One of the signs of the last days, according to Jesus Christ, was to be the rise of many false messiahs. The Bible says: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” (Matthew 24:10-11). Apostle Paul also warned by the Spirit that in the “later times” some people “will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). People will be deluded and blinded to the truth.
In reality, people will actually want to be deceived. Why? Because that course will appear most desirable to them. The way that appears to be right to mankind, “in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25). For most of Christianity (especially so in the advanced, high-income countries of the world), this condition is already at a late stage.
Many societies (if not the entire world) already seem near the point (if not already long past) where God finally relents and lets them molder in their own perversions and lusts (Romans 1:24). He gives them over to their perversions and even sends them “strong delusion” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). Again, why? Because wickedness deceives in every way and “because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (verse 10).
While this penchant for waywardness has always existed, the Bible indicates that it will become rampant nearer the end of days. Jesus, speaking to the Jews, warned that “[…] many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold […]” (Matthew 24:11-12).
The prophet Zechariah, too, writing approximately 2500 years ago, prophesied that the entire world would be cursed with wickedness (Zechariah 5:8). Also, the “man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), who is described as a deceiver and liar, is to arrive at that end stage. It only follows that conditions in the world will become sympathetic to his arrival well in advance.
The Many Ways of Wickedness
As already mentioned, wickedness foments its strategies and assaults everywhere … at every level, channel and way. Part of this state of increasing wickedness is a blurring of worship between God and Mammon. We have called this a form of ecumenism. While this term historically has described the coming together of so-called Christian sects and faiths, we apply it here to the merging of worship of both God and Mammon (Money). Better said, it is an endtime syncretism of beliefs, and it is described and pictured in the Bible.
Jesus Christ clearly said that one can only one love master, God or Mammon. (“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon”—Matthew 6:24 KJV.)
But, did Jesus really say that? Wouldn’t it be nice if one could sup at both tables … to worship both God and Money? Wouldn’t that be a pleasurable perspective, and one that will suit itching ears? (2 Timothy 4:3).
Implicitly, this commingling of fealty to both God and Money is exactly what the Bible prophesies will occur. “People will be […] lovers of money” (2 Timothy 3:2) and “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (verse 4), while at the same time “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (verse 5). Jesus describes this duality … really a duplicity: “[…] on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:28).
Here we see a society that thinks its love of money is compatible with godliness. (Perhaps just as the CEO of the greedy Wall Street-based Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, could say that he “was doing God’s work.”)
This blurring of wealth worship (materialism) and institutionalized “godliness” is pictured in the figure of the whore shown in Revelation 17. She is bedecked in fine clothes, “glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls,” and has “a golden cup in her hand” (Revelation 17:4). She represents religion that is in a lucrative league with the worldly kings of the earth. Here it appears that the two orbs of commerce (money) and religion co-exist comfortably. The reality is that materialism, greed and the worship of wealth alone has won the hearts of mankind, though the Bible expressly states that “[…] man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4).
This apparently unbridgeable gap between God and Mammon offers one of the biggest, exploitable marketing opportunities ever known to mankind (and is also an important key to Satan’s last-day strategy). How can one not pass up the chance for rich comfort and lucre from the wealth of Mammon, while at the same time have the assurance of being righteous and spiritual?
If one can figure out a way to convince people that they can both worship God and sup with Mammon at the same table, they or their businesses will meet with certain success. This is not a new discovery. It is a ruse that has worked in past history every time. Today it is an institutionalized strategy and unfolds on a global scale.
Mammon has masterfully honed its alluring appeals to the fleshly affections of mankind. In our day, these temptations and materialistic proposals to our souls are rampant … both immediate and incessant. Who does not agree that the lures of Mammon are lustrous and inveigling? So, even as God promises to be near and never to forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), Mammon’s call to us is also near and with us.
This last-day dominance of Mammon is also reflected through Jesus’ comments to the seven churches. It is the Philadelphian church that is commended by Jesus. It is shown to be weak and poor (Revelation 3:8). In contrast, the Laodicean church, that has confidence in its riches and wealth, is indicted as being blind and naked (verse 17). This church is shown to be as blind as the society in which it exists.
The Many Faces of Laodicea Today
The merging of the worship of God and Mammon has progressed significantly. It surely is a condition that strikes its stake deep into the heart of Christians living in the high-income world. The Laodicean spirit is already well advanced in the world today, evident in a number of ways.
The emergence of Babylon the Great, the great commercial colossus that is depicted in Revelation 17—18, with its cup filled with the vile toxins of commercialism and materialistic idolatry, is already within view. Indeed, there is much debate on the general topic of endtime Babylon (aspects of which we have often commented upon). However, for the purpose of the topic at hand, we need not stop to consider these many views. Here, we only want to focus on one aspect of endtime Babylon(s) (whatever its final form will be) …namely, the “inseparability” of two Babylons.
