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Saturday, March 12, 2022 - 16:20

The Advent of Economic Embargoes

The conflagration they are calling the Russia-Ukraine war (now five weeks long) has introduced to global humanity the power of a united economic embargo. Simply put—what we are witnessing is the strategic punitive enforcement of no-buy/no-sell prohibitions slapped on a nation-state and its leaders, deemed by global powers to be out of harmony with the group-think of the enforcing alliance(s). 

For the sake of argument consider for a moment these economic embargoes levied against Russia and some of its leaders.

What has become evident (very quickly) is the punishing effect these recent embargoes are having on both the political apparatus and social calculus of Russia. No matter how strong the punished nation may have deemed itself to be, the net effect has been the collapse of the nation’s currency and economic stability. The long-range effects of these punitive actions I will leave to the economists to assess.

My point is simple. A careful reading of the Apocalypse reveals a predicted global embargo shortly before the return of Christ. Not an embargo against a member state or nation of the world community, but rather an economic embargo levied against a category of people. 

“The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name” (Revelation 13:15-17).
Most people in the faith community I belong to immediately recognize this apocalyptic prediction. Unmistakably it reveals a universal no buy/no sell embargo on a class of people obviously deemed to be enemies of global peace and unity, enemies of the state, if you please. The reason for this international embargo appears to be this community’s refusal to obey a universal decree to worship some sort of idolatrous counterfeit to the Creator. Because of their conscientious civil disobedience, they are slapped not only with a no-buy/no sell embargo but eventually are threatened with capital punishment for such disobedience.

For the first time in a lifetime, we are witnessing the stunning and crippling effect united economic embargoes can have on a people, once leaders of ruling powers unite in imposing punitive action. Suddenly the apocalyptic prediction of another such global embargo becomes entirely plausible. In this electronic age of high-tech buying and selling, all it takes is the flipping of a switch, so to speak, to freeze a person’s or a people’s assets. Locked out by a no-buy/no sell electronic command? Piece of cake.

While God doesn’t promise cake, His quiet assurance is still good news: “They [the obedient] are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them” (Isaiah 33:16). 

Which being interpreted means the friends of Jesus have nothing to fear for the future. “Bread and water” may seem humble fare, but it has been the diet of the faithful throughout the ages. With a God like Him and a promise like this, we have every reason to sing, “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow . . . Great is Thy faithfulness! Lord unto me!” (Hymn 100).