The dynamics that will occur during the Tribulation can make your head spin. So much will go on politically and in the religious realm that sorting out the players and events can be a challenge. Many people ask: Why do we even care? They say: It’ll all pan out in the end.
That’s true, but God did not give us Bible prophecy to ignore it. He has given us inquiring minds and filled about 1/3 of His Word with the prophetic. The Lord wants us to seek out these things as best we can to understand them and warn others. The more we’re able to piece prophetic events together, the more we can see clearly that which is going on around us in these latter days. Is there a man with wisdom? Isn’t it one who knows what the Lord intends to do and can explain it to people so they can prepare their hearts and minds? In this day of God shaking the earth, if we know His purposes, then we have nothing to fear. Isn’t that of value, especially given that so many in the church have no understanding of these things and indeed do fear?
One of the great deceptions over the years has been within the Catholic church. It comprises about 1.3 billion people. Sadly, because of the religious traditions and doctrines coming from the Vatican, it’s difficult to gauge the number of those within this institution who may truly be saved. If salvation rests upon Jesus’ declaration to Nicodemus in John 3: 5:
… “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
… and on Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:8-9:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
… then those who follow the teachings of Catholicism have a problem. Because they depend on their works, as evidenced by the requirement to attend mass, take the eucharist, pray to Mary, say the Rosary, and adhere to other non-Biblical teachings, etc., then they aren’t approaching God only through His Son. They are depending upon their own righteousness to get to heaven. This is not to say that some within the Catholic church aren’t saved; I’m sure there are many. But they’ve gained salvation despite Catholicism’s teachings, not because of them.
As bad as this all is, many popes have embraced the concept of ecumenicalism that effectively dumbs down Christianity to the lowest common denominator. Worse, Catholic efforts in this regard welcome those in other religious traditions outside Christianity and declare that all are brothers united in a common spirit. The truth of the matter is that Catholicism is a pagan religion.
Is it any wonder that in Revelation 17:6 John says:
And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
When I saw her, I marveled greatly.
He recognizes this woman he describes as the harlot of whom he wrote in Revelation 17:1-2:
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.”
As John describes her in subsequent verses, we know from the color of her garments and the location from which she comes that she spiritually represents the church of Thyatira which has prostituted itself within the actual church in Rome. The harlot may even have had a likeness of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Can you imagine if that was the case? John sees this woman he knew well dressed as she was, filled with unspeakable abominations, and riding this demonic beast. What wonder he must have felt at this sight!
What John saw and described is the symbolic representation of the One World Religion that will have such influence during the initial 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. This religion rides the beast – the Antichrist – who has been given the power and authority of the dragon, i.e. of Satan. This tells us that for the first half of these seven years, this religion will be preeminent, as Antichrist allows it to use him as necessary.
But then circumstances change; things turn around. The ten kings around the world that have coalesced around Antichrist and allowed this religion to dominate them will halt their allegiance to it. When Antichrist declares himself as god in the temple, the kings will make war on the harlot. From what we can determine, they will attack and ravish her. They will destroy this religion at its source in Rome. Likely they will raid the Vatican with all its riches, and it will go down in fire.
But there is also a mystery here in regards to Babylon. Rome is referred to symbolically as Babylon, but the reality is that physical Babylon is the source of the Beast System that has spread its cancer throughout the earth. Because of this, the text and the mystery may actually be referencing the two locations of Rome and Babylon itself. I’ve explored this in this essay: http://garyritter.com/isaiah-1320-babylon-never-again-inhabited/.
What does all this future prophecy mean to us? One thing we know is that these events are not far off. The Catholic church has long attempted to bring other religions into its fold. This is only one of many illustrations:
Much has happened in these several years since this collaboration occurred.
The One World Religion is almost ready to launch. All the pieces are in place. Many people have speculated that Pope Francis is the False Prophet. He’s certainly got all the earmarks of that wicked man, but he’ll only be revealed after the Rapture and once the Antichrist rises.
Those who follow the ways of Catholicism are greatly deceived. They need the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as much as any non-religious person. When we have the opportunity, we need to bring the truth to these folks. Only the true church will be Raptured. Everyone else will be left behind.
Let us proclaim Christ, and Him crucified, as the only way to achieve eternal life. What a blessing this will be to those who listen.