Someone asked me about the economy in the Tribulation, and wondered if the global and American economy will collapse prior to the Tribulation or not.
It’s speculation, because the Bible doesn’t specifically say how we will get from here to there, only what will be. I do like to be aware of what the bible says about the seemingly near event on the prophetic timeline, the 7 years of Tribulation. (The rapture is the very next event. I also enjoy thinking about the Millennium which will occur after the Tribulation such as the peaceable kingdom, and the temple and the King’s Highway, and New Jerusalem, etc).
As for the economy, it’s an interesting question because the Bible prophesies that during the Tribulation, the antichrist’s right hand man, the False Prophet, will enforce a mark on people. The mark is one of worship. No one will be fooled, they will know it is a mark of allegiance to and worship of the Beast. (Revelation 14:9). The enticement to take the mark is that one may then participate in the economy, buying and selling. If one refuses the mark, they may not buy or sell. (Revelation 13:16-17). Further, they will be identified as an enemy of the state and be killed (Revelation 6:9-11, Matthew 24:9).
It’s an interesting question, isn’t it, about financial collapse. The collapse of ’07-’08 was incredible, and the subsequent years even more so. I had read a Christian economist who said recently that with the derivatives bubble, college loan bubble, fiat currency and massive outstanding debt, it is OBVIOUS that America, and most nations in fact, are being held up by the supernatural power of God. Nothing in traditional economics makes sense enough to explain how we are going on as we are for so long.
As for the Tribulation economy, that’s interesting too. There IS an economy during the Tribulation. The global economy does not collapse until Revelation 18. Or, at least, it might have partially collapsed prior to then and been rebuilt according to Antichrist specs, with a one world economy and mark of the beast currency. Yes, Revelation 6:6 shows that currency is so inflated that it costs a day’s wage to buy one loaf of bread. But Rev 18 shows a highly advanced trade in luxuries. I believe this shows that the wealth gap will widen so much that many poor starve to death and the love of the rich grows cold in not caring. If Jesus emphasized compassion on the poor and generosity toward same in both the OT and the NT to the degree He did, the antichrist will emphasize the opposite. So there will be an economy, it just won’t look like it does now.
As a brief rabbit trail, you might already know that the sex trafficking and slave trade is growing all across the world. Poverty adds to this sad fact. Many daughters are being sold because people are so poor they cannot afford to feed kids. In Greece a few years ago when their economy nearly failed (before the EU bailout) the problem of abandoned kids was huge. You note in Rev 18:13 one of the luxuries being traded will be slaves. I believe that when the poor become utterly destitute in the Tribulation economy, slavery will blossom massively and that will be the reason why. No food, and in order to get money, they will sell anyone, even their mother. After all, love will wax cold. (Mt 24:12)
I read a prophecy minister’s essay once who thinks that it will be the event of the rapture itself that will trigger the collapse. The sudden removal of thousands or millions of Christians from the economy will certainly put a dent in it. However I’m not so sure the rapture will collapse it completely. Jesus said the way was narrow and few find it. I think there are way fewer Christians who will be taken in the rapture than people think. I think the loss of workers will dent the economy, maybe enough to re-structure it, but not collapse totally. After all, the antichrist only has 7 years, 3.5 actually, to make the Mark of the Beast economy prophesied in Revelation 13:16-17 come about and healthy enough to see such massive collapse as we do in Rev 18. He has to have something to work with to begin with in order to revive the economy.
And think on this, right now gargantuan amounts of money go toward social programs to help the sick, the poor, the disadvantaged. When the Christians are removed, and the Spirit withdraws His restraining ministry, (2 Thessalonians 2:7) then compassion, generosity, and love will cease (2 Timothy 3:1-5). All that money being poured into cancer research and orphanages and welfare and social justice programs will be re-diverted. There will be no compassion, (Matthew 24:12) therefore no money needed to help anyone at any time through any compassion program. It will be the end of philanthropy, effectively freeing up trillions of dollars.
It has been interesting (but sad) to see the drought bloom in CA, and all the while we in GA received 5-6 inches of rain this week alone. Drought has a slow-moving but ultimately devastating impact to economies. CA’s economy is the largest in the US, much of it from agriculture. Personally I think it will be drought that does us in here in America.
You remember the American Dustbowl here in the US during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It sparked one of the most massive internal migrations we have ever experienced in the US
Historians have since clarified some of the dimensions of the misnamed migration. Numbers are elusive but it is safe to say that 300-400,000 Oklahomans, Texans, Arkansans, and Missourians moved to California and settled there during the 1930s. This would have been a significant population transfer in any era but was particularly momentous in the context of the depression when internal migration rates for other parts of the country were low and when high unemployment made any kind of relocation risky. (Source)
Look at this interesting article about drought’s economic impact.
Drought produces a complex web of impacts that spans many sectors of the economy and reaches well beyond the area experiencing physical drought. This complexity exists because water is integral to society’s ability to produce goods and provide services. Impacts are commonly referred to as direct and indirect. Direct impacts include reduced crop, rangeland, and forest productivity, increased fire hazard, reduced water levels, increased livestock and wildlife mortality rates, and damage to wildlife and fish habitat. The consequences of these direct impacts illustrate indirect impacts. For example, a reduction in crop, rangeland, and forest productivity may result in reduced income for farmers and agribusiness, increased prices for food and timber, unemployment, reduced tax revenues because of reduced expenditures, foreclosures on bank loans to farmers and businesses, migration, and disaster relief programs.
In short, the entire economic situation is a myriad of intertwined causes and effects. They go back a long time and they are set in motion through the sovereignty of the Lord. It brings praise for the Lord to mind when I realize how precise He is to have developed all these events together to draw us ever closer to the Tribulation hour. He raises up kings and sets them down. He raises up nations and strikes them down. He thrives economies and He impoverishes them. He will perform what He has decreed.
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. (James 5:1-5)
The only economy is the one in Jesus: repentance, faith, belief, and being doers of the word. This economy will always thrive, never become impoverished, and sustain itself at the magnificent Hand of God.