What Chances a Global Financial Apocalypse Now? – Part
Global financial markets have succumbed to the grips of an turbulent worldwide
credit crisis, impacting virtually every nation in the world.
Global economic growth appears to have stopped in its tracks.
As such, there is real fear that a further global financial meltdown
might yet ensue. A complete
meltdown implies a complete and terrorizing breakdown of markets and societies.
Could this happen? It certainly will during the Tribulation period.
In the first part of this 2-part series, we concluded that a global
financial apocalypse was not underway now.
The severity of the downturn no doubt may cause us to believe this may be
the case, but a worse collapse yet lies in the future.
But what of America’s role?
As it happened, this latest global credit crisis found its “ground zero”
in the United States.
As such, fears of a major collapse are even greater in
North America. If so,
just what will happen to America’s
economic position in the world?
Role in Global Collapse
There are least two other conclusions we can settle upon that are of potential
interest to North Americans. For
and other countries facing similar difficulties — such as Britain, Spain,
to name the major ones in this group — could very well face a long phase of
decline and financial hardship … even to the point of being eclipsed
economically by other nations in the world.
Even secular analysts can see the prospect of that occurring eventually,
if current trends do not change. In
fact, some well-known analysts now take this position.
Therefore, though we can be sure that the final collapse is not yet upon
the world, this offers no assurance for America and
other affected countries over the near-term.
But what would happen to the world if the financial systems of the
afore-mentioned bloc of nations were actually to collapse, as some observers
fear? Isn’t America so large and economical influential that such a development
would spell certain doom for the entire world … in other words, be sure to
trigger the prophesied, global economic breakdown? Actually, whether the United States may possess a manifest
destiny or not, financial troubles on this continent do not necessarily mean
that the entire world must be fated for immediate collapse.
There are some persuasive arguments supporting this view.
Even as little as a decade ago or so, it may not have been defensible to think
that if America’s economy collapsed, the
entire world system would not also face a melt-down.
I certainly identified with that view at the time.
Since then, it can be argued that the world power structure has changed
significantly, not the least evidence of which has been the economic rise of
Asia (China specifically), the
rebounds of Russia and Brazil, and the increasingly financially powerful
oil-exporting states. Actually,
China has been the key force of changing economic power in
the recent past, not the US.
Just as America was the new competitive power in world export markets in
the later 1800s, eventually proving to be the key catalyst behind the financial
collapses in Europe in the 1870s, so is China to the Western world today.
That is not to say that
will not face a severe economic downturn in the near future.
Significance of a Slumping
to the World
Then just how significant are the recent economic troubles of
in relation to the whole world? Of
course, the answer will depend upon whose perspective we adopt.
Americans may today exaggerate this linkage due to the real-life impact
and immediacy of current financial troubles.
To illustrate this point, allow us to use an example that we have used in the
past. Consider the country of
Indonesia, which has the 4th largest population
in the world (227 million) as compared to the
population of 302 million. Indonesia,
according to 2008 estimates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has a
gross domestic product (GDP) of $488 billion in equivalent U.S. dollar terms.
The U.S. economy, measured at $24,195
billion, by comparison, is gigantic … namely 29 times larger.
Back during the Asian crisis of 1997-1998, an Indonesia
citizen would have been tempted to draw the same apocalyptic inference for the
rest of the world as might an American in present troubled times today.
Their country seemed to be in a literal melt-down at that time. Many of
its citizens suffered … even starved.
Yet, even while Indonesia’s economy contracted by
more than 20% between 1997 and 1998 (the stock market collapsing over 70% in
15 months), to conclude that the sky was falling upon the whole world, would
have been incorrect. The same perspective now applies in reverse, though the
comparative metrics of the illustration are exaggerated.
Just how would God compare these two crises?
Was Indonesia’s crisis
lesser because this country only represented 0.8% of the world economy (versus
23.5% for the US
share) — much less as a proportion of total world wealth — and was considered a
geopolitical pipsqueak? Or, does
God look upon the number of individuals?
As already observed, the populations of these two countries are roughly
in the same league.
The Bible clearly tells us that the Lord cares for each and every soul
individually, and that everyone is important — whether rich or poor.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a
penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your
Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be
afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
If that is so, surely God places more importance on people and their
numbers rather than the contrived power measurements of mankind.
Therefore, from this vantage point, troubles unfolding in the
United States would be a small crisis in
comparative global terms, as God would see it. After all, the United States
accounts for only 4% of the world’s population.
