Forecast America 2008 – The Church and the Nation

As a fledgling believer about four decades ago I began to have dreams. They were like movie previews of events to come usually personal but at times more universal in nature. It was spooky enough having the dreams but even more unsettling was the fact that of several thousand dreams over the years not one was ever wrong.

Always checking the dreams against the Bible to make sure there were no inconsistencies was my first rule of interpretation. But often my dreams needed no interpretation; they came on a “what you see is what you get” basis. I saw the events exactly as they happened; no interpretation needed.

I’ve never accepted the ability to view the future as merely novel or interesting but have approached it all with the deepest sense of responsibility. The Bible strictly warns that if someone purports to have heard from God when they have not they will be totally responsible for that error, or lie if they are mistaken or just being presumptuous.

Very few dreams had to do with world events for which I have always been thankful. I believe I will see more as the need arises. In one dream I did see the return of the Lord and in another message I was warned of an economic collapse in America that will dwarf the stock market crash and the dust bowl days combined. I can see the future but I can’t predict what God may show me about the future.

What has guided me over the years has been the definition of a prophet I found in the Bible and one other source. The biblical definition says “And he said, hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” (Nu 12:6)

The other definition was that a prophet is one who “tells forth the will and counsel of God.” This definition implies that prophecy is not relegated to only speaking about the future and is in perfect harmony with a verse from the book of Revelation that says “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev 19:10)

Today more Bible prophecy is being fulfilled than in any other time in history. The two major events having to do with Jesus Christ are his first coming (Messianic prophecies) and then his second coming (pre-millennial prophecies.) Obviously the bulk of prophecies yet to unfold are pre-millennial. Up to about one quarter of the Bible is made up of pre-millennial prophecies.

As a boy I watched my grandfather load himself and a few of my uncles into an old flatbed truck and travel 35 miles to a nearby city to consult with a Portuguese Feiteceira (witch) who would tell him why his poultry business was not doing so well at times. He would slay a few chickens and throw them on his neighbor’s front yard to break the curse and go on with business as usual.

This is not prophecy as the Bible sees it. In fact this book that speaks so much about future events has serious warnings about seeking the future or pretending to know the future. Prophesying for money, prognosticating, witchcraft, necromancy, (reading the liver) astrology, stargazing, psychic reading and soothsaying are all strictly prohibited by the scriptures. If God has something to say he alone picks his mouthpieces and he alone certifies them. The most unique thing about these oracles is this; they never prophesy anything that conflicts with or denies the “prior” revelation…the Bible.

Many people are studying the prophetic side of the scriptures today. That study is referred to most often as “eschatology.” Unfortunately not everyone doing these studies is qualified. Those who are Biblically grounded and who shun liberal interpretation are seen to be the most reliable. These matters are not for the novice or the person who is just dabbling.

Many certified eschatologists are also good at making predictions or accurate forecasts about the future because they compare current events against the prophecies in a responsible and balanced fashion. You won’t hear a lot of “thus saith the Lord” from these kinds of people. They will research, analyze, and speculate in a learned and biblically grounded manner and their view of things can generally be trusted. It behooves the hearer to pick your prophets with care.

One thing you will never hear from a real prophet is the naming of a specific date or time for the return of the Lord. Christ strictly warned that no man would know the exact time of his return. (Mt 24:36) What Christ did say was that we would be able to see the season or the generation in which his return was imminent (Mt 24:32) and not to see it would be our folly. Refusing to see it is even worse and even that was prophesied to come as well.

It is in the spirit of the aforementioned that I make my predictions for America for 2008. They are “soft predictions” so don’t get nervous. But do watch carefully because you will lose most of the bets against their accuracy if you are a gambling person.

If a liberal democrat of the top contender variety is chosen to lead this county in the upcoming election all bets are off. My forecast for America if that happens is far too bleak. That eventuation would produce the fastest and most severe downward social and moral trend this country has ever experienced. I am speaking here of a Clinton or Obama win in the race for president as if I really needed to say that.

Keeping in mind that the President represents only one part of our three branches of government and the social trends of the population can often outweigh all three branches of government. We can’t hold a single leader up to more than they can produce. If a conservative values based individual like Alan Keyes or Mike Huckabee is chosen the difference will be large but the will of the people must never be left out of the equation.

