The scale of crisis must be world threatening before a global consensus will be sufficient to enact changes. Consider some of the ideas that were proposed to address world financial instabilities following the Asian crisis of 1997-1998. It proved to be a major crisis that had destabilizing knock-on effects on all financial markets around the world. At the time, a number of Asian countries succumbed to some steep financial and economic declines. Russia’s markets also collapsed. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were called upon to extend enormous bailout and emergency financing programs at that time. All in all, the crisis was chilling enough that many new initiatives were suggested to “fix the global financial architecture.” A United Nations (UN) report[i] on this subject listed the following proposals:
The creation of a world financial authority. This institution would set policies for all financial institutions in the world;
An establishment of an international credit insurance corporation;
Exchange rate system reform, the most radical initiative proposed here being the adoption adopt of a single world currency, issued by a world monetary authority.
Other initiatives were also mentioned. Virtually all pointed in the same direction—towards an increasingly centralized, global financial system. What then happened? Actually, nothing. None of these remedies was further pursued by either regulators or global organizations. Why? The previous crisis subsided too quickly. Before the global architecture of financial systems could be amended and ostensibly improved, a new world financial bubble was underway. Soaring financial markets soon rendered these solutions no longer urgent or necessary. In any case, it is not easy to develop global consensus on such changes when some large countries or a superpower wishes to scuttle such efforts out of self interest.
Clearly the severity of the threat of breakdown to the financial system and world trade structures must be great enough. Why? It produces the urgency for action and the imperative for global cooperation. But, even more, a serious crisis provides license for more urgent and inventive responses on the part of governments and authorities. It creates the moral imperative to break previous conventions, regulations and laws. These must be brushed aside (sometimes illegally or without proper constitutional process) in the name of the higher objective—the perceived common good of preventing total economic collapse and to seek the benefits of a greater ship—the global economy and its financial system.
This was evident during the American financial meltdowns of 2007 to 2009. The U.S. Treasury and the central bank needed to respond quickly and imaginatively. Facing the harrowing time pressures of financial firefighting, decisions needed to be made quickly. There was little time for debate. In fact, if anything, time delays due to the congressional or Senate reviews of major new rescue initiatives only seemed to trigger further financial market declines. As such, many groundbreaking and unprecedented actions took place, legitimized by nothing more than perceived urgency. The U.S. taxpayer and future generations were involuntarily conscripted to take on enormous risks and crippling government debt levels.
Behind the cover of crisis, arbitrary decisions were made as to which financial institutions to save and which to let collapse. Not surprisingly, decision-makers chose to prop up the financial institutions that were the most “systemically” significant. In other words, the financial institutions that were the largest and the most globally intertwined attracted the greatest priorities of policymakers. Firms that were key cornerstones to global financial structures such as the hyper-growth derivatives markets could not be allowed to collapse. For example, to have allowed Royal Bank of Scotland or Citigroup to fail would surely have brought the world to the brink of an even greater economic disaster. Both of these companies had considerable global operations. Smaller financial companies, on the other hand, were allowed to founder on the rocks, to be snapped up by larger companies or be closed.
Without a doubt, the global landscape of major financial institutions has changed radically in the Western world over recent decades, and much of this change has been driven by the rotating imperatives of greed and the staving off of crisis. By either means, a nefarious bias can be seen working behind these actions. The world’s web of financial institutions continues to consolidate, giving more power to an ever smaller group of institutions and their executives. The structure of a global financial system is shifting to one of ever greater centralization and global interconnectedness. Financial institutions therefore are becoming consolidated into a smaller group of globally significant entities.
A similar trend has already occurred in other industries, particularly producers of commodities such as hydrocarbon fuels (think of the five sisters: Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Saudi Aramco, and National Iranian Oil) or the global news business where fewer than three agencies are the source of more than 80 percent of news feeds. Financial conglomerates are becoming ever larger and financial systems ever more invasive. Today, the fifty largest financial corporations in the world represent well over one-third of total world banking assets. Interestingly, as a group they are the most internationalized of the world’s transnational corporations (TNCs), thirty-four of these fifty largest companies being headquartered in Europe.[ii]
Increasing Global Snare of Global Financial Institutions
Our brief review of the forces at work, both before and throughout the previous global financial crises, reveal a longer-running trend. Though financial consolidation is certainly occurring more rapidly than ever before in recent times, the major financial institutions of the world had already been marching to a similar drummer for a long, long time. The traces of these trends of convergence were already observable hundreds of years ago. Recent financial troubles are merely the latest chapter in a saga towards increasing globalization and worldwide commercial interconnectedness. What is different is that these processes are gaining greater speed in recent times.
