This is long. Settle in.
I have come to a conclusion based on both what the bible says about the last of the last days, and on the evidence I’ve seen and gathered over the last few years. Though this essay is based on the bible, the conclusion I am coming to is speculation. It is opinion. I cannot be dogmatic about it. And neither can you.
It is crystal clear to me that the Tribulation church is forming before our eyes. The Tribulation Church in my opinion may be mainly Catholic in some form. All false religions will be part of the final, Babylon church. But the most recognizable portion, the foundation, will likely be Catholic. Allow me to lay out why I believe this. This will be in three sections. First, let’s get an introductory understanding of that the final church is.
In Revelation 17 we read of a whore, the Whore of Babylon.
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (Rev 17:3-6)
That tremendous chapter describes the fall of the final religion, the Tribulation ‘church’ of which I speak. Here is John MacArthur:
Since the fall of man recorded back in the third chapter of Genesis when he rebelled against God, God cursed man. And because man was cursed, because he is now by nature sinful, his nature has been perverted and so that innate longing to know God has been twisted. Man still reaches out for the supernatural but no longer does he long for the true God. In fact the Bible says no man seeks after God. His residual religiosity makes him long for some deity, but it’s usually a deity that accommodates somehow his sinfulness.
Satan, as you well know, has spawned all the false religions. They’re really one and the same, they just have different names and a few different rites and ceremonies, but they’re basically all the same. They fit in and out of varying cultures for varying purposes and reasons in Satan’s enterprise, but ultimately they are all the same. They are systems that attach themself to non-existent deities, systems that teach that man can save himself by his own works and his own achievement and his own self-righteousness, that the way to God is through ceremony, ritual, rite, things like that. It’s all the same. And it will come together in one great world final form of religion in the very end.
As the 2000’s have seen the rise in power of the Muslim religion, many people have said that they believe the last days church will be Muslim. They make a connection between the future beheadings prophetically reported in Revelation 20:4 and the Muslim’s favorite method of execution. They tie Islam’s rise in power and terror to the antichrist, and speculate the antichrist will be from Islam.
The Muslim end times eschatology is eerily similar to the Christians’, except the opposite. Their Jesus is our false prophet. Their Mahdi is our antichrist. Their outcome is that Islam will win, and of course, God has already won, through His Son. Christianity will prevail in the end, and all Christians already have prevailed.
Though of course Islam is satanic, I’ve always thought that Islam is to extreme and too violent to be the winner of the Tribulation religion last days false religion trophy. After all, satan is the most subtle creature in the Garden (Genesis 3:1). Islam is not subtle. I have always believed that satan’s most successful, his most crowningly subtle dark achievement, has been Catholicism.
In a piece I quote in lengthier form below, RL Dabney (1820-1898) said in “The Attractions of Popery,” that Catholicism is “the most skillful and pernicious system of error which the world has ever known.”
I firmly agree.
There are three pieces to the final Babylon church puzzle I am seeing in the wide scale, of which Catholicism is taking a major role.
|Pixabay: Public Domain
Here is reason #1 why I believe the final Babylon religion will be most recognizably Catholic. In 1990, Pope John Paul II initiated a “new evangelization.” Since nothing at the Vatican moves quickly, it wasn’t until 2010 that the new evangelization began in earnest, and then boy, did it leap forward with light speed. Pope Benedict’s creation in 2010 of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the installation of the first officers to this council in 2011, in 2012 the Year of Faith so as to get ready to evangelize, and the three year plan being issued in 2013 all have hurtled Catholicisim into the forefront again.
We are seeing much movement and energy from the Bishops regarding this initiative. It is all the talk in Catholic circles.
There are three aspects to the Catholic new evangelization,
- Evangelization as a regular activity of the church, a lifelong process directed at practicing Catholics;
- The mission ad gentes, meaning the first proclamation of Christ to non-Christian persons and peoples;
- “New Evangelization,” meaning outreach to baptized Catholics who have become distant from the faith.
