The Economic Crisis and Bible Prophecy · August 28, 2009
By Rose Rogers
Since the middle of September, 2008, an economic crisis has developed into emergency proportions beginning in the United States and rippling throughout the whole world. I have been following this through the media and the U.S. Congress and wondered where it fits into end-time events as prophesied in Scripture. The following are my conclusions of a brief review of the evidence available at the present.
What does Bible Prophecy have to say about Economics?
Most of the events described in prophecy have already been fulfilled. History testifies to the fact that we are living in the end of the end of time. There are not many prophecies of Scripture yet to be fulfilled before the world as we know it comes to its complete demise. The few that remain will not take long to complete once the snowball begins rolling in earnest.
Of the few prophecies yet to be fulfilled, there are two that refer to the subject of economics:
“And he [the beast with lamblike horns that spake as a dragon] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17 KJV)
Here we see that the beast with lamblike horns that spake as a dragon has the power to cause every person on earth to receive a mark in their forehead or hand. Those who refuse are not allowed to “buy or sell.” You can imagine the hardship that would pose for any person who could not buy food, clothes, heating fuel, or sell or trade for such with any commodity they could raise or manufacture. So this beast acquires immense power over the people of earth through control of the entire economic system.
“And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her [Babylon]; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (Revelation 18:11-23 KJV)
Here we see that when the end-time power called “Babylon” is destroyed, all economic activity on earth ceases. The “merchants of the earth shall weep … for no man buyeth their merchandise any more.” Every form of merchandise is included from minerals and building materials to food, clothing, livestock, and even the souls of men themselves, along with every means of transporting the same. The voices of all musicians and craftsmen are silenced as well along with the activity of marrying and giving in marriage. Therefore, by the time this power meets its complete demise, it will have gained control over every economic commodity on earth and all forms of transportation.
Who are these two powers that gain control of the world’s economy?
Many popular preachers are teaching that the beasts in Bible prophecy are to be defined by whatever current nations have chosen to be their symbols. For example, the bear is Russia, the eagle is the United States, and the dragon is China. With this assumption, since the eagle is not featured prominently in Revelation, therefore the United States has little or nothing to do with end-time events.
One small problem with this is that it places a “private interpretation” (1 Peter 1:20) upon Scripture which sets aside the principle of “precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:13). If we ignore the Bible’s own definitions of its symbols we will eventually be “broken, and snared, and taken” (Isaiah 28:13).
According to Daniel 7:17, 23, a “beast” in Bible prophecy represents a “king” or “kingdom”—a political entity, a nation. The various nations represented by the beasts in Daniel and Revelation can be pinpointed only by comparing the detailed descriptions with nations in history, past and present. And since the Bible claims for itself that “every word” is pure (Proverbs 30:5), not one word of the descriptions can be set aside, ignored, or imperfectly applied when settling on a correct conclusion. There must be 100 percent agreement between the description and the character of the nation to which it is applied.
The lamblike beast of Revelation 13 is thus described:
A nation that rises to power about the time the first beast mentioned in the chapter goes into captivity (verses 10, 11)
A nation seen “coming up,” Greek anabaino, grow or spring up slowly as opposed to other nations that rose amidst strife and commotion (verse 11, compare Daniel 7:2).
Arises in a sparsely populated area, “out of the earth” as opposed to “out of the sea” (verses 11, 1, compare Revelation 17:15).
“Like a lamb” (verse 11)—a young sheep, innocent (1 Peter 1:19), quiet and meek (Isaiah 53:7).
“Two horns” (verse 11)—two separate powers governing the nation (compare Daniel 8:20; Habakkuk 3:4).
Over time its character changes so that it speaks “as a dragon” and exercises all the power of the previous beast (verses 11, 12).
It’s character changes about the time the first beast’s “deadly wound was healed” (verse 12)
Acquires power over the entire “earth and them which dwell therein” (verse 12)
Forces all people “to worship the first beast” verse 12).
The dragon whom this nation begins to speak like is defined in Revelation 12:9 first as Satan. Then it is secondarily applied to the nation which did his bidding in attempting to devour Christ as soon as he was born (verse 4) and the nation which made war for “a time, and times, and half a time” (verse 14) with the people “which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17).
