The Time of the Locusts (an Economic Update)

A month or two ago, I began noticing that I am seeing way more cicadas than I have ever seen before.  The Lord brought the book of Joel to mind since a cicada seems like the closest thing we have to a locust.  And again, I’ve saw at least 10 times as many as I’ve ever seen in any other year.  Joel uses the locust swarm as a harbinger of the day of the Lord and He pointed out these bugs to in order to be aware of the times.

I just noticed a day or two ago, a message from a friend pointing out the swarms of grasshoppers invading Las Vegas (sin city) this summer.

As I sat down to write a quick economic update, I reread a post from earlier this year and am amazed at the Lord’s timing and sovereignty in connecting every small matter to make a matter clear.  I hope I can convey my amazement in this sharing.  You can read about the Refurbishment of Israel, the Gilding of His Bride here.

I intended to connect the posts written earlier this year to the economic update because they really said all I had to say on the matter.  You can read the other here.

I had intended to add some financial terms to the spiritual message, but the Lord is speaking in another language entirely, so I’m going to focus on that message here and then add some economic thoughts below.

Here’s where my focus started to shift…the Refurbishment post mentions…

Then she heard Revelation 9:4: “They (the locusts) were told not to harm the grass, or any green growth, or any tree, but only to afflict those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”

I had not remembered that this post written earlier in the year mentioned the swarm of locusts of God’s judgement (this time in Revelation 9).  It was written on the Feast of First Fruits and specifically talks about Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown this Sunday night and I spent a little time earlier today thinking about how my family will celebrate it…and this time of the year comes back up as I sit down to write for the first time in a few months.  That message was given on the holy day and this one comes together as we prepare for the first of the Fall Festival holy days.

Rosh Hashanah is the Feast of Trumpets (Shofar) and is the beginning of the biblical new year.  We are entering the year 5780.  This holiday is typically celebrated by blowing the shofar/trumpet and leads into the holiest day on the biblical calendar (a serious day of fasting) when the high priest would enter of the Holy of Holies with a grand finale of the Feast of Tabernacles (which the bible says one day all will celebrate in Zechariah 14:16.  Zech 14 is remarkably similar to Joel 2 which we’ll discuss below).  This is the last unfulfilled feast.  Jesus fulfilled Passover, Holy Spirit fulfilled Pentecost/Shavuot.  We should have a growing excitement and anticipation for each Feast of Tabernacles because God will certainly fulfill the rehearsal He set up in the Law just as He did the others.  This is the Feast that represents “God living with/amongst us”.

I believe the Lord is pointing out the timing of this season as being very important.  You can read all of Joel here, (it’s a short book) but let’s look at a few verses.  I’m going to focus on the more uplifting parts for those who are truly committed to the Lord and willing to undergo any discipline to fully know Him.  Please understand that this is only one side of a coin.  The other parts will be the more noticeable to all around, but you can click the link and read about that, so let’s focus on Joel 2…

Blow a trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm on My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
For the day of the Lord is coming;   (Joel 2:1)

Blow the Trumpet!  The day of the Lord is coming!

The Lord utters His voice before His army;
Surely His camp is very great,
For strong is he who carries out His word.
The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome,
And who can endure it?

12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.
14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent
And leave a blessing behind Him,
Even a grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?
15 Blow a trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, (Joel 2: 11-15)

The day of the Lord is great and awesome and extremely difficult on the flesh/worldly life.  The only hope is to repent and turn to Him that He would save us.  Perhaps, you have been undergoing this process for years or maybe your time is here, but a time is at hand where sides must be chosen.  The lukewarm life will no longer work.

What does He have planned for those who willing sacrifice themselves for Him and His life?

So rejoice, O sons of Zion,
And be glad in the Lord your God;
For He has given you [l]the early rain for your vindication.
And He has poured down for you the rain,
The [m]early and [n]latter rain [o]as before.
24 The threshing floors will be full of grain,
And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil.
25 Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Then My people will never be put to shame.
27 Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel,
And that I am the Lord your God,
And there is no other;
And My people will never be put to shame. (Joel 2: 23-27)

This is an incredible day of the Lord.  Worship Him in fear and trembling!  Be ready to go in completely unexpected directions.  Be ready for Him to do things that you would have never imagined could happen in your lifetime.  When the Lord moves powerfully, it is terrible and it is wonderful.  Set your mind and heart on Him so that whatever may come, you are filled with wonder and awe at His love for you.

