Rome’s On-Schedule Revival
Vol: 114 Issue: 25 Friday, March 25, 2011
The catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan should have caused the Japanese yen to weaken against the US dollar. But instead, the yen rose against the US dollar for five consecutive days after the earthquake.
Currency speculators expected Japan to bring back some of the money Japan has invested in the US to pay for rebuilding. The speculation ended when the world’s leading finance ministers and central bankers intervened in the currency markets to prop the dollar back up.
But even with international intervention, when measured against a ‘basket’ of currencies including the euro, yen, pound and Canadian dollar, the dollar is down seven percent since January and 14 percent since June.
What does that mean? Well, suppose you invested $10,000.00 in US currency at 5% last June. You haven’t yet made $500 in interest, (it’s still three months until June) but your original $10,000.00 is only worth about $8600.00 today.
So your savings saw a net loss of almost ten percent, even with a higher-than-average five percent annual return.
Economists say that is a good thing. Companies that export goods become more competitive because their products are cheaper on the international market. That helps Americans sell more stuff abroad.
But it makes everything more expensive at home. And since 70% of the US economy is driven by domestic spending, it means a weaker dollar advantages 30% of the economy at the expense of the other 70%.
I’m no economist, but that doesn’t seem to me to be a winning equation over the long haul. It means that a gallon of gasoline costs more. So does a Japanese TV. Or a bottle of French wine. Or Canadian lumber.
So the price of everything at Walmart is going up, but the price of American-made products is coming down. Sadly, thanks to years of intense liberal efforts to “redistribute the wealth” very little is actually American-made.
Even when it seems like it.
The local GM plant in Tonawanda, New York has laid off most of its work force because of the Japanese earthquake!
Government Motors employees in Tonawanda assemble the engines, but the parts necessary for assembly are made in Japan. So while Government Motors can claim GM cars are American-made, it is more accurate to say that some of them are “assembled in America.”
In 2008 I bought a Pontiac Vibe from GM. (Smart move, no?) When Toyota began having its problems, I got recall notices from GM because the Pontiac Vibe is a rebranded Toyota Matrix assembled in America from Japanese parts.
(And when last I checked, the Pontiac Vibe’s value had depreciated to the point that three years into a five-year car loan, the car is almost worth what I owe on it. But not quite)
What I found most stunning was that many investors are moving out of US dollars and investing in Canadian dollars. Only ten years ago, a US dollar was worth $1.40 Canadian.
Today, a US dollar is worth only 97 cents Canadian. Compared to the American greenback, the Canadian dollar is a safe asset. But not quite as safe as the euro.
According to an economic assessment in the Washington Post, investors are shifting their assets from America to Europe.
“As the euro and other currencies emerge as stronger alternatives to the dollar — and as the United States maintains easy-money monetary policies and high federal budget deficits — the chances of such a shift will increase.
“The dollar is still dominant, but as the European economy comes back and they are ahead of us in getting their fiscal house in order, that could set up the long-feared substantial move from dollar to euro as the dominant global currency,” said Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
So while America remains the dominant economic power of the moment, in the long term, investors are betting on Europe.
According to a new study conducted by the “Comeback America Initiative” using the Sovereign Fiscal Responsibility Index to rank America’s financial situation, America is in pretty bad shape.
What does that mean? For comparison purposes, the top five are Australia, New Zealand, Estonia Sweden, China and Luxembourg. The Index ranks 34 countries – America comes in at number 28.
That is according to David Walker, former Comptroller-General of the United States:
“We think it is important for the American people to understand where the United States is as compared to other countries with regard to fiscal responsibility and sustainability,” Walker said in a CNBC interview.
“Americans are used to rankings and they’re used to ranking very high, but frankly in this area we rank very low.”
How low? Walker equated the debate in Congress about spending reforms to an argument over a bar tab on the Titanic.
“We need to cut spending. Frankly we need to cut spending more than what has been talked about but over a longer period of time. But what’s imperative is that we need to attach some conditions to increasing the debt ceiling limit that will bring back tough budget controls…”
These are the kinds of long-term trends that form the bedrock evidences that this is the generation that will see the fulfillment of all Bible prophecy and the second coming of Christ.
Trends come and go – but Europe is definitely not a trend.
According to the Prophet Daniel, the dominant power on earth during the last days will be a revived form of the Roman Empire. That identification is derived from a single, critically important passage about the people of the prince.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9:26)
Why is this such a critically important passage? Beginning with Daniel 9:24, the prophet outlines the entire future history of Israel from Daniel’s present to ours.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
“Seven weeks, threescore (sixty) and two weeks: that adds up to sixty nine “weeks.” Hebrew uses sevens the way the Greeks use tens.
