For some time I have prophesied that America is about to be stricken with an economic holocaust. Now, lately, I've become convinced that one of two scenarios could take place:
1. There could be a sudden "warning blowout" - perhaps a 1,000- or more point drop in the stock market. After a brief period of alarm, the market may rebound. When it does, investors will convince themselves it has made a correction. And once again the general outlook will be, "The sky's the limit!"
Tragically, this attitude will lead to a kind of euphoria never before seen in America. There could be wild economic speculating - and it could shoot the market into the stratosphere.
2. On the other hand, the stock market or bond markets may dive overnight with no rebound at all. If so, we would see a daily retreat among investors - because everyone will recognize America has been hit with a full-blown market crash. At that point, total panic will set in. And we'll know our nation has entered a period of divine judgment - because we'll take a precipitous, sudden slide into chaos.
What is the reason for this judgment? It will come as God's wrath upon a nation that has shed rivers of innocent blood! In the Old Testament, the prophets warned the nation of Judah that judgment would come because of just such blood-shedding.
"Surely at the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; and also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the Lord would not pardon" (2 Kings 24:3-4).
Manasseh's blood-shedding was only a tiny rivulet compared to the ocean of blood shed by abortionists in America. Add to that the blood of thousands of innocent people killed by drunk drivers, gunfire, murder. Then add the blood of children killed by other children - innocent lives cut down by those who have no sense of right or wrong.
The Bible makes it clear: God will not pardon the shedding of innocent blood. He will send judgment!
Right now, a divine shaking is taking place around the globe:
- Indonesia's economy has crumbled. When that nation's leader, Suharto, resigned under pressure, the rupiah collapsed, sending the 13,700 - island empire into a depression. In just six months, Indonesia went from unprecedented prosperity to utter ruin and chaos.
- South Korea is slipping even deeper into a depression. And Japan is sinking further into its deep financial hole. At last count, eight of that nation's highest-ranking financial leaders had committed suicide. And now a shaking has begun in Thailand.
- Russia is about to default on its international loans. Multitudes of workers haven't been paid in months. And now, as the depression spreads, a revolution is brewing.
- Argentina, Brazil and Mexico all are in deep financial trouble. Mexico is experiencing a severe drought, which has contributed to that nation's raging forest fires. The clouds of smoke have covered the skies of Texas and other western states.
Please hear me - this is not all just doomsday talk from a disconsolate preacher. These are facts. You can read about them in any newspaper from the past several months. God is shaking the world all around us - and soon he's going to shake America worse than he's shaken these nations. Why? We have shed more innocent blood!
I've brought up this scenario before, but it bears repeating here: One day soon, when the crash strikes suddenly and fear spreads across the nation, the President will stand silently in the Oval Office, staring out the window. He'll be panic-stricken - at a complete loss for words - because of the economic upheaval.
Finally, he'll turn to his gathering of advisers - the leaders of our nation, including the chairman of the Federal Reserve - and he'll ask: "What happened? How did it all come crashing down? And what can we do now?"
His questions will be met with stony silence. No one will be able to explain what caused the panic. Instead, everyone will wonder aloud, "The indicators were all positive. Inflation was under control. The economy was on track. It just doesn't make sense."
Beloved, America is facing God's judgment - and we will never be the same! In the days to come, literally hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose their homes. Why? They've leveraged them with equity loans, so they could play the stock market and try to strike it rich!
Right now, 43 million Americans are deeply invested in the market, with $1 ½ to 2 trillion committed by individual investors. Thousands of these investors have actually quit their jobs so they can stay at home and play the market on their computers.
I tell you, the stock market has become America's golden calf! People see it as a financial savior, and they worship it daily - trusting in it, depending on it, giving it all their energy and attention. But it's going to fall suddenly - and none of the small, individual investors will be spared. They'll suffer the most, losing their homes, their cars - everything!
In the wake of the crash, we're going to see a wave of "assisted suicides." The masses who were driven by money and success won't be able to endure the failure and poverty they face. Many will opt for suicide - including corporate leaders.
