By Elizabeth Prata
Rome wasn’t built in a day and it didn’t collapse in a day. The Roman Republic lasted a bit more than 500 years, one of the best examples of a representative democracy the world has seen. However, when the first emperor came in it spelled their doom. When the city was a Republic the people were supposedly sovereign, but then it became an Empire with a dictator who thought he was a god. Corruption, moral decay, and judicial rot subsequently infected the Empire and it became an unwieldy, lumbering, ripe-for-sacking has-been.
Encyclopedia Britannica writes, During the early Roman Republic, important new political offices and institutions were created, and old ones were adapted to cope with the changing needs of the state. According to the ancient historians, these changes and innovations resulted from a political struggle between two social orders, the patricians and the plebeians, that began during the first years of the republic and lasted for more than 200 years.
Patricians were the aristocrats, higher-ups with money. The plebeians were the common folks. The gap widened, and with it, the desire for the higher ups to maintain the status quo and keep their power, privileges, and most of all, their wealth.
Encyclopedia Britannica again, For a time the common people were placated with bread and circuses, as the authorities attempted to divert their attention from the gap between their standard of living and that of the aristocracy. Slavery fueled the Roman economy, and its rewards for the wealthy turned out to be disastrous for the working classes. Tensions grew and civil wars erupted. The ensuing period of unrest and revolution marked the transition of Rome from a republic to an empire.
And the rest is history, Edward Gibbons’ History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Back when I’d first read the prophecies in Revelation 6 and 13 and 18 I looked around at the world, especially the US, and wondered, how will we get from here to there? The US seemed so solid, durable, permanent. We were thriving and would seemingly go on forever. I knew we would for sure get there, the Bible promises it as a global future. But I was perplexed as to how that change would come about. Let me explain the change of which I speak.
Revelation 6 prophesies economic Armageddon upon the world. It shows inflation, famine, want, need, and it also shows luxuries, trade and an ongoing economic system, albeit one of a one world currency and one world economy, but people are still buying and trading. Some people. Certainly not all people.
The Third Seal: Famine: When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” I looked, and behold, a black horse, and the one who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6).
A denarius was the coin of the day and back in those times it was about a day’s pay. A quart of wheat made flour for bread, but only for one person. Barley makes heavy, less tasty black bread, and the poor and the slaves used it because it was cheaper. Even at that, the presence of the scales indicates rationing, or careful measuring of the item to the purchaser due to scarcity. Inflation does that, makes things scarce. If it took a whole day’s pay to buy enough for one loaf of bread, this is poverty that inhibits life, not just lifestyle. They will be barely subsisting.
However, the oil and the wine were items the rich used even though they were expensive. (Proverbs 21:17; Jeremiah 31:12; Psalm 104:15). These items are noted for being on the tables of the wealthy. The Black Horse will be a judgment but will affect the common folks the most. They will be sorely pressed during the early days of the Tribulation, though Revelation 18 shows that in the end even the rich do not escape judgment.
In Revelation 18 we see that when the tail end of that economy crashes down there are three groups of people bemoan the loss. The Kings of the Earth, the Apostate Church, and the Merchants wail at the loss of the world’s luxuries and with them, the money they had gained from their ill-gotten trade and partnership with the evil church.
“For all the nations have fallen because of the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich from the excessive wealth of her luxury.” (Revelation 18:3)
Plebeians are in dire need but the ‘patricians’ do not care that they starve on the streets. They do not care that inflation has ruined the economy, or made them re-form the economy, they just want their wealth. It’s all about money.
They (the kings of the earth) commit fornication with Babylon. They love the systems of the harlot. The apostate church loves the world for the wealth she can obtain from the riches of the world; and, of course, the world gladly welcomes the love of the apostate church because she promises to open the door of Heaven to all who PAY WELL. There is a third group mentioned here: "the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies." This group follows the apostate system for gain. There has always been a class of people who join religious systems for what they can get out of religion. They use the church as a stepping stone to advance their business interests. Babylon will offer great temptation to such people. The abundance of her luxuries will certainly attract the merchants of the earth and the merchants will become rich thereby. Therefore, when the system is destroyed, these merchants will weep and wail over the ruin of their source of riches. Source: Oliver B. Greene "The Revelation Verse-By-Verse Study"
How will the world come to be that way? Aside from God ordaining it and providentially moving every moment of life on earth toward that time, from our perspective, it happens incrementally to the moment when money becomes more important that human souls. (Revelation 18:13)
The first thing in how it happens is that your leaders have to disrespect the rule of law. God raises up leaders in governments to set ethical and moral boundaries in order to keep society in check. When individuals or groups violate those boundaries (rule of law) there must be repercussions. (censure, arrests, trials, etc). With no repercussions addressing law-breakers, society founders. Government is supposed to restrain sin, but when government is the biggest perpetrator of sin, the populace loses its moral compass. Just as in the Bible it says that a student goes no higher than his teacher, in the secular world a citizenry goes no higher than its leaders.
