S.R. Shearer

"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

"And that no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (i.e., "666"). (Rev. 13:16-18)


There are perhaps no other verses in the Bible more well-known than these (i.e., Revelation 13:16-18) - not only to believers, but to unbelievers as well; the number "666" permeates our literature and art (both secular and religious); it is the theme of countless horror stories and fables; it is the gist out from which innumerable sermons and religious speculations have been fashioned; it is the subject of untold amounts of gang graffiti in our ghettos and inner cities, on the sides of trains and subway cars. The deranged are bewitched by it; religious fanatics claim to see it hidden in the insignia and logos of some of the major institutions of our culture; and even the so-called "learned" are left with a feeling of unease by its persistent presence in the darker recesses of our civilization. But there are many more issues "at play" in these verses than those associated with the "666" enigma - issues which are much broader in scope, and we ignore these other issues at our own peril.

The fact is, so beguiled are most Christians by the "666" conundrum that they easily miss the larger meaning behind these verses; and that is this: that they are soon to face a great test, and this test revolves around the issue of money (and their love of it) more than it does anything else, including even the matter of "false doctrine."


It isn't that doctrine isn't important - it is! But more often than most Christians care to admit, doctrine doesn't play a particularly large part in their lives, and insofar as it exists at all as a factor in them, it exists more as a JUSTIFICATION for the way they are already living their lives than it does as a genuine GUIDE to their living.

In other words, rather than acting as a lamp in the darkness to guide them in the way they should go, doctrine exists to most Christians merely as a phony explanation for the path they have already chosen based on "other" criteria having very little to do with a search for Truth. When doctrine is reduced to a justification for the way people live rather than as an authentic guide to their living, then it is capable of being molded and shaped in any way people choose. And what is that "other" criteria: usually love of the "here and now" which the "love of money" and the "things" that money can buy engenders in people. Isn't this what I Tim. 6:9-10 says? -

"But 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: which while some coveted after, they have ERRED from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Tim. 6:9-10)

Clearly it is!! - clearly what these verses indicate is that the love of money causes people to "err from the faith." In other words, it's love of money that prepares the ground out from which false doctrine springs. You've never heard that before? - well, it's unlikely you ever will in the churches of America and Western Europe.

Nonetheless, one would do well to take note of the fact that most people don't simply fall into false doctrine by "accident" or because they have somehow or other "misread" the Scriptures. The Scriptures are not all that complicated!! They become "complicated" only when people approach them with a pre-disposition of mind, and in order to exculpate (vindicate) that pre-disposition of mind, they twist (pervert) the Scriptures into a shape that fits it, in the end making the Scriptures say things they clearly do not say. This is especially true when the "love of money" is involved. When one attempts to buttress or sustain one's lust for wealth by recourse to the Scriptures [the same Scriptures which say, "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)], then one has no other choice but to twist and purposefully misrepresent the Scripture - to force, as it were, round pegs into square holes.

This is the kind of perversion that the purveyors of the "Green Gospel" and the "Name it and Claim it" crowd are involved in! No fair reading of the Scriptures can possibly sustain what these men teach; but money has so blinded them to the truth, that they have come to a point in their lives where they are no longer capable of recognizing the truth, so that -

"... hearing, they no longer hear, and seeing, they no longer see." (Mark 4:12)


Nonetheless, there is going to be a reckoning - and you are going to play a part in that reckoning, whether you want to or not!! Soon - very soon now - we all are going to be tested with regard to the question of money; and in the process, we will be revealed for what we really are: whether of the kingdom of the "here and now" that money undergirds, or the kingdom of heaven which has nothing to do with money! - and that test is already being prepared. The conditions necessary to the test are being arranged and set in order - right now even as you read this material, especially insofar as those of us who live in the United States are concerned, and to a lesser degree in Western Europe and throughout the West in general. And what exactly do I mean by this? - I mean precisely this: many of us are about to be stripped of our wealth on a personal basis, and then what will we do? Will we "sell ourselves" (i.e., our souls) to get it back, or well we be able to say with the prophet Habakkuk:

"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

"Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Hab. 3:17-18)

One should carefully bear in mind the words of our Saviour regarding this matter:

"And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

"Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:34-37)

God help those of us who refuse to take this matter seriously!!


