Steven M. Collins
The Fall Of Babylon
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IS BABYLON THE GREAT
ABOUT TO FALL,
USHERING IN A GLOBAL "BEAST" SYSTEM?
By Steven M. Collins
The 17th and 18th chapters of Revelation contain a prophecy about the fall of Babylon the Great in the latter days. Babylon the Great is identified in Revelation 18:3 as an alliance of the kings of the earth with the merchants of the earth. The kings of the earth are governmental / political leaders in the global public sector and the merchants of the earth are business / financial leaders of the global private sector. It is easy to identify this alliance in the modern world. This biblical prophecy also foretells that this global world system will collapse at some point in the latter days. This article examines the possibility that we are seeing this prophesied collapse unfold before our very eyes. Indeed, this article will propose a surprising, possible fulfillment of this prophecy which Christians have overlooked. If this fulfillment scenario is correct, we are much near the end of this age than any of us have realized.
Babylon the Great, as prophesied in the Bible, is the globalist financial / political system known as western capitalism. There is no other alternative. The merchants of the earth is a phrase which, though penned almost 2,000 years ago, aptly describes the global, multinational corporations now dominating world trade. Revelation 18 prophesied these latter-day merchants would have a global customer base (i.e. merchants of the earth). Revelation 17-18 predicted that multinational corporations, in league with the worlds political leaders, would come to dominate a global political / economic system in the latter days of our age. This prophecy has been literally fulfilled in our time.
The Apostle John lived in a low-tech era when he wrote this prophecy. John also penned prophetic words in Revelation 9 about global world wars at the end of our age in which he described visions of jet fighters, helicopters and tanks with difficulty given the low-tech language of his time: flying locusts with breastplates of iron and incredibly loud noises coming from their wings as well as armored horses with breastplates which issue fire out of their mouths (verses7-10, 17-19). Lets be consistent and realize that John was also describing the latter-day global economy and high-tech world of modern finance in Revelation 17-18 in the low-tech language of his day.
The world has been traumatized in recent weeks by wildly-gyrating markets in equities, currencies and commodities, a global credit crisis, collapses in the housing and auto markets, unprecedented Depression-era bailout plans, etc. Most accounts attribute the origins of this global crisis in financial markets to the collapse of the sub-prime lending market in the USA and the resultant devaluations of all structured investments based on the US mortgage market. Since Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae debt and mortgage-backed securities were owned by many nations, the problem quickly became a global one. Indeed, it is getting worse. The first link below relates that Taiwan wants to dump its holdings of Freddie and Fannie debt. If even allies dont want to hold federally-guaranteed US debt, it is a very ominous sign indeed. Entire nations are pleading with the IMF for financial rescues. The US Fed and Treasury are trying to bail out/rescue the US banking system, huge insurance companies (like AIG), provide short-term credit to commercial borrowers and even California for a time considered asking for billions from Uncle Sam to bail it out of its budgetary misery. One wonders how long global equity markets must plunge before there is a coordinated, global stock market shut-down.
Media reports focused overwhelmingly on two leaders trying to manage / manipulate world markets in a way to keep the entire debt-based system of global finance from going irreversibly over a cliff. Those persons were Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, and US Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson. Jointly, they quick-talked the US Congress into granting Sec. Paulson a $750,000,000,000 bailout fund, and warned that if Congress didnt approve the bailout bill, it would result in a global credit crisis and collapsing stock markets around the world. Congress did what Bernanke and Paulson demanded and what happened? A global credit crisis and collapsing world stock markets occurred anyway! As some observers have noted, this hasty action bailed out not the American nation or its taxpayers, but rather the Wall Street tycoons whose reckless financial innovations caused the problem! To put this in Revelation 18s context, Babylon the Greats merchants convinced a complicit White House and Congress (Babylon the Greats kings) to rescue the merchants of the earth from the consequences of their own actions while sticking innocent taxpayers with the bill.
