Monday, April 28, 2014
By Rev. Paul J. Bern
As I pause to take a look around me, I observe that my country is under attack both from without and within. It remains to be seen whether the outcome of these multiple attacks will amount to anything more than a temporary convenience, but I see ominous warning signs all around me. Externally, we have and will continue to come under attack here at home due to America's aggressive deployments of numerous US troops overseas while simultaneously being burdened with a crushing war debt that can never be repaid. Add to this the fact that the deadly drone strikes all over the Middle East and Africa are killing scores of innocent civilians, and America has enraged far more people than many of us realize by doing so. If America's Arab allies in the petroleum-producing countries were to suddenly turn on us, the US would find itself in a challenging situation, to say the least. Yet this glaring fact has not ceased to blind the eyes of those in power who see only the oil when they look at the Middle East. It will only be when the US converts from gas and diesel to much clear-burning natural gas for their cars and trucks, something America has in abundance, that America will be able to finally break her addiction to Mideast oil.
Internally, our country is under attack from rampant corruption that overshadows most other countries in size and scope, and it is a systemic corruption that goes all the way to the top. But there is something else going on here, something underneath the surface, that is far greater than either of these other two threats I have mentioned. I am writing about what now-deceased TBN host Grant Jeffery once called a “shadow government”. This shadow government is a cabal of unelected, shadowy private interests that control the multinational corporations, the World Bank, the IMF and the US military-industrial complex, among other things. This “shadow government” is made up of members of the global top 1% income bracket, and their activities are directed against the rest of us in the form of an enforced inequality, as you know all too well by now. I have compiled the following list that proves “we the people” are under just such an attack.
1) The inequality of wealth in the United States and abroad has soared to an unprecedented level. The U.S. already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Since the crisis, which has hit the middle class and poor much harder than the top 1 percent, the gap between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent of the U.S. population is greater than ever.
2) The three big banks that took taxpayer money and benefited the most from the government bailout have just set a new global economic record by issuing $30 billion in annual bonuses this year, “up 60 percent from last year.”
3) The profits of the economic elite are now underwritten by taxpayers with $23.7 trillion worth of national wealth. As the looting is occurring at the top, the U.S. middle class is just beginning to collapse.
4) Workers between the ages of 55 to 60, who have worked for 20 to 29 years, have lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans went up by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion.
5) Home foreclosure filings hit a record high in the third quarter of 2010 and continues into 2014. Over 3.4 million homes entered foreclosure by the end of 2010, and this year will top 4 million.
6) 25 million people are unemployed or underemployed. That's nearly 1 in 6 Americans.
7) There have been 123 U.S. bank failures thus far this year (as of 2012 - PB).
8) 10 U.S. states are on the verge of bankruptcy, with several ready to declare a financial state of emergency, such as California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
9) “U.S. public debt has topped $14 trillion for the first time in history”… This prediction, first written in the spring of 2011 when the final draft of my first book was completed, has since topped $16 trillion.
10) The U.S. poverty rate is the highest in the industrialized world. Predictably, homelessness is rising at an increased rate as well. The U.S. government does not tally the numbers but interested organizations say that more than 3 million people were homeless at some point over the past year. The fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.
11) 50 percent of U.S. children will need to use food stamps to eat at some point in their childhood. In the African-American community, it is a shocking 90%. (As to why the black community isn't protesting in the streets over this, I have no idea. Dear brothers and sisters, the time has come for all of us to stand up and fight for our kids!) This is a national disgrace, a social injustice and a cause for outrage and protest if ever there was one. We are all in awful shape when we can't even feed our own children.
12) In 2010, according to the Census Bureau, the number of U.S. citizens without health care grew to a record 50 million. Furthermore, this statistic is on track to exceed 56 million by the end of this year (prior to Obamacare - PB).
13) Lack of health insurance caused 45,000 preventable U.S. citizen deaths in 2010. The American Journal of Medicine recently released a study that stated, “Nearly two out of three bankruptcies stem from medical bills, and even people with health insurance face financial disaster if they experience a serious illness.”
