Myth: 1) A popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal: a star whose fame turned her into a myth; the pioneer myth of suburbia.
2) A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology
The ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, recorded that Babylon’s encircling walls towered over 300 feet above the Euphrates – making the renowned city a seemingly impregnable fortress. But on one night (October 6th, 539 B.C.E.) the mighty City of Babylon was toppled by the Medes and Persians – led by King Cyrus. Commissioned by Jehovah himself through Isaiah’s prophetic writings 200 years earlier, Cyrus then decreed that the Jews were free to leave Babylon and return to rebuild the City of Jehovah, which Nebuchadnezzar had demolished nearly 70 years before. A remnant of Jews seized the opportunity and got out of Babylon.
As momentous as the fall of Babylon was then, the Bible foretells of another Babylon which is destined to fall – Babylon the Great.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Babylon the Great to be the entire world system of organized religion. And as was the case with its imperial predecessor, the sudden downfall of Babylon the Great opens the way for God’s people to make their escape. Here is how Revelation words it:
“After these things I saw another angel descending from heaven, with great authority; and the earth was lighted up from his glory. And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: ‘She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen, and she has become a dwelling place of demons and a lurking place of every unclean exhalation and a lurking place of every unclean and hated bird! For because of the wine of the anger of her fornication all the nations have fallen victim, and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the traveling merchants of the earth became rich due to the power of her shameless luxury.’”
Following the fall comes the angel’s call: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”
If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses you no doubt believe that you have followed the biblical command to “get out of her my people.” If you were a member of a church before becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses more than likely you were encouraged to write a letter requesting to have your name removed from the church roster. By withdrawing from your former religious affiliation you were said to have gotten out of Babylon. But if Jehovah’s Witnesses have obeyed the command to “get out of her!” that means that Babylon the Great has already fallen. But has it?
As odd as it may seem to an outsider, the Watchtower Society actually teaches that Babylon the Great fell in 1919. What proof is offered? Indeed, what has convinced millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the world-rocking, apocalyptic fall of modern Babylon has already taken place? Basically, the mere fact that the Watchtower Society exists and enjoys a measure of success despite past clergy-inspired opposition is considered overwhelming proof that Babylon the Great has fallen – retaining no power over God’s people to hold them in spiritual captivity. (For more detailed discussion of the topic see essay: When does it Fall?)
It is also believed that God adversely judged Babylon because of its support for the blood-spill of WWI. As an example of the Society’s view, referring to itself as the prophetic watchman in the January 1st, 2000, issue of the Watchtower, we read:
“What did this watchman see? Again, Jehovah’s watchman, his witness class, announced: “She has fallen! Babylon has fallen, and all the graven images of her gods he [Jehovah] has broken to the earth!” (Isaiah 21:9) This time, following World War I, it is Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, that is toppled from its perch of authority. (Jeremiah 50:1-3; Revelation 14:8) No wonder! The Great War, as it was then called, started in Christendom, where the clergy on both sides fueled the conflagration by preaching the cream of their youth into the trenches. What a disgrace! In 1919, Babylon the Great could not prevent the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known, from escaping from their inactive state and embarking on a worldwide witnessing campaign that still continues. (Matthew 24:14) That signaled a fall for Babylon the Great, just as the release of Israel in the sixth century B.C.E. signaled a fall for ancient Babylon.”
But did Jehovah really crush the graven images of mystery Babylon to the earth in 1919, as the Watchtower implies? Obviously the religions of this world still exercise tremendous influence over the nations and their rulers. So, what has changed? Did Jehovah humiliate Christendom’s Trinity back then? There is not one shred of proof that he did since the Trinity god still occupies a prominent place in the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of devotees.
If God adversely judged Babylon the Great for her part in fomenting the Great War of 1914 why has babylonish religion been allowed to continue on to this day as a potent force for war? Did Babylon continue on as a world power after Cyrus toppled it? No, of course not. And yet Babylon the Great continues to control the nations after the time the Watchtower says that God crushed her idols to the earth and called all her acts of injustice to mind.
