by: S.R. Shearer

"A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Rev. 6:6)


The Ponzi scheme which is at the heart of today's investment craze is relentlessly dividing the earth into a world of "haves" and "have nots." The process knows no national boundaries and is at work in both the developed and non-developed worlds.

On the one hand, it is creating a worldwide yuppie elite whose extravagance and lavish life-styles seems to know no boundaries of shame and modesty; and on the other hand, it is grinding countless numbers of American workers down into a pit of hopeless poverty and forlorn despair, leaving millions of them in a shrinking job market with declining prospects. And what’s happening to American workers is happening not only to their counterparts in France and Germany, but in Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil as well. The danger today for most workers is seeing "... their jobs getting swamped in the global labor pool ..."[1] 


The worldwide elite which this process is producing [i.e., those lucky few who sit atop today's Ponzi Pyramid] is a dazzling, brilliant group of speculators who are earning fabulous amounts of money not heard of since the days of the so-called "Robber Barons." These are people like Lawrence Coss of Green Tree Financial who earned in one year alone (1997) $102.4 million (that is 4,655 times greater than the average annual wage of an ordinary American worker - which is to say, if money is the measure of a man’s worth, then a man of Coss’s caliber is worth 4,655 times more than a normal, everyday, working American - hardly a vote of confidence for the precepts upon which democracy is based); then there is Andrew Grove of Intel who made $97.6 million in one year; Sanford Weill of the Travelers Group who earned $94.2 million; Theodore Waitt of Gateway 2000 who made $81.3 million; and Anthony O’ Reilly of H.J. Heinz who earned $64.2 million. Others have made similar amounts: Sterling Williams of Sterling Software ($58.2 million); John Reed of Citicorp ($43.6 million); Stephen Hilbert of Conseco ($37.4 million); Casey Cowell of U.S. Robotics [now 3Com ($34 million)]; James Moffett of Freeport-McToRan Copper & Gold ($33.7 million) .[2]  And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Citicorp has actually assembled a list of these "global worthies" - the creme de la creme of the world’s new "investor class:" 5000 or so individuals and families around the world who have net worths greater than $100-million. It’s offered them VIP Citicorp bank cards with $500,000 lines of credit combined with various other services which include the use of private planes, bodyguards, access to Fifth Avenue stores in the wee hours of the morning for "solo shopping," etc. Other banks and credit card companies do the same. For example, American Express courts the same group of "elite worthies" by offering them its "Black Card" (and you thought the gold and platinum cards were prestigious - how silly!) replete with the same "extras" that Citi offers.[3] 


The people who constitute this elite consider themselves to be "citizens of the world." It’s an elite of American entrepreneurs, Chinese yuppies, two-career Mexican couples, German investment bankers, French bureaucrats, Italian clothiers, etc. who feel that they have more in common with their counterparts in Hong Kong, Mexico City, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Brussels, Bogota and Buenos Aires than have with their own fellow countrymen.

National boundaries and national loyalties no longer have any hold on them. In describing this elite, Robert Reich, in his book, The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism, writes: "(These people have) ... slipped the bonds of national allegiances, and by so doing (have) disengage(d) themselves from their less favored fellows." They no longer feel the need to promote what’s good for the nations which gave them birth; their loyalty lies with what’s best for "The company" and its profit margins. There is little regard here for national constituencies and national workers.


And make no mistake about it: the wealth which this elite has managed to accumulate for itself is truly staggering. For example, take what’s happening in the United States where four percent of the American population (approximately 3.8 million individuals and families) has in the past few decades managed to capture for itself through "restructuring," "free trade," "union busting," and unfettered immigration (which forces wages down) $452 billion in wages and salaries on an annual basis - the same as the annual wages and salaries of the bottom fifty-one percent (49.2 million individuals and families). And even this isn’t enough; with each passing year more and more of this nation’s wealth pours into their hands by "hook and by crook," much of which used to be held in the hands of the American middle class in the 1950s and ’60s - and their is no sign that this phenomenon is abating.[4] 


