National Intelligence Council in a recent report: “We are at a critical
juncture in human history, which could lead to widely contrasting futures.
It is our contention that the future is not set in stone, but is malleable,
the result of an interplay among megatrends, game-changers and, above all,
excellent report seeks to identify mega trends that will impact America and
the world. As the above quote suggests, the NIC senses that an extraordinary
period of time is ahead … that the entire world is now at a “critical
Bible-believing Christians would agree. In fact, interestingly, some of
NIC’s forecasts find parallels in Bible prophecy. While the Bible and NIC
would share the view that the future is largely the result of “human
agency”—in other words, the choices of people and mankind overall—the Bible
goes one decisive step further, claiming a foreknowledge of these ultimate
God Jehovah, the author of the Bible,
specifically chose to differentiate Himself from all other gods by being the
one and only who can reveal both the beginning and the future. He said:
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things
that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my
pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).
that most philosophers and economists often make in their forecasts, is
simply to extrapolate present trends, assuming the underlying forces that
gave rise to them in the first place will continue to accelerate as before.
Most often, this is an unreasonable assumption. The created order simply
cannot support infinite trends. For example, infinite compound growth is not
possible, despite what humanists will want to believe. Yes, mankind can
inflate money almost without limit, but not real wealth. God Himself is
infinite, but not Creation. Therefore, all trends on earth must eventually
decay or collapse spectacularly.
extent that mankind’s decisions, expectations and beliefs are based on
illusory untruths and false gods, it will face the judgment of a spectacular
Just what are
the major trends that we see, reflecting the unwise choices of secular
mankind today? These will lead to judgment … i.e. the global collapse of
mankind’s kingdoms and global order. In this series, we propose to list 12
of such developments, these being burning fuses that likely will have
we first mention a few caveats. Our list will surely overlook some important
trends. Nor can we likely order them correctly in terms of their importance.
Why? Like every other generation that has sought to interpret Bible prophecy
or peer into the future, we are influenced by the light of our time. It is
impossible not to be biased by the current trends and conditions that we see
around us. We really have no idea of the exact course of these trends into
the future. These may accelerate, then reverse, only to accelerate again or
to be subsumed by another trend.
It is also challenging to sort factors into
major and minor categories. Some may have a significant impact, yet are the
fall-out or companion development to another. With these cautions being
expressed, we venture into our list of 12 fuses burning. Approximately half
fall into the realm of secular humanism; the other into Biblically
prophesied or implied developments of the end time. All assume a Biblical
worldview and are the direct consequence of shifting human beliefs and/or
1. Population Growth and Post-Familialism: Changing Perspectives on
Marriage. The U.S. birth rate plunged
to an all-time low in 2011. Quoting an article written by
Gary D. Halbert, “The overall birth rate is now at its lowest level since
reliable records have been kept, falling to 63.2 births per 1,000 women who
are of childbearing age in 2011. That is down from 122.7 births at the peak
in 1957 during the Baby Boom.”2
Some claim that this trend is due to economic difficulties in recent
years. People simply do not want to undertake the financial burden of
another child. But, actually, declining birth rates are a long-time global
phenomenon, not just North American. Looking at this trend closer, one
realizes it is the result of a global shift in values and beliefs. It is a
rapid one. David Brooks, in the New
York Times writes: “The speed of change is breathtaking.
A woman in Oman today has 5.6 fewer babies than a woman in Oman 30
years ago. Morocco, Syria and Saudi Arabia have seen fertility-rate declines
of nearly 60 percent and in Iran it’s more than 70%. These are among the
fastest declines in recorded history.”
Around the world, attitudes towards marriage
and childbirth are changing. For various reasons, also including the
populations of emerging nations where the fertility rate has been relatively
high, birth rates are dropping dramatically. Many countries, particularly in
the advanced nation bloc, are already experiencing population shrinkage
(notably Japan and several European nations). Of course, people are free to
make their own choices. We only point out that all changes in beliefs that
have an impact on human action will have consequences.