14) A Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study reported that 17,000 US children have died due to lack of health care. You can also add in a recent report that revealed that 2,266 U.S. veterans have died in 2008 due to lack of access to health care.
15) The gun and ammunition manufacturing industry in the United States has over 200 companies producing billions of dollars in annual revenues. This huge manufacturing base cannot fulfill demand quickly enough. The demand for guns and ammunition has hit a record high and the gun industry cannot produce enough bullets to keep up with orders. Americans are arming themselves to the teeth! In the past year, 100 new armed militia groups have been formed across the US as militia members have doubled in numbers. Federal authorities are gravely concerned about the “up-tick in militia activities." One federal authority recently said, “All it’s lacking is a spark.”
16) Between January 1996 and September 2006, there were 253 confirmed incursions into the United States by Mexican government personnel. There is documentation of shots fired on both sides of the border, unmarked helicopters invading U.S. airspace, drug smuggling and actual confrontations between U.S. Border Patrol agents and armed members of the Mexican military. All it will take is one violent cross-border incident to start a US-Mexican war. What is such a shame about all this is that if the US government would just call off the stupid, idiotic and pointless “war on drugs”, all the cartel-related violence that is now occurring on and below our southern border would disappear almost overnight. As it stands right now, American law enforcement and the CIA have Mexican blood on their hands.
Exacerbating all 16 of these facts – all of whom were sourced directly off the Web – is the fact that America can't even print its own money. This critical national responsibility has been undertaken – hijacked would be more life it – by none other than the Federal Reserve. As many of you know, the Fed isn't even a part of the US government. It's a privately held corporation that operates in the utmost secrecy. Makes you wonder why they think they need to do that, now doesn't it? As to how badly the Federal Reserve System (which many call the World’s largest counterfeiter) has destroyed the American economy is evidenced in their destruction of the US Dollar which has lost over a quarter of its value in the past 8 years, and what a single Dollar could buy in 1913, when this secret banking cabal began to strangle these people, would cost $21.67 today, and which comes out to a shocking inflation rate of 2067%! And, as hard as it is to believe it is nevertheless true that Americans pay more on overdraft fees to their banker masters than they spend on fresh vegetables! Russian Finance Ministry calculations dating back to 2012 show that should the American people stop paying their money to banks (mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, etc.) and all declare bankruptcy, the entire debt load carried by the US Government would be paid or written off in less than 2 years and the United States would have over $85 trillion available to them over the next 10 years to pay for the complete rebuilding of their Nation and society. What we have instead is America being driven right into the ground by an evil and oftentimes crazy group of people who answer only to the top 1%, to the detriment of the remaining 99%. The worst part is that it is in their best interest to run the country into the ground because they will make a lot of money from the collapse of the USA, and that is exactly what they are trying to do.
As Benjamin Franklin famously said over 200 years ago, "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security." In the meantime, it is now official. A majority of Americans are willing to give up liberty in order to be safer from so-called “terrorism”. Never mind that the chief perpetrator of this “terrorism” is the US federal government and the military-industrial-intelligence complex it controls. A stunning new McClatchy-Ipsos poll has found that 51 percent of Americans agree with this statement: "It is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism." Only 36 percent of those polled agreed with this statement: "Some of the government's proposals will go too far in restricting the publics civil liberties." Have they really been brainwashed into willingly giving up their essential liberties just so they can feel a little safer? Maybe some have, but I sure haven't. So almost 4 out of 5 Americans are perfectly fine with letting airport security officials gawk at their naked bodies just so they can feel a bit safer from terrorists? How crazy is that? The truth is that when Americans allow themselves to become so wimpy and so fearful that they are willing to throw many of their most important freedoms out the window, those “terrorists” have already won.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Solving America's Economic Problems:
What's the First Step?
