THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN BIBLE PROPHECY
WILL THE CORONAVIRUS RECESSION BURST
THE ECONOMIC BUBBLE?
- Three steps to the New Economic System
Money is an early instrument of trade and payment of wages (1 GEN 23:16; 5 GEN 2: 6; 24:15). Its significance has been retained, although moneyprocessing has changed to invisible credit transfers. In all monetary affairs, the view of the Proverbs is still valid: "Why does a fool have money in his hand with no intention of buying wisdom?" (PRO 17:16)
We find in our Bible lots of advice on how to take up a wise attitude to the medium of exchange. As for our title e.g. the following principles are central:
1. The love of money is the root of all evil (1 TI 6:10). Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income (ECC 5:9).
2. Wealth gained hastily (with easy) will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little (by labour) will increase it (PRO 13:11). Owe no one anything except to love one another (ROM 13:8).
3. Joseph said, “Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise. Let officers collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. And let them store up grain and keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine, that the land may not perish during the famine. ” (1 GEN 41: 29-30,34-36)
The coronavirus is most obviously detonating a global debt bomb that has arisen from disregard for these great guidelines of housekeeping. The debt of the whole world (governments, companies, banks, communities, and private consumers) will reach a terrible level of EUR 250 000 billion in 2020. For example, the United States is both the largest debtor and most powerful economic engine. The U.S. government debt has quadrupled in the last 20 years, currently standing at € 24 000 billion. The gross debt taken by the government is growing at an annual rate of about EUR 1 000 billion and has exceeded the value of GDP since 2011. More than half of the new debt is spent on paying interest alone. Similarly, Italy has forgotten to restructure its economy. Before the Corona recession Italy's debt-to-GDP ratio was around 135% and public debt was around € 2,400 billion. Without a change in the economic system (debt forgiveness), it is not possible to manage such debt burdens.
Our world has been drowning in debt even before the coronavirus spread to humans, but the pandemic seems to have finally exposed the fragility of our economic system. Economists have not much opposition to the debt bubble that has developed. To illustrate the need for debt we often think the fact that achieving returns of € 1 000 requires taking out an average loan of more than € 3 000. In order to live beyond resources two parties is needed: a distributor of easy money and an operator dependent on growing debt, in whose perceptions of financial management there is no place for the sound fundamentals mentioned above. Valuing consumption, mammon and readily available (unsecured) money instead of disciplined (Joseph’s) economic thinking has led many states, businesses, and consumers to live recklessly in debt and bankers to lend money more and more easily. Even more relevant is the biblical question: "Why does a fool have money in his hand with no intention of buying wisdom?"
Throughout the history of market economy, the laws of supply and demand have determined the price of goods, services, loans and corporate shares. Naturally, they have directed consumption, risk pricing, and indebtedness. Economic growth has been based on real productivity growth and so poorly managed companies and MFIs have left the market. The time value of money, ie the interest rate, has been fallen place by the central banks with a small correction. The interest rate has regulated stability, the price of loans and the choice between fixed-income and equity investments. Thus, a free market economy has encouraged to labor, to save money, and to ”gather wealth little by little” in different ways.
For some reason, in the 2010s, the central banks ”forcibly” began to steer the market’s own mechanism. They have continued sustaining artificial economic growth in ways that are understandable only during an economic recession as temporary recovery. By constantly buying government and corporate debt securities (bonds) central banks have pumped billions of euros into financial markets. And by lowering their key interest rate to zero, they have attracted governments, businesses and individuals to excessive borrowing. In order to increase compulsive consumption they have, moreover, planned to distribute a direct income transfer, “helicopter money,” to households. In doing so central banks have taken on a role that does not belong to them. Sad to say, when performing as a bottomlessly rich distributor of money they are skewing the free market mechanism. This change in the behavior of central banks has been the first preparatory step towards a new kind of economic system.
The way central banks are manipulating the markets can be compared to printing money, as they do not have to raise funds for any of their purchases. Demand for bonds maintained by central banks artificially raises the price of debt securities and lowers their expected return (interest rate). As the interest rate on bonds falls, investors have sought more productive targets, e.g. listed shares and riskier corporate bonds. At the same time, as cheap money has accustomed market participants to the increasing use of debt leverage, stock market prices have risen above their real value and the number of companies standing up by reason of debt has risen sharply. Thus, the stock market bubble and the debt bubble is waiting to burst and the illusion of a central banking system as the omnipotent savior of the world to shatter. The rapid and massive money creation and keeping interest rates low during a period of economic growth have already undermined the effectiveness of central banks in supporting the economy in a financial market crisis.
