The Bible tells us that a time will come when commerce—the act of buying and selling—can be controlled worldwide. This facility will actually be invoked at one point during the Great Tribulation period, “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).
This is an oft-referenced verse, infamously misquoted and misinterpreted by Christians and unbelievers alike. It is the source of countless vain speculations about the identity of the “mark” and the “number.” However, the most critical error concerns the identity of who it is that actually brings in these controls. It is not the first beast with 7 heads, which is of the lineage that gives rise to the physical Antichrist. Rather it is the second beast (which emerges from earth and has two horns like a lamb) that brings in these commercial controls. This latter beast is commonly linked with the False Prophet, who is mentioned in Revelation 16:13.
I have always thought it a telling alert that it will be a religious figure that ends up being the world’s last “economic guru.” A strange coincidence? No. Seen together, macroeconomics and globalization today are the world’s largest religion. The beliefs imbedded in these bosom ideologies are the prevailing hope of humanity today. As such, it is only fitting that a deceiving religious figure would preach such a final Prosperity Gospel to the entire world. Indeed, the value proposition of the False Prophet at that time may sound like this: “Take the number that is religiously endorsed from this preacher’s pulpit and you will have prosperity.” At that time there will be such a crisis, that people will likely respond as they did to Joseph in the third year of the famine: “[…] Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh” (Genesis 47:19).
However, the intent of this article is to show just how ripe the world already has become, having prepared the very control systems that will be given over to the False Prophet and the evil purposes of the Antichrist.
Why Global Systems Are Needed
Money—assuredly one significant factor that makes humans different from animals—is the designated medium of Mammon. Its strategic significance in the cosmology of mankind is more than it just being the chief temptation that qualifies “the love of money” as being “the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Crucially, “money systems” also play a strategic eschatological role as can no other form of earthly or spiritual rule. Why is this the case? There could be a number of reasons. But, very likely the main one is that Satan and his hierarchy of fallen angels do not have the power of omnipresence as does God. Therefore, an inventive tactic is needed. Here, a global commercial system offers the next most potent perch to omnipresence. There is no other medium more conducive to world control.
Moreover, as Satan’s power has been limited during the Church Age, an indirect means of control is required. Revelation 17:8 tells us, “The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.” We seen here that “The Beast”—namely, Satan himself—has been detained in the Abyss until that point when he will again be released. Apostle John here confirms what Jesus said, that “[…] the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11). “[…] Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).
Though Satan’s powers may have been curtailed during the Church Age, the spirit of the Antichrist has been busy. “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Many antichrists have been at work, inevitably coaxing the world to its globalized, humanist state. Its endpoint is already nearly here. The supporting technologies … the organizational structure is nearly complete … and the concentration of financial command nodes far advanced. Only one thing remains: The imperative to pull it all together … the imperative of policy. We will return to this point in our conclusions.
Concentration of Financial Control
Below are outlined a few trends which will provide the reader with some anecdotal evidence of how rapidly financial systems are converging and centralizing. We could cite countless more examples; however, here we only point to four of its telltale signs.
1. Concentrated Owners. For the U.S., consider that latest available year-end 2006 data shows total institutional investors—defined as pension funds, investment companies, insurance companies, banks and foundations—controlled assets totalling $27.1 trillion, up from $24.4 trillion in 2005. This level represents a ten-fold increase from $2.7 trillion in 1980. The equity market value of total institutional equity holdings increased from $571.2 billion in 1980 (or 37.2% of total U.S. equity markets) to $12.9 trillion (or 66.3% of total U.S. equity markets) in 2006. This represents a historic all-time high in the amount of total U.S. equities controlled by these institutional investors (Source: Conference Board).
2. More Evidence of Concentrated Holdings. A pair of physicists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich recently published preliminary findings of their network analysis of the world financial economy as it looked in early 2007. Stefano Battiston and James Glattfelder extracted the information for 24,877 stocks and 106,141 shareholding entities in 48 countries. It revealed what they called the “backbone” of each country’s financial market. These backbones represented the owners of 80% of a country’s market capital, yet consisted of a remarkably small number of shareholders. The most pared-down backbones exist in Anglo-Saxon countries, including the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. Paradoxically, these same countries are considered by economists to have the most widely held stocks in the world, with ownership of companies tending to be spread out among many investors. But while each American company may link to many owners, Glattfelder and Battiston’s analysis found that the owners varied little from stock to stock, meaning that comparatively few hands are holding the reins of the entire market.
3. Financial Institutions Become More Concentrated. Perversely, financial institutions continue to become larger, despite the clear “moral hazards” of “too big to fail.” Quoting an article on this topic: “Survivors … emerge[d] from the turmoil with strengthened market positions, giving them even greater control over consumer lending and more potential to profit. J.P. Morgan Chase, an amalgam of some of Wall Street’s most storied institutions, now holds more than $1 of every $10 on deposit in this country. So does Bank of America, scarred by its acquisition of Merrill Lynch and partly government-owned as a result of the crisis, as does Wells Fargo, the biggest West Coast bank. Those three banks, plus government-rescued and -owned Citigroup, now issue one of every two mortgages and about two of every three credit cards, federal data show.”
