Read: Revelation 18
My hypothesis as to the identity of the whore of Babylon, who made her appearance in the last chapter, seems to be born out by chapter 18. She is a figure who signifies the obsession with wealth. She is the marketplace consolidated in a single person, whom all desire because she satisfies their greatest yearning.
Revelation 18 would seem to suggest that the great, final cataclysm is not an affair of pitched battles and warfare, but one of economic collapse and ruin. The world economy goes into the tank. And that inspires panic.
It also inspires a certain paralysis on the part of those who lusted so much after the whore–the almighty dollar. They stand by, as if helpless, as she meets her ruin. No one lifts a hand to help her. Are they unable? Or is it that they are unwilling to exert themselves and to risk their own safety and well-being? The whore needs help. But…let someone else give it to her…not me.
The by-standers who desired her favor and watched her demise are like most of us, who see hard times on the horizon, and who believe that if action isn’t taken things will only get worse and worse, but we’re not willing to be the ones to take that action. Let someone else do it. The sacrifices that are necessary for a society to turn things around are almost impossible to accomplish because no one wants to be the one to make the sacrifice. You end up with a whole boat load of people who all share the same inclination to let someone else do it; which translates into–nobody does. We watch the ship sink under our feet and say to one another, ‘somebody should do something.’ That’s when we elect somebody for office. ‘You, do something,’ we commend him or her. But then if she or he recommends any action that would me personal privation, we revolt. The biggest issue in every election is always the economy; which means, very locally, ‘how am I doing?’
While the whore and her admirers spiral downward, the saints sit on the sidelines and watch as they, who had exploited and excluded them, fall.