Prophecy: Economic Disaster

IS THE FINANCIAL CRISIS PROPHESIED?

Whenever a financial crisis strikes it seems like the end of the world for those who are most affected, as they lose their jobs, their savings, their homes and their sense of security. Although it is impossible to know in advance if the current financial crisis has anything to do with prophecy, the Bible does predict an end time crisis that will include global economic disaster.
The apostle James wrote, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you… your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire.  You have heaped up treasures in the last days.  Indeed, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord” (James 5:1-5).  This verse predicts that “in the last days” the rich will “heap up treasures” by exploiting the poor, but that the Lord will take note and their treasures will be “a witness against” them.
This theme is expanded in Revelation 18, the fall of Babylon, which pictures the whole world getting rich off the global trade that Babylon generates. This chapter even lists in detail the luxury items that Babylon had been purchasing, and how “the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury” (Revelation 18:3). However, she will be judged and her wealth destroyed: “In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow… she will be utterly burned with fire” (vs. 7,8).
Her ruin will bring global trade to an end: “And the merchants of the earth… who became rich by her…  will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore… Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate” (vs. 11, 15, 19).
Revelation 11 implies that during the time when the Two Witnesses will be giving the last message to the world there will be a severe drought, which usually results in a more general financial crisis.  “These (the Two Witnesses) have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy” (Revelation 11:6). The prophet Joel also predicts this drought. “The Day of the Lord is at hand… the seed shrivels under the clods, storehouses are in shambles; barns are broken down for the grain has withered… The beasts of the field also cry out to (the Lord), for the water brooks are dried up” (Joel 1:15-20).
The financial crisis will be only one aspect of a more general crisis which is called “the Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21), “The Time of Trouble such as never was” (Daniel 12:1), “The Day of the Lord” (Joel 1:15) and “the Hour of Trial which shall come upon the whole world” (Revelation 3:10).
Although the Great Tribulation will make all previous crisis pale in comparison, God will preserve those who love Him during that time— “He who walks righteously… will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks. Bread will be given him, His water will be sure” (Isaiah 33:15,16).  “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17,18).
 
This piece was drawn from: http://www.revelationofjesus.net/the-book/introduction.php  a book by David Lackey. I think you should take a closer look.

Economic Hard Times: A Biblical Prediction?

by Clifford Goldstein

From the March 2009 Signs
At first, few paid attention to a couple of Wall Street investment banking firms taking a nosedive. Most people shrugged it off, maybe even felt a little glee. So a few rich guys will have to pull their kids out of those $10,000 a month preschools in Manhattan! Boo hoo.
But then we heard more. Big names that had been part of the American financial landscape for as long as most of us could remember: Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Citigroup, Wachovia, and others were all either hemorrhaging, on life support, or worse. Yet most Americans still weren’t all that concerned, because most worked on Main Street, not Wall Street.
But then the stock market plummeted, taking the kind of dives that NASA rockets used to do in the early days before scientists figured out how to put them into orbit. When college funds shrank, when retirement funds tanked, when banks themselves collapsed—the banks in which Main Street had its money—it became a whole new ball game. Talk of recession, of depression, of 1929 all over again, suddenly became front-page news. And then the whole world’s economy started going down!
It was called an epic crisis, one of “historic magnitude.” Some even referred to it as an event of biblical proportions.
Biblical?
Does the Bible really have something to say about the times we are living in and what we could be facing with this sudden economic turmoil?
The answer, many believe, is Yes— and here’s why.

The principle of prophecy

For starters, we’re not saying that if you scour the prophecies of Ezekiel or Daniel you’ll find predictions about the fall of Lehman Brothers and the like. That’s not what the Bible is about. Instead, the Bible, particularly prophecy, paints the future with wide brushstrokes. Though there can be some startlingly precise predictions in certain texts, many of the prophecies simply help us see how a book written thousands of years ago can depict the broad outline of the future, even the times that we are living in, and this helps build our confidence in it as the Word of God.
Jesus Himself expressed the principle best when He said, “ ‘I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He’ ” (John 13:19). In other words, when it happens you’ll know that I warned you about it. Thus, prophecy helps prepare us beforehand for what’s coming next.

