Jun 7, 2010
The Hand of God at Work
The state of our global financial system has once again captured my attention. Since I last commented on the economic state of the world, the outlook has become dramatically worse.
In Europe, the euro has plunged in value as investors realize the enormity of the "sovereign debt" dilemma. First, Greece, Portugal, and Spain saw their debt ratio getting lowered. Now the contagion has moved to eastern Europe, with Hungary added to the sick list. The cost of insuring against losses on Hungarian sovereign debt has soared in recent days.
You may be wondering what sovereign debt is. In its simplest form, sovereign debt means government debt. It is any financial loan taken out by any nation. It usually also means the accumulated debts of government subentities such as states, provinces, municipalities, agencies, boards, and commissions for which the senior government is ultimately responsible.
In the U.S., we just surpassed the $13 trillion mark for federal debt. When you add state and local city debt to the mix, the total comes to a mammoth $16 trillion in American sovereign debt.
I am absolutely dismayed over Washington's inability to deal with out debt problem. The financial crisis in Europe has failed to knock any sense into our leaders. Instead of working on saving money, Congress is constantly adding to the national tab. It is currently working on a bill that would add another $154 billion to the $1.5 trillion shortfall already projected for fiscal year 2011.
Congress did recently establish a committee to come up with cuts, and it managed to find $16 billion in potential savings. The federal budget is over $3 trillion, so this is just insulting to only propose cuts that are a third of a percent of the total. Any realistic fix will have to deal with sacred cows like Social Security and Medicare.
Investment analyst Marc Faber has become something of a superstar by predicting the subprime meltdown, the rise in gold prices, and the 1987 crash. He obviously hopes to continue his winning streak by forecasting more economic calamity: "I am 100 percent sure that the U.S. will go into hyperinflation. Not tomorrow, but the problem with the government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and the Fed should increase interest rates, they’ll be very reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate," Faber said to Bloomberg News.
The growth rate of our debt is scary. Since 2002, it has more than doubled. A recent poll found that 79 percent of the American people are very concerned about our national debt. With $6 trillion dollars of pension money invested in government IOUs, millions of people should be alarmed.
We may now be at the point where out economy is starting to succumb to the burden of uncontrolled spending. The recovery from the credit crunch of 2008 has been very slow. Despite pumping nearly $2 trillion into the economy, only 20,000 non-government jobs were created last month. With trillions of dollars locked up in Treasury bills, there is no money for new investment. If we don’t quickly get the economy growing again, we are doomed.
So much attention has been paid to the financial crisis in Europe and in Washington that the state budget problem has largely gone unnoticed. Several key states are sliding towards bankruptcy. One estimate says that states may need a $1-trillion-dollar bailout package to keep them afloat.
The suddenness and enormity of all these financial problems convince me that the hand of God is at work here. I'll never forget how quickly the Soviet Empire collapsed. Within the space of a couple of years, every single one of those Communist states fell as if they were being pushed over like dominos. If God has the same idea for the global financial system, there is nothing that all the economists in the world can do.
I don’t have any special insight from the Lord to say, “Don’t worry folks, we Christians are going to be raptured before the Western civilization implodes.” Because it would be too much of a tip-off to be around to see the Antichrist reestablish order, our departure would have to be very near.
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:44).
Phenomenal Prophetic Picture Emerging
One of the most consistent truths of our time is that no matter where the news cameras and microphones are focused, they will always be turned again to the nation Israel and to Jerusalem in short order.
Most recently, that truth has been proved before the eyes of the world. The financial upheavals in America and around the globe had the leaders of the nations and the journalists alike deeply engrossed in the threat to the world's economic stability. North Korea sank the South Korean naval vessel, killing a number of people, and Kim Jong Il's "double dog dare" to do anything about it--after denying his regime's culpability--again had the diplomats and reporters fearing the possible outbreak of nuclear war. At the same time, the immigration law passed by the Arizona state legislature and signed by the governor made the mainstream news organizations and left-leaning politicians go ballistic. Then the oil rig exploded, killing eleven of the rig's crew in the Gulf of Mexico and releasing into the waters a gusher that threatens the ecosystem of the Gulf Coast and beyond.
With consistency that is 100 percent faithful to some unseen force that suctions it toward the world's spotlight, Israel stands front and center once again, despite the momentous events in the headlines. The news cameras and microphones now are zoomed in on the sliver-sized nation that has raised the collective ire of the world with a single incident.