Considering the fact that fundamentalists and extremists from within Christendom and Islam have been doing their part in bringing the world to the brink of a nuclear Clash of Civilization, it would seem that Babylon’s greatest bloodguilt is just ahead.
Since Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God has already executed the initial phase of his earth-shaking judgments against the iniquitous city, and yet Babylon the Great has continued on unfazed since 1919, the choices are simple: either Jehovah’s judgments are ineffectual or the Watchtower’s teaching on the fall of Babylon the Great is a myth.
Besides her complicity in the Great War, another reason offered for Babylon’s supposed fall in 1919 has to do with the clergy’s support of the League of Nations and their refusal to accept Christ’s kingdom as having come in 1914. However, it must be pointed out that even the International Bible Students did not originally believe that Christ’s kingdom came to power in 1914. The Watchtower had convinced the Bible Students that Christ’s presence began back in 1874! The outbreak of the Great War in 1914 was supposed to lead directly into Armageddon. The Watchtower did not formulate its present 1914 doctrine until 1925 – six years after Jehovah is supposed to have rejected Christendom for not accepting that Christ’s presence began in 1914 – something the Watchtower Society did not even teach then! So, essentially, the Watchtower claims that the kingdom came to power in 1914 and no one recognized it at the time– not even Charles Russell and the Watchtower! Yet, in spite of that Jehovah rejected Christendom and chose the Bible Students even though neither one welcomed or announced the presence of Christ as having occurred in 1914.
Another aspect of Babylon’s fall (according to the Watchtower) is their attitude toward the League of Nations. The Watchtower frequently asserts that most of the clergy gave their support to the League of Nations, and for that reason God condemned all religious institutions in the world. But is that really true? The February 1st, 1985, Watchtower, points out that the United States did not actually join the League, saying:
“World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and in the following month the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America publicly declared itself to be in favor of the then-proposed League of Nations. That religious body declared the League to be “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” Ignoring that religious recommendation, for political reasons the United States of America refused to join the League, joining only the World Court. Yet the League went into operation at the start of 1920, and the members of the Federal Council of Churches gave it their blessing and support.”
What “political reasons” did the United States have for not joining the League? The Watchtower does not say. While the liberal-bent Federal Council of Churches endorsed the League, and the Pope of Rome did as well, a significant number of outspoken conservative Christians were actually in opposition to it and apparently they succeeded in persuading the U.S. Senate not to ratify the treaty. In fact, the Fundamentalist movement of today can trace its heritage to a grouping of conservative Christians that coalesced in opposition to the proposed League.
Here are a few eye-opening excerpts from an article written by Markku Ruotsila entitled Conservative American Protestantism and the League of Nations Controversy.
"The emerging fundamentalist movement made its first foray into extra-ecclesiastical politics during the League of Nations controversy of 1919-20. Both of the two main wings of fundamentalism--dispensational premillennialists and conservative Calvinists--took part in this controversy because both of them regarded the proposed League as an important, inherently religious issue. Both kinds of fundamentalists opposed the League, and both used the ratification debate to articulate their own types of Christian anti-internationalism. In the process they lent much Christian rhetoric to the political opponents of the League, the "Irreconcilables," who were interested in exploiting it for their ostensibly purely secular critiques. Despite the fundamentalists' success in preventing League ratification, the controversy made them acutely aware of the political power and appeal of their liberal Protestant rivals. These had exerted themselves on behalf of the League, imparted their own religious complexion to the pro-League argument, and, not least, had managed officially to enlist almost all denominations to their side.
