Whenever a financial crisis strikes it seems like the end of the world for those who are most affected, as they lose their jobs, their savings, their homes and their sense of security. Although it is impossible to know in advance if the current financial crisis has anything to do with prophecy, the Bible does predict an end time crisis that will include global economic disaster.
The apostle James wrote, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you… your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasures in the last days. Indeed, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord” (James 5:1-5). This verse predicts that “in the last days” the rich will “heap up treasures” by exploiting the poor, but that the Lord will take note and their treasures will be “a witness against” them.
This theme is expanded in Revelation 18, the fall of Babylon, which pictures the whole world getting rich off the global trade that Babylon generates. This chapter even lists in detail the luxury items that Babylon had been purchasing, and how “the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury” (Revelation 18:3). However, she will be judged and her wealth destroyed: “In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow… she will be utterly burned with fire” (vs. 7,8).
Her ruin will bring global trade to an end: “And the merchants of the earth… who became rich by her… will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore… Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate” (vs. 11, 15, 19).
Revelation 11 implies that during the time when the Two Witnesses will be giving the last message to the world there will be a severe drought, which usually results in a more general financial crisis. “These (the Two Witnesses) have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy” (Revelation 11:6). The prophet Joel also predicts this drought. “The Day of the Lord is at hand… the seed shrivels under the clods, storehouses are in shambles; barns are broken down for the grain has withered… The beasts of the field also cry out to (the Lord), for the water brooks are dried up” (Joel 1:15-20).
The financial crisis will be only one aspect of a more general crisis which is called “the Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21), “The Time of Trouble such as never was” (Daniel 12:1), “The Day of the Lord” (Joel 1:15) and “the Hour of Trial which shall come upon the whole world” (Revelation 3:10).
Although the Great Tribulation will make all previous crisis pale in comparison, God will preserve those who love Him during that time— “He who walks righteously… will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks. Bread will be given him, His water will be sure” (Isaiah 33:15,16). “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17,18).