Ripening Times – Part I: Discerning Trends of Significance
We are always on the alert for “significant” world trends. Why? Plain and simple, because the Bible instructs us to. We are expressly mandated to recognize the season and to “watch.” Said Jesus: “[…] keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42).
If we are to be watching, then what would qualify as a “significant” sign of the season? We would answer: anything that has to do with the Bible’s prophetic time-line and the Lord’s promises. Such trends may be legitimately identified as an “enabling development;” a sign; or perhaps even the actual fulfillment of Bible prophecy. (We will yet define these characteristics more succinctly.)
Our age today is “ripe” with many “significant trends. No one will doubt that the world has embarked on an accelerating course over recent decades and centuries. Humanity is on a rushed agenda to “rendezvous with history.” One doesn’t need knowledge of the Bible to agree with this statement. The indicators are plain to see.
The Bible uses the metaphor of ripening grapes to indicate time for judgment. “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness!” (Joel 3:13; cf. Revelation 14:18). In this sense, we indeed see that the world is ripe with last-day trends and is quickly approaching the time of fruition.
However, the secular humanist will prefer to recognize “significant” new trends optimistically, as the great advances of mankind and its emancipation.
The trouble is that humanists have no firm benchmark or cosmological time-map in which to organize and place their views. They do not know the ways of the Lord. While they are eager to pronounce the future as “friendly” and without human limit, at the same time they are captives of unpredictable and volatile change as well as the grave of death.
Not so the Bible student who also “hears the word and understands it” (Matthew 13:23). What then are the diagnostics that one can use to discern the “cosmologically significant” trends today? But, before answering, it should be established that one has a rock-solid Biblical worldview; one that is based on the literal, plain-sense interpretation of the Bible. And, one must endeavor not to go beyond what Scripture says (1 Corinthians 4:6). With such a grounding, you will be better able to discern trends and developments that enable, signify, or precede actual fulfilled prophecies.
There are at least seven characteristics that may help us to identify possible candidates qualifying as “significant” world trends:
- Acceleration: Any “accelerating” trend, particularly so beginning after 1948 (that being the point in which God’s timepiece, Israel, again became a sovereign entity in its original land) and/or post 1880s (the beginning of Zionism). If the Lord sees fit to clearly alert us to such momentous time points in His plan, then we would be wise to expect other indicators to emerge as well.
- Recency. While the “recency effect” (meaning, that one tends to biased by what is seen presently) is the bane of all secular forecasters and interpreters of Biblical signs alike, a “recently accelerating trend” is much more notable than one having started a long time ago. Why? Because the Bible frequently tells us that last day events will come “quickly.” “The great day of the LORD is near—near and coming quickly” (Zephaniah 1:14). This writer believes that once the Rapture occurs, world developments will indeed move at even greater hyper-speed. The Book of Revelation mentions that several events happen in “one hour.” However, well before this point, pre-Rapture Christians should be able to discern increasing intensity in world affairs and the convergence of the signs of the times to final events.
- Improbability: We observe many rapid world developments today that we had not anticipated. We find ourselves asking “why” their emergence … and “why now and not at some other time of history.” The very improbability and inexplicability of such emerging trends gives a possible sign.
- Global Scope: Trends that have a worldwide influence (not just applying locally or to North America) are indicative … i.e. identifying them as a potential “significant” trend. Bible prophecy is also global in scope. For example, the Tribulation … the world’s leaders conspiring to unshackle their chains (Psalm 2:3) … etc. are all global fulfillments. Therefore, we are particularly alert for “global” trends. We do observe a tendency among prophecy interpreters to cite only evidence seen domestically, and not “global” manifestations.
- Interconnection: Any trend that has confluence or interconnection with another accelerating trend of “significance”—interweaving and reinforcing each other—likely qualifies as also being a “significant” trend.
- Suddenness: A tell-tale key identifying a “significant trend” is its suddenness and rapidity. For example, the worldwide penetration of the smartphone will likely prove to be the most rapid phenomenon of all time. It is indeed a significant trend, as we will show in this series.
