Vol: 110 Issue: 19 Friday, November 19, 2010
The other day, the question was posed in one of our forums asking if it could be that America is actually Babylon the Great of Revelation. It’s an excellent question and well worth looking into.
“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” (Revelation 18:21)
As one reads through all of Revelation 18 it certainly sounds like a word picture describing America; with her multi-billion dollar drug habit, multi-billion dollar porn industry, addiction to oil, and so forth.
Revelation Chapter 17 describes the great scarlet whore, a word picture of the decadence debauchery and prostitution of religious Christianity upon the earth.
“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” (Revelation 17:3-6)
Daniel spoke of four world empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. John speaks of seven — and then speaks of an eighth.
“And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eight, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Revelation 17:11)
History records six great empires; two before Daniel (Egypt, Assyria) and four afterwards (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome).
Confused yet? Wait. I’m not done. Five have fallen, John says, and one is. The one in existence in John’s day was the Roman Empire.
John says the next empire, the seventh, which is not yet come, will be short-lived.John appears to say that the seventh is also the sixth, and simultaneously the eighth. It’s not as confusing as it sounds. Not really.
Revelation 17:2 interprets the ten horns on the beast as, “ten kings which have yet received no kingdom” these are future kings, not kings of John’s day.
The future beast is a government of ten kings who yield their power and strength over to the center, to an arch-regent, as described by the Prophet Daniel.
“And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.”
John pictures the beast as an empire. Daniel’s horn had eyes and mouth speaking great things. Which is right? Actually, both are right.
The beast is a system, personified by a man, but actually administered by two men, separated according to specialty.
Revelation 13:1 introduces the political beast, who rises up out of the sea (of nations). Revelation 13:11 introduces the religious beast, “coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.”
Both the first beast and the second beast derive their power from “the dragon” or Satan. In John’s day, the seat of secular authority was Imperial Rome.
By the 3rd century AD, Rome had become the seat of religious authority when Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the state church of Rome and the Emperor as Pontifex Maximus of the Christian Church.
“Pontifex Maximus” literally means “the greatest bridge builder” and was the title conferred on the high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient pagan Rome.
The College was ancient Rome’s most sacred priesthood of advisors to the Roman Emperor-god.
The Pontifex Maximus has been applied to the Roman popes since at least the 3rd century. When political Rome collapsed in the early 5th century, it transferred much of the political power from the state to the Pontifex Maximus.
The Roman Empire which in John’s day was present tense (beast that is) became the beast that was and is not and yet is.
The papacy openly ruled Western European Christendom from early 4th century until well after the French Revolution and continues to be the single most politically powerful religious figure on earth.
Is the False Prophet the Roman Catholic pope? I don’t know. That often gets me accused of Catholic bashing, but that’s not a fair assessment. I believe the Rapture takes place before either the political antichrist or the False Prophet show up.
What is a Church after all the Christians are gone?
Whether one wants to take issue with me over the Vatican being the seat of Satan’s power after all the Christians have been Raptured or not is secondary to the question I originally set out to answer.
Could the Babylon of Revelation be America? Revelation’s Babylon is presented in two parts; religious Babylon, as described in great detail in Revelation 17, and economic Babylon as described in Chapter 18.
The fall of economic Babylon could easily be interpreted as a description of America in decline:
“And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”
It sounds like America, home of Nashville, Hollywood and Wall Street, breadbasket to the world and home to the great merchants of the earth. Certainly, one could line America up with the deception of ‘sorceries’ (Greek, pharmakea, or use of drugs), but that’s as far as one can take America before the Bible shuts it down.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Revelation 18:22-24)
America is not soaked in the blood of prophets and saints – that honor belongs to Rome.
It is just as difficult to find a major role for America during the Tribulation Period as it is to find a role for the Church. The Bible makes it clear that during the last days, all eyes are on the battlefield.
God’s attention will be turned to Israel and Satan’s attention will be focused on Europe. America isn’t the Babylon of Revelation.
Laodicea, maybe. But not Babylon.
Prayer Request: I was informed of a death in our family a little while ago. My brother’s mother-in-law passed away this morning. We are a particularly close family, and Ken and Bev were a particularly inspiring couple.
Childhood sweethearts who married in their teens, Ken and Bev fell ill at about the same time with different illnesses. Ken was recovering from surgery when Bev, who was suffering from terminal cancer, fell and broke her collarbone the day before yesterday.
The family was able to get Ken into the same hospital as his beloved Bev last night. I’m told that she died in his arms this morning.
Despite knowing it was coming, my brother’s family is devastated. I cannot imagine Ken’s grief. Please pray with me that the Lord will comfort Ken, Roy and Lorna and their kids and grandkids in the days ahead.
God bless us all.