Perfect Storm, Part 2
By Pastor Hal Mayer
The global economic crisis has taken some astonishing turns in the last couple of months. I believe that you need to know more about what the Bible says about it, and how you should understand this situation. But I especially want to emphasize some amazing prophetic highlights that describe the very people whose names are now essentially household names. I will share with you a statement from the pen of inspiration that amazingly describes in detail what Henry Paulson, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, President Bush and Central bankers and political leaders the world around struggle with every minute of every day.
To begin I want to share with you a statement from God’s messenger to the last generation that tells us about Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, President Bush and other political and economic leaders. To solve the present financial crisis, they try this, and then they try that, but no matter what they do, no matter how much money they throw at the banks and mortgage companies, no matter how many banks they take over… they are clueless. They don’t know what to do. The whole world has been looking to them for a solution, yet with all the unconstitutional authority they have taken to themselves, they can’t begin to comfort the afflicted economy. Some things they do may cause a temporary respite, but the fundamentals haven’t changed.
Here is the statement that describes the global economic difficulties very aptly. It is from the 9th volume of Testimonies for the Church, pages 13 and 14. “There are not many, even among educators and statesmen, who comprehend the causes that underlie the present state of society…”
Now here is the part about Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, President Bush and others. “Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime.” Is that true today? No matter how much these leaders talk in platitudes about fixing our schools, beefing up social programs for the poor, and dealing with crime, they cannot change the degrading slide into the moral abyss.
Then the author makes this pointed statement. “They (meaning government leaders) are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis.”
Doesn’t that sound like what has been happening to Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, President Bush, Kevin Rudd of Australia, Gordon Brown of Great Britain, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and other global central bankers and political leaders during the last few months? The months of September and October gave us the largest corporate failure in world history. Events of that week in October, right after Congress passed the $700 billion bailout of the economy seemed to upend the U.S. Treasury’s bailout plans to stabilize the financial system, just as the Spirit of Prophecy predicted. As it was, Paulsen and Bernanke had essentially taken control of the entire U.S. financial system when Congress granted them virtually unlimited authority to buy out bad assets from banks. In the words of the Christian Science Monitor, the $700 billion bailout legislation “would transform Paulson’s office into that of temporary overseer of America’s entire financial system.”
But that wasn’t even enough to stem the bloodletting on global markets. In fact, the $700 billion bailout voted by the U.S. Congress was changed by a few men at the U.S. Treasury without Congressional approval. USA Today reported on October 13, 2008 that “President Bush on Tuesday announced details of a dramatic change in the $700 billion plan to rescue ailing financial firms, with the government quickly using up to $250 billion to buy stock in banks.” This is a partial nationalization of U.S. Banks without Congressional oversight or approval. President Bush, Henry Paulson and others simply made a unilateral decision to socialize the U.S. economy by buying bank stock with money that Congress approved for something else.
USA Today also reported on what happened: “Executives of the country’s biggest banks were summoned to a remarkable meeting at the Treasury Department to hear the plan Monday. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson basically told the bank CEOs that they had to accept the government stock purchases for the good of the U.S. economy.” This is the first time in American history that the United States has publically and effectively socialized at least part its financial system. How far it will go remains to be seen.
Other countries invest in banks BBC
This unprecedented move is unconstitutional and reminds us of the statement in the Spirit of Prophecy that “our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution…” That’s found in the 5th volume of the Testimonies for the Church, page 451. This is a major change in U.S. policy. And the government takeover of the U.S. economy is happening at breakneck speed.
I’ll continue reading from the 9th Volume of the Testimonies for the Church, pages 13 & 14. “The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ’s second coming. Of the men who by robbery and extortion are amassing great riches, it is written: ‘Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days…’ James 5:3.” The state of the economy tells us that we are living at the very end of time, just before Jesus comes, doesn’t it?
I’ll read on: “But who reads the warnings given by the fast-fulfilling signs of the times? What impression is made upon worldlings? What change is seen in their attitude? No more than was seen in the attitude of the inhabitants of the Noachian world.” What is the Noachian world? That’s the time of Noah.
