The Fall of "Babylon"
The definition of "Babylon" in the dictionary is: "1. An ancient city on the Euphrates River: capital of Babylonia and later of the Chaldean empire. 2. Any city regarded as a place of excessive luxury and wickedness."
Those are good definitions, because "Babylon" was indeed an ancient city, but it is also the symbol of what many cities have been in the world ever since, some of which have been worse than others.
That is consistent with what is written in the book of Daniel, which says that "Babylon" would eventually become in many "pieces," but will be replaced by a new "kingdom" of God that will embrace all nations and "shall last forever." And that is the kingdom John wrote about in the Christian book of Revelation, which "will last forever."
However, the "fall" of Babylon will not be as many Christians believe it will be, and what is written in the book of Daniel gives us some important clues about that.
Daniel was a seer and chief advisor to the court of a king of ancient Babylon, King Nebuchednezzar, who asked Daniel to interpret a dream that the king had. And it turned out that the dream represented a symbolic pattern and sequence of imperial rulership from that time right up to our time.
Before he interpreted the king’s dream, Daniel described it, and this is the gist of it: "There was an image with a head of fine gold; his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. A stone struck the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. ... And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." (Daniel 2:32-35)
Obviously, that "stone" is not a material stone or rock. It is the same "stone" mentioned by the prophet Isaiah because it is the spiritual "cornerstone and foundation" of the "kingdom" to come. That "stone" is the esoteric symbol known by Kabbalistic Jews or Qabalistic Christians as the symbol for divine truth which can be expressed in righteous judgment, which will indeed shatter the image of the "King of Babylon" so that we may no longer be ruled by sovereign heads of state, but at long last have government of, by and for the people.
It makes more sense when you consider Daniel's interpretation of the dream.
Daniel said that the image of the king at that time was the head of gold. After his kingdom there would arise another, inferior kingdom, and another third kingdom of brass (or bronze), which shall bear rule over the earth, and a fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron. But, as iron breaks in pieces, it shall break in pieces. And, because the feet of the image of the king are part iron and part clay, the fourth kingdom shall be divided ... but the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And finally when the stone (of true judgment) shatters the image of the King of Babylon, God shall set up a new kingdom, which shall never be destroyed. God’s new kingdom will not be left to other people, and it will include and embrace all other kingdoms and nations in the world, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:38-45)
Now, even though many religious people have been led to believe that there will be a "holy king" who rules that "kingdom," that it not true. God will ensure that we are all joint heirs to the throne.
You see, the prophet Isaiah reported that God said this: "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation, [so that] he that believes shall not make haste." (Isaiah 28:16)
Who is "he that believes"? The modern son of man, the servant of God who delivers the judgment. And that was written so that he could rest assured and not make haste. And even though Isaiah also wrote that the son of man would send his work before him but have it rejected for so long that he would fear it was all in vain and for naught, he would at least expect to be rejected.
Jesus of Nazareth understood Isaiah, which is why he also prophesied that the modern son of man would "first be rejected by his generation, and suffer many things."
The modern son of man knows and says that the all-embracing "kingdom" that will stand for ever is the same one foreseen in the book of Revelation, which states: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of 'His' Christ; and 'He' shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)
That means that the Ancient One, the First and the Last, who is in heaven with God, shall reign with God in Spirit only. For no human being is immortal, and as Moses wrote, God is not a man, nor a son of man, which is why Jesus said, "God is greater than I" and "You have not heard God's voice or seen God's shape at any time."
Christians have not known that because Christianity has been distorted with myths since the first century, and particularly since the fourth century. But, even so, the gospels still contain much truth.
The book of Revelation, like the book of Daniel, speaks of the ultimate fulfillment of all religious prophecies. It speaks of our time at the end of the age Jesus ushered it, when the Lord God, which is the Great Spirit-Parent of all, and "His Christ," which is the Ancient One (known by many different titles by different religions) who is in heaven with God, will finally reign in Spirit, and all the "pieces" of the "divided fourth kingdom" Daniel foresaw are encompassed and embraced by a new realm that shall last forever as truly united nations under God, with governments of, by and for the people.
It is the new "kingdom" in which God and the Ancient One or "Ancient of Days" will reign in Spirit forever, and all the people shall be equal joint heirs to the throne of the new kingdom -- because the modern son of man knows he is your fellowservant, and he rejects the worldly throne just as Jesus did. (Daniel 2:44, Jeremiah 33:15-17, Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:29, James 2:5)
That means that there will NOT be a "one world government ruled by a king playing god," as misguided right-wing Christian fundamentalists have been led to believe.
The United Nations will act together by consensus and international agreement in the General Assembly, but all the nations will still be sovereign and independent. Each nation will finally have government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people, and each nation will be a cooperating and collaborating member of a truly United Nations. No large nations will have veto power. No nation or religion will exalt itself as superior, and all nations, religions, races and cultures will be considered equal.