Economic hard times predicted

There’s no question that, almost two thousand years ago, the book of Revelation predicted economic turmoil and collapse just before the return of Jesus. Revelation 18 describes a time of great moral and political apostasy and worldwide rebellion against God. In the book of Revelation itself, Babylon is a symbol for the religious and political powers that rule today. Babylon, you will recall, is the ancient empire that destroyed God’s holy city, Jerusalem, and took many of His people into captivity some 2,500 years ago.
Here’s how Revelation describes this great religious and political power: “ ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! / She has become a home for demons / and a haunt for every evil spirit, / a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. / For all the nations have drunk / the maddening wine of her adulteries. / The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, / and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries’ ” (Revelation 18:2, 3).
These verses point to several things. First, Babylon is a corrupt political, religious, and moral system. In the Bible, the idea of nations or systems committing “adultery” is a symbol for turning away from the true faith and following after false beliefs. Secondly, the statement that Babylon commits adultery with “the kings of the earth” shows how truly worldwide Babylon’s reach is. This fits very well with today’s global economy. At the click of a mouse, money, information, and ideas spread around the world at the speed of light. The Internet and massive global communications have made all this so much more possible today than at the time of John the revelator, who wrote almost two thousand years ago. Third, these verses show how, in the midst of this corrupt system, many “merchants,” symbolic of business and commerce, will grow “rich from her excessive luxuries.” One has to think only of the multimillion dollar salaries and bonuses some of these executives have been making—even from companies that, under their direction, lost billions of dollars—to have an idea of the kind of greed that the prophecy is talking about.

Babylon’s collapse

So what is the fate of this system called Babylon? Revelation is very clear:
“ ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power!
In one hour your doom has come!’
“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more— cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men.
“They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment” (Revelation 18:10–15).
The details aren’t important; but the story they tell is: Babylon will face economic ruin. The whole system will come crashing down, and the riches and wealth that people and institutions had hoarded will vanish instantly. And it will all happen “in one hour”! If nothing else, this suggests how quickly financial ruin can happen. Indeed, as we have seen during some of Wall Street’s recent bad days, trillions of dollars can disappear into thin air overnight!

No man can buy or sell

And this isn’t all that Revelation has to say about the world’s economy in the last days. After warning about the false teachings of the world’s political and religious systems and their rebellion against God, it speaks of economic persecution against those who refuse to go along with the prevailing religious and political powers: “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16, 17).
Over the past couple of millenniums, there’s been a great deal of speculation about exactly what this means. One thing seems clear: There will be great economic pressure on everyone to conform to the politically correct religious system, and those who refuse will be persecuted. We don’t know just how and when all this will occur, but the Bible has warned us about it. Therefore, it’s in our best interest to study the Word of God for ourselves and learn what the issues are so that we can be prepared for what we’re told is coming upon the world.

Our only true security

As I write these words, it’s too early to tell where the current economic situation will lead. One lesson, though, is certain: the things of this world are fleeting, uncertain, and fragile. We’ve just seen fortunes vanish overnight. How true are the words of John: “For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16, 17).
Yes, the things of this world, be they money, position, power, even our health, all are fleeting, transitory, and pass away. The good news, however, is that the same Bible that warns of the fall of Babylon also tells of another city, the New Jerusalem. John said, “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ ” (Revelation 21:2–4).
Thanks to Jesus and His death for us, every human being has a chance to live in this New Jerusalem, where the toils, trials, and tragedies of Babylon will forever be a thing of the past.
We don’t know where the present crisis will take us. But, according to the Bible, we know that Jesus is anxious to take us to His New Jerusalem, where all our economic woes will forever be gone. That’s one truth you can take to the bank—and be sure that it’s forever secure.

