God On The Net
(c) 1997 by Joseph "Rick" Reinckens II, B.A., J.D, Attorney at Law
To date, discussions of the Rapture have been written by theologians, not businessmen. As a lawyer and accountant interested in eschatology, when I saw the prophetic video Left Behind, I couldn't help but recognize the inevitable economic consequences. Indeed, they will be so severe and immediate that the Rapture will not only be the removal of the Church and the Restrainer from the world of men -- in fact, the Rapture itself will be the opening volley in the final battles between Good and Evil. It will directly determine who will be the major "players" in the end-time scenario.
One often wonders "Where will the United States fit in?"" "Why doesn't the United States seem to have a significant role before the Antichrist's one-world government comes to power?" "Why is it that Russia, China, and the Arab states hold major roles but the United States, the only remaining superpower, seems strangely absent, even when nuclear war breaks out?" Journalist and theologian Dr. Jimmy DeYoung has pointed out on The John Ankerberg Show that once its Christian population is removed, United States views and policies will not differ substantially from those of other nations.
Additionally, this is a struggle between ancient powers, not Johnny-come-latelys -- the nouveau-riche and nouveau-powerful are not invited. The Lord is brilliant and fearsome in battle -- God will remove the U.S. as a major player with a devastating and debilitating attack on its most vulnerable flank -- its economy.
Particularly in the U.S. today many people rely on insurance, investments, and doctors, without any thought of God. God will deal with this at the beginning of the Tribulation.
Consider that, more than in any other nation, most American wealth is not stored in forms that have intrinsic value such as gold, diamonds, real estate in possession, etc. Most American wealth is stored on paper that has no intrinsic value, e.g., Certificates of Deposit, shares of stock, annuities, (investment) real estate deeds, etc.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says that Christ will take all Christians from the Earth. 1 Corinthians 15:51 says Christians will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The video Left Behind depicts the scene immediately following -- millions of collisions involving vehicles of all kinds, including pilotless jumbo jets, etc. However, the economic consequences of such events will be even more catastrophic than the physical damage.
Of course, those who traditionally prey on the misfortune of others can be expected to take advantage of the situation. Many who handle large amounts of cash can be expected to transfer funds to their own account and abscond -- just another victim of the "unexplained disappearance." And yet, this will prove to be a minor concern.
Over the two weeks immediately following the Rapture, hundreds of millions of insurance claims will be filed worldwide, seeking tens of trillions of dollars in insurance benefits -- far more than the reserves of all insurance companies in the world. Within a month after the Rapture, most insurance companies will be on the verge of bankruptcy. Within six months, the insurance industry will no longer exist. People who trusted in their accumulated wealth and lost property or loved ones in the Rapture will not be able to recover insurance benefits.
(Parenthetically, in the U.S. this will lead to a massive increase in lawsuits for negligence, property damage, breach of insurance contracts, deceptive insurance practices, etc.)
Within days after the Rapture financial advisors will realize that collapse of the insurance industry is imminent and unavoidable. They will issue bulletins advising their clients "If you own any stock in any company that has any strong ties to an insurance company, sell the stock now, for whatever you can get. Take the hit now, while the stock is still worth something."
This will trigger panic selling by large shareholders such as mutual funds, retirement funds, etc. Most banks, major corporations, and insurance companies have strong ties to each other. Major corporations have lines of credit with banks. Many insurance companies own large blocks of stock in banks and vice-versa. Within hours after the bulletins there will be a drop of several hundred points in major stock markets.
For a number of years, major stock brokerages have constantly monitored the world's financial markets by computer. The drop of several hundred points will trigger programmed selling--computers automatically issuing buy or sell orders. The result will be the largest stock market crash ever -- 1000-2000 points in the first day. The governments of the major financial powers will have no choice but to suspend trading in all the major stock exchanges. Of course, this will greatly increase the panic among the general population.
At the same time, as people realize a major stock market crash is in progress, there will be a run on banks, as there were in the 1930's and, to a lesser extent, in the mid-1980's. Once again, the major financial powers will step in, freezing all banking transactions in the major nations. Credit cards and other kinds of bank credit will instantly cease. And once again, this will greatly increase panic.
With employers and governments unable to access frozen bank accounts, people won't be paid, bills won't get paid, etc. Unemployment will become rampant.
Meanwhile, throughout the world, hundreds of millions of people who work for small businesses will show up at work and find that the lawyer, the doctor, the CPA, the shop-keeper, or other business owner they worked for has vanished, so they are out of a job. Within two weeks after the Rapture the number of unemployment claims will skyrocket, bankrupting unemployment insurance programs in the major countries.
Both panic and anger will skyrocket as people realize their wealth is about to evaporate and they are helpless to prevent it. Panic hoarding of food, medical supplies, gasoline, heating oil, and similar commodities will erupt. Runaway inflation, gas lines and rationing will begin. Keep in mind that this will probably be within the first two weeks after the Rapture.
These events will have a domino effect in most communities. The great uncertainty and sudden massive decline in most people's financial situation will cause major social upheavals.
The U.S. will be hardest hit because it has the largest economy, a large national debt, an economy that is largely cashless, an economy based on credit, and a population greatly divided by race, ethnic origin, gender, color, religious beliefs, regional rivalries, cultural differences, and financial status. Also, many of its people have developed a mindset that they are entitled to jobs, good income, social status, and material wealth and success without substantial effort to earn those things.
Contrasted to the U.S. economic system, there are a number of countries where wealth is stored less in the form of paper, and more in the form of tangible assets with intrinsic value. In particular, the Arab states will still be sitting on billions of barrels of crude oil, at a time when the financial markets of the major powers will be crumbling. Also, there are several major powers where very little wealth is stored "on paper", particularly Russia and China. In fact, in the short run these countries are likely to see an improvement in their quality of life, since their leading economic competitors, the U.S. and the European Union will be in the grip of a crippling depression.
Obviously, the best way to prepare for this scenario is to take the last flight out. Barring that, pray . . .
1. Although I believe the Post-Rapture Economic Collapse will happen for the reasons above, I want to make it clear that this is my personal opinion. As far as I know, this is not a doctrine or teaching of any major Christian denomination
2. After this article was written there was a "severe drop" on a major United States stock exchange and "automatic protection" computer programs halted trading on Wall Street. Those programs can only protect against temporary "drops" such as concerns over a change in unemployment figures. Freezing the markets will aggravate the collapse, not prevent it.
(c) 1998 by Rick Reinckens