Bernanke and Paulson are the dominant American faces of Babylon the Great, the financial system foretold in Revelation 17-18. Sec. Paulson (dubbed King Henry on a recent Newsweek magazine cover due to the king-like powers granted to him by the US Congress) epitomizes the kings of the earth (the political side of the world economic system) and Fed Chairman Bernanke epitomizes the merchants of the earth (the Federal Reserve Board is actually a private bank whose shares are owned by a select group of global banks). Revelation 18:3 accurately foretold all nations would belong to this end-time, global economic system, and that the political leaders would be so in bed with the economic/financial leaders that it uses the term fornication to describe their relationship. Indeed, it is hard to identify where the public sector leaves off and the private sector begins! Sec. Paulson, now representing the political side of the alliance, was formerly the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the primary beneficiaries of Paulsons and Bernankes actions in world markets. The Treasury official designated to manage the $750 billion bailout fund was also a former executive of Goldman Sachs. The private and public sectors are all but merged, just as Revelation 18 prophesied.
Readers send me a variety of internet links and some are cited in my blog commentaries. The second link below is more edgy and irreverent in tone than I usually cite, but I have included it for your information. If even a fraction of the scandalous, financial double-dealing and deceit alleged in this link is true, one can see how corrupt the modern financial system of Babylon the Great really is. Revelations prophecy foretold that this system would be corrupt. Revelation 17:3-5 states that Babylon the Greats system is full of names of blasphemy the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.
It has been reliably reported that Bernankes and Paulsons interventions staved off a global collapse of world financial markets in September, 2008 (remember this date for later!). However, their actions / interventions have been unprecedented and increasingly desperate. Will these efforts succeed in saving the modern global economic system known in the Bible as Babylon the Great or have they merely delayed a pending collapse? Revelation 17-18 prophesy that Babylon the Greats system will collapse during the latter days, but the Bible doesnt give a date for that event. However, given the severe paroxysms now occurring in the global financial markets, are we now witnessing the prophesied collapse of Babylon the Great? Certainly, the current global system could rescue itself and continue on for a longer period of time, but it is also possible that we may see the fulfillment of one of the climatic prophecies of the book of Revelation.
The global financial/economic system is named after Babylon the Great in the Bible because its financial institutions began in ancient Babylon. The beating heart of the modern financial system is the banking industry, which creates money out of thin air and then loans it into existence, charging interest to those who borrow the very money which previously didnt exist. Via the modern fractional reserve banking system, banks serve as money multipliers. Those wishing more documentation about how ancient Babylon invented the banking system can read my article What Kind of Captivity?, available at this website. The ancient Babylonian banking/financial system was prophesied to become so Great at the end of this age that it would dominate all nations (Rev. 18:3). This has also literally come to pass in our modern world.
I used to think that Babylon the Greats system would collapse when Jesus Christ returned; however, I now see that a literal application of Bible prophecy allows for an earlier fulfillment. Revelation 17:3, 9-18 indicate that a latter-day beast power with seven heads and ten horns will emerge and turn wrathfully against Babylon the Greats system--burning it with fire (Rev. 17:16). This has to happen prior to the return of Jesus Christ because after the beast power overthrows Babylon the Great, it later makes war against the Lamb (Jesus Christ) at his return and is, itself, overcome by the Lambs army (described in greater detail in Revelation 19:11-21).
After Revelation 17 prophesies that Babylon the Greats global system will unravel in the latter days, it also foretells that it will be replaced by a new global, beast system. The next chapter, Revelation 18, describes in detail how Babylon the Greats system will collapse. Lets examine Revelation 18s prophecy about the collapse of Babylon the Greats by plugging modern events and high-tech, financial realities into this prophecy.
Before beginning, I will acknowledge that I first heard elements of the scenario I will now describe from someone who broached initial speculation about it 6-7 years ago. I think he was a Messianic rabbi, and I wish I could offer due credit to him, but I can no longer recall his name as we lost contact years ago. Given that the modern financial system is, as of this writing, teetering on the precipice of collapse, this scenario can be fleshed out and is worthy of consideration.
Revelation 18:2 proclaims Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen. It is intriguing that the phrase is fallen is stated twice. The fall of Babylons global system in the latter days will begin with two great falls or collapses. Babylon the Greats system dominates world trade (Rev. 18:11-19), and on September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were hit by airplanes in an epic terrorist attack. These two behemoth towers, the symbols of global world capitalism, collapsed live on TV, shocking all the world. Revelation 18:10, 17 & 19 add that this desolation will occur in one hour. The Twin Towers did, indeed collapse within one hour of each other. The number seven is often significant in biblical contexts. The current global crisis in stock, commodity and credit markets was unleashed upon the world in September, 2008, seven years after the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11/01.