Jesus gave us a prophecy about what it would be like in the last days in Luke 17:26-27. Listen to the characteristics of our own times spoken by Jesus Himself; “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”
Does that sound like something going on today? People are eating and drinking gluttonously. They have serious weight problems because they cannot stop eating and drinking. They gorge themselves, constantly stuffing food in their mouths. This reflects their attitude about the times in which they live. They don’t seem to care that their bodies are the temple of the living God, and they are to glorify God in their bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. They fritter their time away in entertainment while the crisis is unfolding around them. They bury themselves in movies, music and sports. They busy themselves with business enterprises that keep them so occupied that they don’t have time to know the voice of God. They are headed for the lake of fire and they don’t begin to comprehend it.
They marry and give in marriage as if there is going to be no change. Jesus was not saying that marriage was wrong, but that they were not paying attention to the signs of the times and learning to live like Christ. They were blind to His loving counsel to buy of Him characters like gold tried in the fire and eyesalve so that they can see the telling signs of His imminent return
(See Revelation 3:18).
But that is not the only description that Jesus gave us of the last days. The very next verses in Luke 17 give us another description… Listen carefully. This is verses 28-29. “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.”
Notice what was added to what Jesus prophesied. He added the words “they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded…” This verse is incredible! Notice that Jesus predicted the stock market. All the stock markets do is buy and sell. He predicted the housing bubble; people buying and selling homes and real estate. That is what they were doing in Sodom before the great destruction. Perhaps Sodom had the tools to speculate in their own financial markets similar in principle to what we have today. Perhaps Sodom and Gomorrah had developed a real estate bubble too. After all, if everyone wanted to live inside the city for protection, there is limited space to build. So they probably had high-priced real estate just like we have in our cities today. They may have had protection from earthly assault, but they were destroyed by a heavenly assault.
Think about the economy of Sodom for a minute. It was built on wealth and pleasure. They were eating and drinking, they were entertaining themselves and they were funding it by buying and selling real estate at increasingly inflated prices. Morally, they were corrupted to the worst degree. They had abandoned traditional marriage as the bedrock of society. They probably had a huge prostitution industry. They were obviously inebriated by a wide-spread alcohol industry and were steeped in entertainment, fashion and lust.
This is exactly the description of what happens in cities today. We are told that it will be the same now in principle as it was then. The cities are full of immorality. They are concentrated and there is limited space to build. So the real estate values go sky high. People make fortunes and then spend it on themselves in entertainment, luxury and selfish gratification. Today people want to live in the city, but they don’t realize that there is a destruction coming upon the big cities. God tells us that they will be ruined.
Jesus prophesied that the cities at the end of time would be a target for destruction. Listen to this statement from the book Maranatha, page 25, “O that God’s people had a sense of the impending destruction of thousands of cities, now almost given to idolatry!… Strictly will the cities of the nations be dealt with, and yet they will not be visited in the extreme of God’s indignation, because some souls will yet break away from the delusions of the enemy, and will repent and be converted, while the mass will be treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath.”
All of this fits the scenario of our times. The building industry was cranking out homes hand over fist. And people were buying them with reckless abandon, driving their prices up unrealistically. The stock market was going up and up to dizzying heights. All the buying and selling was preparing to suck out the lifeblood of the economy. And many people did make money, for a while. Now that has all tumbled down and crashed around them in fire and brimstone so to speak. People are shocked at how fast things have turned negative. Life was going so well, but all of a sudden everything seems as if it has been turned upside down. People are fearful now. But they have no idea that Jesus, in His holy word, warned them of this time. He said there would be distress of nations and perplexity. They vainly think things will eventually get better and if they can ride out the perfect economic storm, they can indeed be able to carry on where they left off.
I’ll read on from the 9th Volume of the Testimonies for the Church. This is amazing; “Absorbed in worldly business and pleasure, the antediluvians “knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away.” Matthew 24:39.” Is that what is happening now? “They had heaven-sent warnings,” said God’s messenger, “but they refused to listen. And today the world, utterly regardless of the warning voice of God, is hurrying on to eternal ruin.”
You see my friends, people are living with the same mocking and ridiculing attitude toward God and toward His truth as did the people who mocked and ridiculed Noah and Lot. They think that every day will be like the one before, and if not, they will just ride out the storm, just like people in the days of Noah and Lot. They knew the truth. They understood the warnings, but they thought that God was too loving, and that it was impossible that God would destroy them. Are there people today who think that God is so loving that he would not destroy those who refuse to follow His express will? Of course there are. Are there people today who think that the prophecies of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy are not relevant any more, and that God would not do those things that are predicted there? Of course there are. I am one that believes that every detail of the predictions in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy will indeed come to pass. We have been documenting this month after month in our Keep the Faith sermons and Prophetic Intelligence Briefings.