4. Global Wealth Skew. In December 2006, a groundbreaking report entitled The World Distribution of Household Wealth (World Institute for Development Economics Research, UN University—UNU-Wider) was released. The results were much more pronounced than had been previously indicated by other studies that surveyed income. Wealth and income, though surely related, are quite different. Income is generally defined as the annual flow of earnings and incomes, while wealth is the accumulation of income and hoarded assets. According to its authors’ research, the top 10% of adults in the world own 85% percent of global household wealth (2005). The average member of this wealthy group therefore has 8.5 times the holdings of the global average. Furthermore, the top 2% and 1% of the world’s population is estimated to own 51% and 40% of world household wealth, respectively. This is a more extreme distribution than had been estimated by surveying global incomes in previous studies.
Everywhere one peers, the forces of centralization can be identified, whether in North America or globally. Today, perhaps less than 10,000 people control the world’s money flows. Some have estimated a far smaller number … as low as 600. The signs of centralization are everywhere. Quoting a Club of Rome member, David Korten:
While the giants are shedding people, they are not shedding control over money, markets, or technology. The world’s 200 largest industrial corporations, which employ only one third of one percent of the world’s population, control 25 percent of the world’s economic output. The top 300 transnationals, excluding financial institutions, own some 25 percent of the world’s productive assets. Of the world’s 100 largest economies, 51 are now corporations—not including banking and financial institutions. The combined assets of the world’s 50 largest commercial banks and diversified financial companies amount to nearly 60 percent of The Economist’s estimate of a $20 trillion global stock of productive capital.
Global Systems Affect Cares of Entire World
As the global market gyrations of the recent Global Financial Crisis (GFC) attest, never before in history has global opinion been galvanized by financial events so quickly. This is remarkable. Never before has the entire financial world behaved so much as one monolithic culture, as is now evident in global capital markets. This is a direct, though not exclusive, result of the late stage globalized commercial systems.
Robert Shiller, in a commentary in the New York Times, provides an insightful perspective:
It is a large and diverse world, after all, so why should confidence have rebounded so quickly in so many places? The popularity of the term ‘green shoots’ shows the kind of social epidemic underlying our changing thinking. The phrase was propelled in Britain by Shriti Vadera, the business minister, in January, and mutated into a more contagious form after Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, used it on 60 Minutes on March 15. The news media didn’t need to change the term for different cultures around the world. With nothing more than a quick translation—brotes verdes, pousses vertes, grüne Sprösslinge, etc.—it is now recognized as a symbol of a revival coming soon. All of this suggests that a social epidemic is supporting renewed confidence. This confidence can keep growing by contagion, as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, and we may see the markets and the economy recover further. But in an economy that is still unstable, the stories could also morph into different forms, the price feedback could turn downward and the dynamic could turn ugly again—just as it has in the past.
Putting it all together, we crucially now recognize that the economic, financial and psychological conditions of global markets have come to the point where a viral media-generated chain can impact the sentiment of the entire world rapidly. Both globally interconnected commercial and communications systems, such as already observed today, demonstrate the powers of control that the False Prophet will one day exercise.
Just as the Bible says, the spirit of the Antichrist has been active these past 2,000 years, despite the fact that Satan did indeed lose some of his powers and freedoms. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given to indwell the members of the Church, Christ’s very body on earth. Once this body has been removed from earth, and along with it also the indwelling restrainer (the “Paraclete”); the “beast” representing mankind’s complicit kingdoms, which has been obedient to the “spirit of the Antichrist,” will be superseded by “The Beast”—this being Satan himself in the form of a man, the 8th king (Revelation 17:8).
The saints will not witness his arrival. As the Bible says, Only “the inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come” (Revelation 17:8b). This is consistent with the expectation that the Church will first be removed. The Beast will not come out of the Abyss until this “restrainer” is first withdrawn.
In the meantime, Satan and his hierarchy of fallen angels have been busy transforming the minds of mankind to accept humanism and globalism, and now await the opportune use for the global web of financial and economic systems that achieves the next best alternative to “omnipresence” and worldwide power.
Points to Ponder
The day is very near when it will be possible for a global authority to completely control global commerce. Already, it is technically impossible to live without money or a bank account. People that have attempted this must still rely on the charity and handouts of those that do have monetary income and bank accounts.
While the technology and the global systems stand prepared for this eventuality, the global “political” power structure is not yet in place. Such large organizations as the Bank of International Settlements, the World Bank … etc. have not yet had their levers of power given to a central authority. That development first awaits the emergence of the final 10 kings. These final events will happen very suddenly … once their time has arrived.
Christians today, as everyone, are already entrapped in a global financial system. While we enjoy its conveniences, we also suffer under the many materialistic temptations that the spirit behind these worldly systems incessantly proposes. Someday, these systems will be turned against the Tribulation Saints.
Today, pre-Rapture saints are implored to enter a different kind of transaction. “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Revelation 3:18). Those are the words of Christ to the 7th and last church that exists even now just prior to His return. It is not an impulse purchase, an approach so widely promoted in our culture today. The gratification is not instant, but eternal. The Apostles knew the cost of “gold refined by fire.”
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).
 Quoted from GlobalResearch.ca. Source: “Backbone of complex networks of corporations: The flow of control,” J.B. Glattfelder and S. Battiston, Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Kreuzplatz 5, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland.
 Washington Post, August 28, 2009.
 David C. Korten, “When Corporations Rule the World,” http://www.pcdf.org/corprule/failure.htm Accessed October 31, 2009.
 Source: Robert Shiller, “An Echo Chamber of Boom and Bust,” New York Times, Economic View, August 30, 2009.