World against Israel
But God for Israel.
At the beginning of 2019 Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies gave an annual report concluding that a multi-front war on the Jewish state’s northern and southern borders is a very real possibility. It said dangers from Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip give the ‘potential for escalation to a wider confrontation and an all-out war on more than one front.’ That possibility came nearer after rockets were fired from Gaza into central Israel, destroying a house north of Tel Aviv, on March 25th. According to the Jerusalem Post, Iran gave the order for an Islamic Jihad cell in Gaza to fire the missile in order to disrupt Israel’s election process. Israel and Gaza exchanged fire for a day then agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt, but it is a reminder of the danger to Israel as hostile forces, backed by Iran, threaten it from the north and south. But this is not the only story to come out of Israel.
Good news from Israel.
Israeli medical experts are working on a cure for cancer without needing harmful chemotherapy treatment. They have developed a host of treatments to help those suffering from diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s. Israeli doctors treat children from Arab countries suffering from heart conditions free of charge, with the help of the Christian charity Shevet Achim. During the Syrian civil war Israel set up ‘Operation Good Neighbour’ opening its northern border to wounded and traumatised Syrians who were given medical and psychological help.
Israel is among the top 10 countries in longevity, with an average lifespan of 82.5 as of 2016, despite it being constantly facing a war situation. Its good health is attributed to a healthy diet, a positive attitude to life and excellent health care available to all citizens from the cradle to the grave.
Israel has made the desert bloom in its own arid regions by developing ‘micro-irrigation’ which drips in just enough water to keep the soil moist, enabling crops to grow in areas where there is very low rainfall. It has now exported this technology to countries around the world, making life giving water available to some of the poorest people on earth and enabling food to be grown in arid lands. The Israeli company ‘Watergen’ has invented a portable machine which can create water from thin air, by turning water vapour into drinking water, now available in areas of the world where fresh water is a problem.
When earthquakes and disasters strike Israel is among the first nations to offer help, flying out their expert rescue services to save lives and the environment. Israel even offered to help Iran fix its water problems. The mullahs refused any help from the hated Zionists, condemning the Iranian people to more misery in the hopeless economic and social mess which they have made of the country.
Israeli companies have been in the forefront of developing the technology that powers the world’s computers, emails, anti-virus systems, mobile phones, Internet search engines and on and on. We have produced a leaflet ‘So you want to boycott Israel?’ (available on request) which gives a list of things that benefit humanity.
Tiny Israel, surrounded by hostile nations, having to fight wars and terrorist attacks, has produced an extraordinary amount of creative and helpful things to benefit humanity. Their enemies who call for Israel’s destruction produce absolutely nothing that is of any use to the world, only terror, war, missiles and dictatorships, in which most of their victims are their own fellow citizens.
The demonization of Israel.
Did you hear about any of these creative things coming out of Israel on the news? I thought not. What you will have seen is images of conflict, terror and war. Most of the blame for this falls on Israel, not on those who provoke Israel with terror, missiles and threats.
Recently we had a meeting at which Israeli journalist Ben Dror Yemini spoke on the ‘Demonisation of Israel.’ He cited some of the blatant lies which are being circulated around the world and cause people to hate Israel. For example: ‘Israel is an Apartheid state’, ‘Israel practices ethnic cleansing / genocide against the Palestinian people’, ‘the oppression of the Palestinian people is the major cause of violence in the world’.
He called this the ‘industry of lies’ which denies the reality of what is happening in the land. Israeli Arabs do not suffer from an Apartheid regime, but have full rights as citizens of Israel, go to Israeli universities, participate in society at all levels, including the judiciary and diplomatic service. It is true that there is a barrier between Jewish and Arab areas in the West Bank, but this was not Israel’s intended outcome of the peace process, when they signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. For the first seven years of this process from 1993 to 2000, Arabs from the West Bank could cross into Israel and Israelis went into their areas. Then Israeli Prime Minister Barak offered Yasser Arafat a peace deal comprising most of what the Palestinians asked for, except the Jewish part of the Old City of Jerusalem. Arafat refused, and then unleashed the Intifada bringing terror and death to Israelis. Around 25,000 attacks took place between 2000 and 2006, causing the death of over 1000 Israelis and 8000 injured. To defend itself against this terror Israel built the barrier called the Apartheid Wall by Israel’s enemies.