In the current Economic crisis Henry Paulsen and Ben Bernanke have been doing everything they can to solve the crisis. They have been pulling every string, manipulating every interest rate, bailing out banks, insurance companies and coordinating mergers with investment companies, they even pressured Congress successfully to give them virtually unlimited authority over the entire financial system, including the purchase of stock in banks and other financial institutions. Their efforts had a little effect. Then the week of October 6 hit like a wrecking ball in a china shop. Day after day, the markets around the world were hammered and badly damaged.
But there were other things that happened that fateful week in October. On Thursday, October 9, 2008, central banks around the world, including the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the central banks of China, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland took an unprecedented, coordinated step and cut key interest rates in an effort to restart the collapsing global economy. They day before, Australia’s central bank cut its interest rate, and the day after Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, lowered theirs.
Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea
But this didn’t help matters at all. The Dow Jones Industrial Average took a whopping hit of more than 600 points anyway, the largest percentage drop since 1987, more than 20 years ago. Other stock markets around the world suffered much the same fate. And for many days, the stock market plunged into a seemingly bottomless pit. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that losses could be expected in the range of 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars from the U.S. stock market alone just on that day. But it is not just interest rate cuts that governments and bankers are using to attempt a rescue of their economies. Central banks are loaning billions upon untold billions to banks and other huge businesses hand over fist. Businesses are going bankrupt. People are losing their jobs by the hundreds of thousands just as God said they would.
On the same day as the coordinated global interest rate cuts, Iceland’s banks suddenly collapsed and the whole nation teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. In a matter of hours, the government seized the three largest banks in the country. They only opened for business for Icelandic customers while freezing the assets of other customers in Britain and Europe. Their collapse “affected 420,000 British and Dutch customers, and frozen assets held by universities, hospitals, councils and even London’s police force,” said the Canada National Post. Instead of turning to the West for help, the Icelandic government went after a loan from Russia, of all places, to shore up its economy, which has significant global political significance.
Never in living memory has there been so much at stake. Everywhere you turn it seems, central banks are doling out billions to shore up their economies. The subprime mortgage crisis has morphed into a full-blown economic collapse, and it is effecting many nations around the world. From Europe to the United States; from Canada to Asia and Australia, the economic news has been terrifying to those who have invested in the stock markets, but it has also struck fear in the hearts and minds of regular families who stand to lose not only their investments and retirement assets, but also their jobs and their homes.
The gigantic government bailouts may have buffered some of the pain for a while. But with falling home prices driving people out of their homes, strangled consumers falling behind on their credit card payments, and credit markets almost completely choked off, the Wall Street panic is destroying Main Street businesses, and Main Street’s continued decline just makes more trouble on Wall Street in return. Cheap credit, which has been at the core of the economic boom of the last two decades is gone!
The government is even bailing out big corporations that have taken advantage of the citizens while paying their executives huge bonuses and golden parachutes. In some cases they are taking them over. For instance, the Federal Reserve is buying 80 percent of the huge AIG insurance corporation. And the U.S. government announced the takeover of giant mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the largest corporate seizure of all time. These companies hold $5.2 trillion in mortgages or about half of all U.S. mortgages. So many foreign governments, including China, Japan, Russia and some Middle Eastern nations had loaned more than a trillion dollars to Fannie and Freddie that the U.S. government took them over for fear that these governments would stop lending to the U.S. government.
The Washington Times quoted Brad Setser, a geo-economics fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations as saying “I suspect this is the first case where foreign central banks exercised their leverage as creditors to push the U.S. government to make a policy decision that protected their interests.”
What Setser was saying is that because foreign governments now buy enough U.S. government debt as well as mortgage instruments that they now influence U.S. government decisions. The New York Times observed that “The level and stability of American interest rates and of the dollar are now dependent on the willingness of foreign central banks and other overseas investors to continue lending to the United States.”
Foreign governments like China and Russia can now use U.S. debt as leverage; a new kind of weapon to influence U.S. policy. The U.S. government is borrowing against the future to stave off a present collapse. The scripture says “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7.
