Revelation 18 and the fate of America
[Excerpted from Revelation 18 and the fate of America, pp. 341-347.]
Is America the Babylon mentioned in Revelation 18? Possibly. One thing seems certain, the Babylon in Revelation 18 and elsewhere in Revelation is not the historic Babylon of the Old Testament or of King Nebuchadnezzar’s era. By description, the Babylon of Revelation 18 is the epitome of a people or nation that has strayed from God and His foundational truths; rejected Him and have become prideful and arrogant, no longer needing God’s direction or input into their lives. This Babylon represents a people whose sins are so great they seem unforgiveable and insurmountable. They have become wealthy and have lived extravagantly and the rest of the world has depended on them for their own well being and prosperity.
The leaders of the United States, over many decades, have brought the country to the brink of destruction. “The only sure cure for many of the ills of the modern world which men are vainly trying to remove by means of social and economic antidotes is to be found in the faith in God and loyalty to the eternal verities of religion,” stated Warren G. Harding (1865-1923), 29th President of the United States. “The recognition of a personal God and of the individual accountability of men and women to him, for their conduct are the foundations of the highest patriotism and of those civic virtues which alone can make men and nations morally great. The human race has been getting away from its religious moorings. It needs a revival of the sincere conception of the personal relationship of God to man and man to God; a restoration of faith in the fundamentals of religion that are eternal. The world needs the assurance of faith in the Almighty, and the tranquility which comes alone of that faith. That faith in God which has made the ancient Hebrew nation great, is still needed to make nations great today.”
The story and history of America, in many ways, parallels that of ancient Israel. As long as Israel followed God and obeyed His laws, they prospered as a people and nation. When they chose to reject Him and follow after the dictates of their own hearts, the nation faltered and crumbled and often was overrun by their enemies.
Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. Deuteronomy 11:26-28
President Abraham Lincoln, in his speech on March 30, 1863, proclaiming a National Fast Day, spoke words that still ring true today. “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity,” he noted. “We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”
The Founders’ Wisdom and Insight. When it comes to overturning or changing a tyrannical government the people only have four choices: a military coup that throws out the current occupants of office; a people’s revolution that forces the despotic leaders out; vote them out or a revolution of prayer and fasting. The first two, while they can bring more immediate results, are not the American way and can result in bloodshed. The third way takes time and could allow those in office to bring about even more public harm before their removal. The last method, God’s preferred way, takes much patience, trust and faith in God to do what He desires to do (more about that in the next chapter).
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11
Daniel Webster (1782-1852), author, lawyer and patriotic senator from Massachusetts, in his remarks to the U.S. Senate, June 3, 1834, said, “God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it.” For over two centuries American patriots have done much to fight for and defend that precious love of freedom. The question is: Have Americans lost the will to fight for that which their forefathers were willing to spill their precious blood?
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government,” George Washington wrote for his first inaugural address on April 30, 1789, “are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
Two years prior to the Washington address, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adam’s wife, Abigail, on February 22, 1787 (Washington’s 55th birthday), wrote: “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.”
Although Jefferson believed wholeheartedly in constitutional law and constitutional government, he apparently also recognized the inherent weakness of man and his inability to stay the course of constitutional freedom. He anticipated that sometime in the future the people might need to rise up once again if the people they elected strayed from constitutional authority and the will of the people.
[A] wise and frugal government . . . shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801
“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion,” Jefferson wrote on November 13, 1787, to William S. Smith, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York. “The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. . . . And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” These were strong, but closely held beliefs of the one who authored America’s Declaration of Independence.
James Madison, known as the Father of the U.S. Constitution, said before the Virginia Ratifying Convention of June 16, 1788, that, “There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” A few months before, Madison penned these words in Federalist No. 10 on November 23, 1787. “[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability. James Madison, Federalist No. 62, February 27, 1788
John Hancock (1737-1793), the first governor of Massachusetts, whose bold signature was the first to grace the Declaration of Independence, said, “Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty [of] each individual. . . . Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”
General George Washington, after suffering a number of military defeats at the hands of the superior British forces in the first year of the Revolutionary War in 1777 and then enduring a bitter winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania with his meager force of 12,000, encouraged his men on May 2, 1778 with these words: “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
In the previous year, Washington had seen his raw recruit force of 25,000 men decimated by the British. Morale was low and his forces were weak and poorly prepared. Yet, Washington had the foresight and fortitude to urge his men forward for the noble, patriotic cause of freedom from oppression and tyranny.
Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), 40th President of the United States
In 1824, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in the blaspheme case of Updegraph v. the Commonwealth, the court offered this opinion, in part, of the role of Christianity in the well-being of the country.
No free government now exists in the world, unless where Christianity is acknowledged, and is the religion of the country. . . . Christianity is part of the common law of this State. It is not proclaimed by the commanding voice of any human superior, but expressed in the calm and mild accents of customary law. Its foundations are broad, and strong, and deep; they are laid in the authority, the interest, the affections of the people. Waiving all questions of hereafter, it is the purest system of morality, the firmest auxiliary, and only stable support of all human laws. . . .
While our own free Constitution secures liberty of conscience and freedom of religious worship to all, it is not necessary to maintain that any man should have the right publicly to vilify the religion of his neighbours and of the country. These two privileges are directly opposed.
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), the 28th President of the United States once offered this observation. “Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance.”