In fact it is the “will of the people” that is my next prediction. Government by representation has severely faltered in America over the last decade. Our reps are not voting our will like they used to. In the EU failure to get the remaining countries into the EU block of nations has resulted in the abandonment of popular votes and referendums. Now the parliamentary decisions are being counted on more than ever rather than the will of the people. Enter America.

Government that Ronald Reagan tried so hard to make less lumbering and unwieldy has re-fattened in the last decade. The fed will tell us how we are going to live; it’s easier than wading through millions of opinions and cumbersome referendums. Top reps are streamlining much legislation on local, state and federal levels with or without regarding the “will of the people” to wit California’s twisted and almost unbelievable passing of SB777. Lest we forget the other brazen example of the slaughter of “for the people and by the people” the NAFTA derived Mexamerica superhighway controversy looms large as a perfect example of leaving out the “will of the people.”

As for sharing pulpits with candidates who think babies have no rights and gays should have even more rights, this is all part of the well defined “apostasy” of the church promised in Biblical prophecy. Preachers with mega-churches who refuse to call men to repentance and salvation through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross are also part of the predicted “falling away.” Prosperity gospel, cotton candy religion and feel good theologies are all elements that will leave the church divided and impotent more in 2008 than ever before. I predict that apostate churches will flourish in 2008. I can add that these churches will be the first to be struck down by the Antichrist and the most severely dealt with by secular forces in the not too distant future.

Conversions to Christianity will continue to flourish in third world countries as they are now in parts of Africa, Central America and South America. China will continue to see the Christian faith grow in spite of fierce resistance and persecution. This must not be read as proof that the apostasy is not underway. God is able to keep both promise and prophecy fulfilled and moving forward at the same time. One of the last day’s signs is that the gospel will be preached throughout the world at the very same time that whole nations will be tearing up the roots of the church and eventually directly opposing and persecuting the church worldwide.

I believe that natural disasters will occur with greater frequency than ever before in 2008. Perhaps some serious earthquakes in the western US and some deadly weather conditions around the rest of the country. As always no one in the secular world will acknowledge that any of this has to do with Gods direct influence. Increased frequencies of any natural phenomena will be noticed but attributed to natural causes and glibly explained away by scientists and other “experts.”

On the positive side many wandering stars will be re-gathered in 2008. Thousands of people who have been straddling the fence for years will return to the faith they were once tutored in. Additionally new converts will sweep across every age group and the intensity of their conversions will be notable. They will be accompanied by dreams, visions and even some miracles. An entire generation of Joel 2:28 Christians will begin to emerge in 2008. If you know the scripture this promise has probably just lifted your heart and maybe produced a smile on your face, if you do not know what Joel 2:28 says nothing said here will make any difference anyway.

Finally events in the rest of the world will catapult America into some sudden foreign policy changes. Iran will prove to be the peskiest and ultimately the most dangerous influence in the Middle East. Europe will flex new muscle politically, militarily and the Euro will push the dollar down to new lows before a worldwide economy emerges. 2008 will see upheavals in the economies of several countries and Canada will be among them.

Hollywood, TV and media in general will plunge to new depths of prurient immorality and the government will have little effectiveness in curbing it. It will be a year of giving the people “what they really want” even if it is choking them to death.

2008 could be said to be the year of the sinking ship. An old analogy used by evangelists years ago now will take on new meaning in 08. A large ship stranded at sea with no power or ability to communicate is sinking fast as the Captain comes down to the grand ballroom to announce what looks like the greatest act of benevolence ever seen at sea. He announces that the ships stores are open to all and they can have anything they desire and they can do anything they want to do. The passengers are gleefully delighted and begin to indulge themselves without reservation.

A few sailors and passengers who know what is really going on try to warn the rest that the ship is taking on water from below and is sinking. These doomsayers are mocked, scorned and ridiculed. The analogy is simple the ship sinks! The more personal license and uninhibited behavior that is encouraged in any society is directly linked to the amount of time to the final plunge to the bottom. 2008 will be taking on water at an alarming rate and a few sailors will be trying to herald the warning against a backdrop of self assured collective solipsism and the deep blindness caused by self indulgence. God help us in 2008.