Israel, as most everyone knows by now, stopped and boarded a flotilla of ships loaded with, supposedly, activists and their cargoes of humanitarian aid items for the Palestinians of Gaza. The Jewish state, with the understanding of Egypt and other nations of the region, has placed a blockade on anything going to Gaza because of the terrorists that continue to inhabit that area. Israel has suffered continuing attacks by the forces supplied by Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
The Israeli naval personnel gave the six flotilla ships a warning that they were to go to a port as directed so that the cargo could be checked for weapons that might be intended for the terrorists of Gaza. The humanitarian aid, Israel promised, would then be shipped by land to the people of Gaza. The crews aboard the six ships refused, instead shouting curses and insults at the Israelis. After further warnings that they would be boarded if they didn't comply and receiving in return only more curses, the Israelis boarded the ships.
Israeli Defense Force (IDF) commandos were assaulted by the people who were on the boarded ships. The "activists" used iron bars, baseball bats, slingshots firing steel balls, and, according to reports, handguns and rifles. Finally, to protect themselves, deadly force was used by the IDF, and reports have it that from nine to eleven of the so-called humanitarian activists, all speaking Arabic, were killed, and a number injured.
IDF spokesperson Avi Benayahu said about the commandos boarding and the subsequent attacks by the people on the boarded ships:
IDF forces met with pre-planned violence when attempting to board the flotilla. IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.
That it was a setup--a deliberately planned action to lure the Israelis on board, then make Israel appear as the bad players before the eyes of the entire world--there seems little doubt. The ploy cost the lives of a number of the ambushers, but what's a few dead fellow terrorists to those who have no compunction against strapping bombs onto their own children and women and sending them out to kill themselves and anyone around them?
The ambush was about as successful as the terrorists could have hoped. The Turkey-sponsored "activist humanitarian aid" flotilla instantly brought the diplomatic world to the boiling point of anger against the Jewish state.
Turkey froze military ties with Israel, promising "unprecedented and incalculable reprisals." The nation's leaders threatened to send yet another flotilla to run the blockade, this time using Turkey's navy as escort. The Arab League called for a meeting to assess a response to the Israeli action, with the organization's leaders from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to Arab League chief Amr Mussa calling Israel's action "a massacre" and a "crime." Egypt, heretofore quasi-supporting the blockade of Gaza, is leaning toward removing the blockade. Greece, a partner with Israel in military exercises, will likely withdraw from participating with the Jewish state.
Israel faces enormous outrage from around the world. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he was "shocked" by the Israeli action against the peaceful flotilla, and called for the Israeli government to "explain itself" for the move. Governments around the world summoned Israel's ambassadors. Britain, France, China, and Russia, all of which wield the veto power of the UN Security Council, called for the blockade against Gaza to be lifted and for an independent inquiry into the incident. The other veto-empowered member, the United States, hinted that the blockade should be lifted.
Ambassadors from the twenty-seven European Union (EU) countries strongly condemned Israel and called for a complete and independent inquiry.
It seems that about the only friends Israel has left at the moment are Christians who understand the real story about these astounding anti-Israel developments. Those developments are prophetic, make no mistake. The incident has put the end-times picture into clearer focus for all who study God's prophetic Word from a literalist viewpoint.
Two main prophecies leap at the student of Bible prophecy when considering these developments. They are found in Zechariah 12: 1-3 and Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.
Zechariah, the Old Testament prophet, foretold God's Word on Israel versus all nations of the world at the very end of human history just before Christ's return. Ezekiel made plain the Middle East nations that would specifically be formed against Israel at the time of the end.
The attempt to run the Gaza blockade and Israel's subsequent boarding of the flotilla ships bring both prophecies to the forefront of our hour. Turkey--comprising much of the area called "Torgomah" in the Ezekiel 38:6 passage--has gone from being a secular-based government to one that is heavily Islamic. Segments of Islam are trying to make it totally Islamic and one ruled by sharia law. That country has now turned totally against Israel, whereas only a couple of years earlier it was one of Israel's friends in the region.
All nations of the world--represented by the United Nations--have, in effect, condemned or come against the Jewish state. It is clear that Zechariah 12:1-3 is manifesting itself before the news cameras, thus before the eyes of all who have discernment to see and believe the veracity of God's Word.