Thoughts on Babylon the Great in Revelation

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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Some afterthoughts: a) on the topic of the chronology of Babylon’s fall and the final battle – Armageddon – when the beast with his kings and peoples of the earth attack the church and the Lamb. I touched on it briefly in post #25, and I found a couple short mentions in the commentators on it:

Beale (Op. Cit.)

The coalition of the “ten horns” and the beast form first to destroy the harlot before attempting to destroy the Lamb.” p. 883

As I pointed out in the aforementioned post, there seems to be a hiatus between these end-time events, of short duration. But what is short with Him to whom “one day is... as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”? (2 Pet 3:8)

And then Osborne (Op. Cit.)

God causes the vassal kings to turn against the final unholy Roman empire [he is referring to “Babylon” here –SMR] as a prelude to the coming of the conquering ram/wrath of the Lamb. p. 626

At the very least there is time for three classes of spectators – kings, merchants, and transporters of goods by the sea [transportation industry in modern terms] – to lament the horrific destruction meted upon Babylon, from afar off for fear of her torment, and the smoke of her burning.

Regarding this destruction, it could be that the world-wide government would turn the people against the cultural-intellectual-economic institutions everywhere around the globe, destroying banks, stock exchanges, libraries, universities, movie theaters / mediums of the entertainment industry, cultural institutions and centers, etc., or if the cultural-economic / political system fomenting the Babylonian spirit were centralized in one nation, then that nation could be turned upon, albeit with global repercussions.

One thing is clear, “in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Rev 18:24), so there must be a fierce persecution (not the beast’s final war on the church) of the Christians. That this could refer to a single nation can be seen in our Lord’s words in Matt 23:35 as He spoke in Jerusalem, which then manifested the Babylonian persecuting spirit. Whatever Babylon is, she will be drunk on the blood of the saints (Rev 17:6).

Which brings me, b) to a book I just started reading – speaking of vehement hatred for the Christian church, and for the Christian Scriptures! – and that is Chris Hedges’, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. Very interesting! This guy, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, an award-winning NY Times reporter, grew up in a Presbyterian home, his father a minister, but in an uber-PCUSA-type liberality where the Bible was acknowledged to be only a writing of man (“not the literal word of God”), and when the son started at Colgate University, the father made him start a gay and lesbian organization to give support to that community in the school.

Hedges now loudly trumpets – with respect from the NYTimes and the American liberal intelligencia – that the Bible is filled with rank hate literature, manifesting throughout a hate and bigotry-promoting “God”. From an opening excerpt in the first chapter, “Faith”:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them . . . we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal. –Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, 1:263

One might think this was being written about militant Islam, but no, it is written about the evangelical Christian community, with an eye especially focused upon the Theonomy / Christian Reconstruction movement, as they are taken as the basic Christian paradigm affecting American society and politics today. The above is just the opening salvo.

After railing against the conservative Protestant view of the Bible, Hedges says,

The book of Revelation, a crucial text for the radical Christian Right, appears to show Christ returning to earth at the head of an avenging army. It is one of the few places in the Bible where Christ is associated with violence. This bizarre book, omitted from some of the early canons and relegated to the back of the Bible by Martin Luther, may have been a way, as scholars contend, for the early Christians to cope with Roman persecution and their dreams of final triumph and glory. The book, however, paints a picture of a bloody battle between the forces of good and evil, Christ and the Antichrist, God and Satan, and the torment and utter destruction of all who do not follow the faith. In this vision, only the faithful will be allowed to enter the gates of the New Jerusalem. All others will disappear, cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15) . . . It is a story of God’s ruthless, terrifying and violent power unleashed on nonbelievers . . .

There is enough hatred, bigotry and lust for violence in the pages of the Bible to satisfy anyone bent on justifying cruelty and violence. (pp. 4, 5)

Hedges continues,

Church leaders must denounce the biblical passages that champion apocalyptic violence . . . This literature in the biblical canon keeps alive the virus of hatred, whether dormant or active, and the possibility of apocalyptic terror in the name of God. And the steady refusal by churches to challenge the canonical authority of these passages means these churches share some of the blame. “Unless the churches, Protestant and Catholic alike, come together on this, they will continue to make it legitimate to believe in the end as a time when there will be no non-Christians or infidels,” theologian Richard Fenn wrote. “Silent complicity with apocalyptic rhetoric soon becomes collusion with plans for religiously inspired genocide.” (from Fenn’s, Dreams of Glory: The Sources of Apocalyptic Terror, p. 60).

As long as scripture, blessed and accepted by the church, teaches that at the end of time there will be a Day of Wrath and Christians will control the shattered remnants of a world cleansed through violence and war, as long as it teaches that all nonbelievers will be tormented, destroyed and banished to hell, it will be hard to thwart the message of radical apocalyptic preachers or assuage the fears of the Islamic world that Christians are calling for its annihilation. Those who embrace this dark conclusion to life can find it endorsed in scripture, whether it is tucked into the back pew rack of a liberal Unitarian church in Boston or a megachurch in Florida. The mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches, declining in numbers and influence, cannot hope to combat the hysteria and excitement roused by these prophets of doom until they repudiate the apocalyptic writings in scripture. (pp. 6, 7)

I initially purchased this book to get a take on how the secular world was viewing and critiquing the Theonomy / Christian Reconstruction movement (and its adherents in the Charismatic churches), as I am slowly working on a critique of my own. But I have come upon more than I bargained for: an intellectual, sociological, and legal groundwork – being laid in many different quarters – for the eventual marginalization and then criminalization of both us and our Law, the Law of God in the Old and New Testaments. This is not just a loose-cannon antichristian, but a Harvard-educated, respected journalist who has the ear and attention of many. Already the government is scrutinizing the “hard core” Christian community, and such books (there are more) inform their perceptions and strategies. Slowly we are being perceived as dangerous to the health and safety of society, and as laws are enacted against our Law, we shall – from loyalty to our King – become outlaws.

These developments may gain the ascendancy slowly, or some packin’ “Christian” hothead with a twisted mind may trigger it in a moment, as happened before the Third Reich lowered the boom on the Jewish population, starting with the infamous Kristallnacht, after a young Jew assassinated a German diplomat in the Paris embassy.

So much for a possible scenario involving the “blood of saints” in harlot Babylon.
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