The economy which this elite has created is, naturally enough, one which has been oriented towards their needs and extravagant desires. The new economy has no real use for ordinary people - whether in America, Brazil, Germany, India or China. Instead, the multinational corporations which are at its "beck and call" have targeted their marketing, their advertising, and their production to the developed and developing elite classes of those nations who can afford to buy their products in a sort of "to hell with the starving masses" spirit. After all, what reason is there in such circumstances to expect that Ford or GM or General Electric or AT&T or Disney or any of the other major multinational corporations "gives a damn" about the "minor" problems of American or German or Mexican or Indian unemployment or the development of an underclass in their own countries? [5]  There are more potential consumers in India and China than the ones who are being displaced back home. Indeed, Peter F. Drucker, a guru of multinational expansion, once made this revealing comment in reference to India: "... within the vast poverty that is India (there is) a sizable modern economy, comprising ten percent or more of the Indian population, or fifty million people - a nation within a nation with more 'middle-class' consumers than the nation of France." These are the people (consumers) the new elite oriented multinational corporations have targeted - and "to hell with the other ninty percent of India's population."


This is what "globalization" is all about - the development of a worldwide "super-elite" which reaches into every nook and cranny of the earth and binds the members thereof together with the cords of a common and very extravagant AFFLUENCE - and "... hang the rest of the world." And just how deeply American companies, even the older, more established ones - the ones usually thought of as "American" - have become involved in this new globalism becomes evident when one looks at where these companies derive their profits today in terms of sales divided between foreign and domestic markets. For example, a company as American as apple pie as the Disney Corporation gets almost 25% of its revenues from foreign operations; General Electric derives a similar amount from foreign sales; Dun & Bradstreet has 40 percent of its revenues coming from abroad; and General Motors, one-third.

Indeed, Prudential’s Melissa Brown says that the largest 100 so-called "American" companies - companies like Exxon, Ford, IBM, Mobil, Philip Morris, DuPont, Texaco, Chevron, Chrysler, Boeing, Procter & Gamble, Amoco, United Technologies, Pepsico, Eastman Kodak, Xerox, RJR Nabisco, Sara Lee, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, etc. - get about 30% - and in some instances, even more - of their revenues from overseas. This is to say nothing about the new, futuristic companies like Apple, Hewlett-Packart, Unisys, Digital Equipment, Compaq, Sun Microsystems, Storage Technologies, Quantum, etc.; and foreign companies - Japanese, French, Canadian, British, Dutch, etc. which have recently transferred many of their operations to the United States - for example, Honda, Sony, BMW, etc.

Jack Welch of General Electric and chairman of the National Business Council, reflecting the new globalism of American corporations, recently remarked, "We’re all globalists now, and we are staying that way."


As we indicated in our introduction to our 1997 Anthology of articles which have appeared in our journal, Religion in Politics, over the last several years, the people who constitute this elite are mean-spirited, ruthless, and self-centered - and while on a business level they may be brilliant and dazzling, they are, nervertheless, very small-minded and amazingly petty individuals. Their only real concern centers around their greedy, self-absorbed life-styles and their preoccupation with piling up ever greater amounts of material wealth and worldly treasure. And for what purpose? - there is none! Remarkably, that’s it: the accumulation of money! - that’s their goal! There is nothing beyond that except an eerie and frightening emptiness. These people are political only to the extent that it is necessary to guard their accumulated wealth and prevent its "socialization." To this end, they are prepared to go to any length to protect it - even to the use of "Death Squads." (Please see article this journal entitled, "Chiapas: The Effect of the New World Order on the Poor")

Covetousness (i.e., the psychological drive to accumulate wealth) has blinded them to the terrible spiritual disfigurement and psychological scaring that has affected them - and what a terrible scarring it is! Jesus somberly warned of its effect when He said,

"Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15)

And He continued by warning of the outcome it can lead to - the failure to recognize that the grave (and ultimately judgment) awaits all of us - even the richest of us (and then what will all that wealth mean?):

"... the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

"And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

"he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

"And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

"But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Luke 12:16-20)

God calls those who have been blinded by wealth "fools" - and God doesn’t use the word "fool" lightly. (Matt. 5:22)


Paul cautioned,

"... they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

"For the love of money is the root of all evil ..." (I Tim. 6:9-10)

And Peter said of those who desire wealth (i.e., who are covetous),

"These are wells without water, clouds that are carried (about) with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever." (2 Pet. 2:17)

