Saturday, November 22, 2014

DR. DAVID crash #2


by Dr David Jeremiah
The Polarization of Wealth and Oil

In the sixth chapter of Revelation, the apostle John describes a future scene in heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ is unrolling the scroll that records the sequence of events that will transpire on the earth for the next seven years. As the scroll unrolls, successive seals are removed from it disclosing a series of judgments, each a more frightening horror than the one before. Ultimately, three series of seven judgments are revealed: the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls. When the first seal is opened, John sees one of the infamous four horsemen of the Apocalypse—a rider on a white horse. This rider symbolizes the Antichrist in the early days of the Tribulation. 


The second seal is opened to reveal the rider on the red horse of bloodshed and war. Once again the scroll is unrolled, and the third seal is removed to reveal the third horseman of the Apocalypse. As this rider charges forth, John describes what he sees:

When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come and see." So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for. a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine." (Revelation 6:5-6)

The black horse is famine, and it follows the red horse because famine naturally follows war. This is the famine that Jesus predicted as part of the "beginning of sorrows" in Matthew 24:7-8: "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." 


The "quart of wheat" John mentions in his vision was the least amount of food necessary to sustain one person on a daily basis. The denarius was a Roman coin that was equal to a worker's wage for one day. Before the famine of the Tribulation, it would have been possible to buy five or six quarts of wheat for a denarius. This passage tells us that in the early days of the Tribulation period, a man will have to work all day just to get enough food to feed himself. Obviously, one quart of wheat would not have filled the hungry stomachs of a man's family in John's time. The man would be forced to buy barley, a cheaper grain usually reserved for cattle. For one denarius he could buy three quarts of barley, but there would be no money left for oil or salt, much less for meat or milk. The application is clear: in the early Tribulation, people will have only the bare minimum required for subsistence living.


As Schaefer noted forty years ago, the polarization' between wealth and poverty had begun, and it is getting much greater. The trend will grow even more until it reaches desperate levels in the end times. Mark Hitchcock writes:

During the coming Tribulation, the gulf between rich and poor will grow wider than ever before. Food will be so expensive that only the very wealthy will have enough. Famine will relentlessly hammer the middle class until the middle class disappears. The vast majority of people will wallow in misery, but the rich will continue to bask in the comfort of their luxurious lifestyle. The world will be radically divided among the elite "haves" and the mass of the "have-nots."... This will make the suffering of the have-nots even more unbearable as they watch the privileged few indulge themselves in the lap of luxury.28


Economic chaos always hits the poor and middle classes harder than the rich. Indeed, the superrich are rarely touched by it at all. If a billionaire's net worth falls by 50 percent, he is still worth $500 million .... Thus with each economic upheaval, the gap between rich and poor widens and will continue to do so until it reaches crisis proportions at the time of the Tribulation.

In late October 2009, the Pew Research Center reported that the leading story in the "news hole," or topics covered on television news, was the economy. More airtime was spent on economic news than on the rapidly spreading H1N1 flu and the panic over vaccine shortages. The ratio of time distribution between the economy and the swine flu was about 4 to 1. More airtime was spent on the economy than on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or anything else .... In particular, as summed up by CBS's Chip Reid, "For the titans of Wall Street, it's like the recession never happened. Less than a year after the big banks helped cause the financial meltdown, they're on track to pay out a record of $140 billion in bonuses this year"29. In 2006, the United Nations published the results of the first comprehensive study of the distribution of wealth among the households of the world. They defined wealth as the measure of income, assets, debts, land, and other tangible assets. Data was gathered from more than thirty-eight countries.30 The report showed the following: More than 33 percent of the world's wealthy live in North America; 27 percent live in Japan; 6 percent in the UK; 5 percent in France; and half the world's adult population own barely 1 percent of global wealth.31 The United States of America, Canada, and Mexico possess 33 percent of the world's wealth. By far most of this wealth is concentrated in the United States, though the U.S. is far from the world's most populous nation. According to the Worldwide Distribution of Household Wealth, issued in December 2006 (the first wealth survey in history), the rich have become richer. The top 2% and 1% of the world's population is estimated to own 51% and 40% of world household wealth, respectively. Very likely, the world today has a much more unbalanced wealth skew—-the rich being richer, and the non-rich relatively poorer—than ever before in history."32


When the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the result is what is called the "middle-class squeeze." The major cause of this squeeze is wages not keeping pace with inflation, causing income to decrease in buying power and thus forcing middle-class earners down into poorer categories. The world economy is setting itself up for years of increased inflation due to the massive amounts of newly printed dollars created primarily by the U.S. stimulus efforts. As billions of printed dollars are injected into the economy, the result is a decrease in the value of each dollar, which is the same as an increase in prices. Increased prices reduce the buying power of earned dollars, forcing people to lower their living standards or even do without vital necessities. We have seen this growing phenomenon in the number of families who no longer have health care, in the emergence of tent cities in major metro areas, and in formerly middle-class families now depending on food banks. These developments may be the result of a temporary economic crisis and not necessarily a permanent condition. But if inflation moves to hyperinflation, the ability of formerly middle-class people to regain their position will be seriously hindered. By the time of the Tribulation, the gap between the rich and the poor will widen into a chasm, and the middle class will disappear altogether.


