The Ascendancy of Antichrist in America
By Doug Krieger
S. Douglas Woodward’s unfamiliar but undeniable biblical thesis upon which I am pleased to provide comment is simply this: the seat of the future Antichrist resides in the Babylon of the Last Days – and this “Babylon the Great” is none other than the United States of America. For most readers, this assertion is so unexpected that on the surface it seems the greatest of defamations – so much so that from the political Right one presumes to hear, “America, love it or leave it;” while from the Left, “With a few more socialist tweaks we will aptly conceal the discernible attributes of our ‘Beast Nation’. No way will you be able to spot its seven heads and ten horns!”
Perhaps it’s acceptable for an immigrant pastor like the late S. Franklin Logsdon (to wit a Canadian), to express a contrary view of America…
“It is unthinkable that God who knows the end from the beginning would pinpoint such small nations as Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia and Syria in the prophetic declaration and completely overlook the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the earth. Too long have we evaded the question. Too long have we summarily grouped our country with the so-called revived Roman Empire. Too long have we persisted in terming the U. S. A. in prophecy as one of the ‘lion’s cubs,’ thus giving her but an inferential mention in the shadow of a diminishing Britain.”[i]
On the other hand, it is most unsettling when a native-born American from the heartland (Oklahoma to be specific) chimes in with “Amen” at Logsdon’s reprimand. One might not question an Alex Jones or a Jesse Ventura fretting over the establishment of FEMA camps and inciting angst amongst their viewers merely for provocation (although I for one consider their outspoken remarks more candid than outrageous). So how can we remain calm when we hear the intelligent conclusion of a notable American businessman and former pastor, a Presbyterian at that, who seemingly disparages the “red, white and blue?” Such sentiments are sure to rankle the patriotic spirit of more than a few conservatives, especially evangelicals whom Woodward calls family.
Over the past few decades, some Protestants have dared suppose America to be the “Seat of Antichrist” – perhaps even speculating that Antichrist masquerades as the then-current President of the United States. This stance, wedded with enough partisan vitriol to invigorate it from time to time, has replaced the much older judgment championed by Bible-believing Christians that the Catholic Church was Mystery Babylon and the Pope its Antichrist. Such intolerance with Rome has been easily justified because its religious rituals closely resemble those of ancient Babylon (find a copy of Alexander Hislop’s classic, The Two Babylons for details.). Indeed, the vitality of these charges has been customary since the time of Luther and Calvin, whether laid at the feet of the Roman “religious system” or the institution itself. This notion represents the Protestant interpretive school we know as “historicism.”[ii]
However, despite how startled the reader may be at first blush, the idea “America as the Babylon of the last days” really isn’t that new either. Here are a few examples:
- It was propounded in 1859 by Frances Rolleston in Notes on the Apocalypse, as Explained by the Hebrew Scriptures: The Place in Prophecy of America and Australia Being Pointed Out.[iii]
- Seventh-day Adventist Church expositor Uriah Smith in 1884 authored a text entitled The United States in the Light of Prophecy; or, An Exposition of Rev. 13:11-17.[iv] Smith was insistent that America was the Second Beast of Revelation 13:11-17.
- More recently, 1998, R. A. Coombes, in America, the Babylon: America’s Destiny Foretold in Biblical Prophecy presented thirty-three identifying markers which he claimed identified America as the Babylon of the End Times, the seat of Antichrist. He tallies sixty-six reasons why New York City is the bastion symbolically identified as Babylon the Great.
A “Babylonian-like American empire” today hardly resembles the Papal influence lingering in Europe which was finally dealt a death-blow by French revolutionaries 220 years ago. Likewise, it is a far cry from the so-called Pax Britannia – not to mention light years beyond the state of affairs after “The Great War” marked by Woodrow Wilson’s designs to “make the world safe for democracy.” To be sure, Adolf Hitler lost no time demonstrating how hazardous the world remained after Wilson’s League of Nations was formed. Concluding a “total victory” over the Axis enemies, nevertheless, America continued on in mortal conflict (and sometimes combat through various surrogates) conducting the so-called “Cold-war.” But massive spending to fund an arms race with which its enemies could not keep pace, America won the contest and in the process built the most overwhelming military force and lop-sided advantage the world has even known. Indeed, within a few decades, America’s geo-political antagonists cowered at the new leviathan. No sooner had Reagan’s words been spoken, “Mr. Gorbachev: tear down this wall!” America found itself alone as the world’s only remaining super power. Instead of realizing Khrushchev’s threat to America (“We will bury you”), the Russian bear was tranquilized into a protracted hibernation from which it is only now shaking off the cobwebs.