Quoting Halbert further: “In Europe,
Asia, and most advanced countries, people are running away from marriage,
children, and family life at an amazing rate. For example, 30% of German
women today say that they do not intend to have children. In Japan in 1960,
20% of women between 25 and 29 had never married; today the number is more
than 60%. It is estimated that up to 25% of all East Asian women will remain
single up to age 50, and up to a third will remain childless.”
What must be acknowledged here is that a change in behavior has occurred
that is related to human values and beliefs. Crucially, taking a Biblical
worldview, we must further add that it is a turning away from “Biblical
values and beliefs.” Many surveys today document the declining preference
for marriage and child-rearing.
For example, consider this summary of a survey conducted by the
Americans have been wedded to marriage for a very long time. Between 1910
and 1970, the ‘ever-married rate’—that is, the percentage of people who
marry at some point in their lives—went as high as 98.3% and never dipped
below 92.8%. But beginning in 1970, the ever-married number began a gradual
decline so that by 2000 it stood at only 88.6%.
the numbers are even more striking according to the 2010 Census. Almost 24%
of men, and 19% of women, between the ages of 35 and 44, have never been
married. If we look at the people between 20 and 34—the prime-childbearing
years—the numbers are even more startling: 67% of men and 57% of women in
this group have never been married. When you total it all up, over half of
the voting-age population in America, and 40% of the people who actually
showed up to vote this time around, are single.3
The author of the article from the
Weekly Standard, Jonathan V. Last (author of the recent book,
What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic
Disaster) provides a chilling summary:
It’s a complicated story
involving, among other factors, the rise of almost-universal higher
education, the delay of marriage, urbanization, the invention of no-fault
divorce, the legitimization of cohabitation, the increasing cost of raising
children, and the creation of a government entitlement system to do for the
elderly childless what grown children did for their parents through the
But all of these causes are
particular. Looming beneath them are two deep shifts. The first is the
waning of religion in American life. As Joel Kotkin notes in a recent report
titled ‘The Rise of Post-Familialism,’ one of the commonalities between all
of the major world religions is that they elevate family and kinship to a
central place in human existence. Secularism tends toward agnosticism about
the family. This distinction has real-world consequences. Take any cohort of
Americans—by race, income, education—and then sort them by religious belief.
The more devout they are, the higher their rates of marriage and the more
children they have.
The second shift is the
dismantling of the iron triangle of sex, marriage, and childbearing.
Beginning in roughly 1970, the mastery of contraception decoupled sex from
babymaking. And with that link broken, the connections between sex and
marriage—and finally between marriage and childrearing—were severed, too.
This burning endtime fuse is leading to a type of explosion, namely an
implosion (a slow and reversed version of explosion). Already, more than
half of the world’s population is residing in countries where birthrates are
below the replacement level. Little do people realize that this shift
carries an undesirable sting … an unavoidable consequence.
Without a doubt, the biggest contributor to prosperity is population
growth (everything else being equal). To the modern humanist, this will
sound like an old-fashioned notion. Yet, this is an inviolable fact of
economics. Why? Economics is human economics. It couldn’t be any other way.
The slower the population growth, the slower will be economic expansion.
The maximum wealth and prosperity that can exist in the world is defined by
total labor output.
Where is this trend headed? Jonathan V. Last
says the following:
In a word, higher. There are no indicators to suggest when and where it
will level off. Divorce rates have stabilized, but rates of cohabitation
have continued to rise, leading many demographers to suspect that living
together may be crowding out matrimony as a mode of family formation. And
increasing levels of education continue to push the average age at first
God allowed humans
free choice. People are free to make choices regarding marriage and
child-rearing, but they cannot escape the consequences. Already, these are
at the door. Penson systems are collapsing and are increasingly underfunded.
The ratio of workers per retirees is declining in most Advanced Nations. One
does not need to be a mathematician or economist to conclude that the
lifestyle of future retirees is bound to deteriorate dramatically. Financial
markets, therefore, will be in recurring crisis. It all connects, as there
is no escape from consequence.
Urbanization. An ever greater share
of the world population is moving from rural areas to urban ones … to the
city life. This is called urbanization, and it is a rapid trend. According
to forecasts of the United Nations Population Division (UNPD), 16.3% of the
world’s population (2.6 billion people) will be moving to urban areas over
the next 39 years.4
Assuming this forecast is correct, more than two-thirds of the
world’s population (or 6.3 billion people) will then be living in cities.