Greed renders those who have been captured by it into empty shells who no longer possess substance or meaning to their lives - and while it’s true that many of those people who have been captured by it continue to preserve a certain front of "purpose" and "idealism" in their lives, there is nothing behind that "front" except a vacuum - a hollowness that resembles the emptiness of a body without a soul. Their idealism is nothing more than a subterfuge, a contrivance, a masquerade - an excuse for what really drives them, which is the actual process of accumulation. If they possess a goal, it lies in the development of ever better processes or methodologies of accumulation - though they all too often possess an uncanny and extraordinary way of hiding this fact behind a pretense of flattery and charm. Indeed, Peter warned,

"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure (people) ... through much wantonness ..." (2 Pet. 2:18)

Dom Helder Camera of Brazil has been much maligned because of his connection with Liberation Theology - a theology which attempts to involve Christians in left-wing (as opposed to right-wing) political causes. But Camera was right at least on one point when he wrote,

"I used to think, when I was a child, that Christ might have been exaggerating when He warned about the dangers of wealth. Today I know better. I know how ... (impossible) it is to be rich and still keep the milk of human kindness. Money (or the desire for money) has a dangerous way of putting scales on one’s eyes, a dangerous way of freezing people’s hands, eyes, lips and hearts." [6]

It is precisely this kind of greed and avarice which has seized hold on the world economy today - a highly destructive, "me-first," "beggar-thy-neighbor" greed which has no other goal than advancing one’s self at the expense of everyone else.


But it’s not as if the Bible did not foresee all this! - and it’s conclusions are summed up in the Apocalypse; specifically in a strangely unsettling poetic passage of Scripture. It relates to one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse: a mysterious rider concealed in black robes in whose hands are a pair of balances and on whose lips is the peculiar lyric cited at the beginning of this text:

"A measure of wheat for a penny [literally - denarius, a Greek coin which represented a WHOLE DAY’S wages in the Ancient World], and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Rev. 6:6)

The "Four Horsemen" themselves correlate directly to the first four "seals" of the Apocalypse - hence the name commonly given to them: the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."

The horsemen are connected to the conditions which surround and ultimately stimulate the appearance of the Antichrist in the "End of Days:" they are, (1) conquest [the White Horse of the Apocalypse (the First Seal)]; (2) war [the Red Horse of the Apocalypse (the Second Seal)]; (3) famine [the Black Horse of the Apocalypse (the Third Seal)]; (4) pestilence and death [the Pale Horse of the Apocalypse (the Fourth Horse)].

It is with the Black Horse of the Apocalypse, however, that we are here particularly concerned. The meaning of the first part of the lyric: ["A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny ..."] is this: that the condition of most men during this era will be reduced to such a state that they will be forced to labor a whole day simply to buy a loaf of bread or three measures of barley - barely enough to survive.

But the second part of the saying ["... and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine ..."] means that these conditions will not extend to everyone; that there is a certain portion of mankind which will prove exempt - a kind of "global elite of worthies" who have selfishly secured for themselves most of the world’s wealth and who, as a result, now live sumptuously and extravagantly while the rest of mankind has been reduced to a condition of abject, grinding poverty (only the rich in the Ancient world could afford oil and wine). That these conditions will result not necessarily because of natural phenomena, but because of greed and avarice is clear from the text: conquest, war, famine and pestilence have always been more the consummation of man’s brutality and his misuse of the earth’s abundance than it ever has been the consequence of natural phenomena.

This is the common interpretation; it is an interpretation with which most evangelicals agree. [Please see Things to Come by Dwight Pentecost of Dallas Theological Seminary.]


The laissez faire and predatory economic policies which this elite champions are, of course, inimical to the economic interests of most Americans, a fact which places them at a decided disadvantage when they are called upon to defend their rapacious economic policies politically - after all, a set of policies which benefit only four percent of the American electorate while disadvantaging the rest of the country is hardly a set of policies which can easily be defended in a democracy. Politically, then, they need allies, allies which they obviously cannot attract based solely on their economic agenda. This has led them inexorably to embrace the Religious Right and ipso facto the Christian vote. What they have done is to get Christians to focus away from what is happening to them economically, and to concentrate instead on what is happening to them culturally [though it’s interesting to note in this connection that much of the blame for what has occurred to this country culturally over the last two or three decades can to a large extent be laid at the doorstep of the economic policies this elite has championed].