This crisis is changing the course of history! Rarely is there a defining event or series of events like what we are seeing right now. Rarely are there so many forces converging to create the perfect economic storm. Not since September 11, 2001 when terrorists hijacked planes and flew them into the nerve center of New York’s financial district have we seen such a defining moment, such a momentous change. This is the first time we have ever seen anything like this in the internet age.
If you did not receive the first sermon of this Perfect Storm series, you should ask for Perfect Storm, Part 1. That will give you the background as to why we are in this present crisis.
The probable consequences to all this bailing out are serious. There is likely to be much more unemployment with intense hardship for millions. Already, I’ve seen people living out of their cars in parking lots. There will be devastating losses for investors of most types. And finally, perhaps even a deep depression with deflation.
But there are other more serious consequences that perhaps are more subtle. In July of 1944, near the end of World War II, a meeting was held at Bretton Woods, NH in which 730 delegates from nations around the world hammered out an open markets system, an exchange rate system between currencies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an international bank that eventually morphed into what is known today as the World Bank. At the end of World War two, and up until 1959, when the agreements signed at Bretton Woods went into effect, the nations of the world each had their own isolated and protectionistic economies and it was very difficult to do international commerce and trade. Monetizing international trade by inventing an exchange rate system created an “open market system” so that nations could trade more easily one with another. But it also created a global system that could be manipulated for the benefit of those who were in control of it, particularly the United States and those that control it’s financial institutions and economy.
The Bretton Woods conference was a defining moment in global economy. It changed everything. It was the end of what was known as “economic nationalism” and inaugurated the rise of a global system of controlled economies. This system has increasingly globalized and integrated itself over the last 50 years to the point today where the whole world is interconnected financially. If one part goes bad if affects many others.
During the current economic crisis there have been international calls for a more globalized control mechanism to manage the economy. The world is still economically dominated by the United States, but this is going to change. It was the United States that got the world in the mess it is currently in to a large extent. America’s global financial hegemony is about to diminish. There are those that think that the control should no longer be rooted in the U.S. And now there are even calls for reshaping the global financial controls established at Bretton Woods.
For example, on Oct 15, 2008 Bloomberg.com quoted European Central Bank president, Jean-Claude Trichet who said recently at a speech in New York, “Perhaps what we need is to go back to the first Bretton Woods, to go back to discipline… It’s absolutely clear that financial markets need discipline: macroeconomic discipline, monetary discipline, market discipline,” he said. What he is saying is that the financial markets need more control.
Gordon Brown, prime minister of Great Britain “suggested the most sweeping rethink of global financial architecture since U.S. and European officials met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944,” said Bloomberg. “Brown said national regulators must coordinate their work.” “Trichet,” said Bloomberg.com, “suggested that slowing growth in the 15-nation euro region may curb inflation, paving the way for more [interest] rate cuts.”
What they are talking about, is manipulating and controlling the global economy by creating yet another supranational organization that would eventually expand its powers over all the major economies of the world.
Bloomberg.com, on October 6, 2008 reported the words of Torsten Slok, an economist at Deutsche Bank AG in New York; “Until now” he said, “the solutions have appeared to be uncoordinated, so perhaps it’s time for a more coordinated approach globally. It’s not just the U.S. and Europe, it’s banks in every part of the world.”
What he is suggesting is more globalized controls of the world economy.
Bloomberg.com also reported the words of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who “called for ‘a real and complete reform of the international financial system.’ He said ‘all actors’’ must be supervised, including credit-rating firms and hedge funds… ‘We want a new world to come out of this’ Sarkozy said.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling in calling for a global regime for managing the world’s finances said on September 22, 2008 that “…one government alone cannot deal with the consequences of globalization.” Prime minister Gordon Brown said the next day that “global standards and supervision” are now urgently needed, “because the flows of capital are global, then supervision can no longer just be national but has to be global.” And when Brown and Darling arrived in the United States to promote this concept the Guardian said that they are calling for “a stronger international regulatory system, based around and early-warning system run by the IMF” and that they want to “create an international consensus for a tougher global system of regulation.”
Notice that the Europeans and British are the ones talking this way. These men are asking that world finances be controlled by an international body based at the IMF that would control virtually everything about the economy. They want a more European flavor to world economic policies and controls. The reality is that the United States is still the foundation of the economic system and would remain so, but the Europeans want to influence it much more than before, perhaps even use it to their own advantage.
