A Financial Tsunami - Coming our Way?|
2005 Warnings 04/07/2006
We mostly ignore self-proclaimed "prophets" within our churches. One in particular "pops up" on Christian television from time to time claiming a crystal-ball method of looking into the future. He has supposedly predicted earthquakes and terrorist attacks. But, he is an "abomination" and a false prophet. Don't fall for fortune-tellers like this. God says,
"There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a wizard of a necromancer, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord" (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, ESV).
Then there is David Wilkerson. You know him. You just may not be able to quite place his name. Over thirty years ago Wilkerson wrote The Cross and the Switchblade which was made into a movie. He serves as pastor of Times Square Church. He founded Teen Challenge, the acclaimed drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. He's an old-timer now, a precious soul who still dedicates himself fully to the preaching of God's Word. We suggest that everyone get on his mailing list to receive World Challenge Pulpit Series, free, monthly messages which edify believers. Phone: (903) 963-8626.
(Editor's note: Pastor David Wilkerson passed away in 2011).
On August 19, 2001, just three weeks prior to 9-11, Pastor Wilkerson preached a message called, "An Hour of Trouble is Coming." He and his staff cancelled all events including a Missions Conference and Youth Convention, and went into four nights a week of prayer. After 9-11 he stated, "If you are a Christian, you know God has delivered a message to America and the world through this disaster."
He continues, "Like many pastors, I've wept and grieved over this awful calamity. I've sought the Lord in prayer and through his Word. And I want to tell you, I've experienced a grief that's even deeper than the mourning for innocent people dying. It's a grief that says if we miss God's message, if we turn a deaf ear to what He's loudly proclaiming, then much worse is in store for us" (Wilkerson 2003, 108-109).
Not a Prophet but a Watchman
Pastor Wilkerson considers himself one of God's watchmen. This comes from Ezekiel 33:6.
"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand."
Watchman not a Tea Leaf Reader
David Wilkerson clearly considers himself one of God's "watchmen," but not a "prophet." He uses this Ezekiel passage to state: "I am one of the Lord's many watchmen. And here is why I cannot hold my peace" (1998). Pastor Wilkerson reads the Bible and applies God's prophetic principles to today's events. He does not read tea-leaves.
To understand our article more completely, there are three books by David Wilkerson that every interested reader should own. They are:
1. The Vision and Beyond
2. America's Last Call
3. God's Plan to Protect His People in the Coming Depression
These books may be ordered online from www.worldchallenge.org.
The Vision was originally printed in 1973. Due to the stunning fulfillment of Pastor Wilkerson's visions, this book was reprinted in 2003. Many of the visions have not yet unfolded. But, we can see clearly that they will.
Visions within the Vision
In his 1973 publication, Pastor Wilkerson saw severe future economic problems in Japan, and then in the United States, Canada, and most other nations. He saw credit busts and the bankruptcies of major corporations. He saw auto industries folding and union failures. He saw major airlines having severe problems. He predicted so many natural disasters that insurance companies would become depleted of funds. He envisioned interest-only loans, and an "eco backlash" against environmentalists. He saw social-aid program cutbacks due to resentment of illegal immigrants, and a vicious anti-American stance by France and then by other nations.
What kind of Prophet is Wilkerson?
This is just a taste. There is much more in the book. Remember, this book came out in 1973! Many of us thought it made for interesting, futuristic reading at the time. We never imagined in our wildest dreams that any of it should come true.
Still, remember that Pastor Wilkerson does not claim to be a crystal-ball reading prophet. He reads the Bible, and applies God's principles of prophecy to today. In essence, he reads the prophecies of Ezekiel or Hosea or Isaiah and others, and carefully studies their prophecies in order to "connect the dots" for us in today's world. In this sense, he calls himself God's "Watchman," but not a "prophet."
A Financial Tsunami?
OK. So why do we warn of a financial tsunami hitting the shores of America now?
Answer: Because many top experts warn of severe economic difficulties due to a number of convergences happening at once. Alert, concerned Christians may want to heed the warnings and prepare themselves in order to help others should the worst happen. The following lists five reasons for concern:
1. Excesses in Real Estate
First, a little over two years ago we learned that global elitists had sold off their real estate. After their property sales, they had less than 14% of their assets in real estate holdings. Then for a year going forward, financial pundits warned Americans that interest-only loans, no down-payment home purchases, and speculative real-estate ventures could end badly. We are now witnessing the beginning of bad-endings.