As I move down the one way road toward the end of my walk in this old world two things grow stronger everyday. One is the love I have for my God and his son the Lord Jesus Christ, the other is the love I have for America. It is because of both that I can say that with prophetic fulfillment comes a dark night upon the whole earth. I can say with Christ that if your going to work some good with your life you had better do it now because “the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4

If you are a conservative American don’t be discouraged because a few names have fallen off the wagon. Remember the alternatives and that most of the liberals were not ever on the wagon to begin with. Fight the good fight.

As for faith in God remember as the ball drops this year in Times Square there is also a door closing to a countdown of God’s prophetic timetable. Don’t bother with a New Years resolution and don’t insult God by bringing in the New Year with a drunk and a midnight kiss. Its not about resolutions or reformations it’s about repentance. Pause as the New Year comes in and get right with God.

With a simple and heartfelt prayer in the privacy of your home, office or car you can call upon Christ to forgive all your sins and invite him to come into your life. He won’t refuse anyone and that always included you. Happy New Year America!

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Communism Is Right For China

Americans are afraid of communism because is goes against everything we stand for. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been taught that America is Freedom. Without freedom, life is not worth l living. It’s given to us at birth. It’s part of our culture and inseparable from history. Bear with me as the details are becoming fuzzy. High school American history class seems further and further away, but considering I’m in the same boat with most Americans on this one, this is how I remember it.

The king of England was a despotic and tyrannical ruler and tried to impose new religion upon his people, some of which refused to accept this new blasphemous way of life. So they decided to move to a new land, where they would not be persecuted – America. They got to America but the kind was still trying to exercise his rule over this new colony with tea, and taxes, etc. This continued for a while until we had enough. We fought the good fight and through perseverance and with the name of Good on our side, we won. We created a new country that would not repeat the same mistakes of the past. No one ruler was fit to make decisions for everyone; therefore this power would be put into the hands of the people. Everyone would be free unless that freedom imposed upon the freedom of others.

This idea of freedom and the American way stayed with us for three hundred years. Our forefathers were people who fought “the man” and won. They were rebels who took down the system for the good everyone and despite all the nay-sayers, created a newer, better way of life.

It’s not the same in China.

China has 5000 years of a single, infallible man with a God-given right ruling everyone. From the time of tribal society, to feudalism, emperors, into the communism of Mao Zi dong and now “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, their society has always been ruled in this way. Anyone who rebelled was quickly silenced. Equally, on a much smaller scale, family values, based very heavily on Confucianism, says that sons must listen to fathers, younger brothers to older brothers, women to men, workers to bosses, as well as many other ‘natural’ roles of society which one must abide to. These are the pillars of society and the way things are meant to be. Without this structure, we’re all destined to be climbing in the trees. If you break these rules, you’re a rogue, a menace to society, an outcast.

Furthermore, China is just so big; you can’t possibly listen to everyone. I’m an English teacher in China so I sympathize. The difference between a class of 8 and 20 is immense. The way you teach, reward, and punish is completely different. Sure it’s great for everyone to contribute with a class of eight. When I’ve got an hour to teach the past participle to a class of twenty middle school students? The girl in the back on her mobile phone – forget her. The guy trying to make a joke about my big nose – get out. In the same fashion, China’s government must be different to that of America’s. The history, culture, and size requires it. Sure there are problems with their system, but is American democracy flawless? I say rake the leave on your own front yard before you stark raking someone else’s. China knows best how to deal with Chinese problems.

China’s Mercantilism and New Global Economic Order

Modern communication technology has allowed China to achieve a centralized bureaucracy that has a smaller chance of becoming overextended and too top heavy. The danger, of parts of central government melting into regional structures with rebellious consequences, is diminishing every year. The risk is not totally gone however if rapid economic growth bumps into serious stagnation and even GDP reversal. As of today, China has the creaky uneven centralization of 18th century France and is gleefully engaged in large scale mercantilist practices.

Chinese society is not yet fully urbanized and consolidated. Beijing cannot yet engage in cutting edge mercantilist practices as done by Japan and Singapore. Chinese political center only recently overcame last remnants of feudalism, warlordism, and peripheral regional integration. Having dealt with that, China is pursuing the same economic path that allowed Kaiser’s Germany to rapidly grow by taking advantage of British post-mercantilist free trade period. It is very historically appropriate. There is no need for Beijing to emulate Spanish, British, or French mercantilist experiences.

