Out of Babylon!從巴比倫出來/胡業民

” Out of Babylon! ” 從巴比倫出來


Preface Shutdown: The temporary halt of busy operations

The theme of “Out of Babylon!” is of utmost importance, and Christians and friends alike have heard about the revelations in the Bible and are naturally concerned about the message of “coming out of Babylon.” Babylon is not just a city; it holds profound spiritual and practical significance. More importantly, it represents an economic system, and we need to understand the issues and core corruption within the Babylonian economy. Today, we will begin sharing insights on this topic.

There are three song lyrics that express the Christian worldview: “This world will be judged…,” “We have a story to tell to the nations, the kingdom of Christ is coming on earth…,” “My eyes have already seen the great glory of the Lord’s coming…”. These songs convey God’s ultimate plan to return to His original intent within human governance and the world of economics. Therefore, we can see that there will be significant changes in the world’s economic systems. Let’s examine and explore what God has spoken to us from 2020 to 2021.

In the past year, we all have felt it, and the entire world has felt it too. In the midst of human busyness and hustle, it suddenly seemed as if the world was on pause, as the BBC described it, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020. It was as if the busy world had been paused. After being paused, when the world continued playing, we saw New Delhi in India become clean, Madrid in Spain also became clean, and many places, like the waters of Venice, became pure. It was as if, once humans stopped, God spoke to us through angels.

The Jubilee Year previously explored the relationship between “rest” and economic operations and development. Today, we particularly want to delve deeper into the theme of “coming out of Babylon.”

Unstoppable Acceleration

What does this world resemble? Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves once starred in the action thriller movie “Speed,” released in 1994. In the plot of the movie, a bus is constantly in motion because a terrorist has placed a timed bomb on board. This bomb requires the bus to maintain a speed of over 50 miles per hour, or it will explode. They did everything they could to evacuate the passengers on the bus so they could escape. Eventually, only Detective Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves remained to drive the speeding bus. This movie illustrates the current state of the world.

Today, the world is facing overproduction and is concerned about insufficient demand. To keep the economy running, central banks around the world have been lowering interest rates and printing money without constraints to stimulate economic activity. No one dares to slow down the global economy, as it would immediately lead to unemployment and idle equipment. People’s economic lives must not come to a halt.

However, the Bible records that God pressed the “pause button” twice in human history.

The Destiny of the Babylon System The first time the “pause button” was pressed was the shutdown of the Tower of Babel. In the Book of Genesis, it is written that when people were building the Tower of Babel, God confused their languages, making it impossible for them to continue working. This marked the first shutdown mentioned in the Bible. The second shutdown was the downfall of Babylon, referred to as Babel in the New Testament. The entire Babylon would stagnate and eventually collapse. While in Greek and Hebrew, the words Babel and Babylon appear different, in the original text, they are the same word, meaning the same thing. Babylon is simply another name for Babel.

So, what does this tell us? If we examine the economic system of the Tower of Babel as described in Genesis, we find that it was a source of great pride for the people involved. From today’s perspective, the Sumerian culture, which existed in Shinar before the time of Abraham, reached an unprecedented peak in various aspects, including cuneiform writing, art, craftsmanship, technology, and more. The people of Babel had every reason to be proud because their teams communicated seamlessly with each other, resulting in high efficiency.

However, it is essential to note that when the city and the “tower” were built together, problems arose. The top of this tower reached the heavens, and it was a colossal national project that required the people to pay a financial cost. The people had to pay with their labor and exploitation to complete this task. God was not pleased, and He confused their languages, causing the entire Tower of Babel to come to a halt.

If the Tower of Babel had not stopped, it would have inevitably formed an imperial dominance, and people would have had no rest. As we can see from our study, more than a thousand years later, human beings passed on Babel’s technology to Egypt to build the pyramids. The largest pyramid consists of 2.3 million huge stones, each weighing twenty metric tons. It required the labor of all the people, including unpaid labor, to bear the cost of this project. The project required continuous work day and night, lasting more than twenty years, and it was a generation of labor and toil to complete it. If the Tower of Babel had continued to exist to this day, the Egyptian pyramids would have been insignificant in comparison. It would be like a small waterfall compared to the Niagara Falls for those who have seen the Niagara Falls.

What happened after the shutdown of the Tower of Babel? The shutdown of the Tower of Babel was actually good news because it delayed the way a massive hegemonic power caused suffering to the people. It was not until the emergence of the Egyptian hegemony more than a thousand years later and the appearance of the Chinese Qin Empire over two and a half millennia later that human beings had a breathing opportunity. They began to disperse all over the world, going to Egypt, going to China, and later, even Abraham left Ur to go to the Promised Land. After the shutdown of the Tower of Babel, human beings had a chance to breathe and return to God’s original command. They spread throughout the earth, governed the land, and people could enjoy a time of rest to rule the world. They could enjoy God’s original design, the original governance, which was the plan of the Garden of Eden and what we can experience in the future in the new heaven and new earth.