This piece was found here: http://www.signstimes.com/?p=article&a=40015601521.645  and they offer selected articles free on their website. I recommend them. They’re connection to the Seventh Day Adventist Church and they are one of the few churches that seeks to follow the Bible closely.
“Hell To Pay” – The Final Condition For A Market Crash Is Falling Into Place
 
by Tyler Durden  Sep 24, 2016 4:00
Submitted by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com,
Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to run out of new things to say about the economy. Nothing interesting has happened in a long time.
Our liquidity-drunk “markets” remain over-priced due to the chronic intervention of the global central banking cartel, which has demonstrated over and over again that it won’t tolerate even the slightest drop in asset prices. 
Those familiar with my writing know I put the word “markets” in quotes because we no longer have a financial system where legitimate price discovery is a regular — or even recognizable — feature.
It’s destined to fail. What more can be said about such a flawed system?
Well, a lot as it turns out.
And failure to pay attention at this stage of economic and ecological history will prove to be exceptionally painful.
 
The Beginning of the End
It’s been a long 7 years for those of us who believe fundamentals matter.  For quite some time they have not.
So we reality-based fundamentalists have largely been reduced to pointing at the parade of policy failures and ham-fisted market manipulations and saying, essentially, That’s just dumb.
But ‘dumb’ mistakes have become ‘stupid’, and ‘stupid’ became ‘idiotic’, and now ‘idiotic’ mistakes are piling up, accumulating into a mountain of stored potential energy that will someday topple destructively across the global markets.  We’ve all known, deep down, that money printing is not the same as capital formation, and that prosperity never truly results from redistributing wealth from one group to another. And yet, far too many have been willing to play along and place their trust in the central banks.
Well, we’ve finally reached the beginning of the end.
The global experiment with our current flawed economic and monetary models are drawing to a close. The fetish worship of central banks, bankers, and banking is over.
Belief in central bank omnipotence is being chipped away at daily, as it’s becoming increasingly clear that the easing policies of the past seven years have only served to kick a can down the road — a can that can longer be kicked any further.
Once the illusion of central bank control is fully lost, the financial markets will implode in a deflationary wave that has been held at bay for far too long. Asset prices will collapse, companies will fail, and millions of jobs will be lost. People will re-discover that partying too hard for too long earns a massive hangover.
In short: There will be hell to pay.
I’m still not able to predict whether we’re a week away from this or five years. Such is the uncertain fate of living within a nested set of complex systems run by fallible humans. Complexity complicates prediction.
Though while we cannot predict exactly what will happen, to what degree it will manifest, or precisely when, we can track the ‘fingers of instability’ in the system and note that these are growing longer, and steeper.  For instance, total worldwide debt is more than $60 trillion larger than it was before the 2008 financial crisis. So we can make conclusions like “larger” and “sooner” about the probability of the coming correction.
The final remaining bulwark that needs to give way before we a full-blown correction occurs is central bank credibility.  The public perception of an “all-knowing, all-powerful” entity needs to be replaced by a more realistic view of what central banks actually have done, and realistically ever can do, which is a whole heck of a lot less than most currently ascribe to them.
Drop Dead, Fed
It helps to start by looking at the actual track record of the central banks over the past 20 years.
By the numbers, central banks have been little more than serial bubble blowers, which is not actually a very impressive trick at all.  Dump a bunch of cheap, thin-air money into the markets and that’s pretty much what you get every time: a bubble.  Or bubbles, plural (which is what we’re living with now across stocks, bonds, real estate and nearly every other financial asset class)
What the central banks claimed they were after – rapid GDP growth, a set rate of inflation and rising incomes – has not materialized in the way they hoped. After more than tripling their collective balance sheets since 2008 (an increase of nearly $12 trillion) to stimulate the world economy, global GDP growth is still stumbling along at an uninspiring 2.5% — and showing signs of slowing.
As I said: not an impressive track record. But lots of people still treat the Federal Reserve, and ECB, BoJ, BoE, etc., as if they’re doing something terribly sophisticated, important, and worthy of our admiration.
But what have they really done besides flooding the world with cheap and abundant money?
Well, for starters, they’ve created the largest wealth and income gaps on record, over-inflating financial assets and creating conditions ripe for aggressive financial engineering by corporations, both of which reward the top 1% preferentially.
In this first chart we can see the effect of three serial bubbles blown by the Fed on household income broken out by income level.
(Source) http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/01/01/what-we-know-about-inequality-in-14-charts/
The top 1% has gotten all the gains in each of these bubbles.  The only defense the Fed has is to claim that “Well, things would have been even worse for the lower 99% if we had done anything different”. But this rings as hollowly as any prove-a-negative defense.
We cannot know how things would have been different for the bottom 99% if the Fed had done things differently. But we can know, with 100% certainty, that if the Fed had not dumped money into the financial system and had not targeted rising asset prices that the incomes of the top 1% would not have skyrocketed like this.
It’s really simple: when you financialize an economy, those with the most direct access to the money in that system — which is by definition a tiny elite — are going to benefit the most.
This next chart shows the impact of the Fed’s efforts on household wealth. The bubbles are immediately obvious and I’ve labeled them as ‘unfair’ in varying proportions because nearly all of this ‘wealth’ is financial wealth held in wildly disproportionate amounts with super-heavy concentration in the very upper-most wealthy households:
(Source) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-21/195-billion-asset-manager-time-has-come-leave-dance-floor
And it’s not the 1% we’re talking about here, but the 0.1%. The more financialized the system, the more highly concentrated the wealth becomes.
(Source – NYT) http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/the-wealth-gap-is-growing-too/?_r=0
This is not some mysterious process. Nor is it new to our era. I wrote about it in the Crash Course back in 2008 saying:
Given this tremendous [wealth] disparity, I’m reminded that Plutarch once cautioned that an imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
More immediately, this helps us understand why the great credit crisis of 2008 worse than expected.  Just as was true of the wealth gap in the late 1920s before the onset of the great depression, the severity of a crisis does not depend on average wealth, but the distribution of the wealth.
If a large swath of the population lacks the means to weather the storm, then the storm will be longer, and harsher than otherwise would be the case.
So what does it mean that 80% of our population possesses a meager 11% of the total wealth?  For one thing it means that the recent efforts by the Fed to provide massive amounts of liquidity support to the biggest and wealthiest banks at the inflationary expense of the lower classes were not only misguided, but they were cruel and unusual.
This leads to an easy prediction to make: The wealth gap in the US will hamper our recovery and deepen the downturn.
(Source – Crash Course Chapter 14 Assets and Liabilities)
What is mysterious, are the repeated efforts by the central banks to act dumb and pretend as if their reflation efforts have not created the massive, glaring wealth disparities seen so clearly on every chart of income and wealth available to us.
Janet Yellen has played dumb in the past and the most recent poor job of acting dumb has been brought to us by the German Bundesbank:
WSJ: Germany’s Bundesbank Backs ECB on Concerns Over Inequality
Sept 19, 2016
 