As the article explains in plain terms, the Catholic New Evangelization means
In the United States, there are now 22 million ex-Catholics, big enough to be the largest religious denomination in the country. The church drops four members for every one member it gains, and if it were not for Hispanic immigration, it would have been declining for decades. Yet the Catholic church in America also holds on to almost 70 percent of its members into adulthood, a higher retention rate than any other Christian denomination.
|Pixabay: Public Domain
The Vatican is aggressively doing something about this. If you think this has nothing to do with Protestants, you are quite wrong. If you think for one moment that Catholics won’t poach Protestants, you are absolutely wrong. That uneasy truce with Catholics on one side of the Reformation and Protestants on the other is shrinking every day. More about that in part 3 below.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
Here is reason #2 why I believe the final Babylon religion will be most recognizably Catholic.
Informally since Constantine, and formally since Pope Gregory I (pope from 590-604AD), the Catholic Church has practiced something called interpretatio christiana.
A notable strategy for Christianization was interpretatio christiana – the practice of converting native pagan practices and culture, pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar to Christian uses…Reformatting native religious and cultural activities and beliefs into a Christianized form was officially sanctioned; preserved in the Venerable Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum is a letter from Pope Gregory I to Mellitus, arguing that conversions were easier if people were allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditions, (source Wikipedia)
So for example, a missionary priest entering the jungle of South America would tell the local indians there, that sacrificing to the jaguar god was no longer acceptable, but if they sacrificed to the sky God Yahweh, it would be all right. Their fertility festival was no longer acceptable, but Mardi Gras-type bacchnalias were all right. The Catholics simply renamed the pagan practices, encouraged the locals to continue them, and melded Catholicism to the locals’ already established pagan religions. In this way, Catholicism has a centuries-old head start on syncretism. Renaming is not converting.
So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. (Acts 20:31)
Interpretatio christiana in the secular world is known as syncretism,
the combining of different, often seemingly contradictory beliefs, while melding practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths
The Catholic leaders have syncretized most other religions into Catholicism in some way and they are working on Islam. In his Evangelii Gaudium (Apostolic Statement) on November 24, 2013, in the section on interfaith dialogue, Pope Francis said of Muslims,
We must never forget that they “profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, who will judge humanity on the last day”. The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old, men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take part in religious services. Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God.
Pope Francis has also said that “inside every Christian is a Jew“. And so on with Catholic attitudes toward Hinduism, Buddhism, Charismaticism, paganism, animism, and the rest of all the other world religions. Catholicism has had almost two millennia of organized practice of melding the local religion into its own. They have a head start at laying the local infrastructure to absorb it, the organization to execute it, and the will, money and tradition to sustain it.
Here is reason #3 I believe the final Babylon religion will be most recognizably Catholic in some form. The chasm between Conservative Protestantism and Catholicism is closing rapidly, with frightening speed. With such speed it must have been supernaturally induced.
Since the Reformation when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the All Saints’ Chapel door at Wittenberg, there has been a chasm between Protestants and Catholics. The twain did not ever meet. There was no common ground. There was only split and more distance. One side cast a wary eye at the other but mostly the two sides have left each other alone.
Except…now that chasm is shrinking. It’s as if God had held the Protestant and Catholic apart until His timing, and is now allowing satan to bring the chasm together at warp speed. One “evangelical” leader after another is caving in to the popery of Rome. The unification of the two sides is rapidly occurring, so rapidly it seems to me it is directly supernatural in its origin.
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.(Philippians 3:18)
The other day I wrote about a Franklin Graham crusade in Pittsburgh. In that piece I’d mentioned in 2011 I was shocked to find an Episcopal congregation in Maryland voted to return to Rome and become Catholic. The church had been Protestant for 100 years. However, unbenownst to Protestants, there were new rules that had been issued by the Vatican, the article revealed, that deliberately propose to reach out to disaffected Protestants. Father Dwight Longenecker wrote of the mass conversion,
The way to understand this more dynamic possibility is to see the ordinariate as a new bridge across the Tiber for a whole range of Protestant Christians.