The Sins of Babylon: The Ultimate Exploitation in International Economics So, what is the “Babylonian economic system”? As we just read in the Bible, there are several situations described in the Book of Revelation. The scenario in Revelation is that, in the end, there will be an economic system on the brink of collapse. Why is it collapsing? The Bible is very clear about it. “The merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries… Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning, and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her” (Revelation 18:3, 8). This is what we see in that scenario.

Furthermore, in Revelation 18, it describes the Babylonian economy as follows: “The kings of the earth who have committed adultery with her and shared her luxury will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: ‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, the mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your judgment has come.’ The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore.” (Revelation 18:9-11) Please note the last sentence, “because no one buys their cargoes anymore,” signifies a global international economic standstill, which is the second major shutdown.

The 1% vs. the 99%

The Bible clearly records that the first major shutdown was the halt of the Tower of Babel’s construction, and the second was the collapse of the Babylonian economy. So, what similarities exist between the collapse of the Babylonian economy and the Tower of Babel? If the Tower of Babel reached an unprecedented peak in technology at the time and people were extremely proud, I believe in the Babylonian system, in this end-time economic system, it is written more explicitly in Revelation. During that time, the economy was not stagnant; on the surface, international economics were thriving. However, it was an abnormal development. What does an abnormal development mean? The Bible states that the merchants there became wealthy due to the excessive luxury of Babylon. This means that economic prosperity in one place came at the expense of others. In other words, wealth accumulation in Babylon was uneven, which is even more terrifying. This is similar to a problem the world has encountered since 2008. During the recession, the 1% became wealthier while the 99% became impoverished, creating a stark division. The global economic development that was supposed to bring happiness became twisted. If you carefully examine Revelation chapter 18, if the outcome of this expansion and economic prosperity is that the 1% becomes very wealthy, but the 99% suffers greatly, it represents a highly distorted economic system.

The Babylon Phenomenon

In other words, technological advancements have made people proud and arrogant, indulging in conspicuous consumption, distorting trade and commerce. As a result, a connection between merchants on the ground and those in power is established, creating a transnational collusion of economic power and political leadership, not just domestically but across borders. The result of this collusion is an oligopoly, totalitarian rule, and the loss of happiness. It may appear that the so-called average GDP figures are increasing, but for the majority of the poor, due to the increasing wealth gap, this rise in average GDP is not related to the well-being of those at the bottom; instead, they suffer from exploitation, such as rising prices.

In this world, international collusion is inescapable. We know that in the Babylonian system, everything, no matter what it is, is controlled by the cloud.

Market economies are not sustainable, and environmental disasters are not sustainable either. We can say that there are two tragedies that cannot be sustained in the human world:

The first is the relationship of wealth exploitation, which leads to the collapse of the market economy and makes the world unsustainable. As I mentioned earlier, the opposition between the 1% and the 99%. When the top 20% of people become wealthy first and the remaining 80% gradually become prosperous, we consider this a normal progression. However, if the 1% becomes wealthy, leaving the 99% behind, who will they sell their products to? Wealth inequality makes it impossible for the entire economic market cycle to be sustainable, and this is a universal problem that extends beyond individual countries.

The second is the unsustainability of ecological disasters. A documentary produced by the BBC for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is thought-provoking. It is as if we should be grateful that there was an angel who pressed the pause button, allowing us to reflect on whether our business model is right or not. Are we profiting at the expense of someone else’s economic losses, or at the expense of the exploitation of the natural environment to the point of ecological disaster? This will undoubtedly lead to various environmental repercussions, and humans will ultimately reap what they sow.

However, I must also mention a positive ending, good news. What is this good news? After the cessation of the Tower of Babel, humanity dispersed across the earth and governed it. God’s will must be fulfilled, regardless of whether we follow our own path or not. God’s will must be carried out. Likewise, in Revelation chapters 18 and 19, what happens after Babylon? After the economic collapse of Babylon in the final chapters of Revelation, a new heaven and a new earth appear. God’s governance must be implemented on earth, and the model of God’s governance must correct all the places where humanity has not honored God in governance. In other words, God has been the central axis of human development throughout human history.

Therefore, first, after the dispersion of Babel, humanity dispersed and began to govern the entire earth, leading to oppression and domination. Whether it was the Egyptian Empire or the Qin Dynasty, they emerged later. Humanity had the opportunity to breathe. Humanity was able to disperse across the entire earth and have a respite. How long did this last? Probably over a thousand to two and a half thousand years or more.

Furthermore, after the economic end of Babylon, God came to rectify and govern the new heaven and the new earth, giving us renewed hope.

