Excuse me, can you really be talking about the former president of the United States of America here?
Yes, George W Bush (GWB) is the subject of this chapter, upsetting as it may be for a number of people. Just to be absolutely clear, it's not father Bush: George HW Bush - also a former president - who is being considered here. Before looking at the son in detail though, perhaps GWB should be placed in the context of his nation as a whole. For a second question might come back - by what right do you tag the USA as the "New Babylon"?
As an American citizen, it hurts this witness to be saying these things, but it's no good trying to gloss over the truth. Long before GWB's administration came into office, there was one country that consumed a very large share of Earth's resources - all by herself.
The USA consumes about 25% of the world output of goods and services, and uses more than 20% of the energy produced globally. But her population size, at 300 million plus, is less than 5% of the world’s total of 6.7bn. people(1).
It seems fair to say then, that the USA has for some time enjoyed an enormous degree of material prosperity. This applies to many, but by no means all, of her people - a fact we saw laid bare in the tragic natural disaster of hurricane Katrina (Aug.-Sept. 2005), when devastation was brought to New Orleans and other communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
If we read chapter 18 of the Book of Revelation with the modern world in mind, one wealthy nation surely stands out as the main subject. A land with a huge market - number one importer of the world's production:
The businessmen of the earth also cry and mourn for her, because no one buys their goods any longer; no one buys their gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls ... cattle and sheep, horses and carriages ...Historically, the rest of the world has admired the present affluence of America, and that of the West generally - it is only in the last decade or two that it has become painfully clear that this wealth comes at a price that is paid by the world as a whole. Climate change is only the most salient of the problems that are degrading our environment - day by day. The GW Bush administration proved to be unwilling to do much of anything about turning the situation around(2). Thankfully, the Obama administration has shown that it is a bit more mindful of the environment and what we are doing to it.
Revelation 18:11-13 (TEV).
This scribe is not sure that the profligacy described above would by itself justify the labeling of America as "Babylon." However, there was a further development once the Bush administration took over the White House. It seems that when these people got into office they had in mind that the world's preeminent country should take full advantage of her unique status. The nation's actions after 9/11 - the invasion of Afghanistan, followed by the invasion of Iraq, broadcast the neocons' intentions loud and clear: America is to be the aggressor, America is to be the empire-builder(3). By contrast, Barack Obama had said that most US troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the Summer of 2010 (speech at West Point, December 1, 2009). And in the event the number of troops was indeed reduced. But at the time of writing (September 2011), a substantial number remain - 40,000-50,000. While it looked as if this president was determined to restore America's stock around the world, it has to be said that this effort has by no means reached its goal, to date.
It should be added in fairness that the invasions under Bush were by no means the first examples of the US seeking to exert an imperial control over events. Not brought to public attention these days, but still a fact - the US sided with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s when the Iraq-Iran war appeared to be going against Iraq. As a part of that support, Donald Rumsfeld, GWB's defense secretary from 2001-2006, met with Saddam in December 1983(4). The purpose of this meeting being to pave the way for specific US moves which would help to turn the war in the dictator's favor. And in other parts of the world, when America felt her interests were under threat, there have likewise been interventions - by the CIA for instance - as is well-known(5).
So let's face facts - there is a history of US interference in other countries, and it would be wrong to blame George W Bush for any of the deeds done before 2001.
However, the post-9/11 twin invasions were the actions of a republic going all the way into imperialism - the Bush administration effectively told the rest of the world: "We are in charge - like it or lump it." And GWB got away with this, because 9/11 at first inspection had all the appearances of a genuine terrorist atrocity. (Certainly, this writer accepted for some time the official story surrounding 9/11.)
And these actions by the US did not come out of the blue (anymore than did 9/11 in the opinion of some of us). They were right in line with pre-9/11 initiatives in which GWB showed his disregard for world opinion. He moved America into the position of a virtual outlaw nation when he rejected:
1. The Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming(6)What then was the situation? A country that over time bore more and more resemblance to idol-ridden Babylon - propelled the rest of the way. This witness suggests that by its actions, the Bush administration confirmed what it was trying to do with America. The world could see that sadly, the USA had become subject to the neocons. Here was a creature being molded by their agenda. And, the writer proposes, the ruthless, thrusting creature that resulted could fairly be dubbed the New Babylon. Operating as a military machine, America was bound to stir up hatred in many corners of the world. Please Lord, may the Obama administration, and future ones, work hard to restore decency to our nation. A good international reputation is easily lost, and not so readily regained!