Many media articles have noted the lavish, self-indulgent lifestyles of the CEOs and top executives of global multinational corporations and the politicians who wallow in the campaign contributions given to them by the agents of the global corporations. Revelation 18:3 & 9 prophesy that the merchants of the earth will be waxed rich though the abundance of [the systems] delicacies and that the kings of the earth lived deliciously off this system. Many articles have documented a serious wealth disparity as greedy Wall Street CEOs sucked mega-millions for themselves out of the very companies they destroyed with reckless financial practices. They even shamelessly gave themselves golden parachutes worth more millions from failed companies even as stockholders and investors lost almost everything. Recent media stories focused on the grilling given by Congress to the CEO of Lehman Brothers whose executives gave themselves millions in bonuses as their company went bankrupt. AIG, an insurance company receiving approximately $85 billion in a bail-out, lavished a half-million on insiders at a posh resort even as they pleaded poverty to the government. Many nations have been stuck with unmarketable and devalued securities which they bought from Wall Streets merchants. In foreign nations and even on Main Street in the USA, palpable fury is growing toward the self-indulgent leadership of Babylon the Greats corporate and political system.
Revelation 18:8 says these two great falls will be linked to one day, and something vital will be utterly burnt with fire. Can we link one single day to the two collapses foretold in Revelation 18:2? Yes! The phrase 9/11 has been embedded in the minds of everyone on earth as the one day when the Twin Towers, symbols of Babylon the Greats global financial/commercial system, experienced two great falls as they collapsed within one hour while being utterly burnt with fire. Was this all coincidental or were the events of 9/11 the literal fulfillment of Revelation 18s prophecy?
Revelation 18:17-19 prophesy that these catastrophic two falls must occur in a seaport city, and New York City is a seaport city as well as a global commercial center. Revelation 18:17-18 refers to the anguish as the smoke of her burning could be seen by shipmasters in merchant ships in the harbor of the burning city. If you recall photos of the massive clouds of dust which enveloped all surrounding buildings in the immediate aftermath of the two collapses of the Twin Towers, it actually appeared that the entire city was enveloped in smoke when viewed from vessels off Manhattan. This viewpoint from sea-level is the very one described by John in Revelation 18.
Revelation 18:12-14 prophesy that Babylon the Greats global trading system involves the merchandising of all manner of goods and services. It mentions finished goods, commodities, precious metals and chariots and slaves and the souls of men. Consider these low-tech words in a high-tech application. Chariots would mean cars, trucks, SUVs, etc. Slaves and souls of men can mean the prostitution trade, but it has a much more salient application in our high-tech era. Consider the term slaves as applied to the millions of modern debt-slaves in Babylon the Greats debt system.
In recent years, those who took out mortgages, car loans, student loans, and credit card loans had these debts repackaged into collateralized (or securitized) investment vehicles by greedy Wall Street brokers eager to gain fat commissions by selling these now obviously-risky instruments. Officials in lax regulatory agencies and ratings agencies facilitated this process. Everyone who owed these debts had their souls traded and re-traded to faceless investors in many nations. Millions of peoples future income-streams were bought and sold (as debt-slaves) on high-tech Wall Street markets and John likened this to the slave trade that he could describe in the vocabulary of his time. An incredible array of investments, goods, services and commodities were literally bought and sold (i.e. traded) on Wall Street, the COMEX or in the World Trade Center of New York City, the seaport city where the two great falls occurred within one hour on one singular day in history. What more is needed to fulfill this prophecy?