Babylon: The Sum of Capitalism’s Vices and Economic Control’s Vices

Let me summarize the characteristics of the economic system from Babel to Babylon: it’s a world with many problems. In the Babylonian economic system, these problems are the sum of the vices of capitalism and the vices of economic control. Capitalism has many vices, and there are vices in an economy highly controlled by humans. Please see the Book of Revelation, the combination of these two, first, human greed. Especially through collusion, the collusion of politics and business obstructs the original rules of the market, hindering the fair flow of the market. Human greed and collusion hinder the market economy. Second, trade and commerce are called the place of fornication. Trade was originally a mutually beneficial, mutually satisfactory exchange between buyer and seller. But normal trade, which should benefit both sides and bring blessings to each other, becomes a place of fornication, which represents collusion. In collusion between politics and business, each trade act seems like a shameful act of selling one’s soul.

Babylon Is Difficult to Discern, Isn’t It?

So, from Babel to Babylon, we find that its characteristics are ubiquitous and hard to discern. I’ll say it again, is most of the international trade in the world happening in this situation, or is it only a small part? Or, are we calling on believers today to come out of Babylon, to have discernment, to see the face of the Babylonian economic system, and to live in an economic model that pleases God? I think that’s the focus of my message today.

I’ll say it again, the economic system from Babel to Babylon is like the believers in the Greek society during Paul’s time. At that time, people had to deal with the worship of idols in economic transactions. Could it be that one day, when we do business, we have to cut corners and operate dishonestly? I hope these days will come later, or, I can put it this way: believers need to have the assurance that as we live in the world today, we should live in a way that resists the Babylonian economic system. We need to live in a way that is different from the Babylonian economic system. Many times, it may seem like we are living in a mixed environment, maybe “you have a bit of me, and I have a bit of you.” When is it the situation described in the Bible? The whole Bible says this. In Luke 17:26-30, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26-27) “Just as it was in the days of Lot. They were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.” (Luke 17:28) It means that some things seem to be operating quite normally. The Bible goes on to say, “But on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:29) This means that business owners had some future production plans. They had expansion and operation models that seemed to be operating normally. That is to say, including believers, we are in such an environment, but it is difficult to distinguish.

At the same time, we can ask ourselves if we are caught up in it. In other words, at the moment I make a decision, I may have a good thought about the kingdom of God, but the next moment my thinking may be that of the Babylonian model. As Peter said in the previous passage, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus praised him and said, “On this rock I will build my church.” But immediately afterward, Peter saw that Jesus was going to the cross, and he said, ”

Title: Economic Design of Jubilee Sharing and the Redemption of Sanctuary Cities

(1) Jubilee Sharing Framework

Firstly, in the Bible, every third year is known as the “Year of Sharing.” During this year, we are required to share one-tenth of our resources with others. In addition to the annual tithe given to God, every three years, we set aside another one-tenth, as the Bible instructs us not to bring it to the city of Jerusalem. Instead, we are to rejoice in our local areas with the Levites, orphans, widows, and the poor, as God created the earth for people to live joyfully among its abundance. Those who are blessed and able to share with others should do so joyfully. Every third year is dedicated to sharing with others (see Deuteronomy 14:27-29).

Furthermore, the Sabbatical Year occurs every seven years, granting relief. After seven cycles of seven years, which amounts to fifty years, the Year of Jubilee arrives. What is the significance of the Year of Jubilee? It’s a mechanism for the entire economy to experience release. People can start afresh, and those in poverty can reclaim their work rights. In the Book of Leviticus, chapter 25, this economic release can be thought of as the restoration of one’s land rights. In essence, during this time, they regain the basic right to work, receiving a fresh start and a chance to restore their dignity and livelihood. This complete governance and sharing program is filled with the spirit of Jubilee. As Christians in our role as citizens in society, we should promote a spirit of sharing and govern in a way that pleases God, following the spirit of Jubilee.

What is related to the spirit of Jubilee? The Bible has a unique provision. When the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, God established a system of “Sanctuary Cities” for them. The Bible states: “On the east of the Jordan, in the wilderness, in the plains, out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer in the wilderness with its pasturelands, from the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with its pasturelands, and from the tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with its pasturelands” (Joshua 20:8). This means that Sanctuary Cities were established, including Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan, on the east side of the Jordan River. But what do Sanctuary Cities represent? These were places of refuge for those who had fallen into circumstances in society that made it impossible for them to survive. This included debtors on the run and even individuals who had unintentionally harmed others. These people could flee to these cities, where no one could pursue them until a national pardon was granted, or until the high priest passed away, after which they could leave. Otherwise, they could be captured at any time. When they reached a Sanctuary City, their lives were protected.