Globalization and globalism are old ideas though these words were only invented in the last century. Actually, these developments and their connections to money and commercialism are clearly prophesied in Bible. To no surprise, many secular thinkers have long theorized that the road to peace and salvation for mankind is through the stomach and the pocketbook. Give everyone a warm bowl of soup and earthly economic security, and mankind will then prove to be agreeable, accepting peace, convergence, and contentment with prosperity.
Some Christian writers saw globalization developing hundreds of years ago, clearly connecting it with Bible prophecy. For example, consider the writings of Benjamin Wills Newton in 1841:
When the ruin of one involves the danger of all, men in such circumstances become wonderfully careful of each other’s interests. This is the kind of dependence into which nations are being brought, one on the other. Inhabitants of the commercial nations are interested in the maintenance of order and tranquility in their own countries (for commerce diffuses wealth, and gives to millions an interest in the prosperity of the common weal, which they never had before). But when the wealth of one nation becomes closely tied to the undertakings of another, or when one nation lives by selling to another, they become dependent on each other, and soon becoming aware of their mutual dependency, they understand that common interests involve common prosperity or common ruin.[iii]
Other secular philosophers waxed prophetically in their own right, anticipating that a day would arrive in the distant future where financial and economic systems would prove the common basis to unite all mankind. Philosopher Jean Baptiste Say thought that “…the theory of markets will necessarily scatter the seeds of concord and peace.”[iv] Richard Cobden, who was behind the famous Corn Laws of the 1800s in Britain, was reported to have said: “The progress of freedom depends more upon the maintenance of peace, the spread of commerce, and the diffusion of education, than upon the labors of cabinets and foreign offices.” These observers clearly saw that global commerce would be the common platform and interest that would draw all nations together. Of course, for global commerce to work, it must have a global financial system comprised of financial institutions.
Many other voices proclaimed commerce and trade as the sinecure to mankind’s ails much earlier. Perhaps most eloquent was Alfred Tennyson’s call for a global “parliament of man” in his famous poem published in 1846, Locksley Hall.
For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be:
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales …
Till the war-drum throb’d no longer, and the battle flags were furl’d
In the parliament of man, the Federation of the World.
There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.
Though the details of recent financial debacles are fresh and new, we can recognize the impulses of old history lurking in the background. Crises born of mankind’s actions must be seen as part of an ancient progression—mankind’s ostensible assent to self-determination and humanism. The emotional firestorms of crises act as catalysts for change and the construction of mankind’s one common argosy—the global vessel of globalized commerce, mankind’s general path to global collectivism. In this connection, worldwide financial systems and economic globalization play an essential role. While the innate human impulses of fear and greed play facilitating roles, it is crisis that breaks inertia and hastens new solutions.
What Role Financial Institutions
But just what do the financial institutions have to do with mankind’s destiny? Of what significance are these financial trends to Christians, if at all? We have already concluded how ideally suited financial systems are to controlling all peoples of the world. We can further assert that it would not be possible for the conspirator against the glory of the Creator and Savior—the Antichrist spirit, Satan—to apply his earthly deceptions and human captivity to his plans without such commercial structures. It simply could not be accomplished by a being that cannot be omnipresent—everywhere simultaneously, as only God. There is no better and effective means on earth to control and coordinate the actions of all human beings than through a common financial and global trade systems. Can you think of one?
Indeed, the invasion of modern-day money has been rapid. The state long ago took over control of money and credit, determining their value and operation by virtual fiat. Money has become a controlled (or more aptly, a manipulated) medium, not only nationally but also globally within a very short space of human history. Through means of central and fractional-reserve banking,[v] the money has become the world’s most controlling and invasive medium. We are surely only offering a very abbreviated perspective on the devices and structures of world money systems. Other resources written by the author provide a detailed explanation of the underlying processes and mechanisms. Suffice it to conclude that in the man-created order, there can be nothing else as powerful, as ubiquitous, as omnipresent, as manipulative, and as controlling as the system of modern monetarism. It is not without reason that the Bible contrasts God and money, as it is only the systematic idolatry of money (mammon) that can approach the omnipresence and power of God on earth. However, the former, of course, doesn’t lead to heaven. As Jesus Christ clearly warned: “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and money[mammon]” (Matthew 6:24). Sadly, the big lie being perpetrated in much of organized Christianity today is that one can serve both. It is not possible and therefore explains why the major religion in the world today is mammonism.