I want you to think about the implications of this. European leaders and financiers are angling to restore financial leadership to Europe once again. Remember that the key leaders of the European Union, like Angela Merkel of Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy of France are working to resurrect the Holy Roman Empire and place the pope once again as the spiritual and temporal leader of Europe. The fact is, Europe needs to be a strong financial powerhouse to achieve it. European leaders no doubt see their opportunity. The financial implosion is their chance to mount a coup d‘état of the global financial system. No doubt the Pope, whom Revelation connects with the merchants or economic leaders of the world, also sees a marvelous opportunity to bring enormous economic power back to Europe.
First, there is coming a national Sunday law and then a universal one in response to national and global emergencies that will threaten to undo the stability of the world’s finances and political system. This will include “no buy, no sell laws” against anyone that does not go along with these Sunday laws. They too will first be national and then universal. If there is going to be a universal Sunday law with relevant and enforceable “no buy, no sell” penalties there has to be a universal way to control the flow of money around the world. This is what is being created right now in response to the economic crisis. Already the United States has taken the authority to freeze the assets of the terrorists in the war on terror. That means that anyone or any organization that is identified as terrorist related cannot do business with or in the United States legally. They cannot buy nor sell. Now, because of the economic crisis, the mechanisms may well be put in place in the near future to do the same thing on a global basis.
This new global financial system will place the control of huge economies into the hands of even fewer people than it is now, who can be manipulated or controlled by Rome or others on behalf of Rome to restrict the liberties of God’s people. The stakes are getting larger my friends, as we near the great crisis for God’s people. Some think that it is impossible for Sunday laws to emerge with strict “no-buy, no sell laws” or other penalties. But governments are diligently, though perhaps unwittingly, preparing to do just that. They think they are solving a global economic crisis, while in effect they are preparing to be used by Satan to persecute God’s people, fulfilling the very prophecies of Revelation 13 that so many think are improbable. Governments around the world have to have the mechanisms in place to choke off the ability of God’s people to use money and the monetary system if they are going to implement the strictest Sunday laws.
Just a few days after the statements of Brown and Darling, on Oct 10, 2008 another set of meetings occurred that began the process of changing everything again, and which will further centralize the global economy… The Group of Seven (G7) met in Washington DC, according to Stratfor.com, to discuss the economic crisis. The G7 includes the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan – the seven largest economies in the world.
Then the same group met privately with the Russian Finance Minister for supper. They know that Russia is the wild card, and a potential spoiler. Russia is one of three countries that have huge reserves in cash – along with China and Saudi Arabia – and can make contrary moves that can make matters a whole lot worse in the West. Russia has been flexing its muscle lately and obviously it was felt that Russian cooperation in the global economic rescue is vital. But Russia will lay down its own terms of cooperation, which yet remain to be seen.
Then on the 11th, the G7 sent IMF officials in a flurry of meetings with the G20, the 20 largest economies in the world to discuss the plan and get their cooperation. Their plan in part, as details have emerged so far at the time I’m recording this, involves governments giving banks cash in exchange for part ownership, which amounts to a partial nationalization of banks in the U.S. and other parts of the world. This will change the banking industry dramatically and will give the nationalized banks significant advantages over private banks. Direct investment in banks like this will allow governments to influence decision making at major banks, which means that it can force or pressure them to lend to each other. This is a serious step. For the first time in history, U.S. banks will have the government holding their stock. This is one of the first steps of socialization of the economic system in the United States.
My friends, there is no earthly place to hide. There is no cozy place where people can place their money and be secure. And there seems to be no end to this crisis. By the time you receive this message, we could well be in the midst of a serious global depression. If not, then we can thank the God of heaven.
My friends, I am so thankful for Jesus Christ who is coming back again soon. He died for you because he loves you and wants you to live with Him forever. Your future is in His hands if you are a follower of Jesus. If you are a true follower of Jesus, then you have followed Him by faith into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary and have had your sins blotted out so that you can receive the latter rain. You know what that means don’t you? That means that you have turned from every sin, and have, by Christ living in you, put away all your sins so that you don’t do them anymore and so that Jesus can blot them out. If you haven’t done that, there is no more important time than right now to come to Jesus, not just for forgiveness, but for cleansing and especially power to overcome them. If He lives in you, you cannot sin, because where Jesus is, there can be no sin. I want that experience, don’t you? Don’t let anything get past Bible scrutiny in your life. Also take out the Spirit of Prophecy and read it carefully so that you know what to do and how to survive the fast coming crisis.
