The entire prophecy found in James 5:1-6, lists at least six financial or economic signs of the last days. Over the years, studying the Bible, I have come to count almost 50 such general signs. This passage in James is the most concentrated assembly of such indicators. They include hoarding, accumulation of wealth, wage inequities, different classes of workers, luxuries and indulgence (consumerism at its peak!), conditions of economic brutality, and perhaps even widespread obesity. Most significantly, the edifice of wealth is then turned into a curse as it is corroded and proven illusory.
James’ pronouncement indeed is a prophecy. He clearly refers the “to the last days.” (verse 3). Though it is true that the last days already were in force during his time in the first century, it remains that the last days — the very last days — are surely in force today. The “day of slaughter” that he mentions (verse 5) has yet to occur and is future, referring to the Great Tribulation and has the same meaning as the “Day of the Lord.”Our direct aim to examine the prophetic implication that rich people will “have hoarded wealth in the last days.” It is timely to do so. For the first time in history, a global wealth survey has just been published. And, its conclusions are sobering, if not surprising.
The First Worldwide Survey of Wealth
In December 2006 a ground-breaking report entitled The Worldwide Distribution of Household Wealthi was released. The results were much worse than had been previously indicated by other studies that surveyed income. Wealth and income, though surely related, are quite different. Income is generally defined as the annual flow of earnings and incomes, while wealth is the accumulation of income and hoarded assets.
However, before tackling this topic further, a few disclaimers. No, this is not a riposte against rich people. I often get letters suggesting that I have it in for rich people … that I am a Marxist … socialist … and so forth. It surely would be strange if I was any of these given my profession. Actually, I don’t hold to any doctrines other than what the Bible supports. And, doing so, neither supports capitalism either … the apparent sacred shibboleth of most countries and economies today.
Capitalism is not a Christian system, though many people may believe this to be the case. It is not. The Bible never, ever makes any statements that endorse or support the systems or theories of man. Capitalism is a human system … a theory of wealth creation … even a religion. It happens to be a very useful invention just as are automobiles and telecommunications systems.
Returning to the recent wealth report, according to its authors’ research, the top 10% of adults in the world own 85% cent of global household wealth (2005). The average member of this wealthy group therefore has 8.5 times the holdings of the global average. Furthermore, the top 2% and 1% of the world’s population is estimated to own 51% and 40% of world household wealth, respectively. This is a more extreme distribution than had been estimated by surveying global incomes in previous studies.
Very likely, the world today has a much more imbalanced wealth skew — the rich are richer, and the non-rich relatively poorer — than ever before in history. How extreme might this condition yet become in the future? It is hard to say. However, there comes a point where a further skewing becomes highly toxic for the world’s economic healthfulness. That point may indeed be nearer than we think. In fact, if trends continue at the pace of recent years, severe economic problems are sure to emerge in America as well as around the world. As it is, America itself is experiencing a rapid skewing of wealth. Again, if trends continue as they have over the past 10 years, it would not be surprising to see the US have wealth imbalances more extreme that Mexico and much of Latin America.
God indeed blesses people and allows some to become very wealthy. The only problem is that for the majority of them, vast riches are no blessing but rather a trap and a diversion. Many of them become consumed with the task of warding off canker worms and thieves. The poor have their problems as do the rich. Thankfully, there are some rich people who have not been tainted with the deceptions and temptations of wealth.
Times and the Seasons
Having reviewed a major last-day economic sign of hoarding and wealth, we jump to a scripture verse that will surely seem unrelated. However, readers will soon see its significance. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Daniel 7:25, KJV)
In this passage we are told that the Antichrist will think or try “to change the times and the laws.” He may not successfully achieve this result, however, he will surely attempt to do so. The most perplexing statement is that he will “think to change the times.” Just how is this possible and what could it mean? The Aramaic word which is translated as “time” in this verse is “zeman.” A better fitting translation would more point to the idea of seasons and periods. This same word “zeman” is used by Daniel in 2.21 as he praises God, saying “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.” Here, God is acknowledged as being able to change the “time and the seasons.” In this verse, we see that the Aramaic word “zeman” is in fact translated as “season.” The Aramaic word “iddan,” on the other hand is here translated as the word “time,” more closely aligning with the meaning of a specific length of a year or a specific time point.
Turning our attention back to Daniel 7:25, we can safely conclude that the Antichrist will indeed attempt to change the “seasons.” However, doing so, we are not necessarily required to preclude the idea of changing the length of a year. As you’ll see , this is significant. All the same, how could the Antichrist changes the seasons? Actually, it isn’t that farfetched. It has been done before many times.