- Godlessness: Obviously, it follows that very few, if any last-day trends will be marked by pure and godly motives. Rather, quite likely the opposite will be the case. Significant “signs” are also likely to be in the service of Mammon, humanism, greed and immorality. It would not be a surprise if they cater to the “lust of the flesh” and political and economic expediency.
There we have it: Seven potential diagnostic indicators. Based on our screen, we identify a great number of “significant” trends. Not all significant trends will rate seven confirmations. In fact, even just one condition along with Biblical affirmation is enough to qualify as a significant trend. Indeed, all significant trends that we identify must be corroborated by the Bible.
Crucially—to no surprise—these trends end up intersecting with humanity’s future “history” in the Tribulation period.
As such, this column launches a new article series on “ripening” world trends. We see many developments that qualify as being significant. They all serve the Trapper: “The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet […] he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples” (Habakkuk 1:15; 2:5).
Here are just some examples of “significant trends” that qualify for our further examination (in no particular order).
- The emergence of multinational companies (a topic that we will begin here);
- Emergence of global elites;
- The implications of the rapid adoption of various new technologies;
- Post-Familialism (the breakdown of the family unit);
- Narcissism and self-love;
- Epidemic mental disorders;
- Global political centralization;
- Global urbanization;
- A global financial system;
- Popularity of Celebrity and Amusement;
- Religion of monetarism and financialization.
Readers may find some of these selections surprising … seemingly flying “below the radar.” That may be the case, because we do not have a broad cosmological perspective. Or, we may errantly think that conditions we see today are normal … that they have always been that way. But, we also recognize that Satan and his hordes are extremely effective in their strategies. Deception and lying are key characteristics of the Devil.
Ripening Trend #1: Corporations
The world of multinational corporations—large companies, whether private-owned or publicly listed—continues to speed along, making new history.
But what possibly could be “significant” or interesting about corporations? Are not these the same boring companies that we are familiar with today? Haven’t they always been in existence? What is there to worry about with such seemingly useful companies as Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft or McDonald’s?
As we will show, the history of the “corporation” is an epic one and certainly one of great world significance. We have written much on this topic in years past. Nearly two decades ago, we published a booklet titled “Investing in Corporate Stocks: Deeds of What Kind?” New and rapid developments continue to confirm this trend’s “significance” since we last examined this topic.
In one sense, we already have confirmation of just how significant some corporations are today at the global level. Following the Global Financial Crisis, the Financial Stability Board (FSB, which is associated with the G20 nations) designated some 30 or so companies as SIFIs (Strategically Important Financial Institutions). The FSB has since recategorized this list, expanding its candidates to also include insurance companies and others.
Recent trends confirm the continuation of their increasing concentration. What do we mean by concentration? It includes several sub-trends—ever expanding in size; industry domination; and, increasing geopolitical and economic power.
This writer has long dealt with “corporations”—as a “Wall Street” securities analyst, as well as senior executive of multinational financial institutions. In time, I came to realize that corporations (here meant generically and not applying to all, but most) represent one of the most powerful global “obedience structures” of our age.
All successful human organizations must have obedience. If not, they will eventually fail. Atilla the Hun, the Roman rulers, the Roman Catholic Church, for example, all ruthlessly demanded obedience. That is certainly the case with corporations today. Disobedience or non-conformity meets with quick punishment in these organizations. I can attest to that.
Today, the word “corporation” tends to just refer to the legal structure of a business. Crucially, however, they provide the foundation for multinational companies … also called Global Titans. These have stupendously come to dominate the world in recent decades. We will further explain their significance in the next part. Furthermore, we pose an intriguing question: Could powerful and influential chiefs of multinational firms, qualify as those rulers that are mentioned by the Prophet Daniel? He says that the Antichrist “[…] will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price” (Daniel 11:39).
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. A following book, Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied: Preserving true riches in an age of deception and trouble, looks further into the prophetic future.
You can contact Wilfred at: firstname.lastname@example.org