The only ones who will be secure in these tough economic times are those that have followed God’s counsel. Some have scoffed at the counsel in the Spirit of Prophecy that we should live in the country so we can grow our own vegetables. Some have scoffed at the idea that we should shun debt like the plague. They have gone ahead and charged up their credit cards, maxed out their home equity, and generally lived recklessly. Now they are in great danger of having no place to live, or having no money to buy food. If the nations recover from this crisis, it will be the angels that have held back the winds of strife. But it is a warning to all of us, that our loyalties must be clear, and our faith strong as we lean on Christ to empower and sustain us.
There is a scripture text that I want to share with you. It is found in Luke 21:25 & 26. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Doesn’t that describe how people are feeling right now? Notice too that the nations are full of perplexities and distress. It’s not just individuals. Yet this is only the beginning. We are not yet to the climax of fear and terror. The economy is causing a lot of pain, but it is mild compared to the time of trouble such as never was predicted by Daniel the prophet in God’s word.
And you think that we have a war in Iraq. Wait until you see what is coming. There are preparations for war taking place right now. War always follows depression. It is a way for governments to get their nations back on an economic footing. There is also preparation for something far more serious for you as a follower of Jesus. These things are only the beginning of sorrows, said Jesus in Matt 24. The climax of sorrows is when the worldly churches and worldly Christian people turn on God’s true remnant and attempt to destroy them because they are a living testimony against their wickedness. If you aren’t a living testimony to the power of Christ in your life, you will never be persecuted. So there you have it. To avoid persecution, all you need to do is be worldly. Read those novels, watch those movies, play those sports, listen to that rock music and its derivatives, and by all means eat, eat, eat; indulge yourself, live for the moment, take all you can get. You’ll never have any persecution that way. And you’ll never have another life to look forward to either.
Listen to this statement from the pen of God’s messenger to the last generation church. It is found in the book Great Controversy, page 509… After a long list of disasters which will no doubt cause further economic trouble, Ellen White wrote; “And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils.” So this is where all this distress is going. “The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors.” You see, those to whom money is their God hate to have reproof and they must create some sort of scapegoat to take the attention off of their corruption. Martin Weiss, a market analyst and adviser recently wrote of the economic collapse, “Greed has been replaced by fear; euphoria, by panic; trust, by suspicion.” That is quite a description. What drives the markets is greed. The fact is that greed eventually turns on it host and generates fear. This is the danger of greed… It always leads, at some time or another, to unresolved panic. Imagine what greedy people will face when they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of glory! That will cause a panic like no other. But it will be too late.
My friend, if you struggle with greed and covetousness, this is the time to deal with it, because there is coming a time when Jesus will leave the sanctuary in heaven and will no longer plead for guilty man. Some people don’t believe that He is in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary and they just keep on going with their double lives, claiming to be followers of Christ, but going in the opposite direction. Many have ridiculed the idea that Jesus will not save those that do not live by all of His law. They say that Jesus just loves everyone, and if you intellectually accept Him, then you will be saved. Many of God’s remnant people think that so long as you are in the church and you are claiming the forgiveness of Jesus, then you will enter the pearly gates of the New Jerusalem. My friends, please don’t believe it. Jesus did die on the cross to forgive your sins and mine. But there is much more to salvation. Jesus has defined what it actually means to love Him and follow Him. The Apostle John gives us Jesus own words in John 14:15. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” What are His commandments? That is His law. For He said in Matthew 22:37-40, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
So you see, the law is the basis of God’s kingdom. Those who will be there will have kept His law. They will not have covetousness. Nor will they have greed or any other evil thought or deed.
Do you know how to cure greed? Here is how… Help someone else. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give to the poor and come follow Him. He had a problem with greed. Jesus addressed that problem squarely. And he gave the solution… Find someone that is less fortunate and be a blessing to them and help them.
