The first English settlement to survive in America was in 1607 at Jamestown, VA. It was a commercial venture, a business proposition with the King of England. It was a communal operation, with each person sharing equally in the output, and failed because they did not share equally in the input. Success came when they divided up the land and made it clear that each would prosper according to their own efforts.
The second settlement in 1620 at Plymouth, MA started out as a communal religious community, and also failed until each family was given its own parcel of land and could keep or trade their own products. The learning process is summarized in Bradford’s journal of the settlement.
Individual responsibility and individual property rights became the norm as other colonies were set up. The exception was in areas where particularly good agricultural conditions, and large-scale demand for tobacco and cotton, led to introduction of the European and African tradition of slavery, with eventual disastrous consequences. The European traditions of class privilege and arbitrary taxation of commerce were not well received by the growing population of people who could clearly see that they had earned everything they had, and were not inclined to surrender it to people who had not earned it. At a safe distance from Europe, they began to think independently.
After rejecting the dictatorial rule of King George III, the states still had their own conflicts. They were aware of the need for commonly accepted rules, and sent their most respected citizens to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. This group was well educated in history, religion, and recent trends in political philosophy. They considered everything that had been tried in history, selected what seemed to have worked, and devised a way to divide and balance power within a government. This was a new kind of government – no church had any position in government, the government had no power over any church, the citizens selected those who would govern and changed them periodically, and those who governed would become ordinary citizens after their term of office.
Something this new met with objections, and these were discussed in the newspapers of the time and published as The Federalist Papers and The Anti-federalist Papers. Farmers and merchants of that time read and understood them, but lawyers of today find them difficult. After the necessary number of states ratified the new Constitution and held elections, the first meeting of the new government occurred on 4/30/1789. George Washington took the presidential oath of office in New York, and led the entire government to St. Paul’s Chapel where they consciously made a covenant with God to follow His principles. See “The Covenant” by Timothy Ballard.
America grew to become the most prosperous and powerful nation in human history. But as with nations before it, too much success brought self-indulgence, pride, and corruption. The Constitution designed by and for “a religious and moral people” was circumvented by officeholders elected for other considerations. As the citizens fell away from religious ethical values, so did their elected representatives. Now we find ourselves in difficulty. As a nation founded in commercial enterprise, but losing the values that sustain commercial success, our punishment comes first in terms of commerce.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes:
Some things which are too remarkable to be coincidence are pointed out in ’The Harbinger’ by Jonathan Cahn. The book uses three fictional characters who explain from history, both recent and ancient, a pattern of events which is clearly still in progress.
The current side of the story leads to these facts; the economic impact of the 9/11 attack was felt when the stock markets next opened after that day. The Dow fell by a record 684 points. That date was September 17, 2001: 29 Elul 5761 in the Hebrew calendar used by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That was the final day of the year in the 7-year Hebrew economic cycle (see Leviticus 25) designated for the settling or remission of debts. The attack caused a recession, the government resolved that we would come back stronger, and Americans were asked to keep spending to boost the economy. To emphasize our strength we initiated wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, seeking to change ingrained cultures over a thousand years old. The cultures remain unchanged, and our national debt increased by 5 trillion dollars while a real-estate bubble built up and was marketed world-wide in the form of ‘derivatives’. Domestic unrest built up over the war expenses and caused the candidates in the 2008 elections to remain personally unexamined while the media diverted attention to other matters. That ‘year of remission’ began with the first sign of economic trouble – the failure of Northern Rock Bank in Britain. When the real estate values behind the ’derivatives’ began to decline due to non-payment of the underlying loans by unqualified buyers, the debt bubble collapsed. That came on September 29, 2008 (29 Elul 5768 in the Hebrew calendar) when the Dow dropped 777 points, 7% of its value, 7 full Hebrew years after its fall in 2001. The nation’s founding covenant with God seems to also put some aspect of our fate on God’s old Hebrew calendar.