In 237 BC, during the reign of King Ptolemy III (the son of the Egyptian king that sponsored the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint) the priests (who were the astrologer/astronomists of their day, as were the magi at the time of Jesus’ birth) issued the official decree of Canopus. It announced the adoption of a new Egyptian calendar that would include a leap year. Reading a portion of this degree will stage the vantage point for our further examination of how the seasons can be changed:
“And that the seasons of the year may coincide with the constitution of the world, and that it may not happen that some of the popular festivals which ought to be held in the winter come to be celebrated in the summer, owing to the Sun changing one day in the course of four years … from this time onward one day, a festival of the Well-Doing Gods (King Ptolemy and Queen Berenice), shall be added every four years to the five additional days, before the New Year, so that all may know that the error deficiency which existed formerly in respect of the arrangement of the seasons, and of the year … hath been rectified.”ii
We learn an interesting fact here. Over time the seasons had occurred at different points in the year. If the year (zeman) is defined as 365 years (or 360 years as it was in much earlier times) we would today discover that eventually we will be celebrating Christmas in the middle of summer. Thus, the seasons are changed.
While the Egyptian astronomers had corrected their calendars at that time, it was fully 2 centuries later that the Romans incorporated the leap year into their calendar. Today, we still use this Julian calendar. However, interestingly, at the time that Julius Caesar put this calendar into effect, he added a full two months as a temporary measure to get the seasons to agree with the traditional times. Indeed, we see that Julius Caesar changed the times and seasons, as did the Egyptian astronomers.
The Times of the Antichrist
It will indeed be easy for the Antichrist to change the seasons. He only needs to change the calendar. But why would he do so? I can think of at least one possible reason and it connects with the general topic that we began with — the lopsided wealth skew of the last days and the demise of the globalized commercial and financial network, the systemic form of endtime Babylon the Great.
What great solution could the Antichrist bring to the terrible economic times that unfold in the Great Tribulation (second half of the 7 year tribulation period)?
Why not “try” to change the length of week? Impossible? Actually, there have already been proposals of this type. The Metric Week has been long discussed. A week of 10 days lends itself to more flexible working arrangements and other benefits, claim its promoters. However, for illustration sake, rather than the Metric Week, let’s consider an 8 day week … one that the Beatles apparently may have invented with their song, Eight Days a Week.
Think what a change in the length of the week to 8 days could do for a troubled financial world. Now the masses of over-indebted people (the vast, vast majority as the recent wealth survey confirms) could work 6 to 8 days a week — at least one more day — to pay off their debts, and have 4 more days a month to pay the rent or car lease payment. And, as interest rate levels are generally calculated at an annual rate, adding one day a week therefore makes the interestrate year longer by at least 52 days, effectively lowering interest rate levels.
This longer year could also solve the problem of unfunded pension systems around the globe, primarily attributable to an aging world population (another last-day phenomenon). Given that the year would be longer, people will have to work until an older age, thus qualifying for retirement pensions later and easing pension liability problems.
Wouldn’t such a monumental change meet much opposition? Yes and no. It will likely please some people — the modern-day pagan human who lives to consume. Working more hours, they can consume more! How delightful. According to today’s warped economic theories, it is consumption after all that is the foundation of all wealth. In the name of saving the world, people could in this way be asked to do the patriotic thing for all mankind … consume.
Thoughts to Ponder
An 8-day week? Or, a Metric Week? Admittedly, it is conjecture. Yet, the idea of changing the times isn’t much different than is already practiced in farming today. For example, poultry farmers change the “time and the seasons” for their brooding hens by controlling the lighting. Doing so, they trick the hens into thinking that the day is shorter, inducing them to lay more eggs. Changing the number of days per week would definitely change the times and seasons, assuming the number of weeks per year remained the same. The six-day work week (assuming one has the weekend off) lines up with the works of man (the number of 6) and the 8-day week coincides with a prominent significance of the number 8 in scripture — “new birth, new creation, new beginning.”iii
The Antichrist would by trying to initiate a “new beginning” with this measure. The 7-day week which God himself instituted, and which the entire world today observes — no matter the nations, tongues, religions and people — would have been overturned.Likely, the world’s financial markets may be thrown into turmoil over these changes and in the end, such a change of seasons will end up being unsuccessful. The Bible only says that the Antichrist will try to change the seasons, not stating that he will be successful in this endeavour. The elusive 8-day week. It is probably not such a strange idea. Who hasn’t said, “If only I had more time.”
About the Author: Wilfred J. Hahn is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst and one-time head of a large global investment company with worldwide operations, his writings focus on the endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. His most recent book is The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free.
For resources on “endtime economics” and to subscribe to the free newsletter, Eternal Value Review, visit Wilfred’s website – www.eternalvalue.com.
i World Institute for Development Economics Research, UN University (UNU-Wider)
ii E. A. Wallis Budge, The Rosetta Stone (New York, Dover Publications, 1989) Quote taken from The Star of Bethlehem, Michael R. Molnar, Rutgers University Press, 1999 pg. 54.
iii Ed F. Vallowe. Biblical Mathematics: Keys to Scripture Numerics. The Olive Press, 1998. pg. 85.