Cosmic Significance: Elements Behind an End-Time Economic Snare
Why is it that after many millennia of human existence, world financial developments have exponentially boomed so suddenly? We could seek to document all of the contributing streams to the financial flood of recent history—perhaps examine the impact of fractional reserve banking begun in Holland in the fifteenth century, the critical and necessary technological inventions at various times, the philosophical and religious groundswells that gave foment to capitalism, or Anglobalization.[vi] Doing so, we would find many contributing tributaries. More financial wealth was created (whether representing real wealth or not) in the twentieth century than in the previous nineteen centuries combined. Yet, the questions remain mostly unanswered: Why after thousands of years of glacial change should such a materialistic phenomenon erupt upon the world stage in such a short space of time of only several centuries? Why didn’t it happen earlier … or later? Could it be part of the plan of the cosmos?
Scripture provides some answers. For those living in the West—in the United States, Canada, in Europe, or Australia, for example—who have been born into this post-modern era, they are likely so thoroughly inculcated into the corrupt and idolatrous values and philosophies of our times that they will not recognize the dangerous foundations upon which our societies rest, nor identify the spiritual and cosmic significance of the trends discussed here.
Bible readers who understand things of the end (eschatology) know that an economic and financial control structure takes form on earth (pictured in great detail in Revelation 13 and 18); a boom in (false) wealth takes place (James 5:3); and an elite group of wealthy complicitors emerges (Daniel 11:39)—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 period itself.
Consider that the global trend of financialization is the bedrock—the very seedbed—of the end-time power structure that underpins the last-day ecumenicism and rulership of the final false prophet and Antichrist, respectively. Remember that it is the false prophet who brings in the commercial initiative so that no one could buy or sell without the mark (Revelation 13:17). It is the trends of globalization, globalism, financialization, corporatization, etc.—all of which are interrelated—that provide the sinew and connectedness of a last-day world that has staked its hopes and faith upon the common commercialism of mankind. It is a structure that can only be strung together with financial institutions.
The main constructs of the cosmos that begin to answer our question were already foreshadowed in the opening chapters of the Bible. The account of Adam and Eve in Eden found in Genesis forewarns how mankind could be deceived by three main temptations. It foreshadows how at the end of days, humanity could be duped into receiving a ruler that comes in the name of the world—a false Christ—settling for a cheapened heaven on earth and willingly opening themselves to economic ensnarement.
At that time, the majority of people on earth—the modus operandi of the world —would do exactly what the apostle John counseled against: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world [mammon]” (1 John 2:15-16). Mentioned here are the three main temptations of the world: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and boasting of what we have and do. Mankind’s fall into sin in the Garden of Eden involved all three. The forbidden fruit was good for food (the lust of the flesh); Adam and Eve wanted dominion over the tree (the lust of the eyes)—the very thing they were not to covet; and they fell for “knowledge” the key to self-determination (boasting).
Preying on Three Human Weaknesses
Prophetically, the three temptations reviewed can be seen at work in the world globally today as never before. Satan himself is working these human weaknesses to maximum advantage. Tactically, he targeted the same three innate vulnerabilities when testing Christ in the wilderness. In Matthew 4 and Luke 4 we find the accounts of how Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness, where He fasted for forty days. At the end of the fast, Satan, sensing an opportune moment, approached Christ with three proposals. As Christ was both man and God, sharing in all of the sufferings and temptations known to mankind, Satan targeted these three greatest vulnerabilities of Jesus’ humanity.
In a sense, Christ’s trial was prophetic. While He resisted all three proposals, He would know that Satan would target these same three vulnerabilities in order to mislead an endtime, apostate world. Through these worldly affections—harbored in the hearts of every human—mankind would be ensnared into a diabolical endtime plan as complicitors, unwitting pawns, captives or the suppressed. The world continues its headlong run into financialization, a process that assigns a monetary value or transaction to an ever greater share of human activities.