The Interpretation of the Dream in the Book of Daniel
If you read Daniel’s interpretation of the dream in this new light, you may see that the four parts of the image (the four kingdoms) represent four great world empires. But, the rest of the clues can be understood only in an astrological context, because Daniel was the Chief Astrologer and Kabbalist who advised the king of ancient Babylon, and therefore his writing contained esoteric astrological symbolism.
The first kingdom or empire was, of course, that of the Babylonians which began during Daniel’s time and is also known as the Chaldean empire. The deity of the Babylonians was the sun god, and gold is the metal associated with the sun in astrological symbolism. That’s why the king had a "head of gold." But of course, that "went to the head" of Babylonian King Nebuchednezzar because he misunderstood Daniel, and constructed an actual royal image of gold.
The second empire was that of the Persians. Their religion revered the moon goddess, associated astrologically and alchemically with silver. The third empire was that of the Greeks, who predominantly revered Aphrodite or Venus, hermetically and esoterically associated with copper (or brass). And the fourth empire is usually considered to be that of the Romans, whose god of war, Mars, is associated with iron.
However, the feet of the image are of both iron and clay, and while some scholars have for various reasons surmised that this refers solely to the Romans, it probably refers also to the empires that have their roots in Rome and have subsequently ruled in the world living by the sword, then by the gun, and then by the bomb. That’s why Daniel said the fourth kingdom would "break in pieces" and become many. That is why many European empires that claimed to be Christian would become some of those "pieces," even after the Protestant Reformation, while another piece was the Ottoman Empire, which was an Islamic successor to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
Today, however, the U.S.A. is now one of the nations that most epitomizes the pieces of the fourth kingdom-empire foreseen by Daniel, and as such its capitol Washington D.C. --- like the capitols of the other nations that are ruled by a wealthy few while the majority of the people grow worse off --- most represents the Babylon in the last book in the Christian Bible, which ultimately falls because its government is corrupt.
It becomes more obvious that the U.S. is one of the "pieces" when you consider that the U.S. definitely has its roots in Rome. The American system of laws are founded in part on Roman law, and Roman Latin terms are part of its legal foundation and terminology. Also, since the feet are astrologically associated with Pisces and the passing Piscean Age, and since the king (president) of this partisan-ruled divided America could be said to have "feet of iron and clay" because while in some ways he is strong while in other ways he is weak, it makes it more obvious that we still live in that "divided fourth kingdom." America is the last great military empire in the world, and its "king" represents the feet of the image (which was particularly true when George W. Bush epitomized the King of Babylon while claiming to "do God's will," which is why the Reaganite Republican house of cards crumbled in 2008 and we still suffer from it).
However, the "image of the King of Babylon" is an image, not a specific person, just as "Magog" and "Babylon" are not specific cities or nations. The image of the "King of Babylon" symbolizes the leader of powerful military industrial empires who enable the wealthiest few to live in the lap of luxury while the majority barely gets by and many people live either at risk of poverty or in poverty, and many live in poverty and suffer from hunger and even homelessness.
Fulfillment of prophecy of the "stone" striking the feet and shattering the image is symbolic. That’s why Daniel said the stone shall grow and "become as a great mountain that shall fill the whole earth."
Now, another way the book of Daniel is related to the book of Revelation is where the corrupt "Babylon" is chastised in Revelation 18:23, where John wrote: "And the light of a candle shall shine no more in you, and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in you. For your merchants were the powerful men of the earth, and because of them all nations were deceived."
John was no doubt familiar with Chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, which speaks of the corruption of Jerusalem (and, really, the corruption of many people in the world, including some of the most powerful people in America).
The book of Daniel is not only about the sins, trespasses, transgressions and iniquity of the leaders of the nations of earth, it is also about the corruption of the modern nation of Israel. It actually speaks of a time to "finish the transgression," "make reconciliation for iniquity," and "bring in everlasting righteousness" — a time when Israel will have to face its transgressions and iniquity, and make reconciliation for it.
That certainly has not happened yet. It will be brought about by the judgment issued by the witness and servant of God foretold by Isaiah and Jesus.
The message which is the "stone" of truth will shatter the image of the sovereign head of state, and it doesn’t matter if he is a relatively beneficial and good one or a relatively harmful one. It is the monarchial and oligarchical form of government that will fall, and that includes the presidential or prime ministerial form of monarchy and the congressional or parliamentary form of oligarchy, because it is those who have held and wielded that kind of power who have been responsible for creating conditions that have resulted in this sorry state of the nation and world.
The fact is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That's why no person should try to play god, or king or queen with political power of government. And that includes even chief executives and heads of state, and leaders of legislative bodies. The power must lie with the people, to the greatest extent possible. That's why The 21st Century Declaration of Independence is all about how to establish government of, by, and for the people.
You see, the message from the Spirit of truth exposes divisive and harmful leadership, dispels myths, exposes false beliefs, dissolves the most divisive and harmful patriarchal doctrines and traditions of the passing age, shows what is to come, and it is to be spread all over the world.