You doubt all this? You think the "good times" will roll on forever? Well consider just for a moment what's been happening financially in the world recently, and what it all portends to us as individuals: While there have never been so many millionaires in the country as there are today (5 million all told - and Silicon Valley has been adding 64 million new millionaires a day to the total), and despite the fact that the United States now boasts over 300 billionaires; and despite the fact that nine million individuals now boast annual paychecks exceeding $100,000 a year, the ranks of the working poor have never been as great as they are today. The fact is, the United States is evolving second by second and minute by minute into a two-tiered (i.e., rich and poor) society.

The fact is, of the ten job categories that are growing the fastest in the United States in absolute numbers, seven pay average wages less than $11 an hour. Now, stop for a moment and think about that - $11 an hour: that translates into a weekly pay check of $440 a week, or about $1,700 a month. Take out a minimum of 20 percent for taxes of all sorts (i.e., social security, FICA, state and local taxes, etc.), and that means that seven of the most plentiful jobs available today for most Americans produce net paychecks of about $1,400 a month. Think about that: $1,400 a month!! Do the math: rent on an average house in a lower-middle class neighborhood runs about $750 a month (in Silicon Valley, rent on a one bedroom apartment runs $1,200 a month, and on a two bedroom home, it can run as high as $2,500 a month); another $350 for utilities; gas, insurance and upkeep on an old clunker, about $300.00 a month - and there goes the family income, and we haven't even talked about food, clothing, entertainment, etc. yet.

Obviously, the wife has to work - and not because she is pursuing some kind of wondrous and exotic career that's been ballyhooed on the pages of Vogue or Cosmopolitan, but only because she has to do it to make ends meet for the family. This usually means a part-time job paying less than $8.00 an hour; and for that, the family must purchase a second clunker, pay for gas, insurance and upkeep on that, and in addition - now that she isn't home to take care of the children - childcare must be thrown into the new equation. She's lucky if she is able to net out one-third of the paycheck she earns. This is what is happening everywhere today in about one-third of American households!! - and with each year as more and more old, high-paying manufacturing jobs are shipped over seas, these numbers increase, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the overall workforce.


You say it won't happen to you? You've "invested" in the stock market. You have a 401k account. You have stock options! You're safe. Well, think again!! Take what's been happening in the stock market in recent months. In mid-April the go-go NASDAQ fell a sickening 25.3 percent. It was the worst one-week decline ever posted by a broad U.S. market index. Other indexes fell too.

Alan Sloan of Newsweek reports that the week ended on an especially nauseating note, with stocks on all the major U.S. markets losing an amazing $1 trillion of market value, which Wilshire Associates says is the biggest one-day market loss since money was created. That raised the losses in the various markets during all of April to a staggering $2.1 trillion.

Although most of the markets have recovered somewhat since, the alarm and apprehension on Wall Street is still palpable, despite all the recent "surface talk" about a recovery. The fact is, the gains the market has made since last April are focused in a narrow band of stocks, and the extremely low volume of trading on all the indexes since April suggests that many people and institutions are no longer participating in the market. [Please see Eileen Glanton, "Bearish Shadow Darkens Market," released by the Associated Press, May 30, 2000.] That's bad! - at least insofar as the market is concerned. Sloan says that mutual funds have been dumping stocks by the carload, and since late April market brokers have been mercilessly selling out the portfolios of customers who can't meet the demand for more collateral on loans against their holdings - in other words, those clients who can't meet their "margin calls." Naturally, you're not reading much about all this on the business pages of the nation's newspapers (because business editors don't want to "precipitate" a panic - and not give the "big boys" time to get out), but that's nonetheless what's been occurring.