2. Government Excesses
Second, we have been warned by a cadre of elitists (whom we don't especially like) that America is virtually bankrupt and that we need to institute fiscal responsibility within government. Peter Peterson, former Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004).
Laurence Kotlikoff, a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research, warns that "if our government continues on the course it has set, we'll see skyrocketing tax rates, drastically lower retirement and health benefits, high inflation, a rapidly depreciating dollar, unemployment, and political instability." This is excerpted from his book, The Coming Generational Storm (Mass., MIT Press, 2005).
3. Dollar Devaluation
Third, a consultant for the International Monetary Fund and an Asian analyst, Richard Duncan, wrote The Dollar Crisis (Singapore: John Wiley&Sons, 2005). Part one describes the outlandish U.S. trade deficits. Part two details why a collapse in the value of the dollar will ensue. Part three warns of the impact America's dollar collapse will have worldwide. Mr. Duncan is just one of many analysts who have warned of a dollar devaluation.
4. PERSONAL DEBT
Fourth, Americans have reached an all-time high in personal debt. They use credit cards to buy food, to pay medical expenses, to pay utility bills, and to buy "knick-knacks" at Wal-Mart. Our American rich buy ever increasing amounts of "bling bling." "Bling Bling" is a new word which means superfluous, excess, expensive junk - such as real, gold-plated wall fixtures or carved, Roman pillars for the home.
The economist Stephen Roach recently wrote the following on a Morgan Stanley website: "According to Federal Reserve estimates, equity extraction by U.S. households topped $600 billion in 2005 - more than enough to compensate for the shortfall of earned labor income. Comforted by this asset-based injection of purchasing power (home equity loans), consumers had little compunction in stretching traditional income-based constraints to the max. The personal savings rate fell deeper into negative territory than at any point since 1933…"
A Warning to the Church: Christians React
While it saddens us to admit this, Christians are among the worst offenders in this new world of greed, debt, and excesses. They become hostile and angry with watchmen such as David Wilkerson. They accuse watchmen of being "negative" or of being "scare-mongers." They want to hear "positive" messages such as affirmations touted by Robert Schuller or other preachers who give messages that "tickle the ears of hearers" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
We want to warn readers to "sober up," and to remind Christians that this world is not our home. "But our citizenship is in Heaven" (Philippians 3:20). We need to accept this because if we will open our eyes to what is going on around us, we will see that just about everything we know and are familiar with in the United States is changing. We love America, too. But, please friends, look around you. We are going through a major paradigm shift.
1 Peter 5:8 instructs us to "be of sober spirit, be on the alert." Webster's dictionary defines "alert" as: "watchful and ready, as in facing danger" (Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, 2nd. college ed.).
Heap of Troubles Coming
Jobs are being exponentially outsourced to China and India. Manufacturing plants are closing, reneging on retirement funds, or going bankrupt. Airlines are in terrible financial difficulty. Debt defaults and pension fund problems are spreading like a chain-reaction.
We need to remember that economic depressions are partly caused by cascading defaults on credit-card debt, home mortgages, car loans, and other consumer debt. We face a new world of jihadist terrorism. Most of the world hates us, not to mention the potential of a deadly flu pandemic similar in its effects to the dreaded disease, Ebola. And just look at the strange weather patterns which have taken out one of our cities and threatens to affect others. These tragedies look like the heap of troubles forecast in David Wilkerson's 1973 book, The Vision.
At the end of Luke 21 we are told, "But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place."
If we had Obeyed
If we had obeyed God when He says,
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world" (1 John 2:15-17, ESV),
…Then, we would not need to worry nearly so much about hard times coming. We wouldn't have so many things to lose.
A Church under Judgment
God warns of judgment which He has instituted again and again on His people who refuse to obey His Word. This includes Israel. However, we believe it also includes the Church. We suggest that Christians study for themselves some of the judgments upon God's people from Isaiah chapter five.
"If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).
To be "heirs" means that we partake of God's spiritual blessings that accompanied the Abrahamic Covenant - justification by faith (Gen. 15:6, cf. Rom. 4:3-11, MacArthur Study Bible). However, we are also subject to God's curses. Please note that this does not mean that the church usurps Israel's place. It emphatically does not. However, the people of God fall under principles of covenant blessings and curses. (America the Blessed?).