Failure to apprehend Daniel’s colossus as built upon the banks of the Tigris-Euphrates (viz., its ultimate nature and meaning); and unaware or unwilling to recognize that Western Civilization marches inexorably toward “Gentile” global hegemony – politically, militarily, commercially, and even culturally – we who are proponents of Bible prophecy often mire ourselves in extraneous eschatological debates. Our most popular end-times scenarios mute the amplitude of our prophetic voice because of our unwillingness to discern the real source of political, financial, and spiritual despotism today. In our exuberance to proclaim our patriotism as well as our traditional evangelical perspective on “the last days,” we relegate ourselves to the periphery in the war for the soul of civilization – and tragically – at the most critical moment in the battle.
Some spokespersons for prophetic topics unwittingly diminish Biblical relevance and infuse believers within the Western world with false hopes – that America’s absence from prophetic writ suggests either an implosion by some manner of cataclysm (be it natural or man-made); or an ineffectual witness from the unintended consequences of the secret pre-tribulational rapture. Could it be that our eschatology itself is to blame for the church in America becoming the lukewarm Laodicean Church of Revelation? In the anticipation of joining the resurrected and the raptured, are believers today ill-prepared to give a vibrant witness on behalf of the Testimony of Jesus? Has the belief in the “blessed hope of the Church” dampened the energizing Spirit of Prophecy – a Spirit which would have us as Christ’s Bride, testify against the seat of Antichrist, aka Babylon the Great?
Moody Memorial’s Sr. Pastor, Logsdon, countered and critiqued American evangelicals who asserted that “the USA is given only inferential mention in the context of the great prophetical panoply prior to the Day of the Lord.” He inferred America’s patriotic voices of prophecy reinforced this “benign critique” by misjudging our national motives. Perhaps naively, advocates for what we now call American exceptionalism (the world’s “last and best hope for freedom”) suppose her illuminating torch of liberty is lifted high to protect personal freedoms throughout our land and selflessly promote democracy throughout the whole earth. By ipso facto adopting nationalism as a secondary religion, many most grievous sins in our land have been overlooked or marginalized. In this timely work, Woodward seeks to correct this brazen oversight.
After studying scores of books published on the subject of America’s role in the last days – whether written by well-meaning futurists, historical interpreters, or those who would dismiss her engagement as purely symbolic – both Woodward and this commentator conclude that the Church’s theology of the end-times (based upon Old Testament prophets such as Daniel, Zechariah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and New Testament authors including select portions of the synoptic gospels, Paul’s letters to his churches, Peter, Jude, and John the Revelator), awaits a more pertinent contemporary interpretation that refuses to compromise the great Pre-millenarian insights proclaimed by Darby and a host of others during the 1800-1900s. We affirm the Word of God is living and will speak yet again to our generation with weight and unmistakable clarity.
It was for this purpose that I joined the dedicated but non-harmonious chorus of domestic prophets and decided to pen two on-line texts. Antichrist – Reflections on the Desolator and The Rise or Fall of American Empire? My own assessment of America’s short-comings mirror Woodward’s although I must admit I was stunned to encounter from his historical account details regarding the depth of America’s mostly-concealed depravity post-World War II. The facts were legion: American scientists, eugenicists, industrialists, militarists and ideologues teamed with Nazi émigrés in abundance upon American soil (at the invitation of our Government no less!) in a remorseless effort to “protect” our republic from communism and in the wake altered our country’s values with their fiendish prescriptions to build a new world freed from the threat of the Marxist dialectic. The undesirable aftereffects of this bad medicine plague us still. Although invisible to all but a discerning few, pilgrim Winthrop’s “City set on a hill” now resembles Dante’s Inferno on a mountaintop. As Billy Graham’s wife Ruth once said, “If God doesn’t judge America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!” No wonder such evangelical luminaries like the late David Wilkerson saw Babylon’s sudden destruction fulfilled in America! That idyllic picture of our nation which we’d like to affirm has assuredly been blurred. Our country is now a faint image… a shadowy silhouette of her former self. Nevertheless, most red-blooded Americans remain convinced (despite increasing evidence to the contrary) that our global humanitarian vision abides. Most profess this consensus rosy-colored reality prevails – revitalized with an oft-repeated appeal of “God bless America” anytime an unforeseen adversary threatens our American dream.