Yet the coming judgment won't mean the end of American society. It will, however, mean a severe humbling of our nation, through a long, terrifying period of chaotic conditions - including rioting, looting and burning in our major cities.
I must ask you: Are you prepared for what is coming? If not, are you acting now to get ready? When I speak of being ready, where do your thoughts take you? Do you think immediately of investments, bank accounts, survival plans, safety for your family?
In the past months, our ministry's offices have been inundated with newsletters and prophetic warnings suggesting how Christians can prepare for dark times. However, most of these messages concern personal safety and survival. They advise, "Stockpile dried foods, long-burning candles, kerosene lanterns, warm clothes, blankets, medical supplies, a battery-powered radio..."
I don't have a problem with anyone who chooses to do these things. After all, scripture tells us the prudent person prepares for a time of crisis. I think of the patriarch Joseph, who wisely spent seven years preparing for a prophesied famine.
But there is a problem underlying such approaches to the coming chaos. Indeed, if there is one thing God despises, it is when his children face the future with fear. It angers him to see believers panicking, stockpiling, hoarding, hiding - in fear and distrust of our heavenly father's care.
Of course, God often hides his people in times of chaos. Jesus himself warned the citizens of Jerusalem to flee when they saw the Chaldeans approaching. And God has been faithful to hide persecuted Christians throughout history. In this century, he hid many Jews during Hitler's awful purges, often using Christians to do so. The Hiding Place is a wonderful, modern-day story of God's keeping power in this regard.
Yet I believe it is much more important today for American Christians to focus on spiritual preparation - or, spiritual "hiding" - before the coming storm hits. Let me tell you why.
If you've studied the history of revivals in America, you may know about the "laymen's revival" of the 1850s. It began in a church in downtown New York City. A lay Christian started a noon prayer meeting at the church, and right away the sanctuary was filled. Moreover, the meetings were marked by fervent praying and weeping.
Why did these meetings draw great crowds in such a short time? It was because most of those in attendance were the suddenly unemployed, panic-stricken workers and businessmen who'd lost their jobs overnight because of a stock-market crash. At that time, there was no societal safety net in place - no Social Security, no unemployment checks, no insurance. These out-of-work men were afraid - so they turned to prayer.
Most churches in New York City at the time had abandoned any prayer meetings. But soon they had to open their doors again, due to the many requests from troubled people who had no one to turn to. Likewise, in the chaotic days ahead, multitudes of Americans will be driven to prayer out of sheer desperation. Here at Times Square Church, we're preparing to hold prayer meetings every day of the week.
I believe that when the coming storm hits with full fury, and the nation is reeling with panic and fear, people will flee all false gospels and feel-good churches. Christians will forget about gospel entertainment and Christian TV, and they'll start demanding hard truth. They'll flock to hear godly pastors, demanding the true word of God. Their cry will be, "Who will preach to us a prophetic, life-changing word?"
I've been asked many times, "Do you believe we'll see a great revival in these last days - especially during the hard times you say are coming?"
Yes, you can be sure a great revival is coming. But it won't be what we think of as revival today. No one will be laughing or making animal noises in that fierce day of reckoning. No, the only kind of revival that will meet the needs of this society - shaken to its core with fear and terror - will be a revival of Holy Ghost-sent truth!
When the Holy Ghost moves in, what will be the manifestations of his work? Jesus identified the ministry of the Holy Spirit as follows:
"The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth..." (16:13).
Jesus says the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth - and he bears witness only to truth. He won't bear witness to any erroneous gospel or fleshly manifestation. He is wedded to the cross - to the gospel of grace that teaches us to forsake iniquity. And he will bear witness to the truth that emanates from Christ's work on the cross.
Sadly, many charismatic Christians today talk much about being Spirit-filled - but they are totally bankrupt of truth. They're not intimate with Christ - and so they don't know how to draw on his strength in truth. They don't tremble at the truth of his word. They don't know how to walk in his resurrection power or live wholly dependent on him. Instead, they twist, manipulate and misinterpret his word to accommodate their flesh.