Then, when humanity accepts and understands the message, the God of heaven shall set up a new kingdom on the earth that shall encompass all kingdoms and nations, and it shall last forever, never to be destroyed. That’s what the fulfillment of Old Testament and New Testament Bible prophecy is all about, and the prophesies of all other religions are based on the same idea and the same reality.
The End of an Age, and the Beginning of the New
Different religions have slightly different readings about ages and their length, but most prophets of the world foresaw what would happening as we neared the end of an age of conflict and division. And they knew the earth and humanity would go through a tribulation that would be like "labor pains" prior to something new being born into the world -- a new way of looking at government and religion, which will gradually and eventually bring harmony and unity.
In America, the "Dawning of the Age of Aquarius" was prematurely announced in the 1960s, because even now we are still in the waning Age of Pisces that Jesus ushered in. But, as is explained in the article on The End of an Age, we are in the "cusp" and we will increasingly feel the effects of the coming age, and the desire for real freedom, justice, and peace.
According to some of the ancient texts of Hinduism, the passing age is the Kali Yuga, the Age of Iron, which is drawing to a close. The ancient Hindus, like the ancient Mayans, predicted that it would be an age of conflict and division because the leaders who have ruled over the Earth would be violent, exploit the people, and selfishly seek and gain power, wealth and domain for themselves. But, all great seers and prophets foresaw the same thing, basically, regardless of which religious traditions they followed.
The saddest irony is that even though the United States can lead by showing the way, during the last 30 years its government has been moved far backward by leaders who know not what they do.
The United States of America: The Greatest Enigma
As everyone knows, the U.S. is great in many ways, and its finest principles, such as Jeffersonian democratic principles, which Abraham Lincoln said are "the axioms of a free society," have been admired around the world.
However, the U.S. Government has sometimes not lived up to those principles, because some Americans have always wanted to continue the European traditions of "Christian" Military Industrial Empire. Consequently, even though most of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America frowned upon it, it wasn't that long after the birth of the nation when the U.S. Government started to become imperialistic.
You can read about that in the articles on Ignored American History and Neo-Imperialism. They explain what enabled the Reaganites to rise to power in the 1980s and ever since then operate under the claim that Republicans did in 1898, claiming they have "the duty of extending Christian civilization," and feeling they are "not despots" but "ministering angels" or evangelists fulfilling a Christian evangelical mandate.
Unfortunately, they have unwittingly perpetuated the doctrine of Christian preeminence and superiority which plunged Europe into the Dark Ages and caused the Crusades and the Inquisition --- because that doctrine survived the Protestant Reformation and it has justified the imperialist and colonial rule of many Christian military empires ever since.
It is that kind of rule that the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. were trying to establish freedom from in 1776.
Unfortunately, their intent and their Constitution has been ignored, or twisted, and that is why the U.S. has for the last 30 years represented the "religious Babylon" of excessive luxury, corruption, wickedness, and self-interest, because too many of its leaders have been serving Mammon and the interests of the wealthiest few, while claiming to serve the People, God and Country.
In the 1990s part of that Babylon began to be exposed, as the corruption of the greedy, deceptive wrongdoers in certain American corporations began to be exposed. You may remember all the corporate scandals, such as those caused by Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom, Adelphia, etc. But those were like the tip of a huge iceberg of corruption that had infected many corporations, banks, lending institutions and other corrupt businesses and industries, and that iceberg of corruption just kept growing.
The wake up call of the 1990s was apparently not enough, though. It did not prompt proper or needed reform, but merely pointed the finger at the "fall guys" and scapegoats upon whom all the blame was laid. Not much was fixed.
Then, in 2008 when more of the corruption of the large banks, lending companies and financial institutions was exposed when it caused horrible economic crises, there was even less done to correct the situation, or to treat the underlying infection or stop enabling the corrupted politicians and corporate executives. In fact, President Bush began "dealing" with the problem by requiring taxpayers to bail out the very people who caused the problems in the first place, and in 2009 the Obama Administration followed suit.
Consequently, greed and corruption still infects many big corporations, banks, etc., and the infection will not be treated and stopped without a reformation of both government and religion.
That is why the message from the Spirit of truth tells you why and how Babylon falls, and how and why the reformation will put an end to the rule of money.
America can and may be the first nation to do that. Otherwise, the status quo will prevail, we will still be hopelessly divided, and the rich will continue to get much richer while the vast majority continue to get poorer. And, whether Republicans or Democrats rule, we would still have government of, by and for the wealthiest few and their huge businesses, corporations, industries, banks, financial institutions, lending institutions, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, etc.
That is why Americans need to realize that even though Ronald Reagan called Washington D.C. "the shining city upon a hill," he actually appealed to the pride and prejudices of gullible Americans, and over the last 30 years his legacy made D.C. a "Babylon," rife with self-interest, malice, greed and corruption.