by Rev. Paul J. Bern (excerpt from chapter 7 of his 2012 book,
As the financial industry’s largest players have been unleashed by the US Supreme Court (among others) to pursue profit for themselves at all costs, the dreadful consequences have made a huge impact. Pensions have been wiped out. Family homes have been stripped of value, with millions taken away altogether. Small businesses have been locked out of credit markets. More than 14 million people are exiled from the labor force, with one in four workers over the age of 50 never returning (I know because I was one of those people – that's what gives me the time to write books). An absolutely galling one in three black children and nearly as many Latino children are growing up in poverty right now, while the president brags about ferreting out fraud in the food stamp program rather than getting more money for it. Our chosen political leaders have tolerated all of this in order to maintain the fiction that our economic system still works, and that the organizing principles of our society remain valid. So the central question of any related political debate must be simple: How do we acknowledge that our current economy is built on lies and then start erecting a new one based on equity and sustainability? It is far better than what we currently have; an economy where we steal from the future, sell it in the present, and call it Gross Domestic Product. GDP and economic growth are simply an inter-generational Ponzi scheme biding its time while our government continues to steal from its own treasury. Obviously this cannot continue indefinitely, yet our US government remains in a state of denial regarding its existence. In so doing, our leaders have lost all touch with reality.
What is it that has clouded humanity’s judgment to such an extent? We as a species have, on balance, performed extraordinarily well. We've been around for at least a couple hundred thousand years, maybe even longer. It has only been within the last couple thousand years that we have had running water indoors, only the last 150 years since indoor plumbing was invented, and only 50 years since the last remaining houses in the US were refitted with electricity. As we’ve evolved, we have created a quality of life for billions that was unimaginable at this scale even a few decades ago. Where we have failed, we have often (but not always) attempted to correct. So, why are we collectively failing to recognize that our current trajectory of development is not sustainable? One probability is that our problem lies in humanity’s collective delusion that we can have infinite quantitative economic growth on a finite planet. This prominent fallacy is largely driven by our current model of consumer-driven economic growth. Our obsession with growth is not just a fleeting idea or a passing fancy, it is the idea that supports the global economy and society in general. It structures the politics and economic strategies for nearly every government on the planet. And individually, many people measure their progress both personally and professionally based on how much money they make, or that of their overall economic status.
The prosperity and stability promised by economic growth has not always delivered. Certainly in developing countries such as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, impressive GDP growth figures can represent the crossing of the poverty line for millions of individuals. However, GDP growth does not always represent a magic formula for a better quality of life. How do we break ourselves out of this mindset? Society needs to develop a different, more sophisticated economic model. We need to find a way out of the institutional and social constraints that lock us into a failing, self-perpetuating system. We need an extensive change in values, lifestyles and social structure, and our economic system would be a good place to start. All the wrong things with our political and economic systems, starting with capitalism as a debt-based economy, simply have no place in the 21st century. Just as society as a whole needs to move away from viewing economic growth as the ultimate measure of progress, the business world must divorce itself from a mindset that is primarily focused on creating growth in shareholder wealth. The era of shareholder-owned businesses and corporations will be replaced with a worker-owned business model. Competition must change to cooperation in order to make livable a world whose population will exceed 8 billion in just a few short years. We will achieve this not only by asking ourselves the following question: What kind of legacy do we want to leave our ancestors?
No matter how one looks at the economic woes plaguing America, in essence they are simply costs of all kinds – costs that keep escalating and accelerating at the same time. Rising unemployment, budget deficits, housing foreclosures, rising energy and food prices, unaffordable health care, accumulating credit card debt, Wall St. bailouts, the impending devaluation of the U.S. Dollar (which will occur no later than the end of 2016), outsourcing middle class US jobs overseas for pennies on the dollar while putting over 1/3 of America's middle class out in the street, products built with planned obsolescence and obsolete technologies, global warming, depletion of natural resources, rumors of nuclear wars – all these represent costs. Reducing the general cost of an economy requires the implementation of a series of well-measured economic, monetary, fiscal, political, and technological policies. Many US corporations can think of no way to cut costs other than firing employees, downsizing, and outsourcing production to low-cost-labor countries. These methods may generate profits for corporations and their fat cat shareholders but ultimately are destructive and cause the middle class – the most important base of an economy – to break down, shrink, and disappear. It's just one more reason for all of us to rise up and fight back.