For a nation of 5 year plans, it makes sense to try to skip developmental steps and leap from macroeconomics of Kaiser’s Germany to those of Japan. As of today, China has done rapid neomercantilist development by the book:

1) Government imposed positive trade balance through protectionism and currency control (yuan pegged to the dollar)

2) Self sufficiency in agriculture and manufacturing of basic to advanced goods

3) Acquisition of large amounts of money and gold (around a trillion dollars worth as of 2009). Controls to prevent wealth from flowing out of the country through protectionist restrictions on imports

4) Large scale mining and infrastructural projects to increase use of domestic resources and terrain. Hamilton and Quinsy Adams would be proud of what Beijing’s coastal elite have achieved in the last 20 years. China has also secured 60% of Africa’s resource exports and are structurally integrating Central Asia and Siberian Russia into their resource feeding network.

5) Keeping the overall population’s wages low to increase country’s overall manufacturing exports. That is easily accomplished by underdevelopment of Western provinces like Tibet. One child policy is more imposed on the wealthier Mandarin ruling coalition than the periphery ethnic groups. Uneven implementation of one child policy keeps periphery ethnic groups more fertile and poorer. Coastal urban ruling peoples spend more energies on advanced wealth generating employment rather than saving to augment multiple children.

6) Keeping of imports limited to natural resources and large scale buy outs of foreign expert talent in anything from engineering, electronics, economics, and hard sciences

Current opinion and international action has just been reactive so far. Westerners are mainly focused on China’s attempts to prevent rapid devaluing of the bought dollars (before all of them are eventually used on natural resources anyway) through creation of an international reserve currency . Some look on how the international recession, can be used by China, to move from less advanced manufacturing to price competing with Germans and Japanese when it comes to advanced electronics and electric cars. Chinese confidence in constructively criticizing the existing international economic system is often noted.

Very little attention has been paid to the implications of the world being pulled into a mercantilist arrangement. China is becoming more predictable and thus out-maneuverable. Originally, Britain became economically successful because it added free trade theory onto mercantilist practice earlier than Spain or France. It stayed one step ahead of the competition. However, the new economic hybrid has created oligarchal capitalist interests who then used liberal theory to reduce state’s involvement in the economy. Wealthy exporting interests (who controlled the house of commons and people’s opinion through printed media) used appeals to individual freedom to dismantle the mercantilist/free trade hybrid that made Britain powerful and wealthy to begin with. Britain coasted along but economically declined as hybrid societies were able to build up new waves of industrial assets through neomercantilist practices (Germany/ United States). As Britain declined in industrial might, it focused on its core strength of money management and that lead to the torch being passed down to Wall Street in the 20th century. The great competing banking hubs of Europe (Paris, Berlin, Moscow) were looted in the wars/revolutions. We now see what happens when banking and finance is the core strength and emphasis of the economy.

China is now in the process of moving to the final stage of manufacturing asset concentration through focus on development of advanced products like cars and computers. Rapid economic assimilation of Taiwan and Hong Kong will quickly aid in that process. Western investment in Taiwan created a base for high technology and competitive know how. Many Taiwanese oligarchs have already basically integrated their companies with mainland ones. Ideologically, Taiwan’s Kuomintang political center, can now smoothly cooperate with Chinese authorities. People forget how important socialism was in Chiang Kai Chek’s original nationalist ideology.

Very soon, China will begin manufacture of high technology goods to compete with Germany and Japan for markets in Russia, Europe, and North America (as well as lower end cheap electric cars sold to developing nations). They will be forced to utilize existing free trade international system (perhaps stabilized by IMF’s Special Drawing Rights currency basket) to push these products abroad.

How would Chinese like to see the world once their products flow onto middle class Western markets? They would like to see no protectionism from Europe, Russia, Japan, or North America. They would like to see rule of law and capitalist adherence from everybody in the world. They’d be fine with North America and Europe reduced to South American-esque resource providers and vacation destinations. We can see that if China takes on Japanese level importance in high technology exports, they’ll be able to then finally consolidate nationally and relax the amount of force needed to keep social stability.