Israel’s wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973 have been defensive wars in which the Jewish state had to fight off much larger Arab armies whose leaders were openly calling for Israel’s destruction and a massacre of the Jews. Every casualty in war is one too many, but the numbers of those killed in the whole period from 1948 to the present is quite small compared to other global conflicts (around 40,000 Arabs and around 25,000 Jews). Compare this with the India – Pakistan partition (1-2 million killed around 14 million displaced), the Korean War (around 2.5 million killed), the war in Congo (around 5.4 million killed). Other Middle East conflicts have caused a much higher casualty rate, and are the result of different Arab / Muslim groups fighting each other, not the conflict with Israel. For example, the Iran – Iraq war in which over one million died, the Syrian civil war in which around 500,000 have died and 13 million displaced from their homes. Israel had no part in these conflicts which produced vastly more victims than Israel’s wars.
Israel has never called for the ethnic cleansing of Arabs. The IDF has always taken care to keep civilian casualties in conflict situations down to a minimum. In the War of Independence in 1948 the Jewish inhabitants of Haifa called on their Arab neighbours to stay and help build up the state of Israel. The Arab High Command broadcast radio messages telling them to leave so they would not be in the way as the Arab armies overran the Jewish state. Then they could return and take the Jews’ homes as well as their own. The Arab armies failed to destroy Israel, so the people who fled became the Palestinian refugees, kept as a propaganda tool to be used against Israel, rather than being integrated into the places they fled to. At the same time, an equal number of Jewish refugees had to leave Arab lands and were successfully integrated into the State of Israel.
The UN has become a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda. In 1975 the Muslim and Communist nations in the world came together to adopt the UN’s infamous ‘Zionism is Racism’ resolution, condemning the national liberation movement of the Jewish people as racist. Since then Israel has become the victim of extraordinary bias in the chambers of the UN. From 2012 to 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted 97 resolutions criticising individual countries; 83 of which were against Israel (86%). From 2006 through to 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted 135 resolutions criticising specific countries; 68 out of those 135 have been against Israel (slightly more than 50%). 100% of all country specific resolutions made by UNESCO are against Israel. This bias overlooks heinous crimes against humanity carried out in countries like Sudan, North Korea, Iran and Congo. It ignores Palestinian terror attacks on Israel, while condemning Israel for taking measures to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism.
In Europe and North America the BDS movement (Boycott, Disvestment and Sanctions) is trying to bring about a boycott of Israeli goods and so bring Israel to its knees economically. An alliance of leftist and Islamic forces is spreading anti-Zionist propaganda in universities, the media and political circles. It uses the kind of propaganda which comes out of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas which is not just anti-Zionist but also blatantly anti-Semitic. Such influences are the reason for the anti-Semitism row that has broken out in the Labour Party, since the Marxist Momentum group has taken virtual control of the party. The EU is consistently hostile to Israel and sympathetic to its enemies, especially in its foreign ministry, led by Federica Mogherina, a former youth leader of the Italian Communist Party.
Calling for Israel’s destruction.
While Israel is being demonised in the West, its enemies in the region are calling for its destruction. Hezbollah has virtually taken over the Lebanese government and has some 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel and supplied by Iran. Its anti-Semitic nature came out in this quote from its leader Hassan Nasrallah: ‘If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do not say ‘the Israeli.’’
