Wherein I follow the truth and make some of you uncomfortable, and others angry. I am aware that among those are some of my friends. All I ask is that you find my mistakes.
It is undeniable that when one of the angels speaks to John
17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. 5 And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
When I saw her, I marveled greatly. 7 But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. 9 This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated
that this is a reference to Rome. Rome is the city founded on seven hills. Likewise, when Constantine built up Byzantium into Constantinople as the “New Rome”, it was consciously built upon seven hills. Babylon, the Harlot, the Necropolis, is spread across the seas, and there are two beasts and one beast has a false prophet. I do not claim to have a mind with wisdom as in full, but I have enough wisdom to know I need more.
Revelation is a puzzle and I don’t mean to set out what it all means here and now. And there is a lot about Babylon in Revelation which I have not quoted. What is Rome? I mean: What is meant by Rome as Babylon? Is it significant that Rome and Istanbul both are set on seven hills? Are they references to the two Roman Empires…or the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church…or the Roman Catholic Church and Islam? When Babylon falls and breaks into three pieces, is that a reference to the two great splits of the Church–and so including Protestants? I don’t know.
I do know that it has to do with Rome, and things that look like Rome, or are symbolized by Rome. I know the end has not yet come. I know that there is a lot of strife described in the text and that there has been a lot of strife in the world around Rome (both physically and spiritually) and there are many things I cannot square with the Roman Church and what is said in the Bible. Let us all submit to the tradition of the Church, but let us never exclude the Bible from Tradition! It seems to me Rome has done that…does that. Protestants and Orthodox have and do too, but at least you can suggest that with them without being dragged down a rabbit-hole of nonsense and–ultimately–gnosticism. The teaching of the Church of Rome is that Gnosticism is a heresy, but the practice of it is Knowledge for me, but ignorance for thee. There is no going back from the Council of Trent except to either eat their way through seven mountains of crow…or destruction.
I am also quick to consider that I am not free from influence. I have been listening to those podcasts and audiobooks; several of which have Roman Catholic thought at their centers. Tolkien was RC. The NRx leaders (and therefore flagship podcast) are are RC. The Reformation series was RC-centric. It did not praise Protestants in any way. But one of the several aspects that stuck out as a back-handed compliment that Madden noted about Martin Luther was that Luther was supremely lucky. Every time Charles V (The “Holy Roman Emporer” was about to put Luther to the torch with the blessing of the various Popes, something got in the way: The Turks, the French (The French are notorious as villains with cause.),…foreign kings in general. Some catastrophe happens which meant parole or pardon for Luther. Someone was looking out for him.