To Regain Blessings
Is there a way for American Christians to gain back blessings upon America?
Yes. We must seek God, turn to following His commands, and petition for His forgiveness:
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
But, have we done this?
2 Chronicles not Heeded
In an affluent culture like ours, heeding 2 Chronicles is not easy. Most of us are in the habit of trusting our hard work and our easy credit cards.
5. Currency Threat
New Threat - Iranian Oil Bourse
But now, the American dollar may be facing a challenge to its value which could cause great pain for most Americans in the years ahead. This is because ever since World War II all purchases of oil have been made in U.S. Dollars. NO other currency is allowed by International agreements. However, in March of 2006, Iran will open up a new oil-trading exchange. Nations will be able to buy or sell oil in currencies other than the dollar.
Why is this a threat? Up until now, all buying and selling of oil has been done in American dollars. These are called "petro dollars." If you live in France, you have to convert your French francs into dollars to buy oil for your country. These purchases are done on the London International Oil Exchange or the American NYMEX, a commodities exchange. These two exchanges have been the only places to buy and sell oil.
Furthermore, for countries to trade oil, they had to keep a large reserve of United States currency on hand. This is because worldwide the only medium for exchange has been the dollar. This kept the dollar valuable because it was the only means for valuing oil. Because of this, the dollar has been used as a "reserve" currency. It has been the best money in the world and the only currency accepted for oil trade.
Yet, at the same time, the Federal Reserve printed massive amounts of U.S. dollars, which meant that foreigners were forced to keep more and more dollars in their reserves in order to buy oil. The Federal Reserve diluted the value of a dollar by printing so much of it. Just like pouring water into coffee, it caused dollars to constantly lose value or to become "diluted." This is a "hidden" tax to foreigners, and they intensely dislike this form of taxation. However, policies like these may change soon, and it could spell trouble for us all.
We need to understand that America must maintain an international standard that requires all nations to trade oil in dollars. If other countries begin to trade oil in alternate favorite currencies, the dollar will fall in value.
Think about ENRON stock, for example. It was valuable as long as people agreed its worth was in the $80 per share range. However, once people tried to dump shares onto the market where there were no buyers of ENRON stock, it's value plummeted. In a similar way, once countries no longer use or want the U.S. dollar to trade oil, the value of the dollar will crash.
Ahmadinejad - Threatens Dollar
Now Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current Iranian leader, intends to set up his own oil bourse or exchange in Iran. If other countries agree to his plan, oil could be traded for euros, for Japanese yen, or for other currencies.
Why Painful to Americans?
Now, here is why this could cause great pain to many Americans: By no longer retaining its reserve status, the purchasing power of the American dollar would plunge. As other countries use fewer dollars for oil purchases, life in America could begin to resemble life in Argentina, very quickly.
As the dollar falls in value, we could see milk rise from $3.50 per gallon to around $15. Gas could quickly rise from $2.50 to $5 to $10 per gallon or more. In the morning we might buy Folgers instant coffee for $6. By evening it could cost about $20 per jar. This is what hyperinflation looks like. It has happened to Israel, Russia, and numerous South American and Asian countries. Get ready, because we may be next.
Not worth a Continental
Most of the world has experienced hyperinflationary disasters from time to time. But, we haven't seen this in America since the years following the Revolutionary war. That was when the expression, "not worth a continental" became standard. At that time, American currency, the "Continental," was worth nothing. The government just printed paper notes hoping people would accept them. They did not.
It may be worth our while to study the history of hyperinflationary times. Otherwise, "My people perish for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6) will surely apply to us.
(We encourage students to obtain a copy of "Pondering the Unthinkable: An American Hyperinflation," The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, Sept. 2005, Ph. (800) 528-0559. P.O. Box 84904, Phoenix, AZ 85071).
Part 4 - Conclusion
Helpful suggestions to Readers
In wrapping up, what can we do to prepare for so many financial convergences which could lead to a financial tsunami? Several newsletter writers suggest the following:
Keep a little cash on hand for emergencies. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, however. Split your money between banks and brokerage firms. Don't keep all of your money at Schwab or Fidelity, for example. Keep a good portion in liquid treasury bills. One frequently recommended source is the Vanguard Treasury Bill fund which allows customers to write checks on their T Bill funds.
