City in Focus: Dubai
Daniel, the Old Testament prophet famous for his stint in the lion’s den, had a position of prominence in both the Babylonian and Persian empires. But even more impressive was his prominence as an intercessor before the court of Heaven. To him was granted a vision of two wicked principalities, demons that were influencing entire empires, that are still at work today.
The first principality that Daniel saw was the Prince of Persia. The Prince of Persia (though a real demon) represents the force of radical fundamentalism, namely Islam. God raises up Persia to punish the empire of Babylon, but Daniel sees that God’s instrument of judgment is actually fueled by a strong, demonic entity. What characterizes this principality is that it draws stark distinctions between insiders and outsiders, and then operates with an unwavering intolerance for people and cultures that do not adhere to it’s own fundamentalist ideologies. Nothing can shift the reasoning of fundamentalism since, by definition, everything outside of its framework is warped and evil. Modern Islamic fundamentalism is particularly terrifying since it interprets jihad by actively and aggressively waging war against infidels, and glorifies death by martyrdom. The result is merciless killing of innocents, even at the hand of unpredictable suicide-assassins.
This is precisely in step with the activity of the Prince of Persia. Isaiah witnesses this same spirit overthrow Babylon in Isaiah 13.
Behold, I am stirring up the Medes (counterpart to the Persians) against them, who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold. Their bows will slaughter the young men; they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb; their eyes will not pity children. And babylon, the glory of kingdoms…will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. —Isaiah 13:17-19
Since this terrifying force has no regard for the standards of wealth of the day, it cannot be reasoned with or ameliorated with a large gift. Once the spirit of the Prince of Persia is bent on destruction, nothing will deter it from accomplishing its demonic will. And with the cold, calculating eyes of killers, this army even destroys children with no remorse. When effete Babylon first met this terrifying demon, it was razed to the ground.
But Babylon will again face this sort of judgment, one more time, at the end of the age. The other principality Daniel sees, the Prince of Greece, is a demonic influence of licentiousness, greed, and ease. As Babylon again emerges in the earth, this spirit will be given global expression. It is the grotesque luxury of Babylon that sanctions the buying and selling of almost every commodity imaginable, including the sale of human beings in slavery. Under the reign of the Prince of Greece, everything is for sale, even things that shouldn’t be. It is this lusty bargaining spirit that today fuels Dubai with it’s overflowing wealth, even as the Prince of Persia for now stands by, docile.
But when the ultimate, fundamentalist, unreasonable man—the anti-christ— becomes disgusted with Babylon’s decadence, there will be a clash of ideologies. In a single hour, God will judge Babylon again, just as He did at first: by stirring a merciless army against the Harlot City that is built on the back of human slaves. If her first fall at the hands of the Medes was terrible, her final fall will be a catastrophe from which she will never recover. And all of the merchants who basked in her luxury will stand a far off and watch her burn.