Since the Palestinian Authority was established it has systematically indoctrinated young and old to hate Israelis and Jews through its media, education, and culture. It presents Jews as treacherous, corrupt, deceitful and unfaithful by nature and a danger to Palestinians, Arabs, and all humanity. Forgeries and fiction masquerading as history are used to document and support the libel that Judaism is in essence racist and evil. Jews are said to be planning and executing heinous crimes, including burning Palestinians in ovens, murder, using prisoners for Nazi-like experiments, and more. They say these crimes constitute a mortal danger, not only to all Muslims and Arabs but to all of humanity. The Palestinian Authority repackages Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda and allows copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf in Arabic to be sold openly on market stalls.
While the Palestinian Authority (PA) is supposed to be working on a peace programme with Israel, it is clear from what it says to its own people that it intends to use land Israel withdraws from, to set up a Palestinian State as a springboard from which to destroy Israel. Although it hides this fact from the western world, it states it openly when speaking in Arabic to its own people. Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki reiterated this position on Al-Jazeera TV saying ‘Israel will come to an end’ and ‘I want to remove it from existence’. He then said he could not say this openly to the world (because the PA is supposed to be working for a peace settlement with Israel) but ‘You can say it to yourself.’ [Al-Jazeera TV, Sept. 23, 2011]
Iran is trying to establish a land bridge through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon in order to embed its forces in Syria and export its missiles into Lebanon with the aim of destroying Israel. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Hossein Salami said ‘Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map.’ In addition, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that the, ‘the Zionist regime will perish in the not so far future.’ Iran has threatened specifically to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa. Most of the world, especially the EU, has no problem with Iran’s murderous intentions, but criticise Israel’s attempts to defend itself from Iranian aggression.
All of this feeds into the anti-Zionist movement in the west, which also becomes anti-Semitic as it brings together Islamic and left-wing groups opposed to Israel and the Jewish people. The aim of all these groups is the elimination of Israel.
God is for Israel. What the Bible says.
Those who believe in Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East will no doubt be dismayed to read this. However we should not be surprised and we should understand that there is hope for Israel in the future. While the enemies curse Israel and seek her destruction, God says to Israel:
I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Jeremiah 31.3-4.
The current regathering of Israel is a fulfilment of prophecies given in the Word of God centuries ago, which promise to regather the Jewish people from the ends of the earth to the land of Israel in the latter days of this age. For example:
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgements and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36.24-28
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ Jeremiah 31.10
Because God is involved in this we should not be surprised that the antichrist forces in the world today are opposed to it. The most vociferous anti-Zionist forces are influenced by Marxism and radical Islam. These are also the most anti-Christian influences in the world today. God anticipated the hatred of Israel’s enemies and their attempts to destroy the nation in words in Psalm 83 that have almost been quoted directly by enemies of Israel:
Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. For, behold, Your enemies make an uproar; and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ For they have conspired together with one mind; against You do they make a covenant. Psalm 83.1-5.
God promised to Abraham and his descendants: ‘I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ Genesis 12. Significantly the countries that curse Israel are the most miserable places on earth to live in. They are full of corruption, conflict, violence, and chronic misrule, like Iran, Syria, Sudan, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. As Europe and western nations become more and more anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic they too become increasingly unpleasant places to live in, racked by strife and division and a collapse of moral values and decency.
The Bible does speak of a time of trouble for Israel in the last days of this age:
‘For thus says the Lord: We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now and see whether a man is ever in labour with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour and all faces turned pale! Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30.4-7. See also Ezekiel 38-9, Daniel 12, Joel 2-3, Zechariah 12-14, Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Revelation 6-19.
This corresponds to passages in the New Testament about the time of tribulation for the end times before the return of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus said
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Matthew 24.21-2.
At this time God will speak to the Jewish people about the Messiah. At the end time Jerusalem will be a ‘burdensome stone’ for all nations (Zechariah 12.2-3) meaning it will be a subject of concern for the whole world. God then says, ‘
I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son. (Zechariah 12.10)
The one who has been pierced is Yeshua Jesus the Messiah who was wounded for our transgressions and on whom ‘the Lord has laid the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53). Many will recognise the mistake they have made about Yeshua, Jesus as the Messiah and turn to Him in repentance and faith.
