The New Roman Empire

In this connection the New Empire must prophetically be confronted with the vision of Isaiah where there will be no more “infant who will live but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days (Isaiah 65:20). [People] “will not build houses and another inhabit; they shall not plant vineyard and another eat.” (. 22) [but] “they will build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyard and eat their fruit.” (vs.21). The prophets condemn those who “sell the innocent for silver” and the “destitute for a pair of shoes” (Amos 2:6-7) and those who “join house to house, who add field to field (Isaiah 5:8). In the Philippines, the economic conglomerates through their local and national minions are notoriously “adding house to house and field to field.”

The biblical goal is not the maximization of the freedom to seek individual benefits, corporate profits or national advantage in the international market. Emil Brunner once said: “The primary purpose of economics willed by God is to minister to human needs, service to life. This implies that the economic order is a means and not an end…(I)t is the duty of each individual… and of the community as such, to see to it that the economic order is not allowed to make itself absolute, or to lose its purpose of service to humanity.” [24] And so the economic globalization of the Empire deserves God’s judgment.

3. Stewardship of God’s Creation: The New Empire does not care about Creation

Corollary to destruction of the image of God is the destruction of Creation. In the Empire, global economy works in a more sophisticated way of extracting wealth from the dominated countries through the exploitation of natural and human resources. Such exploitation has no respect for the environment, God’s Creation. With all the concerns expressed in preserving the environment in world conferences, the New Roman Empire has no qualms about its refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

The WARC in the Accra Statement summarizes: “We have heard that creation continues to groan, in bondage, waiting for its liberation (Romans 8:22). We are challenged by the cries of the people who suffer and by the wounded-ness of creation itself. We see a dramatic convergence between the suffering of the people and the damage done to the rest of creation” (Par. No. 5). The Empire and its unholy alliances are under judgment for the destruction of God’s Creation.

4. The Kingdom of God: Judgment to the Empire

According to Mark, Jesus’ original proclamation was: “The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel!” What Jesus did was to confront the kingdom of this world with all its corruption, hypocrisy, injustice and evil with the Kingdom of God. What Jesus did was to shake the foundations of the world’s socio-economic and political-military arrangements with the Kingdom of God that was breaking in. The Kingdom of God makes demands to do what is righteous and expose what is false and unjust. The Kingdom of God demands to love the neighbor particularly those who are suffering and are being crushed by the evil powers in our time. And so in every proclamation of the Gospel, the idols of our time must be named and exorcised. Just as in the Book of Revelation, the Beast, a Red Dragon whose aliases include Accuser, Deceiver, Devil, Satan, Ancient Serpent, Babylon the prostitute, and all the alliances of the perpetrators of injustice be exposed and subverted; the judging power of the Kingdom of God must be brought to bear, before something new can take root and arise in all human relations.[25]

The New Roman Empire must learn that no empire in history stayed forever and therefore should heed the warning in the Book of Revelation.

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (18:2)

“Alas! Alas! Thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come” (18:10) “Alas! Alas! For the great city that was clothe with fine linen, in purple and scarlet, bedecked with jewels, and with pearl! In one hour all these wealth has been laid to waste.” (18:16-17) Alas! Alas! For the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! In one hour she has been laid to waste. (18:19)

Concluding Words: The New Jerusalem.

However, it is not all dark and hopeless for humankind and God’s Creation, for the book of Revelation speaks of another City. When Babylon is finally destroyed, the New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven from God (21:2, 10). The New Jerusalem locates itself on earth. The image is a commentary on the Lord’s Prayer: “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” Revelation says the final hope for Christians is not to leave this earth. Rather the hope that energizes Christians is God’s renewing of our earthly home; the ultimate goal is to participate in and to work with God’s renewal of the universe – a renewal pictured as a merging of earth and heaven where all brokenness is overcome and leads to a consummation of God’s purpose for the whole creation. The New Jerusalem is a picture of the coming “reign of God,” in which God’s people are promised a “share” or an “inheritance” (21:7; 22:19). The New Jerusalem is an “international city” in which all nations “walk by the light” of God’s glory and of the Lamb (21:24) radiating from the throne of God, a metaphor of committing themselves to the ways of God.

In contrast to Babylon, the New Jerusalem provides a “river of the water of life” and a “tree of life” (Rev. 22:1-2). Dr. Zerbe explains: The “tree of life” which straddles the river, can produce “fruit” each month, indicating that it is a tropical city! It provides both sustenance and medicine for all the nations: its “leaves” are for the “healing of the nations.” The water, the fruit, and the medicinal leaves are freely accessible to all, and from a renewable (and unlimited) resource. Thus there is clean water, food security and accessible health care, both for the city and for the whole world. The Good News is to proclaim the New Jerusalem where God dwells and where God “wipes every tear from [people’s] eyes and [where] death will be no more.”

Perhaps an apt concluding word for a changed world in contrast to the Empire is the Biblical vision of Shalom. The 1991 Statement of the National of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) puts is this way:

“Shalom is a state of well-being and wholeness of life that embraces harmony with one’s neighbors and social relations, with nature and creation, and with one’s self. Its attainment involves a transformation of economic, social and political life so that these begin to embody justice and righteousness, of our relations with nature, and with the whole creation so that these begin to embody care and respect for God’s purposes for them, and for ourselves so that we embody in our lives righteousness, love and human compassion.”Posted by (

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