February 20, 2008

Revelation 14.8

Another angel, a second, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of her impure passion."

3 Comments:

At 8:29 AM, Blogger forrest said...

Okay, this message takes a whole angelic emissary to deliver and immediately follows the announcement of God's present judgement. So it must be significant.

But I see a potential ambiguity right at the beginning. Is this Babylon we inhabit "fallen" as in _Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_? Or "fallen" in the Christian theological sense?

And I think we need to answer, "Both." Babylon is in a state of sin, is sinful in its very essence, as a principality of the sort examined by William Stringfellow and Walter Wink: an angelic spirit which through its very virtues becomes the recipient of human worship. (And so we as members of a nation, any one of "the nations," "drink the wine of her impure passion.")

So Babylon is corrupt even in the true Good it offers us, fallen in that sense--but must also fall in the lesser, contingent sense of actual destruction. God's justice demands that it fall: We've worked hard for our destruction, we've deserved it, and by gum we're going to have it! And this will be God's very mercy on the world, which cannot long endure such vampiric "prosperity" as we've imposed on it.

This is going to be altogether too much excitement, so far as we have compassion for the inevitable suffering of eveyone who loves their servitude. How does one get a whole nation of Jews, born into slavery, to leave that nice Egyptian fleshpot down the street?--Plagues. You harden Pharoah's heart and keep upping the ante until they can't stay in Egypt anymore, and go off kvetching about "Do we have to eat manna again tonight? We had it yesterday!"

We don't need to make this destruction happen; I don't think we should even pray for it... although there is that temptation, which even the saints under the Throne back in Rev. 6.10 succumb to. We, and other people we love, are going to suffer--because we've all been "drinking the wine" of those impure passions for a very long time now, and we're frankly drunk.

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger nathan's shepherd said...

I know I'm coming to this a little late in the game so am far form worthy to comment.

But I rather think that those folks parked under the celestial altar -- well -- its their blood that Babylon the Great has become drunk on. So maybe they have some cause to be a touch petulant about the waiting for the coup de gras so to speak.

Not that they're necessarily right. Only that its difficult to judge their anger and frustration without having walked in their moccasins.

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger forrest said...

Like I might say, "Worthy, swerthy, who cares?" Good to have you back!

This 'Principality' we live under does have a thirst for blood. We don't need to posit a particular appetite for martyr's blood, do we? It's touchy about anyone seeing through its pretensions; that's how those martyrs you mention ended up under the altar in the first place--But it ain't picky. Blood is food for spirits, by all the old traditional notions of religious practice, so executing all those martyrs should have nourished Rome, but instead gave her indigestion... in a manner of speaking. Verbal associations, this morning!--_Blood Rites_ by Barbara Ehrenreich-- her highly illuminating effort to work out how humanity ever fell for war and military self-'sacrifice' as an ideal! I don't think it's martyrs' blood that makes Babylon drunk--though I can understand the martyrs in question feeling that way! The spurious excitement of the public 'circuses', that ubiquitous adrenaline drip we call "the news", the combination of greed and fear we're given to mistake for Real Life... That's what this critter is really drunk on! In sync with the sort of digestive stupor you'd expect of a beast that's done its best to swallow the world!

 

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