Is it possible that America’s foreign interventions have served the aims of America’s politicians and its major corporations more than it has served the interests of the American people?
NB: This post has been edited for the accuracy of its content.
NB: After the 1972 earthquake in Nicaragua, the US gave Samosa $57million in emergency aid. The Nicaraguan national treasury only reported $16million. Samosa apparently kept $41million. The IMF gave Samosa another $65million. Most of this money went to Samosa. Very little of it trickled down to the poor in Nicaragua. I plan to discuss the US’ actions in Nicaragua in my next post.
Have we been lied to?
In my post on Jan 22, 2024, I began by asking, “Have we been lied to?” I ask this with respect to America’s wars and foreign interventions and what impact this has on our understanding of the Beast in Revelation 13.
NB: See links to previous posts on the Beast below.
We know that the famed Pax Romana (Roman Peace) was established by violence and bloodshed at the hands of millions. What Rome deemed “peace” meant rape, enslavement, and death for others. McKnight and Matchett note,
“Galgacus, a Caledonian [British] chief, speaking of the Roman army and its ruthlessness, calls them the ‘robbers of the world’ and says, ‘To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire and they call it ‘solitude’ and ‘peace’” (McKnight, Scot; Matchett, Cody. Revelation for the Rest of Us, 56).
How can we laud the Pax Romana?
What I find quite intriguing, if not downright disgusting, is that when the Pax Romana is mentioned today it is often heralded as one of the Roman empire’s great achievements. For example, most of the hits from a simple google search on Pax Romana herald it as such! The Wikipedia article on the Pax Romana begins by claiming, “The Pax Romana is said to have been a ‘miracle’ because prior to it there had never been peace for so many years in a given period of history.” A “miracle”? you’ve got to be kidding!
Even Monica (AI assistant for Chrome) refers to the Pax Romana as “a time of unprecedented prosperity, cultural flourishing, and territorial expansion for the Roman Empire. . . . The Pax Romana was also a time of great economic prosperity.”
But what if we asked the poor, the slaves, and the family members of those whom Rome raped, pillaged, and killed what they thought of the Roman peace? (btw, such people constituted as much as 90-95% of the people of the Roman world).
This is incredulous! It is outrageous. But this is how empires often operate. They delight in their glorious achievements. And then they call them “good!”
Understanding the New Testament
In my opinion, it is foundational to understanding the New Testament to recognize that Jesus was speaking to oppressed people who were living under foreign occupation and He was telling them that there was a new way, a better way, and a way of true peace for everyone.
It is also critical to recognize that the book of Revelation was written against the backdrop of imperial Rome. And I don’t think John would agree with Wikipedia’s assessment of the Pax Romana.
The Great Harlot
In Rev 17-18, we are introduced to the Great Harlot. In 17:2, John is told, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.”
Although these chapters are replete with apocalyptic imagery, it is fairly simple to determine the identity of the Great Harlot.
- In Rev 17:5, she is named, “Babylon the Great.”
- In Rev 17:9, we are told, “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.”
- And, in Rev 17:18, John declares, “The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
That “Babylon” was a common moniker used to identify Rome was well established in the first-century world (see 1 Pet 5:13). In addition, Rome was often referred to as the city on 7 hills. And there is no question that the “great city” that “reigns over the kings of the earth” was Rome.
John concludes his description of Rome, or the Great Harlot, by asserting, “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth” (Rev 18:24).
When John/the book of Revelation/the Bible (however you want to phrase it) looks at Rome, it sees violence, savagery, enslavement, rape, and economic injustice. In Revelation for the Rest of US, McKnight and Matchett note: “Galgacus, a Caledonian [British] chief, speaking of the Roman army and its ruthlessness, calls them the ‘robbers of the world’ and says, ‘To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire’ and they call it ‘solitude’ and ‘peace’” (McKnight, Scot; Matchett, Cody, Revelation for the Rest of Us, 56).
Could it be that we look to the US as the great defender of democracy and the broker of peace and justice, while Christ looks at an empire?
Could it be that the US has acted more in accord with the interests of its’ politicians, who are themselves largely subservient to major US corporations and lobbyist groups?
This is what the book of Revelation calls, “The Beast” (Rev 13).
NB: the Determinetruth podcast is currently doing a deep dive into the book of Revelation. We just completed several weeks of looking at the Beasts of Revelation 13 and we are moving towards a discussion on the Great Harlot.
This is radicalness
Now, I know that I might sound like a radical at this point. But that only proves my point even more. What do I mean?
The fact that calling out Rome’s gross injustices and comparing the acts of the US to Rome might even possibly be considered “radical”—in a bad sense—is the problem.
Is it possible that we become so accustomed to the rhetoric of empire that we deem evil good and good evil? As Isaiah says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isa 5:20).
To be continued . . .
Blogs: Mark of the Beast Series
Blogs: The Beast 2022
Who/What is the Beast #1 Rev 13/Dan 7
Who/What is the Beast #6 FIFA #1
Who/What is the Beast #7 FIFA #2
Who/What is the Beast #8 FIFA #3
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