According to an OECD report, at the end of 2019, the global stock of corporate finance loans was at the highest level of € 12 600 billion in its history. The debt level was then double what it was in the Financial Crisis 2008. The most worrying thing about the development of corporate debt is the continuing deterioration in debt quality. More than half (51%) of all new bonds in 2019 belonged to the lowest (riskiest) BBB category. Although corporate stock prices have even quadrupled in the last 10 years (MSCI ACWI Index 4.3; S&P 500 Index 4.4), the fact is that more and more companies do not have enough cash flow to pay interests on their loans during an economic downturn. (Therefore, from the stock price index we cannot directly infer that the health of our corporative world is all right.)
The non-Josephian financial thinking of banks and companies has also gripped the financial management of the private consumer. Despite the “seven fat years”, ie a period of stable economic prosperity, for example, US household debt (housing, credit card, car and student loans) increased by EUR 560 billion to a record EUR 13 000 billion in 2019. Even in stable Finland the disposable income of households is only three-quarters of the debt burden borne by households. Easy loan money seems to have become the only tool for governments, businesses and individuals to solve challenges and problems. The extravagant consumption favored by central banks, alien to the traditional barter economy, has together with human materialism and the insatiable greediness for money trapped us within the greatest financial bubble ever. Our Bible predicted such a development a long time ago:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be … lovers of money (2 TI 3:1-2).
However, our Bible makes clear predictions from which we can deduce that an inexperienced economic distress will fall over our entire planet in the future. It will be the second stage in the development of a completely new economic system. Let’s read a few clarifying Bible passages:
1. When the Lamb opened the third seal, … I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard like a voice … saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages.” (REV 6:5-6 is an obvious description of the regulation caused by hyperinflation, in which wage income - the so-called basic income - is sufficient only to purchase a daily ration.)
2. Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted. Your gold and silver are corroded. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. (JAS 5:1-3 seems to speak about the depreciation of assets).
3. Your riches, your wares, your merchandise, your mariners, your caulkers, your dealers in merchandise sink into the heart of the seas on the day of your fall. When your wares came from the seas, you satisfied many peoples; with your abundant wealth and merchandise you enriched the kings of the earth. Now you are wrecked by the seas, in the depths of the waters; your merchandise and all your crew have sunk with you. (EZK 27: 27,33-34 presumably exemplifies figuratively the shipwreck of our market economy system. The central banks have acted there as caulkers for financial leaks.)
Can the coronavirus epidemic be a trigger for a deep financial crisis? Does the Coronavirus Recession begin the descent to the “black horse” economic distress described in the Bible? Only our Heavenly Father knows precisely this timetable. Previous economic recessions (Great Depression 1929, Black Monday 1987, Early 1990s Recession, and the Financial Crisis 2008) were primarily due to economic disturbances. The Coronavirus Recession is different from the previous ones in that it intertwines with the global epidemic. The more plagues (pandemics, economic crises, environmental catastrophes, or wars) will bother mankind at the same time the more severe the eschatological birth pains will be. Using the metaphor that contains in Jesus’ prophecy in the Mount of Olives (MAT 24: 6-8; LUK 21: 9-11), it appears that mankind is now experiencing the anticipating birth pains before the return of Jesus and the restoration of all things. They will thicken and strengthen, culminating in the relief brought by the Kingdom of Christ.
Against this background,
the sad viral attack is a serious wake-up call for us to turn wholeheartedly to the grace of God in Jesus and to detach ourselves from building our future on money.
Money will lose its value. The latest "black horse" hyperinflation, the collapse of the banking system, or the collapse of the U.S. economy cannot be stopped by means of a planned economy. Political leaders of states, bankers and macroeconomists will then have only one solution to get out of the global distress. They are forced to abandon the current economic system and take a third step to implement a new system as one part of the New World Order (NWO).
Most obviously it will happen in a turbulent (maybe violent) world situation, which requires totalitarian action. The major key states will then negotiate a debt forgiveness mechanism and a way to distribute the remaining assets. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto one man (REV 17:13). For the chief and engine they will choose a qualified and strong-willed person. The Bible calls this man the Antichrist. Under his leadership they will set up a very precise trading control
so that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (i.e. the name of the Antichrist; ILM 13:17).
How far into the darkening night will our Heavenly Father allow His children to stay in the world? How long may the church be present at the end-time rise of antichristian values and lawlessness? (MAT 24:12; 2 TH 2:7-8) How long will the affliction of the church last before the second coming of Jesus Christ? (MAT 24:21-22,29-31; JHN 16:33) Only God has an exact answer to these questios. However, in the midst of the tribulation His children are comforted by the heartening words of Jesus:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (JHN 14:1-3). And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (MAT 28:20).