The first and foremost goal of any planned transition from a capitalist (debt-driven and shareholder-owned) economic system to a more balanced (resource-based with worker ownership) free enterprise system must be to avoid the conventional method of increasing poverty in the interest of maximizing profit. This method is morally and socially wrong because no one should have the right to damage anyone's livelihood for the sake of profit. Acquiring wealth through methods that make others poor and homeless is no great achievement. Instead, the trick is to make others well-off while accumulating wealth for oneself.
The vicious cycle of cost is paralyzing our economy. To break out of this cycle, we cannot simply take imprudent and shortsighted steps such as firing people, or reducing their salaries and benefits to balance the budget without taking the most necessary measure! Energy is the most devilish cost and must be eliminated – totally, rigorously, and permanently – before we can tackle any other cost. The cost of energy, whether for private households, corporations, or government, is the plague of our economy. Why must we tackle the cost of energy first? Because it is the root source of the vicious cycle of cost. The cost of energy does not just escalate and accelerate as energy goes through the different production stages until reaching the consumer. It reduces the purchasing power of private households, companies, and governments. As the cost of energy rises, the entire economy becomes less mobile, leading to a decline in economic activity and eventually to a recession.
The increasing cost of imported energy such as crude oil leads to increased deficits, which compounds the cost of interest further. Unemployment rises as the cost of energy escalates. Rising energy costs put America's wealth at risk of ending up in the hands of hostile Middle Eastern countries, or possibly in a face-off with China and Russia over dwindling oil stockpiles. America currently has enough natural gas to last for the next 200 years. Besides, the future cost of developing alternative energy sources becomes tremendously more expensive the longer we wait to tap into those resources. No other type of cost comes with such severe consequences. Therefore, the first and most critical step towards slashing economic costs is to reduce energy costs mercilessly. America needs to find a way to eliminate our need for imported oil from countries that are hostile to us. Coal and nuclear power must be replaced with natural gas, as I wrote above, followed by solar, wind, off-shore hydroelectric and hydrogen fusion power, the same as what powers our sun and the stars in the heavens. Other energy innovations are already in the works by a number of inventors, with a race to perfect the ultimate clean energy source similar to that of putting a man on the moon in the 1960's. Our cars and trucks must be converted to run on domestically plentiful natural gas, which burns much cleaner than gasoline, in order to end our dependency on foreign oil. Putting the infrastructure in place nationwide will take several years or more and create one to three million new jobs. That's why those who are in a position to should do the patriotic thing and implement such a program and put millions of your fellow Americans back to work.
Then there is the problem of our antiquated, energy-hungry power grid as it currently exists on the North American continent. Whenever we plug an appliance of one kind or another into a power plug in the wall, we are running that appliance on direct current, which has been around since the 1800's as a source of energy, and it is long past due for replacement. The use of direct current involves the usage of relatively high voltages of 110 volts and up. According to an old truism about electricity known as Ohm's law, whenever the resistance across a circuit is constant, an increase in voltage is accompanied by an increase in current. The more voltage being maintained on a circuit or a grid, the more electrical current is necessary to keep that voltage at a constant level, and the more energy is required to generate that much electricity. Conversely, if our power grid only needed to generate, say, about one twentieth or 5% of the electricity that it currently needs to generate to maintain the necessary power levels, then it would only need about 5-10% of the fuel that it currently requires. That, to say the least, would completely change the equation as far as electrical usage and costs were concerned for all of North America. The excess could even be exported overseas to parts of the third world who have not yet fully developed their electrical grids. So, it is no exaggeration to say that converting our power grid from analog to digital would reduce America's energy use for electricity generation by up to 95%, since digital usually runs on +5 or -5 volts, or occasionally on +/- 12 or 24 volts. Converting America's electrical grid from analog to low-voltage digital is a project that would take up to 10 years and create a minimum of 3 million jobs, and possibly as many as twice that number. It should be made part of a much larger overall public works program to generate millions of urgently needed American jobs. We already have the means and the knowledge to implement such a mass overhaul of America's electrical grid, and Congress and the President should provide the funding through legislation. If they are unwilling to do that, then it will be up to us, “we the people”, to vote such a public works project by way of popular referendum. One way or another, we have the power to make these improvements a reality, and it is crucial that we do so at the first opportunity.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Is The USA In Biblical End Times Prophecy?
