This article was written for the Prophecy In The News July, 2015 magazine. Presently, there are more gods to worship than there are days on the calendar and among the plethora of choices is the NO god option of agnosticism. However, without warning, that’s all about to suddenly change! A time is coming when people will no longer ask if there is a god, instead they will be deciding between at least four choices. Ultimately, as the world’s time clock ticks off its final three and one-half years, the options narrow down to just two.
The religious turning point kicks off with the Rapture. (1) After Christ snatches up His bride, the church, into heaven everything on earth swings into high spiritual mode. According to the Bible, signs and wonders become commonplace in the last days. (2) It becomes a period of time when paranormal events introduce a new normal whereby only supernatural explanations make any sense.
Christianity continues to flourish after the Rapture. Multitudes receive Christ as their Savior through Christian works, such as books and movies that were left behind, the preaching of the 144,000 Hebrew witnesses (Rev. 7:1-8), the two witnesses (Rev. 11:1-13) and the angel that proclaims the gospel in (Rev. 14:6-7).
However, this period of time is characterized by Christian martyrdom (Rev. 6:9-11, 7:9-17). Christ alludes to this time as the “patience of the Saints” period (Rev. 13:10, 14:12-13). Choosing Christ then will be unpopular for two primary reasons. First, it will turn into a death sentence. Second, the satanic deception described in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 will be so persuasive that it will allure many to believe in the religions of the Harlot (Rev. 17) and ultimately the Antichrist (Rev. 13).
False Religion Part One (The Harlot of Revelation 17)
After the Rapture many will be on the lookout for a charismatic world leader to emerge on the scene. Christianese buzz words like the “Apocalypse,” “Antichrist,” “Mark of the Beast” and the number “666” will cause many a sleepless night. However, the Antichrist and his Mark of the Beast system won’t be the first false religion to take center-stage after the Rapture.
The first religious jeopardy for humanity is “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (3) According to Revelation 17:3 and 15, the Antichrist initially plays second fiddle to this globally recognized religious system. He allows the harlot to strum her song of strong deception until his appointed time in the sun arrives.
Ultimately, the harlot becomes problematic to the grander schemes of the Antichrist and he has her system desolated by the ten kings of Revelation 17:16. The devastation of the harlot religion paves the way for the Antichrist to implement his global scheme, which comes replete with a religion, economic system and world government. This Antichrist system becomes one of the final two religions, alongside true Christianity, competing for the souls of men.
The identity of the harlot has been the subject of some prophetic controversy. Many, like me, believe it is spearheaded by Roman Catholicism and is based out of Rome. Others believe it is an ecumenical system that tolerates all religions, which could be headquartered in Babylon (Iraq), or New York City. These are the three primary location choices among most Bible scholars. Regardless of its whereabouts, Revelation 17:18 makes it clear that is centered in a city.
This counterfeit religion is vehemently opposed to the true Christianity taking place simultaneously. Revelation 17:6 seems to suggest that this system will shed the blood of God’s saints in the future. The book of Revelation says that at least three types of religious persecutions occur after the Rapture. The first sure pathway to a Christian death is the refusal of worshipping the image of the Antichrist (Rev. 13:15). However, this offer is not made available to mankind until the harlot is desolated. Therefore, the alternative murderous system is that of the harlot’s! Lastly, the third form of sanctioned killings occurs when the Antichrist attempts the genocide of the Jews (Zechariah 13:8).
Some teach that Islam is the harlot; however this thinking fails to recognize that the Islam of today is not likely the same as that of the time of existence of the first false religion. For reasons pointed out in my Psalm 83, The Missing Prophecy Revealed book, Islam is degraded by devastating defeats in the predominately Muslim wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38. If my prophetic conclusions are correct, Islam’s best days are behind it, but Roman Catholicism is headed for an upswing.
Speaking of religious upswings, one of the last days religions that will continue to flourish will be Judaism. It should become much more dominant within Israel in the last days. The Jews will be emboldened by their victories in the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38. Psalm 83 brings the Arab-Israeli conflict to its conclusion. The Israeli Defense Forces defeat the Arab confederacy identified in the prophecy.(4)Their God Jehovah destroys the Russian led coalition of Ezekiel 38:1-6 through supernatural means. (5)
In the aftermath of Israel’s victories, the Israelis appear to embrace the religious practices prescribed in their Levitical Law. They will want to rebuild their temple and reinstate their former worship practices therein. This temple is identified prophetically in Matthew 24:15, Revelation 11:1-2 and elsewhere.