I remember the Impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998. Most of America followed it closely, likely due to the unfortunate relating of titillating details at the hearings and on the news. Most of America was not in favor of the Impeachment however. They thought that a man’s moral compass was separate from his ability to do the job. Clinton’s job rating remained high throughout the impeachment, despite his immoral peccadilloes being put on parade.
Even though I was unsaved at the time, I realized that man in general was morally corrupt. It seemed obvious that most Presidents had, in one way or another, been morally suspect. It seemed to me that a man cannot even reach high levels of power without compromising on ethical issues and succumbing to moral temptations that come along due to his power. The man might even begin to feel especially entitled to sample the moral wares flinging herself at him.
I remember also, however, that the issue at root of Clinton’s impeachment was not moral. It was the rule of law. I seemed to be in the minority with this one. Clinton obstructed justice, lied under oath, and perjured himself. Yes, it was over a moral issue (infidelity) but the rule of law must remain intact, no matter who is pressing against it, even the President. I felt that the example at highest levels of setting aside of the Rule of Law for personal gain was going to have dramatically deleterious effects on America.
I think I was right. I personally believe it was a watershed moment. It seemed to me to be a tremendous lurch forward on God’s prophetic plan in His crumbling of the foundations of the country.
"Obstruction of justice and lying under oath by a President inevitably subverts the respect for law which is essential to the wellbeing of our constitutional system. Such misconduct by the President sets an example of lawlessness and corruption, an example that cannot fail to have an 'adverse impact on the system of government.' ... If this committee ignores an act of perjury by the President, what impact will that have on the next generation, on our rule of law and our justice system? I would not be on this committee if I did not have a love for the law and a belief that any citizen can seek justice with complete confidence that intentional falsehoods under oath are not acceptable." Senate document on the Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton
Further, the legal profession itself did not stand up for its ideals when the impeachment occurred. This next quote is from the College of William & Mary Law School/ William & Mary Law School Scholarship Repository,
The legal profession also failed to perform admirably throughout the President's legal proceedings. First, leaders of the bar, law school deans, and prominent law professors failed "in general to emphasize the importance of the rule of law in general and of telling the truth in depositions and in testimony before a grand jury, in particular, and to point out that Clinton is a member of the Arkansas bar and that the conduct in which he engaged would ordinarily result in disbarment" Faculty Publications Faculty and Deans 2000 The Perils of Presidential Impeachment Michael J. Gerhard.
How do we get from a thriving, rule-following, powerful nation to one that has either collapsed or is subsumed under a One World Government Revelation predicts? One where the rich are so far above the poor that the rich are blinded and deaf to the piteous cries of the starving? This is how. First you set aside the rule of law. Then you make the power-spheres in which you are given into govern your personal playground. Then your conscience becomes so seared by constant sampling of financial and immoral wares that you don’t care about your own country sinking under you. You just grab more and then more. It’s like the cartoon character sawing the branch but he’s on the outer edge of the branch, and will fall once the branch he is sitting on is sawn through.
In the last 23 years since the Clinton rule of law issue, our nation has come to the place where the patrician media, medicine, education, legal profession, large corporations, and so on don’t even try to hide their degenerate attitude toward the plebeians. Every area is so corrupt. They’re not even hiding it any more. They are saying the quiet parts out loud.
Imagine how bad it will be when the restraining influence of the Spirit and the restraining influence of the church are gone and they just power and money grab. Inflation through the roof, a dollar bill worth pennies, and hearts as cold as stone.
The antidote for all that is to be part of God’s economy NOW. To repent of your sins and cast yourself onto Jesus as Lord and Savior. He forgives sins and brings you into the Kingdom, where you will live forever in glory. He is the Door. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in an economy of perfection where everything is just and there is no corruption anywhere? Where the sole Leader is perfect, holy, and has only our best interests in mind? Where love is pure? I long for that day.
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give water to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life, without cost. The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” (Revelation 21:5-7)