Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blasting Babylonian Businessmen

With a mighty voice an angel from heaven with great authority shouted,

“Mighty Babylon is fallen! She has become a resort and dwelling place for demons...all nations have drunk the wine of her passionate unchastity, and the rulers and leaders of the earth have joined with her in committing fornication (idolatry), and THE BUSINESSMEN OF THE EARTH [emphasis mine] have become rich with the wealth of her excessive luxury and wantonness” (Revelation 18:1-3 AMPC).

“Then I heard another voice from heaven say: ‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes” (Revelation 1:4-5 NIV).


“Flee out of the midst of Babylon! Let every man save his life! Let not destruction come upon you through her [punishment for] sin and guilt. For it is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; He will render to her a recompense” (Jeremiah 51:6 AMPC).

Pragmatism and capitalism are still heralded as virtues, but now as always, they are most often cloaks of sin, of self-promotion and unrestrained greed respectively. The ideas of “practicality” and “pay appropriate to the work expended” are correctly virtuous insofar as ambition is modified by moral constraint, but practiced without moral constraint, ambition is tyrannical.
The Chaldeans of old were the Babylonians (Ezra 5:12 states “Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon [is] the Chaldean”), and it is of no small significance that their characterization fits the characterization of “the businessmen of the earth” perfectly. God called them,

“That fierce and impetuous people who march throughout the earth to seize dwelling places which are not theirs. They are dreaded and feared; their justice and authority originate with themselves. All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. They mock at kings and rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress and heap up rubble to capture it. Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god” (Habakkuk 1:6-7, 9-11 NASB).

And such are all those who refuse to walk out of Adam (out of country, ethnicity, and family influence) into Christ (the Promised Land—a place beyond our grasp that we can only come to like children into adulthood, in increments based on growth spurts being enlightened in stages to the full realization of what it means to be mature). Abram/Abraham, the father of faith, was required to leave “Ur of the Chaldeans,” to leave country, native family (ethnicity), and immediate family, to go to a place beyond his initial grasp (see Genesis 12:1-3). “Ur” means “shine or flame,” and “Chaldeans” are Babylonian “magicians” and/or “astrologers” (those confused about the way to get right with God; no one gets there through natural blood lines!). Thus God essentially called Abram to leave the flame or shine (the allure) of his native reality, that is, deception. In other words, come out of the smoke-and-mirror-reality of your person as defined by your natural blood ties (your native Adamic nature); come out of the natural light that family, ethnicity and country give to a place where God enlarges your vision, influence, and reality. Come out of the natural to the supernatural; come out of the earthly to the heavenly. In contrast to where God is taking us, family, ethnicity and nationality reality is delusional. That is why Jesus says, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).

Ambition is fierceness and impetuousness personified, and it is grounded in Adam (who is cursed), in self (who needs to be dead to the Christian via the Lord’s cross); business acumen is lauded by the world, but in reality, it is energized by an antichrist spirit. “Now the Pharisees, WHO WERE LOVERS OF MONEY, were listening to all these things and were sneering and ridiculing Him [Jesus the Christ!]. So He said to them, ‘You are the ones who declare yourselves just and upright in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts [your thoughts, your desires, your secrets]; FOR THAT WHICH IS HIGHLY ESTEEMED AMONG MEN IS DETESTABLE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD’” (Luke 16:14-15 AMP). I think many will disagree with me in this writing (citing among other things, how it is ONLY the LOVE OF MONEY and not money itself that is evil), but as the saying goes, they are “blinded by ambition,” and therefore they cannot REALLY see (or genuinely understand) what it is I am saying. Immediately preceding the love of money statement in Scripture is this statement: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9 NIV). THEN it says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. BUT YOU, MAN OF GOD, FLEE FROM ALL THIS, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:10-11 NIV).