By Rev. Paul J. Bern
By now you all know or have heard and read the various arguments about America's role in Biblical prophecy, both pro and con. There are those who say the US isn't the Bible and many others who insist that it is. These folks have included everyone from master theologians to televangelists on the Christian TV channels to some pretty wild conspiracy theories posted on You-tube and other websites. I see no point in debating this or in blogging about it based on what has already been disseminated. Instead, as I always do, I'm going straight to the Word of God as my reference point. This is not about dogma, denominational exclusivity, nor is it about any particular version of the Bible being more “correct” than any or all others. This is based on a lot of research, study, prayer and meditation based on the Word of God, which surpasses the religious dogma of mankind.
So what will our starting point be? How can we make sense out of end times prophesy considering all the angles and points of view being discussed both within and outside of the Church? One good starting point is found in the book of Isaiah, chapter ten, verses 1-4, as it is written: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain.”
Who is it that makes unjust laws? Was this intended for groups of people, or races, or entire nations? First of all, discriminatory laws are based on all of the above. Laws that discriminate against people due to their race, nationality, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation – and especially for class and financial status – have no place in any 21st century society. Here in the US, we have or have had institutionalized discrimination based on all of the above for as long as I can remember, and I was born in the 1950's. During WWII, America forcibly incarcerated several hundred thousand Japanese Americans based solely on their race and ancestry. Then there were the “Jim Crow” laws that openly oppressed all black Americans up until the 1950's. As you know, there are significant vestiges against our black brothers and sisters that continue to make themselves known even as I write this. And let's not forget the genocide of Native Americans that has been ongoing for the last two hundred years.
Another form of discrimination still in force in modern times has been the enormously wasteful war on drugs (if you smoke cannabis, even for medical reasons, you're considered a criminal, but if you overdose on pills that you purchased legally, it's usually ruled to be accidental and it gets swept under the rug). As of 2014, 54% of all incarcerated inmates at the state and federal levels are locked up for nonviolent drug offenses – mainly simple possession cases – with well over 75% of these hapless individuals being people of color. Now there's a classic case of discrimination based on race, ethnicity and class. Last but not least, is the ticking time bomb of economic inequality. When you have a situation where 99% of any given country's wealth (not just America – but anyone) is in the hands of 1% of the population, you have a recipe for class warfare and civil unrest throughout the country. All of these things are the result of unjust laws and oppressive decrees whose source is the US government. And it is for this reason, among a few others, that America has been judged by God and found to be wanting.
“What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar?” What was Isaiah talking about? “Days of disaster” from “afar” sounds a lot like a nuclear first strike or the battle of Armageddon. This has nothing to do with domestic terrorism. This is worded to look like anything from terrorism outside the US directed inward to a full amphibious military assault on American soil by way of external invasion. Before moving on, allow me to share another quote from the prophet Isaiah: “Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is within it, the world, and all the nations that come out of it! The Lord is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood (Isaiah chapter 34, verses 1-3, NIV). How does this read to you? I see the total obliteration of all the armies of the world, and the US will not escape unharmed – not by a long shot. God is sick and tired of all the countless centuries of fighting amongst mankind. He has had more than enough of those who are murderers, robbers, kidnappers, extortionists and rapists within the civilian population (not counting the military). God is enraged with the world's armies who kill and pillage their neighbors and other counties due to extreme covetousness on the part of all the governments and multinational corporations who forcefully put their profit margins ahead of the people they claim to be serving. So, God is going to wipe out all the world's armed services in one swift stroke, and what a horrible day that will be! God wins, and everybody who stands against him will lose, beginning with those for whom fighting has become a way to make a living.
Now that I have shared some quotes from the Old Testament, I will move on to the New Testament. As I do this, let me mention some related facts with regard to Bible prophecy. There are numerous examples of prophecy throughout the Bible that have to do with the end times that we are currently living in. In the overwhelming majority of these instances, these prophecies have to do with the fate of the nation of Israel, God's holy land. Much has been said about the fact that the United States doesn't seem to fit into Biblical prophecy, and that it is barely mentioned at all. By and large this is very true. But there is one place in the Bible where America is not only mentioned, but her fate is spelled out in stark and frightening detail. For that, we need to go all the way to the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, where we will focus the remainder of this commentary on chapter 18.