It therefore only follows that there will be more big cities … in other
words, greater agglomerations of people. While there were only 10 urban
agglomerations with an excess of 10 million people in the world in 1990
(Tokyo, New York, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bombay, Osaka-Kobe, Calcutta, Los
Angeles, Seoul, Buenos Aires), there are 23 today. The UNPD forecasts that
there will be 37 such cities by 2025.
Interestingly, as a side note, the UNPD does not see Baghdad or any of
its suburbs qualifying as one of these big cities in the near future. If we
are to go by the UNPD’s forecast, it will yet be some time before Babylon
can again rise as a “great city” and serve as the world’s nexus point for
commerce and trade. A number of prophecy teachers do believe that a physical
Babylon will again revive.
The Bible generally does not reflect an approving view of great cities.
According to secular anthropologists, greater urbanization tends to go hand
in hand with the deterioration of the family unit, lower marriage rates, and
consumerism. Seen from the Bible’s perspective, these are not developments
that the Creator designed as preferential and most blessed for mankind.
The Bible goes further, indicting other moral pitfalls of city life.
Several times it decries large cities for their violence and immorality. For
example, of Nineveh, Nahum says: “Woe
to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims!”
(Nahum 3:1). Isaiah describes Jerusalem as such: “See
how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her—but now murderers!” (Isaiah 1:21). Sodom
and Gomorrah are shown as cities at the apogee of great moral failure.
The woes of Bible prophecy are frequently
addressed to cities. One characteristic noted is the potential for smugness
and self-determination, the same attitude that afflicted Babel. For example,
Babylon the Great boasts in her heart: “I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a
widow; I will never mourn” (Revelation 18:7). Sodom is said to be “arrogant,
overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ezekiel
16:49). Seen in this light, cities are hotbeds for both humanism and
Most cities mentioned in the Bible would likely have had less than
3,000 inhabitants, according to estimates. A few large cities are mentioned:
among these Nineveh, said to be 120,000 in population and to be a “very
large city” (Jonah 3:3); Babylon, which would have even been larger; and
most certainly, the ancient metropolis of Babel. How large was Babel? No one
knows. Yet it stands as an example of an “agglomeration” of people of which
God did not approve. He intervened, scattering them with a confusion of
The Bible refers to “great cities” 10 times in the Book of Revelation.
Only one of these ten references points to a wonderful and benevolent
outcome, and this is the “great city” of the New Jerusalem, “[…]
that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God”
(Revelation 21:10). In a sense, we may see that the world’s immoral cities
finally have their redemption in the form of the New Jerusalem. Just as God
redeems people, so also eventually the great city.
Today, we see a world of larger and larger cities, ever higher
population density, and globalism (this being a form of a global
city)—unified, smug and intent upon constructing a world apart from God. The
sins of Babel are today being replicated on a massive global scale.
Points to Ponder – Part I
While the entire world looks apoplectically
into the future, anticipating accelerating and interrupting change (though
not exactly knowing what), the fact is the world has already experienced
such change. Many do not realize this. Much more change lies ahead, also
impacting the geopolitical sphere. We will review the remaining 10 “endtime
fuses burning alight” in the following series.
For resources on “endtime economics” and to subscribe to the free
newsletter, Eternal Value Review, visit Wilfred’s website
or contact him at:
About the Author:
Wilfred J. Hahn
is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst,
research director for a major Wall Street investment bank, and head of
Canada’s largest global investment operation, his writings focus on the
endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted
around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications
and languages. His 2002 book The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free
accurately anticipated and prepared its readers for the Global Financial
Crisis. His newest book, Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied:
Preserving true riches in an age of deception and trouble, looks further
into the future.
National Intelligence Council’s (NIC)
2012 report (Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds).
Gary D. Halbert. Forecasts & Trends
US Birth Rate Hits New Low—A Nation of Singles, December 18, 2012.
United Nations Population Division. World Urbanization Prospects—The