“From 780-745 BC, the Assyrian Empire was unable to continue the pressure it had put on the nations of the Canaanite coast during the previous century. At this same time, both Judah and Israel were blessed with fairly stable governments. As a result of these two factors, the two nations were experiencing a time of wealth and prosperity unparalleled since the day of Solomon.
As has tended to be true throughout history, the Israelites took this wealth and prosperity to be unmistakable signs of the blessings of God. …But in fact, their wealth and power was not evidence of the blessings of God….Much of their wealth had been amassed at the expenses of the poor whom the rich and powerful were systematically oppressing…Thus, what the Israelites saw as the beginning of a new ‘Golden Age’, was really the last flush of a terminal illness.”—[English Standard Version Study Bible (2008), Introduction to the book of Amos, pg 1655]
American Christians and non-Christians alike have lost their mental bearings when it comes to money. We have been deceived into believing that as long as the stock market moves higher, we are wealthier and our economy is improving. Surely, this is a sign of blessing from God.
Yes there is evil around us. Yes there are many scary developments in the world we live in. But if we go to church socials, sing happy songs, and turn off the news, our lives and our nation will continue to plug along.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love fellowship. I love singing joyous songs; especially with the extremely negative trends that continue to unfold in the world I raise my children. However, complacency and apathy in a world seeking answers is not, nor ever has been, the role of the church in a society.
Right now, the American church has little to no teaching on the rise of corruption that comes from having a system of money that grows based on an ever exploding rise in that nations debt.
Picturing Wealth Bubbles
The chart below has 5 points in history, dating back over the last 15 years.
Point 1 was March 24, 2000, or what is often referred to as the end of the dot.com bubble. At the time, the US national debt stood at 5.73 trillion and the value of publicly traded wealth based on the broadest stock index in US markets – the Wilshire 5,000 – stood at 14.99 trillion. As you can see from the table below, while US stock wealth in 2013 has registered its highest levels on record, the RATIO of US stock wealth to the US national debt levels are LOWER than they were when US stocks topped on March 2000 and October 2007. In other words, we continue to be lead to focus on the height of stock prices as a barometer of our nations wealth, all the while totally dismissing the mammoth rise of debt that is being created to foster the latest Ponzi Scheme. This is morally reprehensible, but the American church seems to have bought into the scheme and remains silent.
Even more alarming, is the fact that when the previous two stock bubbles burst, and the economy slowed, the nations debt levels continued to rise. In fact, the stock to debt ratios, as shown above, declined dramatically. In other words, we have twice watched our stock collateral collapse as a nation, all the while continuing to increase our bondage to those who hold the nation’s debt. Why do we refuse to learn from our past?
Proverbs 22:7 – “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”
If the church in the United States spends a great deal of time focusing on how to get out debt, how to live within our means, and how to trust for our daily provisions, why has the church been so silent to a culture looking for answers as they watch the national debt rise from 5.7 trillion in March 2000 to 16.7 trillion as of August 2013? Are American Christians so foolish as to think that God will bless our own material goals while our nation’s debt explodes 85% in 6 years?
The Old Testament Prophets made it clear that Israel was so confident that their riches meant God was pleased with their actions that they refused to listen to the warnings from their fellow Israelites. The prophets were “naysayers” or “gloom and doomers”.
Don’t worry, be happy was more important than obedience to God’s teachings.
When the current debt driven stock bubble turns down with a vengeance, and the secular world ask “Where was God?”, anyone who has read the major and minor prophets should be able to say, “He was always there. We just did not learn from our past, or even more accurately, from Israel’s collapse as written about in the Old Testament.”
Ancient World and Modern World: Some Things Stay the Same
“Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land, saying, ‘When will the new moon be over, so that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath, that we may open the wheat market to make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, and to cheat with dishonest scales, so as to buy the helpless for money and the needy for a pair of sandals, and that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?” [Amos 8:4-6, NASB]
“According to UN sources, which vastly underestimate the seriousness of the water crisis, one billion people worldwide (fifteen percent of the world population) have no access to clean water ‘and 6,000 children die every day because of infections linked to unclean water.’
A handful of global corporations included Suez, Veolia, Bechtel-United Utilities, Thames Water and Germany’s RWE-AG are acquiring control and ownership over public water utilities and waste management. Suez and Veolia hold seventy percent of the privatized water systems worldwide.” [The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century (2010) Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, Editors, pg 166]
“At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good nor will be do ill.’ Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.” [Zephaniah 1:12-13, Amplified]
Over 20 Million Houses Sitting Vacant – Fabian Calvo, USA Watchdog, 12/3/12
“Real estate expert Fabian Calvo says there’s more to the story about rising prices in the housing market than what’s reported by the mainstream media. Calvo charges, ‘There’s a tremendous amount of manipulation . . . Yes, prices have gone up 3%. I see it, but it’s because the inventory has been suppressed on purpose by big players . . . not foreclosing on properties.’ Calvo should know because he runs a company called TheNoteHouse.us. It buys and sells $100 million annually in distressed debt and real estate. Calvo says, ‘Over 20 million houses, on any given night in America, are completely sitting vacant.’
If Rates Go Up Housing Will Imploded, The Note House, Feb 7, 2013
“Real estate investor Fabian Calvo says, ‘The Fed realizes there needs to be a low rate environment for housing to recover or it’s a huge implosion. They have thrown underwriting guidelines out the window. They are going to continue with no money down loans or very little equity.’ The Fed also knows that many big banks are technically insolvent. Calvo contends, ‘You have a lot of these zombie banks. If you mark-to-market their assets, they would be bankrupt’.”
Mortgage Applications Fall for Seventh Straight Week, The Motley Fool, July 31 ’13
“The recent rise in interest rates is continuing to work its way through the mortgage market. The Mortgage Bankers Association said this morning that its mortgage applications index fell by 1.2% over the past week and is now at its lowest level in more than two years. It’s off by 47% since its May high.”
As Christians, we know that Christ told us that the truth would set us free. As Christians, we know that the borrower is slave to the lender. These ideas have been a part of Christianity for two thousand years.
If the church continues to listen to lies that more debt will make us FEEL wealthier, and by FEELING wealthier our lives will get back to normal, are we not headed toward a time of great moral and financial bondage? If God allowed this to his chosen people, the sons of Israel, why would he not allow this to America? Fed Seeking To Create Wealth, Not Just To Cut Rates, Yahoo Finance, Sept 14. ‘12
It also wants to make people feel wealthier — and more willing to spend.
The idea is for the Fed’s $40 billion-a-month in bond purchases to lower interest rates and cause stock and home prices to rise, creating a “wealth effect” that would boost the economy.
And “if people feel that their financial situation is better because their 401(k) looks better or for whatever reason — their house is worth more — they’re more willing to go out and spend,” Chairman Ben Bernanke told reporters. “That’s going to provide the demand that firms need in order to be willing to hire and to invest.” [Italic my own]
Wake up American Christians. Our nation is looking for answers, and the historical lessons from the pages of the Bible have always been ready to meet this challenge. [Source- CNBC screenshot – August 15 ‘13]
Matthew 6:19 -21, 24 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
WAKE UP AMERICA.