The New World Order via the Prophets of Israel
The world first publicly heard the term "New World Order" from the mouth of George Bush, "leader" of the free world, at the ambiguous conclusion of the first Gulf War. What was he talking about, and why at that point in time?
The notion comes under different names -- new world order, one world government, one rule -- but it is always the same concept.
Bush, or on behalf of whomever he was speaking at that juncture, wasn't the first to present the idea. The concept already appears a long time ago, back at least two and half thousand years, back in the Bible, in the Book of Daniel.
Daniel informs us that [only] four empires will arise throughout the history, each empire bigger than the previous, each dominating a larger portion of the globe than its antecedent. Prior to the rise of the first of the "great" empires, Babylon, political struggles, according to the Bible, were confined to small regional powers: Israel, Assyria, Aram and Egypt -- centered around the Levant.
Other small dominions in other parts of the world were similarly engaged in regional power play. But this is outside the scope of the Bible, whose interest revolves around how the world interacts with God's chosen people.
I posit an earlier attempt to control the entire world under one rule. That dictator was Nimrod, the first man in the world to go to war. Though most of the world's population backed him and his dominating philosophy, there were dissenters. Nimrod was forced to rule by the power of his hand. As the post diluvian world occupied a small region, this incident was not significant in history other than to demonstrate that a man (or group) can subjugate others.
Daniel details two of the empires; they ruled during his lifetime. The first was Babylon, whose [three] kings Daniel served. In addition to predicting the might of the Babylon Empire, Daniel also prophesied to its first king, Nebuchadnezzar, its demise. And indeed Babylon fell, following a mere seventy years of world domination. (Isiah also predicted the downfall of Babylon, unbelievably more than a hundred years before its rise.)
The new player on the world stage was a coalition of Medes and Persians, initially ruled by a king originating from the former. However it was under Persian monarchy that the empire spread from Abyssinia to India, an unheard of expanse in those days. This too was to last but a short while, this time under four kings.
The next two world dominating powers, "much more powerful" than the earlier empires are not named by Daniel. At the time of Daniel's death, while serving the second king of the Persian Empire, the future players in world politics were still unheard of. These names were meaningless to him. They were still backwater settlements, somewhere to the west of the cradle of civilisation and the dominating powers.
Eventually the centre of dominion moves from the Middle East to Europe. The third power to attain world government is Greece. Using blitzkrieg tactics, Alexander of Macedon, after securing Greece itself, moves eastward, capturing everything in his path, quickly decimating the "old" Persian Empire. The biggest empire the world has ever seen now controls much of the "known" world.
This empire too is short lived. A young Alexander dies suddenly, heirless. His empire is split amongst three key generals. Although divided, the spread of Greek culture and philosophy continues unabated.
And then, almost out of nowhere in historic terms, a new power takes over all the Greek dominated regions, and at the same time moves westward, reaching across Europe all the way to France and England. Europe and the Middle East are now under the tight control of Rome.
Rome. Was Rome the fourth, the most awful, the most powerful of Daniel's empires? The seemingly indestructible force predicted by the angel? Most classical biblical commentators are certain. And so was I, for many years.
Rome, while no longer bearing the format of two thousand years ago, still dominates the world. Under diverse guises, principally though, throughout most of post-Roman history, in the form of the Catholic Church. (Catholic is the Latin world for "universal" -- or "one world".) Churchmen became the new army, building in the classic Roman territories, eventually conquering the New World. Missionaries replace Roman legionnaires, but the message spread, is that of Esau, of the Romans. Even England which broke the yoke of Rome after four hundred years, eventually succumbed again to Roman influence via the Church. It was well into the second millennium that there was once more direct English rebellion against Roman control.
But there is another player on the world stage. Initially a small desert tribe, today it controls a quarter of the earth's population, far outnumbering the Catholics and even all Christianity combined.
Only one biblical commentator, over seven hundred years ago, put his money on these people as the candidate for the fourth empire. The Ibn Ezra understood the third of Daniel's empires to be Greece and Rome; they are one. With the benefit of hindsight (though his colleagues should have had an identical contemporary panorama) he understood that Rome, while nationally and ethnically not Greece, was philosophically a mere continuation of it. Rome easily conquered a factional Greek Empire, simultaneously incorporating its values. Rome spread Greek cultural values to new corners of the earth.
