World Financial Crisis... Biblical Investment Advice Behind the headlines.... What does all this mean? Blair for EU President... Power shifted to Europe
“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.
Any of these terms could be used to describe the global financial crisis this week. Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the news. This is Jonathan Bowen, your host for this week.
World Financial CrisisThe current financial crisis is sending out shockwaves as people fear a recession beginning in the United States and spreading across the world.
A headline in the Financial Post on Wednesday read,
“Central banks have 'lost control' as markets continue turmoil”. George Soros, Billionaire speculator and chairman of Soros Fund Management, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland is quoted as stating, “I think we do have to rescue markets, otherwise we would go into a depression like we did in the 1930s.”
Canada’s National Post reported that
“In a rare emergency move, the U.S. Federal Reserve slashed its key interest rate three-quarters of a percentage point to 3.5%, the biggest cut since October, 1984..” (Wednesday, January 23, 2008).
Back on July 30, 2002 a New York Times article predicted,
“An American attack on Iraq could profoundly affect the American economy, because the United States would have to pay most of the cost and bear the brunt of any oil price shock or other market disruptions, government officials, diplomats and economists say.”In an October 23rd article from last year, CNN reported that the Iraq war was “funded largely by Uncle Sam’s borrowed cash.” It continued,
“the nation has spent $415 billion in Iraq and another $190 billion since 2001 fighting the "war on terror," which includes the fighting in Afghanistan, according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Offices.” The article cited Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad as saying “a long-term "Korea-like" presence in Iraq could end up costing $2.5 trillion.”
America is the world’s largest economy. The strains placed on it due to the expenses of its involvement in the Middle East are revealing cracks in the fragile global economy.
Biblical Investment AdvicePeople don’t usually look to the bible for investment advice, but it does contain its fair share. It gives advice on markets to stay out of, and ones to invest in. The Lord Jesus Christ advises us in Matthew 6:19-21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal [we could add where markets don’t crash]: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Times like this are certainly a reminder not to “trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17). The events of Bible prophecy reviewed on this program each week certainly show us the nearness of Christ’s return and give us great reason assess to our spiritual portfolio.
We need to look at two commodities specifically, oil and gold.
While the world is very concerned about the price of oil and oil reserves. We too should be concerned. The Bible predicts a life and death crises around oil shortages. Now is the time to buy oil. Consider the advice of the Lord Jesus Christ in the parable of the virgins: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:1-13. How are our oil supplies these days? We need to seize the opportunity to fill our vessels with oil.
The other commodity we need to invest in is gold. Remember the words of Christ in Revelation, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the ecclesia.” (Revelation 3:18-22).
We need to be sure that our hopes are not tied to the markets of the world, but to the word of God and his coming kingdom. This is the only “investment” that is guaranteed.
Behind the HeadlinesBut what do all these financial tremors throughout the world have to do with Bible prophecy. In the February 15 edition of Time magazine, 2007 an article entitled “The Godfather” stated of Russia,
“Ten years ago, Russia was in a state of disarray reminiscent of the early 17th century "Time of Troubles..." Putin's most impressive achievement, however, has been to restore Russia's global clout.... Putin warns that a "unipolar world"--meaning one dominated by the U.S.--would prove "pernicious not only for all those within this system but also for the sovereign itself." The article went on to state,
“The political implications of today's expensive oil are worth pondering. Quite simply, Russia is the only major power that has an interest in high energy prices. It is therefore the only major power with no interest in Middle Eastern stability. That is why Russia poses America's biggest problem when it comes to stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons... the fact remains that it is the Russians who are building the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr and the Russians who have just won the contract to build an additional six such plants.” (Time Magazine, Feb 15, 2007). Well, today, the America’s economic crisis is a credit crisis due to its overextension from the Iraq war. Reuters reported on Wednesday,
“All of the Iraq and Afghanistan war money -- about $11 billion a month -- is effectively being put on a government credit card at a time when U.S. government debt has skyrocketed to more than $9 trillion, up from around $5.6 trillion when Bush took office in January 2001.”
