Signs of the Times

Economic Issues

Economic trends have a strong influence in shaping the development of national and international affairs. Prophecy students are expecting the emergence of an End Times world government which will not necessarily be led by the United States. The troubled world economy will make people willing to accept the control of a governmental system or even a benevolent dictator who appears to have the ideas and influence to improve the situation.

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Commentary: The Connection Between The Economy and Prophecy

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Current Events and Links

Significance of the Economy in Prophecy

See also:
Mark of the Beast
New World Order

Notice: Sources often remove their news links after a period of time. Some of them move older stories to a subscription-only section. Even if the story is no longer on line, our summary will still be available on this page.
See more recent articles: After December 31, 2014

MarketWatch's Arends: China's Rise to No. 1 Economy 'A Geopolitical Earthquake'

Dec. 5, 2014 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will total $17.6 trillion this year, topping $17.4 trillion for the United States. Harvard economist Jeff Frankel said that, on a per capita income basis, China is still a relatively poor country.

MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends explained that this is bad news for the U.S., and calls it a "geopolitical earthquake."

"Throughout history, political and military power have always depended on economic power. . .This will not change anything tomorrow or next week, but it will change almost everything longer term."

Source: NewsMax

Significance of the Economy in Prophecy

As Apple Pay Arrives, Witnessing the Next Step in Money. Maybe.

Oct. 21, 2014 - With the release of Apple Pay yesterday, owners of the iPhone6 can make purchases at thousands of retail locations, including Macy’s, Walgreens and McDonald's by just pressing a button and using the phone's fingerprint scanner to validate the purchase. They can forget about their wallets and plastic cards.
“Their brand, their technology and their choices in security made it compelling to us,” said James Anderson, senior vice president of emerging payments at MasterCard, who also pointed to Apple’s fingerprint identification system . . . an impressive additional way to fight credit card fraud.

Nearly three quarters of a billion credit cards are in use in the United States, [and recent computer theft of millions of credit card names and numbers have made consumers worried about identity theft].

Merchants are not as enthusiastic as consumers about the development because there is little incentive for them to pay for new terminals to receive the "Near Field Communication" payments. However, Apple's timing is excellent because American merchants face a deadline next fall to upgrade their equipment to accept E.M.V.-- Europay, MasterCard and Visa technology. Those new terminals will probably be equipped to handle Near Field transactions.

Source: N.Y. Times

Why the Bash Shellshock Bug Could Be Even Worse Than Heartbleed

Sept. 25, 2014 -
Shellshock is newly discovered vulnerability in software that's in computer systems we use everyday. It's kind of like Heartbleed, the Open/SSL bug . . . Shellshock could be way worse, and it's been around for decades.
Source: Gizmodo

Report: Russian Hackers Steal 1.2B Passwords

Aug. 6, 2014 - Hold Security, a company that has a history of uncovering Internet security problems, reported that Russian hackers have recently stolen 1.2 billion user names and passwords -- affecting 420,000 websites. They were not at liberty to identify the sites that were hacked.
Retailer Target Corp. is still struggling to win back its shoppers' trust after hackers believed to be attacking from Eastern Europe stole 40 million credit card numbers and 70 million addresses, phone numbers and other personal information last winter.
Source: NewsMax

Washington Times: History's Scorecard for the Obama Economy Is a Grade of 'F'

Jun. 11, 2014 -
In terms of average GDP during a president’s tenure, Obama comes up short by almost a full percentage point compared with any other modern president, with a 1.25 percent figure from 2009 through 2013.
Source: Money News

Major Internet Security Problem Affects Most Users

Apr. 11, 2014 - An accidental flaw in the Open Source code used by two-thirds of the Internet's servers to provide secure transactions is just now becoming common knowledge. It is now known that a major aspect of the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology, known as "heartbeat," can be intercepted and decoded.

The intercepted information, now being called "heartbleed," may reveal Internet addresses, passwords and other information that can be used to steal the identities of users. The problem is widespread, and even affects some hardware, but can not be fixed by doing anything to the users' computers. Experts say that it will take time to replace the software and equipment in all the affected servers.

The articles listed below give some idea of the seriousness of the problem for all of us and what can be done to try to protect ourselves in the meanwhile.

SSL Bug Threatens Secure Communications - Security Watch
Heartbleeding Out: Internet Security Bug Even Worse Than First Believed - Time
Internet Users Warned: You Can Do Little to Thwart 'Heartbleed' Bug - NewsMax
Heartbleed Bug: Should You Panic? - PC Magazine
Programmer Takes Blame for Heartbleed - PC Magazine
Sources: NSA Exploited Heartbleed Bug for Years, Exposing Consumers - NewsMax
NSA denies report it used Heartbleed bug to capture information - San Jose Mercury News

RonGraff.jpg - 6668 Bytes Where Does Bitcoin Fit into the End Time Scenario?

The concept of a theoretically safe method of buying and selling via the Internet is definitely compatible with what we know about the prophesied future, especially during the Tribulation.

There will be a one-world government with a common currency controlled by international banks. Bitcoin, or some similar system, could be the medium of exchange for the Beast's economic dictatorship (Revelation 13).

Christians during that time will be killed or driven underground, where they will need some alternative method of obtaining necessities of life. A different version of electronic currency might assist them, but only if Christians have access to an alternative method of electronic communication, since use of the main Internet (or whatever it will be called then) will be denied to them.

In the meanwhile, during this current time period, the "beginning of birth pains" (Matthew 24:4-8) - preceding the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation-Bitcoin might also allow people to conduct business in spite of oppressive government controls.

A limited number of bitcoins are created each year by prescribed methods of "mining." They have no intrinsic value, but neither does our paper dollar now that it is not based on gold. Ownership of bitcoins is maintained on the Internet and identified only by a complex user number and a safe password. Advocates of the rapidly expanding Bitcoin currency claim that it is safe because of its cyber-encryption but wealth can be stolen if the owner reveals the passwords. The whole concept is extremely volatile at present, and has been misused in a variety of ways that make Christians and conservatives cautious. Some people have become millionaires by using the system, but others have gone into bankruptcy. Nevertheless, it has grown exponentially during its first few years, and an ever-increasing number of businesses, great and small, are accepting bitcoins as payment.

Only time will tell whether or not this currency concept will last, and if it does, whether or not it will be used when the Beast imposes the Mark of the Beast and limits commerce to those who have his mark.

Wall Street Journal: “Scary 1929 market chart gains traction. If market follows the same script, trouble lies directly ahead.”

Feb. 12, 2014 -
“There are eerie parallels between the stock market’s recent behavior and how it behaved right before the 1929 crash,” says a columnist writing for the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch.
Source: Joel Rosenberg
Scary 1929 market chart gains traction - Wall Street Journal

85 Wealthiest as Rich as Half the World

Jan. 20., 2014 - The World Economic Forum will convene soon to discuss the state of the world's economy. It has identified income inequality as one of the greatest risks facing the world in 2014.
A report issued by the British charity, Oxfam, says that the 85 richest people across the globe own as much as the poorest 3.5 billion — about $1.6 trillion.
The 85 richest people were not identified by the report
Source: NewsMax
World's rich threaten democracy says Oxfam in pre-Davos report - "In many places the rich not only get more money but also pay less tax on it." - Economic Times
Study: US Has the Worst Income Inequality of Developed Nations - Money News

See earlier articles: Before January 1, 2014

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