With these signs in mind, we can be wise and discerning in regard to the expectation of the end times. We should not, however, interpret any of these singular events as a clear indication of the soon arrival of the end times. God has given us enough information that we can be prepared, and that is what we are called to be.

Now for my own thoughts as well:

As I sit in my office typing this answer I am not feeling hopeful that things will ever return to "normal." Of course, I tend to be more of a pessimist than an optimist so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I am praying that they will; but, the world economic crisis has been mounting for a long time and there may not be enough that anyone can do to stop it this time. I hesitate to begin guessing what the outcome of all this might be. I am no expert—there are thousands of economists, politicians, presidents, world leaders, and media pundits who can answer your questions better than I—maybe. Frankly, all of them have such different ideas that I don’t trust any of them. We will just have to wait and see.

No society or culture lasts forever. All eventually collapse—the United States will not be the exception.

Collapse by Jared Diamond (Penguin Books; New York, New York; 2006) details five factors which lead to the collapse of societies. Only one factor is needed to destroy any particular society. Our United States—and many other nations—are currently experiencing all five. Let me share his five factors to give us a little perspective on the current crises. Diamond’s studies of collapsed cultures include: Easter and Henderson Islands; the Anasazis of Arizona; the Mayans of Central America, the Vikings of Iceland; and the Norse of Greenland. Modern-day collapses include: Montana; Rwanda; Dominican Republic; Haiti; and Australia.

The first collapse factor is environmental damage. These are damages that people inadvertently inflict on their environment. The people of Easter Island eventually cut down all of the trees on the island. When the trees were gone the people were gone—most died of exposure and hunger. The lack of trees meant rampant erosion which carried away all the topsoil and agriculture was dramatically diminished. In our world today, insecticides, manufacturing waste products, overfishing, deforesting, the reduction in wet lands—just to mention a few—are beginning to have catastrophic results ranging from food crises in some areas to an increasing number of birth defects in others.

The second collapse factor is climate change. The earth’s climate is not static. Present-day Iran and Iraq once flowed with milk and honey. Crops, gardens and game proliferated in the days when that climate received much more rainfall than it does today. After all, that area was once called the “Fertile Crescent”. But, the climate changed and those areas are now bare deserts. The sun gets hotter and cooler over time. The wobbling of the earth’s axis results in Ice Ages like the one 14,000 years ago that carved out the Great Lakes and covered Europe all the way to Spain. Ice Ages occur on the average every 11,000 years. We are due for another. Today, refrigerator fluorocarbons and fossil fuels are bringing with them colossal environmental damage. For example, the resulting global greenhouse is increasing temperatures which cannot be reversed. I see a day, far in the future, when our greenhouse will rival Venus’ greenhouse which has a surface temperature of 850 degrees Fahrenheit.

The third collapse factor is hostile neighbors. Many societies can hold off the enemy for only so long. As collapse factors come into play a society is often weakened to the point that they fall to the enemy. The Roman Empire lasted for centuries; eventually it succumbed to continued attacks by the barbarian hordes. Today, many hostile enemies of the USA are in the Middle East. Dictators, crazed terrorists and Islamic extremists are dedicated to our destruction. At times they hold us hostage with their oil. They determine our Middle Eastern policies. We feel it is our responsibility to being peace and democracy to the region so we spend billions of dollars on our military to fight and police in the Middle East. Military expenditures are sucking our economy dry. By the way, the approaching anarchy in Mexico may soon resort in what may be a hostile neighbor on our southern border.