This issue, we return to our series of “Ripening Times—Discerning Trends of Significance.” Before we proceed, a short review is in order.
We live in a season where the world is experiencing unprecedented conditions of rapid change. Not only are there sudden developments, but they are also accelerating. Our generation assumes that this rate of change is normal … a symptom of modernity. But, really, only the last several generations or so have been witnesses of this extraordinary phenomenon. Which trends should we observe? What is it all about?
Well, Christians should always be on the alert for “significant” world trends. Why? Because the Bible instructs us to do so. We are expressly mandated to recognize the season and to “watch.” To recall, Jesus said: “[…] keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). Therefore, let us keep watch. We know that the “last days” are treacherous and will close like a trap (Luke 21:34).
However, if we are to be watching, then what should we be looking for? What would qualify as a “significant” sign of the Lord’s season? A concise answer would be this: Anything that has to do with the Bible’s prophetic timeline and the Lord’s promises.
In our opinion, our age today is “ripe” with many such “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.”
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 preparatory trends and is quickly approaching the time of fruition.
What then should be the diagnostics that one can use to discern the candidate “cosmologically significant” trends today? It is important to have a solid framework for doing so. Many people, however, have no framework and consequently spread misinformation and speculative opinions. To begin, one must have a rock-solid Biblical worldview—one that is based on the literal, plain-sense interpretation of the Bible. However, in doing so, one must not go beyond what Scripture says (1 Corinthians 4:6).
With such a foundation, one is then better able to discern trends and developments that “enable,” signify, or “precede” actual fulfilled prophecies.
Briefly reviewed, there are at least eight characteristics that will help us identify possible candidates qualifying as a “significant” world trend:
- Evidence of Acceleration: A crucial qualifier is any emerging trend showing “acceleration” … particularly so since the 1880s. Why then? That is the beginning of Zionism … a key marker of prophecy beginning to be fulfilled. Recognizing this, it would then be strategically crucial as of that point for the Enemy of Israel to launch countermeasures. As soon as signs of a return to Israel began to be manifested, Satan realized that little time remained. Even more significant would be any accelerating trend beginning after 1948. That is the time that God’s timepiece, Israel, again became a sovereign entity in its original land. We, therefore, should not be surprised that the surge of significant world trends of recent history will have been spurred by an evil architect with urgent objectives and a tight timeline.
- Recency. A recent trend showing steepening acceleration (particularly so over the last 70 plus years since the return to Israel) is potentially much more notable than one having started a long time ago. Why? Because the time is becoming increasingly short, and 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). The Book of Revelation mentions that several events happen in “one hour.” Pre-Rapture Christians should be able to discern increasing intensity in world affairs and the convergence of significant signs that lead to final events. This writer believes that once the Rapture occurs, world developments will indeed move to hyper-speed.
- 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 can indicate “significance.”
- Global Scope & Impact: To qualify as a “significant trend,” a development must have worldwide influence (not just applying locally—or to North America only). Eschatology is focused globally. For example, the Tribulation applies to the entire earth. It is the collective of the world’s leaders that conspire to unshackle their chains (Psalms 2:3), not just a local ruler. Therefore, one should be particularly alert for “global” trends. (We do observe a tendency among Bible prophecy interpreters to cite only evidence seen domestically—i.e. the United States—and not “global” manifestations.)
- Interconnection: Any trend that has confluence or interconnection with another accelerating trend of “significance”—interweaving and reinforcing each other—may qualify as being a “significant trend.”
- Suddenness: A reader may well question whether the concept of “suddenness” overlaps with that of “acceleration” and “recency” (already discussed above). Though the differences may be subtle, we would regard “suddenness” as a distinct factor. Why? The Bible uses the word “suddenly” frequently, meaning that something occurs surprisingly and unsuspectingly. For example: “While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3); or, “[…] that day will close on you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34).
- Humanist Agenda: 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 trends” are likely to be in the service of Mammon, humanism, greed, immorality, and other objectives that Satan may have. It would not be a surprise if “significant trends” also cater to the “lust of the flesh.”
We have listed seven potential diagnostic identifiers of world “significant trends.” Crucially, there is one more qualifier, and it is the most important of all. What is it? Bible prophecy itself. Any trend that lines up with Bible prophecy or is an expression of prophecy that is being fulfilled or a prophecy enabler, is most obviously validated as “significant.”
This Biblical validation is vital and sufficient alone to discern a “significant trend.” No matter what the other seven qualifiers indicate, if a candidate “significant trend” does not align with Scripture, it does not qualify.
While mankind has been on earth for many millennia, it is only over the last several hundred years that such a burst of “significant trends” has taken place. Change today is on a hot boil.
To date in this column, we have qualified four “significant trends”: A Wealth Explosion; spreading Post-Familialism; Honored Elites (emergence of global plutocrats); and, Advances of the Titans (the sudden emergence of multinational companies). There are many more “significant trends” yet to be discussed.
Next on our list, we will discuss the phenomenon of a rising Asia, a controversial topic these days. At the time of this writing, the United States had been conducting a trade war with China … also concertedly trying to slow down China’s ascendancy. We will not provide any perspectives on these geopolitical matters. However, it is true—in fact, incredibly unprecedented—that the rise of Asia has been very rapid. How can this be explained? Why has this emergence occurred so suddenly?
Will an Asian group of countries continue to gain strength, perhaps even eventually dominating world trade and geopolitics? Are the developments the world is witnessing in Asia today of prophetic significance?
Our answer to the latter question would be “yes.” We definitely consider the sudden rising of Asia as another sign of the ripening times. In the next part, we will explain why and will also identify aligning prophecies from the Bible.
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