Interestingly, Revelation 18:23 foretold that Babylon the Greats insiders would deceive all nations via sorceries. The Greek word translated sorceries is pharmakeia, from which we derive the word pharmaceuticals or pharmacy. The Greek word literally means enchantment with drugs (Youngs Analytical Concordance to the Bible, see sorcerer, p. 916, subhead 8). This prophecy can mean actual drug addiction among the Wall Street Whiz Kids who invented these deceitful investment options, but there is another high-tech possibility. It is well-known that Big Pharma is one of the largest industry groups on Wall Street and one of the largest givers of campaign contributions to the kings of the earth (the elected officials of the USA) who then return the favor by passing laws benefiting Big Pharma (the Medicare Part D program, denying Medicare the right to buy drugs in bulk at discount prices, denying the right of the public to discharge outstanding medical bills in bankruptcy procedures, etc.). Big Pharma is, according to some articles Ive read, one of the largest (if not the largest) purchaser of advertising time on American TV. Big Pharma is one of the largest industry groups in the modern capitalistic system of Babylon the Great, but Big Oil, Big Auto, Big Defense Contractors, Big Etc. all benefit copiously from a complicit Congress which dispenses official favors to the industry groups which give huge campaign contributions to members of Congress. All of this affirms the accuracy of Revelation 18s prophecy that the political and corporate leaders at the end of our age will be in bed with each other to mutually enrich themselves. The extent to which Wall Street and the US Government have merged via the recent mega-bailouts is depicted well in the following political cartoon by Jack Ohman of the Oregonian, which I saw reprinted in the October 18, 2008 issue of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
by Jack Ohman, The Oregonian
Wednesday October 15, 2008, 5:00 AM
Revelation 18 prophesies that a specific city will be the hub of Babylon the Greats system in the latter days. It will be a global corporate/financial/commercial hub, a seaport city and the site of two great falls or collapses in the latter days. Revelation 17:18 also reveals this great city will reign over the kings of the earth. This city can only be New York City. It is the home for Wall Streets large banks and investment banks, the New York Stock Exchange, the New York Federal Reserve District, the COMEX, the United Nations and its many global agencies, various media and corporate headquarters, etc. While such cities as London and Zurich are also financial hubs, no Swiss city is a seaport and only New York has experienced the two great, prophesied falls amidst fire and smoke in the latter days. Only New York City hosts the United Nations headquarters, which figuratively rules over all nations as the forum where all nations assemble.
Revelation 18 also foretells what will occur in the aftermath of the two great falls within Babylon the Greats system. Verse 11 says the global merchants will weep and mourn because no man buys their merchandise anymore. A global credit crisis, collapsing equity markets, corporate bankruptcies and a global recession (or depression) would fulfill this prophecy about a global drop in retail sales which Revelation 18:11 prophesies will follow in the aftermath of the two great falls in one hour amidst fire and smoke in a seaport city that is also a banking / financial/ commercial hub. This prophesied catastrophe will be linked to one day. September 11, 2001 could be that prophesied one day, which the world remembers via the euphemism: 9/11.
With the unprecedented failures, mergers and bailouts of iconic American (and European) banks and financial institutions that have recently occurred, it is possible that the modern financial system will collapse and be replaced by a new world economic system. We do not yet know this for sure. We will have to wait and see it if occurs in the near future or in a later year. The current global system will collapse in the latter days when Gods timetable calls for this event to occur. However, the growing fractures in the global economic system and the desperate, unprecedented measures being taken to salvage it argue that we should consider that the fall of our modern economic system may be imminent. If this occurs, what will replace it?
Revelation 17:1-9 states that Babylon the Greats system will ride a group of nations metaphorically called a beast with seven mountains and ten horns. The western worlds economic decisions have historically been dominated by the Group of Seven nations. These could easily be the seven mountains (mountains being a symbol of large nations in biblical prophecies) of this prophecy. Verse 16 prophesies that at some point in the latter days, the seven heads will expand or morph into a larger group of ten horns which will hate the whore...make her desolate and burn her with fire. The beast which has been dominated and ridden by the Great Whore of Babylon the Great will overthrow Babylon the Greats system and destroy it. The revolt will be led by ten horns, and verse 12 prophesies that these ten world nations (or leaders) will give their allegiance to a new global beast system which will rule for only a short time on the world stage (one hour). The new beast system will itself be destroyed when it later opposes the heavenly armies of Jesus Christ who comes a few years after the beast power becomes ascendant (verse 12-14). Is a new global beast system about to replace the global system of Babylon the Great as a result of the convulsions now threatening to tear apart the worlds current financial system?