At the end of days God will bring the nations to the ‘Valley of Jehoshaphat’ (which means ‘the Lord judges’) for the last battle:
Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. … For their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The Lord also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Joel 3.14-17
There He will enter into judgement with the nations ‘because they have divided up my land’ (Joel 3.2). Then the Messiah will return and reign on earth from restored Jerusalem bringing peace and justice to the world. He has already come once before as the Servant of Isaiah 53, to suffer and die for our sins in the person of Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah. He is coming back to judge the world in righteousness and to set up His Messianic kingdom from Jerusalem, ruling the world in peace and justice. He is the only hope for Israel and the world. In a world that is going further and further into the darkness we need to come to the light of His word and the truth of the Yeshua the Messiah.
God loves Israel and sees a glorious future for her in the coming reign of the Messiah:
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60.1-3.
For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. Isaiah 62.1
Pope and Grand Imam make peace.
Rome and Islam unite to save the world.
The Pope wants to make 2019 the year that the Roman Catholic Church makes peace with Islam. It is the 800th anniversary of the year 1219 when Francis of Assisi went to engage in dialogue with the Sultan of Egypt, Al-Malik Al Kamil. It seems that Francis’ intention was to try to convert the Sultan to Catholicism, in which he was unsuccessful. Pope Francis’ intention in 2019 is different. It is to seek common ground with Islam and bring about a reconciliation between the Roman Catholic Church and Islam so that the two faiths can work together to save the world.
In February 2019 the Pope met with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque and university. The Grand Imam has been described as the ‘most influential Muslim in the world’ and is the nearest thing Sunni Islam has to a pope. Al-Azhar, Islam’s oldest university, is the most influential centre of Sunni Islam. So this was a highly significant meeting between the top man in Roman Catholicism and the top man in Sunni Islam, the two most numerous religions on earth.
The Pope announced that as a result of this meeting, Islam and Christianity are to form a coalition, working together to promote ‘common values.’ This was hailed as a ‘historical breakthrough’ on the way to world peace, ending centuries of conflict between the two world religions with the aim of creating a united religion to save the world.
The two leaders signed ‘A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.’ This ‘invites all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together … to fill the earth and make known the values of goodness, love and peace.’ It calls upon ‘the leaders of the world to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace; to bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and moral and cultural decline.’
It calls on believers to come together and transmit ‘the highest moral virtues that religions aim for.’ The document does not mention Jesus or the Gospel, but it does call for an end to ‘unproductive discussions.’ This is code for evangelism to those of other faiths, which the Pope strongly disapproves of. Instead it speaks of a common faith in God as what unites us. (Note James 2.19 ‘You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!’).
Islam and Christianity don’t agree!
Some people might think all this sounds like a very good idea and a way to peace on earth. However there is deception at work. Pope Francis has defended Islam from the charge that it justifies jihadis and violence. He has said ‘Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence. … Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence.’ The Document on Human Fraternity states that war, hate and violence do not stem from religion, but rather are ‘the consequences of a deviation from religious teachings.’ It says that terrorism is not due to religion but to ‘an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts.’
Really? What then would be the correct interpretations of the following texts?
- Then, when the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them… (Koran 9: 5)
- This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His messenger … they shall be killed, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall be struck off on opposite sides. (Koran 5: 33)
- I shall cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers; so strike the necks, and strike every finger of them. (Koran 8: 12)
Perhaps Pope Francis interprets these and dozens of similar texts in the Koran as ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
Do the Muslims who signed this document really want ‘to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace’? The classical Islamic view, to which many Muslims are returning today, is that the world is divided into two: The House of Islam, where the Muslim law and faith prevail, and the rest, known as the House of Unbelief or the House of War, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam. But the greater part of the world is still outside Islam, and even inside the Islamic lands, according to the view of the Muslim radicals, the faith of Islam has been undermined and the law of Islam has been abrogated. The obligation of holy war therefore begins at home and continues abroad, against the same infidel enemy.
