s fatal penchant for money (“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” -1 Titus 6:10) security and self-reliance. Imagine. If we did know the exact timing of future events, everyone would act on this information at the same time, thus changing the future. It would be a maniacal world.
Related to this is the reason why God doesn’t much oblige so-called “spirit-led” investors. The Holy Spirit must have much more important functions than to provide “buy/sell” advice to materialistic Christians. Investors continue to get scammed by so-called Christian advisors who see themselves as divinely inspired to meet people’s appetite for gains. Beware. There are already plenty of prosperity gospel teachers who fill this service niche. Crucially, this deceptive, corrupt teaching lies at the very foundation of the troubles that America and other nations are presently experiencing.
Prosperity gospel is deeply embedded in the psyche of Western Christians. While many will guffaw at the shamefully transparent teachings and techniques of the likes of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Peter Popoff—he of the “divine transfer”—and many others, this false gospel has much more sophisticated forms. Why, of course, Christianity and the Bible was invented by God for no other reason than the sanctification of human esteem and as a self-help regime to personal betterment in the here and now. In this view, eternity gets short shrift—either not believed nor promising sufficient instant gratification to the earth-bound consumer. In fact, I am personally ashamed to sometimes fall for the more subtler forms of prosperity gospel myself, as likely will most others. We whine sometimes to God as did Jeremiah, “Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails?” (Jeremiah 15:18).
Jeremiah figured that since he was walking with God and answering His calling, that he deserved a few easy breaks. He bargained with God, saying “I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me, and you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable?” (Jeremiah 15-17-18). How did God respond? He didn’t even acknowledge the complaint. He simply said this: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me” (verse 19). No doubt, all 12 of the New Testament apostles met this same issue. They were doing the Lord’s will, yet 11 of them died an unnatural death. Was this just? Said Paul, “Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love […]” (2 Corinthians 6:4-6). Yes, there is great eternal value to be found in the privilege of serving Him; the undeserved promise of eternal life and the indescribable prospect of being in His presence forever more.
But, most so-called Christians today would not identify with such a perspective. That is exactly why the present juncture in America is so terrifying at present. For, what will be the result of the deep economic troubles that have now come upon the America? Will there be repentance or rebelliousness and anarchy? Both outcomes are possible. But I greatly fear for the latter outcome. As Revelation tells us about the Great Tribulation, we learn that people refused to repent, despite the wrath and hardship on no less than 4 occasions. (Revelation 9:20-21, 16:9, 11, 21) They would not let go of their idolatries.
That could happen now. It would be understandable, after all. Hasn’t our great society ingrained in us the right to prosperity … the good life … and effortless, endless progress to greater wealth? Haven’t countless pastors told us that prosperity is the emblem and purpose of our Christian faith? It would be no surprise, therefore, if many “fair-weather” Christians turned on God, bewailing the same perspectives as will the earthdwellers during the Apocalypse. What God would allow such economic hardships and prove to be such a “false brook” of prosperity? Fair-weather Christians and most others would reject such a God, and instead turn to the promises of government or some future demagogue. And, if in turn these don’t end the economic sufferings, would some resort to rioting and pillaging? We certainly hope not, although some are actually predicting such an outcome. One reputable trend watcher (Gerald Celente, CEO of Trend Research Institute) goes so far as to open the possibility that America will “plunge to the status of an undeveloped nation” and that “America’s going through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for.” He predicts that by December 2012, consumer Christmas will only be a memory, since getting food on the table will be the priority, not gifts. Anything is possible. However, we are suspicious of the date he uses, (December 2012) which seems to be coming up in a lot of forecasts lately, particularly from those seers basing their views on the Mayan calendar.
But why is America being hit so hard financially and economically? Indeed, the current troubles facing the US are epic and much more severe than most other countries. Who are we to confirm the reasons why God would want to either test or discipline the US (this also being true from some of its sister nations like the UK and Canada)? Could it be that He finally has remembered the sins of this once “evangelistic” Philadelphian nation? Or has America shot itself in the foot?
As always. we seek to take the pre-millennial perspective (in other words, we take a literal Biblical view). Then what might be underfoot? It indeed has much to do with a foot, we think … the foot with 10 toes seen by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:41-42). Is America now being downsized, making way for the 10-king multipolar world to arrive? Bible prophecy confirms such an outcome. As such, at some point, in some way, America must become a relatively smaller power. This may be a process that may yet require a long time. However, conditions are such that this shift on the world stage could happen rather suddenly.
Just how bad will things yet get? To this point, I have been rather silent on this issue. After many years of warning that America and other Western nations were on an unsustainable path leading to certain disaster, I do not now want to be a fearmonger. It has happened. Yet blindness is as entrenched as ever. People do not know the purposes of the Lord. While the current crisis is now obvious to everyone, few still have any idea as to the next developments … the traps, both economic and political, and likely the rapidly-nearing multipolar reign of 10 kings.
But, even were an economic downturn to become as severe as in the Great Depression of the 1930s (possible, but likely not that bad) violent upward surges can be expected to occur in financial markets. Two major recoveries were experienced in the 1930s, triggering stock markets surges that doubled and tripled market levels. Similar surges are likely today.
However, it will not be easy navigating this environment. These are treacherous, diabolical times. The world seems to be urgently wanting to meet its destiny … hurrying along the path. I expect enormous shifts over the next several years that the vast majority of savers and investors will not anticipate. Just consider the recent deceptions of the Mammon realm. No sooner was everybody convinced that the US dollar was going to collapse forever (after the euro had already risen 93% in US dollar terms from its low), the US dollar soared 29% over a few short months.
It is virtually impossible to forecast anything accurately. All the doomsters who had predicted that gold bullion prices would explode when the long-awaited financial crisis finally arrived, also have been wrong. Most of them are licking their wounds … some of these Christian prophetic ministries. There are assuredly explainable reasons for these twists and turns, aspects of which are the subject of our studies. Though we might understand many of these developments, it is yet quite another matter to predict their timing. As we often mention, we are not prophets but simply “seeking to understand the times” as this slogan is Eternal Value Review’s motto (EVR).
Given the manic and desperate situation that is unfolding for America, you can be sure that everyone who is running into Treasury bonds will eventually be caught in a trap. Once the panic phase is over, it is likely that the US dollar will again fall markedly. And, then gold will likely again surge as will inflation. It is all very confusing and desperate. But such is the times … the approaching brief time of the emerging 10- king order before the Antichrist appears. It is only “one hour” that they will have the dubious honor of holding global power in the service of the Antichrist (Revelation 17:12).
Just how deeply could America fall? As we have already suggested, there are sufficient reasons to worry, especially with respect to a deeply embedded condition of idolatry. However, even secular economic analysts see ominous long-term problems. The next few years are critical. Will America earn a reprieve? The jury is out.