The US Federal Reserve Board is creating so many dollars out of thin air that it could eventually end the US dollars role as the worlds reserve currency. The USA is now implementing banana republic financial measures, creating immense stresses in the global economy. President Bush was recently visited by French President Sarkozy and EU President Barosso at Camp David, after which President Bush announced a new global economic conference will be held after the US elections. I think President Bush was told to make the statement he made or else other world nations would make changes to the economic system without American input. Proverbs 22:7 states an immutable financial law: borrowers are servants to their lenders. The obscenely indebted USA is the servant to the global lenders. The worlds lenders could impose new terms on their reckless borrower, the USA.
Some world leaders are openly calling for a new global economic system to replace the current one. The fourth link below (from Reuters) reports that Communist Chinas official press states that The United States has plundered global wealth by exploiting the dollars dominance, and the world urgently needs other currencies to take its place. One Chinese leader said all trade between Europe and Asia should be settled in euros, pounds, yen and yuan. The article also mentions that an economic summit will soon convene in Beijing with only European and Asian nations invited (the exclusion of the USA speaks volumes).
Some pundits think the imminent economic summit could result in a new Bretton Woods agreement which will rearrange current global economic realities. Many possibilities exist. A new global reserve currency might be created, based on a basket of currencies, on gold or an index of commodities. International alliances might be rearranged, at least temporarily, as nations seek to impose some stability on the currently destabilizing global financial system. Revelation 13:16-17 prophesies the new beast system which replaces Babylon the Greats system will receive allegiance from all nations and will impose a new world economic order binding on global financial transactions. It is even possible that each nation will retain a domestic currency, but all international transactions will have to be conducted via a new monetary system binding on all nations. The form of this new beast system is not yet known, but Revelation 17 states that it will replace the current global system of Babylon the Great.
Christians have long expected that the final beast system will be the most evil, oppressive, wicked system in world history. This may eventually occur, but the opposite may initially occur. The worlds populations, oppressed by the debts and financial chaos of Babylon the Great, might hail the arrival of a more equitable economic system implemented by the new beast system. Christians have seen so many TV documentaries about the Nazis and Hitler that we are programmed into thinking the beast system will be even worse than Hitler and the Nazis. Again, that may occur, but I think biblical prophecies indicate something else is more likely.
It is an unfortunate happenstance that the word beast is so close to the word bestial, which has a wicked connotation. We automatically assume the worst because of this similarity. However, the beginnings of the beast system may be a great improvement over the previous system of Babylon the Great. The Gog-Magog nations of Russia, China, Iran, etc. may cooperate with European / western nations in the establishment of this new global system. Indeed, it may usher in a pseudo-millennium where all nations subscribe to a new economic / political system which promotes and/or promises world peace and prosperity. Revelation 19:19-20 prophesies the worlds nations will fight Jesus Christ and his heavenly armies to defend the beast system so vast numbers of people will think the beasts rule is just fine.
Revelation 17:9-16 prophesies that a beast system with seven head and ten horns will overthrow the global world system of Babylon the Great. Revelation 13:1-3 prophesies this same beast with seven heads and ten horns will emerge much to the worlds surprise, and that one of its seven heads will be healed of a deadly wound. If the seven mountains are the G-7 nations, one of these nations has to be the one which experiences the deadly wound. The USA is one of the G-7 nations. Current world events should compel us to consider that the deadly wound referred to by the Apostle John in Revelation 13:3 is the same great wound John saw inflicted on one of Babylon the Greats hub cities in Revelation 18the two great falls within one hour amidst fire and smoke on one day in a seaport city which is also a commercial / trading hub. If the G-7 nations are, indeed, the seven mountains of Revelations prophecy, we will have to await the final fall of Babylon the Greats system to learn the identity of the ten horns responsible for her overthrow.