The Talmud, in Bekhoroth, relates that the Roman emperor sent Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananya to debate "current affairs" with the Roman intelligentsia. These seminars were not held in the halls of the University of Rome, but rather with the "Elders of Athens". In these discussions, taking the form of riddles, the Elders present Esauian replacement philosophy, namely that God destroyed the Temple in Yerushalayim because we [the Jews] sinned by not accepting the beauty and pleasures of His physical world, thus proving that the birthright in fact really did belong to Esau, that it was stolen by Jacob [read Israel] and God corrected this great historic injustice by destroying the Temple and exiling the Jews.
Rome adopted Christianity. They modified the replacement philosophy to [I'm paraphrasing] "God destroyed Israel because it did not accept His new reality, and now, wherever Israel is mentioned in the Bible, it refers to Rome, to the Roman church, to Esau". Much the same concept as pre-Christian Rome, but in a new guise, with a religious twist. The new empire's leaders maintain power by ruling via a new hierarchy, that of the church.
Like the Roman emperors of old, the clergy accumulated great wealth by its spreading control of the world. I would posit that control and money are the main motivations of the church, that the "religion" aspect is simply what gives it structure, a focal point. The poor were pillaged, raped and plundered in the name of a god, but as always, wealth continuously flowed in one direction. Today there is a new ruling class, a new hierarchy, but the aims are the same, to control the world, to make money. This is Bush's new world order.
In a very clever ploy, the church absolves rich sinners. They continue to sin as long they continue paying. This was to keep the ruling class in check -- maybe today we won't absolve you and you'll burn in hell -- and they keep the money coming in. In our times they are developing new tricks to achieve similar results. Of course the poor just continued their life of purgatory after death.
According to the Ibn Ezra, the fourth empire, the most evil and powerful of all, is Ishmael, or as we know them today, Islam. I am not surprised that the early Ashkenazi commentators saw Rome as the culprit for the fourth empire -- they lived the church. They were thrown out of most countries in Europe, by kings, all of whom answered to the supreme Roman king, the Bishop of Rome. For hundreds of years, the inquisition was one of the tools of control, ensuring local monarchs and lords answered to Roman authority. The inquisition still exists today, under a new name, "the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith". (Its previous name was the "Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition" -- nice little change). Until 2006, the Prefect of the Congregation was a German called Josef Ratzinger, today better known as Pope Benedict XVI.
The Sfaradim witnessed the power of Islam in North Africa, as well as the Moslem conquest of Spain. Still only Ibn Ezra came to this conclusion.
In my humble opinion, today we can see that perhaps he is correct. Islam has always had the ideology of jihad, bringing the teachings of Mohamed to the entire world, if necessary by force of the sword. Unlike Roman thinking, driven by wealth and pleasure, Islam is driven purely by ideology. This poses a much greater danger to the world. Thus in Daniel's view, this was the most evil empire of all. Someone motivated by money can always be "bought"; an ideologue is never for sale, is incorruptible.
Islam conquered most of the Iberian peninsular around a thousand years ago, failing to reach into France only because of the fortress-like Pyrenees mountains. They were eventually (some five hundred years later) drived back into Africa by Christian monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella.
In 1529 Moslem Turks laid siege to Vienna. Yes, the Moslems already controlled all of eastern Europe. They failed to breech the city walls -- the winter was very harsh. They returned the following year, but were again beaten back. They managed, however, to continue holding parts of Hungary, Transylvania, Moldavia and more for many years. Many of the recent problems in the former Yugoslavia have their roots in this era.
Two hundred years ago the [Moslem] Barbary pirates controlled the Mediterranean.
The Moslems never gave up. They are ideologically motivated.
Fast forward to the latter half of the twentieth century. A breach appears. A number of misplaced policy decisions by successive European governments suddenly opens doors -- to Islam. And they have been flooding in. Everyone is aware of the current situation.
We have a number of (non-biblical) sources telling us that "at the end of days", Esau and Ishmael will fight each other, only to eventually gang up, united in battle against Jerusalem . . . before the final return of Israel to its glory.
We live in interesting times -- the secrets of the prophets unrolling before our eyes.
7th March, 2010
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