So where does Al-Tayeb and al-Azhar stand on this? He is on record of supporting violence in spreading Islam. He has said that any Muslim changing his religion is an apostate and ‘must either renounce his apostasy or be killed’ according to the Islamic apostasy law (Sahih Al-Bukhari vol. 9 no.57) A standard Al Azhar text that said, ‘whoever kills an infidel, his blood is safeguarded, for the blood of an infidel and believer [Muslim] are not equal.’ Al Azhar magazine is offering free of charge a book, the latter half of which ends with ‘whoever disbelieves, strike off his head’.
When asked on Egyptian TV whether ISIS is un-Islamic al-Tayeb refused to give a straight answer. One liberal Egyptian Muslim Dr Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and Al Azhar graduate, and now a critic of Al-Azhar said: ‘The Islamic State is a by-product of Al Azhar’s programmes. Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world to establish it. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things such as not building churches. Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [‘protection money’ demanded of non-Muslims). Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?’
Does God will a diversity of religions?
The document signed by the pope goes beyond Catholic – Muslim unity. It says ‘The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in his wisdom’ ‘Colour, sex, race, and language’? Well, yes. But did God will a ‘diversity of religions’? Certainly not according to classical Islamic teaching. The Koran instructs its followers to ‘cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers; so strike the necks, and strike every finger of them.’ (Koran 8: 12). Pagans should be forcibly converted or killed. Jews and Christians as ‘people of the book’ may be permitted to keep their religion but as subservient ‘dhimmi’ citizens forced to pay the jizya tax to Muslims.
The idea that God wills a ‘diversity of religions’ also contradicts the Bible. Roman Catholic critics of the pope have pointed out that this statement is ‘in its obvious sense false and in fact heretical.’ They ask, ‘Would God reveal to one set of believers that Jesus in the Son of God and then, 600 years later, reveal to another set that anyone who says Jesus is the Son of God is accursed?’
The First Commandment says ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20: 2-3). Not much diversity of religion there. Nor in the New Testament. Jesus and the apostles put the emphasis on exclusivity rather than diversity. Jesus said: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.’ (John 14: 6) Speaking of Jesus, Peter said: ‘And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4: 12).
The Bible has nothing to say about Muhammad (except to warn of false prophets coming to lead many astray). What the Koran has to say about Jesus conflicts with the most basic teaching of the New Testament. The Muslim Jesus is not divine, wasn’t crucified, and didn’t rise again. But he will be present at the day of judgment to condemn to hell all those Christians who fail to convert to Islam (4:159).
The Pope and western leaders have been criticised for their failure to stand up for Christians persecuted in Muslim world. Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal wrote: ‘The stubborn silence of European leaders on the question of religious violence from Islam on Christians in particular, astonishes and disappoints. Their attitude is simply irresponsible, suicidal, and even criminal. It’s like living at the foot of an angry volcano and not understanding that it is preparing to erupt. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes, killed, enslaved and persecuted or forcibly converted. What are the Vatican and the Pope doing to fight this new religious persecution?’
Criticism has also come from the Catholic world concerning the pope and Islamisation in Europe. Interestingly the logo chosen by the Pope for his forthcoming visit to Morocco shows the cross encircled by the crescent, a symbol not of Islam and Catholicism alongside each other but the cross being swallowed up by the Muslim crescent.
Across Europe Catholicism is in decline, with churches closing, abuse scandals rocking the church, and young people more likely to turn to yoga than any form of Christianity in search for spirituality. In its place we are witnessing growing Islamisation, partly as a result of mass migration from Muslim countries, which Francis is encouraging, and partly as a result of the collapse of faith in traditional European values and its replacement with multi-culturalism and moral relativism.
Prophetic significance of union of Rome and Islam
From the point of view of biblical Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church is a false church which conforms to the image of Mystery Babylon described in Revelation 17. The Protestant Reformation began the process of restoring biblical Christianity from the ‘Babylonian Captivity of the Church’, as Luther described it. Islam too is the result of a false prophecy and is antichristian.