What's happening here? Well, it's not all that difficult to fathom. The market has at last reached a height that is no longer sustainable under any conditions. Moreover, the peak that the market has reached is at such a stratospheric level, that the decline - when it finally comes - could be utterly disastrous.

Think just for a moment how high the market is! The average "price to earnings" ratio on the Dow Jones average (the average that measures the wealth of America's 30 best blue chip stocks) is better than 60 to I; on the NASDAQ the average "price to earnings" ratio has reached a dizzying 270 to 1. Put in language that people can understand, that means it would take 60 years worth of quarterly dividend checks [the profits of a company that accrue to the owners of that company (i.e., the shareholder)] to just recover the money used to purchase the shares in the first place. That's ridiculous!! - and that's what one can expect from the earnings of America's BEST corporations. On the NASDAQ it would take 270 years for a person (or more reasonably a person's great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandson) to recover the price originally paid for the stock. That is the equivalent of buying stock in a company in 1730 and just now recovering enough money from the company's profits to cover the initial price paid for the stock (in other words, "to break even"). That's not only ridiculous, it's nonsensical!! One would have done better digging ditches for 270 years.

Today's stockholders, of course, would retort, that's not why they bought the stocks. But if a person does not buy stock in order to participate in a company's profits, than that person is a SPECULATOR - a gambler who is trying to "game" the system; he might as well be shooting craps in Las Vegas or counting cards at Harrah's in Reno. He may be wearing a three-piece, $5,000 Armani suit, $1,000 Italian shoes, individually tailored shirts, monogrammed underwear, and all the rest, but he is no better than a bookmaker in the Bronx.

And just how much speculation has there been in the stock market? As we indicated a year and a half ago, estimates vary, but one can begin to get an idea when one examines the run-up of the market since the Nixon Administration. At the close of the Nixon/Ford presidencies the stock market (specifically, the Dow Jones Average) hovered around the 700 mark. Today it flutters around the 10,500 level - a run-up of over 1,500 percent in just over twenty-five years. Does anyone actually believe that the real value of American corporations has increased by this amount - especially when the GNP has only been increasing by a tiny fraction of that figure? If one thinks so, he's very, very naive or just a plain fool. What's to account for this rise? We're talking about billions and billions and billions of dollars here. And be clear! - the money didn't materialize out of nowhere. The greatest amount of this growth came during a period of low inflation (during the Reagan, Bush and Clinton presidencies), so the government printing office didn't "create" the money. We're talking about REAL dollars.


Obviously, the money has been diverted from elsewhere. Essentially it's come from:

  • (1) Lowering the wages of average American workers and diverting the money thus saved into the market.
  • (2) Opening up sources of funds which used to be "off-limits" for investment into the stock market [i.e., pension and retirement funds, public funds, funds held in trust (both public and private), etc.] and pouring this money into the market.


  • (3) The creation of mutual funds and 401k accounts to expand the amount of people capable of participating in the market.

[And here's a little secret that the mavens of Wall Street would just as soon not want you to know: The creation of these two devices (i.e., 401k accounts and mutual funds) is probably the slickest thing ever put over on an unsuspecting public by the nation's financial elites. What these devices have insured is a "regular-as-clock-work" twice monthly infusion of cash into the market which has done wonders to insure the regular upward spiral of stocks for the past two decades - and all this regardless of the real conditions of the market. So the market slips for a few days - so what! That's okay - as soon as the first or the fifteenth of the month rolls around, fresh cash from the paychecks of the country's ordinary wage-earners will appear and boost it back up again - kind of an insurance policy for the elites courtesy of the nation's wage-earners.]


As money has poured into the stock market, the sheer volume of it has pushed stock prices up. As stock prices have soared, others have joined in the stampede to "get in" on the "easy money," creating an upwardly spiraling vortex which, as it grows in size and strength, sucks in ever greater amounts of money which in turn pushes stocks that much higher reaching eventually into the absurd. Everyone's been in on the rush - a blind dash for money motivated by greed and avarice: individual investors, "day-traders," investment clubs, mutual fund managers, hedge fund managers - everyone.