The Priority of Oil

Although I devoted an entire chapter to the topic of oil and to the related Battle of Gog and Magog by the new axis of evil in an earlier book, I must revisit this subject here because it is one of the major financial signs pointing us toward the Tribulation. To show how this subject relates to the coming end times, we will turn to the words of the prophet Ezekiel:

Thus says the Lord God: "On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an. evil plan: You will say, T will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates-—-to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land." (Eze-kiel 38:10-12)

We know from the earlier part of Ezekiel 38 that this prophecy concerns the war of Gog and Magog against Israel. Some think this war might take place before the Rapture. I believe it will take place right after the Rapture, in the early days of the Tribulation. Either way, we should give some primacy to understanding this war, for if we believe that Jesus could come in our lifetime, that means the war could well take place within the next five years.


Ezekiel tells us that the Gog-Magog assault against Israel is the result of an evil thought that is put into the mind of the leader of a coalition army made up of many nations. These nations come against Israel intending to wipe her from the face of the earth. No one stands with Israel against the armies of Gog and Magog but the God of heaven.

Where is the United States at this moment? Why are we not pictured as standing with our perennial ally Israel? The desertion of Israel by the United States was once deemed unthinkable, but no longer. Increasingly, our nation is catering to the oil-producing nations whose product gives them an inordinate hold over our contemporary lifestyle. These nations have an expressed hatred for Israel.


As if to prove my point, in words not even used when speaking of proven enemies like Iran and North Korea, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with the apparent sanction of the administration, referred to Israel's proposal to build housing in its own capital city as "an insult to the United States."33 The Anti-Defamation League's president, Abraham Foxman, observed, "We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States."34

While Clinton later offered reassurances that our bond with Israel is "unshakeable" and that our commitment to Israel's security is "absolute," there is no denying that there is a rending of that bond on the part of the United States.35
A further indication of this rift became acutely apparent with the unprecedented White House snubbing of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a March 2010 visit to the United States. The president, angry over his failure to convince the prime minister to abandon the Jerusalem housing plan, chose not to dine with him and refused him the press briefing that normally accompanies visits by heads of state. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, "The Prime Minister leaves America disgraced, isolated, and altogether weaker than when he came."36


If Israel's friends treat her in this way, it is no surprise that the evil thoughts of her enemies will one day draw them into war against her. What could produce thoughts evil enough for nations to amass armies against this tiny nation? Well, what does the Middle East have that the whole world needs? I think you know the answer: oil.


It is likely that oil is the "plunder and booty" spoken of in the Ezekiel passage above. The Middle East has rich deposits of oil because it was once an area rich with more lushness than any other place on the planet. The Garden of Eden was in the Middle East. If, as most scientists believe, oil is formed primarily from the decomposition of animal and vegetable matter, then this is the area where we might expect the greatest oil deposits. 


This chart also reveals another statistic about the world's oil reserves—one that is a cause for serious concern: the majority of the reserves are held by Islamic nations. Almost 60 percent of all the oil in the world's top oil-producing nations is in reserve under nations that hate Israel and America. The increasing demand for oil in the world will give these hostile nations increasing leverage and power as oil-guzzling nations such as the U.S. become more and more careful about keeping relationships with these nations intact.


But the question arises, why would these nations want to attack Israel? I learned the probable answer when I met recently with the president of the Zion Oil and Gas company. He told me that his company has been granted licenses by the Israeli government to drill for oil in Israel. While the going has been tough and the cost high, don't be surprised if you hear in the near future that the nation of Israel has discovered oil in her own land. What could this mean in terms of end-time prophecies?

The present oil-rich nations desire to destroy Israel, and they have already tried it twice in modern history. Only Israel's superior military capacity, achieved through armaments and aid from the United States, has enabled Israel to repel attacks from these hostile nations. Consider what might happen as the U.S. grows increasingly dependent on Middle East oil and if Israel does discover massive deposits of oil on her land. Would not Israel's enemies jump on her for the "plunder and booty" of this newfound wealth, knowing that this time the U.S. would not come to her aid because of its utter dependence on their oil?


Even if Israel does not discover oil, would not the oil-rich nations that hate her use their oil as leverage to force Israel's oil-hungry allies such as the U.S. to step back as attempts are undertaken to annihilate their historical enemy? Either way, we can see why end-time prophecies predict a massive gathering of armies against Israel in the Middle East.


In Ezekiel 38:4 God tells these nations gathering against Israel with their evil plan that He will "turn you around [and] put hooks into your jaws." I believe that oil is the hook in the jaw. Since these nations are intent on their evil plan, God will allow their lust for wealth to lead them to their own destruction. It will be hunger for oil that will gather these nations to war against Israel. Ezekiel is pointedly clear about the motivation in the hearts of those who go up to the unwalled villages of Israel: "I will go up against a land of unwalled villages.. .to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land" (Ezekiel 38:11-12).


As author and speaker Terry James concludes. "How much of a stretch is it then to believe that the forces of Gog-Magog would one day consider this region a chief target for invasion? And carrying this logic to its biblically prophetic conclusion, is it any wonder that Armageddon, involving most every nation on earth, will take place in this very region to do battle for the great spoil—the liquid black gold—beneath the sand of the Middle East?"37


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