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 this description. However, our view of conspiracy theories is that they are mostly unnecessary distractions for the Christian. Yes, there is a group that calls itself the Bilderbergers, and there may be an Illuminati.
There definitely are many types of conspiracies perpetrated by humankind. If so, then what should be the response of the Christian? Condemnation … taking upon us the assignment of tracking their every move … reporting publicly 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, the same inventiveness in justifying our actions. Rich people are no different as humans. They will face the judgment seat just like 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 intense commercialization of mankind, the Psalmist was already scribing this: “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 18:19a). 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 global dimensions of these conditions.
The Church, Poor and Rich
The Bible has a unique 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 stages the attractiveness of Christianity in terms of the pursuit of earthly prosperity. In this view, practical Christianity must produce earthly rewards and worldly affluence. The problem with this perspective 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 for a few days. 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).
It is not surprising 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 mentioned in Revelation is the one that is lukewarm and fixated on 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 sometimes called—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 to eradicate poverty in the world.
We do not wish to dissuade genuine revivals. However, 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, “never to be recovered” (Revelation 18:14b).
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.
Sadly, much of today’s Church has swallowed the lie that enduring peace among men can only be found in the bowels of Mammon—particularly those branches of Christendom that endorse Replacement Theology (the Church being substituted for Israel) and aspects of Dominion Theology (which is dominating political circles today), but not exclusively so. Even much of North America’s pre-Millennial evangelical community suffers from this Babylonian occlusion. We think our riches and power (also evangelical political power) are useful tools for God to disseminate faith in the world. We shout our judgments, the proper course for others, while replete and comfortable from the bowels of the most materialistic societies on earth.
What exactly is this occlusion? It is an optical one for the most part. Living inside the systemic global Babylon now suffusing the world, residing in its present hot spots (certainly including North America)—the time of Babylon the Great, the great city, the global village of commercial religion—they (we) cannot see. The sliver has become so large, it has become a log. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).
They (we) cannot see clearly for several reasons. The most crucial one is that our point of reference has become the world, not the Bible. The world enjoins us, shouting that the “future is friendly,” 1 that peace is attainable through the eradication of poverty (meaning equality and wealth for all), and that the objective of a prosperous heaven on earth is found in religious and commercial Babylon.
A second reason for our blindness is that the same smugness and confidence found in ancient Babylon is evident today. “Sit in silence, go into darkness, Daughter of the Babylonians; […] You said, ‘I will continue forever—the eternal queen!’ But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen. Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’ Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day” (Isaiah 47:5, 7-9a). While this prophecy did have a near-term fulfillment, it also speaks of a yet future event.
Isaiah’s words line up with Revelation 18:7, which describes the “great city” of Babylon: “Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.'” Given these characteristics of pride and complacency, they (we) are blind to the reality of true riches and the world’s extreme vulnerability to the judgment and wrath of God.
A third reason why we may not be able to see the greater endtime Babylon today is we may have misconceived notions. Some prophecy commentators today hold the view that Babylon the Great of Revelation 18 is only a city—in other words, a physical place. Indeed, there may be a city considered to be its center. But endtime Babylon the Great is never called a city in the Bible. To be technically correct, the “economic” Babylon of Revelation 18 is always called the “great city”—in fact, six times in the Book of Revelation. It is never called a “city,” only a “great city.” This is significant.
In the Greek, the word combination “great city” is found only 10 times in the New Testament—6 times for economic Babylon, 3 times for religious Babylon, and once for the New Jerusalem. Each of its uses leaves open the interpretation that the “great city” means something bigger than just a common city—perhaps a system, organization, or a unique structure. In former times, a city was the closest thing there was to an organized economic entity. In fact, ancient Greek had no word for “system” or “organization” as we understand the terms today. We are hard-pressed to find words or word combinations anywhere in the Bible that explicitly refer to the idea of a system. We do find word combinations in the Old Testament that refer to globalism, but not a specific word that means “system.”
As such, Babylon the Great is not necessarily only a physical city. Rather, it seems more plausible that it is also a system; in this case, the economic trade and financial system dominated by the present or future high-income countries of the world, if not the entire world.
The colossal global commercial system or “great city” exists today. A similar concept is still imbedded in the English language … the global village. This global economic village has erupted upon the world in very short order.
Thoughts to Ponder
We live during a time of massive deception and corruption. Many can’t see it. A great trap is being laid for the people of the world.
Many Christians are in that number, particularly those who live in the prosperous West. We have also been duped into believing that, in the end, it is Mammon that will bring peace to the world, not Christ.
There is one thing in which all prophecy scholars must agree: Babylon—whatever its type or identity—clearly comes to an end. In one hour, it falls and is judged. The final form of Babylon does not carry through into the Millennium. The great commercial colossus and its imbedded religious idolatries are ended.
The Bible does prophesy a major endtime wealth transfer. However, 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.
What of an endtime wealth transfer?
The final great wealth transfer is to Israel, not the Church.
The true Church of the last days, if anything, is more 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 that 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).
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.
If you have questions or other perspectives, you can contact Wilfred at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that for reasons of volume and investment securities regulation, he cannot give financial advice.
1 Advertising slogan of Telus Inc., a communications company.