Headlong into a Spreading Money Snare
Now that the contagion of financial crisis has again deeply rocked the entire world, the calls for greater global coordination are becoming shrill. That governments must step in and that intervention is required stimulates hardly any debate. Says an economist on a prominent policy site, “It is now commonly agreed that the global financial system and its architecture require major improvements in the designing of regulation, in the assessment of systemic risk and in the global coordination of action before and during crisis.”[vii]
Not only are changes to be organized around the globe, some high-profile voices argue that there is less risk making large shifts than too little. Says Lawrence Summers (head of the White House National Economic Council), “In this crisis, doing too little poses a greater threat than doing too much.”[viii]
With that prior mindset, many politicians are prescribing groundbreaking actions. For example, Miguel Angel Ordonez, Bank of Spain’s governor, said, “We’ve got to get together on both sides of the Atlantic. It is absolutely essential to co-ordinate everything, including monetary policy.”[ix]
According to a global financial analyst, “A global conference along the lines of Bretton Woods under a respected chairman must be convened. It would bring together all the major players including the vital creditor nations—China, Japan … etc.—to develop a framework for the major economic reforms to work towards a resolution of the crisis.”[x]
To that end, new world meeting forums have been planned. The heads of state for Britain and France organized support for their global plans at a special European Union summit. G20 (Group of 20) meetings first scheduled to take place in Washington will be followed by a second one scheduled in Paris. Some geopolitical analysts are encouraged by the spirit of multipolarism that is apparently galvanizing a new participative spirit for these meetings.
All in all, what appeared as global disorder at times of near-fatal financial collapse actually is a catalyst in the rapid metamorphosis to further global integration of financial systems and its institutions. Roger Altman, former U.S. deputy Treasury secretary, said, “Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller.”[xi]
There assuredly is a broad consensus now that a group of nations needs to come together to find economic and financial solutions for the world. How many nations? Some argue that twenty is too many and others that the G7 (Group of 7) is not enough. Could a group of ten emerge? Without a doubt, a group of ten kings (leaders or heads of state) will come together. In Daniel 2:41-42, we see that an end-time “power coalition” of ten kings that is portrayed as ten toes. In that chapter we read the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s famous vision, in which he saw a tall statue made of various materials, from a head of gold down to ten toes of iron and clay. This vision outlined the future kingdoms and power structures of the Gentiles, right to the time of the return of Jesus Christ, when He establishes his millennial reign upon earth. These ten kings are shown at least four other times in the Bible: Daniel 7, Revelation 12, 13, and 17. This group is referenced as ten horns, ten toes or ten kings, exactly ten times.
At present, radical reforms have been recommended by the G20, touching upon virtually all global agencies from the Bank of International Settlements to the International Monetary Fund and many others. But will any of these reforms actually be carried out this time? We think yes, since the degree of crisis this time around has been so severe and debilitating. A second reason is that the world is moving to a multipolar state, meaning an arrangement in which groups of countries—rather than one or two superpowers—determine global policy. Says Roger Altman, quoted earlier, “The economic collapse of 2008, the worst in 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the West. It has stripped Washington and European governments of the resources and credibility they need to maintain their roles in global affairs.”[xii]
Indeed, there has been much change already in this direction, certainly with respect to the distribution of global power. For one, the collective influence of the United States and other major high-income countries has diminished. For the first time in history, such countries as China and Brazil have been invited to G20 meetings.
One More Last-Day Boom?
If the Lord tarries, it is likely the world will yet see at least one more economic recovery— or at least a manipulated image of recovery. Conceivably, many more cycles may be yet ahead. Frankly, we cannot know the future with precise certainty. However, there must at least be one more global economic recovery to bring about the prophesied end-time conditions that the Bible outlines. But could a recovery really rise out the economic ashes of Zeitgeist 2025? Viewed with the recent specter of financial wreckage fresh in our minds, this seems so implausible, even bordering on the ridiculous. But, in fact, a global economic boom could yet occur. Monetary authorities and government policymakers do indeed have the means to create a temporary recovery, though not a lasting, stable prosperity. We do not need to anticipate anything more than another monetarily induced, bubble-type prosperity.
Bible prophecy indicates that a time is ahead when the world will feel much more complacent than we see today. If past trends are any guide, we should expect the next economic boom to be world scale, enveloping all nations and ever more firmly entrenching mankind in the last-day money snare—the systemic Babylonian colossus of Bible prophecy. It could be argued that more than 60 percent of the world’s population is yet only marginally participating in the world’s emerging commercial structure. While there have been great strides to date in this respect, much more globalization could lie ahead.
