Ripening Times – Part 3: Discerning Trends of Significance

Wilfred Hahn

We are chronicling the world’s most “significant trends” of the present season. These might be considered among the “signs of the times” that Jesus implored us to discern (Matthew 16:3). The sudden, “significant trend” that we continue to review in this part of the series is the rise of very powerful and large multinational corporations (MNCs)… often called the Global Titans. Among a long list of factoids presented, we pointed out that some of the Titans have more employees that some countries have in population.

The senior executives of these companies indeed wield much power. Among other venues, these executives yearn to participate in the annual pilgrimage to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum meeting (which is sponsored by some 1,000 companies around the globe). There they hobnob with politicians, academics, and anyone else who is a “mover and shaker” in world affairs or ultra-wealthy.

Could these powerful executives be considered the equivalent of “kings” in our era? Could they comprise the 10 kings (mentioned or figured 10X in the Bible)? The Bible allows for some alternative views, mentioning several other groups of powerful and/or wealthy elites. Do these qualify as actors in the last days?

Greatly Honored People
Consider this Bible verse, “He […] will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price” (Daniel 11:39, NIV). This verse is excerpted from a section in Daniel that describes the actions of the final world ruler (the Antichrist). We see here that elites of some kind will receive considerable reward for their complicity in supporting the agendas of the final incarnate “spirit of the Antichrist.”

Who are the ones that receive honor from the Antichrist? The answer—those that will acknowledge him. Virtually all English Bible translations use the word “acknowledge.” It means here that certain key people who recognize him and accept his authority will receive a reward—land.

It should be noted that the original Aramaic word used for “land” in this verse can also convey the idea of property or economic domain, as well as geographic area. After all, in ancient times, land was the main foundation of wealth and economy. Today, there are other forms of significant wealth.

It only follows that this must be a small, elite group of people, who likely are already influential. Why? They will be made rulers over many. As not everyone can be made a ruler over many, therefore these will be few.

The elites—whoever they are—are bought off for their loyalty with further reward: the additional pay-off of power or economic domain, we reason. It is the same or similar deal that Satan offered Christ when He was being tested in the wilderness, promising “authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So, if you worship me, it will all be yours” (Luke 4:6-7).

But why did the devil think it worthwhile to specifically test Christ in such a colossal way? Obviously, it would have been great gain for him were he successful. Here was motive and incentive. We may therefore take some license and deduce that there will be similar motives and incentives behind the Antichrist’s endtime reward systems.

Also, the elites selected for reward must have something to barter in return … likely their fame or endorsement. It wouldn’t be surprising then if these were highly revered people, politicians, great humanitarians, or Christian masqueraders … even so-called “angels of light.”

We are given at least a few criteria with which to identify who these elites might be at that future date. In the first instance, they must be humans (not demonic spirits). Also, they must be capable of being rulers, already likely possessing some measure of power and authority—perhaps a large multinational. And, they must be willing, greedy, worldly complicitors.

Although these final events play out during the future Tribulation period (and therefore really do not concern us personally), is it already possible today to discern the power structures that these elites might command? Although we cannot be definitive in light of conditions today, we can certainly consider some possible candidates that play a facilitating role.

Apostle John prophesies about yet another type of rich elite. These are the rich merchants that appear to play an influential role in the world at that future time. These “merchants of the earth grew rich from her [the whore’s] excessive luxuries” (Revelation 18:3). Those that “gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment” (verse 15).

These merchants clearly are wealthy people, and their economic power is on a global scale. It is true that, indeed, merchants (famed business executives of major companies) today are the most venerated people on earth. We live in a materialist culture that worships wealth and affluence. 

Can we identify the elite group of people described by Daniel or Apostle John in Revelation 18? Are they one and the same? We cannot know for sure, but likely not. Though they may be different groups of elites, they certainly will be identifiable once the Tribulation Period begins.

What about the rich of the last days, mentioned in James 5:1-6, and the rule of the 10 kings, mentioned by both Daniel and Apostle John? These two groups of individuals may very well be visible before the Tribulation begins.

What we can safely conclude is that a great economic power structure has emerged over a very short period. These power nodes await some type of elites to play their role in the service of the Antichrist. 

Continue to Get Bigger, Concentrating Industry Power
And still, the Global Titans are getting even bigger. These firms gobble up other companies, merge or build new companies at a rapid pace. In recent years, these activities have boomed to frenzied levels. One hundred billion plus takeover deals have become the norm. The total number of mergers or acquisition by MNCs around the world (both cross-border or domestic) has literally exploded over the past twenty years. Clearly, an energized trend is underway.

All signs are that this global favoritism for the multinational company will continue. Some people are even willing to invest greater powers in MNCs. One global thinker advocated that global companies be given the responsibility of international security. Given their superior global information systems, MNCs are the natural choice to regulate international exports and imports and to gather intelligence. We should expect MNCs to become even more powerful worldwide in the years ahead.

Without a doubt, the Global Titans are a major enabler—if not the very epicenter—of an endtime economic and monetary order, whose aim is to conspire against God and persecute the values and beliefs of Christians. MNCs are one of the major “significant trends” on earth today, driving a worldwide convergence toward unified beliefs and values, centered upon money and wealth.

Looking ahead, one can imagine that MNCs as a group will continue to expand and envelope a greater part of the earth’s human economic activity, wielding fierce financial control of world affairs. 

The rise of the MNC is of great significance to Christians for more than a few reasons. As we have observed, they are at the very center of globalization and financialization. MNCs are at the forefront of the convergent drive to a worldwide materialistic belief system. In the process, they impact our personal and economic freedoms and challenge and test our Christian faith.

Increasingly, the values and ethics promoted in the places where many of us work are being determined by these basically amoral entities. We see that MNCs as a group wield enormous power over world affairs, as they collectively dominate global economic and financial systems.

The multinational organization is certainly a very influential and relatively new form of human organization, viewed against the human historical timeline. These have strict hierarchies and highly defined “pecking” orders. Obedience is lavishly rewarded, especially among the higher executive echelons. Can Christians comfortably work in the top executive tiers of global Big Titans? In many ways, these new leviathans have created a spiritual and materialistic “straight jacket” that challenges the faith and freedom of overcoming believers.

Thoughts to Ponder
The Bible mentions both rewards and acknowledgement as playing a significant role in the end times. However, there are two different types of reward regimes—one good and the other, evil.

Those elites that acknowledge the Antichrist, get the reward of land and wealth. The Bible also specifically tells us what the reward will be for everybody else … in other words, all the rest of the masses that acknowledge and worship the Antichrist.

What is the reward of non-Christian earth-dwellers? They will not be killed (a negative reward) and will be allowed to “buy or sell.”  Unfortunately, those who do acknowledge him will be eternally condemned. 

On the other hand, for all the Tribulation Christians, he causes “all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell” (Revelation 13:15-17).

What then is the reward today for pre-Rapture Christians … and the price? 

Certainly, we do not have the promise of something so mundane and temporal as the “land” promised to the elites (in other words, material wealth), position and power in the world. Said Christ, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12).

The saints are the ones that the world will hate, as the world also hated Christ. Said Jesus, “[…] you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:9). As Apostle Paul experienced, the saints are more likely to be troubled than coddled, perplexed than self-reliant, persecuted than befriended, rejected than accepted. “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:11).

Finally, says Christ, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).

Take courage, Christ is coming quickly with His reward. “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12). For, soon it will be time for “rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great” (Revelation 11:18).

Midnight Call - 05/2019

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