A detailed presentation of this and other pertinent beasts of Daniel and Revelation is given in the recently published book, Two Beasts, Three Deadly Wounds, and Fifteen Popes available from Hartland Publications. There these characteristics are demonstrated to apply to none other nation than the United States of America.
For the “Babylon” of Revelation 18, many people today look back to ancient Babylon formerly located in Iraq. However, the Bible testifies of the complete destruction of this city in Jeremiah 50 and 51 which was fulfilled to the letter. Then it prophesies: “Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.” (Jeremiah 50:39 KJV). Thus literal Babylon shall never rise to power again.
In the New Testament “Babylon” is symbolic of a power with many of the same characteristics. All of the early Protestant Reformers agreed that this applied to the political/religious entity of Papal Rome based in Vatican City. This is demonstrated in detail in the same book mentioned above as well as The Everlasting Gospel by the same authors.
How do these two prophecies fit in the sequence of end-time events?
Let’s just take a moment to review the sequence of events to happen in the last days. The first list below chronicles things that have been simultaneously building in intensity since their beginning in the 19th century.
1) Judgment of the righteous dead begins with the sounding of the seventh trumpet in 1844—1 Peter 4:17; Revelation 11:15–19; Daniel 8:14.
2) The lamblike beast [United States of America] rises to become the unequaled superpower of the world, with a military force capable of causing all people to worship the first beast or suffer economic boycott and finally death—Revelation 13:11–12.
3) The beast with seven heads and ten horns [Papal Rome] has its deadly wound [inflicted by Napoleon in 1798] healed and draws all people of all religions and no religions to wonder after himself through ecumenical ties. He rises to great power over all kindreds, tongues, and nations that none dare war against him—Revelation 13:1–4, 7; 17:1–13, 15, 18.
4) Acceptance of doctrines of devils both within and without the various religions increases—1 Timothy 4:1; Malachi 2:17; Isaiah 5:20; 8:19–20; Ezekiel 22:26, 28; 2 Peter 2:1; Matthew 15:9; 2 Timothy 4:3–4.
a. Ye shall not surely die—Genesis 3:4.
b. Ye shall be as gods—Genesis 3:5.
5) The influence of spirits of devils increases worldwide—2 Thessalonians 2:9–10; Revelation 16:13–14; Leviticus 19:31; 1 Timothy 6:20.
6) Lawlessness, violence, crime, and injustice increase—Matthew 24:22; Isaiah 59:14; 2 Timothy 3:1–7, 13; Psalm 12:1–4; Proverbs 28:4; Zechariah 7:11–12; Genesis 6:5, 7, 11.
7) Eating and drinking to excess, and repeated marriage and divorce increase—Matthew 24:37–39, 48–49; Luke 21:34.
8) Unstable weather patterns, drought, fire and flood increase destroying crops and spreading famines—Isaiah 24:4–5; 51:6; Joel 1:4, 10–12, 17–20; Hebrews 1:10–12; Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:25.
9) Pestilences and diseases in both man and beast increase—Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11; Romans 8:22.
10) Earthquakes increase in “diverse places”—Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11.
11) Satan works through vicious storms more frequently destroying buildings, crops, and people—Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:12.
12) Wars and rumors of wars, distress of nations increase—Matthew 24:6–7; Luke 21:9–10, 25; Revelation 11:18; Isaiah 17:12; Joel 3:9–10.
13) Oppression of the poor increases as wealth is accumulated by a few—James 5:4–5; Isaiah 2:7; Psalm 12:5; Proverbs 22:16; 28:8; Ecclesiastes 5:8–14; Ezekiel 22:29.
14) Leaders saying there is “peace and safety” and scoffing at the nearness of the end of the world increase—2 Thessalonians 5:1–3; 2 Peter 3:3–4; Jeremiah 6:14.
15) False christs and false prophets increase with many false revivals—Matthew 24:4–5, 23–26; Luke 21:8; Matthew 7:21–23; 1 John 4:1–3.
16) Missionary work increases, with the spread of the Everlasting Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people—Matthew 24:14; Revelation 14:1–12.
This second list delineates the future events as much in chronological order as can be rendered from Scripture.
1) The lamblike beast begins to speak as a dragon and deceives people into making an image to the first beast—Revelation 13:11, 14.