The bridge across the Tiber is a reference to the Tiber River which surrounds Vatican City in Rome. The Father continues,
Already, conservative, liturgically minded Lutherans are asking why there isn’t a Lutheran ordinariate, … And if Lutherans may come across the ordinariate bridge, why not Methodists? … The way to a very exciting future for the Anglican ordinariate is for the new Anglican-style Catholics to set out with missionary fervor. They might begin with American Evangelicals.
And they have. They have set out to unite with, partner with, ‘dialogue’ with American evangelical leaders. And they have been successful. In 2011 Fr. Longenecker wrote that Rome should begin seeking American Evangelicals. In 2014, done. Check that one off the list.
And if Lutherans and Methodists…why not Baptists? You see there is no end to the Pac Man gobble. Not until Mystery Babylon is slain by a returning, wrathful Christ.
Later, James Robison telecasted the video of his meeting with Pope Francis on his daily TV program, Life Today.
“The pope, in the video, expressed a desire for Protestants and Catholics to become what Jesus prayed for — that Christians would become family and not be divided,”
I am hearing more and more of this plea to “unite”. For example, Beth Moore has said she believes the Reformation was a mistake. She discussed it in a segment on the 2006 Catholic-influenced Contemplative DVD “Be Still,”
“You know, one of the things that time gives us is that it erases the lines in between people so many different sections of the people of God. Because many years later it doesn’t matter any longer that this person was of this practice in the Christian faith and this person of another. Time somehow blurs those lines and we are profoundly moved by the historical narratives of all their lives, of so great a cloud of witnesses; that we can look back on and see what kept them running the race, what kept them running toward the face of Christ at the end of that finish line.”
So, ‘all that messiness’ was so long ago it doesn’t count anymore? All the martyrs burned for daring to oppose the Catholic Church’s authority can be dismissed, while we embrace the forefathers of this perpetration of evil because we’re moved by their historical narrative?
Why do I mention James Robison and Life Today ministries? Because by their own account, they are in 50 nations over 6 continents. Because Beth Moore, monetary anchor of LifeWay Books and member of the conservative the Southern Baptist Convention, partners with Robison which airs her program, Wednesdays in the Word.
Joel Osteen Meets with Pope Francis at Vatican: ‘He’s Made the Church More Inclusive’
Because Joel Osteen regularly speaks to 16,000 people at his stadium and broadcasts to over 100 million homes in the U.S. and tens of millions more in 100 nations. Each week more than one million people download Osteen’s heresies on their audio and video podcast, by Osteen’s accounting, “making our podcast consistently one of the top five in the world.”
That is quite a bit of heresy spread around and I’ve only mentioned three people. What of Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, when he partners with Pittsburgh’s Bishop Zubik? When Graham set the venue for Graham’s crusade/festival next door to Epiphany Catholic Church so that Crusade seekers can enter there and be counseled? So said Zubik, exultantly, here,
Those who respond to Rev. Graham’s invitation to make a decision for Christ, and who identify as Catholic, will be given the opportunity to go to Epiphany Church — adjacent to the Consol Energy Center — for the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession. ”We’re right next door,“ Bishop Zubik said. Bishop Zubik said Catholics don’t share all of Rev. Graham’s controversial political statements but added: “That’s not what this is all about. The whole point is to bring people back to Jesus.”
Since the DVD ‘Be Still’ was published in 2006 with Moore’s cloaked language, Moore now openly teaches that Catholicism is part of denominational Christianity. Below are stills from a video in which she was teaching this, and below that, the actual video. She wasn’t using the bible as her basis, either. Moore was teaching from a directly revealed vision.
|Vatican. Pixabay: Public Domain
Moore said that “Jesus” sent her a vision which included lifting her into a dimension in which He dwells, to see the global church through His eyes, and which included Catholics. We know her vision is not from Jesus. Firstly, because Jesus is not giving personal and direct revelation any longer. And second, because He would never teach that the blasphemous doctrines of Rome are part of His church. Beth Moore is NOT hearing from Jesus. She is having satanic visions.