“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons, and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth have committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries. Then I heard another voice from heaven say, 'Come out of her, O my people, so that you may not share in her sins, so that you will not receive her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion of her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, 'I sit as a queen, I am not a widow, and I will never mourn'. Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her : death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry, 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'” (Revelation 18, verses 2-10, NIV)
What is Babylon the Great? Is this a person, a place or a thing? It has been taught in the past that this is a reference to the Babylonian Empire that conquered the nation of Israel and carried her into captivity around 880 BC. There is a famous quote from Iraq's now-deceased dictator Saddam Hussein that he was going to resurrect this ancient empire and make it into a world power as in days of old. As you all know, this didn't quite work out as Saddam Hussein had planned. So we can discount that possibility by process of elimination. Others have taught erroneously that this was symbolism for the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, or for the Roman Empire, Napoleon's France or Hitler's Germany. But when we compare these possibilities to the ancient prophets such as Jeremiah, Daniel, Zachariah, or Joel – to name a few – Babylon the Great as foretold in Revelation simply doesn't match up with those passages of Scripture. So we conclude that this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, and that horrific future will become the present much sooner rather than later based on Scripture. Since Babylon the Great is a world power based on what we have just read, that leaves only one possibility. What global powerhouse, both financial and military, fits this description? None other than the USA.
Let's examine this more closely, starting with verse two. “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons, and a haunt for every evil spirit ... For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.” Has the US become a home for demons and evil spirits? We only need to look at today's news for the answer. There are mass shootings (and stabbings such as what just occurred this past week) in our nation's schools, at military bases, and out in the streets. Mayhem is running rampant and it continues to get ever worse. America is descending into a battlefield populated by murderers, armed robbers, rapists and thieves. People of all ages are being kidnapped or they disappear every time you turn around or look up. Sometimes their bodies are found, and it gets chalked up as a murder. Other times, and especially concerning our children, people disappear never to be seen or heard from again. This is usually because they are either kidnapped and sold on the black market by human traffickers, or because they are being sacrificed in satanic rituals that are nothing short of revolting. So we can now see clearly that the phrase “home for demons” is very accurate indeed. What is “the maddening wine of her adulteries”? This is far more than mere substance abuse or addiction, although those things do play a part. I think this represents all the espionage, cloak-and-dagger black operations, and political and military maneuvering behind the scenes both at home and abroad. From the Kennedy assassinations to Rev. Dr. King's brutal murder, from the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to incidents of domestic terrorism such as Waco Texas, Ruby Ridge Idaho, Oklahoma City and the 9/11 attacks, America's “leadership” has been behind them all to one extent or another (they're called “false flag operations”). So as we translate this into 21st century English, the US government has been fooling around behind the scenes for decades as they engage in espionage in nearly every country in the world, playing both sides of the fence, pitting one opponent against another, and most recently by drone warfare.
“Come out of her, O my people, so that you may not share in her sins, so that you will not receive her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.” There are at least two different explanations I have read about for this verse. The benign explanation comes from the apostle John's first book (among other examples) that says we are to be “in the world but not of it”. I suppose my own life could be an example of sorts, or at least to a certain extent. I live in a high-crime area for economic reasons that would take too long to explain, but no one will ever see me out in the streets doing anything like that – ever! There are still others, some Christian and some not, who have taken this passage literally by obtaining a passport and leaving the US for countries where the cost of living is lower (which is nearly everywhere else). Once they have established themselves, they renounce their American citizenship. Also, the “crimes” mentioned in this passage are everything I described above, and I regret to inform you all that my country, the United States, is guilty of all the above, and there are times when I feel ashamed about America. Not its people – just those in charge.