Jesus said we are not to tremble in fear at the awful things coming upon our nation. But we are to tremble in holy reverence for God's word: "...to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isaiah 66:2).
Samson was a man wholly unprepared for the crisis his generation suffered. He misused his gifts and squandered the power the Holy Spirit gave him. And I believe his failure and fall are a lesson meant especially for the church in these last days.
When Samson was born, Israel was poverty-stricken, in bondage and deep affliction, because "the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord..." (Judges 3:7). But God raised up Samson to be a deliverer in this time of ruin and despair. Scripture tells us, "The Spirit of the Lord began to move him..." (13:25) at a young age. The Hebrew word for "move" here means "a regular stirring." In other words, God's Spirit stirred Samson continually.
Indeed, Samson was called from birth to be a Nazarite. The word "Nazarite" means "to separate, consecrate, abstain." In short, Samson was appointed to lead a holy, separated life - never cutting his hair, never drinking wine or any intoxicating beverage, never going near a dead body, even if it was that of a close relative. He was being set apart for use by the Holy Spirit, and therefore he was to be a totally consecrated vessel.
We know the Holy Spirit moved on Samson long before he began his ministry to Israel. Yet how did the Spirit manifest himself in Samson? Peter tells us, "...holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21). Whatever physical manifestations occurred in the Old Testament, they were always accompanied by God's Spirit speaking in and through people.
As the Holy Ghost moved on Samson, the Spirit surely confirmed to him the word he was taught in childhood. And the Spirit's stirrings constantly reminded Samson that the secret to his power lay in his total dependency on the Lord. Only through the Holy Ghost would he be able to remain separated and to keep his eyes on his calling.
The fact is, God would never send out a man to do a needed work of power without first teaching him the manner in which the Spirit would work upon him. So Samson knew full well he had to stay under the covering of the Spirit of truth - remaining consecrated and abstaining from wickedness - in order to minister the Spirit's power.
Yet we know from Samson's life he had a driving lust - an overwhelming passion for "strange" women. He first had a relationship with a forbidden Canaanite, then with a harlot in Gaza and finally with the prostitute Delilah. Simply put, Samson had a terrible sexual addiction.
Of course, the Holy Ghost was fully aware of Samson's propensity to lust. And as the Spirit stirred Samson, he would have made known to him the truth Paul would express in the New Testament: "...if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Romans 8:13). God's Spirit always speaks to people troubled by sin, urging them, "Trust in me! I'll show you the way to overcoming victory."
Samson had access to all the power of the Holy Spirit to lead a holy life. But he ignored the Spirit's voice. And he made this his first mission: "Samson...saw a woman in Timnath...and told his father and his mother...get her for me..." (Judges 14:1-2).
Like Satan, Samson "...abode not in the truth..." (John 8:44). And anyone who dares to use the Holy Ghost's power apart from his truth will end up performing only theatrics.
When Samson visited the harlot in Gaza, the Gazites fenced him in and waited to capture him. Then something supernatural happened: "Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron" (Judges 16:3).
What a feat of strength! Samson's act was without doubt a demonstration of supernatural power. Yet, in truth, it amounted to nothing more than theatrics. It was played out before a sleeping city of unconcerned heathen - with no victory won, no bondages broken, no deliverance wrought. As I read the passage, I wonder, "What was that all about? What was the purpose?"
Likewise today, many so-called revivals are played out before a world that remains untouched and unaffected by such demonstrations. You see, whenever the Spirit of truth does not receive preeminence, all displays of supernatural power - signs, wonders, manifestations - end up being empty theatrics.
You may ask, "But, Brother Dave - don't you believe in manifestations by the Spirit?" I surely do. But if any manifestation is not founded on the Spirit of truth, its power is to no avail. Only the truth sets souls free!