Although historians have not generally recognized it, it was on the League of Nations issue that the battle between the fundamentalists and the liberal Christians was first joined in the political arena. It was this issue that brought dispensationalists and other conservative Protestants together in their first shared political fight, and this issue that first arrayed them outside of the churchly sphere against the liberals. Previously, the two camps had fought battles only on the ecclesiastical and theological planes, on issues related to missionary work, to denominational control, or to creedal contention. After 1920, their battles were explicitly political and affected broad national questions. (1) In between stood the major crossroads of the League of Nations controversy. It was the prefiguration of subsequent political battles during which were shaped the fundamentalists' perception of the forces opposite and of the methods of combat likely to be successful. As much as has been written on the religiopolitical nature of fundamentalism, it is important to reconstruct this earliest, and uniquely international, plane of the fundamentalists' political effort."
Contrary to the Watchtower’s assertion, the International Bible Students were not the only Christians who refused to endorse the League of Nations; not only was there a potent church movement in opposition to it, but the Dispensationalists had nearly an identical world view as the International Bible Students – perceiving the League as an instrument of the antichrist; intended to turn people away from God. In reality, though, it was the International Bible Students who had adopted many of the views taught by the Dispensationalists.
Here is another series of pertinent excerpts from the article on Conservative Protestantism and the League of Nations:
"The Protestant community's most active and passionate opponents of the League of Nations were the dispensational premillennialists of a revivalist evangelical background, or the bulk of the emerging fundamentalist movement. They were anti-internationalists long before the Covenant of the League of Nation had even been sketched, let alone publicly discussed. It is safe to assume that they would have resisted the League even had their liberal rivals not been its apologists. When the League controversy did arise, the dispensationalists then developed their own distinctly dispensationalist critique of international organization. This critique traced the League, and all modern internationalism, to modernist liberal theology, and it ascribed to all three the place that in premillennialist eschatology was reserved for the Antichrist and his allies.
Dispensationalist eschatology taught that the final period of earthly history--that immediately preceding the physical Second Coming of Christ--was a period marked by increasing church apostasy, international war, and autocratic rule, as well as by the rise of democracy and the restoration of the Jews to Palestine. Dispensationalists believed that this period would culminate in the emergence of an anti-Christian world-empire, which Christians were enjoined to caution against and to oppose. This ultimate world-empire would consist of the nations formerly belonging to the Roman Empire, and it would be of "gold and clay," that is, popularly supported but dictatorially led, and legitimized by a new prescribed religion, an apostate form of Christianity. It would attempt the purification and perfection of the world by a modern, secularized form of Chiliasm--by centralized, coercive human effort that had lost its relation to God.
Unlike the original Chiliasts of the Reformation period, who thought that the final empire's ruler would be a great Christian leader, the liberator not only of the Holy Land but of all lands from infidel oppressors of the true believers, dispensationalists of the modern era held that the Antichrist himself would be the final empire's head and that he would use the empire for his anti-Christian purposes.
In particular, the Antichrist would present the goals of peace, prosperity, and unity of mankind as open for human attainment through his empire--when the case was, as William B. Riley stressed, that the "redemption of nations" would be "perfectly impossible" until the returning Christ changed human nature and the conditions of the world, ushering in the Millennium. He Himself would judge and completely destroy His enemy's empire and only then would "brotherhood ... have its first opportunity at proper self-assertion."
Dispensationalists consequently stressed that nothing good or lasting could come of this final world-empire. They opposed it for another reason, rooted in a theory of history that precluded any other possibility. Dispensationalism held that the final empire would be situated in the period after Christians had been "raptured" and taken to the heavens. Consequently, according to their view, there simply would not exist a sufficient pool of goodness in the world to achieve anything of value. None of this was of mere academic consequence, for wherever they looked in the years bracketed by the First World War, dispensationalists saw "signs of the times" that highlighted the nearness of all of these circumstances, and they concluded that the League of Nations was either the apostate empire's immediate precursor and antitype or the very entity itself.
Leading dispensationalists Arno C. Gaebelein, W. E. Blackwood, William B. Riley, R. A. Torrey, and others, condemned the internationalist peacekeeping schemes that were proposed before and during the war by the Church Peace Union, the Pope, and assorted American and European politicians. They had nothing good to say about international cooling-off and arbitration treaties either, nor about The Hague Court, or about calls for a "United States of Europe."
