We come to the last edition of this 3-part series. In the first part, we briefly highlighted the concepts of assets and wealth on the earth today. We concluded that mankind has come a long way in magnifying worldly riches and setting up sophisticated, global systems of money and wealth. In the second part, we briefly explored the rarified world of big money and the super-wealthy. The extreme stratification of wealth seen worldwide today, we concluded, is in alignment with conditions prophesied by the Bible.
At this point in human history, we identify a massive, hyper-intensive system of commercialism … perhaps at the very apex of perversion, materialism, humanism and idolatry. The entire globe is subsumed and captured by a net of financialization and monetary systems—in other words, globalism and globalization. And from within this late-stage state, a small group of ultra-rich people has emerged. Seen worldwide, wealth distribution today (taken in all of its forms and guises) may be the most uneven and extreme ever in history.
There have been various responses to this emergent state of affairs in recent decades. For one, anti-Semitism has soared. Crucially, this has been a global phenomenon as never before. For example, the world’s financial ailments (globalization and uneven wealth distribution) are alleged to be the result of the schemings of the Jews.
One other reaction of many to the global commercial colossus, however, must be acknowledged. Christianity itself and countless Christians are being lured and deceived by its earthly perspectives and have become trapped. Many churches have become quite comfortable in the cozy embrace of worldly wealth and affluence; and some even believe that the world’s wealth will be given for the church’s disposal, so to take over the economic structure of the world.
Just what will happen to the world’s pumped-up edifice of paper wealth? What does the Bible foretell for its elites? Who will be the beneficiary of the “wealth of the wicked” (Proverbs 13:22)? The Bible provides the answers and gives us specific information about these outcomes.
Worldwide Wealth Collapse
What happens to the fabricated façade of the world’s wealth? A portion of it will collapse and disappear. However, we must note that the Bible speaks of different kinds of wealth. Some of it will survive and is mentioned to play a role in the Millennial period (as we will show). Another type will completely disappear, never to reappear again.
Anyone surveying the course of the world’s debt-based financial systems today, will no doubt conclude that a massive collapse of the world’s financial system is inevitable at some point. No one can know exactly when this will happen. Mankind’s greed and selfish indiscipline alone assures that this will occur.
According to the Bible, we learn that a colossal destruction of the world’s economic systems will take place, likely in the latter half of the 7-year tribulation period.
Scripture clearly states that a time of wrath will come where God says that He will bring down the pride 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 of this period). “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 greater or lesser (mountains and hills). A number of collapses are yet to take place inside this “day of the Lord.” Here, in no particular order, are these separate judgments (or wealth turnovers) that all lie ahead for Israel and the world. We count at least five of these that are pre-millennial, and one that takes place thereafter.
1. Wrath upon Israel/Jerusalem. Jerusalem is overcome while the remnant escapes into the wilderness. While Israel may be a rather tranquil area of the world (in a relative sense) 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. When the Antichrist breaks the terms of his covenant with Israel (this to occur in the middle of the 7-year tribulation period, according to a number of scholars), Jerusalem faces destruction and Israel flees.
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. 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. “They [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 manmade pride that derives from these “Babel-like” systems, take more than one form. Firstly, consider that there may be several stages in the collapse of Babylon the Great.
Also, Ezekiel mentions that a re-emergence of Tyre (or a type of Tyre) will occur at some point. Tyre was the center of a global trade system in the ancient world (600 to 500 BC), and can be seen to foreshadow a globalized trade system (globalization) of the last days. It was ultimately destroyed by Alexander the Great in 332 BC.
Ezekiel says that Tyre “[…] will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth” (Isaiah 23:17). How this fate connects with the judgments of Babylon the Great is not entirely clear. There seem to be different judgments 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). The Psalmist also refers to this event, “The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favor” (Psalm 45:12). These are different results, and therefore must refer to more than one judgment.
It appears to be separated into at least three judgments or events. We note that “death, mourning and famine” will overtake her in one day (Revelation 18:8). This is mentioned only once. Yet, sudden collapses and destruction of wealth are said to occur in “one hour” three separate times. Each of these involve three different groups of people (Revelation 18:10, 17, 19). While all of these three depictions could very well refer to the same event, the fact remains that these takes place in one hour, while the overall process of destruction of Babylon the Great takes place over a day. This suggests that the downfall cannot be reconciled in one event, but rather multiple events—perhaps as many as three.
At the end of all these wealth overturns mentioned to this point, there is one more great and final wealth overturn that occurs at the start of the Millennium period and thereafter. It is the great wealth transfer to Israel. While Israel and Jerusalem are raided and sacked in the Tribulation period, in the end all and much more is returned to her.
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: 1. That which apparently is seized as part of the “threshing” of the nations that rise against Israel. These are “ill-gotten gains” of the nations (Micah 4:13, translated as “illicit” profits) that go before the Lord. 2. Other flows to Israel are more a type of tribute, resulting from 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; 61:6; 66:12; Zechariah 14:14.)
What Happens to the Elites?