In speaking of what is wrong with Catholicism and Islam we do not wish to express hate for Catholics or Muslims. We should love them and tell them the Gospel, that Christ died for our sins and rose again to give us eternal life. The Gospel is completely against violence, revenge and terrorism. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God’ … ‘love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.’ Matthew 5.9, 44. When the disciples wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan village that rejected Jesus, He said ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ Luke 9.51-56.
The Gospel also teaches that that the same Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to judge the world in righteousness:
God commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. Acts 17.30-31.
Events like the Pope and the Imam bringing their religions together in a quest for global unity of religion is another sign of the coming of the Lord. In Revelation 17.1-6 we read:
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 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 marvelled with great amazement.’
The view of the Protestant Reformers is that ‘the woman arrayed in scarlet and purple’ is the Roman Catholic church. That is certainly a valid interpretation, but it could mean more than just the Roman Church. The woman is identified as Babylon … the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth. Babylon is the same word in Hebrew as Babel as spoken of in Genesis 11, the Tower of Babel. So the ‘mother of harlots’ is ancient Babel / Babylon out of which all false religions in the world arose from the time of the Tower of Babel to the present.
In the end times these religions come together as Babylon, the one world religious system for the end of the age. This ‘harlot’ backs the beast as he comes offering ‘peace and safety’ at a time of global crisis. When we read to the end of chapter 17 we find that it will not end well for the harlot. After using the woman to rise to power, the beast will turn on her and destroy her:
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 fulfil 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 17.16-18.
There are two possibilities for the fulfilment of this.
The first is that the beast is Islam. So after Rome makes an alliance with Islam in a false peace covenant, Islam will turn on it and destroy it as it asserts its supremacy over all other religions.
The second, which I think is the more likely interpretation, is that the beast comes to power out of the emerging global order, using the global religious alliance. The beast / antichrist then replaces this with his own spiritual power, the false prophet of Revelation 13.11-15. He causes all the world to worship the beast, ‘who was wounded by the sword and lived’ after the beast experiences some kind of counterfeit death and resurrection experience. This will cause people to look to him as the new messiah for the new age and to worship the ‘image of the beast’ which the false prophet sets up. This does not fit with Islam which is strongly against any worship of images. It is more likely to be the product of some kind of New Age occult power, which ends up worshipping Lucifer / Satan.
Prophecies about the antichrist show that he will not only suppress true believers who turn to Jesus Christ at that time (Revelation 7.1-16, 13.7-10) but he will also turn on all religions. 2 Thessalonians 2 speaks of ‘the man of sin …. who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.’
Daniel 11.36-7 says of him.
Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the god of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.
Interestingly there is a parallel to this in the Third Reich. Hitler (who is a type of the antichrist to come) used support from both Roman Catholicism and apostate Protestants to come to power. He then brought in the National Reich Church in 1936 which suppressed the Bible and placed copies of Mein Kampf on the altar, replaced the cross with the swastika and projected Hitler as the new messiah come to save the world. Hitler himself was initiated into an occult society in Munich in the 1920s by Dietrich Eckart, a dedicated Satanist. He believed Hitler was the antichrist and said of him ‘Follow Hitler. He will dance, but it is I who have called the tune! I have initiated him into the ‘Secret Doctrine;’ opened his centres in vision and given him the means to communicate with the Powers. I shall have influenced history more than any German.’
The goal of the Nazis was to replace Christianity with a new paganism which drew its strength from myths of pre-Christian times, the old Teutonic religion of fire and sword. There was even a hymn for the new German Faith Movement:
‘The time of the Cross has gone now,
The Sun Wheel shall arise,
And so, with God, we shall be free at last
And give our people their honour back.’
Today we see the powers of darkness gathering together their forces, ready to be unleashed in the coming Great Tribulation. In the light of this we should follow the word of the Lord which says ‘Come out of Babylon’, and be separate from all false religion. These things happening now are a sign of the soon coming of the Lord Jesus to take His true church to be with Himself in the rapture of the church:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4.15-18).