“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
The above poem by the Irish Poet W.B Yeats, written in 1919, may as well have been written in January 2021. It’s appropriately, somewhat prophetically entitled, “The Second Coming.”
The events that took place on January 6th, 2021 in the United States took many by surprise. Shock and disbelief were writ large. Thousands of demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol, went right inside the inner sanctums of the building, caroused, and shattered glass planes. At the end of it, five people lay pulse-less including a police officer who was fatally hit by a fire extinguisher in the violent melee.
The demonstrators were protesting against alleged voter fraud in the recent elections where Joe Biden was declared the winner. This election has put America on edge for a while and has been one of the most divisive in history.
Despite the fact that courts in the U.S have thrown out practically every case of voter fraud, elections are complex exercises and some irregularities may or may not have taken place. That is beside the crux and gist of this article. There is one aspect of this election and this riot that should not escape the attention of keen Bible students. It is the role and involvement of the church; more precisely the evangelical church.
Trump and American Christianity
The Trump Administration rode the wave of political victory four years ago largely due to the support of the evangelical church. He had the firm support of 80% of white evangelicals against Hillary Clinton’s measly 16%. In the recent election, exit polls showed Trump got 75% of this bloc, hardly a significant drop. To a large extent, this base held firm.
Before the events of January 6th, there was a march in Washington D.C. in December. Perhaps intent to frame it like the one recorded of the Israelites in the Bible, the organizers called it, “The Jericho March.” The invitation was to “patriots, people of faith and all those who want to take back America”.
The founder of the Jericho March claimed that God poked him in the side and woke him up. “God said it’s not over.” Then God showed him a vision of the Jericho Marches. Then God introduced him to a woman who had the same vision. And there was a troubling rider, somewhat implicit. None of this stuff was to be questioned. There were no references to the Bible at all. The principle of to the “law and the testimony” (Isaiah 8:20) was dismissed.
An American-born Israeli man received permission from his Orthodox rabbi to break the Sabbath to blow his shofar at the Jericho March. Somehow he thought that a Rabbi could release him from obedience to God and from explicit precepts of the Bible.
Roman Catholic representatives invoked the Virgin Mary and the saints. The evangelicals, who traditionally reject the intercession of the saints, this time responded with fervent “Amens” and wild cheers.
Before this, some few tense days after the election, a video arose of Paula White, President Donald Trump’s spiritual advisor, fervently summoning African and Latin American angels to intercede for President Trump so that he would win the election caused no small stir. In the video that went viral, Paula White saw angels rushing from Africa to help secure Trump’s victory. Now that Biden’s victory has been legally confirmed, one wonders what happened to the angels. One viewer’s comment brought some comic relief. He joked perhaps the African angels may have been denied visas at the American embassy.
And surprisingly, the crowd that stormed U.S Congress involved many professed Christians. In fact, the Atlantic Magazine called it, “A Christian Insurrection”. The mob carried signs and flags declaring “Jesus saves!” and “God, Guns & Guts made America, let’s keep all three”. The Atlantic described how on the National Mall, one man waved the flag of Israel above a sign begging passers-by to say “yes” to Jesus. “Shout if you love Jesus!” someone yelled, and the crowd cheered.
For the entire duration of Trump’s presidency, White evangelicals have been surprisingly his key support base, overlooking his personal faults, separating the man from his policies, and carving a pivotal, prophetic place for him with regard to end-time events. In short, they have all but said that character does not matter so long as a leader is pro-life and pro-Israel.
But it has not always been like this. That is the reason this new perspective should be carefully studied.
The Southern Baptists are by far the largest segment of the evangelical group according to statistics from Pew Research. In 1998, during Clinton’s presidency, they “urged “all Americans through a formally minuted resolution, “to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office”
Even as late as 2016, Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary saw “evangelical support for Trump as a horrifying embarrassment — a price for possible political gain that is simply unthinkable and too high to pay.”
By 2020, the change in view was all but complete. The political foundations of American Christianity seem to have fully emerged.