When the Bible says that the world will be generally unaware of the coming days
of the Son of Man, “eating
and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matthew 24:38), this does not
necessarily mean that every tribe, nation and state will be experiencing the
same levels of complacency.
But back to the realities of world money and financial systems.
Isn’t the current
credit crisis so large that it is sure to trigger the final world financial
It is likely too pessimistic to conclude that the current U.S.-induced credit
crisis will sink the entire financial world. These may be famous last words, as
surely the entire world is suffering through financial market dislocations. Here
some history might be helpful. Some
of the biggest banking busts in the past have cost on the order of 10% to 20% of
economic output (GDP, according to the studies of the International Monetary
Fund). No doubt, such crises
were terrible and financially fatal for individuals and companies, and the same
will hold true now. However, we can reasonably hazard the guess that the current
crisis is ultimately survivable for the world’s financial systems … at least,
There are many financial and monetary devices that can be employed to
resuscitate or manipulate the world economy
(of these which regrettably we cannot
spend much time to explain). There appears to be a global organizational
will to do so. Yet, whatever new
prosperity that may re-appear in response over time, will prove to be on very
vulnerable footing. One day, to be sure, in the not-too-distant future,
mankind’s financial and trading systems will collapse.
When will that be?
Six More Premillennial Collapses Prophesied
Scripture clearly states that a time of wrath will come where God says that he
will bring down the pride of mankind. Most understand that this will unfold in
the Tribulation period for the entirety of mankind.
However, as part of this unfolding, there are possibly as many as six
different judgments involving collapses or wealth overturns, all of them yet to
occur in the future.
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.)
“The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that
is exalted (and they will be humbled), for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and
lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, for all the towering mountains and all the
high hills, for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, for every trading
ship and every stately vessel. The arrogance of man will be brought low and the
pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols
will totally disappear (Isaiah 2:12-18).”
Here we see that economies will be brought low
(symbolized by trees … cedars and oaks),
trading systems (ships) as well as
individual nation states lesser or greater
(mountains and hills).
a detailed explanation of the symbolic meaning of tall trees and low-lying
shrubs, see “World
Trend Watch – Part X: The Rise and
Fall of Endtime Tyre” , January 2004. on
In any case, the “day of the Lord,” whether the short or long day
(i.e. 7-year period or the last half of
the Tribulation, respectively), allows for a number of collapses to take
place. Here, in no particular
order, are the separate judgment categories that all lie ahead as part of our
premillennial view, with brief explanations.
1. Wrath Upon Israel/Jerusalem.
is overcome while the remnant escapes into the wilderness.
While Israel may be a rather tranquil area
of the world (relatively) in the first half of the Tribulation following a
covenant with the Antichrist, anyone hoping to remain unscathed and safe from
loss in the second half will be disappointed.
2. Wrath Upon All Mankind.
This category includes judgments on individual nations as well as
globalism itself. Ultimately, this
is completed at Armageddon and in a short period of time thereafter.
In this category we would include such judgments as upon
Edom. Not only does God “consume the whole
earth” (Zephaniah 3:8), but Israel also
plays a role in exacting judgment upon the nations and peoples that have
persecuted her (Micah 4:13, Jeremiah 30:11).
3. Wrath Upon the Great Whore.
Revelation 17 reveals that Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Prostitutes,
will be burned by fire. Whatever
wealth this religious entity represented, as part of the grand ecumenical
movement of religion and money, she will come to naught.
[the 10 kings] will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her
flesh and burn her with fire (Revelation 17:16).
4 & 5. Wrath and Judgment Upon Mammon/Commercialism.
It is not generally well understood that the judgments upon commercialism and
the man-made pride that derives from these “Babel-like” systems take more than
one form. Actually, they appear to occur on three separate levels.
There is a remarkably large amount of prophecy on these related
judgments, which we cannot even begin to examine here. However, given the
Bible’s heavy prophetic emphasis on this general topic — only second in volume
to the prophetic material referring to future Israel and her
peoples — we are clearly alerted to the importance of God’s plan in this area.
Consider that there are three stages in the collapse of
Babylon the Great, at least one of these aligning
with prophesied judgment of a modern-day re-emergence of ancient Tyre — a global
trade-based system — that Ezekiel and Daniel foresaw.
