In Part One we discussed the unprecedented move of the UN not only in castigating the Catholic Church for hiding its pedophile priests, but going beyond that and criticizing their doctrines on homosexuality, abortion, celibacy and birth control. It ended with the question, Does the UN have any teeth?
Part Two pointed out 60 occasions on which the UN, contrary to the general opinion that they do nothing but talk, has in fact shown its teeth; and how they seem to be preparing to have an even stronger military arm. But will the UN actually take the radical step of using military might to end organized religion?
The Bible book of Revelation warned that a beast with seven heads and ten horns – and sharp teeth - would attack and destroy a prostitute named Babylon the Great. Revelation is not easy; it is presented “in signs,” as it says at the beginning. Over the centuries, Bible students have speculated about the signs, the meaning of the seven-headed beast, and the identity of the prostitute.
Most agree that the beast of Revelation 17:8-12 is some type of governmental organization… The prophecy says the seven heads are ‘kings of the earth.’ Some of those kings, at the time the prophecy was written, had ‘not yet received a kingdom.’ (Revelation 17:12)
This might have been a head-scratcher for Christians when Rome ruled the world. But down through the millennia Rome yielded rulership to kingdoms no one had ever heard of, names like The Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, France, Spain, and England. More recently the plethora of uprisings, coups, juntas, rebellions, and overthrows that have splintered the longer-established ‘kings’ over the past century have rendered the political landscape unrecognizable: East Timor? South Sudan? An abundance of ‘kings who had not yet received a kingdom’ when the prisoner John received the Revelation.
Verses 8 and 11 of chapter 17 describe an eighth ‘king’ who rises from a merger of the seven heads of the beast. This king is said to come into existence, then go out of existence, then come back again. Many see in that description a parallel to the League of Nations that was formed after WWI, went away during WWII, then returned as the United Nations.
What about the prostitute called Babylon the Great? Because it is such a vivid picture, opinions have been loud and varied as to her identity. Guesses have ranged from New York City to Las Vegas, Islam to Monsanto. Protestant commentators typically see the prostitute as representing the Vatican, the papacy, or the Church as a whole. The Catholic Church on the other hand points their finger at Jerusalem. While this is closer to correct than Las Vegas or Monsanto, it has always struck me as the pot calling the kettle black.
Closer to correct because the original Babylon was not famous for her stock market, like New York City, nor her gambling, like Las Vegas. Babylon’s claim to fame was her myriad idol-worshipping religions.
Protestants paint Catholicism as the prostitute because of the Church’s emphasis on incense, robes, images, candles, tradition, pomp and ceremony. But Protestants have images, too. And, Catholic and Protestant alike, they all teach the same God-dishonoring doctrines, most of which they make up to either please or scare their audience. Virtually all nominally Christian churches follow the prostitute’s theme song, “The customer is always right. As long as he pays, I’ll be anything he wants me to be.”
Thus, in WWII Germany, Lutheran as well as Catholic churches offered up prayers for the success of Hitler’s storm troopers and preached their young men into German uniforms. At the same time, Catholic and protestant churches in America were doing the government’s bidding by telling their parishioners God wanted them to die trying to kill ‘Huns and Japs.’
In the Soviet Union during the Cold War, while the general stance of communism was the eradication of all religion, The Catholic World of February 1971 reported:
“The Orthodox Church of Rumania and the Communist government have a de facto marriage of mutual interest which fosters nationalistic aims of Rumanians. It sometimes startles outside visitors to see President Nicolae Ceausescu and Patriarch Justinian present together to greet foreigners.”
Similar compromises have happened in China, where the communist party is given a say in the appointment of Catholic bishops.
In the 1960s, most churches stopped condemning fornication. 20 years ago Protestant churches began to admit homosexual and women ministers, ignoring what the Bible teaches on those subjects. (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 2:11) The Catholic Church claims their priests are holier because of celibacy, again ignoring the Bible on that subject. (1 Timothy 3:2; 4:1-3) Protestant churches are now lining up to back same-sex marriage. While Catholic doctrine still condemns gay marriage, abortion, contraception, and married priests, over half of their worshippers disagree. And a few weeks ago Pope Francis stated in an interview that, while marriage should remain one-man-one-woman, he sees nothing wrong with changing church teachings about homosexuality; anything to keep his customers satisfied.
Is the biblical prostitute limited to hypocritical Christians? Not at all. By some estimates, Islam rakes in over $50 billion a year by offering their faithful financial supporters the sexual favors of 72 virgins at death. And Buddhism claims their instruction will elevate your consciousness and help you ‘find yourself,’ but they charge hefty fees for their classes. That’s real gold covering those statues of the Buddha.
Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, or supposed Christian, nearly all the world’s belief systems stem back to what they taught in the original Babylon:
- God is a mystery
- He may or may not have three heads
- When you die you’re not really dead
- If you’re good in this life you’ll go to a better place afterward
- If you’re bad you’ll go to hell
- Give your hard-earned money to the church or bad things will happen to you…
What the Bible actually says is:
- God is not a mystery, he wants you to get to know him
- The dead are asleep
- Their future hope is to be remembered and resurrected
- There is no fiery hell
- God doesn’t need your money. He’d like you to spend less time earning it and more time getting to know Him…
There is a strong warning in Revelation, though: God HATES Babylon (even more than I do!) and soon will use the UN to destroy her.
So… suppose you’ve seen the hypocrisy and left your church. Have you obeyed the edict to ‘Get out of her'? Not necessarily.
Paul asked, ‘What share does a believer have with an unbeliever?’ (2 Corinthians 6:15) Babylon isn’t just worshipping images and passing the collection plate. She’s also Christmas and Easter, St. Patrick and St. Valentine, Ouija boards and Halloween, toasting someone’s luck or birth day, karate and feng shui, and many customs of weddings and funerals.
Even if you completely dropped out and moved to a desert island, you could still be guilty of not obeying the command to ‘get out of her.’ In God’s eyes, if you are not actively proclaiming the faults of Babylon the Great, you are giving the prostitute your tacit support. We know this because the warning in Revelation 18:4 says ‘Get out of her my people…’ That warning appears half a dozen times in the Bible, and each time it is clearly not a call to the world’s population, but to those called ‘my people.’ Typical is the one at Jeremiah 51:45. “My people, go ye out of the midst of her, save yourselves every man from the fierce anger of Jehovah." Clearly, the destructive ‘fierce anger of Jehovah’ is being expressed toward Babylon, and exempts those called ‘my people.’
Being separate is not enough. Babylon’s passing will be mourned (Revelation 18:9 and 11) by the ‘kings’ that did her in. Those kings no doubt had been Catholics, protestants, or some other religion. But having abandoned their own religious beliefs is not sufficient to save them. Revelation 19:18 shows that they will be next on God’s menu.
To be notified when my next column is published, click on the ‘Subscribe’ button at the top of the page.
To read all my previous columns, click here.
To read a free sample of my novel about the apostle Paul’s shipwreck, The Minotaur Medallion, click here.
Leave a comment, friend me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter, or just email me at email@example.com.