What is even more discouraging: the not-so-independent press fails to play their constructive role as a conscience for civil or political morality. With few exceptions, journalists are now oblivious to our nation’s deficiencies. The occasional voice crying in the wilderness (I have in mind foreign policy critics like Chalmers Johnson or Norm Chomsky) has no public platform for expression except the seldom watched documentary available in the “backroom” of video store or a hard-to-find download on the Internet. The “Mike Wallaces” of Sixty Minutes, if they are to be found at all, are scarce when they should be vocal and visible in the public square.
Notwithstanding, the complicit press and our ascendant intelligence operatives, teaming up in an unspoken but obvious alliance to mislead, continues to churn out the most outlandish geopolitical hogwash. Our latest dose of “farsighted” analysis (I speak sarcastically of course) was foisted on the American public with the publication of a 140-page report released in December, 2012, by the National Intelligence Council (surely a misnomer) – citing “trends” wherein America and the world are facing “a critical juncture in human history, which could lead to widely contrasting futures.” This successful quest for prosaic ambiguity was offered by Chairman Christopher Kojm. The most highly touted “game-changers” – sites Kojm – are led by our “crisis-prone” global economy (this disingenuous metaphor is sure to offend even the most cautious theorist of conspiratorial activity!) “Black swans,” like the collapse of the Euro or the juggernaut that is China’s economy, threaten America’s place in the world. And yet, the meandering report drones on, warning of global warming, an 8.3 billion world population by 2030, and a host of other gloomy prospects which “could” diminish the sphere’s only super power. Good grief, Scotty: even the Government now sounds like date-setting millenarians which, upon reflection, could compel our good brother Hal Lindsey to wince from incredulity!
But wait: there’s the final conclusion and summary committed to our trust by Bloomberg News reporter Nicole Gaouette. She cautions the U.S. role in this new world order grows hard to predict since the degree to which domination continues over the international system will vary widely. After waiting for the gasps to quiet, she quotes from the Report: “Despite that, the United States most likely will remain ‘first among equals’ in 2030 (?)…”[v]
Did you catch that? “First among equals?” The question mark is mine because the 800 lb. Gorilla sits upon a bench beside measly chimps Gaouette terms “equals.” Despite that dubious observation, she regards the Gorilla “first” among them! Such an oxymoronic statement could only be brought to you by the aforesaid co-opted press via a so-called “intelligence gathering” establishment playing rope-a-dope in a vain and surreptitious effort to dismiss the continuance of US leadership. “Lead from behind?” – please! If our leadership doesn’t endure, we must immediately inquire, “Whose behind would be left?”
After diminishing American superiority in Nobel Prizes, Olympic Medals, educational prowess, and (to say the VERY least military might), her analysis crescendos with this über-cautious, and perhaps worse, disingenuous deprecation: Our economic clout has run amuck. Oh? Well, pray tell – how is it that our President can, first, operate our third installment of quantitative easing, aka “QE3” (Obama’s effort to stimulate the economy to the tune of $40B per month); secondly, attract three buyers of our Treasury Bills for every one we offer; and thirdly, pay next to nothing in interest to the world’s most finicky “investors” cornering their assets? The conclusion is as plain as the picture of a particular dead president on a dollar bill: despite protests to the contrary (and scare tactics by both politicians and prophets alike) the one remaining currency of unquestioned value on the planet is American. While it may be shrinking in stature, its resiliency easily outdoes the rest!
Consequently, I must conclude that either powerful mesmerizing additives abound in the ether hanging over yonder hinterlands (which gives rise to naysayers of U.S. hegemony) or the optimists championing European ascendancy are smoking something still barely illegal (in most spots) beyond anything concocted by artisans from Arcata, California. With that last sortie, surely you’ve surmised that I’m at the point of absolute zero tolerance for geopolitical numbskulls with an overweening sense of their prophetic perspective in the grand scheme of things. Their misinformed analytic arrogance is surpassed only by their myopia regarding of the all-but-obvious: America has no intention of rolling up its bed and stealing away into the night. The U.S.A. may no longer be that “City on the hill” but it is clear to even the most amateur observer that we fully intend to remain its king.