2. The Verification Protocol for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention(7)
3. The international 1997 Mine Ban Treaty - starting a "review" instead(8)
4. The International Criminal Court(9)
Nevertheless, there may well be some of you who are still not convinced on this question of US identity with Babylon? In which case you may want to go to this chapter note(10), and take a look at what other witnesses are saying.
^ Then, having set the context and (hopefully) shown that the USA is indeed the best fit for the (New) Babylon described in Revelation, shall we now turn the focus on George W Bush?
Let us look at the former president then, to see what, if anything, marks him out as an antiChrist. Of course, many Americans will be outraged at the very idea. Even after looking at the evidence, there may be those who are not persuaded. But this scribe would like to think that what is presented here has the ring of truth and will be recognized as such.
The writer was at first willing to accept George W's Christian testimony at face value. And so he was expecting that GWB would bring a more excellent approach to the office than his father had, for according to GWB's own word he had been turned around by Jesus. An admitted alcohol-abuser who had left the drink problem behind; a former playboy who was now a good family man. Great!
But it wasn't long before questions began to arise. First came the finagling of the presidential election in 2000. For GWB to win he had to be voted in by Florida, and he was certainly helped in achieving this goal when a number of voting irregularities occurred there(11). And so it was that the first count of votes in Jeb Bush's state gave the election to George Bush, but only by 1,000-odd votes. The closeness of the vote led to a call for recounts. The recounts were begun, and were then challenged by the Bush camp; a recount deadline ran out, and the Supreme Court stopped the recount process. GWB was declared president - only the fourth US president to be given the office despite losing the nation's popular vote.
Now, real Christians don't cheat to win - they can rely on their God to deliver to them that which is theirs, and to keep from them that which is not for them. Genuine Christians, then, don't get into high office thanks to their brother and others pulling some strings.
Eight months after his inauguration in January 2001 came 9/11 and the response to 9/11. George Bush (after the day of the attacks themselves, that is) seemed to know exactly what to do. He won many admirers in America with his declaration of "war on terror." He demonstrated swift and strong action against Afghanistan, and then 18 months later did the same in Iraq. He certainly showed how to put small countries into submission, using the alllied military might of the forces at his disposal.
But what good has been achieved? Yes, the Taliban was forced out of government in the first invasion. Even so, would the Afghan people say that the US-led occupation of their country has been a good thing? A cruel dictatorship was indeed brought to an end in Iraq. But when it was revealed that the case for both these offensives (and especially the one against Iraq), had been based largely on "spin" and even on outright lies, people started to wonder. We had been told about Al-Qaida's large and sophisticated bunkers in Afghanistan. Turned out to be a figment of someone's imagination. Later we were told that the USA was under threat from Saddam's WMDs ("weapons of mass destruction"). Again a figment - none have been found. Saddam was said to be implicated in 9/11 through links with Osama bin Laden. But investigation showed he wasn't(12).
Governmental lying may have hit new depths under the George W Bush presidency. But in a 2009 article, we are reminded that it remains an ongoing weakness. In his web piece, entitled: "Eight Years of Big Lies on Afghanistan," James Bovard writes:
In his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, Bush frightened Americans with a bogus nuclear threat:Two years later, as we can read in the article, Bush's administration admitted that all this was a lie. By that time though, the lie had served its purpose hadn't it? Bush had revved up his nation's willingness to support him in his second military disaster: the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But the article points out that the lies didn't end when GWB left office - they continue even to this day.
“Our discoveries in Afghanistan confirmed our worst fears....
We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities” in caves used by al Qaeda(13).
Perhaps it would be right to stop here and admit that the times are not easy. To be a good president of the United States in these days is surely an incredibly tough assignment for any human being. And it is easy to find fault. So when, for instance, the writer criticizes the war on terror as unwise, he ought at least to be able to say what should be put in its place.
O.k. then. Let's begin with the light that Scripture casts on the subject. The following verse shows that to carry out a real war on terror it is essential to go after and tackle the roots of terror. These roots lie in injustice, as God shows us here:
Honesty and justice will prosper there,
and justice will produce lasting peace and security.
Isaiah 32:16-17 (CEV)
This verse clearly explains the idea that peace is a result. To enjoy the advantages of peace it's necessary to do something else first. If we take the steps needed to bring about fairness and equality of treatment, then peace will be the natural outcome. It follows, doesn't it, that when we work to remove the gross inequities in the world, then we are really working for peace. So, the way to make progress on the road to lasting peace is to pursue justice, and never let it go. We will then have a firm foundation for our hopes - we will know God is leading us on to that peaceful place we long for.
