(Ricky Scaparo) James 5:1-6 – Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
The above passage of scripture seems to indicate that there is coming an economic collapse that will greatly affect the wealthy of the Earth. First off James specifically tells us a few things that are absolutes. Number one he tells us that this economic shaking will target the “rich”. and as a result, they will weep and howl. No doubt from the great losses they will accumulate from the Stock Market collapse. We saw something similar to this during the “Great Depression” when many people’s wealth was wiped out.
James tells us that the coming collapse will be a result of corrupt riches. The results will be manufacturing depleting, gold and silver values useless. A term is used here called “Corrosion“, and it is used twice. In fact, James tells us that this corrosion will be a witness against the rich and eat their flesh like fire. The word corrosion means “to gradually destroy or weaken”, to eat away by degrees as if by gnawing”. I believe this indicates to us that this coming economic meltdown will not happen in one day but over a period of time leaving a process of weakening or gradual decay of the Nation or Nations. As a result, currencies will begin to lose value, Food shortages will increase and investment opportunities and wealth will become scarce.
James then tells us that the rich will store up treasures for the “Last Days” that will eventually become a snare to them and cost them in the end. I believe this goes hand in hand with what the Lord warned the Church of Laodicea in the Book of Revelation as well as other passages in the New Testament.
Revelation 3:14-19 – “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
1 Timothy 6:9-11 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Matthew 6:19-21 – “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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Another real key here is that James mentions the timing of this event. “The Last Days“. Now, of course, this phrase can be very controversial as to how long this actually means. For example, we know that Peter told us that 2 Peter 3:8 – But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. So we can see that the term days can actually mean “thousands of years”. which we have already seen over two thousand years pass since the crucifixion of Jesus. However, we can certainly eliminate the “Great Depression” as the meaning of this passage because we all know now that the Lord never returned during that time frame.
One of the scary parts of this passage mentioned by James is why this judgment is coming upon the Nation or Nations. “Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.” What James is revealing to us here is that the Lord is going to allow this slow process to continue to corrode if you will, until the fullness has come and then the judgment will be poured out in the form of an economic shaking that will affect the entire Nation especially the rich. However this could be far worse than what anyone ever witnessed during the “Great Depression”.
Now the next passage in James chapter five gives us some much-needed hope. “7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord, is at hand.” I find the timing of this passage of scripture extremely interesting being that it immediately follows the entire warning of a coming economic meltdown. What I believe the Lord is telling us here is that as we begin to see the economy continue to corrode around us and the world become darker each year that we are not to lose heart but to realize that the farmer is simply waiting for the precious fruit of the earth which I believe represents the Lord as the Farmer and the “precious fruit of the earth” being souls. This is the Lord extending his amazing grace during these troubling times desiring that none perish but all come to repentance.
Lastly, notice how the passage tells us that the Farmer is waiting for the “Former and Latter” rains to come to the earth. I believe this indicates that there will still be pockets of ‘outpourings” of the Holy Spirit in the Nations that will produce souls coming into the Kingdom of God, Or as James said the “Precious fruit of the earth”. So as we continue to witness the world economies shake and fall we are not to be alarmed or dismayed but as James put it so well, “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord, is at hand”!