On Monday, August 24, global markets lost almost $10 trillion in share value on a day now being referred to as Black Monday. The instability was primarily caused by China devaluing their currency, which immediately impacted their own stock exchange: the Shanghai Composite Index in China has dropped 38% in value since June 12. On “Black Monday” it lost 8.5% of its value; the largest one-day drop for the market since 2007. On the following day it fell another 7.6%.
The Dow Jones lost 600 points on investor fears on the same day, while India's benchmark BSE index fell nearly 6%, the biggest daily fall since January 2009. Commodity prices are also dropping; oil prices plunged to six-year lows, amid concerns about waning demand for commodities from China. Global markets rose on Thursday following a Wall Street increase. Beyond the immediate spikes and drops in the economy, this article seeks to look past the numbers and the political landscape to see what is going on, and for that we have to turn to Elijah, a prophet who lived around 875 BC.
Elijah & Economic Meltdown
Why Elijah? He deliberately crashed the economy when he pronounced a 3 ½ year drought. The agricultural based economy was plunged into recession because the prophet closed up the heavens so that it did not rain. Elijah had a direct and God ordained impact into the financial systems of the earth. And the Bible declares that Elijah will be sent again – not the person but the dimension that he represented – before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. Malachi 4:5 (NIV)
The last declared promise of the Old Testament speaks of Elijah’s return, and after 400 years of silence from heaven John the Baptist burst forth in the spirit and power of Elijah (Lu 1:17). The disciples were confused when Elijah himself appeared, along with Moses, on the Mt. of Transfiguration, and they asked Jesus “ why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” (Mark 9:11). Jesus clarified the issue by saying that “Elijah will come”, indicating a future dimension that would exist after John: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming (futuristic) first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already (past), and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished’” (Mt 17:11).
The appearance of an Elijah dimension is key – it was manifest in John the Baptist who prepared the way for the coming of the Lord, and it is appearing now. It is not just economic cycles or financial practices that are behind the instability of the markets. God is at work in the earth, and we can’t understand what’s happening in the earth’s financial systems simply by looking at the natural factors.
Beyond the financial crisis, Elijah represents four components that are relevant to us living in 2015 (these components are taken from Malachi 4:5-6):
1. Elijah is a series of crises and destabilizing events which bring great distress upon the earth while God confronts the darkness and the oppression. Everywhere Elijah went there was crisis – he pronounced a famine that resulted in a massive downturn in the economy, and he gathered the entire nation on a mountain to confront them with the reality of God in the midst of their spiritual dullness and lethargy. Elijah was a prophet of fire, intensity and supernatural strength who lived in the midst of continual crisis.
Malachi proclaimed that the time Elijah was sent would be the “ great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal 4:5). The word “dreadful” is the Hebrew word yare; it means to be afraid, or to terrify and make afraid. It also means to hold something in awe or to inspire reverence. The word describes a fear of the Lord and His supreme mastery over the earth. God “Gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouse (owtsar). 8 Let all the earth fear (yare) the LORD; let all the people of the world revere” (Ps 33:7-8).
The second word Malachi used to describe the nature of Elijah’s sending is “great”, which is the Hebrew word gadol. It means to be large in magnitude or extent, to be intense, to be loud and to be great in number. The word is specifically used to describe the crises within Egypt when God was breaking the children out of slavery: “So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great (gadol) terror and with miraculous signs and wonders” (Deut 28:8). It was through intensified levels of terror that God piloted His people to a place of new freedom – the crisis is redemptive.
When the two words yare and gadol are combined and used together as descriptions of Elijah’s appearance, they describe a time when a great number of intense and forceful realities occur that inspire fear, terror and awe in the nations. It is a time when crisis is hitting the nations with increasing pulsations of intensity and frequency, and the nations are overwhelmed because there is nothing they can do about it.
2. Elijah is a strong and powerful Church which must exist at the end of time, a people with a renewed prophetic dimension who are governmental and who exist in the earth in the power of an apostolic sending (I will send you Elijah the prophet). The spirit of Elijah must exist within the lives of all of God’s people who are pressing past the obstacles of mortal life and living in the time when spiritual turbulence and natural turmoil characterizes life on the earth.
3. Elijah is the dealings of God with the social systems of the earth. Elijah himself was consistently involved with nations and systems, and the stated mandate of the Elijah dimension is to turn the hearts of fathers to sons and sons to fathers – the use of the plural indicates this is not only applied to personal relationships but it also deals with the social systems and structures of humanity. These systems provide a framework for human life and existence, and they must be impacted in a redemptive way before the coming of the Lord. Elijah ministered during a time of a) Economic calamity b) Political instability c) Disordered family structure d) Moral decay in society e) injustice and an unsafe business environment, etc. All of those realities exist in our day, therefore the Elijah reality is needed.
4. Elijah is a dimension that leads us towards immortality; he comes in the time leading up to the great and dreadful day of the Lord’s coming. Elijah himself did not see death but was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11-12). He represents a people who contend with and overcome the last enemy which is death. Elijah is a supernatural dimension but it exists and thrives in normal people; James said that Elijah was a man just like us, and he prayed to shut the heavens and then open them back up. The Elijah dimension interacts with big systems of life within the people of God as we move towards the ability to break the power of death, which is the largest oppositional force of the systems of this world (1 Corinthians 15:26).
What Will Happen in the Markets?
That is the question everyone is asking, but it’s not the primary issue. The most important thing is that God is moving in the nations through crisis – a big part of which is financial – and we have to know that or we will not know how to respond. Our view is not to predict whether this present downturn will be sustained, nor is it targeted towards believers and how to invest. As we will see as this series unfolds, that perspective is part of the problem.
Our view is more macro, and can be stated as: the economic systems of the earth are under Divine assault, and the End of Time will culminate with global economic collapse. The final days of mortality involves the destruction of Babylon (global economic system): “All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.' The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment” (Rev 18:14-15). That collapse produces massive fear in the system; the word is phobos, and it means to be in severe distress at impending pain and danger. The words of Scripture accurately describe people in the nations today as they grapple with loss of wealth and fear what may come next.
But as believers we are not to be afraid, and the only way to be confident and strong in difficult times is to know what God is doing and why He is doing it. Elijah was a participant in the economic drama that seized the nations. As soon as he pronounced drought to Ahab, the Lord told him to flee and go live in a ravine named Cherith where he drank from the river and birds brought him bread and meat both morning and night. Eventually the brook dried up because of the drought he initiated, so God sent him to a poor widow to live out the remainder of the economic downturn. We will examine Elijah’s personal process as part of this series in order to strengthen believers and determine what spiritual posture we must have if we are going to partner with God in these times.
The series will address other questions also, such as: What is God’s purpose in the downturn(s)? Why is he attacking the financial system? What will ultimately occur? The core of the articles will be based on five (5) key parallels between Elijah and the economic meltdown which occurred in 2008, of which this current dip is an aftershock. The five similarities are:
- It was a crisis of values that manifest in the economic realm
- God is Shutting off the Money Supply
- It caused the Evaporation of Wealth
- Opportunity to Find God
- How Leaders Responded to the Crises