“Mix her a double portion of her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.” Evidently the US will get all their bad karma thrown back in her face, meaning that things within US borders will become as bad or worse than the most corrupt 3rd world nation anyone can think of. Pandemonium will reign supreme across America's landscape, and only those who put their complete trust in God and his only Son will escape unharmed. “Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her … She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry, 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'” What does it mean when it mentions “her plagues”? Some say it will be epidemics of various kinds, and I believe this is at least partially true, but I also think there is more to it than that. It is a little-known fact that America has the world's largest stockpile of germ warfare weaponry. The ongoing civil war in Syria is just one example. By now nearly everyone has seen the international news broadcasts about the Syrian people who were killed by chemical weapons of mass destruction. If you believe everything you see on the news – and who does anymore – you were force-fed false information that it was the Syrian government who launched these weapons after their own people. It wasn't until days later that it was determined that opposition rebels were the ones who may have used those weapons against their own people. Where did these Syrian rebels get these weapons? They most definitely didn't have the resources to go out and buy such awful weapons. That leaves only one other possibility – none other than the United States. Our own country supplied the rebels for these WMD's, and they had the CIA's fingerprints all over them. Now that's what I mean by a false flag attack! But, it's the last verse of this passage of Scripture that sends chills up and down my back: “In one hour your doom has come!'” This is not a typo, people. When America falls, it will happen quite literally in one hour, like turning off an electric light. There is more to back this up further down in this same chapter of Revelation, so let's begin to conclude this Spiritual fact-finding mission by taking up where we left off at verse 11.
“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore – cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon, spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep, horses and carriages; and the bodies and souls of men … Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all those who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, 'Was there ever a city like this great city?' They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: 'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'. Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: 'With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again. The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world's great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who had been killed on the earth.'” (Rev. 8, verses 11-13, verses 17-24, NIV)
“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore... “. I could end this commentary right about here and simply say that this is a prediction and a prophecy regarding America for the near future, but that's only part of the explanation. As I write this, the US still has the world's largest economy, but it will remain so only up to about 2016, which will be the year that Red China's economy will overtake and surpass that of the US. At that point, the US dollar will no longer be able to maintain its position as the world's reserve currency of choice, and the dollar will either have to be devalued or it will suffer a total crash – the likes of which no one has ever seen before (it will make the Great Depression of the 1930's look like child's play). This is the first two and the most palatable options for what will happen to the US economy in the next 2 to 3 years. But what if it's not just the US that goes belly up? That leads me to the second possible conclusion, which would be a total collapse of Capitalism as an economic system. This would make the above passage of Scripture from Revelation something to be taken symbolically rather than literally. “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all those who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, 'Was there ever a city like this great city?' They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: 'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'.” “The great city” could very well be New York City or Washington, DC. Then again, this could be symbolism for an economic system and not just one country – a truly terrifying possibility. Either scenario would create unimaginable chaos across our land as well as the other Capitalist countries in Western Europe and Asia, and let's not forget Australia while we're at it. But check out what John wrote further down: “Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!” There it is again; the prediction that the US will not only fall, but that she will never rise again, and it will all be over with in just one hour. Of course, there will be some who dismiss this commentary straight out of hand, and they will say, “Who does Pastor Bern think he is? Why, he never even graduated from a seminary!” I will only respond that I have taken this straight out of the Scriptures. My word may be refutable to some, but the Word of God is irrefutable! Be careful that these dire predictions don't fall from out of the blue and hit you right in the head. There is no substitute for God's Word, so there can be no argument about that.
“Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'.” This implies that there will be religious persecution of Christians in America, something that has previously never happened up until now. This is not a drill, this is the real deal. There is one last prophecy that needs to be mentioned here, and it reads as follows: “Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: 'With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.” This can only be explained as a meteor or comet strike upon the earth. There is nothing else that fits this description. So, insofar as this is possible, it must be taken very seriously. Otherwise, like Babylon the Great, America will be obliterated. So there you have it: the United States is in Bible prophecy all right, but not in the way the majority of churches and denominations are anticipating – nowhere near, in point of fact. The time for all of us to get ready for these events – and they will occur, it's only a question of when – is today, while we still have time and while we still have a choice. So until next week at this same time, keep a close eye on current events globally, particularly in the US and Israel, keep on studying your Bible, and continue to look upward for any sign of our Lord's return. Shalom!