Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that “man of sin be revealed”, “the son of perdition”; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) [Note the order of titles]
The Antichrist is only one part of the unholy trinity that comes together in the final seven years. The False Prophet heads the religious arm (the Harlot) while the Antichrist runs the political system. The Dragon (Satan) gives power to both to deceive and enslave the world. At the mid-point of the seven years, Satan is cast out of heaven, and he physically indwells the Antichrist making him go from the man of lawlessness to the son of perdition.
Revelation 17 deals with ecclesiastical Babylon ran by the False Prophet while chapter 18 deals with commercial Babylon (presumably run by the Antichrist). If both are cities, then they are two different cities with two different fates. It may be that the Harlot (as a system) is comprised of the people who indwell the city as we will look at later on. Regardless, the harlot is destroyed by the kings of the beast (the ten horns-Rev. 17:16-18), and no one mourns the collapse of this ecclesiastical abomination. At this point, the False Prophet then directs all worship towards the son of perdition. Juxtaposed to the Harlot is commercial Babylon, who when destroyed by God causes the entire world to mourn (Revelation 18:17-19).
The “Universal” Church
A sneak peek of what that final world religion will probably look like is the burgeoning movement known as Chrislam. To be more specific, Chrislam (the blending Christianity and Islam) is the end result of an actual process that first began from applying a liberalistic approach to Holy Scripture. Liberal hermeneutics allows for all manner of incursions by aberrant theology to make inroads into orthodox Christianity. Chrislam is just one of the latest perversions, but it is likely the most significant, considering the total number of adherents to both Roman Catholicism and Islam.
Two of the most well-known publications of literature regarding the subject of Revelation 17 &18 was Alexander Hislop’s 1853 book entitled The Two Babylon’s. The second was Dave Hunt’s 1994 seminal book A Woman Rides the Beast. Both posit that the Roman Catholic Church was/is the only qualified candidate who could fill the role of the last day’s global, apostate church known as the whore of Babylon. She is called a whore, not for her sexual deviancies, but rather for her spiritual infidelity. Both are credited for shedding much light on the history of ancient Babylon and how that portends for her shadowy, future alter-ego known only as MYSTERY BABYLON.
The Roman Catholic Church is one of, if not, THE wealthiest organizations on the planet. That wealth was not accumulated over the millennia by the generous tithes and offerings of its parishioners, but rather through centuries of corruption and force. She also has a rich history of cruelly persecuting those who disagree with her dogma and imaginary authority. But even more significant than her wealth, is her political influence and reach around the world of which she has used to promote ecumenism and the social gospel for the better part of 70 years. And while I agree with most of what Mr. Hunt has to say on the topic, I think that it will be much, much more than what even he described. I believe the Roman Catholic Church will be the primary organizational vehicle that Satan uses to take over. But he will not just use hollow dogma, religious rites, and rituals to entrap the world, but will use grandiose ceremonies marked by lying signs and wonders to deceive the world’s religions into uniting against the real perceived enemy—fundamentalism (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
Although fundamentalism applies to every belief system (religious or otherwise), the world has already assigned a negative connotation to it especially as it concerns Christianity. Speaking to the twentieth-century rise of fundamentalism, Dr. Grant Wacker, of Duke University Divinity School, notes in The Rise of Fundamentalism that fundamentalism should be better defined as a ‘traditionalist movement,’ trying to keep things the way they were. Well, if Satan only has seven years remaining (thereabouts), the last thing he needs is for things to stay the same. His plan is to destroy the Jews and to have the entire world worship him. The only way to do that is to get people to abandon what they knew in short order and embrace this new system.
Even the Pope believes Christian fundamentalism is dangerous. This is why the Roman Catholic Church provides the perfect catalyst to create the ecumenical juggernaut which is on our immediate horizon. The Roman Catholic Church has brutally persecuted hundreds of thousands of Jews and Christians throughout the centuries (more so than even Islam). Both Islam and Roman Catholicism reject Israel’s sovereignty. Roman Catholicism wants Jerusalem to be an international city open to all faiths. Roman Catholic expert Mike Gendron notes this about the similarities between the world’s two most significant monotheistic movements;
Considering how Islam is so opposed to Christianity, we find it fascinating that the Vatican has included the Muslims in their plan of salvation (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], para. 841). Nearly 50 years ago, Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton Sheen predicted that Islam would be converted to Catholicism “through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God.” He reasoned, “The Koran…has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and also in her Virgin Birth. Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady.” 1 More recently in a 1998 message to Islamic leaders, Pope John Paul II declared unity of spirit already exists. He said, “There remains a spiritual bond which unites us and which we must strive to recognize and develop.” At first glance, unity between Muslims and Catholics seems very unlikely but after a closer examination of the two religions, we find much in common. Like Islam, Roman Catholicism has also offered spiritual inducements to those who put Christians to death. The Vatican offered plenary indulgences (the remission of punishment for sin) to those who killed “heretics.”
A summation is that through the veneration of Mary and diminishing of Jesus, Roman Catholic leadership seeks to incorporate the Muslim world into its global ecumenical movement. It can then use Islam as its political and militaristic force to impose its will upon the world.