Another prophecy that supports the rise of Judaism in Israel is found in Ezekiel 39:12-16. These verses describe an Israeli campaign to cleanse the land after the defeat of the Ezekiel invaders. Decontaminating the land was a requirement of the Mosaic Law. Concerning this practice, Dr. Ron Rhodes writes in his book Northern Storm Rising:
“From the perspective of the Jews, the dead must be buried because exposed corpses are a source of ritual contamination to the land (Numbers 19:11-22; Deuteronomy 21:1-9). The land must therefore be completely cleansed and purged of all defilement. Neither the enemies nor their belongings (their weapons) can be left to pollute the land!” (6)
Although Judaism will exist after the Rapture, it will not survive much beyond the midpoint of the seven year Tribulation period. The Antichrist will attempt to kill all the Jews and the byproduct of that holocaustic event should be the rapid decline of Judaism. Concurrently, the faithful remnant of Zechariah 13:9 that survive the genocidal campaign will abandon Judaism and embrace true Christianity. The prophet Hosea informs us that during the Jewish persecution that the surviving Jews will recognize Jesus as their Messiah.
“I will return again to My place, (Christ ascended to His heavenly home after resurrecting). Till they, (The Jews), acknowledge their offense, (Generational rejection of Jesus as the Messiah). Then they, (A Jewish remnant), will seek My face; In their affliction, (The Tribulational period), they will earnestly seek Me.” (Hosea 5:15) (7)
When the Antichrist rises to power, he will attempt to end every other religion and pedestal his own. The apostle Paul calls him the “Son of Perdition” and informs us in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that he is the one, “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the (Third Jewish) temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (8)
It is safe to presume that the spiritual system introduced by the Antichrist, which is propelled into position supernaturally by Satan through powerful deceptive wonders and lying signs, will be unlike anything before. (9) It may incorporate some old pagan religious beliefs and practices, but it will likely include new concepts as well.
Some suggest it could be a new age spiritual movement that could include things like;
• Proof that mankind is not alone in this universe,
• Extra-terrestrial beings exist and possess a higher intelligence than man, (These would likely be fallen angels, masquerading around as benevolent alien beings),
• How a person can become a god,
• And, how to achieve super human psychic abilities.
Whatever deceptive trappings come wrapped up in this final scheme, they will be effective in bringing many people to a belief in the Antichrist as the god above all gods.
Once the Antichrist system is put in place the three other end times religions are in serious trouble! The harlot gets desolated first. Once she is taken out of the way, the Jews and Judaism come under attack. Lastly, at the end of the seven years of tribulation, a final war against true Christianity occurs. In Christian circles it is commonly referred to as the battle of Armageddon.
This episode features the armies of the world that worship the Antichrist in a final confrontation against what’s left of the Jewish people. Although Gentile believers exist at the time, the focal point of the Antichrist is the elimination of all Jews. If he can kill every last one of them, then he can slam dunk the football in the end-zone and proclaim that God broke His unconditional covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (10) Guess who wins this final war?
Jesus Christ wins! That’s the great news! That’s the end of the previously foretold story. God prevails, and that’s why all believers in true Christianity can rejoice before and after the Rapture. We, who believe in the Bible as the inerrant Word from God, know the end from the beginning. It’s all been given to us in the Holy Scriptures. (11)
Jesus returns on a white horse, (Revelation 19:11), and rescues the faithful Jewish remnant single handedly according to Isaiah 63:1-8. Subsequently, He establishes His kingdom on the earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4).
Jesus Christ will be the last man standing after all the other religions fall by the wayside. About 2,000 years ago He came to earth, died for mankind’s sins, conquered death, and because of His supernatural resurrection He is alive and well right now. Believe it or not, He is returning soon. Are you ready?
“And behold, I (Jesus) am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Rev. 22:12-13)
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WATCH THE SHORT VIDEO BELOW ABOUT THESE FOUR FINAL RELIGIONS THAT EXIST AFTER THE RAPTURE
(1) The Rapture is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and elsewhere. It is the event whereby Jesus Christ catches His bride, the Church, up to heaven.
(2) 2 Thess. 2:9, Revelation 11:6, Ezekiel 38:20-22.
(3) Rev. 17:5.
(4) Obadiah 1:18, Ezekiel 24:14, Jeremiah 49:2, Zephaniah 2:8, Isaiah 11:13-14, Zechariah 12:5-6 and elsewhere.
(5) Ezekiel 38:18-39:6
(6) Northern Storm Rising – Russia, Iran, And the Emerging End-Times Military Coalition Against Israel – Page 159 under “The Burial of Enemy Bodies for Seven Months (Ezekiel 39:11-12,14-16) Published by Harvest House – Copyright 2008. Authored by Dr. Ron Rhodes.
(7) New King James Version; with emphasis added.
(8) New King James Version; with emphasis added.
(9) 2 Thess. 2:9-12.
(10) Abraham’s promise was in Genesis 22:18, Isaac’s was Gen. 26:4 and Jacob’s was Gen. 28:14.
(11) Isaiah 46:9-10 and John 1:1, and 14.