The Greeks count the passage of time in decades – periods of ten years each. The Hebrews counted in heptads – periods of seven years each. Sixty-nine weeks is 483 years.
So Daniel is predicting that, from the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah would be received as a prince would be four hundred and eighty-three years.
I said that the identification of the revived Roman Empire was critically important to this passage from Daniel. Here is why.
The Bible tells us that Ezra began his journey to Jerusalem, letter in hand, on the 1st day of the 1st month (Nisan) in the 7th year of the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:9,11).
But Ezra was sent to restore and rebuild the Temple. Daniel 9’s decree, authorizing the rebuilding of Jerusalem was given to Nehemiah “in the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king.” (Nehemiah 2:5)
According to Josh McDowell’s book, “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” that first period of sixty-nine ‘weeks’ was fulfilled to the exact moment.
According to modern dating research, the 20th year of the Persian king Xerxes would have been 444 BC. The reference to the ‘month of Nisan’ with no reference to the day indicates the first day of the month.
Using the Hebrew calendar, the first day of Nisan, BC 444 corresponds to the modern date of March 5. Counting forward 483 years from 444 BC to AD 33 is 477 years.
But BC 1 and AD 1 are the same year, so deducting that year leaves us with 476 years. Four hundred seventy-six years times 365.24219879 days is 173,855 days.
McDowell calculates that Jesus was crucified on March 30, AD 33, so there are an extra 25 days to add to the equation, giving a grand total of 173,880 days.
So, from the going forth of the commandment on March 5, BC 444 until March 30, AD 33 was exactly 173,880 days divided by 360 day lunar which equals exactly 483 years.
Daniel 9:26 goes on to say that after Messiah is ‘cut off but not for Himself’, “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city.”
Within a generation of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, General [and future Emperor] Titus of Rome led his legions into Jerusalem where the city was sacked and the Temple utterly destroyed.
Then we come to the final verse – the one about the coming prince of the Roman Empire during the Tribulation Period:
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)
The coming prince confirms a covenant, or treaty, “with many” and Israel. (The entire prophecy is about Israel.) The period is “one week.” Add this week to the sixty-nine weeks and the 70 Weeks of Daniel are completed.
The sixty-ninth “week” concludes with His ‘cutting off’ at the Cross. The seventieth concludes with His triumphant return as King of King and Lord of Lords.
Now, to tie it all together. First, the precision of Daniel’s outline, down to the decimal point, from Xerxes’ decree to the Messiah’s triumphant reception into Jerusalem as ‘Messiah the prince’ on Palm Sunday.
The prophecies of Daniel are so precise that many skeptics have argued that Daniel is really a forgery written by Judas Maccabeus in 163 BC in an effort to explain how Daniel was able to predict the fall of Babylon, the rise and fall of the Persian Empire and the incredible detail with which Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire fulfilled Daniel’s predictions.
For Christians, that argument is demolished by Jesus personally when He refers to Daniel as a prophet.
As we discussed previously, there is a danger in attempting to interpret Bible prophecy in light of current events, rather than interpreting current events in light of Bible prophecy. (Islam’s Antichrist)
Current events are only current until they change. Bible prophecy does not change.
There are a number complicated theories about the identification of the antichrist, the timing of the Rapture, the length of the Tribulation, and so on out there.
To make them work, however, one has to re-interpret the Prophet Daniel.
To come up with an Islamic antichrist, one must reinterpret the prince as of the people of the Islamic world, not the people of a revived Roman Empire. If the Mahdi is the antichrist, one must forget about a peace covenant.
If a ‘week’ isn’t seven years, then the Tribulation Period can be whatever a particular theory demands in order to put us in the Tribulation now, or to put the Rapture in the Tribulation later.
The only really clear identification of the antichrist’s powerbase and the location of his kingdom is found in the Book of Daniel. John identifies it as a city on seven mountains, which fits Rome as the City on Seven Hills.
But it is Daniel that nails it down by linking the antichrist to the destruction of the city and sanctuary. That can ONLY fit the Romans in AD 70. It doesn’t fit the Islamic world or allow for an Islamic leader as antichrist.
The first part of Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks covered four hundred and eighty-three years and was accurate down to the decimal point.
The second part, which deals with a measly seven years, is being dissected and re-interpreted to fit current events.
Current events — without any interpretation – aren’t as spectacular as discovering an Islamic antichrist or evidence suggesting we’re in the Tribulation now.
What current events do demonstrate is a slow, inexorable global economic and power shift in Europe’s direction.
Just as Daniel predicted that it would have to be in the days just before the onset of the Tribulation.