Before I switch gears to talking about markets, I always feel the need when I write a post like this to say that if you think you heard me say that Jesus is returning as a man on earth in the very near future, then you are mistaken.  The bible speaks of much that needs to happen before that day comes.

What does all this mean for the US economy, stock market, & the US Dollar?

The short answer is that I have strong opinions on where these things will head at some point, but very little opinion on the short term direction of these things.  I’ll elaborate a bit more.  Hopefully you’ve prepared financially for any eventuality.

You can’t read the news without understanding that massive changes have begun.  There are different types of uprisings in many places including the US, Great Britain, Israel, & Hong Kong/China.  The possibility of war is real between Saudi Arabia & Iran along with India & Pakistan.  These are all massive and rare and all happening now.

As I’ve mentioned in these last few blog posts, I believe the Lord is saying that these times of difficulty are upon us.  And I believe that that will include US economic turmoil, crashing stock and bond markets, and a drop in the world wide value of the US Dollar.  What I don’t know is the timing of these things.  Perhaps the difficulties in one area or another will be more dramatic overseas for a time before these problems impact the US significantly.  Or perhaps, these troubles are very close at hand.  Let’s mention some details…

The US economy is still strong.  Job numbers are great.  The economy is growing.  The major signs that typically point to recessions are not showing a recession coming within 6 months.  So that means a major stock market crash is not likely soon (a 15% drop can happen any time, but I’m talking about a large drop as I believe will happen when this bubble finally pops.)  So while I “feel” these things are close, it’s historically common to feel this way and miss a huge run up in the market before that crash comes.

Something cataclysmic has to happen in the short term to get the world to turn away from the US Dollar because although it’s a terrible currency in every measure, it’s still the most trusted in a world where almost every currency is terrible.  Something major will happen to break that trust, but that’s the sort of thing that is extremely hard to pin point.  I do believe it’s a lot closer than most commentators believe is possible, but I can’t point to this or that and say this is when and how it will happen.

We do know that the US Treasury Yield Curves inverted earlier this year.  In the first part of the year, the 3 month T Bill yield was higher than the 10 year T Bond yield.  And then more recently, the same thing happened with the 2 year and 10 year.  These are signs that almost always point to recession.  The problem is that they are terrible at predicting when that recession will occur.  According to that sign alone, it could be next month or it could still be two years away.  The stock market would typically start to fall before we know we’re in recession, but not years before.

The bond market would be a place of great risk if/when the US Dollar is having problems and interest rates shoot up because the Fed loses control of them.  This seems far fetched right now, but I believe this will happen.  You can’t print money to the moon and borrow past the point of no return without consequences.  The consequences are coming.  It’s just a question of when.  But as long as bonds are going down and your bond issuer is paying its coupons, bonds are great for now.

So stocks are in a bubble.  Bonds are in a bubble.  The derivative bomb is still out there waiting to explode someday.  Car loans & student loans are massive and not being repaid well.  That’s another bubble.

There are lots of potential signs such as the recent IPO troubles of We Work and Peleton, but those are the only things you know are signs when seen in the rear view mirror.  They both have losses that grow larger as sales grow, so it’s perfectly reasonable for them to flop.

The most interesting sign recently is the trouble in the Repo market.  The banks typically lend to themselves overnight or for a week or two to provide each other liquidity and income.  This market had rates shoot up far above what the Fed sets the rate at last week.  The first day it happened, excuses were given to make it sound normal, but it keeps happening and the Fed is having to inject hundreds of billions into the market.  The last time this happened was the financial crises of a decade ago.  Something very unusual is happening behind the scenes that they don’t want us to know about.  Hundreds of billions of new dollars being needed all of a sudden with no explanation should certainly grab your attention.

Which brings me back to the bulk of this post above.   Worship the Lord.  Turn your life to Him because He is doing mighty things and you want to be on His side!

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