Here are the denominations Moore was using in her lesson as representations of this ‘global interdenominational church’ “Jesus” showed her.
|“First United Methodist Church”, & “Christ Redeemer Lutheran Church”
|“Mt Zion Missionary Baptist Church”
|“St Anne’s Catholic Church”
Transcript: “Right back here, I want you to meet St Anne’s Catholic Church of Lessthanland. These ladies, although they attend different Catholic Churches, all attend a Catholic church, right here in Houston, and I am so thrilled they are here.”
Babylon is to be better understood as the sort of the archetypical head of all worldly resistance to God. It is a trans-historical Babylon. It is the Babylon of idolatry. It is the eschatological symbol of worldwide satanic deception and power. ~John MacArthur
The Puritans always thought a future Pope would be antichrist. In one sense, the general sense, all popes are antichrist, because they do not believe the truth. (1 John 4:3). But we all know (or should know) that there will be one final man who will embody the totality of the antichrist spirit. Just as there was one last Adam, the Son of Man, embodying all of God’s Spirit (Jesus), there will come one man who will perform all the perdition there can be, and thrust it onto the world, which will accept it. This one will be the Beast, the antichrist, a man, later indwelled by satan. One of his very names is “Son of Perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Here is a piece written in 1894 which portends much,
The Attractions of Popery
Appeared In The Presbyterian Quarterly, April, 1894.
Dr. John H. Rice, with the intuition of a great mind, warned Presbyterians against a renewed prevalence of popery in our Protestant land. This was when it was so insignificant among us as to be almost unnoticed. Many were surprised at his prophecy, and not a few mocked; but time has fulfilled it. Our leaders from 1830 to 1860 understood well the causes of this danger. They were diligent to inform and prepare the minds of their people against it. Hence General Assemblies and Synods appointed annual sermons upon popery, and our teachers did their best to arouse the minds of the people. Now, all this has mainly passed away, and we are relaxing our resistance against the dreaded foe just in proportion as he grows more formidable. It has become the fashion to condemn controversy and to affect the widest charity for this and all other foes of Christ and of souls.
Prophetic words, those. The feature of the distant past time was to speak against Rome’s Popery/Catholicism. Active and organized vigilance against it. How refreshing. But now, vigilance has thoroughly decreased in the face of those who vociferously condemn “controversy” and command speaking only of “charity” (niceness). The piece continues,
The popish system of ritual and doctrine was a gradual growth, which, modifying true Christianity, first perverted and then extinguished it. Its destructive power has resulted from this: that it has not been the invention of any one cunning and hostile mind, but a gradual growth, modified by hundreds or thousands of its cultivators, who were the most acute, learned, selfish, and anti-Christian spirits of their generations, perpetually retouched and adapted to every weakness and every attribute of depraved human nature, until it became the most skillful and pernicious system of error which the world has ever known.
How I long for strong, clear words today condemning “the most pernicious system of error the world has ever known”! Instead, ‘Christian’ leaders partner with it! There will be a dire price to pay for this. Roger Oakland of Understanding the Times wrote:
The purpose of the New Evangelization is to promote the Roman Catholic gospel by reaching out to all religions as well as the separated brethren and introducing them to the Eucharistic Christ. … Evangelicals who believe there will be a great revival (rather than a great apostasy) in the last days centered around the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are candidates for this delusion.
While American evangelicals have been distracted by the shadow Muslims crouching at the door, the Vatican has been intentional, missional, and aggressive in aiming for our most conservative Protestant remaining pockets of resistance to pollute the minds of those who are supposed to be leading us. Muslims have been loudly storming the front door, but Rome has silently infiltrated the back. (Jude 1:4; Galatians 2:4; 2 Timothy 3:6). There are so few religious battlegrounds left for Rome to conquer.
Therefore, because of the “new evangelization”, because of a centuries of interpretatio chrstiana, and because of the rapid absorption of so many leading ‘evangelicals’ into Catholicism and so much infusion of Catholicism’s traditions into Protestant life, the final days church is nearly formed. This is my opinion.
