Ominous Black Friday and The December 21, 2012 Event
By Don McGee
They call it "Black Friday", and it has a varied history. Some say the origin of the name comes from the Philadelphia Police Department's uncomplimentary appraisal of the first day of the Christmas shopping season back in 1966. In recent years it refers to that busy Friday after Thanksgiving that puts retailers "in the black".
Each year it seems the day is punctuated with incidents of trampling, fights, robberies, shootings and all sorts of anti-social behavior. Seems that "peace on earth" thing we like to sing about just can't seem to make it to the retail level.
It is both sad and shocking that the official American day of Thanksgiving to God has become the eve of what is arguably the year's most illustrative day of thanklessness and greed. More important than its origin, and even more important than its economic impact is its crystal clear portrayal of the greed and violence that can be so quickly and easily launched from the depths of the human heart. Not a pretty sight to behold.
But, there is something more here. Something ominous that is lurking in the dark shadow of this often violent day of materialistic greed. In short, it sets a precedent, though very limited in comparison, for what is going to happen in America, and all over the world, very soon. It is the coming time of tribulation spoken of by the ancient Hebrew prophets, and a time described by Jesus in Matthew 24 as one of unprecedented trouble. A time when the human race will show just how debauched it can be when God is dismissed and man is left to himself.
Amos said it will be a time of darkness, "As when a man flees from a lion, and a bear meets him, or goes home, leans his hand against the wall, and a snake bites him." (Amos 5:19). Just when a man thinks he is safe and stops to catch his breath, he is instantly face-to-face with another form of horrible death. The deep and continuous anxiety and fear of the tribulation period will break many of those left behind emotionally, mentally and physically. Soon, most civility will be gone, and the ultimate result will be a world with many of its inhabitants living on the verge of barbarism.
After the anti-Christ imposes "order", the compulsion for survival will even undermine martial law when necessary. Further, his demand for control and worship will push the criminal justice system and its former stabilizing influence to the back burner. You see, he will have no concern for escalating lawlessness, because he will have no concern for the sanctity of life.
In those spiritually dark days the damning mark of the beast will be necessary for anyone to buy or sell goods and services. Refusing his mark will be a terrifying thing, for it will cost a person his head under the blade of the guillotine (Revelation 20:4). It is absolutely impossible to imagine, or in any way visualize the horrors that will fall upon this Christ-rejecting world. Sobering is the fact that this coming day is not in the distant future. It will begin very soon after the rapture which, by the way, could happen today.
So, what does all this have to do with Black Friday? Simple. The materialism and violence of that day is but a microcosm of what will happen in the tribulation. We are seeing movement in that direction now, but it will get much worse.
First, a worldwide economic crash will be part of God's judgment (Revelation 18) which means fiat money (paper money) will be hyper-inflated, or will become worthless. This has happened before. Further, the so-called "safeguards" designed to prevent a market crash and which are overseen by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are futile. Oh, yeah? Yeah. Note the recently admitted inability of the SEC to prevent the massive Bernard Madoff fraud of upwards of $20 billion. Scripture says that trust in any government's ability to protect its citizens from certain threats is foolish. In those days there will be little government protection, whether you call the SEC about your money, or 911 about your life and property. More importantly though, is the fact that people will need protection from the government itself, a nightmare many believe is already here. Note Jeremiah 17:5,6.
Second, events will quickly escalate to a level of severe desperation. By the breaking of the 4th seal in Revelation 6 a full 25% of the earth's post-rapture population will die from violence, famine, disease and wild animals. The world's population is currently 7 billion. To illustrate, say 2 billion are taken at the rapture with 5 billion left on earth. That means 1,250,000,000 people will die in the early part of the 7 year tribulation. Those are not good odds when the ante is not just death, but a hideous kind of death at that.
Third, terrible disasters will happen in the form of terrestrial and cosmic disturbances. Devastating earthquakes will disrupt local and worldwide communication, air and ground transportation, pipelines, utilities, production and distribution of goods and services like food and fuel, etc. (Revelation 6:12ff). The cosmic instability listed seems to be meteorite and asteroid impacts upon the earth. But, whatever they will be, they will be sufficient to drive kings, presidents and other renown, God-hating world leaders into caves and holes in the ground like so many fearful, scurrying vermin.
Presently, America and other developed countries have disaster sensors in place. Meteorologists examine atmospheric conditions, predict the weather systems they will produce and issue warnings. People can have severe weather alert systems in their homes, and programed into their phones. Volcanologists and seismologists closely monitor movements in the earth's crust to predict eruptions and earthquakes. In those days ahead such monitoring will be of no value. In fact, even in the 21st Century scientists are sometimes mistaken about such things as they were about Fourpeaked Volcano in Alaska, thought to be extinct for 10,000 years. That is, until it came to life in 2006. The experts were wrong. Imagine that.
Fourth, the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth when the church is removed (2 Thessalonians 2:6). That is not to say He will not be involved in the salvation of multitudes during the tribulation, but it is to say His overruling hand will be gone. The God-hating world will get what it wants — a world without God! The result, however, will be anything but peace. As with oil and water, man's independent governance and real peace cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
The real issue with the absence of the Holy Spirit during the tribulation will be the hellish corruption of every aspect of human life as the result of the uninhibited influence of Satan upon men's hearts. Contrary to what kids are led to believe in college humanities curricula, the human heart is indeed evil (Jeremiah 17:9).
Presently, the outpouring of such evil is held in check by the presence of God's Spirit in believers. That is true despite the horrors some men perpetuate upon other men. This emphasizes the broad contrast between the present evil actions of men and the hyper-evil they will become capable of in that day. When Jesus said this future time of suffering is unprecedented those words left His tongue with their full meaning and impact intended.
