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America and Britain: "Too Big to Fail"?

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If multinational companies and modern nations can fail, and if international support continues to wane, then could the U.S. and the U.K. fail?


The global economic news has been brutal, but it is actually worse than many people realize.

Not only are people losing everything, and not only are companies going bankrupt, but even entire nations are failing. From poor nations such as Zimbabwe, to wealthy nations such as Dubai, governments have either already collapsed, or risk collapsing under severe economic strain.

Consider Iceland. Seemingly prosperous, Iceland rapidly went bankrupt in December 2008! Unable to pay its external debts, Iceland quickly could not import even basic goods and services! Its currency—the krona—became effectively worthless. Individual wealth vanished and day-to-day economic activity ground to a halt. Subsequently, the Icelandic government collapsed on January 26, 2009, making it the first national casualty of the global economic crisis.

Consider that at the Davos World Economic Forum (where the United States was berated for failing to contain the crisis), U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown asserted that "history offered 'no clear map' of how to deal with [the crisis]" (BBC News, January 31, 2009). However, in contrast to supposed Anglo ineptitude, the Germans feel strongly that a new "global economic order" and a "post-crisis global economic charter" should be created, in which, of course, they would be a leading power ("Merkel proposes UN economic body," BBC News, January 30, 2009).

Further, "The head of the European Union slammed President Barack Obama's plan to spend nearly $2 trillion to push the U.S. economy out of recession as 'the road to hell' that EU governments must avoid," highlighting "simmering differences" with the United States over how to confront this crisis (Associated Press, March 25, 2009).

Can America and Britain Fail?

If multinational companies and modern nations can fail, and if international support continues to wane, then could the U.S. and the U.K. fail?

Last July, The New York Times asked a bold question. Arguing for worldwide economic cooperation to assist America, the author argued that, "In the global economy of the moment, the United States itself is too big to fail" ("Too Big to Fail?", July 20, 2008). Regardless of the world's love or hatred toward America and Britain, these nations have for so long been so powerful—they have been described in Scripture as "lions" among the nations—that many assume they cannot fail.

When this New York Times article ran, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was still near 12,000 and many argued that this would be just another cyclical financial adjustment. But, as our Editor in Chief wrote months before the economic meltdown, "…the U.S. is headed for a financial catastrophe unless major changes occur!" And, "…our leaders are being overwhelmed with catastrophes they will be increasingly unable to manage, which will greatly weaken the prestige and power of the U.S. and the British-descended nations." As this Work has long warned, the root causes of this coming catastrophe are our national sins, and our ignoring of God's laws ("What Is Ahead for America?", Tomorrow's World, May-June 2008).

The increasing reality is that America and Britain are being kept afloat by foreign money and by a faltering hope among China, Europe and other nations that they remain worthwhile investments. The necessary question then becomes: when will we be allowed to fail?

America and Britain Are Failing Now

Since the above articles, the American and British financial systems have hemorrhaged trillions of dollars. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is struggling to recover, after having plunged to less than half of its 2008 levels, and both small and mighty U.S. and British companies have declared bankruptcy, or have simply ceased to exist.

The UK's Insolvency Service agency reports that last year 15,535 British companies failed, and 67,428 people went bankrupt in England and Wales; an increase of more than 51 percent over the same period a year ago (see www.insolvency.gov.uk). In the U.S., recent announcements include the termination of: 73,000 from Citigroup, 35,000 from Bank of America, 34,000 from General Motors, 25,000 from Hewlett-Packard and EDS and 22,000 from Caterpillar. The list goes on. New unemployment benefits in March "unexpectedly rose to the highest level in over 26 years"—a staggering 669,000 per week—pushing the numbers of Americans receiving jobless benefits to 5.73 million and climbing (Reuters, April 2, 2009).

No Longer a "Lion" Among the Nations

Within this context, Micah 5:8–15 is a rarely understood but very revealing prophecy. Written thousands of years ago, this prophecy describes exactly what has happened, and what is happening to our nations.

Here, America and Britain (descendants of ancient Jacob) are referred to as a "lion" among the nations (v. 8, KJV). From the time of ancient Israel's and Judah's captivity to the present, the Jews alone have never fulfilled this prophecy. However, starting around 1800, America and Britain—Jacob's descendants through Joseph—did indeed become "a lion" among the nations. The Americans and British won war after war, conquered vast areas of the world, and enforced their will.

Now, notice verse 10. "In that day" (when the descendants of ancient Jacob had become nationally great), God would "cut off" and "destroy" their "war-horses" (Moffatt) and their "chariots." Because of national sins, this prophecy and many others show that our economic, agricultural, manufacturing and even our military strength (our "war-horses") will be cut off! Verses 11 through 15 then foretell our eventual military defeat.

Modern Jacob's power is being broken. Various "stimulus" strategies may yield temporary relief, but as Deuteronomy 28:20 warns, we will continue to face "confusion." And as many scriptures reveal, ultimately, our nations will fall economically and militarily.

Within this context, while the U.S. and the U.K. print money, talk about building parks and bridges, and try one stimulus after another, reports such as "Germany to spend stimulus funds on defense"—including the purchase of advanced tanks, combat drones and armored reconnaissance vehicles—should be very sobering (Financial Times, March 1, 2009).

The World Is Passing Away

Capitalism, democracy and free-markets did not make America and Britain great. God made America and Britain great. However, our nations rejected our Creator and His laws. Instead, we worship wealth. We crave and export violence and sex. We profane God's Sabbaths. We divorce, murder, covet, lie, and steal God's tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8).

Knowing our nations would reject Him, God warned that He would withdraw His blessings and we would become oppressed and eventually conquered (Micah 5:10–15; Deuteronomy 28:15–68). This economic and eventual military decline will lead to the Great Tribulation spoken of by Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:21.

God's faithful Church has long proclaimed the "Ezekiel warning" (Ezekiel 3:17–19) of repentance, and also the good news of Christ's return as King of kings (Matthew 24:14). We have long advised paying off debt, reducing expenses, and—more importantly—humbly and zealously returning to God to prepare for Christ's return, because "the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:17).

Will our nations humbly heed God's clear and powerful prophetic warnings while there is still time? Will you?

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