That will not change significantly or sufficiently unless and until there is a comprehensive reformation of religion and government in America.
Of course, the Reaganites are not entirely at fault, because too many Americans ignored the warning of President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he left office in 1961, warning against letting the power of the U.S. Military Industrial Complex grow unchecked. And, after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the U.S. Government ignored his plans to pull all military personnel out of Vietnam, and instead escalated that war with full military involvement.
Because of the decisions and policies of certain Americans who see America as a beneficent empire and a big brother, who indulge in nationalistic hegemony and religious sanctimony as if it were good, the U.S.A. is the only nation maintaining regional multi-service military commands in all parts of the world. And that is why so many people in the world see the U.S. as imperialistic, and hypocritical.
Of course, the majority of Americans, as a people, are good people. Everybody know that. And even though the U.S. Government has not been and is not what the Founding Fathers intended, we all know that America has been and is great in many respects.
Furthermore, it is a great testament to the advancement and goodness of the great majority of Americans that Barack and Michelle Obama are president and first lady. They are in the White House now because most Americans see past the color of skin to the content of a person’s character (which in their case is brilliant and honorable). That shows that most Americans have come a long way in certain respects.
However, the opposition to him shows that many Americans have been deceived and pushed backward because they are very gullible and have been easily misled by people who claim to serve all the people but instead seek personal power, wealth and domain, and cater to those who have most of it and want more.
However, even though the U.S. Government can certainly be faulted, it certainly has not been the worst one. And while some have been better than others, some have been simply terrible.
What Does "Babylon, the Great Whore" Mean?
It could be said that to various degrees, "Babylon" has been the center of the military empires of the ancient Babylonians and Chaldeans, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantine Christians, the Ottoman Muslim Turks, the Spanish, the British, the Russians, the Germans, the Japanese, and the Americans, to mention some of the most notable.
But, since Babylon was mentioned in eleven of the books of the Judaic Scriptures and in the Christian book of Revelation, it is important to understand the symbolism.
Babylon is obviously not literally a woman with "harlot" written on her head, as the book of Revelation states, nor is it a specific place. The term "Great Whore of Babylon" illustrates how much John and other apostles kept in mind how the Christ Jesus criticized and rebuked the rich and the greedy. That's why they wrote that they had "fallen into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful desires," not realizing that "the love of money is the root of all evil and those who desire it have erred from the faith."
Babylon can can therefore symbolize a military nation-empire that lives by the sword (gun and bomb) and is ruled by corrupt, greedy people who seek and fight for worldly power, wealth and domain, and live luxuriously while many of its citizens and subjects live in poverty.
That is why John’s description of Babylon as a fornicating whore is merely symbolic of certain people greedily prostituting themselves for money and personal power while causing others spiritual and physical harm and/or loss.
But, remember, John also wrote of the "Beast of Babylon" as a male.
Many monarchies and empires throughout history have fit those descriptions of "Babylon." The ancient Roman Empire, which ruled during the time of the original Christians and persecuted them, is perhaps now one of the most well known. But there were many before and after that. The succeeding "Holy" Roman Empire brought about many centuries of "Christian" theocratic tyranny and oppression during the "Dark Ages." And Nazi Germany, while comparatively short-lived, was surely the worst and most infamous empire that claimed to be Christian (as Adolph Hitler claimed in his book and in his speeches).
But, in the final analysis, "Babylon" will indeed fall. And the part of America that is Babylon will fall because of the rampant greed and corruption that has always been there but has increased significantly during the last 30 years.
There should be no more "Big Brother." The U.S.A will of course maintain its sovereignty and independence, but its military industrial imperialism should stop. It should no longer be the military policeman of the world. Its military power and resources can be better and more fairly organized, and, as a reformed member of the United Nations, it can be a part of the U.N. Military-Police-Peacekeeping Force of the world, under the leadership of the U.N. Security Council.
With an empowered U.N. Peacekeeping Force, there could be no more rogue states, and the U.S., Israel, Russia, Iran, North Korea, China and all other nations that have been overly ambitious and aggressive can take their rightful place in the world family of nations. They can be world neighbors, and all the people can learn how and why we should love our neighbors.
John's Symbolism in the Book of Revelation
Like the symbolism in Hebrew scriptures about the "battle in the valley of Jehoshephat," John used symbolism in the book of Revelation about "Armageddon" and the "opening of the seven seals." In part, John associated the first four seals symbolically with the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" – the conqueror on the white horse, the warrior on the red horse, the issuer of justice on the black horse, and the usher of death on the pale horse.
What is all that about?
First of all, the word "Apocalypse" is a Greek word meaning to "uncover, reveal, or unveil" the truth that has been ignored, forgotten, misinterpreted and misunderstood, and the phrase apokalupsis eschaton literally means "revelation at the end of the aeon, or age."