In a few decades, the communist leadership in Beijing will then be able to claim that not only did they bring the nation out of poverty but they:

1) beat Westerners at their own game like Japan did (but without a period of war over resources)

2) created real feeling of nationalism, inter-ethnic peace, and modern nation state like Chiang Kai Chek wanted

3) avoided Soviet Union’s mistakes when undergoing Perestroika while properly utilizing communist fruits of mass literacy and emphasis on science/engineering

4) took the torch from United States as the Global role model when it comes to free trade, peaceful co-existence, lack of harmful interference in other societies’ business, isolationism, respect for borders of small states, and business cooperation

5) built more for the developing world than the financially oriented English speakers by swapping resources for real engineering construction projects

6) helped create a stabilizing one world currency for more even international development

Such claims will allow Communist party to win election after election for a number of decades even if they then allow political pluralism. Many Asian states continued to have one party rule for decades even after democratizing. Cultural collectivism and emphasis on agreement allows power elites to work smoothly together. Taking into account Britain’s experience, China can easily continue to pragmatically evolve, build a financial center through Hong Kong, bring new resources (such as Helium 3 from space exploration), and guide humanity by being its center of progress.

History has shown that leading global elites will not allow such unimpeded ascendancy. Cutting off resources and containment is too blatantly hostile. Japan and Imperial Germany have demonstrated that. Advanced hybrid of mercantilism and free trade (from a society strong enough economically and technologically) will be the only way to counterbalance Chinese ascendancy. Only European Union with English and Russian speaking allies has what it takes to effectively compete and prevent formation of a long term hegemon that is culturally and psychologically uncomfortable for Westerners.

Earlier in the article, it was mentioned how Chinese bureaucracy, has a small chance of being destabilized again. There is precedent for this happening at numerous times in China’s history with horrible civil wars and revolts from poorer less developed periphery. China’s gini index, that shows country’s income inequality between the rich and the poor, shows that China is even more economically unequal than United States. Today, Beijing’s authoritarian rule keeps the lid on trouble from elites from either the oligarch coastal factions, rural/regional factions, and urban West emulating liberals.

European Union’s job, to deal with the near future, involves:

1) Being proactive rather than reactive to Chinese, American, or Russian moves

2) Acquiring valuable allies to augment influence. That means working first with Russia to kick American/British influence out of central Europe and then with England to push American influence out of NATO. NATO can then be ended and America approached as an equal power to work with.

3) Being pragmatic and not looking at human rights when acquiring resources from other nations. Europe still has time to lock onto substantial amounts of resource exports from the third world, especially Africa. It can join Russia in developing the Arctic energy reserves and help Russia outbid Chinese resource extraction/exploration companies in Central Asia.

4) Consolidate EU structures, such as the European Parliament, so more coherent action can be undertaken with more popular trans European legitimacy.

5) Use advanced collective protectionist methods to keep an edge in high technology products to stay a step ahead of China. Contribute even more constructively to global currency formation through IMF where Westerners still dominate.

6) Work with United States and England to manage the geopolitical, social, and economic decline of United States peacefully and productively. Invite young American professionals to European Union to displace social pressures from relying on less assimilative Muslim immigrants. Become the stable adult co-equal mediator between Russia and United States so the two former superpowers can productively contribute and provide nuclear protection. Open borders to young educated Westerners from around the world to counterbalance aging of Europe.

7) Develop strong ties to regional powers like Japan and India to counterbalance Chinese cultural influence. To do that, rapidly expand economic cooperation with them in the sphere of building climate change infrastructure, energy, military, and space

8) Comprehensively educate the public on climate change and loss of technological edge to China in non-confrontational terms. Take the lead in recognizing petty-infighting (like Poland’s mistrust of Russian cooperation in Europe) and offer tangible economic/developmental incentives to major actors to overcome them.

Brussels has enough time to still effectively consolidate before China does. It will require the same long term vision, developmental eye, and good historical sense as the one possessed by their Chinese politburo counterparts. Europe is more economically egalitarian than China. It has more power elites and cutting edge professionals. It must find a way to be protected by Russo-American nuclear umbrella (without being controlled by them) so not too much money is spent on integrated European defense. Together, Western peoples of the world got close to a billion people and have as much of a shot as Chinese (less than half the Chinese speak the ruling dialect of Mandarin). Western civilization has the qualitative expertise to provide solid competition that will benefit all of humanity.