Tragically, since 9/11 we have gone much further in the opposite direction. What did we do? We bombed and shot, rounded up and imprisoned, dispatched people to Guantanamo or to third countries, and set up CIA-run secret prisons(14). We have even got involved in the routine torture of people, and have given them minimal legal standing and minimal access to judicial process. The Bush-Cheney administration tried to justify these arrogant and aggressive acts - the claim was that all this is necessary to fight the "war on terror." Surely, we planted, and are planting, the seeds for a harvest of hate, are we not? While we take a few known terrorists out of circulation don't our inhuman methods guarantee shoals of new terrorists? When are we going to wise up?
Christians seek to follow after the Master, and one of His Royal Titles is given here: "the Prince of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses," Acts 3:15 (MKJV). By contrast, the way that GWB followed led to a great loss of mortal life, for which he must bear a share of the responsibility. The number of mortalities is almost certainly in the millions: made up of Afghans, Iraqis, US and allied forces, and others(15). "How can this be a Christian witness?" concerned folk are bound to ask themselves. Let us permit the Words of Jesus in Matthew 7:16 to impress themselves on our hearts: "Ye shall know them by their fruits," (KJV).Let us then examine the fruit. To be fair, when we look at George W Bush there is some genuine good fruit there, isn't that right? For instance, when he went out and met members of the public, he came across as a regular guy - just as a friendly neighbor might do. When president, he worked to bring in the federal law banning the cruel practice of partial birth abortion. He also used his good influence in the fundraising efforts for the 2004 Asian Tsunami relief. He spoke out in favor of marriage and the family. He certainly presents the image of a faithful husband and a good father. He says he is a Christian and believes in the power of prayer. And he credits the Grace of God in the turning around of his life(16).
Furthermore, coming from the particular spiritual perspective of this witness, he dares to say with confidence that the Glorious Seed dwells within president Bush. This follows from the (previously quoted) statement of George Fox, founding Quaker, that there is "that of God in every one." This belief is consistent with Bible Scripture, and makes a profound difference. It means that however outrageous some of GWB's actions may have seemed to us to be, Jesus never allowed events to slide one bit beyond what will ultimately prove helpful - as long as we wait for that day. Using His Marvelous capacity to turn people and situations around, Christ will cause George Bush to be seen as a joy and a blessing by us all, one day. Then GWB will at last realize (and we will perhaps understand better than we do at present) that every hunger striker in Guantanamo had God in him too. We will see God's Redemption at work in George, and it may be we shall be sorry for not loving him more at this time, even now while the search is on in this e-book to establish his antiChrist identity.
And in a worldly sense, you could say GWB had a lot going for him. Being born to privilege; being part of a family that was used to getting into power, staying in power, and wielding that power. But maybe there's a downside to that? From the term "poor little rich boy," don't we get a reminder of the possible debits that life in a dynasty can entail? A son - arriving as a firstborn in a clan with political ambition, such as the Bushes - what would his life be like, day by day? With a busy father and mother, juggling the many claims on their time - could nurturing George as a small boy get the necessary priority always? Work-life balance can be a struggle for many of us. To be fair to the Bush family, does combining all the demands of business and politics leave lots of room for just being there for the kids? And so how likely is it that children growing up in such a setting will know for certain that love is definitely more important than money, patrons, or influence? Would they, in other words, be constantly learning that love ought to guide their lives? This is a difficult area for most of us, certainly for this writer!
Would it then be fair to say that the soil George W was planted in may not have been the best for the growth of a gentle, caring, individual - but perhaps even the reverse? Furthermore, if any of us had lost a sister to leukemia at a sensitive age, what damage would that have done to us?(17) At all costs, we must not judge GWB for those things that he had no control over.
^ This witness, as a Christian and a Quaker, does not hate the former president. The job of a Christian is to love him. However, this believer holds that it is the Love of God which has persuaded this scribe to be a pacifist. As a result, when he looks at the warmaking behavior that George W indulged in, he is deeply troubled. Where did this passion for war come from?
GWB did himself the greatest harm, in the writer's opinion, when he was inducted into the Skull and Bones Society(18). This was following a family tradition as his father is, and his grandfather was, a member. (So another question would be: did he have complete freedom to choose or reject the Society?) Being a part of this club becomes a major issue when you realize that the Skull and Bones Society at Yale and the Thule Society in Germany are like twin brotherhoods. How is that? Because the members of both the US and the German societies pledge their allegiance to Satan. (You can laugh, or you can take it as seriously as GWB does - he has not given away a single clue about his secret society.) One notable member of the Thule Society was Adolf Hitler. This fact is given as the explanation for why GWB's grandfather, Prescott Bush, risked involving himself with the financial support of the Nazi war machine, even until as late as 1942. What we have here is a tie-up between Skull and Bones membership and a merciless drive for war. For the evidence on these statements, please see the websites listed here(18).