As Gaebelein wrote in The League of Nations in the Light of the Bible in 1919, all of these schemes betrayed the "great delusion ... that man, by his power, by using his resources, financial and otherwise, will succeed in making the world better, and find a way out of the horrible conditions that the race is now facing in every direction."
Such interest in "man-made peace" was very much indicative of the prophesized "'Man's Day,'" that ultimate stage of the "church age" when "man more and more defies God and His Word, and deities himself." Gaebelein was therefore assured that this interest was "used by the god of this age, Satan, to lull a secure world to sleep," to convert ever more people into thinking that a secular world organization, without reference to the Christian plan of salvation…
From their wartime Prophetic Conferences onwards, dispensationalists seemed utterly convinced that whichever side won the war, it would follow through the "great delusion" and form a League of Nations…
… Thus dispensationalists constantly stressed that no League of Nations could provide anything more than "a temporary world-truce," since only the returning Christ, and not any organization of men, could establish perpetual peace. The League of Nations was therefore a force divorcing the thoughts and hopes of humanity from Christ insofar as its novel provisions for collective security suggested man's peacekeeping potential…
… More important and more suggestive of the League's apostate religious nature were, however, the broader aspirations of the League's liberal supporters. Dispensationalists could not but see as a false religion any League of Nations concept that flowed from, or was justified through, rhetoric such as George D. Herron's…
… Similarly, Eugene Thwing, an editor and activist of patriotic societies with a Methodist background in the YMCA, in a tract entitled The League of Nations as a Moral Issue, stressed that as the Word of God proscribed the making of pacts with one's enemies and commanded the conversion of the heathen, the League stood in "direct disobedience to the commands of God."…
…Dispensationalists nevertheless chose to join the fight against the League, and especially against American membership in it…
…Anti-League positions similar to the dispensationalists' were also sketched on the nondispensationalist, creedally oriented, and theologically more traditional side of fundamentalism. The other pole of anti-League opinion in fact resided with those conservative representatives of Presbyterianism who considered reserved for the Church, and only for the Church, the "public means of grace." Though they were not nearly as prominent in the political debate as were some of the leading dispensationalists, nor as explicit, these conservative Calvinists in fact regarded the League of Nations as a secular organization that usurped the culturalist mission of the Church and insinuated into ecclesiastical discourse inappropriate man-made thought-forms, aspirations, and expectations. They opposed the League because they felt that liberal Protestants had fastened upon it as yet another vehicle, this time international, for the spread and perpetuation of their mistaken public theology…"
Why does the Watchtower insist that the clergy lost God’s favor for having once heaped blasphemous accolades upon the non-defunct League when a significant number did not? Indeed, why has the Watchtower neglected to inform its readers that there were several religious groups more prominent than the Bible Students that did not hail the League of Nations as the ‘political expression of the kingdom of God on earth,’ but who viewed it as an abomination, the same as the Bible Students viewed it? The answer is obvious. The organization is intent on perpetuating the delusion that Jesus’ presence began in 1914 and that he appointed the Watchtower Society “over all his belongings” in 1919.
In reality, the Watchtower’s teaching that Babylon the Great fell in 1919 is a carefully crafted myth and part of the larger operation of error connected to the myth of the invisible parousia of 1914.
But if the Watchtower’s teaching is a myth how does Babylon the Great fall? And how do God’s people obey the command to “get out of her”?
It is worth noting that the 1st century Christians had to get out from among the non-Christian people whom they lived among – be they the unbelieving Jews or pagan Gentiles. Interestingly, before Revelation was even written Paul quoted from the Hebrew prophecies related to the original fall of Babylon, when he exhorted the Corinthians, saying: “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing; and I will take you in. And I shall be a father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah the Almighty. Therefore, since we have these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in God’s fear.”