What is meant by the inseparability of two Babylons, and what might be their identities? How can there be two, and yet they be inseparable at the same time? Actually, this was the very question put to me the first time this writer ever spoke on the topic of Babylon mentioned in Revelation 17 and 18. At the time, I was unprepared. The question was this: Where do you see the break between the Babylon mentioned in Revelation 17 (“Mystery Babylon, the Great Mother of Prostitutes”) and the one mentioned in chapter 18 (great city of Babylon)? I was caught rather flatfooted, as I had simply assumed that they were different Babylons since they were treated in separate chapters and had slightly different names in some Bible translations.
While I still hold to the view that they are different Babylons—in other words, alternate dimensions or at least different perspectives of the last-day Babylon emergence—I also hold to the view that they are inseparable. While this might seem contradictory, it is not. Basically, it is two Babylons clandestinely co-habitating, in effect becoming one. I say clandestinely because most people—surely including many who claim to be Christians—are blind to this emerging union. Yet, this harlotry is becoming ever more open. From the religious side, it is a union that has been sanctioned by an increasing number of Christian denominations and religious movements.
The merging of God and Mammon—figured as religion and materialism, spirituality and faith in globalization commingled together—is the final capstone of mankind’s perversions. This is the very thing that is imaged in the blurred religious and commercial Babylons shown to rise in illicit cahoots in Revelation 17 and 18. In a sense, it is the final, global religion. As such, that may be why the two Babylons in these chapters are presented as one, unbreakable though blurred continuum.
Mammon Among Religions Today
Where is the evidence, people might ask? Where is the blurring of God and Mammon happening today? We have already said that this spirit is clearly evident in a number of ways.
There are numerous channels and multiple feedback loops in this present-day progression. Such relatively new organizations as the International Interfaith Investment Group (3IG), which claims to wield some $10 trillion in wealth and 7% of the inhabitable real estate on the planet, are pushing for a purer and better world with the power of money. This is a group of some 7 world religions.
There are many other organizations that seek to bridge the powers of religion, politics and money. Some of these include the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), the Coalition for Renewal (COR), and the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), to name a few. A sense of the spirit of these initiatives is evident in this quote from the ARC secretary-general: “The world’s major faiths are starting to discover the power of their collective purse. Worldwide […] they own trillions of dollars of shares, estimated by Citigroup to be in the region of 8-10% of the world’s equity market.”
There are many, many more such initiatives, and naming them would shock in some cases. It is therefore no surprise that secular observers comment on the wealth of religious organizations. Says David Silverman of American Atheists, “Churches have a tremendous amount of power and a stupid amount of money.”
Evangelicals may believe that they are not culpable in this last-day blurring of faiths and techniques. In actuality, it is in these very circles that Satan may be chocking up some of his biggest victories. Within so-called Christianity there are many movements in this direction.
Various denominations that promote Prosperity Gospel (material comforts in the here and now), Reconstructionism, Kingdom Now and many other ideologies risk consorting with the deadly and deceitful embrace of Mammon. We do not doubt that there are sincere and godly people who may be swept up in these ideologies, and who come by their ignorance innocently. However, there are certainly also wolves and entities masquerading as “angels of light.”
While we greatly respect good scholarship, it is also academics that has come to the aid of the human desire to love Mammon through the introduction of new theories that “revise” Biblical teaching on idolatry and materialism. For example, such organizations as the influential Acton Institute seem to exist solely to validate capitalism and free-market economics as a Biblically-endorsed system. To the contrary. God has never endorsed any human system.
We have only scratched the surface. What is common to them all? They carry out their agendas and battles the way the world does. They use politics and the power and lure of money and prosperity. Apostle Paul, on the other hand, said otherwise: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does” (2 Corinthians 10:3).
All of the initiatives mentioned above, as well as other ecumenical thrusts, seek to achieve power in the way of the world … to be seen as shakers and movers on the world scene … shapers of human destiny and the entire planet earth … loving worldly power. Again, the Bible warns against this perspective. Jesus Himself said clearly: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” (1 John 2:15).
Thoughts to Ponder
Any religious movement that claims to build a ‘kingdom” on earth is sure to be fostering ideologies that promote earthly citizenship rather than heavenly citizenship. Jesus Christ could not have been clearer on this point, saying that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). This very same Jesusowned no place on earth “to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).
Furthermore, He pointedly asked: “When I return, will I find faith upon the earth?” (Luke 18:8). It is a prophecy enfolded in a rhetorical statement. It is probably the most revealing of the very few prophecies that specifically apply to the Church.
It is an unpopular perspective: Christians (denominations, movements and individuals) and Christian look-alikes—namely, religious developments deliberately conspired by the Enemy to be an imitation—today risk either falling for or trafficking in the lures of both Babylons. They promote the idea that one can consort with Mammon while yet love and worship God.
Apostle Paul provides the admonition that our generation needs to heed: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).