Think of how little Samson accomplished in his ministry by all his demonstrations of power to no real purpose: He killed a lion with his bare hands. He trapped 300 foxes and tied their tails together. He burned down some fields and fruit trees. Yet no one was delivered by any of these acts.
The tragic fact of Samson's life is clear: He totally failed in his mission. After twenty years of his ministry, Israel was in as great a bondage as when Samson started.
Saul is another example of this. He was "slain by the Spirit," lay prostrate before God and prophesied. But in the end, it was all theatrics. Why? Saul had no change of heart. All those manifestations were wasted, because Saul wouldn't subject himself to the Spirit of truth. To use Paul's phrase, Saul was "destitute of the truth" (1 Timothy 6:5).
Beloved, the power of the Holy Ghost rests in God's word - indeed, in his cross: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Many pastors and evangelists today have no interest in seeking the Spirit of truth. They think they can call on the Holy Ghost at any time to come down and sweep away all the powers of hell. But these people won't be prepared for the dark times that are coming!
The only manifestations we'll see when the storm hits will be men and women falling to their knees in awe and fear of God's word. They'll be slain by the piercing, convicting, soul-cleansing preaching that comes from the Spirit of truth!
The Lord already knows how people will react to the coming storm. They'll be panic-stricken and full of fear. After all, Jesus warned that a time would come that's so frightening, people's hearts would fail due to the fear and stress.
Yet even in exercising his judgment, God always extends his tender mercy. He works far ahead of time, making plans for his people and stirring his true shepherds. Indeed, today - while most of America focuses on its prosperity - God is waking a holy remnant in the church. These saints are on their faces, seeking him with all their strength and crying out for a true word from the Spirit of truth. And I believe the Spirit is revealing Christ to them with a glory beyond that of any past generation!
In recent months, our ministry has received hundreds of letters from pastors and believers who are repulsed by most of what they see in the church: hype, foolishness, entertainment, shallow preaching. They're crying out, "Enough! We're tired of seeing our pastors go to conventions and return only to introduce some new gimmick. We're sick of seeing the flesh accommodated. We're hungry for truth! We want to hear preaching that convicts us and challenges us to holiness and prayer."
Believer, you can rest assured - in the coming days of calamity, the true revival won't come through showboating, big-time preachers or TV evangelists. It won't come through prosperity teachings or other doctrines of false security. No - God's revival will come through a hidden company of pastors and lay people who have been in the school of Christ, learning his ways and trusting in him. These will lead a revival of truth!
I believe we're already seeing signs of the Spirit's work as he breaks up the fallow ground in America in preparation for this revival. The Op-Ed (Opinion and Editorial), page of the New York Times, May 24, 1998, featured an article titled "Coming - the Most Religious Century." The article reported the following:
- Norman Mailer, the renowned pagan and liberal writer, has declared, "Religion, to me, is now the last frontier."
- Vaclav Havel, the famous Czech writer and leader, calls America "the most atheistic society in the history of the world." Yet both he and Mailer agree that our nation is on the brink of the most religious period in its history.
Most amazing of all, Mailer and Havel are predicting a return not just to any religion, but specifically to Judaism and Christianity. They predict even scientists will yearn for faith.
Of course, they're right - the age of reason and science has failed to satisfy humanity's need for peace. Socialism has failed...communism has failed...politics has failed...the new age has failed. And now even the most successful people in our society are crying out, "There has to be more to life than this!"
Yet not everyone is going to want truth. Many will turn to unbridled lust. Indeed, our society could see Sodom replayed a hundred times over. But as our nation poises on the brink of chaos, many Americans will begin to seek truth, answers, life.
As for me, I want to face the coming times as "...a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). I believe that's the way we're to prepare for the days ahead - by girding our loins with truth (see Ephesians 6:14).
I urge you: Ask the Lord to prepare you - his way - for the day America's golden calf comes down. Seek his Spirit of truth in your secret closet. Learn to recognize his voice above all the worldly clamor going on in his church. Then you'll truly be prepared to face the coming storm!