Symbolic prophecies do symbolize what has been happening during the last 90 years as the end of the age has drawn nearer. However, they do not necessarily symbolize specific entities or events. In certain instances, they do, such as when the Euphrates river is mentioned, but these are mostly symbolic scenarios.
The “Valley of Jehoshephat,” for instance, merely symbolizes God’s Judgment. In, fact, Jehoshephat or Josaphat simply means "Yahweh (or Jehovah) Judges." And the prophecies about it speak of the deliverance of the prophesied judgment to the nations of earth.
In Christian terms, the “battle of Armageddon” symbolizes the same thing, when divinely inspired truth "fights" and prevails over the false beliefs and myths that divide humanity.
Of course, in the book of Revelation John obviously also foresaw literal war, death and destruction that Man's vain folly would cause. However, the “weapons” of God’s ultimate warfare are not carnal or lethal, and yet they are mighty through God for pulling down strongholds of abused and misused military power.
It is important to understand that the prophecies of the many wars and the "final war between good and evil" were written because they were foreseen, not because it was or is God’s will. The wars are Man’s fault, not God's. And the prophecies of wars have been and even now are fulfilled, and there need be no more blood shed to fulfill prophecies.
The events foretold and symbolized in prophecy have been played out as the passing age has been drawing to a close. This was particularly the case in the Twentieth Century, with the first and second world wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and all the other violent and deadly wars, confrontations and even genocide that have occurred around the world ever since, including those in the Balkans, East Timor, Lebanon, Israel, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and in other countries plagued by conflict and division.
However, just because all this bloodshed may have been foreseen, it does not need to continue. That prophecy has been fulfilled, because what was foreseen has already taken place, or is taking place now.
That is why it is important for everyone to understand prophecies like John’s symbolic vision of the angels and the dramatic opening of the seven seals and warring angels, because they are not necessarily literal events that will actually take place in this world.
That's important to know because President George W. Bush’s "religious" advisers led him to believe that his war in Iraq was "God's Will" and fulfills the prophecy of the warring "sixth angel" who "poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates..." (Revelation 16:12) They don't realize that even though that was clearly written because John foresaw that there would be much blood shed in Iraq, that chapter in Revelation is mostly symbolic.
John’s vision about the fall of Babylon will not be literally manifested. We will not actually see the "four horsemen of the Apocalypse," nor will we actually see the actual fall of Babylon. We will see the end of military industrial imperialism and the end of rule by the wealthiest few, but we will not see the end of a nation.
You see, the Tree of Life John referred to in the book of Revelation is for "the healing of the nations." But it is not a literal tree. It’s the ancient esoteric diagram that symbolizes and represents the one God and man’s relationship to God. And there is much evidence in the Bible that reveals that the Tree of Life is not an actual tree, and some biblical references to it that have been misunderstood.
"Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden..." (Genesis 2:9)
"She [Wisdom] is a Tree of Life to them that lay hold upon her..." (Proverbs 3:18-19)
"To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." (Revelation 2:7)
"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." (Revelation 22:1-2)
"Blessed are they that do God’s commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14)
The symbolic Tree of Life yields twelve aspects of God’s Wisdom. The great and wise Solomon wrote about Wisdom in Proverbs 9, saying: "Wisdom has built her house and She calls to all: Come, eat my food and drink my wine and you will live abundant life and walk in the ways of understanding."
Solomon also wrote, speaking of Wisdom: "She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you can desire are not to be compared unto Her. Length of days is in Her right hand; and in Her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all Her paths are peace. She is a Tree of Life to them that lay hold upon Her, and happy is every one that retains Her. The Lord God by Wisdom has founded the earth; by understanding has God established the heavens." (Proverbs 3:5-19)
By the way, another symbol John used was the "star called Wormwood" which "falls from heaven and makes the waters bitter" (Revelation 8:11). It is not a giant asteroid that is going to collide with and wreak havoc on the earth. It is merely a planetary influence or a sort of consciousness that can tend to effect some people’s imagination and mental states negatively, especially if they are mentally unstable and/or prone to negative and destructive thinking. That’s why John referred to "bitter waters," because water is symbolically associated with imagination, intuition, and other mental aspects. He was speaking symbolically of a negative influence that creates bitterness in some people’s thinking and feelings.
The "Beast," "666" and the "Dragon"
Regarding the symbolism of the "the beast of Babylon," the "second beast," the "number 666," and the "dragon" referred to in John’s Book of Revelation, while lots of Christians are obsessed with that symbolism and many think they know what it means, they have been misguided.
The dragon is another symbol for "Satan," manifesting in the world, and the beast from the sea is John's symbol for the Roman Emperor, incited by the dragon to persecute the early Christians. There is, however, a question about which Caesar or Emperor John was referring to.
Many scholars say that the Emperor Domitian ruled during the time John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos when he wrote the book of Revelation. After all, it was in the ‘90s A.D. (C.E.) that Domitian had forced Christians to choose between the Christ Jesus or the Caesar as Lord, and he killed or persecuted those that didn't choose the Caesar as Lord.
