The Global Economy and Coming Chaos
This world is becoming a very, very small place. People speak about such things as “the global village” and “the world community” as effortlessly as any ordinary topic in the morning news. What would have been unthinkable not long ago is now accepted as simple fact. The Internet, global satellite television, international banking, and the like have become as familiar and commonplace as the family car. And talk of a one-world system hardly threatens anyone anymore.
Is a global economic system the way to go? Actually, in many ways, it’s already here. All that remains is for an articulate spokesman to champion the cause
of making official what is already operative. That man will come, bringing with him the day when the world will literally see itself as one, in precise fulfillment of what the Scripture says about the world in the last days.
We have had many events lately that point out how far we have come down the road to one world, especially in the area of global finance. As the stock markets opened in Japan on a day that came to be known as “black
Monday,” investors became aware that something had gone awry. Stock prices were down substantially, and the market quickly lost almost a quarter of its value. One by one, as the world turned and sleepy nations awakened to the business of the day, stock markets reeled and lost value on hearing news of the crash in Japan. The creeping contagion relentlessly made its way here to the United States, where the New York Stock Exchange experienced the largest single day’s drop in its checkered history.
There once was a time when individual economies of the world were somewhat isolated, almost as islands unto themselves. But those days have long since gone. Vast global businesses now operate everywhere. Billboards for McDonald’s restaurants, Coca-ColaTM, and similar enterprises litter the roadsides from Moscow to Johannesburg, from Singapore to Paris. People in virtually every corner of the world watch CNN. MasterCardTM boasts that it has become the global currency— accepted on every continent and in every nation.
But what does this situation mean for the fledgling world economy? Is this growing interdependence good, or does it portend darker times as we move toward the end of the age?
In the United States, we have a real problem. We have many of them, of course; but one stands out above the rest. America is $5.5 trillion in debt. It is, in fact, the largest debtor nation in history. That’s an incredible amount of money, almost beyond imagination. As a result, taxpayers have to come up with $1 billion every day just to pay the interest on such a staggering sum. It amounts to nearly a quarter of every dollar that is collected in taxes. Why do we do this? Because that’s what it takes to keep up the pretense of prosperity that we brag about in the United States.
But so far we have made almost no effort to pay down the national debt and relieve our taxpayers from the awful burden of paying the interest on it. We hear much talk about the recent surpluses in the national budget. But rather than prudently considering paying off the massive debt or reducing our overhead so we could operate on much less should trouble arise, we are debating how to spend the monies that have not yet come in. We are “counting our chickens before they are hatched,” and that is a very foolish practice!
Many economists believe we have already pressed our economy to the limit. A continued rise in the price of fossil fuels, a terrorist attack on a major city, or another war in the Middle East could easily bring the American economy and, in turn, the economies of the world, crashing down. By the way, the attack last fall on the American warship Cole reminds us that a more massive terrorist assault may not be so far away. Nor would anyone be surprised if the conflict in and around Jerusalem escalated so much it drew in the nations of the world, including the United States. A nation in great debt risks financial collapse when beset by extraordinary circumstances, and the American debt has the potential to be history’s most spectacular and volatile example of that principle. That’s a terrible situation to be in. According to an old saying, “If you’re going to dance, you have to pay the piper.” The time has come to pay the piper in the United States. The situation cannot go on forever. In fact, it can’t go on much longer.
But the same condition is true practically the world over. Staggering debt is almost universal, and nations cannot pay their bills. When a nation goes bankrupt, people have no food to eat, no gasoline for their automobiles, no milk for their children. The threat of economic collapse is a terrible thing. Sadly, the Bible indicates that our present economic system will induce a massive, global, economic collapse.
In the book of Revelation, the third rider of the Apocalypse carries a balance in his hand and says, “A measure of wheat for a denarius, and three measures of barley for a denarius, and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (6:6).
A denarius in Roman times was what a person received for a day’s labor. Eventually it will take an entire day’s wages to buy a loaf of bread. That will be the economic condition as we move toward the end of the age.
Such vast economic disorder will cause great international disillusionment. “What shall we do?” When that call is raised across the globe, desperate people will be willing to accept the word of anyone who promises to get them out of their economic difficulties.
The Bible foretells the rise of a coming world ruler known in the prophetic Word as the Antichrist. Recognizing the volatile climate in a world writhing in financial chaos, this clever and diabolical politician will promise to unify the globe’s economic systems and bring universal stability, putting “a chicken in every pot,” as it were.
Is that, in fact, possible today? We’ve all become aware of some powerful technological advances that you and I might never have dreamed of just a few years ago: the World Wide Web, the Internet, electronic funds transfer. All these capabilities involve money and the communication of money and information around the world. Furthermore, amazing new devices can now scan your eye as you walk up to the automatic teller, verifying that you are the person you present yourself to be. In the works are computer chips that can be implanted in your ATM card, just as others are now being implanted in human beings to identify and track their movements.
We should have seen it coming. Not long ago, the practice of implanting computer identification chips in pets became commonplace. Today, if you have such a chip inserted under the skin of your precious pet, he can be identified as yours by a simple scan (much like the one that scans your food items at the grocery store). That development has provided much comfort to pet lovers here in the United States.
Our world is coming together as never before. We have an economic system already in place that permits the instant transferal of money to any place in the world without ever touching a single piece of currency. It’s as though someone has opened a Pandora’s box! In fact, economists representing five or six different points of view that we could easily name are asking, “What shall we do? How can we get a handle on this burgeoning financial capability that no one can control or even fully understand? It has taken on a life of its own. Is there someone with a new plan who will help us get it under control?”
Stepping onto the scene will be the man with a plan. He will announce, “I have the economic system that will work.” During last fall’s election campaigns, many politicians made almost unbelievable claims to have the economic solution to make it all come together. And we wonder how much they really know about what they are saying.
When the world finally discovers that all those vaunted human plans don’t work, along will come the Antichrist; and he’ll lay his big card on the table. “We can put together a unified world. There will be money for everyone. There will be milk for the children. There will be a house for every family. Everyone will have his own shade tree to sit under. We will export prosperity to the ends of the earth.”
How would you feel about that offer if you were starving? How would you feel about that if you had no food for your children, as is true in so many places today? How would you feel if someone offered to come and solve all of your problems? You would say, “I want to be a part of that great system!” That is precisely the offer the Antichrist is going to make.
And one of the ways he will make that offer possible is by trying to make sure that everyone who will not be part of his plan, who will not cooperate with it, who will be an economic drain on it, or who will refuse to take his identification number presumably will starve to death. The Antichrist is going to give every person a number. It is called in the Bible “the mark of the beast.” If a person refuses that number, he will not be able to buy, he will not be able to sell, and he will be out of luck as far as money is concerned. Therefore, a massive wave of death is expected to overtake the nations because there will not be enough money, in any foreseeable plan, to solve the problems of the people of the world.
Why? Because once again, man has deserted God. He has come short of the glory of God. Man cannot survive when he lives by principles that are satanic rather than divine. But satanic principles are what the Antichrist will offer the world—veiled in a unified world economic system. And that system, when accepted by a world in crisis, will not bring peace and plenty. It will bring a time so terrible that the Bible says, “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Mt. 24:22).
We live in tremendously exciting times. The world is rushing headlong toward the end of the age, and the economic machinations and manipulations of our day will play a great role in bringing about the rise of the Antichrist. As Christians, we need not fear those days; but, rather, we should look to the sky for a redemption that draws nigh. Jesus is coming back for His own, and it is our prayer that each one of us will be ready!