Obviously, though, the mere fact that Christians in the 1st century separated themselves from unbelievers did not mean that Babylon the Great had fallen. Like the original Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses may be said to have separated themselves from the babylonish religious system that dominates the world. However, that does not necessarily mean that Babylon the Great has fallen either.
It is well to remember that when Babylon conquered Judah the Jews who were dragged off into captivity did not necessarily take up the religion of Babylon. Perhaps some did, but the biblical record shows that Jehovah’s worshippers remained separate from Babylonish religion – or at least they tried. For example, Daniel and Ezekiel were prominent worshippers of Jehovah in the land of Babylon. Their going into captivity was not a license from Jehovah for them to take up the worship of Babylon’s gods. Their forced subservience to the king of Babylon was simply Jehovah’s method of disciplining his people. Consequently, their heeding the call to get out of Babylon did not mean that they took up the worship of Jehovah for the first time. The call to get out of Babylon signaled that Jehovah had asserted his sovereignty. It typifies the momentous event when Jehovah himself becomes king.
It is significant to the development of the stage leading to the final act that a far more momentous anti-Christ conspiracy has been developing in recent years than the clergy’s endorsement of the League of Nations 87 years ago. It is the conspiracy to destroy the nation-state democratic system and revert to imperial rule. The international religious harlot, who is said to commit fornication with the kings of the earth, is being employed not only to condition those under her influence to accept what is commonly called the new world order, but to foment the war that will bring it about.
One of the leading figures of the ongoing religio-political conspiracy is Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church. Although claiming to be the Messiah, it is reported in EIR that Moon is actually a creation of Anglo-American intelligence agencies. As proof of his growing political influence in Washington D.C., in a bizarre ritual reported on in the Guardian, in March, 2004, Moon was crowned as heaven’s messianic ambassador before a dozen members of the U.S. Congress.
The ultra-wealthy sex-cult leader has used his deep pockets to support numerous evangelicals; who in turn have used their influence to condition their followers to support the neo-conservative movement, which in turn, has led the world to the brink catastrophe, where we stand at this present moment.
For example, the late television evangelist, Jerry Falwell, and his Liberty University have been the beneficiaries of Moon’s largess. But Falwell was not the only clergyman on the Moon dole. The list of clergymen who support the self-proclaimed messiah is a virtual who’s-who of evangelicals, including Pat Robertson, Billy Graham and Tim Lahaye, the author of the hugely popular “Left Behind” fictional series.
While the peoples and nations and religions of this world will never truly be united, it is remarkable how so many diverse religious leaders have come together in support of global government. It is safe to say there are far more religions actively supporting the United Nations’ global agenda now than ever endorsed the League.
In view of the fact that ancient Babylon was primarily an imperial institution and not merely a religious power, the antitypical captivity of God’s people to a greater Babylon will most assuredly entail some form of humiliating subservience to the eighth king. The vision of Revelation indicates that up until the moment Jehovah puts it into the heart of the eighth king to destroy the harlot, the beast and the harlot are inseparable and cooperate in misleading and oppressing mankind. But after the death-stroke is leveled against the seven-headed political beast, and following its seemingly miraculous recovery, Satan uses the beast and the harlot to intensify his war campaign against the remnant. It is at that point that God’s people are brought into a captive condition. That is why, in relation to the beast from the abyss that conquers Jehovah’s holy ones, Revelation 13:9-10 issues the decree: “If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is meant for captivity, he goes away into captivity. If anyone will kill with the sword, he must be killed with the sword. Here is where it means the endurance and faith of the holy ones.”
“The endurance and faith of the holy ones”is in relation to a wholly unanticipated captive condition to the beast and Babylon the Great. Therefore, it is sensible to conclude that a future call to get out of Babylon the Great will coincide with the call to resist the symbolic marking of the image of the beast. By refusing the mark of the beast people will identify themselves as Jehovah’s worshippers; thereby taking a stand against both the beast and the international religious prostitute that rides the beast.