At the time that the final end-time troubles come upon the world, they will occur suddenly, like a trap. Says the Bible, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and care of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For like a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35). In this verse, we see that people will be more preoccupied with indulgence and the cares of this world than with great global crises. Moreover, Jesus told the disciples that the world will be generally unaware of what’s going on in the last days. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away” (Matthew 24:37-39). For all of these conditions to occur, a recovery, repair, or reform of world financial systems and economies must first unfold.
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An End-Time Economic Snare: A Prophetic View
To this writer’s understanding, Scripture reveals much more information about the monetary and economic condition of the world in the end times than has already been mentioned. To be sure, Scripture doesn’t use the financial jargon we are familiar with today. Yet, the foreshadowings of such end-time conditions are clear.
There are numerous biblical indications that the people of the last days will be smitten with enormous, unsatiated greed—rampant materialism, in other words. The most direct prophecy comes from the apostle Paul. In 2 Timothy 3:2, he clearly states that in the last days, people will be lovers of money. This single statement reveals much about that future society. It indicates a time when money and commerce are the primacy of everything. That certainly already is the case in many societies today.
Other passages in the Bible indicate that materialism will be the ultimate focus of mankind. A prominent financial characteristic of the last days is clearly revealed in the book of James. “Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days,” he charges in his prophecy to rich people in James 5:3. “Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter,” he goes on to say in verse 5. It’s a development that is already well underway today. As already documented briefly, financial wealth has virtually exploded this past century.
It is instructive to note that the last of the seven churches addressed by the apostle John in the book of Revelation is one that has become fat, wealthy, and content … one that has fallen asleep. The attitude of this Laodicean church is complacent and smug. This church says, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17). If this church is intended to be an allegory of the church in the end time—the last church—it certainly parallels the explosion of wealth foretold of the last days.
Particularly the account of Babylon the Great found in Revelation 17 indicates just how pervasive will be an end-time fixation with trade, wealth, and luxury around the world. The attitude of this Babylon is very similar to the church. While the Laodiceans’ church had become wealthy and had “need of nothing,” Babylon the Great, mother of prostitutes, also regards herself complacently. She boasts, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow” (Revelation 18:7).
Evident from the Revelation 18 account is that Babylon the Great is an end-time commercial regime that will be global in nature. Its reign over the entire earth parallels the global reach of the fourth future kingdom that the prophet Daniel foresaw in his four separate visions. The three previous kingdoms or kings Daniel saw were indeed the leading powers of the known world in their day, yet they were not global as we know today. Only the last one is stated to have a worldwide reach, spanning the earth. “All nations” (Revelation 14:8, 18:3, 23) and “kings of the earth” (verses 3, 9) “merchants of the earth” (verse 3, 11) “great men of the earth” (verse 23) and “all […] on earth” are part of it.
Represented in this case is the hub of a coordinated international trading system that serves as part of a reigning world kingdom that will “devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces” (Daniel 7:23). Here we see the all-controlling aspect of this commercial regime operating under the sweet guise of prosperity. In order for a system such as described to overcome and devour the whole earth, global interconnection and worldwide mechanisms of coordination and influence are required. It cannot be done without a global financial system—a network of powerful, coordinated, interconnected financial institutions. As we have briefly outlined, this is happening in many ways, along numerous conduits, rapidly converging towards the point where one man will take power at its apex, who “shall destroy many” in their prosperity (Daniel 8.25).
Significance to Christians
The world’s systems are certainly and indelibly proceeding to an endpoint. In that sense, many of the trends we are witnessing today (globalism and globalization, for example) should be viewed as prophetic preparation in that they play a role in the continuing process towards the ultimate and literal events yet to come.
Overall, world financial systems will not “melt down” before their time. They may suffer tremors, hair-raising crises, temporary panics, and so on, but not incapacitating meltdown. Why? It stands to reason that they must remain operational for at least the early stages of the Tribulation period.
The thought that at least one financial and economic recovery might yet be ahead for the world could possibly elate some readers. However, it would be important to test one’s perspective on this prospect. There may be many Christians today who take delight in the belief that they will not suffer in any troubles of the Tribulation period … particularly financial losses. Why? Because their hearts and affections are entirely ensnared in materialism and the comforts of life right now. Doing so, they show themselves to be “earth dwellers.”[xiii] We would do well to remind ourselves of the three points we outline next.
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 specific time of future events in this present dispensation has not been given to man. We can know the general 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 economic cycle 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.