FRANKFURT—The European Central Bank’s massive bond-purchase program and other easy-money policies probably haven’t worsened inequality in the eurozone, Germany’s Bundesbank said on Monday, hitting back at concerns that central banks are taking on an increasingly political role by redistributing wealth.
 
In a report, the Bundesbank argued that while recent ECB policies have helped bolster stock and property prices, they have also supported economic growth and employment, thereby helping poorer people.
 
“It seems very doubtful that [the ECB’s] special policy measures of recent years have increased inequality in an overall context,” the Bundesbank wrote.
(Source)
I’ve never wanted to punch a sentence before, but I do now.  I can’t believe how tone-deaf and utterly disconnected from a very obvious and inarguable reality that last statement by the Bundesbank is. I think I was pushed over the edge by the pedantic and meaningless phrase “in an overall context.”  I’ll get over it.
But again, we’re supposed to believe that the massive wealth gains of the upper classes are somehow an equal exchange for poor people not losing their jobs?  The contest is not even close.
I wonder if the Bundesbank’s “researchers’ have access to the Internet, like we do:
Wall Street’s 2013 Bonuses Were More Than All Workers Earned Making the Federal Minimum
Mar 12, 2013
 
New figures show that the bonus bonanza of 2013 didn’t disappoint. According to the New York State Comptroller’s office, Wall Street firms handed out $26.7 billion in bonuses to their 165,200 employees last year, up 15 percent over the previous year. That’s their third-largest haul on record.
 
