Art design "A Woman Rides the Beast" by Pete Garcia
So what will the world's final end-time religion look like?
Will it start out with Satanists running around after the Rapture in red tights and pitchforks, sacrificing everything they can lay their grubby hands on? Will it be the New Age 'crystal wearing' hippies announcing the long-awaited Age of Aquarius? Will it be the final manifestation of Chrislam? Unfortunately, there are as many opinions about this subject as there are phony religions out there masquerading as the truth. While we can't say definitively what the Harlot religion will actually look like at the outset, we know by the mid-point of the Tribulation that all worship on earth gets directed towards the Antichrist.
So how does the world get from where it is now (with thousands of different faith systems), to the point where all religions are eradicated and all religious devotion is focused on just one man?
Stage 1: Present Day
The spirit of antichrist is alive and thriving in these last days. What is this spirit of antichrist? It is any belief system or philosophy that denies Jesus is the Christ; that He is God come in the flesh (1 John 2:22-23). As John expounds, even in his day, many antichrists had come, but there was a final Antichrist coming. As you may already know, the Antichrist (Gr. Anticristos) doesn't just mean one who is opposed to Christ, but one who is in place of Christ. A Pseudo-Christ. A false messiah. Someone, or something pretending to be the path toward salvation.
At present, there are seven major belief systems in the world today: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, paganism, and humanism. Underneath these major categories, there are between 4,000 to 10,000 subsects/groups. Since Babel, Satan has had to shift his plans from global universalism to that of divide and conquer. Now that the end of the age has come, he is once again attempting to bring it all back together under one roof. While the world is presently being restrained by the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Restrainer), the Church remains the most dominant stabilizing force on the planet. I know it doesn't feel like it at present, but it's true. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18-19 that He would build His church, and the gates of hell would not prevail.
Art design "The Gates of Hell" by Pete Garcia
The Restrainer is not just restraining human wickedness through the influences of Christianity upon Western Civilization, but He is also restraining the dark spiritual forces which always seek open doorways into our human domain (Ephesians 6:12). And since Acts 2, He has done so by empowering the body of Christ through signs, wonders, and most importantly, His word. However, once the Rapture occurs, it will remove the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit by the physical removal of the body of Christ (the Church) from the earth.
Stage 2: The Day After
As previously mentioned, there are upwards of 10,000 different religious groups and belief systems out there. Any religious system or philosophy, regardless of how peaceful or benign it appears, which does not unequivocally state that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh, is of Satan. So at present, all of this religious diversity works to his (Satan's) favor in keeping the world divided and confused. But once the Rapture happens, Satan will no longer need the division or confusion. Instead, he will need the world to rally around his man Antichrist as quickly as possible. However, Satan is also a bit of a master pragmatist in these regards. He understands the world isn't going to just turn on a dime. He will need to convince unredeemed mankind to get in line behind his chosen seed. This is where supernatural deception comes into play.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie...2 Thessalonians 2:9-11
Shortly after the Rapture, the world will be thrown into a state of chaos. How long that chaos will last is anyone's guess these days. But those people left behind will turn to their respective faith systems, seeking answers as to what just happened. Lacking answers (because the truth will discredit their own belief systems), I see all of these various religions seeking consensus amongst themselves. Along with the overwhelming display of lying signs and wonders (i.e., the satanic light show vis a vis UFOs) in the heavens, I imagine these world religious leaders will join together to promote the idea that Mother Earth/Gaia/Enlightened visitors (E.Ts), etc. had purged the world of the undesirables. That purging was "necessary" to help with the overpopulation of the planet adding weight to their supposed precious climate change "emergency."
In gaining consensus, all of these religious groups will agree on three things:
All paths lead to redemption
All religions worship the same God (just use different names)
Man must evolve to the next level
This is what makes it the harlot- it flatters everyone, and saves no one.
Unfortunately for them, there is a growing group of "non-consenters" who refuse to go along with the new state-sanctioned narrative. Rather, these new believers in Jesus are saying it was the Rapture. Very quickly, these believers are being shunned, censored, imprisoned, and turned into scapegoats for all the world's problems. And as the judgments begin to fall, these believers will be ruthlessly hunted down and rounded up for humiliating show trials and public executions.
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. Rev. 6:9-11
So what makes the final world religious system the Harlot?
We know that when the final world government rises up, it does so alongside a global religion (Revelation 13:1). She is blasphemously wicked and vicious against those who oppose her. She is labeled by God as the Harlot because whores/prostitutes have no loyalty to anyone and only seek after money, pleasure, and power.
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Rev. 17:3-6
In context, when the Bible speaks about harlotry here, we are not speaking to sexual immorality, but to spiritual infidelity. This harlot will represent a universalist-type religion where everything is tolerated except for true Biblical Christianity. Let's look at the hierarchy of false religions in the world today, and see how they will be molded into the three categories of the post-Rapture religious system.
Luciferianism: Although this is the smallest and most exclusive religious sub-system in the world, it is also the most powerful. It is the religious system of the global elite and as such, its impacts are felt worldwide. It is also, ironically, the pinnacle for all false religious systems to attain because all false religions ultimately serve the same master (Satan). This is why each false religion is works-based and provides incredibly difficult paths to climb towards, only realizing once at the top that when you strip it all away, it's really Luciferianism. This same works-based/universalist ideology applies to the non-religious secret societies as well, groups such as the Freemasons, Illuminati, Bohemian Grove, et al.