Scripture clearly states that a time of wrath will come when God says that He will bring down the pride of mankind. Literal Bible readers understand that this will unfold in the Tribulation period for the entirety of mankind. Isaiah sheds light on some of the different manifestations of the “day of the Lord” (referring to the Tribulation period or possibly just the second half): “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one who is proud and lofty, and upon every one who is lifted up, and he shall be brought low; And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish” (Isaiah 2:12-18).
We can be sure that it will not be until the second half of the Tribulation—“the terrible day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31)—when global systems begin to totally break down. Until that time, systemic or geopolitical troubles of a lesser type—though surely disastrous and frightening for those involved as they are today—will continue to unfold. In fact, it is these types of crises that continue to drive the world into higher states of globalism and globalization, and likely will yet play a role in cementing the Antichrist as a global problem solver at that future time.
This brings us to the third and final point. Deception and corruption remain the primary mode of the world’s developing systems. The successive economic booms of the world … the temptations of the rising end-time apparition of great wealth or the “deceitfulness of riches” (Matthew 13:22) … the greater material comforts or the “cares of this life” (Luke 21:34) … the ever ensnaring end-time 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?
Challenges to Christians
With respect to the world’s headlong rush into the last-day super-religion—the ecumenical attempt to merge the masters 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 prophecy on that point.
On this road, there are serious, scary financial tremors (also wars, pestilences, earthquakes, etc.) through which many people (greedy, naïve, or otherwise) will suffer or profit greatly. However, it is not the financial crises or collapses of financial institutions that represent the greatest threats to Christians, at least in terms of things that can contribute to the killing of the soul. It is the idolatries and affections that could cause people’s faith to be abandoned that is the greater danger.
Not only does an end-time, global regime as partly reflected by Babylon the Great entrap a great many people, it is also inherently inhospitable to believers. “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her,” says Revelation 18:20. “In her was found the blood of prophets, and of the saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (verse 24, emphasis added). The idolatries, humanism, and love of money underlying the advance of this global commercial/financial system are potentially deadly to Christians.
How well is this world system treating Christians? Are you comfortable living in it? Revelation 18:4 implores us to not have any complicity with it: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that receive not of her plagues.”
Yet, despite it all, there is hope: Though conditions may seem difficult, and falsehood and traps press in from every side, Jeremiah, with all his scare-mongering, provides a comforting promise: “Blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
How should we respond to these crises while we remain upon earth? Living our lives in the “Age of Global Capital,” we can strive to stay mindful of David’s exhortation: “If riches increase, set not your heart upon them” (Psalm 62:10).
We are encouraged to “let your manner of life be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrew 13:5-6).
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[i] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, “Towards Reform of the International Financial Architecture: Which Way Forward?” Trade and Development Report, (New York, 2001).
[ii] World Investment Report 2008: Transnational Corporations, and the Infrastructure Challenge, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
[iii] Benjamin Wills Newton, Thoughts on the Apocalypse, 1843. Cited in The Coming Day, Vol. 2, B.W. Newton  1853. (London: Houlston & Sons).
[iv] Jean-Baptiste Say,  1971, “A Treatise on Political Economy: or the Production, Distribution and Consumption of Wealth,” translated by C.R. Prinsep and Clement C. Biddle. (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1841).
[v] The terms “central banking” and “fractional-reserve banking” refer to a debt-based system and regulatory regime that controls money and credit. A powerful aspect of this system is that it can create monetary assets out of nothing and can influence the allocation of these new monies.
[vi] “Anglobalization”: A term coined by Niall Ferguson, in his book, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (London: Allen Lane, 2002), which outlines the economic and financial impact that the spread of the British Empire had upon the entire world.
[vii] Carlo Resta, “How to Generate a New Wave of Prosperity,” RGE Monitor, Europe Ecomonitor (December 18, 2008) http://www.rgemonitor.com.
[viii] Lawrence Summers, “Obama’s Downpayment: A Stimulus Must Aim for Long-term Results,” Washington Post (December 28, 2008).
[ix] http://telegraph.co.uk (October 9, 2008).
[x] Satyajit Das, “Only Global Action Will End This,” Business Spectator (October 7, 2008).
[xi] Roger C. Altman, “The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West,” Foreign Affairs (January/February 2009).
[xiii] Thomas Ice, “The Earth Dwellers of Revelation,” Pre-Trib Perspectives, February 2008, http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Ice-TheEarthDwellersofRevelation.pdf.
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