The $26.7 billion Wall Streeters pocketed in bonuses would cover the cost of more than doubling the paychecks for all of the 1,085,000 Americans who work full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
(source)
You read that right: just Wall Street’s bonuses alone in 2013 were 2x greater than the entire take home pay (pre-tax of course) of every single person in the US working for minimum wage.
So it’s really rather grotesque and unacceptable for the Bundesbank and Yellen et al to attempt to claim that central bank policies have been equally beneficial to all segments of society when taken in an overall context.  No, they most certainly have not.  They have been massively and disproportionately unfair and the recent populist uprisings across the globe are proving as much.
Central banks, of course, have access to the same wealth charts as everybody else.  There’s no room for debate on the matter.  Financial asset price inflation has preferentially benefitted the very tippy-top of the wealth pyramid and has done so at the expense of the bottom tiers.
Why it has taken this long for the anger to begin appearing  on the political and social landscape is beyond me. But it is finally here, and the central banks are feeling the heat.
As the above article continues:
Monday’s report marks the Bundesbank’s latest effort to defend the ECB and its independence amid concerns voiced by politicians that years of ultralow interest rates are hurting savers and pensioners.
The damage wrought by ZIRP/NIRP extends beyond savers and pensioners to all segments of society in the bottom 99%. This large cohort is increasingly angry, disconnected, and unwilling to simply play along any more.
The fact that the central banks are now “defending” their policy framework from any criticism that their policies have been unfair tells us that we are now at Act Two of this drama.  Act One involved ignoring the problem and pretending it didn’t exist. Act Two is to defend the status quo.  We’ll know we’re at Act Three when they start acknowledging that the problems are real, and that change is needed.
The current system will do all in its power to delay the arrive of Act Three because it will come with a proper and thorough shredding of central bank credibility, along with a painful downward correction in sky-high asset prices.
The problem with Act Two stage 2, for the central banks, is that their ridiculously out-of-touch defensive statements accelerate the erosion of their credibility, hence hastening the arrival of Act Three
Which is why we have a “Fed cred” problem. Our central banking high priests and priestesses have been doing their rain dance for an uncomfortably long time, and awkwardly, there’s still no rain. Regular people and the cheerleaders in the mainstream media are beginning to take notice. Look for this unease to grow; it won’t be long before you attend a cocktail party and someone pulls you aside to complain about the Federal Reserve’s policies.
The Gates Of Hell
All this matters because once faith in central banks is lost, their power to delay the deflationary day of reckoning goes with it. The stupendous amount of debt they have helped heap onto the financial system since 2008 will start going into default and the only question that will matter is: Who is going to eat the losses?
The daisy chain of bubbles in stocks, real estate and the mother of them all — the bond market — will pop, adding additional losses to the growing bloodbath.
All this will weigh on the already-sluggish growth in the economy, sending us into deep capital-R Recession, or worse.
In Part 2: Prepare For The Global Deflationary Deluge we track where the carnage is most likely to occur and which risks are most important to protect yourself against. A deflationary downdraft is an extremely scary time in the world, nothing appears safe. It’s very important to have come up with a plan to safeguard your capital and taken prudent action beforehand. 
Otherwise there will be hell to pay.

Executive Summary

  • Why the debt market is the powder keg that will blow things sky-high
  • The most dangerous asset bubbles to watch and avoid
  • The implications of a collapse in the bond market
  • Where will money then go?

If you have not yet read Part 1: Hell To Pay available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Economic Deformations

The big problem with central bank policies, besides driving the largest wealth and income gaps in all of recorded history, is that they’ve massively deformed the financial and economic landscape.
Too-cheap money has distorted just about everything, and has badly warped corporate incentives. There’s literally no place one can look and not find an economic or financial distortion.  “Gains” (such as they are) have gone to holders of financial assets, and corporations have opted to buy back their own shares and to not re-invest in property, plant, equipment or people.
All of this will work right up until the day it doesn’t. And then we’ll experience a financial and economic crisis likely to be the largest we ever live through.
And these distortions are not only everywhere, but they are all at record levels.  As in never higher in human history.
Just looking at the corporate data alone ought to scare the pants of off every investor on the planet.

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