They are clearly different aspects of the judgment upon
Mammon/Commercialism. For example, in the case of Babylon the Great, its wealth is
“[…] never to be found again” (Revelation 18:21); while that of revived
Tyre is only never to be hoarded again, but is to “go
to those who live before the LORD” (Isaiah 23:18). These are different results,
and therefore must refer to more than one judgment. Also, events befalling
the Great must be separated into at least three
judgments. We note that “death,
mourning and famine” will overtake her in one day (Revelation 18:8), while the
sudden collapses and destruction of wealth are said to occur in “one hour” —
three separate times involving three different groups of people (Revenue 18:10,
17, 19). The fact that some judgments occur in one hour, and that the entire
fall of Babylon the Great occurs
over “one day,” suggest that the downfall cannot be reconciled in one event, but
rather multiple events.
At the end of all these wealth overturns, there is one more great and final
wealth overturn that occurs at the start of the Millennium period and
thereafter. We therefore do not count this as one of the six premillennial
wealth overturns. It is the great wealth transfer to Israel.
Much of the world’s riches that are not destroyed in the Tribulation
period flow to Zion.
Even here there are at least two types of flows; that which apparently is
seized as part of the “threshing” of the nations that rise against Israel is
treated differently. These are
“ill-gotten gains” of the nations (Micah 4:13, translated as “illicit” profits)
that go before the Lord. Other
flows are more in tribute or as a result of Israel’s dealings with the rest of
the world. For example,
“Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations
will come” (Isaiah 60:5). (See also Isaiah 60:11;
66:12, Zechariah 14:14.)
It is beyond the scope of this article to document all the Scripture references
and details of each of these judgments.
However, there may be yet one more pre-millennial wealth overturn to
consider. This one could be
Thoughts to Ponder
A seventh wealth overturn that could be proposed, is actually the first in the
sequence, and is the one most relevant to pre-tribulational, pre-rapture
Christians. The rest are not …
though perhaps interesting to study. I call it the Dispensational Disciplining.
While this viewpoint will be considered debatable, it holds no harm to
consider. I would take the prophecy
found in James 5:1-8 as a support for this view.
It seems to be directed to “rich” Christendom — corporately or
individually — that also has become haughty and proud because of its wealth. It
aligns with several last-day conditions mentioned in the epistles, and also fits
with the picture of the Laodicean church given in Revelation 3. It is in need of
nothing (Revelation 3:17). That time is clearly here now.
Christians living in the high-income nations of the world will therefore
find it very challenging to stay “separate and apart” from this general
condition of idolatry.
Every other entity in the Bible that has pridefully held itself out as “in need
of nothing” and self-sufficient was judged.
We are given many examples in the Bible of the consequences of pride, arrogance
and man’s reliance upon his tools and systems. Not only did God specifically
punish such an attitude, it seems that the consequences of mankind’s hubris and
over-optimism are even part of the natural laws of economics.
In this sense, the financial troubles that are being experience by the U.S. and other nations are part of
this general paradigm.
this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Right from the time of Adam,
hardships were pronounced for man.
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you
will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow…” (Genesis 3:17-18).
It is in that sense — the natural consequences of past actions, in other
words — that current credit crises and economic troubles have come.
In time, we can be sure that the entire world, the nations and all individuals
will be judged. The greater part of
these peoples will yet face the wrath of the “Day of the Lord.”
And, in this regard, as Apostle Peter understood, “Their condemnation
has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”
(2 Peter 2:3).
In the same way it is with the Babylonian systems described in Revelation 17-18.
“God has remembered her crimes” (Revelation 18:5). As such, all the
excesses, unrepented injustices and inappropriate affections of the past will
eventually catch up with both individuals and nations. These consequences will
have been hanging over them for some time … they have not been sleeping, for God
indeed remembers unrepented crimes.
In conclusion, 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) — where global systems
begin to totally break down and the final six of the wealth overturns that we
have contemplated will begin to occur.
Up 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 could play a role in cementing the
Antichrist as a global problem solver at that future time.
In the meantime, our focus in these matters is best directed to the possibility
of the seventh wealth overturn — the Dispensational Disciplining.
In that respect, God in His goodness may very well choose to discipline
His people, individually or corporately, weaning them off of the dependencies of
earthly wealth and reign before Jesus Christ returns.
We should be grateful if this would happen.
We are therefore encouraged to “Keep your lives free from the love of money and
be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
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About the Author:
Wilfred J. Hahn
is a global economist/strategist.
Formerly a top-ranked global analyst and chairman of the country’s largest
global investment operation his writings focus on the endtime roles of