The trade-off between the two groups is a simple one: the establishment wing of the Republican Party (the political platform of the new elite in this country) agrees to support financially the cultural agenda of the Christian evangelicals, while Christian have agreed to support many of the economic policies of the Republican elite. In other words, the Religious Right has been "bought off." Evangelicals are playing in a game they are bound to lose. They're being used. They've become the "toadies" of the world's super elite. No doubt they think to do good with the money they've received as a result of the bargain they've struck - build bigger churches, create better programs, etc. But in the end, they'll choke on the money and rue the day they ever made such a bargain.

"Establishment Republicans" (i.e., this country's super-elite) aren't "buying into" the Religious Right’s cultural agenda on any kind of a principled basis - as their tepid support of the antiabortion agenda of the Christian evangelicals has so aptly demonstrated: their support goes just so far as it takes to enlist the support of Christian evangelicals for their economic policies, and no further.

This effort is made all the easier by liberals (mostly Democrats) who insist on pushing gay rights, radical feminism, militant secularism, abortion on demand, women in combat, affirmative action, unrestricted immigration, minority rights, etc. - in the political market place to an electorate which is really no longer buying this kind of liberalism, a liberalism which many in America’s mainstream are beginning to believe has run amok. In furtherance of this strategy, American business leaders have been pouring money into Religious Right organizations (especially those organizations which are attempting to "take America back" from the "secular-humanists") and in the process helping Religious Right activists ratchet up the Christian community all the more against the so-called "liberals."

The genius in all this lies in the fact that the anger so generated has blinded most Christians to what the business community has been doing to them economically. Peter warned,

"... with feigned words (they are) mak(ing) merchandise of you ..." (2 Pet. 2:3)

Unfortunately, America’s Christian community is "buying into" the business community’s strategy - an effort which paid off handsomely insofar as the Business Right is concerned when Pat Robertson and other Religious Right leaders embraced NAFTA, a treaty which perpetuates the process of shipping American jobs to third world countries; an activity which - no more than it benefits ordinary Americans - does not help most everyday evangelicals and "blue-collar Catholics." In the process the Christian community is also unwittingly "buying into" the business elite’s conservative economic agenda, almost as if Christianity and the "free enterprise system" are one-and-the-same thing.

God help us as a community of faith! - what are we doing as Christians by making common cause with such people? - people whose only interest in us is using us as a battering ram against the downtrodden and poor of the earth. Well did Jesus say of us, "My name is blasphemed among the heathen (i.e., unbelievers) because of you." (Romans 2:24) - and ignorance is no defense here. The information is available as to what's happening: Tim LaHaye taking money from the Moonies, money that's been pouring into the evangelical community from the Hunt brothers, from DeMoss, from Olin, etc. Yes! - the informations is there for those who choose to open their eyes.

The claim of ignorance won't wash! It is as we've said before - like someone who is standing next to the train tracks who, when he hears the train coming, turns away and then claims he never saw it, though it rumbled by a mere five feet from where he was standing.

God will not look kindly on those who have linked His name to such people. On that day, when we must all give account - the rich and poor alike - those who have linked the name of the Prince of Peace to the super elite of this world and ipso facto to death squad activity in Central and South America, to the Moonies, etc., etc., will rue the day they ever did so. And those who stood by and said nothing, claiming ignorance of what was going on, will suffer the same fate as those who participated. What then will all the "good works" that were "purchased" with the blood money of the super elite mean then? - they'll all be exposed for the flim flam they really were, works which had nothing to do with the Kingdom of Heaven and everything to do with greed and self.

  1. Jack Beatty, "Who Speaks for the Middle Class?" in the Atlantic Monthly, May 1994, pg. 65.
  2. Total compensation in 1966 as calculated by Business Week, April 21, 1997.
  3. Richard J. Barnet and John Cavanagh, Global Dreams, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), pg. 368.
  4. Such remnants of free enterprise as remain within the U.S. and the other nations of the Western World are fighting an increasingly tougher battle for survival against these giants - a battle which is making it nearly impossible for the small business owner to compete, buying out the farmer, and either buying out, or under pricing, the small manufacturer.
  5. Sasha G. Lewis, Slave Trade Today (Boston: Beacon Press, 1979) pg. 165-166.
  6. Revolution Through Peace (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), pg. 142

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]




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