Provoking the Dragon
Joe Rigney has a great piece on the Trinity House website. With apologies to Joe, I’ll give it to you in a nutshell, then make some brief observations. But make sure you read the entire article.
Turning Babel Into A Beast
Rigney asks what might be the church’s best strategy in the near future. Ignoring the same sex marriage debate would allow more time, energy and resources for the fight against abortion. It is better to work for the protection of those who are truly innocent.
But then he takes a step back, and notes that abortion and same sex marriage are symptoms of the same sickness. How did the prophets, Jesus and the apostles get to the heart of the matter in the Scriptures?
In his slaughter of the innocents, Herod the Great became a devouring dragon. But how did John deal with the Herod of his day (Herod Antipas)? He provoked him by publicly pointing out his adultery and calling him to repent. Herod was afraid to have him killed, but the wrath of Herodias forced his hand. This prefigured the events that would follow a generation later, when an army of Spirit-filled prophets would challenge the authority of the entire Herodian line. The false prophet, the harlot and the beast are the Herods, their post-Pentecost demonic Temple worship, and the authority of Rome with which they conspired. These were corporate, “fullgrown” versions of Adam, Eve and the serpent. But serpents only deceive. When they have “seed,” they multiply, take on a body, and become a devouring dragon.
Rigney calls on some helpful observations from Peter Leithart’s recent book, Between Babel and Beast: America and Empires in Biblical Perspective. Leithart rightly says that a Babel is an empire with a cultic heart. Rigney tells us that the way to deal with abortion and sodomy is to provoke Babel, the harlot and turn her into a beast. He writes:
“…it may be that the best way to hasten the demonstration of God’s righteousness and topple the abortion-regime is to awaken the ire of the unbelieving world by getting under their skin with respect to their sexual-otry, homosexual and otherwise. To put it in biblical terms, if we want God to judge the Herods for their baby-killing, idolatry, and greed, we should never tire of pointing out how offensive it is that he has his brother’s wife (or his wife’s brother, as the case may be). In short, we should endeavor to so speak and act that we soberly but gladly accept that putting an end to the massacre of unborn innocents may require us to get in between the Babel and the innocents, however we can.”
Rigney is calling us to become human shields, to allow our own blood to be spilled so that the blood of the innocents might be avenged. When Christians preach boldly, and some are martyred, this allows the powers to fill up their sins. Rigney asks the question we all ask: “Why has God not yet judged our nations for the slaughter of millions of unborn children?” The answer is that Jesus, by His Spirit, has legal representatives all across the earth. He is waiting for us to be provoked into action, to incarnate His own indignation against the wicked, to be His eyes and then to be His mouth. When the state begins to persecute and slaughter Christians, it is the “last days,” that is, the last days of that state. It was so with the power of Rome and with the power of Holy Rome, and it will be so with the secular monstrosity which Western Culture has become. The best way to hasten the destruction of the dragon, as it was with Pharaoh and with Haman, is to provoke it. When the dragon begins to devour the sons of God, God will avenge both them and the innocent sons of men.
“The Bible seems to suggest that the blood of martyrs fills up the cup of God’s wrath more quickly than the blood of innocents alone. It is this shift—-from the blood of innocents to the blood of martyrs—-that rouses God’s long-sleeping wrath which throws down the Beast, either through cataclysmic judgment or in massive Spirit-wrought awakening (or perhaps both).”
In the Garden of Eden, Babel was Eve, the mother of all living, who, with Adam’s approval, surrendered her offspring to the serpent. In the first century, it was Jerusalem, who through a Covenant with Rome, surrendered her truest sons, “Jews indeed,” to be devoured, and was filled with their blood. How would we identify Leithart’s definition of a “Babelic” empire today?
Based upon what I wrote yesterday, the beast of today is secularism, a counterfeit church, a religion masquerading as neutrality, as mere pragmatism. But this modern beast, as with all the previous ones, is a direct result of the Church’s failure to remain spotless and to witness boldly.
So I disagree with the idea of “turning Babel into a beast.” They are distinct entities, although united by adultery. Eve and the serpent were not one and the same. Herodias and Herod were not one and the same. Herod and Pilate were not one and the same: they were united in friendship over the murder of Christ. Herodian worship and the Rome which finally turned against Christians under Nero were not one and the same, though they too were briefly united over the murder of the firstfruits church. So who is the harlot today, corporately speaking? The harlot today–the murderess of modernity–is the only one that ever was. It is the unfaithful Church, hiding her identity. It those Christians who keep silent, who compromise with unrighteousness, who believe the godless when they tell them their protests are offensive and uncaring and intolerant, who ridicule those who believe in the Creation and the Bible’s chronology, who teach their own doctrines from the pulpit instead of the entire Word of God. Babel cannot be transformed into the beast. She is us. Babel can only ever be cut in two, placed on the altar and set alight as the daughter of a priest, passing through the fire to be divided once again into ashes (serpentine dust) and smoke (a resurrected bride) as she was in the Revelation and the Reformation. This means that all the current proceedings are allowed for the purification of the Church. God will let the innocents die, again and again, in Egypt, in Jerusalem, in America, for the sake of His true sons and daughters, those of the Spirit, His co-regents.
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)
This is actually where Rigney finally takes us: a call to purity and boldness for the Church. It is an altar call with real flames.