And what kind of absurdity are we talking about here? - take, for example, the stock of one company with annual revenues of only $14-million which was recently bid up to the point where $52-billion had been dumped into it - and not just by wild-eyed crazies, but by "reputable" mutual fund managers of some of the most well-known mutual funds in the country.

The stock market today has become nothing more than a mammoth Ponzi pyramid, and like all such pyramids, greater and greater amounts of money have to be found to feed into it in order to prevent its collapse. And the money that is being fed into it are the diverted wages of American workers, the pension and retirement funds of our senior citizens, trust funds, and the "savings" of ordinary Americans who have been persuaded to divert their savings from their bank accounts to mutual funds and 401k accounts.


Now one needs to be clear here that when the end finally comes - and it will - it may not occur in one huge crash. As Dr. Robert J. Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale University, explains in an article he wrote for the Washington Post, (May 21, 2000) entitled, "Guess What Will Happen to the Bubble:"

"... Having watched the recent market swings, like the NASDAQ's 25-percent drop during a single week in April, some investors ask: Was that 'it' - was that the bubble bursting? Or does the partial rebound of the stock market since then mean that 'it' isn't happening? The questions are all wrong. The current boom in the stock market won't come to a catastrophic end. When the shift does take place, most Americans won't realize it's happening - at least at first ... Major speculative bubbles ... tend to deflate over a period of years. Instead of a dramatic one-day crash, the real denouement is apparent only to those who count the days: Over an extended period of time, there will have been somewhat more down days than up days.

"... We are in the longest business expansion ever, with generally good news for years about inflation and unemployment rates ... But the U.S. stock market has soared ... to truly stratospheric levels ... (and) ... the gap between stock prices and their actual worth (i.e., the "price to earnings ratio") by any standard measure has never been greater.

"... Some retirees have sunk all of their savings into stocks. Investors have mortgaged houses to invest more deeply; after a major market correction, they risk losing not only their investments but their homes ... Those on Wall Street, and in the media, persist in talking about 'bull markets' and 'bear markets'. This perpetuates the mistaken notion that the market is either hot or it's not. If that were true, the question 'when will the bubble burst'? Would be not only rational, but crucial. It is neither. A gradual decline is a slow disaster; it can be just as devastating as a sudden shock. Either way, investors lose a lot of money. And a longtime erosion in market confidence reverberates throughout the economy. Consider the 'crash' of October 1929, which - contrary to popular perception - played out for several years. After the Standard & Poor's (S&P) Composite peaked on September 7 of that year, there were some spectacular one-day drops, but there were also spectacular one-day increases. The drops of October 28-29 are widely remembered, but these big drops were almost entirely reversed by April 10, 1930. Then the decline resumed. The S&P Composite fell 86 percent between its top on September 7, 1929, and its bottom on June 1, 1932, and this cumulative decline was the result of 365 up days and 431 down days. [That kind of a drop would be the equivalent today of the Dow falling to a low of 1890 from its all-time high in April of this year - Antipas editor.]

"Some investors aren't the least bit concerned about an end to the bubble. They see the recent 'false storms' and rebounds from market drops as proof that the bubble is here to stay. I couldn't disagree more. Sure, that's been the case in recent years. Surging investor confidence has helped the market rebound quickly as investors buy after each dip. But such unnatural confidence is itself evidence of the speculative bubble.

"... The tendency of bubbles to deflate through a long series of ups and downs, and not burst suddenly, is apparently connected to the persistence of the public's confidence in markets. That confidence is unlikely to change suddenly. But in reaction to a protracted period of market volatility, the feeling of confidence can begin to erode. It's easy to imagine market declines substantially out-numbering market increases over the next few years, brought about by everything from changing impressions of other investors' views, to media images. For example, TV coverage of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, showed chaos and uncertainty. Over the next 10 days, the Japanese market fell, as did markets in Europe and South America.