Of course, it's been a long time since GWB was at Yale. Shouldn't we be saying - George W Bush became a Christian - he may have taken some wrong steps in the past, but Jesus turns people around. Once GWB was converted, he became a "new creature" in Christ Jesus (II Corinthians 5:17). So why, for Heaven's sake, harp on about the past like this?
If George Bush had stayed true to his 1980's conversion, then we would indeed be able to let bygones be bygones. We would be busy celebrating his faith in Christ. Unfortunately - the most recent 20 or so years of GWB's life - don't they tend to show that rather than continue to follow the Lamb of God, he seems to have fallen back into an old pattern? Is it not the case that his habit these days is to conform pretty much to the way of "worldly wisdom" - the way that has marked the Bush family in the past? A convinced Christian would have made a clean break with any activity that is not of God, surely?
What explanation can there be for this decline (given that you accept this is the situation)? Well we should realize that the Enemy does not let go of his prey as easily as all that - so when George W turned to Jesus, the Bonesman must have faced immense resistance from Satan. This witness believes that, sadly, the Deceiver won the battle for GWB's soul.
Where's the evidence for this statement? Well it's there in the record. Already noted is the great toll of lives lost due to the two military adventures GWB initiated - the invasion of Afghanistan and of Iraq. The citizens of these two countries, and the people of the Middle East in general, cannot be feeling good about the Bush years. Each life is precious - this is what Jesus impresses on our hearts. To be involved in the wasting of lives, is this what we'd expect of someone sincerely trying to follow Jesus? Don't we look toward Jesus as the heart and soul of Compassion?
Let us return to the Bible now, for further relevant Insights into the antiChrist. Daniel's vision of the four beasts - described in chapter 7 of that Book - closely parallels the opening verses of Revelation chapter 13 (which record John's vision of the first beast - the one whose authority is from the dragon). This Daniel verse in particular would seem to be worth examining with George W Bush in mind:
And he shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High;
and he shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand until
a time and times and half a time.
Daniel 7:25 (ASV)
Puzzled by the first two lines? You may not recognize George W as speaking "words against the Most High". He's not known for blasphemous statements, in fact he carefully avoids offending believers in what he says. And his testimony to Christ certainly played its part in his political campaigns, and in his presidency. Surely though, wouldn't it be poaching on territory that belongs to God - for any ordinary mortal to claim that they are going to rid the world of evil? Nevertheless, right after 9/11 - on Friday, September 14, 2001, George W Bush said he would do just that(19). He followed this up two days later with the statement, "My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers"(20). Furthermore, by speaking of faith in Jesus, and yet in his actions presiding over wholesale destruction, at home as well as abroad, he was (whether he knew it or not) sowing confusion: Sincere believers in Christ suffered a knock, as they tried to reconcile the Gospel with what was happening(21).
Also, the Bush administration worked hard to "change the times." One of the methods employed was to enact laws and regulations - policies that have hurt the poor, the environment, and international relations(22). Thankfully, his influence - riding high after 9/11 - did not remain at that level throughout his eight years in office. As the above verse from Daniel 7 said would be the case, he was at the height of his powers for three and a half years ("a time and times and half a time"). That would take us from GWB's first inauguration - in January 2001 - to the Summer of 2004. By which time, it was becoming clear that a popularity slide was limiting his political options(23). But it's noticeable that, toward the end of his White House tenure, and despite the lack of popular support, GWB was still pushing hard for the neocon agenda, determined to make his mark and ensure that his would be a lasting legacy(24). Pursuing this line of thought, it might be unwise - this scribe suggests - to write him off entirely. After all, an antiChrist is an antiChrist, in or out of office - perhaps it would be better to remain watchful, what do you think?
In researching for this chapter, the writer found he was not alone in his views about George W Bush as antiChrist. There are a number of websites that put the antiChrist label on GWB. Yet others question not only his own record but also that of the Bush dynasty in general(18a). Please note that in the first of the sites referenced here the test against the scriptural number 666 is covered - convincingly, the writer would say. For as in the two previous chapters, there is a link here. In fact the site shows that there is more than one connection between GWB and 666.
After the list of charges and accusations made here against George Bush, it would be a fair question to put to the writer: How can you act as a judge in this case, when Jesus clearly warns us against judging our brother?
"Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you."In reply, let's recall that the Bible also speaks about our responsibility to warn a person we see going down the wrong track:
Luke 6:37 (TEV).
"If you do warn a good man not to sin and he listens to you and doesn't sin, he will stay alive, and your life will also be spared."Now when it comes to a national leader, or even an ex-national leader, clearly their ability to do good or ill is greater than others. It follows that it is a Christian duty is to try to shine whatever light can be shone, however exalted in human terms the person was. Quakers have a term for this - "speaking truth to power."
Ezekiel 3:21 (TEV).
"A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."How does George Bush measure up? Was he a promoter of life for the American people? Well if we restrict ourselves to looking at the "life" of the US economy, then perhaps he did add some life for a while - though the credit crunch pretty much put paid to that. But what of the first part above: "steal and kill and destroy"? We are forced to accept, however painful this may be, that GWB's record is tarnished in just this way.
John 10:10 (Msg.)
Yes, he made a few people richer, but he also made a lot of people poorer - at home and abroad. Then we have to recall, the blood of a large number of Iraqis and Afghans has been spilled. And, let us not forget, that of US and coalition servicemen and women also - more than 7,400 of whom have given up their mortal lives in these two wars. Current figures are given at the websites referenced here(25). Finally, he has destroyed - whatever Iraqi infrastructure was left intact after the 1990-91 Gulf War was given a further battering in the "Shock and Awe" campaign of 2003. And as for America's reputation abroad - how did it fare? A naturalized American, this witness was and is proud of America; he did feel and still does feel blessed by America. But under the Bush administration, he watched America's stock around the world go down - it was a sad thing to see.
^ In view of the sheer amount of evidence pointing to George W Bush as an antiChrist, you may be wondering: How was it that he continued to enjoy support from a sizable proportion of Christians in America?
The following verse was quoted from earlier - here is the whole of it:
"For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear.At the 2004 election, George W enjoyed the loyal support of many Christians. Now, loyalty is a wonderful quality: "If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost," I Corinthians 13:7 (TLB). But who are we being loyal to? Can loyalty to Jesus - Christians' first call - be reconciled with loyalty to GWB acting in his former role as national leader? America's ex-president had been welcomed as a Christian brother (this scribe was among the welcomers, as noted above). Where are we now though?
They will perform miracles and wonders
in order to deceive even God's chosen people, if possible."
Mark 13:22 (TEV)
That many Christians believed in their president should not surprise us. Shouldn't we see it as a Blessing though, that this support for Bush slipped markedly in his last four years? Apparently a number of truth-seekers in the Church came to see the man rather than the image. The label of "Christian" is a very powerful one politically. Further, it's an alias we could expect from a major antiChrist because the above verse from Mark's Gospel is saying: this man will be so convincing that he will take in even sincere Christians. In the light of this Prophecy by Jesus we do not need to feel guilty that we were misled; what we do need to do is to recognize the truth once it is presented to us, and to stop pretending that the Bush administration was God-anointed.
What else can be done? More about this in the final chapter, but in the meantime:
This is what we can do - those of us who believe in prayer - we can pray and cry out to God for this man's soul. If we love George Bush, we will plead for him, asking that he be rescued from the plight he got into. Jesus is Able - it doesn't matter who the person is, or whether that person qualifies for the antiChrist label or not. Jesus can save everyone, no matter how much or how hard the person has fought against the Savior. This writer gratefully remembers being plucked out of the mire by Jesus. After an early and rapid case of backsliding, and after a long and immoral decline, the day came when our Lord must have said, Enough! And He stepped in and turned this reprobate around.
Well then, is George Bush too big of a problem? Surely not. Jesus can give the Miracle of Salvation to George W; and prayer will hasten the day when the man is indeed brought to life! And when we think of his qualities - of confidence, self-discipline, tenacity - we can anticipate that one day he will be a real asset to the Kingdom. So let us hold up to Heaven the need for GWB's conversion, sure in the knowledge that God is Willing to give him deliverance one day. The Gospel is as true for George W as it is for each one of us. Praise God, Jesus is True to His Word!
And to those who insist that this is futile, on the grounds that the president is already saved, the language of George Fox (the Quaker) could be apt. He said there are "professors" and there are "possessors." Friends, we need to be able to tell the difference.
We do seem to have spent a lot more time considering George W Bush than we spent with the other two. But since Saddam and Ariel appear to be rendered harmless - out of the three, George W is the only one left whom we might need to watch. He seems to be out of the picture, but is he?
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