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:16)
~~~~~~~~~~~~ENCOURAGEMENT & ACTION~~~~~~~~~~~~~
|Pixabay: Public Domain
I appreciate that you read this lengthy opinion essay of the last days church. I think the pieces of it are coming together quickly. It is significant that Rome, not known for speed, is moving so fast. It is important to be careful and measured when speaking an opinion though, that is why I laid it out so thoroughly, with examples and many quotes. However, far be it for me to analytically present the pieces without encouragement to your soul, and suggested actions.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:7-8)
We are all familiar with this next verse. For these times especially when so much prophetic activity is occurring, that which we see, and that which we sense, lean not on our own understanding. Trust in Him and His word. He has told us beforehand!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
No matter what is happening in the world, we are not of this world, but of the world where Jesus dwells,
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Meanwhile we can take actions.
1. Do not partner with darkness, including Rome. (2 Corinthians 6:14). Not even for a moment. Do not let anyone fool you, Catholicism is not Christian. (2 Corinthians 11:4).
2. Because Catholics need the true faith, evangelize them. (Matthew 28:16-20)
“What was at stake? I’ll tell you what was at stake. What was at stake is whether or not we evangelize Roman Catholics, that’s what’s at stake. One billion of them in the world. Are they a mission field? Or are they our co-laborers for Christ? That changes everything, everything. On the other side, one of the leading evangelicals said, “I think it’s so wonderful that we can now see Catholics as Christians because that means millions and millions of people are Christians.” As if somehow by them deciding they were Christians they became Christians. I was absolutely incredulous, almost fell off my chair.”
Reclassifying the Pope, reclassifying the Roman Catholics as believers isn’t that simple. It has massive implications. It has implications that literally overturn centuries of missionary effort. It has massive implications that overturn centuries, if not millennia of martyrdom. In the long war on the truth, the most formidable, relentless and deceptive enemy has been Roman Catholicism. It is an apostate, corrupt, heretical, false Christianity, it is affront for the kingdom of Satan. The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ has always understood this. And even through the Dark Ages from 400 to 1500, prior to the Reformation, genuine Christian believers set themselves apart from that system, and were brutally punished and executed for their rejection of that system. ~John MacArthur
3. Do not be afraid to name names. We must declare ones like Joel Osteen false so that when he promotes the Pope we will not be confused by his doctrinal error. As Tony Miano said, “Any man who declares a Roman pope to be a brother in Christ is, himself, an enemy of Christ.”
When Apostle John wrote, he said,
|Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them
that are causing the divisions
and occasions of stumbling,
contrary to the doctrine which ye learned,
I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. (3 John 1:9-11)
John did not say, “Love Diotrephes and do not criticize him, and neither will I.” No, John said he will bring up what Diotrephes was doing, because Diotrephes was doing evil.
Paul wrote to warn of Alexander the coppersmith:
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. (2 Tim 4:14-15).
Today’s Christians would chastise Paul for “gossiping” and “criticizing”. When they tell you not to name names (after prayer and if you have evidence), don’t fall for it. Name them! (Romans 16:17).
How will we know to beware of anyone if Christians refuse to say who to avoid? Who to guard against? Who to refuse into their homes? (2 John 1:10).
3. Pray. Pray for all the ones mentioned in this article. They need Jesus too. Pray for the ones who follow the ones mentioned in this article (Robison, Osteen, Moore, Graham, etc). Pray against antichrist.
It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. …
Popery is contrary to Christ’s Gospel, and is the Antichrist, and we ought to pray against it. It should be the daily prayer of every believer that Antichrist might be hurled like a millstone into the flood and for Christ, because it wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread into the place of the Saviour, and a few drops of water into the place of the Holy Ghost, and puts a mere fallible man like ourselves up as the vicar of Christ on earth; if we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors: we shall love their souls though we loath and detest their dogmas, and so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened, because we turn our faces towards Christ when we pray. ~Charles Spurgeon