Let’s continue the search for America in the Bible by further examining Revelation chapter 18.
The key to understanding the scriptural ramifications of commerce in Revelation is determined by purpose and motive. Note the common ground in each of the following verses.
“…the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” Revelation 18:3
“In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow’.” Revelation 18:7
Note in the above verse the harlot considers herself to be a queen and not a widow. Could it be that she has been deceived by not being aware of her gross harlotries, i.e. her spiritual adulteries embodied in commerce and materialism?
“The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her…” Revelation 18:9a
It becomes obvious that the focus of chapter 18 is the abundance of spiritual adultery committed by the kings of the earth as they strive to increase riches for the purpose of living luxuriously.
The word ‘luxury’ has profound multiple meanings. In the King James Version the word used is ‘delicacy’. The Greek base for both in the present context means wantonness or lasciviousness. It represents an insatiable desire for personal pleasure to the extent such desire overrides restraint or reason. The primary thought is the focus on the present, or short term gratification with little concern for the future.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” I Timothy 6:17
The desire towards self and present fulfillment along with its underlying motives was succinctly described by the Apostle John.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” I John 2:15-16
Spiritual adultery is simply forsaking God’s word and instructions, ignoring His provisions, and giving priority to the pursuit of ‘things’ present. Instead of seeking God, men will trade around the world to find fulfillment. The terms merchant and/or merchandise is found six times in the 18th chapter of Revelation. The consequence of placing priority on ‘things’ before God is clearly spelled out.
“Therefore…she (that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth) will be utterly burned with fire…for in one hour your judgment has come.” Revelation 18:8, 10
How does this relate to America, if in fact it does at all?
“…For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.” Revelation 18:23b
“And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’” Revelation 14:8
Every individual can determine for themselves if ‘all’ in the above includes America, or if America would never be involved in forsaking God for the pursuit of ‘things’ and present self-fulfillment.
In the meantime there are other more pressing issues to consider, such as the upcoming presidential election. Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum wanted to discuss social and religious issues, but was silenced by those who said there were more relevant challenges facing America and social and religious issues were not a priority with voters. Most Americans agree that America is on an ‘unsustainable’ path but there is little agreement on the reasons.
It appears obvious that the tone of the 2012 presidential election will echo the infamous slogan coined by James Carville in 1992 describing Bill Clinton’s campaign.
“It’s the economy, stupid.”