The nation continues on its secular course. No revival of ethics, morality, or religious fervor is in evidence. A new real estate bubble starts as the government’s bank regulators change policy to let loans be made on the basis of unemployment compensation and/or welfare payments instead of earned income. The annual federal deficits continue at about a trillion dollars a year, and most states have large debts and/or unfunded pension liabilities. The federal government continues to ’buy’ its own debt by simply printing more money, with unavoidable inflationary results. Economic policies of regulation and taxation become ever more counterproductive, and penalize individual effort and excellence. Social policies destroy initiative and subsidize failure. Cultural relativism is promoted, but social and racial differences are emphasized. Local and state politicians evade responsibility and seek guidance and subsidies from higher levels of government, all the way to the United Nations. The media who are supposed to keep us informed actually avoid stories that put their favorite people and causes in a bad light, then fill their time with increasingly coarse and violent entertainment.
We observe that our Marxist president feels that we have been an evil colonialist nation and should be punished by taking our standard of living down to that of Africa. The punishment involves wasting tax money on failed green-energy companies, locking up our natural resources, using regulations to cripple our productive and inventive industries, changing the rules of the financial system, weakening military forces, and basically making the citizens serve the government rather than vice versa. What may be going on behind the scenes? Perhaps God’s purpose in permitting this is to break the national pride that is based on power, end the idea that value can be created without work simply by printing money, eliminate the debt-based currencies that permit people to be easily manipulated, force us to start learning from history again, and turn us back to faith in and reliance on God’s power and His laws.
As Israel’s stand-in for this act of the play (per Matt. 21:43) for the purpose of Matt. 24:14, we should take note that all of what we call ‘western civilization’ is rapidly abandoning its Christian roots. Even history itself is being rewritten, and we become ever more irresponsible in our moral, ethical, and financial behavior. As Israel fell to Assyria, so can we fall. We have been warned. The Apostle Paul in Romans 11:17-23, and indeed in all of Romans 8 thru 11, describes our times well. Anyone who follows the news can see the approach of the events of Ezekiel 38-39, and Ezekiel 39:29 matches up with Romans 11:26-29. At our current rate of cultural decline, it may take divine assistance even to survive until the next ‘year of remission’, and divine mercy to actually endure it. Divine retribution is not limited to economic affairs; the whole of nature is at God’s command.
The next ’year of remission’ begins on September 25, 2014 (Hebrew 1 Tishri 5775) and ends on September 13, 2015 (Hebrew 29 Elul 5775). Both the dollar and the Euro are now weakened. The 2001 attack primarily affected America; the 2008 drop was felt in Europe also. The next economic shock may collapse the currencies and the financial structure of the whole world. The consequences would include riots, disruption of major industries, international strife, famine, and unavailability of medicines and medical care. Sounds like Revelation 6.
Are there any implications for our coming election cycles? Continued Democrat and Progressive control would would fit in with the predicted dictator/caliphate type of world government. But opposition to Antichrist is predicted. This could indicate that some significant nation does not fall into line with a world government. Europe is too fragmented, and its Islamic minorities too unruly. It is possible that economic circumstances could lead to loss of Democrat control in 2014 or 2016, but so many senior Republican officeholders have been so lacking in principle for so many years that the party’s image is discredited. A viable third party in the near future seems unlikely. In any event, several very difficult years are now inevitable. The ability of governments to provide or control the spectrum of services now being attempted will surely be shattered. Individual and community efforts will provide the models for workable future governments; the ambitions of state and national-level government will be greatly chastened by their now-impending failures.
Is there any indication that the 7-year Tribulation coincides with the 7-year economic cycle? It might seem fitting that it would start after an economic collapse and escalate through the next ‘year of remission’. It might also be that it would start with a ‘year of remission’ and escalate until the next one (5782), which is a ‘Jubilee year’ (divisible by 49). Leviticus 25 terms a jubilee year the year to ‘declare liberty throughout the land’. That one begins Sep. 7, 2021 and ends Sep. 25, 2022. The book mentions that Israel’s northern kingdom only survived about 20 years after their first warning. Are we on track to repeat that too?
In that context, it may be noteworthy that the first Hebrew year of the Revolutionary War (5537, from 9/14/1776 to 10/1/1777) was also a Jubilee Year. Time grows short. Read the book and pass it on to a friend or neighbor.