Today we see more and more protestant Christian leaders placating and accommodating Islamic incursions into their communities by playing to the similarities rather than addressing the glaring differences. Ecumenism (promoting unity amongst Christian churches) is now being foolishly extended to non-Christian belief systems such as Judaism (ex. Hebrew Roots) and Islam (ex. Chrislam), as well as to the eastern religions (ex. Emergent church) and human secularism (ex. Social Justice gospel). This amalgamation promotes the idea that all belief systems are relative and equal, but this is a nauseating affront to the Creator of the universe. Note Jesus’s position on the matter…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
The paradox of Islam is that it comes along centuries after Christianity and claims that the other two (Judaism and Christianity) were corruptions of the true message from God. Islam then denies the fundamental tenets of Judaism (God’s attributes as described in the Old Testament) as well as the divinity of Jesus Christ in the New. According to Islam, Jesus was only a human prophet. But then the Koran goes on to speak glowingly of the supernatural qualities of Isa (Jesus).
In other words, Islam only knows about Jesus Christ because of Christianity. It then gives credibility to Jesus as a legit messenger from God, while at the same time denying His divinity which should discredit Jesus as a legit messenger. Jesus claimed to be the only way to salvation (John 14:6) and that He was God in the flesh (Exodus 3:14, John 8:58). So if Christianity is wrong on the divinity of Christ, then so too is Islam by given legitimacy to either a false prophet or a madman.
The great Dispensationalist scholar Clarence Larkin balanced his position on her identity, not on the geopolitics of his day (early 20th century), nor on random speculation but Scripture. He posited that MYSTERY BABYLON was Ecclesiastical Babylon, of which I could most closely agree with. His description here makes sense when you compare and contrast Revelation 17 to the commercial Babylon of 18.
The “Woman’s” name is
“MYSTERY, Babylon the Great.”
“Mystery!” Where have we heard that word before, and in what connection? Paul calls the Church a “Mystery” because it was not known to the Old Testament Patriarchs and Prophets. Eph. 3:1-21.
That Christ was to have a “Bride” was first revealed to Paul (Eph. 5:23-32), and the “Mystery” that Antichrist is to have a “bride” was first revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos. The name of Antichrist’s “bride” is “Babylon the Great.” Someone may ask why give to a “bride” the name of a “City”? The answer is that it is not unusual in the Scriptures. When the same angel that showed John in this chapter “Mystery, Babylon the Great,” came to him in chapter 21:9-10 and said–“Come hither, I will shew thee the Bride–‘The Lamb’s Wife‘,” he showed John, instead of a woman, that great City, the “Holy Jerusalem” descending out of Heaven from God.
Here we see that a “city” is called a “bride” because its inhabitants, and not the city itself, are the bride. “Mystery, Babylon the Great,” the “bride” of Antichrist, then, is not a literal city, but a “System,” a religious and apostate “System.” As the Church, the Bride of Christ is composed of regenerated followers of Christ, so “Mystery, Babylon the Great,” the bride of Antichrist, will be composed of the followers of all False Religions. (Clarence Larkin, Book of Revelation)
Major crises (such as 9/11) always result in brief moments of global comradery and unity. But these ‘kumbayah' moments are short-lived so the harlot system must be in place as much as possible before the Rapture event. The Harlot needs both the architecture and force mechanisms in place to quickly capitalize on this short-lived global unity. We saw similar globalist machinations of this with both the creation of the failed League of Nations and later the United Nations just after World Wars I and II.
The Arch-enemy of MYSTERY BABYLON in this last week of years will be none other than the Two Prophets of Revelation 11 (possibly Elijah and Moses). These two Jewish Prophets of God will challenge the sweeping global religious craze and be equal in power and might to also do signs and wonders. Such will be the apostate spiritual phenomenon after the Rapture that their supernatural powers are for keeping a remnant of the Jewish people from wholly going after and following the Antichrist. It will not be possible because God has these Two Witnesses present to serve as the supernatural ‘checks and balances.’
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24
While I believe that Roman Catholicism as an institution is anti-Christian, there are still Christians within the system today. Likewise, there are many Muslims and Jews who are coming out of both Islam and Judaism to find faith in Jesus as their Messiah. But Islam, Judaism, and Roman Catholic eschatologies make them primed for the acceptance of the coming Antichrist.
Muslims are waiting for their Mahdi. The Jews are still waiting for their messiah. Roman Catholicism adheres to Amillennialism (which is a denial that Christ will physically return to set up His Kingdom) thus requiring a man (the Pope) to act as the Vicar of Christ on the earth.
It would seem that False Prophet (when he comes) will serve as both the Vicar (representative) of Christ as well as the Muslim Mahdi. He then points to the Antichrist as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. One might balk at that last point, but I believe Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, and Ezekiel 38-39 will literally beat the fundamentalism out of Islam. They will be ready to assimilate into this global unity movement when the time arrives.
Meanwhile, the Koran deceptively incorporates just enough of the Old and New Testament names and ideas into it so that the connection can be said to exist between Christianity and Islam. Thus the False Prophet and Antichrist rise up after the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (major global crisis) and through lying, signs and wonders, pull together the world’s three major monotheistic religions (solving a lot of problems along the way) into a final world religion known as MYSTERY BABYLON.
The goal then is to get the largest number of people, in the shortest amount of time, who remain on the earth after the Rapture, to follow this new, apostate, ecumenical, militantly anti-fundamentalist, nauseating religion. If you had Judaism (est. 15 million), Roman Catholicism (est. 1.1 billion), and Islam (1.2 billion), we are talking around 1/3rd of the population who could come into this system quickly and easily. This doesn’t even include all those in eastern religions (who already operate under ecumenical ideations), as well as non-religious.
Finally, adding those “Christians” who are left behind to the group because they were Christian in-name-only, we have over half the world’s population primed and ready to be deceived at the beginning of the Seventieth Week; and for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:11-12).