Other scholars say that in cabbalistic gematria, numbers are assigned to letters, and 666 is the sum of the numbers of the name Nero Caesar in Hebrew, and some scholars suggest that is also the case in the language John was conversant in. In that case, the book would have been written earlier, in the 60s. But, most scholars date it no earlier than the 90s, not only because of the persecution, but also because John's message to the Christians in the "seven churches" or communities would indicate that they were fairly well established.
Whatever the case, there was a reason why John wrote that we must "have understanding" of the meaning of "the number of the beast," as John put it, because John used a number and symbolic code words because in those days it was extremely dangerous to criticize the Roman Emperor or Caesar. Whichever one John was referring to and however he assigned the number 666 to the “beast," it was a warlord emperor who played god, hated anyone who did not recognize his "divinity," and lived by the sword to rule by force of arms.
That is why the Christ Jesus said: "the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, is now already in the world." (1 John 4:1) He was talking about the Roman Caesar and Emperor-Warlord who regarded himself as the "Lord of Divinity," and that’s what John was referring to in the book of Revelation.
However, there were "many antichrists" in those times, as there are now. For John wrote earlier: "... as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." (I John 2:18) That indicates that at that time John believed that the "end" was soon and imminent, as Paul did, even though there were both wrong about that.
Nevertheless, John knew that: "Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist that you have heard should come; and even now is already in the world." (I John 4:3) "For many deceivers are in the world, who claim that Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." (II John 1:7)
Those who denied or refused to believe that Jesus was a Christus, or Mashiach or Messiah — a spiritually anointed son of man and servant of God -- were regarded as "antichrists." For even though multitudes of Jews and Greeks accepted Jesus as a Mashiach or Christus and son of man, there were some religious Jewish authorities, chief priests and scribes, as well as most occupying Romans and Roman sympathizers who did not accept Jesus as anything but a rabble rouser.
It should also be recognized that by the time the Christian gospels were written, it was decades after the apostles had already been preaching by of word-of-mouth, and over time they became less and less tolerant of those who would not accept their story of Jesus. That’s why Paul wrote his epistles and distributed them in 50 A.D., condemning those claimed Jesus was not a Christ. And other apostles later followed suit, ignoring or forgetting that Jesus had said to simply ignore those who were not receptive to his message.
However, the point is that the "Antichrist" is not a specific person. It’s the base, egocentric mentality which was "already in the world" two thousand years ago. It is expressed in any human beings who exalt themselves above others, whether they believe their superiority is based on their nationality or religion or race or culture. It was epitomized by the Roman Caesar-Emperors who exalted themselves as the Divine Lord, but it also drove and has driven many other power-hungry, self-centered leaders who rule by the sword (gun and bomb) and kill people in order to gain or maintain power, wealth and domain at the expense of others.
Today the spirit of the Antichrist is the mentality that drives egocentric, ethnocentric, bigoted, hypocritical people who claim to be good and even "religious," but ignore or deny the wisdom of Jesus. For he criticized and rebuked the money lenders and the rich, as well as the hypocrites who claim to be religious, and instead advocated for the poor and the least of our brethren.
Today, however, right-wing "fundamentalist Christians" twist those scriptures (such as II John 1:7) to claim that the spirit of the Antichrist is served by anyone who does not believe that Jesus came "in the flesh" as God Himself, even though that's not what Jesus said.
Jesus said he was a son of man and a servant of God. And the term Christ is a title meaning an "anointed one," as does the title Mashiach or Messiah. It does not mean "God Himself," nor does it mean the Savior. For God alone is the Savior (as Isaiah wrote), and God is not a mortal, nor a man, nor a son of man, as Moses wrote. Jesus came in the flesh as we all do, but he became a spiritually anointed, enlightened Christ and a Sacrificial Lamb of God, who had realized, as we all can, that we are one with God and one with all humanity.
The fulfillment of prophecy is pretty straightforward, when you see it in a new light. But it is understandable how and why Christians have been misled, and understandable why there are many Christians who have postulated some very strange scenarios regarding prophecy.
For example, some believe that the "second beast" mentioned in the book of Revelation is a particular false prophet. They believe the "mark of the beast" will be placed on the followers of an individual Antichrist, a literal beast-king of Babylon. They believe that the false prophet will be a spokesperson for the Antichrist, and that the false prophet will cause people to take this mark, which will literally be placed in their hand or forehead, and the mark of the beast will be an "end times mark" required by the Antichrist to buy or sell and will be given only to those who worship the Antichrist.
Still others believe that any man who is accepted as the Jewish Mashiach or the Christian Messiah, would actually be the Antichrist. Some believe that the Antichrist-Beast is or will be some other person. And many others have different beliefs and expectations. It’s a chaotic, confused situation, because so many egocentric people think they know the truth, and they of course think that all others are wrong.