A popular pastime in some circles is to document the transgressions of the world’s rich people and to condemn them. There seems to be a countless number of bloggers and newsletter writers that track the activities of the rich and their supposedly evil schemes. According to some of these observers, rich elites (whether organized or individual, Jew or Gentile) are conspiring to take over the world. They are seen to be diabolically evil—a brotherhood of demon-inspired conspirators who have sold their souls to the devil.
Perhaps some people fit the description. However, our view of conspiracy theories is that they are mostly a waste of time for the Christian. Yes, there is a group that calls itself the Bilderbergers, and there may be an Illuminati; there definitely are conspiracies of many types. Then, what should be the response of the Christian? Condemnation … taking upon us the assignment of tracking their every move; reporting publically their every sin; organizing political activism against such purported people?
Every human being has the same potential to sin. We are all sinners; all of us naturally give priority to our own interests (rather than loving our neighbors as ourselves); have the same vulnerability to lusts and idols; and all have the same inventiveness in justifying our actions. Rich people are no different as humans. They will face the judgment seat as everyone else. All sins are sin. Then why single out only one particular caricature of a sinner? Why not all other sinners? The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
The so-called “elites” of the last-day world, have no special privileges seen from the perspective of eternity. Long ago, long before the vast commercialization of mankind, this was already observed by the Psalmist:“Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them” (Psalm 49:16-17).
When the judgments of the Tribulation period come and wealth hoards are destroyed, elites are not omitted from this outcome. “They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out” (Revelation 18:19). Inhospitable conditions apply to everyone. There is no exception for the elites. “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains” (Revelation 6:15). And when the False Prophet arrives on the scene and puts in place controls on “buying and selling,” it applies to everyone. The beast […] forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads” (Revelation 13:16). The elites of the world are just as deceived and deluded as anyone else. As the Bible lays out, the challenges of wealth have existed from time immemorial, and the basic human underpinnings of conspiracies in essence are no different today. What is different is that in our time we face globalized dimensions of these conditions.
Church Poor and Rich
The Bible has a strange interpretation of who is truly rich and who is not. At least, that would be the opinion of most people living in our presently humanistic age, whether Christian or not. Christ pointed to the importance of true riches for His followers and the Church, saying: “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (Luke 16:11-12).
Yet, a large swathe of churches today stage the attractiveness of Christianity in terms of the pursuit of prosperity. In this view, practical Christianity must produce earthly rewards and worldly affluence. The problem with this view is that it is not Biblical. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any hint of this principle. Not one of the disciples ended up a wealthy man, with the possible exception of Judas. His fate is well known.
Instead, the New Testament shows Christians to be persecuted. Here is just one substantiation: “For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession” (Hebrews 10:34).
However, it would not be a surprise that Christianity would be attracted by the great worldly wealth explosion of the last days. Its lures are powerful. Apostle John reveals that the last of the seven churches mention in Revelation is the one that is lukewarm, and fixated with wealth: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
Nonetheless, some movements believe that the wealth of the world—the “wealth of the wicked,” as it is sometime identified—will be transferred to the Church. It is claimed that there will yet be a last-day global harvest before the Lord returns, and that the Church will need great wealth to fund this objective as well as eradicating poverty in the world.
There are many problems with the concept of last-day wealth transfer applying to the Church. Again, there is not one verse we can find in the New Testament that even indirectly refers to a great endtime wealth transfer to the Church. Even the book of Revelation is silent on this topic, though it refers to the destruction of the wealth of Babylon the Great, which will “never be recovered” (Revelation 18:14).
Assuredly, if such wealth were to be transferred to the Church, support for this concept would have been found in the New Testament. Instead, there we only find admonishments about the deceitfulness of wealth and how the faith of many will grow cold due to the cares of this life.
The final great wealth transfer is to Israel, not the Church.
Thoughts to Ponder
The merging of God and Mammon—figured as religion and materialism, faith and globalization in bed together—is the final capstone of mankind’s deception, which is reflected in the religious and commercial Babylons shown to rise in illicit cahoots in Revelation 17 and 18. It is the final, global-spanning religion.
The Bible does prophesy a major endtime wealth transfer. It is not to a particular church or “righteous” group as some religious movements like to claim, but rather to Israel and to the righteous of the Millennial Kingdom.
One wonders why it is the rich Laodicean church that is being reprimanded by Christ. In fact, the apostate church and its many daughters, shown as Mystery Babylon the Whore in Revelation 17, are well on their way to a full union with commercial Babylon of Revelation 18. The grand, last-day ecumenical lie of serving both God and Mammon is far advanced. Since this is an impossibility—“You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24)—it is really a movement in which Mammon has robed itself in the garb of religion and apparent “Christian godliness.”
The true Church of the last days, if anything, is more of a remnant than it is resplendent with wealth. Revelation 3:8 says that the church of the “open door” is weak and feeble; far from being imbued with worldly power and wealth. It is this little Philadelphian band of believers, to which is promised, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
Where should we look for wealth and power? “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12).