2) The Holy Spirit is poured out like the latter rain on God’s faithful remnant that refuse to worship the beast—Acts 2:17, 21; 3:19–20; Joel 2:23, 28–29; Hosea 6:3; Zechariah 10:1.
3) The fourth angel’s message lightens the entire world by the witness of God’s people—Revelation 18:1–4.
4) The increase of natural disasters is blamed on God’s people that refuse to support the image to the beast. Persecution becomes very serious resulting in many arrests and martyrs—1 Kings 18:17–18; Revelation 12:17; Matthew 24:9–10; Luke 21:12–17; 2 Timothy 3:12.
5) The lamblike beast causes all people in the world to receive the mark of the beast, and worship the image of the beast or else suffer economic boycott—Revelation 13:16–17.
6) The lamblike beast exercises satanic deceptive power working great wonders, even to make fire come down from heaven—Revelation 13:13–14.
7) The four winds are held in check until every person on earth has had sufficient information and opportunity to decide whether to worship God or worship the beast. Finally all have received either the mark of the beast or the seal of God—Revelation 13:16–17; 14:9; 7:1–8; Ezekiel 9:1–4.
8) Michael [Jesus] stands up signifying the end of His intercessory work in the heavenly sanctuary—Daniel 12:1; Revelation 22:11; Matthew 24:39.
9) The four winds are let loose and the time of trouble begins—Daniel 12:1; Revelation 7:1–3; Job 38:22–23; Jeremiah 2:27–28; 11:11–14.
10) A universal death decree is passed against all who refused the mark of the beast—Revelation 13:15; Esther 3:5–15; Daniel 3; John 11:50;
11) God’s people must flee into the mountains and be fed by ravens—Matthew 24:15–20; Luke 21:20–21; Psalms 27:5; 37:39; 91; 121:5–7; Isaiah 33:2–3, 15–16; 41:17; 49:14–16; Zechariah 2:8; 1 Kings 17:4–6; Habakkuk 3:17–18.
12) God’s people experience the time of Jacob’s trouble—Genesis 32:24–30; Jeremiah 30:5–7; Isaiah 27:5; Hosea 12:4; Revelation 3:10; Psalm 34:15, 19; Luke 8:1–8; Ezekiel 14:20; John 14:30.
13) Satan appears in the form of Christ to seal the deception of the inhabitants of earth—Revelation 12:12; 1:13–15; 13:13; 16:14; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15; Matthew 24:23–26; Acts 8:10.
14) The wrath of God is poured out without mercy on the wicked—Isaiah 28:21; Ezekiel 33:11; Exodus 34:6–7; Nahum 1:3; Revelation 14:9–10; 16:1–11; Joel 1:10–12, 17–20; Amos 8:3, 11–12.
15) Just as the wicked are about to rush upon the righteous and complete their destruction, dense darkness (the 5th plague) prevents them—Revelation 16:10–11; Exodus 10:21–23; 14:10–20.
16) The wicked then realize their deception and turn instead on the leaders who have misled them (the 6th plague)—Revelation 16:12; 17: 16–17; 18:5–24; Jeremiah 23:1–2; 25:34–36.
17) A great earthquake shakes the earth and hail falls destroying spiritual Babylon and Rome, the seat of the beast completely—Revelation 16:17–21; 6:12–17; Isaiah 2:10–21; Psalm 46:1–3.
18) Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven; the wicked are slain; and the righteous are either resurrected or translated to return to heaven with Christ—Revelation 19:11–18; 14:14–20; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 13:6–9; 24:1–12; 26:21; Psalm 50:3–4; Matthew 26:3–4; Jeremiah 25:30–33; Ezekiel 9:5–10; Zechariah 14:12–13.
Did you pinpoint where in these lists the two economic prophecies fit? The first prophecy is point #5 in the second list, and the second prophecy is point #16 in the second list. Can you tell where we are today? The first list has been happening for a long time and currently building with such great intensity as to focus the attention of many in the world on the possibility of a soon-coming end to this world as we know it.
The Bible does not give us any dates as to when the events of the second list will happen. We are simply counseled to “watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” Matthew 24:42.
Where does today’s economic crisis fit in the sequence of end-time events?
