Welcome to the "Twilight Zone"

Is today's economic crisis a precursor to prophetic events in Revelation?

Does the current economic crisis feel like an episode of The Twilight Zone?

Some have dubbed what we’re living through as a possible “Greater Depression.” A hundred thousand businesses have shut down, 100 million personal loans have been deferred, 46 million people have filed for unemployment, and 40% of those jobs are never coming back.

Yet, according to Bloomberg, never in American history has income risen as sharply as it has since COVID-19. Just as strangely, Americans actually saved more money in April 2020 than at any other time in our history.

How do 22 percent of American adults lose their jobs while simultaneously saving and making more money than ever before?

The creator of this “twilight zone” is the Federal Reserve. It took America’s founding fathers from the inception of our nation until 1981 to accumulate its first trillion dollars of debt. Now, thanks to the Fed’s printing spree, we’ve topped $26 trillion—with $3 trillion of that amassed over the last three-and-a-half months. All of this has been part of a national and even global response to the economic fallout from the Coronavirus.

Our twilight zone is being funded by money we don’t have. 

The result of this period of mass money printing has been the most rapid transfer of wealth in human history. Free money is costly to those at the bottom, who suddenly have to pay more for everything. This happens at the exact same time that they’re losing jobs and facing the expiration of their emergency debt deferrals.

Meanwhile, America’s billionaires profited dramatically from Corona-bailouts, growing their accounts by a collective $434 billion in a matter of weeks. I’m not saying we should blame billionaires for increasing their wealth—they’re merely benefitting from a lopsided system.

God’s heart for the poor

But let’s also not be so naïve as to think that God has forgotten the plight of the poor. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaims “Blessed are you poor.” James writes that God choose the poor of the world “to be rich in faith.” The book of Proverbs commands us to “plead the case of the poor and needy.” The poor have always been on God’s heart. That has not changed.

A system that exploits the poor is in conflict with the Kingdom of God.

The eighteenth chapter of Revelation addresses this very exploitation in its language about the fall of “Babylon the Great.” What many people don’t realize is that “Babylon” is not only judged for persecuting believers and committing idolatry, but also, for economic sins. “Babylon” was John’s code-word for the “great city” of Rome (Revelation 18:18). In the end times, there will be a resurgence of the Roman Empire, which I wrote about earlier. At the height of its prosperity, God declares, “in one hour your judgment will come” (Revelation 18:10). 

In other words, judgment arrives swiftly for those who exploit the poor.

According to that chapter, three groups will profit from the economic exploitation of the Last Days and mourn its collapse: kings, merchants and sailors. (In those days, most trade took place over the sea).

In modern terms, we might think of equivalent “elites” who benefit from this massive transfer of wealth: bureaucrats, international corporations and high-powered bankers. 

A sign of what’s to come

Even though Babylon’s fall will take place while we’re in heaven, we should still view the collapse of our current economic system as a precursor and setup for what’s to come. In fact, many “secular prophets” are predicting a global financial reset in 2020. Take, for instance, these words from former MIT professor and Wall Street Journal columnist Michael Casey:

The pandemic has given this all-in game even more urgency. As central banks flood the world with monetary stimulus… the dollar-centric international monetary system will come under stress… Meanwhile, the fallout from the crisis and the response to it have highlighted use cases for digital currencies that weren’t previously on people’s radars. 

China, Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands have all pursued pilot programs for a digital currency. Even in the United States, our struggle to transfer stimulus funds efficiently led to a bill proposal for a digital dollar. In the words of Michael Casey, “yes, a reimagining is coming.” 

This is not yet the Fall of Babylon, but it’s setting up the Rise of Babylon—a revived Roman Empire. This will be the wealthiest empire in the history of the world, thanks to global exploitation of the poor. Digital currencies will accelerate this transition, paving the way for a “mark of the beast,” which will punish resistors with the inability to either buy or sell. Those who don’t compromise with the world’s system will suffer. The temptation will be great—which is why God warns the believers who live in Babylon’s domain, “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins…” (Revelation 18:4).

Rescue is coming

Economies, like nations, rise and fall. Our hope is not in the Almighty Dollar, but in Almighty God. My goal in sharing these things is not to scare you. We have nothing to fear! Soon, Jesus will rescue us, but He’s coming for a bride who is ready.

The greatest way to prepare is with that oft-repeated command in Jesus’ address to the seven churches throughout Revelation 2 and 3: Repent.

The church of the Last Days does not prepare by hoarding supplies, but by getting our hearts right with God—and this includes taking financially righteous actions.

The last thing we want to do in times of financial crisis is to “rob God” of tithes (Malachi 3:8) or deprive the poor. Yes, it’s true that there’s wisdom in preparing for financial winters (Proverbs 6:6-11). But remember, we’re preparing to meet Jesus, not disaster. He’s looking for a church who’s already looking for Him.

Today we see Him in the eyes of the poor (Matthew 25:36-40).

Soon we’ll see Him coming in the clouds (Matthew 24:27).