Actually, the "second beast" mentioned in the book of Revelation has probably been represented by the monarchs of all the military empires that have their roots in the Roman Empire which broke "in pieces," who have lived by the sword (gun and bomb).
Now, because many Christians misunderstand prophecies, they base their belief about the "beast" and an "Antichrist" and their belief that he will come to power and then be "revealed" on a section in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians (II Thessalonians 2:3-9). But, Paul erroneously believed the so-called "return" of the Christ and the so-called "end" was soon to come, in his lifetime. Paul was trying to prepare people for it, even though he was wrong.
Paul states that the Thessalonians should not allow themselves to be deceived, but that the Christ’s "second coming" would not come unless there was a "falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped." Paul states that the "man of sin" will "sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
That, along with what is written in John’s book of Revelation, is why many Christians believe there will be an "Antichrist" who will rule the world prior to the "second coming" of the Christ Jesus. But Jesus will not "come again," and an "anti-christ" will not rule any more than it already has during the passing age.
Furthermore, "fundamentalist" Christians ignore that Paul also states that "the mystery of iniquity already works: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders."
Notice that Paul was writing about "he who now lets," because he was talking about his time, and he was referring to the Roman Warlord Emperor and Caesar, just as John was in the book of Revelation. For the Emperor "Beast," whose name according to Hebrew Gematria was related to the number six hundred and sixty-six, held himself up as a "divine" ruler and could do "wonders" with all the financial and material resources and forces at his command. He was a "son of perdition," meaning that he was morally corrupt and totally indulged himself as a self-righteous, self-important ruler warlord who played god, and his worldly power totally corrupted him.
The fact is that Paul did not realize that the "end" was not coming, nor did he understand that the Christ Jesus himself would not return. But then, Paul, being the first one to "publish" and distribute his writings, wrote his epistles long before John wrote his gospel reporting that Jesus said he had to "go away and be seen no more on earth" in John 14:17-20 and John 16:7-15.
The problem has been that even though the writings of the apostles who wrote the epistles and books that made it into the official Christian canon contained much of the truth that Jesus taught, they also contain statements that contradict it. And most of the disciples and apostles of Jesus did not understand that Judeo-Christian prophecy would not be fulfilled during their life time. Most of them though it was going to be imminent, and did not realize that it would not be until the end of the age Jesus ushered in, more than two thousand years later.
In the 20th Century many people started to figure it out. But unfortunately there are many thousands of different false interpretations of the Torah and Tanakh and the Bible, and especially of John’s Book of Revelation. And as Jesus said, there have been and are now many false shepherds and false prophets who are dividing people and leading their blind flocks astray.
Part of the reason for that is because even the most divinely inspired writers were only human, and human beings tend to have opinions and personal judgments, as even the modern son of man does.
For example, John wrote that God would put it into the hearts of the people of earth to give the "beast" power to rule until prophecy is completely fulfilled. But that is not completely accurate. John wrote that to make it sound as if God could do that, even though it was not God that put it in the hearts of the people to give power to the "beast of Babylon," then or now.
The Culprit was and is the Tempter-Accuser-Deceiver, in all its forms, which is especially expressed by men who lust for power, wealth and domain, fight for it, and gain it by hook or by crook. That is why it is the power of money and the power of the sword (gun and bomb) that has enabled such men to rule in both "democratic" nations and totalitarian nations.
That’s why humanity is divided and in conflict, because it was and is deluded Man, not God, who pits human beings against one another. For at its worst and most harmful, the Tempter-Accuser-Deceiver is like Adolph Hitler, who told the German people they were superior and destined to conquer and rule the world in the name of the Lord for a thousand years, while he judged, condemned and committed genocide against certain groups of people he judged as not worthy to live — like Jews, homosexuals, people of different color, gypsies, etc.
In a less harmful form, the Tempter-Accuser-Deceiver is like a partisan politician who is divisive and judges and slanders dissenters and critics who disagree with him, and fights for power over them rather than reconciling with them and working with them cooperatively and collaboratively.
But, when prophecy is completely fulfilled and after the coming new reformation, it will be very unlikely that such divisive demagogues will be able to dupe people and rise to power any more by appealing to the ego, pride and prejudices of their people.
Of course, right-wing "Christian" critics will initially claim the judgment of the modern son of man is wrong. Many already have. In fact, they’ve already accused him of serving Satan because he states that God is the Divine Light-Energy-Source of our existence. But it's the truth, and since their false accusation is based on Paul’s mention of "Satan" as an "angel of light," let's see about that.
If we examine the context in which Paul wrote that phrase, we can see that it is not about some entity called "Satan" becoming an entity of light. To put it in context, Paul was talking about deceitful hypocrites: "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
In other words, deceitful hypocrites who actually serve Mammon while claiming to serve the Lord are false apostles, false prophets, false shepherds and wolves in sheep’s clothing, and they are an "abomination," which is what Jesus actually said, and he predicted the hypocrites would claim to "do many wonderful works in the name of the Lord."
