by Jack Kinsella
Pretty much every time I publish a column in which I note that the Bible is silent insofar as any mention of a fifth, overarching superpower resembling America, I get a flood of emails telling me where I went wrong.
Invariably, they identify the entity called Mystery Babylon, Mother of Harlots as the United States of America. One reader emailed yesterday, saying;
"O come on!! America is talked about in the Bible, New York city gets nuked (Revelation 17 &18). How else did you think the anti-christ takes over the world economy,w/ his new system..the mark of the beast to buy & sell.
One key to this (there are many) is Rev: 18 verse 11 &12. The seventh and eighth have not risen to power but in Revelation 13 it explains a little about them and the mark of the beast. Please open your eyes it's all so plain to see!"
The problem here is one of wishful thinking. I would very much like to find evidence of America in the Scriptures for the last days, since I am in America and these ARE the last days. If America plays no role in the Tribulation, and we can see the Tribulation just over the horizon, then logic dictates something happens to America before it begins.
Since, on this side of the Tribulation, America is the world's undisputed superpower, making it 'go away' (as the Bible indicates that it must) suggests that 'somethng' is ALSO sitting just over the horizon, somewhere before the kickoff to the Tribulation Period. And it must be pretty bad.
For that reason, I wish my correspondent was right; I wish it was, 'all so plain to see' America in the end times scenario.
What IS plain to see is that America ISN'T Babylon the Great.
Insofar as Mystery Babylon is concerned, the Scriptures identify it as Rome. An examination of relevant passages lend themselves to no other defensible conclusion:
"And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. " (Revelation 17:7)
That is the political 'beast' first described by the Prophet Daniel and identified in Daniel 9:26 as the 'prince of the [Roman] people' who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.
Political Rome collapsed in the 5th century, but its political influence remained, carried on through the papal church headquartered in Rome. That isn't 'anti-Catholic bashing' it is secular history.
During the height of its power, no European king could take his throne without Papal approval. Those who dared defy the Pope's power faced the Pope's armies.
The power of the papacy waned, but continued to directly influence European politics until the mid-part of the 20th century, when that power began to shift away from religious Rome and back toward the political center, codified by the 1957 treaty of Rome.
As a continuous power, one could argue that Rome was, then wasn't, yet is.
But one could NOT argue credibly that Rome's influence ever ceased to be felt throughout the history of the Church Age.
"The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."
The modern city of Rome is famed throughout the world as the 'City on the Seven Hills'.
Of 'Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and the abominations of the earth', the revealing angel tells us this:
"And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." (Revelation 17:7-10)
Speaking of the antichrist, he is identified with Rome in the next verse as,
"And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."
Speaking of the Mother of Harlots situated on 'seven mountains' the angel says;
"the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." (Revelation 17:18)
In John's day, and in the centuries that have passed since, no other city could have been said to have reigned over the kings of the earth EXCEPT Rome.
Revelation Chapter 13 makes it clear that the government of the antichrist is both political, and religious. There are two beasts of Revelation 13 -- the first is the political beast, the one we call the antichrist, who appears in 13:1 and a second beast, called the False Prophet, who makes his appearance in verse 11.
The Babylon depicted in Revelation 17 is the religious system of antichrist, which is headquartered on the 'city on the seven mountains' The Babylon of Revelation 18 encompasses both the religious and political systems, as embodied by the literal city.
Revelation 18:3 refers to the religious Rome that existed between the fall of the Roman Empire and the mid 20th century. That is a reference to the religious, rather than secular, is confirmed by the next verse, which says, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (4)
If this is a reference to America, or any political entity, what sense does THAT make? How does one 'come out of America'? Move? Where? The Bible doesn't say, so why bring it up?
Because one CAN 'come out' of a religion, and since God frames it by saying, "that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues," the context makes it clear He is referring to a religious system, not a political city.
Those who equate Babylon to America point to Revelation 18:9;
"And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning," arguing this must be New York City because "all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!"
It MUST be New York City, because it is a 'great city' whose burning can be witnessed from sea, they argue. It MUST be America because America is the great whore who produces most of the porn, consumes most of the cocaine, and is the richest country the world has ever known.
America has existed 226 years. It has been a superpower for 45 years and the world's premiere superpower for 15 years. Rome's power has continued to influence global politics and religion without interruption for the last two thousand years.
In additon, Mystery Babylon is called a 'mystery' to denote the spiritual nature of the political system. It is a reincarnation of the Babylonish counterfeit system of Nimrod, Semiramus and Tammuz -- essentially a goddess cult with a father god figure and a child god figure. America acknowledges only a generic 'God'.
The city 'Babylon' that is destroyed in Revelation 18 gives another important proof that Babylon can't be America.
The Roman coliseums were filled with captives from the known world fighting as gladiators. When the gladiator games ended, then the slaughter of the Christians would begin. The Apostle Paul was martyred in Rome.
"And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." (18:24)
One can argue America is no less blood-soaked, but one can hardly characterize America's 'victims' as 'prophets' or 'saints'. (Mostly they were Indians, Mexicans and African blacks taken as slaves)
The Bible says there are four spheres of world power in the last days. Gog-Magog, the revived Roman Empire of antichrist, the Kings of the East and the Kings of the South. Since there is no reference to America, one person's guess is as good as another's as to where she might have gone.
Rome played a central role in the history of civilization from John's day until this very moment. It is about twelve miles from Rome to the coast of the Meditterranean Sea.
Occam's razor is a logical principle attributed to the mediaeval philosopher William of Occam (or Ockham). His principle of logic states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed.
Put more simply, Occam's Razor dictates the most obvious answer to a given question is usually the correct one. America doesn't sit on seven hills. It hasn't exerted continuous global influence throughout Church history.
And America isn't drunken with the blood of the martyrs. One can't say the same about Rome in either its secular political or religious incarnations.
I wish it WERE so simple.