Why is all this important?
It is wise not to be so confident about interpreting prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. Reading current events into unfulfilled prophecy is fraught with great risk and danger. Yet I have reasonable conviction that we are sleeping through a revolution. End-time prophecy is fulfilling. In the book of Revelation, John saw a woman riding a beast (Revelation 17). In the Bible, a woman represents a church (2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:23-29 KJV). A beast represents the government or civil power (Daniel 7:23 KJV). When Scripture depicts the woman of Revelation 17 riding the beast, it is depicting that the rider is in control and directing the beast.
In this end-time prophecy, therefore, we see that the church, represented by the woman, will at some time point control the civil power represented by the beast. Now consider again the words of Albert Mohler in 2016 that electing President Trump would be “a price for political gain”.
The Three Angels’ Messages
There are three angels brought to view in the 14th chapter of Revelation. Each of these three angels has a message. These three messages terminate in the 12th verse of the same chapter. Immediately after this, the second coming of Christ is visually represented. Another angel comes out of the temple, “crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe” (Revelation 12: 15).
The first angel warns us to “fear God and give Him glory for the hour of His judgment has come.” (Rev 14: 7). The second angel announces that “Babylon is fallen” (Rev 14: 8). The third angel warns us against worshipping the beast or his image.
My focus is on the second angel’s message who announces that Babylon is fallen. But why, pray, is Babylon fallen? It is in the text. “Because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication”. Wine can mean many things. More importantly, wine represents doctrine. When Jesus said that you cannot put new wine in old wineskins (Mark 2:22) he meant you cannot put new teaching in an unchanged heart.
In the end-times, people should hear the message of the fall of Babylon primarily because of false teaching. I want to suggest that the false teaching that at this time is coming to the fore is that personal character does not matter. If personal character does not matter in the public sphere it should not matter in the private sphere. Consistency is the essence of virtue.
There are eerie echoes of the fall of Babylon even in the secular press. In a New York Magazine article, the writer argues that “Evangelicals bought power, and the bill is coming due. The price is their Christian witness, the credibility of their redemption by God. Evangelicalism won’t disappear after Trump, but its alliance with an unpopular and brutal president could alienate all but the most zealous.”
In a New York Times article, Elizabeth Dias presents a sobering, raw perspective: Evangelicals did not support Mr. Trump in spite of who he is. They supported him because of who he is, and because of who they are. And there is the observation that “Evangelical” in many circles has grown so synonymous with “hypocrite” that some organizations are beginning to abandon the name!
We don’t know how everything will unfold. There could even be a danger with this obsessive preoccupation with end-time events. However, it would smack of negligence and contempt for the word of God if we did not utilize and study the portions of prophecy that are revealed and relevant at this time.
We have seen the Christian church brazenly seeking power just as prophecy foretold. In its quest for power, her fallen character has been revealed.
The following is a comment by a person who was raised as an evangelical. It is quite heart-rending:
“I am convinced that either i) Evangelicalism was never really about the gospel but rather a pursuit of wealth, power, influence and protection of personal interests or ii) the beginnings and intentions were pure but corruption crept in along the way.
Either way, this has been such an eye-opener. Whatever has happened this month and indeed for the past four years has changed the landscape of Evangelicalism forever. This may be the beginning of the end. Indeed, there is a good number of us contemplating walking away from the “Evangelical” moniker, if not the faith, completely.”
Is there a message for such heart-broken people at this time? Something to the effect that although Babylon is fallen, God has His people whom He is calling out of the false system? (Revelation 18: 4)
This is exactly what was been prophesied by Ellen White:
“The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of a union of Church and State, the inroads of Spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power,—all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands have never listened to words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from Heaven. The people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? The ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears, and quiet the awakened conscience. But many refuse to be satisfied with the mere authority of men, and demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord.”
What a time to be alive!
 Ellen White, Spirit of Prophecy Vol IV, Pg. 424.