Consider carefully point #2 in the first list. Over the past century the United States has gradually risen to the level of unequalled superpower of the world. Particularly through its most recent “war on terrorism” has it gained the reputation of bullying the nations of earth.
Through its free enterprise system and capitalism, the United States has also developed a powerful place in the world’s economy. But unfortunately as long as free enterprise rules, the government cannot enforce the “necessary” economic sanctions against those who refuse the mark of the beast as the Bible says will happen in point #5. Therefore the economic system of the United States and the world at large must come under complete government control. If you have been following the current reports in the news, you will see that is exactly what is coming out of the current economic crisis. The foundation is being laid so that the mark of the beast can be economically enforced.
Apparently, this mess was created either intentionally or unintentionally by bad laws that passed through the US Congress that tampered with the free enterprise system. And now some leaders insist this is a great emergency that requires the immediate passage of more laws meddling in the economy. Many voices spoke out against this:
“The current mess would never have occurred in the absence of ill-conceived federal policies,” according to Jeffrey Miron, senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University. “The fact that government bears such a huge responsibility for the current mess means any response should eliminate the conditions that created this situation in the first place, not attempt to fix bad government with more government.” Many other sources fully concur with this testimony. (See Ludwig von Mises Institute and Campaign for Liberty.)
In the congressional debate preceding the vote on the $700 billion bailout plan, Representative DeFazio of Oregon warned, “Don’t buy it. Step back. Take your time. Use all of the no-cost emergency powers first. If that doesn’t work, then we can talk about some other big appropriation of money, but don’t appropriate the money first and give it with unlimited powers to [Secretary of the Treasury Henry] Paulson.”
Representative Kucinich of Ohio protested, “We are being told this is the only way we can solve this financial crisis.… Under this bill the administration can buy any asset from any financial institution for any price.… There is another dimension to this debate, and that other dimension deals with the free-market economy. What in the world are we doing here, where we are basically interfering in the market with a $700 billion investment.… We are nationalizing one of the largest insurance companies, with AIG. We are helping to nationalize the stock market and a lot of banks.…
“It is long past time that we looked at the implications of our debt based monetary system, privatization of money created by the 1913 Federal Reserve Act the banks fractional reserve system and our debt-based economic system. Unless we have dramatic reform of monetary policy, the entire economic system will continue to accelerate wealth upwards.”
Representative Sherman of California exposed the pressure being put on Congress to pass the bill: “The only way they can pass this bill is by creating and by sustaining a panic atmosphere. Many of us were told in private conversations, if we voted against this bill, that, on Monday, the sky would fall and that the market would drop 2,000 or 3,000 points the first day and another 2,000 the second day. A few Members were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted ‘no.’ That’s what I call fear-mongering—unjustified, proven wrong.”
If we pass this bill, Sherman continued, “We are going to see a very large percentage of this money going to buy securities, bad paper, and toxic assets currently in safes in Shanghai, Beijing, London and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We will see all of the power in the hands of the Bush administration and in the hands of a part-time temporary administrator, namely the Secretary of the Treasury.”
“Congress has an obligation to face and fix the roots of this crisis, reducing government control.” Representative Wilson of South Carolina.
Rep. Kucinich spoke again, “Some people will ask of this Congress, what were we thinking? Why did we give a $700 billion bailout to Wall Street without fixing what caused the problem in the first place? Why did we rig free markets for security fraudsters? Why didn’t we explore alternatives to let Wall Street solve its own problems?”
Rep. Foxx of North Carolina revealed exactly what was happening: “I don’t think it is too much off a stretch to say this may be the day America died. I am not alone in feeling that what the Congress is about to do today is a very, very serious, consequential thing for this country.
“I want to quote from an article from Investor’s Business Daily today,
“‘After years of faking it, the Federal Government has finally hit bottom or, depending on how you look at it, ascended to its level off maximum destructive incompetence.’
“‘Through its power over education and communications, Washington already influences the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Once it takes over the financial industry, nothing will be left standing in the way of the Federal Government’s dominance. States and localities are mere administrative units and disbursing agents for Washington. Government has won its war against religion, sidelining churches.’
“‘American capitalism is not just an economic theory. It is a way of life where rewards are based on achievement, not identity or class, and is therefore inextricably bound up with individual freedom and American exceptionalism.’”
