Revelation 17: 16 “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
There is a lot of worry and fear right now that crushing sovereign debt load of the industrialized world is going to destroy the world’s economic system. I’m not sure this is going to happen by any stretch, though I too am concerned about the possibility, given our very high indebtedness. Right now, just the US’ federal debt alone is equal to 95% of our GDP, and its publicly held federal debt is equal to more than 20% of the GDP of the entire world. Those are truly scary numbers. I don’t think it would be an impossible situation to fix, except for the complete unwillingness of most of our political class to do anything at all about it.
Revelation introduces us to the Whore of Babylon in Revelation 17. Without going into a great deal of exegesis, let me just say that the Idealist interpretation of the whore is usually that she represents the “soft power” of the world, the religious / economic system of the world. She is the counterpart of the Beast, who represents “hard power”- political and military might. She seduces people with wealth and pleasure to participate with her in violence and immorality. The beast and the whore work together for a time, but just before the beast attacks God’s people, he turns on Babylon and kills her. Although they worked together, the beast will not tolerate any competition to his earthly power. This is ultimately a disaster for the beast, since it was Babylon that made the kings of the earth so rich and powerful, and after she is killed, the kings of the earth (who killed her) weep and mourn over her loss.
Are we perhaps seeing this happening now? The idealist interpretation of Revelation holds that these events are not predictive of just one set of events before or during the coming of Christ, but that they show general spiritual conditions of the church age. Tribulation and the rise of antichrist are therefore periodic events throughout the church age. But it seems very possible, perhaps likely, that the Scriptures also point to one final dramatic occurrence of these conditions before Jesus’ second coming.
However close we may or may not be to the second coming of Christ, the spiritual principles taught in Revelation 17 about the beast and Babylon made me wonder about the current situation- is it perhaps the case that what we are witnessing is the overwhelming lust for power on the part of the state destroying the economic system in the developed world, and that perhaps this is not as bad a thing as I originally thought? After all, the economic system of the developed world is largely godless. It heavily promotes wasteful consumption, sexual immorality, selfishness and greed.
The political class hates any power that competes with their own power. They continually regulate and restrict the economic system because they believe they know better how things should run, which they clearly do not. Governmental spending always increases, because that spending is the means by which the federal government continually achieves more and more power over the economic system. But if they destroy the economic system, they destroy the very thing that makes their power possible. Why would they do such an incredibly foolish thing? Perhaps because God is driving them to it, in order to destroy them, just as God induces the beast to attack Babylon?
There is a statement making the rounds on the Internet right now from Steve Wynn, who is the head of a large casino conglomerate out of Vegas. In this statement, Wynn is lamenting the economic destruction being caused by Obama’s policies. He is, I believe, absolutely correct. But should we feel sorry for Wynn? This is a man who has become extremely wealthy by exploiting sin. I am not morally opposed to all forms of gambling. But Las Vegas is a cesspool of immorality and greed. It’s called “Sin City” for a reason. So I realized- do I feel sorry for Wynn? Should I?
I feel sorry for all the people who just work at regular jobs and take care of their families who are being hurt by this economic crisis. I feel sorry for men and women who got wealthy providing real value to customers and are now losing it all due to these terrible economic policies. But God is a God of justice, and He will always take care of His own, whatever the economic conditions. And as for the rest, rich or poor, large or small, this is a nation driven by greed, entertainment, immorality and selfishness. Europe is even worse. This is a culture that kills millions of babies every year because they are inconvenient, full of people who refuse to let any consequences stand in the way of their relentless pursuit of pleasure and power.
The saints in Revelation 19 rejoice at the fall of Babylon. They recognize it as God’s judgment on wickedness, and His deliverance of the saints who were persecuted by Babylon. Perhaps it is the case that we believers should look at the possibility of an economic collapse in the western world in the same light.
For whatever happens, God is sovereign, and is working His justice and salvation through all things that happen, including the current refusal of our political class to stop stealing and wasting other people’s money.