Eastern Mysticism: EM is a really broad term that includes many eastern faith systems and philosophies that find their geographic origins in eastern Asia. Broadly speaking, they are a mix of pantheism, polytheism, ancestor worship, paganism, Gnosticism, relativism, and universalism. The largest of these are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Taoism, but also include Shamanism and Animism among the more primitive cultures. EM is rooted in post-modernism (truth is relative), death is not the end (reincarnation or nothingness), and either there are many gods, or god is in everything.
Roman Catholicism: After the Rapture, the largest organized faction of the left behind "Christian" community will be those of the Roman Catholic Church. In the days to weeks after the Rapture, hundreds of millions of faithful Catholics will turn to the Vatican for guidance regarding what just happened. Doctrinally speaking, since Roman Catholicism believes both that it is the one true church, and also denies the Rapture, therefore, they will militantly push the accepted alternative theory (aliens, Gaia purging the earth, etc.).
Latter Day Saints: (also included here would be Jehovah's Witnesses and other pseudo-Christian groups) who represent the second, single largest organized faction of "Christians" left behind. While we don't have specific numbers, I imagine many millions will question their own faith systems as they see large sections of the real Christian communities removed instantaneously. This may be the wake-up call they need to finally come to the light.
Human Secularists: this includes all atheists, agnostics, "free thinkers", and other humanists who largely reject religion altogether. I believe these groups will be quick to attribute the sudden disappearance of millions to the increasingly observable UFO/AUP activity in the skies at the time just after the Rapture. These will champion the transhumanist movement that the Beast system will come to manifest. However, these groups will not remain atheistic for long though, because, by the midpoint, they will have to worship the man Antichrist along with everyone else or face death.
I know by this point, you're saying, hey, what about the "Christian in Name Only's" (CINOs), the Jews, and the Muslims? Well, truth be told, I don't think Islam has much longer to go before it's largely eradicated as a major global religion. Two points to make about this are: 1) Islam is too restrictive/exclusive for its own good, and thus, of no further use to Satan, and 2) Islamic warriors will largely be eradicated in too great of numbers during the numerous conflicts in the gap and in the early stages of the 70th Week, to be a factor later on (Gog-Magog, Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, Jeremiah 49:34-39 [Elam]). Thus, much/most of Islam's militancy will be eradicated in the opening salvo of the last days.
After these devastating wars in the Islamic world, those left behind will either abandon it for Jesus Christ or the Antichrist. I think it is here where we see the world's great post-rapture revival. Even today we see a large population of those around the world today who are willing to be beheaded for their faith. Not to discount western courage, but as we saw in the 2014-16 public executions by ISIS of believers in Iraq and Syria, Middle Easterners are far more willing to die for their faith than almost any other group. My .02c worth anyway.
As for the large populations of CINOs left behind, it's probably a mixed bag of post-rapture converts presumably regretting their lifestyle choices versus those who abandon the faith altogether. As for the Jews, I believe the Rapture will be a very perplexing issue for them to contend with. If it happens on a Jewish Feast date (or a date like Tish B'Av), then it will be something I think they are more likely to accept as legitimate. However, if it happens on a day not connected with any Jewish significance, then it will be less likely they accept it as divinely appointed.
However, I think once the Rapture happens, it will trigger numerous overlapping geopolitical and economic events that may distract the left-behind populations. Those not familiar with Biblical eschatology will probably have no idea of what just happened and will not have the time to appreciate its significance. Gog and Magog will happen soon after the Rapture, as would the other aforementioned conflicts involving their neighbors. Even those conflicts will result in the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, which will begin a frenzied series of events by the Jews to get their Temple rebuilt. Perhaps that Daniel 9:27 covenant is tied in with the Harlot more than we think, especially if it involves building the Third Temple.
According to Revelation 13, the whole world marvels and wonders after the Beast. We understand the beast to be an amalgamation of former empires that come to rule the planet with an iron fist. We also understand that out of this Beast system, comes one man who rises up (i.e. the Antichrist). But he does not rise alone. Another beast (from the land) either precedes him or arises with him. Perhaps this False Prophet rises up from the Harlot religious system as well. As mentioned in #5, it is unlikely this man is even religious at all, but rather, a pure humanist promoting the deification of man through the supernatural or technology. This same False Prophet is the one who is in charge of directing all of that worship on earth towards this one cursed man.
Just as the beast system comes to be personified in the man Antichrist, it would seem that the Harlot becomes associated with a city (Rome? Abu Dhabi?). At the midpoint, the world system will turn against the harlot just before Antichrist declares himself to be god. The religious system, its buildings, wealth, clerics, and everything associated with it will be stripped, robbed, burned, and destroyed to remove any competition apart from the absolute devotion to Antichrist himself. And thus, the harlot (the system and all who partook) are condemned to the eternal lake of fire forever and ever.
But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is...
...Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” Revelation 17:7-18 (my emphasis)