A few days ago (about 1/24/2016) I came across a video clip on Facebook that basically associated some of the “robber barons” (Henry Ford in particular) to Nazism and war profiteering. In a kinder light, these “robber barons” are called “captains of industry,” but just as a rose by any other name still smells as sweet, so conversely, horse-hockey by any other name still stinks. I also saw a video clip not so long ago about “The Giving Pledge,” a “moral commitment not a legal contract” for Billionaires to give away at least half their wealth to charity/philanthropic causes. It was formed by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates (seems nice, but it flies in the face of this reality, “Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them”—Psalm 39:6 NKJV). Though I cannot speak directly to their motives, their charitable behavior NOW after a life-long pursuit of worldly riches—and only from abundance (thus not diminishing their indulgence)—is convenient and self-aggrandizing. I cannot help but think of these words: “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on’” (Mark 12:41-44 NIV).

Though the widow’s mite is stronger than the might of the rich, it is, sadly, outside the purview of rich people’s wisdom. “The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern” (Proverbs 29:7 NASB). No matter how they couch their terms, and no matter how ingeniously they bilk the masses, however, wealth of the magnitude that gazillionaires accumulate cannot be made righteously; it cannot be made without “adding house to house,” and by so doing, displacing people out of their homes and ultimately out of their inheritances. Indeed, “Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land” (Isaiah 5:8 NIV); “Woe (judgment is coming) to those who devise wickedness and plot evil on their beds! When morning comes, they practice evil BECAUSE IT IS IN THE POWER OF THEIR HANDS [emphasis mine]. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them away. They oppress and rob a man and his house, a man and his inheritance” (Micah 2:1-2 AMP).

What prompted this writing was my response to that video clip I referred to previously, the one about war profiteering. I said, “The primary reason I don't invest in the stock market is because it makes me complicitous in whatever the many and varied companies do that I would of course be attached to if I invest there. I cannot do that blindly, and no matter how much I research, I can never be fully apprised of what is really going on behind closed doors. Backroom deals and underhanded practices and slave labor issues, etc., seem more plausible than not, and this makes things suspect at best and downright unrighteous at worst. “Come out of her [Babylon]” is one of Revelation's strongest decrees. It is right to work hard with our own hands and be rewarded commensurate to the effort expended. It is not, however, proper to “work margins” and increase wealth by the gambling scheme of speculation. To operate in the stock market is to put a slack hand in a limited pocket (no matter how big that pocket seems to be). Too many slack hands trying to become rich off the working backs of the working hands of others!”

Watchman Nee said it like this,

“I suppose we all know that trading became quite prominent with Tyre and will end with Babylon of Revelation 18. Commencing with Ezekiel 28 we are told in the Scriptures that the one who symbolized trading was the king of Tyre who actually represented Satan: “By the abundance of thy traffic [trade] they filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned” (Ez. 28.16a). We would therefore do well to keep in mind that that occupation which aims at making a profit at another’s expense and not increasing the world’s wealth is not God’s appointed employment for His children. It is rather a satanic employment, in that it works according to an evil principle.”

Ultimately, thank God, the meek inherit the land, not the rich! Therefore, “Be not afraid when [an ungodly] man becomes rich, when the wealth and glory of his house are increased; for when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not descend after him. Though while he lives he counts himself happy and prosperous—and though PEOPLE PRAISE YOU WHEN YOU DO WELL FOR YOURSELF [emphasis mine]—he shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never again see the light” (Psalm 49:16-20 AMP). No rather, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:6 NKJV).

Babylonian businessmen are those who confuse monetary wealth on earth for true riches in heaven. Especially strident and egregious in our day, is the repackaging of greed and avarice in biblically acceptable and palatable terms like “stewardship” and “accountability.” In terms of appeasement, the rich think to find favor with God. “And the daughter of Tyre [the King of Tyre represents Satan; thus “the daughter of Tyre” is no doubt his child] will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor” (Psalm 45:12 NKJV). But the apostle James, in no uncertain terms, goes beyond the concept of evil being only about the “love of money”; indeed, the very fact of being rich is condemned! First James asked three questions: (1) “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (2) “Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?” (3) “Do they [the rich] not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?” (James 2:5-6 NKJV). Then, if that was not enough, he caps his letter off with these words, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you” (James 5:1-6 NKJV).

In the end, it is incumbent upon elders to “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. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NKJV).