Observers of the signs of the times that indicate the nearness of Christ’s Second Advent chronicle with ever-increasing interest the convergence of all the signals given for the end of the age. These look at the major areas of life upon this judgment-bound sphere. The areas include geopolitics, socioeconomics, geophysical occurrences, and developments in religion.
We consistently deal with what is going on in Israel and the Middle East. We look at the declining morality and economic upheavals, natural weather and earthquake disasters around the globe. Too often, however, I think we sometimes put on the back burner of prophetic discernment what is happening in the arena of religious apostasy. And, there is no area with greater emphasis placed on it by the Word of God than religion in discerning the times as the end of the Church Age approaches.
Bible prophecy foretells the coming of a worldwide religious system. It will be anti-God in every respect and likened to a harlot with whom the leaders of earthly kingdoms will consort. This evil will bring God’s ever-increasing judgment as He releases His wrath on an incorrigibly rebellious world of whom the KJV calls “earth dwellers.”
This prostitute-like religious system is described as follows:
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:1-5)
One of the great Bible prophecy scholars and writers of recent times, a person whom it was my great privilege to call a friend, wrote the following:
The great prostitute described in these verses is a portrayal of Apostate Christendom in the end time. When the Rapture occurred, all true believers were caught up to be with the Lord, but left behind were many thousands of those who made some profession of faith in Christ and claimed to be Christians who were not born again. These constituted the apostate Church which will dominate the scene politically and religiously up to the midpoint of that last seven years before the Second Coming. The apostasy, called adultery and fornication here, of course refers to spiritual unfaithfulness, not to physical adultery. The church, devoid of any redeeming influence, is now completely united with the world, and, as the passage indicates, is working hand in glove with the political powers. (Dr. John F Walvoord, Every Prophecy in the Bible, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1999, pp. 604-607)
This harlot church system that will be in place during the Tribulation will, many prophecy students and teachers believe, be made up of an eclectic mix of religions in the time following the Rapture of the true Church. The religious system, called “Mystery Babylon,” will work in concert with the Antichrist regime to enslave the world in every realm of life.
With every day that passes, it becomes more obvious that the ecumenical movement among the religions of the world and the falling away within Christian church bodies from the sound, fundamental doctrines are quickly pushing the world toward this prophesied harlot system.
With the coming on the scene of Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, the observance of the development of end-times religious apostasy must no longer remain on that back burner. His recent comments make clear that he breaks dramatically from Catholic doctrine. For certain, his declarations fly in the face of Christian doctrine found in God’s Word, the Bible.
This pope has declared that there are many ways to God, not just one, as Jesus Christ, Himself, said as recorded in John 14:6. He has said that all atheists will one day be in Heaven. He has declared that there is no Hell. This can all be seen as nothing less than heresy, apostasy in its most blatant form.
Once again the news blaring at this generation on a minute-by-minute basis shows the dynamic movement of this most relevant end-times prophecy.
Rearrangement of the religious landscape on a national basis is significant enough. Pastors are abandoning sound, doctrinal teaching. The Laodicean church of Revelation is more and more in view.
However, it is the dramatic development involving Pope Francis and his embrace of many religions that take front and center in the news. The story makes plain that the current movement into apostasy is a relevant sign of the times. The following report, in my estimation, demonstrates how quickly the entity that will become the harlot system of Revelation 17 is coming into view.
135,000 tickets have been issued for a historic mass with Pope Francis. The Pope is heading to the United Arab Emirates, the first papal visit to the Arabian peninsula. The February 3-5 visit will also highlight coexistence, religious freedom and interfaith relations as the Pope meets with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayebb. The UAE has declared 2019 the “year of tolerance,” bringing together different religions….
The centerpiece of the visit is a mass at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City on Tuesday. Initially expected to draw 120,000, it now appears to be including up to 135,000 according to the Vatican.
“I am happy for this occasion the Lord has given me to write on your dear land, a new page in the history of relations between religions,” the Pope said last week….
The UAE is hosting 600 religious leaders for an inter-faith conference that will also be part of the Pope’s itinerary…
The interfaith discussions also come in the wake of reports in December about a synagogue in Dubai which Bloomberg described as a rented village in a “quiet residential neighborhood” used for services. Rabbi Marc Schneier, who has played a formative role in Jewish outreach to the Gulf, told The Arabian Gazette in an interview published January 30 that he was in the UAE this week. “To start it is historic that Pope Francis is visiting Abu Dhabi and a true honor for me to be here for this and to represent the Jewish communities in the Gulf. This is not only an incredible fete for the UAE and the Vatican, but it marks a new era for interfaith relations.” (Seth J. Frantzman, “Pope Francis Headnig to UAE for Historic Meting with Religious Leaders and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayebb part of UAE’s ‘year of tolerance’ supporting interfaith dialogue,” Jerusalem Post, February 2, 2019).
Like other last-of-the-end-of-the-age prophecies involving geopolitics, socioeconomics, and geophysical upheaval, the last-days apostasy is developing swiftly. Rearrangements that will usher in Antichrist and serve as his platform of control that will enslave Tribulation earth dwellers are all converging upon this generation.
Every day, I am reminded by those who send emails that Titus 2:13 is on the collective mind of those truly devoted to discerning the signs of the times: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”