God’s love for people is so great that He not only promotes mutual assistance through the spirit of Jubilee but also ensures the care of society’s vulnerable, including orphans, widows, foreign laborers, and residents. Sanctuary Cities provide refuge for those even more marginalized than these groups, individuals who are on the brink of needing to flee for their lives, such as debtors. In today’s Chinese world, you can see many people trapped by online loans, becoming debt slaves. Credit cards have turned into card debts, and debts are compounding. In the end, they cannot repay their debts and are pursued everywhere, unable to live securely, with unstable job locations and vulnerable to exploitation. When they need to escape, God’s redemptive plan, which is reflected in the Sanctuary Cities, provides a last refuge. This final refuge offers hope for survival in the most dire circumstances.

(2) The Sanctuary City System Guarantees the Right to Survival for the Underprivileged

In other words, through a nation’s constitution, the right to survival for the lowest strata of society, even if they are in debt and unable to recover, must be protected. They should have their basic rights to life preserved, enabling them to continue living. This is a remarkable revelation in the Bible and a matter of human rights. This means that if we can wisely initiate a structural change, one that follows the spirit and governance model of Jubilee, the marginalized groups—orphans, widows, foreign laborers, and immigrants—will be taken care of. Additionally, in terms of design, something resembling the biblical Sanctuary Cities should be established, allowing individuals who are on the brink of not being able to survive or even contemplating suicide to continue living. We need to design such a system.

Some countries have enacted laws known as “Debt Relief Acts,” which cancel seventy, eighty, or even ninety percent of these individuals’ debts, with the purpose of allowing them to continue living. Courts can make such judgments. We are grateful for this. If we can achieve this to some extent, it’s a significant step, and we are getting closer. One day, in the new heavens and the new earth, a new governance model will emerge. This aspect is the embodiment of the spirit of Jubilee and the design of Sanctuary Cities. It represents the first step in humanity’s redemption plan to counter the Babylonian economic system.

(3) Harnessing God’s Creativity

The above discussion pertains to the macro-level systems. Now, let’s explore the micro-level. As Christians, we should be innovative and creatively engage our God-given abilities. Through our businesses, we are aware of many things that can please God. We can undertake numerous ventures that help others and bring glory to God. We should strive to develop and sustain enterprises that not only thrive but also continually run.

Conclusion: Replacing Monopoly with Sharing

I believe that we will find workable sharing models, as there are numerous models and suggestions for sharing. In the realm of business, we should wholeheartedly consider whether our operations are ethical, whether we practice compassionate management, and whether we are involved in monopolistic conspiracies. We need to be mindful of this, as God desires us to prosper, but it’s crucial that our success aligns with God’s will, is blessed by God, benefits others, looks after the welfare of consumers, and nurtures the neighboring community. This is the social responsibility of Christian enterprises.

Furthermore, at the individual level, there is a wealth of innovative thinking. Today, we have a fundamental understanding that the market is vital, and we should respect the market. The greatest problem with the Babylonian economic system is the disruption of the market order through monopolistic practices that seek to gain exorbitant profits. In pursuing self-interest, it sacrifices the welfare of others, and this is truly alarming. This is a fundamental concept. The so-called Babylonian economic system is, at its core, anti-market. As Christians, we want to create a world where the enterprises we establish please God and are satisfactory to the Christian community.

I hope that together, we can ponder and reflect on our role as believers today. What is the way forward for our economy and businesses? We might be living in a world that seems unsettling, with frequent distortions by the Babylonian economic forces that interfere with our normal operations. However, as Christians, we need to reflect, operate with compassion and ethical management, and work in ways that please God while developing businesses and economic models that can survive in this world and bear witness




有三首詩歌,反應基督教的世界觀:「這世界要受審判…」「我們有一故事傳給萬邦 基督國度降臨地上…」「我的眼睛已經看見主的大榮光…」這些歌表述了上帝在我們中間,在人類治理的世界,終極要回歸神原來的旨意。因此我們看見這個世界經濟體系要有一個怎麼樣的變化?我們來看來查考,在2020年到2021年,神對我們說了一些什麼樣的話。




這個世界好比什麼呢?珊卓·布拉克(Sandra Bullock)和基努·李維(Keanu Reeves)曾主演了一部警匪電影——《捍衛戰警》(英語:Speed),是一部在1994年出品的美國驚險動作電影。[1]電影劇情裡,整部奔跑中的巴士,因為被一個恐怖份子放的定時炸彈。這個定時炸彈假設速度慢下來的話,整個車子就要爆炸。這個炸彈設計要求這個車速必須不能停止,將車速控制在每小時五十英里(就是七十五公里)以上,否則車子要爆炸。那麼,他們想盡辦法來做疏散的動作,能不能讓很多乘客出去。所以最後就剩下這一個警員幹部珊卓布拉克和司機兩個人開著這輛急駛的巴士。這部電影就是在講這種情形,而這就是我們今天世界運行的一個光景。





































































[1] 參考資料:https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%94%9F%E6%AD%BB%E6%97%B6%E9%80%9F