Since Russia is responsible for destabilizing the Middle East by funding and arming the insurgents and their allies in the Middle East puts Russia at the puppet strings for this financial crisis. The question is, what will Russia’s move be while nobody is watching and everyone’s focus is on their wallets?
Don’t forget, Russia’s debt has been paid off by energy profits and therefore she remains entirely immune from this current crisis.
The New York Times reported on January 25th,
“In almost a decade since the Russian debt crisis of 1998, finance officials here have amassed an enviable war chest with the largest per capita currency reserves in the world while paying down nearly all sovereign debt. They are now describing Russia as the most insulated from the ill effects of a United States recession among the chief emerging-market economies, an extraordinary role for a country on its knees not so long ago. Foreign currency reserves of $478 billion, derived from windfall oil profits, are now the largest in the world per capita among big economies and will “play the role of an air bag” for the country, Mr. Kudrin said, as quoted by the Russian Information Agency. “Russia will soon be the focus of attention as a haven of stability.” Some large banks are agreeing, though cautiously, that Russia seems to be the strongest of the so-called BRIC leading emerging-market countries, a group that also includes China, India and Brazil. Russia stands out as potentially least susceptible to an American recession based on trade, reliance on international capital markets and the degree to which growth is driven by exports.”
What does all this mean?What does this mean? Well, the bear is on the prowl. Peter Brookes in an article for the Conservative Voice entitled “Bad News Bears” quoting the FBI, stated, “Russian intelligence operations in the US are back at Cold War levels once again. While fascinated with Washington political gossip, Russian spies are also targeting military-related high technology.” The article concludes with a warning,
“In the end, Moscow's new "Russian Doctrine" sees a world dominated by Washington - or anyone else - as a threat to its raw national interests and pride. In the name of standing up for itself, the Kremlin is clearly willing to check US power just about anywhere. While Russia may not be looking to recover the lost Soviet empire, it's out to regain its Soviet-era international clout and significance. The Kremlin sees America in decline and Russia's tsar, er, star on the rise - again.” This is exactly the prediction of Ezekiel 38 where it states,
“And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet….” (Ezekiel 38:4-5).
Another point of interest to note this week is France. The Economist, on January 17, 2008 recorded,
“France's announcement this week that it is to open a military base in the United Arab Emirates could mark a strategic shift in its defence policy. It will be France's first permanent base in the Gulf, in a country where it has no colonial ties…. President Nicolas Sarkozy has told the defence review team to “construct the security and defence of tomorrow according to needs, not habits”…. It shows that the French are ready to move outside their traditional sphere and to match their military presence to strategic interests rather than colonial links.” Ezekiel 38 tells us that these strategic interests will see an alignment with France and Russia in the Middle East, for the Gogian confederacy will include “Gomer, and all his bands…. and many people with thee.” (Ezekiel 38:6)
Blair for EU President?Finally this week, we see Tony Blair, the Trojan horse catholic, former prime minister of England being touted as a possible candidate for the European Presidency. The Economist reported on January 17, “President Nicolas Sarkozy came close to giving explicit backing to Mr Blair to become the European Union's first full-time president”. The article also stated Frances ideas on European defense: “French officials are frustrated by the lack of British response to their hints about NATO. But it is hard to see room for compromise. Something less than a full-blown EU defence headquarters would not satisfy the French.”
Power Shifted To EuropeWhile France is looking for the building up of the European military, the Daily Telegraph carried the headline “Treaty will shift power to Europe”, pointing out in the article,
“The EU Reform Treaty backed by prime minister Gordon Brown paves the way for a “massive and fundamental “ shift of power to Europe”…. Mr Connarty backs the new treaty because he wants a stronger Europe but he said he had decided to speak out because the British and other governments had not told the people of Europe the truth.” The article questions Britain’s ability to stay within the Union."
So while the world is in financial turmoil, the world stage is being set to play out the international game of chess as described in Ezekiel 38, we continue to watch with anticipation while the pieces are moving into place.
Tune in next week for another edition of Bible in the News. WWW.BIBLEINTHENEWS.COM. And, don’t forget to buy your shares of gold and oil. Buy the truth, and sell it not. This has been Jonathan Bowen reporting.