"Today's high investor confidence ... is not a natural, steady state. It is a sign that the market is likely to decline in coming years. The signal does not identify a sudden turning point. But there may never be a better warning."


The fact is, the current, dangerously unstable "investment pyramid" on the NASDAQ, the Dow, etc. will continue to survive only so long as new money is pumped into it. When new money finally ceases to flow into the pyramid - as is beginning to happen - it will collapse. The truth is, there is not much new money left that can be fed into the pyramid - the only thing that hasn't been thrown into the maw is the nation's social security funds - and now there's talk of doing that. In the end, however, there is simply no way the "price to earnings" ratios that exist on today's market indexes can be sustained - especially at the dizzying heights they are now at, and when the deflation begins, it will play itself out pretty much in the following manner:

  1. The volatility of the market will increase, with more "down" days than "up" days. The market begins to slowly drop, drying up as a financing source for job-creating new companies.
  2. Consumer confidence begins to plummet; paper profits vaporize - say good-bye to the "wealth effect" high stock markets engender in the overall economy. Consumers begin to put off making major purchases.
  3. Remember downsizing? As sales drop, big employers, from PC makers to car companies to retailers, are forced to make sweeping layoffs to cut costs.
  4. Retirees wake up to find that their pensions are essentially worthless, their 401k accounts not worth the paper they're written on. All that's left to them is cash in the bank, and there is not much of that, because most of it had been "invested" in the stock market. Now there's nothing to pay the bills with.
  5. Real-estate crashes: Houses go unsold and offices remain vacant.
  6. As the economic slump spreads outward to encompass America's trading partners, these countries try to ameliorate their situation by "exporting their way out of the slump" - with most of their exports aimed at the American market - the so-called "market of last resort."
  7. The resulting flood of foreign imports into the United States - at levels never before seen or even contemplated - causes American workers to go "ballistic" and to begin demanding a stop to the flood of imports which is destroying what few jobs they have left.
  8. A new labor militancy takes hold with a vengeful "I-told-you-so" attitude from people on both the extreme right and the extreme left. Most of the militancy is aimed at elite institutions like the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, NAFTA, etc. which both the Left and the Right blame for the depression.
  9. As bad as things are in the United States, they're much worse in the outside world. A flood of illegal immigrants begins swamping the country - flooding over the Mexican border; arriving by ships from overseas; washing ashore on rafts from Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic; and arriving from Africa, India, Pakistan, etc. through the nation's airports. Most of the new immigrants are "people of color," which provokes majority whites into a red-hot fury against the country's minorities. This in turn leads to an unprecedented outbreak of racial rioting at levels the elites (and the police) are not able to contain.
  10. The elites, which fear nothing more than riots in the street, and dreading the rise of left-wing radicalism (which aims at their destruction all together) far more than right-wing radicalism, turn to the Right for help in surviving the debacle, and pour money into the populist right to insure its victory over the Left.
  11. As a result, a right-wing, populist-based government ensues.
  12. The churches join themselves to the new government and use their alliance with the Right to suppress their cultural enemies on the Left (i.e., the gay and lesbian community, social liberals of every stripe, radical feminists, etc.).
  13. The Left fights back with all the strength it has left, but is crushed.
  14. A dictatorship emerges to finally put an end to the civil strife! The nation embraces the new ruler! The world also prepares to embrace him and restore prosperity to the trading system and people in general - their souls for a little money and a renewed sense of security: that's the bargain.

Does all this sound familiar? Well, it's happened before; this is exactly the scenario that played out with regard to the rise of fascism and Hitler in Germany in 1933.

There is, of course, one caveat to all this; and that is, if the elites are successful in diverting social security money into the investment pyramid, such a move will delay things a bit; ultimately, however, it cannot prevent the pyramid's collapse, all it can do is delay the inevitable. For how long? - who knows, but it will be that much more catastrophic when it finally does occurs.

Written By S. R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

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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