I Thessalonians 5:2-3 warn that a deceptive time of global peace and safety will immediately precede an outbreak of sudden destruction at the very end of this age. I believe this sudden destruction will be the World War prophesied in Ezekiel 38 which will occur at the very climax of this age. Ezekiel 38 prophesies that a climactic attack by Russia, China, Iran, etc. will surprise the targeted nations of the West when it occurs so the western world will apparently be lulled into thinking that the Russian-led nations are not about to attack anyone. Even Christians are prophesied to be susceptible to the siren song of the beasts system. Matthew 24:24 warns that the deceptions of the latter days will be so powerful and pervasive that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. The beast system cant be persecuting and martyring Christians in Hitlerian fashion if even large numbers of Christians will be attracted to the new global beast system. The new global system may ooze tolerance and diversity.
These prophecies argue that the leader of the final beast system will not enter the world scene as some monstrous ogre who is even worse than Adolph Hitler. Far from it! Revelation 12:9 warns that Satan will succeed in deceiving the entire world in the latter days (except for those very elect spoken of in Matthew 24:24). II Corinthians 11:13-15 warns that Satan can dupe people into thinking he is an angel of light and his false human servants can appear in a most appealing guise. The traumas of the Nazi-era manifested Satans wicked, maniacal form, and it created a perfect foil for the final deceptive system which Satan intends to create on earth to oppose Jesus Christ at his return. Biblical prophecies indicate that the final world system, though energized by Satan himself (II Thessalonians 2:9-11), will have Satan manifesting himself and his human underlings as deliverers and messengers of light. So many Christians will fall for it that only the very elect will see through the deceptions. Biblical prophesies argue that the global leader of the final beast system is likely to be a popular, charismatic world figure who will rally support among all nations.
The third link below, from Fox News, reports that Sen. Joe Biden, Barack Obamas running mate for the US presidency, issued a controversial statement wherein he guaranteed that within six months of an Obama election, there would be an international crisis, a generated crisis (emphasis added) which will lead the nation in "a new direction." The last link below (from the popular Glenn Beck program), states Biden added that Obama will need to make "tough and possibly unpopular decisions" and that Obama will need his followers support even if it it is not apparent that were right. Did Sen. Biden "let the cat out of the bag" that the insider elites already know that major global changes will be implemented soon after the new US president is inaugurated? Biden apparently regretted his words because the link adds he later said "I probably shouldn't have said all of this because it has dawned on me the press is here."
Bidens comments do argue that he already is privy to an agenda that will be implemented in the first six months of a new presidency that Americans will not like. Could it be the replacement of the dollar with a new Amero currency as part of a new global economic system, or a forced devaluation of the US dollar in a new Bretton Woods agreement? Perhaps the imposition of a North American Union on the USA, Canada and Mexico (like the EU in Europe) which will not be subject to the limitations of the US Constitution? On the other hand, Sen. John McCain may be elected as the new US President and specific events will unfold differently than expected by Sen. Biden. Well have to wait and see. This article makes no prediction re: the outcome of the US Presidential race, but I do assert this immutable truth: biblical prophecies will come to pass regardless of the outcome in the US presidential election.
Watch world events in light of biblical prophecies! If the modern economic system of Babylon the Great falls and is replaced with a new global economic/political system, we are almost certainly entering the end game of the end-time prophecies. However, Christians should not be dismayed or lose heart. Christians have believed that the latter day prophecies would be fulfilled some day, so we should not be surprised when it actually happens! Indeed, it should increase our faith! Revelation 11:1-14 also prophesies that two great prophets of God, called the Two Witnesses, will conduct a three and one-half year ministry during which they will at some point be endowed with unprecedented Divine powers delegated to them by the Creator Himself. You can read a detailed examination of their ministry in the article entitled The Two Witnesses, available for free at this website.
The Two Witnesses are martyred at the end of their ministry, but are resurrected three and half days after their martyrdom. Their deaths will trigger a great holiday on earth (Revelation 11:12), but the final woe of the age follows their resurrection (verse 14). I believe Ezekiel 38, Jeremiah 30 and Zechariah 14 describe that final woe which will befall the earth. That final woe will be a time of unprecedented danger which threatens the destruction of the human race itself. That is the point when Jesus Christ returns to save humanity from itself, overthrow the beast power and establish a 1,000 year reign of real peace and prosperity on the earth (Matthew 24:21-22, Revelation 19:11-21, 20:1-5, Micah 4:1-7).
Thy Kingdom Come!