Representative Doggett of Texas cautioned, “When asked for $700 billion in taxpayers’ dollars, almost overnight, we have a duty to secure a responsible plan. What President Bush is demanding in response to this subprime lending debacle that we reward Wall Street with what is essentially the biggest subprime loan in American history. We cannot afford to give almost unlimited discretion to one man to determine what toxic securities to buy and at what price, and we should not bail out the entire world.
“I will not be stampeded into voting ‘yes’ when President Bush employs his standard my-bill-or-no-bill approach.”
Representative Pence of Indiana spoke out against it as well: “Our Nation is confronted by a serious financial crisis.… We will get through this. But we must do so in a manner consistent with the principles that make America great.…
“It must be said that Republican leaders and my colleagues in the House worked hard to improve this bill.… But even with these important improvements, this legislation remains the largest corporate bailout in American history, forever changes the relationship between the government and the financial sector and passes the cost along to the American people.
“I did not come to Washington to expand the size and scope of government. I did not come to Washington to ask working Americans to subsidize the bad decisions of corporate America. Therefore, I cannot support the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.…
The decision to give the Federal Government the ability to nationalize almost every bad mortgage in America interrupts a basic truth of our economy. When the government chooses winners and losers in the marketplace, every American loses.
“Some say this crisis is too acute to rely on antiquated notions about the role of government in the private sector, but I disagree. I believe the principles of limited government, free enterprise and representative government are as relevant today as they were in 1776.…
“Instead we should confront this crisis with resolute courage, with faith in God and faith in the principles of freedom and free enterprise. I respectfully urge my colleagues to oppose the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.”
In spite of the fact that the majority of comments made during the debate urged a “no” vote, the Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 became law on Friday, October 3, 2008, with all its woes. The stock market has done a lot of jumping around since then and currently is in a steady downward trend. So it doesn’t appear that the bailout is working as promised.
Will this economic crisis precipitate the end of the world?
There have been many dire predictions on the one hand that the economies of the entire world will fall apart, martial law will be declared, and the world as we know it will never be the same again. On the other hand, President Bush has appeared multiple times to assure us that the government is bringing everything under control and we should simply relax and not worry.
In some ways both are right. Because the government is bringing everything under control, life on planet earth will never be the same again. Yes, the economy will recover for a period of time so that a semblance of normal life will go on. But in the process, our freedoms will have been stolen, never to be returned.
The Bible refers to this situation in point #1 of the second list: “he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon,” Revelation 13:11. Remember Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) and the dragon is Satan (Revelation 12:9). A contrasting foundational principle of either the government of the lamb as opposed to the government of the dragon is the power of free choice vs. coercion and force.
The lamblike beast is speaking more and more like a dragon with each passage of laws that increase the dominance of the Federal Government over our personal lives. By the time the image to the beast is set up, the United States of America will have repudiated every principle of its Constitution. The culmination of this work is just around the corner.
What can I do?
“The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education, 57.
Be such a one. And consider the following promise:
So long as Jesus remains man’s intercessor in the sanctuary above, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is felt by rulers and people. It still controls to some extent the laws of the land. Were it not for these laws, the condition of the world would be much worse than it now is. While many of our rulers are active agents of Satan, God also has His agents among the leading men of the nation. The enemy moves upon his servants to propose measures that would greatly impede the work of God; but statesmen who fear the Lord are influenced by holy angels to oppose such propositions with unanswerable arguments. Thus a few men will hold in check a powerful current of evil. The opposition of the enemies of truth will be restrained that the third angel’s message may do its work. When the final warning shall be given, it will arrest the attention of these leading men through whom the Lord is now working, and some of them will accept it, and will stand with the people of God through the time of trouble.” The Great Controversy, 610–611.
If there are men or women like this listed on your ballot, by all means, vote for them! Encourage your lawmakers to make wise decisions that will hold back the tide of evil until the gospel can do its work in the world.
Today we have a narrow window of time in which we might spread the gospel without hindrance. This must take priority in our lives. We also have a brief window of time in which we can sell assets to pay off debts and pour funds into the Lord’s work. Trillions of dollars have been lost in the stock market already that would have fed many a hungry soul. But if we will seek the Lord as to our specific duty, He will make the way clear to us so that we need not experience embarrassment in our personal or business affairs.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19–21.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.