When the mighty are fallen

Destruction by Thomas Cole, Image: Wikimedia Commons

Revelation 18:1-2a says; After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!”

This final “fall” of the Babylonian system (I wrote a blog about my thoughts on this system a few months ago) has been pre-figured several times in history by the “fall” or socio-political dissolution of great empires and nation-states.

The last time it happened was in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell. My wife and many of our friends were born and grew up in the Soviet Union and they speak of those days with mixed feelings. On the one hand, they acknowledge that the Communist regime which ruled the Soviet Union was very tyrannical and wicked. On the other hand, it provided physical security and social and economic stability for tens of millions of people, and when that regime fell from power, it resulted in much suffering.

Wars broke out between rival nations and factions which the Soviet regime had kept under control. Organized crime and violence skyrocketed in Russian cities while millions of women were forced into prostitution in order to survive the economic crash which accompanied the fall of the Communist regime. The physical infrastructure, healthcare system, etc. which the Soviet regime had maintained slowly began to decay and fall apart, to the point where today in many parts of what was once the Soviet Union, especially the impoverished Central Asian states, the population is slipping back into pre-industrial levels of human development and quality of life.

That’s what the fall of a superpower looks like.

I know it’s not a popular topic, but I think the time has come when all of us need to start thinking about what we’ll do if the US falls apart the same way the USSR did. As I’m writing this I can hear people scoffing at the absurdity of this idea, but my dear brothers and sisters I implore you to take it seriously. Ask anyone who was living in the USSR when that country fell and they’ll tell you that even a few months before it happened almost nobody was seriously talking about the possibility of it happening.

The US is a country where somewhere around 330 million people live, and every day brings more headlines about the increasingly hateful and even violent divisions between them. The most visible schisms are along racial lines, but there are also divisions between religions, generations, regions, socio-economic classes and even professions. This is happening at a time when the US economy is booming and there is relative material abundance, low unemployment, etc. One shudders to think of what will happen the next time there’s an economic downturn and all of a sudden millions of people who are already inclined to anger and resentment against their neighbours regarding political and cultural issues add economic worries to the mix. There’s a limit to the strain any system can take, and America seems to be very close to the breaking point.

While it’s true that there’s also plenty of good news that you rarely hear about and there’s also strengths in American society that have been its saving grace in past crises and could yet rescue it out of the current crisis as well, in my humble opinion, it is simply not responsible to assume that “it’ll be alright” because it always has been (more or less) up until now.

Israel would be deeply affected should America fall apart in a similar way to what happened to the USSR. It would be in a highly vulnerable position and I know there are even some self-described “prophets” out there who say that something along these lines MUST happen in order to trigger the events prophesied about in Ezekiel 38-39, as well as other prophetic scenarios.

That might turn out to be true and it might not. But in any case, the fall of America, or even a chain of events which left it sharply less able to project power into the Middle East, for whatever reason, would have a very immediate and decidedly negative impact on Israel. It might also have some positive impacts, such as a large number of American and Canadian Jews immigrating here, just like over 1 million Jews immigrated to Israel after the Soviet Union fell.

In any case, these are things the Body of Messiah in Israel and Israel’s Christian friends around the world should start thinking about and making contingency plans for. It might seem absurd and unthinkable today but then again it might happen tomorrow.