Just the thought of evangelical prophetic brethren gainsaying “American exceptionalism” because the rapture of the American church (amongst a few others outside our borders) will reduce our stranglehold on the global economy, military dominance, and world affairs generally, makes one think our most zealous Bible-believing prophets have forgotten who sits so comfortably at the controls. Perhaps it’s because the Lindseys and LaHayes assume we’ve done far better in evangelizing America than we normally acknowledge? After the rapture, assuming it occurs before the Tribulation (a matter upon which Woodward and I disagree by the way), I must raise several interrogatives: Just how many airplanes do you suppose will remain in the sky unmanned? How many nuclear reactors will be left unattended? How many Wall Street markets will go askew for want of brokers and market-makers? What will be the number of cars careening out of control? How many “Jack and Jills” will go up the hill paired only to come down single? Far fewer than the popular evangelical view espouses!
That is why I differ (and I know Woodward does too) with those who assume the rapture is the root cause for the resignation of America from its role of undisputed leadership in the world. Furthermore, as if my well-meaning sarcasm isn’t pressing my luck with the reader already, I venture that those who believe the wingless lift-off of millions of Americans to fly the friendly skies will promptly lead to our undoing, such adherents lack a good grasp on the reality of our situation here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. To suppose it a factual statement worthy of affirmation, that many tens of millions of our fellow citizens will be saved from the wrath to come (because they have individually and sincerely received Jesus Christ as their personal savior), is itself a supposition worthy of indictment. I would suppose just the opposite! The unsaved are legion.The way I read biblical prophecy,America is not destined only to diminish… to go away quietly into that good night… but to be utterly destroyed (in fulfillment of the prophecies of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and John the Revelator) because far too many of its fiscal, military, and political leaders have little hint of Christian sentiments, let alone advocate the salvation it alone would supply our society.
So in summation, while Doug Woodward and I do not agree on the timing of certain prophetic events, his argument in The Ascendancy of Antichrist in America is one I wholly support: The fault in America lies mostly within its “citadel of corruption” whose cup is full of putridity and from whence the merchants of the earth are made rich through her wares. “Come out of her My people, that you be not partakers of her sins and her plagues!” (Rev. 18:4)
We must be mindful: Israel was delivered from Egypt by the Almighty’s miraculous intervention. I dare say that John’s impassioned plea for God’s people to depart Babylon and the snare of her world-wide abominations may only be realized through the rapture of the Saints rather than a well-timed voluntary exodus. For like the majority of reticent Hebrews who refused to return to Jerusalem from Babylon with Zerubbabel, I predict the vast majority won’t leave their familiar confines since they reject the reality I assert: we reside smack dab in the middle of the subject “city” of God’s greatest antipathy: Babylon the Great! The U.S.A. is the Daughter of Babylon!
And yet, hope springs eternal. Will the perceptive have eyes to see? Could it be that after reading the text laid out here, the reader will discern that the 800 lb. gorilla we know as the United States of America, atop the bench adjacent, exists under the monstrous monkey suit metaphorically conveyed by the name Babylon? Will the reader conclude as Woodward and I have, that this oversized ape has no intention of giving up his seat to another monkey of lesser girth? Hopefully, that is the case. Babylon the Gorilla, er, rather… the Great, will only be unseated when the Lord of Heaven, says, “Enough!” And with that pronouncement, the salvation of our Great God will safeguard His people in the twinkling of an eye and unleash a fiery judgment on the unrepentant long past due for kindling.
[i] S. Franklin Logsdon – Sr. Pastor Moody Memorial Church, Chicago – c. 1967
[iii] Rolleston’s book was recently republished in 2011. See http://www.amazon.com/Notes-Apocalypse-Explained-Hebrew-Scriptures/dp/1173735348
[v] Nicole Gaouette, Bloomberg News, “Report sees world transformed…Forecast predicts falling U.S. power, spreading wealth, scarcer resources,” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-10/u-s-intelligence-agencies-see-a-different-world-in-2030.html.