Furthermore, the accusation critics make simply ignores the fact that it is written throughout the Bible, that "God lives in light," that "God is Light," and that those who have really witnessed God are "children of light." (Exodus 24:10, Psalm 104:2, I Timothy 6:16, Isaiah 2:5, Isaiah 9:2, Isaiah 60:19, I John 1:5, etc.)
The Bible is full of references to God being the Divine Light. It is even written that a genuine servant of God is "sent to bear witness of that Light ... the true Light which lights every man [and woman] that comes into the world." (John 1:8,9) And again, that is how we are "made in God’s image," because "God is Light" and we are "children of light," just as the Bible says.
Further proof that "Satan" is not a real person or even an actual entity, but merely a symbol or the spirit or mentality of greedy, selfish, self-centered, materialistic man, was indicated when Jesus "rebuked Peter, saying, Get behind me, Satan." He was merely admonishing Peter for focusing on "the things that be of men" rather than on "the things that be of God." (Mark 8:33 and Matthew 16:23)
Now, there is another issue with regard to the "dragon" in John’s book of Revelation, because even though it symbolizes the Roman Caesar back in John’s time, it also symbolizes self-righteous, self-important, power-hungry, divisive, destructive leadership today as well. For when John was in the realm of the spirit and foresaw the fall of Babylon, there was a good reason that he used the symbolism of the "red dragon with seven heads."
That "creature" or dragon with seven heads symbolizes a seven-fold power of destruction, and that symbolism is not just in John’s book of Revelation. There a many myths about a seven-headed dragon. It’s the same in Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Japanese, Celtic, Scottish, Cambodian, Indian, West Asian, East African, and Mediterranean mythology. But the Babylonians not only adopted the Egyptian conception of the power of evil as being seven demons, but they also seemed to have fused the seven into one and given the dragon seven-fold attributes, just as John later did.
Ironically, the forces of good and light are also seven-fold, such as the yogic seven chakras which are opened with the realization of the divine reality, and it’s the same with the "seven seals of revelation" which are opened to reveal the divine reality, which are also mentioned in John’s book of Revelation.
In esoteric terminology and symbolism, seven is the number of the physical manifestation of either good or evil. (And, by the way, the term "esoteric" merely means that which is not readily known by many, but is known only to those who are privy to such information.)
Regarding the manifestation of evil, in ancient times many different peoples regarded the seven evil forces either as natural forces of destruction, or as "devils, demons, and evil spirits" with evil powers waiting to tempt and possess human beings. They were supposedly the "adversaries" of humanity and can supposedly expel God, or common sense, and even occupy or possess the human body and mind. That’s why religious clergy have always had, and still have, rituals of atonement and requirements for redemption, and claim that they can eject the demons and devils from "possessed" victims and restore the Holy Spirit of the Divine Protector, or God.
The truth, however, is that it's all superstition. No one is "possessed" by anything from without. Evil and spiritual darkness is not something out there that can come in. It comes from within, from the ego that has become separated from its goodness. Similarly, goodness and spiritual light is not something that comes from without. Good and spiritual Light comes from within, from the spirit-soul and root of our being.
When we have a "single eye" to see, we can see the truth, that God is One, and that we are one with God, and with each other. And the son of man who tells you that and now fulfills prophecy is not the Christ, but bears the testimony of the Christ and bears witness to the Divine Light of God within. And he glorifies God and the Ancient One (aka the Christ-Avatar-Budda, etc.) who is in heaven with God.
Moreover, as Jesus foretold, the son of man divides humanity into "sheep" and "goats," because he issues judgment, exposing and rebuking those who are doing wrong, and praising those who are actual servants of God and humanity. And this judgment will be as much for Jews and Muslims as it is for Christians, and all others.
Even though the symbolism in prophecies represent very important aspects of the spiritual and material reality and the fulfillment of prophecy, they are all, nevertheless, symbols, most of which were never meant to be taken as actual, literal things or places or events.
There will be no Superman-Warlord God who will come out of the clouds in the sky, riding a white charger to the sound of a trumpet, to kill or conquer his enemies. The son of man who fulfills prophecy comes from your midst and is of your brethren, and he delivers the message of judgment so that it may be seen in a flash, like lightning.
The truth is like a stone. It’s solid. As the prophet Daniel envisioned, the stone of truth will shatter the image of the most powerful "religious" warrior emperor-king, and it shall become as a great mountain that shall fill the whole earth. When that happens we will be able to start changing and improving things, and rebuilding from the foundations of our religions and governments.
The new kingdom of God will not be established on earth overnight, however, and it won’t be by magic. It will be by our working very hard to bring about reconciliation, forgiveness and compromise, by making amends, by enabling and ensuring the cooperation and collaboration and consensus of all the people of the world, and by being courageous enough to establish the kind of political and religious reforms that are needed to really improve our world.
With mutual respect and a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, we and our offspring will make this world what it is destined to become, a realm of peace and justice and prosperity for all.