A few days ago on Black Friday some people struck, trampled, pepper-sprayed, robbed and even murdered other people for toys, play-things and other trinkets. Imagine every day for seven years being like Black Friday, but on steroids. What do you think those left behind will do when they experience real needs like food, water, shelter, medicine and other necessities for survival, and their backs are against the wall?
Imagine a time when disasters happen everywhere. Imagine living in urban and suburban areas where there is no fresh water, no sewage and garbage disposal, no food, no electricity, no anything. What do you suppose will be the limitations on human conduct when people believe their only hope of survival is in what they can take by force? An evil heart combined with an empty stomach will produce unbelievable violence.
Add to this mix those who will take advantage of the chaos and diminished police presence to not only take what they want to survive, but to take whatever else they want from those who are vulnerable. And one more thing. Remember the "great sword" in Revelation 6:4? The blade described there is actually a short-sword, an assassin's weapon. Those terrible days will also be a time of vengeance. An opportunity to "get even" with whoever for whatever reason.
To a great degree those days of tribulation will produce a degree of change in the way people conduct business. It is true that there will be a powerful engine of commerce operating a global economy as seen in Revelation 18. But, on some levels certain disturbances will force a bartering system upon people. Will a man with several dependents who are hungry and have not had clean drinking water for weeks really want gold as a medium of exchange? If the man down the road has a fresh-water well and a milk cow, will he accept gold in exchange for his commodities? Gold cannot be eaten, drank, worn or lived in. Gold cannot run an engine, nor can it set a broken bone or kill a pathogen. Inflation, a growing black market and other influences will make money and precious metals values impossible to set. Those who possess necessities will barter for those goods and services they need. This will morph into a sub-economy far more suitable for survival than regular commerce. It has happened often before.
What this means is that those without commodities and services with which to barter will be in great desperation, and this will push the limits of their conduct past civilized lines. When people realize that the money they saved, their retirements, their collectibles, and their materialistic possessions are almost worthless they will drop all pretense of civilization and revert to any means of survival deemed necessary. Comparatively speaking, the worst Black Friday will be like a benign Sunday School class for centenarians.
Every analysis and depiction of the tribulation period is unpleasant, but it must be studied seriously. Thus, the main reason for considering these matters is to inform people of what is coming. It is hoped that current events seen through the lens of scripture would serve to open our eyes to the imminent reality of the rapture of the church followed by the most violent time of suffering in the history of humanity. But, that is not happening, unfortunately.
The eyes of unbelievers are blinded, and even the majority of Christians offer only a condescending smile and a dismissive wave of the hand at the mention of these things. It is true that the church will not go into the tribulation, and we thank God for that! But, it is also true that we are living in the shadow of these things and the precursors of unparalleled terror are staring us in the eye right now. Because there is more focus on the Baby in the cradle than the Man on the cross and His empty tomb, and because there is very little focus at all on His imminent coming for His church, people are simply not ready. From the portals of heaven Jesus is essentially screaming His warning, but hardly anyone is listening. Indeed, the rapture will surprise the secular world. Sadly, because of ignorance and apathy, even most Christians will be surprised.
What About December 21, 2012?
This is an important year for many people. While most of the hoop-la has died down, some are still mulling over that Mayan calendar thing about how the world might end on December 21st. Memories of Y2K come to mind as we hear of people making plans to escape doom by buying extra food staples, building bunkers and stockpiling water cans. And, no doubt we can expect an increase in interest as the day becomes nearer.
The idea that something unusual is going to happen is based upon that date being the end of a 5,125 year long calendar the Mayans developed. Since what follows that date is obscure some people believe it must obviously mean the end of the human race, or something similar. However, in order to believe this a person must first disbelieve in God, and thus necessarily reject the Bible's blueprint for the future.
Predictions about what will happen vary, depending upon the worldview of the one doing the predicting. New Agers believe this is the date the earth and its inhabitants will undergo some sort of physical and spiritual renewal. Others say the world will end in a cataclysmic event, the cause of which is still unknown. Still others say the earth will collide with a black hole, or be hit by an enormous asteroid, etc. The theories are limited only by an imagination that is both vivid in nature and void of any knowledge of God.
Unfortunately, most people get their information regarding the end of the world from places like "The Discovery Channel". It seems this popular program has become the supermarket tabloid of TV science channels. The general conclusion from TDC seems to be the possibility of a magnetic pole reversal, the explosion of super calderas, violent solar storms and a host of other calamitous events.
It is true that this world is going to be shaken to its core with disastrous events, and it is true that some of those could happen at any time. But, to relegate any of that to a date on a pagan calendar is absurd. It is amazing how otherwise intelligent people will reject out-of-hand the confirmed predictive reliability of the Bible, and at the same time accept, without critical analysis, the hullabaloo of pseudo-science. Yet, many do.
While Mexico is taking advantage of the excitement in order to cash in on some much-needed tourism, Christians can also exploit the situation, but for more important reasons. When a conversation turns to this subject, it could be an excellent opportunity to offer the truth to any who might accept it. Without becoming adversarial with unbelievers, it might be profitable to mention what God has said about the end of the world, and the events that precede it. Simple statements made without sensationalism often leave the hearer with a desire for more information. Then sit back and let the Holy Spirit do His work.
Of course, as believers we look forward to Jesus taking His church out of this world, perhaps before that date. When that happens the world will go into a tizzy, alright, but it will not be due to some date on a Mayan calendar. Buckle up, for 2012 could be the ride of our lives