Here is another way to overcome greed. Jesus gave us the principle of tithing so that we can show that we understand that all our possessions are from Him and belong to Him. Tithing is meant to confront greed. Greedy people don’t return their tithe to the Lord with a cheerful heart. Also, God requires offerings. This even gets closer to home than tithing. We show by our generosity to God’s cause, how much we love Him, and how much we hate greed. Sometimes we tithe because we know that unless we do we will be “unfaithful” and we don’t want that against us. But in our offerings, do we return as much as we can, or do we return as little as we can? Most of God’s people return just as little as they think they can, and justify themselves that this is all they can do. But the record books of heaven show that greed has kept back what God could have used in His cause. The cure for the disease of covetousness is active compassion for the poor and returning faithful tithes and offerings. My friends, if we really love Jesus, we will love His work, particularly when and where present truth is preached or taught.
I’ll continue reading from Great Controversy about the reaction of the people to the terrible calamities that are coming upon the world. “It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity.”
Keep in mind that those who declare this will have a long history to support them. They will say that Sunday has always been the Christian tradition and that it is now God’s will for His people. They will also have the media on their side, and the courts, the Congresses and the Parliaments of the world. They will have economic incentives to press for a Sunday law because they think that the economy will right itself if the nations repent and turn to God. That means to most, that the nations of the world should enact Sunday laws.
Those that attempt to defend the truth may also end up in the media spotlight, but it will be in the most negative way. Don’t expect fairness in reporting. The bias will all be in favor of persecution, and the most barbarous of punishments will be meted out on God’s people.
Notice my friends that the people clamor for a Sunday law because they want to be restored to God’s favor and temporal prosperity. They agitate against those that hold the true Sabbath in their hearts and obey the Lord of the Sabbath. They are accused of being like Elijah, a troubler of Israel.
Let us now consider what to do during an economic crisis. Those few who are now still living who went through the depression as children will perhaps be able to tell you how they survived. The Great Depression affected their core values like faith, self-reliance, their attitude toward money, and material possessions. Here is some of the advice that they might give you.
Because money was so scarce, something as simple as a toaster was purchased with much thought and care. Manufacturers understood this and provided sturdy models that would last a lifetime if treated well. You can still find these toasters at garage sales. Plug them in and they work, unlike their distant cousins twice removed, purchased three years ago at WalMart. You may treat them well, but they are not designed to reward your loyalty, for we live in the era of disposables and planned obsolesence. Our landfills and storage sheds attest to this addiction to the newest cheap gadget. The lesson here is to purchase the best quality you can afford, saving for it, if necessary and then carefully maintaining it. Zippier models may appear, but if old faithful still works or can be repaired, be content with what you have.
Here’s another piece of advice. Saving money was very much a part of that generation’s thinking. The thinking was that a certain percentage of every dollar should go into savings. You never knew when there would be a rainy day, for you—or someone you loved. Until you’ve paid the last penny for an item bought on credit, you don’t own it. So—pay cash. And save until you have the money to buy it. And the things you can’t afford learn to do without, improvise, or buy a used model and fix it up. Avoid borrowing, even by carrying over a balance on a credit card.
Thirdly, there was no sense of entitlement—that someone owed you something. The idea of depending on someone else to help you out landed people in bread or soup lines. Instead, you figured things out for yourself, helped your neighbors to do the same, and kept a healthy distance between yourself and government promises, handouts, and interventions. I even heard a story about an ancestor of one of my friends who tore up his government farm subsidy check and threw it away. He wasn’t about to demean himself by a government handout. Bartering goods and services between neighbors and communities was a common form of economic exchange. The more practical skills you possessed, especially with the land and your ability to produce your own food, the more likely it was that you would survive unemployment, bank closures, and financial collapse. That also meant living in the country, which is one key piece of God’s survival counsel for today.
Fourthly, despite your self-reliance, savings, and frugality, God was the ultimate One who blessed your crops, helped you stretch a tight budget, and worked out the little miracles to keep the rubber tires functioning long after their intended life. You tithed, were generous to those in need, and kept a positive, grateful attitude about life. When things went wrong, you had a Heavenly Father who took over and extended your “barley loaves and fishes.”
If you’ve haven’t cultivated these qualities and abilities, start now. Consider yourself blessed above many if you have. From all the economic gloom and doom I’ve been hearing lately, it’s going to take these qualities to weather the perfect economic storm bearing down on our world.
My friends, God is speaking through this economic storm to warn us of what we must do to be ready for Jesus to come. Please don’t turn from His wise counsel. Let yourself be controlled by the Master. Your life is soon to be thrown into chaos. If you want to have peace in the midst of it all, you must have Jesus controlling your life.
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