We have mentioned this in other articles because it is so important: Try to pay off your credit card debt. The reason is that interest rates could become extremely high in a dollar devaluation or crash. For example, in other countries such as Israel or Russia, interest rates have skyrocketed as high as 600% or more during hyperinflationary times. You don't want to owe much in credit card expenses at such a time.
Furthermore, Congress recently made it difficult for Americans to declare bankruptcy in such a crisis. You don't want to live in a "debtor's prison." The Bible says, "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave" (Proverbs 22:7, NASB).
Buy a wood stove, and a solar cooling system (such as those used on boats) for your home. Don't own a gas-guzzling car. These measures could save energy costs. Do not underestimate hyperinflationary energy costs. Bills for heating and cooling could rise from $300 monthly to $2,000 or more.
In World War II Americans planted "Victory Gardens." Let's get back to old-fashion gardening again. It's great to eat good tasting home-grown produce. It might even save your life.
Try to quit competing with your neighbors for fancy houses, expensive home-remodeling jobs, clothes, and cars. This is not the time to do that. It's not worth it. Or, just make a decision to wait for one or two years before commiting serious money to upgrades. See how things play out first.
The Bible says, …"And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's" (Deuteronomy 5:21, The Ten Commandments).
A beloved Christian brother, Rich, reminds us that tithing is extremely important during hard times. Churches and charities suffer when people tighten their belts. Yet, God says to,
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10, NKJV).
People were invited to put God to the test in this passage. "If they would honor Him by reversing their robbery and in a show of true repentance bring what He required, He would shower them with excessive abundance" (MacArthur Study Bible).
Try giving a simple 10% of your income to tithing. If you do not have regular income, look for needs within your church and fill them. Perhaps an elderly man needs some food. Or you could drive a blind lady to a doctor's appointment. Maybe a widow needs help with her lawn. Or, perhaps the church pantry needs canned goods. Give to God through tithing, however you decide to do it. (Thanks, Rich…important stuff)!
If you own too much home for your money, sell it now. Buy a less expensive home, or rent for one or two years. If you are close to retirement and plan to cut costs anyway, think about doing it sooner rather than later.
Readers might want to start collecting American Eagle silver and gold coins minted by the U.S. government. Rather than save dollars in mutual funds, perhaps you could save 5% in silver and gold coins. History shows us that they will maintain value in a currency devaluation or crash, and may appreciate, too. These are best kept in bank safety-deposit boxes. Be careful where you purchase coins. Your local coin dealer who has a solid, 10-year reputation, is usually OK. Check his reputation.
Look into buying foreign currencies for yourself. Everbank at everbank.com sells foreign currency CDs with FDIC insurance against a bank failure (not on the currency fluctuations). There are numerous closed-end funds which purchase foreign currencies. Templeton Emerging Markets fund and PIMCO Global Income fund have a good reputation.
Try to live far away from major, large cities. Big cities could be hazardous during hard times with many looters and angry people.
Priorities - Focus your lives upon things that really Matter
Worship God. Go to church.
Attend home Bible-Studies.
Strengthen church and family relationships.
Pray. Keep a prayer journal.
Study the Bible.
Memorize Scripture verses.
You will be happy you did these things.
In the end, King Solomon advised all of us to do the following:
"The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
A dear Christian brother put it this way:
Fact - We are all going to die.
Fact - Few people will remember us after we are gone, maybe five at best.
Conclusion - So we may as well devote our lives to God NOW! Make your remaining days count. God never forgets us!
Duncan, Richard. 2005. The dollar crisis. Singapore: John Wiley&Sons.
Kotlikoff, Laurence. 2005. The coming generational storm. MA: MIT Press.
Loeffler, John. 2005. Who's watching the bourse. Cassette tape. 01/14/05. steelonsteel.com
Peterson, Peter. 2004. Running on empty. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Petrov, Krassimir. The proposed Iranian oil bourse. www.masternewmedia.org.
Wilkerson, David. 1974. The vision. Reprinted as: The Vision and Beyond. 2003. Lindale, TX: Wilkerson Trust.
—- 1998. America's last call. Lindale, TX: Wilkerson Trust.
—-1998. God's plan in the coming depression. Lindale, TX: Wilkerson Trust.
Photo - NOAA
Authors Valorie Mays Emilio holds an M.A. in History from UCLA focusing upon early church history. Ken received an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Louisiana Baptist University. They aren't "prophets." They just appreciate good research and want to share it with you.