Recently my wife and I were discussing financial options to prepare for our future. Like probably most of you reading this, we don't have enough put away toward retirement. However, because of my age we also need to have funds in a reasonably secure, low-risk fund. As we discussed the alternatives, two things became quite clear.
First of all, no one can predict how any investment might perform. Investment counselors will tell you that over the years, the stock market has the highest rate of return of any traditional source of investment. But in the next breath, they will say that past performance is no guarantee of future results. So what it amounts to is a gamble.
That brings me to the second thing that became apparent to us: No investment is totally safe and secure. The stock market is the most volatile and fickle of all investment options—capable of major ups and downs, both of which have taken place in recent months.
A world of economic instability
We live in an unstable world. Everything from bananas to the stock market and many investments and commodities in between fluctuate in value. Major companies, financial institutions and even some governmental entities have experienced major financial setbacks in recent years, resulting in bankruptcies and federal bailouts.
What lies ahead in the financial world for the United States and other nations? Where can you find financial security in this unstable world?
Many American citizens assume that the money they have deposited in savings accounts in banks and other lending institutions is secure, especially those insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). However, all of these financial institutions (including the FDIC) are required to maintain a small fraction of the money in these accounts as cash on hand. The rest is invested in the stock market, real estate and other unpredictable and often risky ventures. So although you may receive periodic financial statements that show the current value of your investments, the funds are not actually in your possession.
Yes, but the FDIC insures that your deposits are safe, right? But how secure is the FDIC? Remember that this is a federal agency, and the federal government of the United States is deeply and perhaps hopelessly in debt. Congress recently had to approve an increase in the national debt in order to avoid being in default. The approval enabled the nation to dodge the bullet, but only temporarily. The same crisis is destined to reappear as early as 2012. How long can the debt be expanded until the balloon bursts? Other options are equally dangerous and short-term. Our currency is at risk for devaluation, and our economy faces the ever-present danger of inflation or stagflation.
Find the true Source of stability in God's Word
Is there any way to have a heads up on where the world is headed economically? And is there any source of true financial security for you and me?
Thankfully, yes. The answers to both questions can be found in the pages of your Bible. The book of Revelation foretells the coming of a powerful economic, political and religious system that will bring about temporary international prosperity at the time of the end. That is the answer to the first question, not the second. The problem is that this system will come with requirements that God considers idolatrous (Revelation 13:12 Revelation 13:12And he excercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
American King James Version×). It will wield such power over individuals that anyone who doesn't cave in to its demands will be unable to buy or sell (Revelation 13:16-17 Revelation 13:16-17  And he causes 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.
American King James Version×) and even be put to death (Revelation 13:15 Revelation 13:15And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
American King James Version×). The message to God's people at that time is to faithfully endure and trust Him to take care of them (Revelation 13:10 Revelation 13:10He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
American King James Version×, 14:12).
Therein lies the only source of true security—Almighty God! Read the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 6 to put this matter into proper perspective. He begins with this financial advice: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (verses 19-20).
The chapter ends with the assurance that God knows our material needs, and the promise that He will provide them if we put His kingdom and His righteousness first (verse 33). God and His promises are the only source of true security.
Be sure to download our free booklet, Managing Your Finances for practical biblical principles on this important topic. To find out more of what the Bible says about the time of the end and how to prepare for it, be sure to read our booklet, Are We Living in the Time of the End?