As mentioned in the previous chapter on apocalyptic writings, there is a stream of thought which began to emerge in my thinking early on, probably during the 1980’s. While it came out of apocalyptic writings and study, it does not deal as much with end-of-the-world scenarios, as it does with the makeup of present-day society. And that stream has to do with prophecies about Babylon.
In the biblical book of Revelation there are very strong images of Babylon, and very strong words against her, specifically in chapters 17 and 18. In its own day, to its intended audience, as I outlined previously, this message about Babylon would clearly have been heard as a reference to Rome. Rome was the oppressing city. Rome was the imperial power which kept all other forces under an iron fist. It was the controlling force in all of Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. Rome’s aspirations reached to the entire world, or at least the entire known world of the time. They wanted control, and would stop at nothing to gain this control.
Rome was the oppressor. Cries for justice needed to be voiced against this authoritarian controlling force. But those voices could not overtly name “Rome” as the oppressor, out of fear for their own lives and the safety of those around them. They needed to camouflage the message in ways their audience could understand, but that could not be directly linked as a pronouncement of judgement against Rome. So “Rome”, for the primary audience of Revelation, becomes “Babylon.”
“Babylon” harkens back to the Old Testament and the story of the tower of Babel, told in Genesis 11.1-9. At Babel, people decided to consolidate their power-hold on society by building a tower whose top reached the heavens. Yahweh (God) could see that once they accomplished that, “. . . this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them” (Genesis 11.6). So, “. . . from there Yahweh scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” (11.9). God opposes humans consolidating power into one central authority.
This is the message John the revelator was conveying to his first-century Palestinian audience, believers who were being oppressed by the central power of Rome. While Christian churches of the first-century were the primary recipients of his message, I believe that these words can also contain meaning for us today. What contemporary message can we gain from this cryptic, ancient writing? I offer several suggestions.
For one, the language of Revelation 18 carries a strong set of words having to do with commerce. Buying and selling, making of fine goods, transporting of goods, food, spices and cloth, jewelry, precious metals are all mentioned. So commercial, corporate enterprises are the object of these judgements.
Then, anyone associated with this commercial activity is implicated as well. Ruling authorities, merchants, shipmasters, seafaring men, sailors, craftsmen, artists — all are mentioned. In other words, anyone who has benefitted monetarily from the buying and selling, the transportation, and the manufacturing of goods — including the artistic endeavors of prosperous societies, ruling powers, taxation authorities — all are under judgement.
Who does this speak to in today’s world? Who does this sound like?
Somewhere along the timeline of my life, probably around the late nineties, I ran across the label, “Bilderbergers.” This secret society was formed in the aftermath of World War II. The name comes from the resort Hotel de Bilderberg in the Netherlands, where the first meeting of this group took place. At least yearly, an exclusive list of powerful and elite are invited to these meetings. Around 120 to 140 attend, chosen from European royalty, the world’s top financial and business leaders, and government officials. At these meetings, world economics are discussed and solutions debated. All of this is unofficial, but given the powerful nature of those attending, direction for western economies emerges and finds its way into governmental policies.
While the Bilderberger group is oriented toward Europe, many prominent and powerful Americans have participated over the years. David Rockefeller of the U.S. has been one of the primary organizers of these highly secretive meetings. But there are other equally sinister and secretive groups which are oriented more to North American interests. The Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations are two of these. There is much overlap of membership in all three of these groups, as well as other secret societies.
Basically what this consists of, in my eyes, is the ruling elite — the financially powerful — who are trying to gain financial control over the entire world, including heads of major international corporations, powerful political leaders, and owners of the major media outlets. Combining old money of the royals with the “new” money of corporate executives, they hold all the cards. They influence, if not outrightly control, who will be leading the western economies and governments. They control society through manipulation of money as well as the media. They inject fear into populaces for the purpose of increased control.
No accountability exists for their actions. International in scope, they are not answerable to any one government; they supersede nations. And it is not purely money that is the goal. The members of these secret societies are so wealthy that money means almost nothing to them. They are after power and control. Some of them feel they are destined to rule in this way. It is their God-given role to be in power over the world; this is not questioned. They don’t actually care about individuals in the various nations over which they hold sway. Populaces are there only for their own manipulation and to do their bidding.
World-wide financial institutions such as the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the World Bank, G-8 and G-20 meetings, are instruments by which the ruling elite seek to consolidate their power. When weaker economies fail, they extend credit, but only at the severe price of increased control of the resources and power structures of these countries. We all noticed the consolidation of banks and other institutions in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse, another move to strengthen their hold on power.
I see these ruling elite as building once again the tower of Babel, in an all out effort to control the world. The tower in this case may be somewhat figurative, compared to the physical, ancient ziggurat built in Babel. But figurative though it may be, it is every bit as dangerous as the tower of old. Probably more so.
If my view of these matters carries any element of truth, these ruling elite are setting up a power structure at odds with what the Creator of this universe desires. From the point-of-view of heaven, this contemporary tower of Babel cannot and will not be allowed to continue. At some point, the Divine will certainly reach down and thwart all efforts at control over peoples’ and nations’ destinies.
It is with great irony that I watch U.S. politics. The party which proclaims the greatest connection to religious faith is also the party which walks most closely in step with Babylon, the ruling elite. Decreased taxation for the rich, decreased regulation of the exploitation of this planet’s resources, decreased “welfare” programs — all go hand-in-hand with the desires of the ruling elite. Mavericks who stand up against their designs are either eliminated outright, or are effectively throttled to the point that they are no longer able to hinder the plans of the elite.
I do have hope, however! I recently read a book called Unplugging the Patriarchy, which outlines in allegorical form a spiritual battle being waged between emissaries from heaven and the earthly powers-that-be. Lucia René and her cohorts worked at destroying the rings of power which have been wielded by the ruling elite for decades, if not centuries. I would like to think that the financial collapse of 2008 was the beginning of the end for those who seek to lord it over us for their own gain.
We shall see. I think that this year, 2012, will be a telling time when it comes to the power structures of Babylon and how the future of this planet will unfold.