Nearing
Midnight

Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.




March 14, 2016

Negative Interest Rates Are Connected to Bible Prophecy

As long as money has been in existence, there have been people willing to loan it out to others for a fee. Our records for interest rates go back 5000 years. The highest recorded interest rates occurred during the Persian Empire 539 B.C., when a brutal taxation system forced people to borrow money at 40 percent. The historic average for interest rates is 4 percent.

We currently live at a time when interest rates have never been so low. When historians reflect back on 2016, a remarkable statistic likely to be noticed with amazement is how people were willing to accept a negative return on their money.

Not until 2014, were negative interest rates implemented by a major central bank. The European Central Bank forced rates below the negative milestone by lowering the deposit rate to 0.2 percent in September, 2014. With that being the top rate for money, a number of other European nations turned to negative interest rates. Today, we have over $7 trillion in government-issued debt with negative yields.

The standard argument for negative rates is the need to fight deflation. Central bankers claim that lower prices cause people to hoard cash. By placing a tax on money, people are be motivated to go shopping. So far, negative rates have failed to increase spending.

The real reason for negative interest rates is to underwrite support for the massive debt loads of the world’s debtor nations. If rates were to rise to their historic average, the U.S., Japan and most European nations would be unable to fund their federal budgets.

Japan is in the worst shape. Last year it spent just under 100 trillion yen, but took in hardly 50 trillion yen of revenue. The reality of a nation with a mountain of public debt having reached 300 percent of GDP—means that it cannot afford to pay even a half a percent on money. With Japan hopelessly addicted to deficit spending, soon, negative rates will not be enough to keep them afloat.

Negative interest rates create a ticking time bomb by increasing the value of existing bonds. As rates go down, the value of the bonds go up. Bonds issued a few years back with a 30-year maturity and a 2 percent coupon rate responded this way: When interest rates dropped to zero, the bond rose in value by 34.7 percent. A bond selling at a face value of $1,000 before the interest rate drop, would have risen to $1,347, for a gain of $347.

If interest rates where to suddenly normalize, there would be a catastrophic loss for existing government bonds. Japan just had its 30 year bond—hit .47 percent. If rates where to soar to 4 percent, a freshly minted bond with a face value of $1,000, would decline to $300. If rates rose 8 percent, the same bond would only be worth $92.

Japan is in demographic nightmare; with its working age population set to plummet from 78 million to about 52 million over the next 30 years. It already has 31 million retirees, and that number is projected to hit 36 million by 2060. Bondholders in Japan should be demanding Persian Empire type rates to cover their risks.

The United States is not far behind Japan. We face the same problem with an aging population, which will cause our debt levels to soar in the coming years. However, unlike Japan, our debt is not self-funded. Our strategy involves the rest of the world buying our Treasury notes. When we get to the point of needed negative interest rates, the world will probably balk at such a deal.

It is truly amazing to watch the world’s financial system hold together. A meltdown has not occurred because Jesus said the time of His return to rapture His Church would take place at a time of peace and safety. For interest rates to have drifted into negative territory in order to maintain this period of stability—demonstrates how much we are on borrowed time.

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).

--Todd


Presidential Political Purulence

An infection is spreading among the American populace. It isn't of the bacteriological or viral sort in the biological sense. But, it is an epidemic in some ways more virulent, more septic. It seems to have contaminated society at every level--even Christian pastors I would have thought would have been biblically vaccinated against the anti-God strain.

Unrestrained by apparently any prophylactic inhibitor, such as media censorship or even Moral Majority-type protective shielding, the salacious show goes on. And, it is made manifest before the nation and the world in an observably, unabashedly shameless display.

It shouldn't surprise, one must suppose. We've had hints of such lasciviousness within the White House, particularly since JFK's passing--that is, since enough time has passed that historical spelunkers have exposed the sexual trysts in the White House of Camelot's leader way back there fifty-plus years ago. A president was later deemed a "crook" by the Watergate inquisitionist. But, other than often-expletive, deleted language discovered on the infamous recordings of the Nixon White House, there was nothing even remotely approaching the sexual goings-on like during the Kennedy White House years.

Many accounts of LBJ and his rather raw and rowdy approach to the presidency have since produced accounts of sexual debauchery in the White House. But, until Bill Clinton, all was kept in the Oval Office closet. That closet was opened for all to know when that president's activities with the young intern within the small study just off the oval room was uncovered.

That down-and-dirty activity–a paraphrase of how Obama's preacher, Jeremiah Wright, put it--opened the once-high office of the presidency to the cesspool humor and conversation once reserved for the porn magazines and shops where only the most derelict would openly venture.

Now, on the presidential election debate stages where once the all-important issues and events of our time were heard, we are subjected regularly to debased topics once only discussed in those forbidden books such as in Xaviera Hollander's The Happy Hooker.

Talk of male and female genitalia are in today’s political discourse thrown about in vulgar, slang invectives as readily as Richard Nixon might have once thrown accusations that John F. Kennedy was too young and inexperienced for the presidency.

It is an astonishing thing to consider--the Nixon-Kennedy debates (or any other) as against what we are seeing now.

I remember the kind of gutter talk we are hearing by presidential candidates today thrown about by teenage boys during junior high and high school when I was in the ninth grade or so. Back then, those lunkheads--of which I was much too often one--would never deign to bring that sort of conversation out into the light of adult society.

Now, we have presidential wannabees talking about such things--right out in front of the bright lights and cameras, proudly airing their braggadocios salaciousness for the world to hear.

There is, obviously, according to the polls, a vast, reality show-type audience that is entertained by all of this new "populist" political trash-mouth talk. Those who aren't necessarily amused or entertained by it sit in silence for the most part, overlooking the degree to which the once most- respected office in the land is being debased and degraded.

Some of this silent sort, as I say, are recognized names within evangelical Christianity. It is most distressing to have to acknowledge that this is the case.

This is not to put down any one presidential candidate, or to build up another. My only exhortation to the reader is that you use much discretion and pray for godly discernment during this crucial election season. We are in prophetic times, of this I have no doubt. America is subjected to this presidential political purulence at a time when powers and principalities in high places intend to assert their wickedness upon a generation ripe for the coming Antichrist rise to power.

The Scripture that comes to mind should serve as a mirror into which we, the voters, should look, while doing our best to move in a direction other than moved the once-condemned people the Scripture depicts.

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them. (Jeremiah 8:12-13)

--Terry