Overturning the Reformation
1. A Woman Rides the Beast!
2. Reason to Believe
3. A Passover Plot?
4. An Unfolding Revelation
5. Mystery, Babylon
6. A City on Seven Hills
7. Fraud and Fabricated History
8. Unbroken Line of Apostolic Succession?
9. Infallible Heretics?
10. Infallibility and Tyranny
11. Upon This Rock?
12. Unholy Mother
13. Seducer of Souls
14. An Incredible Metamorphosis
15. Unholy Alliances
16. Dominion over Kings
17. Blood of the Martyrs
18. Background to the Holocaust
19. The Vatican, the Nazis, and the Jews
20. The Slaughter of the Serbs
21. The Vatican Ratlines
22. Sola Scriptura?
23. A Question of Salvation
24. "Sacrifice" of the Mass
25. The Reformation Betrayed
26. Apostasy and Ecumenism
27. What about Mary?
28. The Coming New World Order
Appendix A: Purgatory
Appendix B: Indulgences
Appendix C: Dominion over Kings: Further Documentation Appendix D: Papal Infallibility and Apostolic Succession Appendix E: Papal Heretics, the Bible, and Galileo Appendix F: What About Tradition?
Table of Contents
To the nearly 1 billion Roman Catholics misinformed by their hierarchy;
to the 400 million Protestants equally ignorant of the facts; and to the genuine martyrs
on both sides, this book is dedicated.
The most significant event in nearly 500 years of church history was revealed as a fait accompli on March 29, 1994. On that day leading American evangelicals and Catholics signed a joint declaration titled "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd Millennium." The document, in effect, overturned the Reformation and will unquestionably have far-reaching repercussions throughout the Christian world for years to come.
This startling development was the culmination of careful planning and negotiations over the previous two years. Each step was continuously monitored and approved by the Vatican. The New York Times release making the announcement, which was carried in newspapers across the country on March 30, said in part:
They toiled together in the movements against abortion and pornography, and now leading Catholics and evangelicals are asking their flocks for a remarkable leap of faith: to finally accept each other as Christians. In what's being called a historic declaration, evangelicals including Pat Robertson and Charles Colson [one of the chief originators] joined with conservative Roman Catholic leaders today in upholding the ties of faith that bind the nation's largest and most politically active religious groups. They urged Catholics and evangelicals ... to stop aggressive proselytization of each other's flocks.
John White, president of Geneva College and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said the statement represents a "triumphalistic moment" in American religious life after centuries of distrust....
Other evangelical endorsers include the heads of the Home Mission Board and Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention [who acted in an independent capacity], the nation's largest Protestant denomination, and Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.... Mark Noll of Wheaton University ... [Os Guinness, Jesse Miranda (Assemblies of God), Richard Mouw (President, Fuller Theological Seminary), J.I. Packer and Herbert Schlossberg].
Robert Simonds, Southern California chairman of the National Association of Evangelicals, "applauded the declaration" and said he hoped it would bring "increased cooperation between evangelicals and Catholics...." Other evangelical leaders have since signed the declaration, while still others have denounced it as a betrayal of the Reformation. Ironically, this bold move to "unite Catholics and evangelicals" will divide evangelicals as nothing else could-and as its endorsers must have realized.
The 25-page document acknowledges, without compromise, some key differences between
Catholics and evangelicals (such as the significance of baptism and the authority of Scripture).
Unfortunately, the most important difference-what it means to be a Christian-is not mentioned. In fact, that such a difference even exists is denied. This compromise of the gospel lies at the heart of the agreement.
The key element behind this historic joint declaration is the previously unthinkable admission on the part of leading evangelicals that active participation in the Catholic Church makes one a Christian. If that is indeed the case, then the Reformation was a tragic mistake. The millions who were martyred (during a thousand years before the Reformation and since then to the present time) for rejecting Catholicism as a false gospel have all died in vain. If, however, the Reformers were right, then this new agreement between Catholics and evangelicals could well be the cleverest and deadliest blow struck against the gospel in the entire history of the church. Either way, the consequences are staggering. In praising the joint declaration, one leading evangelical declared:
[This document] has the potential to recast all the ecumenical discussions that have gone on through the years.... This is a new day. Our closest friends, as evangelicals, in the cultural task and in the fundamental theological task, are Roman Catholics.1
The theological differences between Catholics and Protestants were once considered to be so great that millions died as martyrs rather than compromise them, and their Catholic executioners were equally convinced of the importance of such differences. How have these differences been dissolved? What has happened to cause leading evangelicals to declare that Catholicism's gospel, which the Reformers denounced as heretical, is now biblical? That gospel hasn't changed. Has conviction been compromised to create a huge coalition among conservatives for social and political action?
Evangelicals would decry the complacent attitude that everyone actively involved in a Protestant church is a Christian. How then did evangelical leaders consent to the view that all active Catholics are Christians and not to be evangelized? The document explains that both Catholics and evangelicals endorse the Apostles' Creed: that Christ "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried." That creed, however, like the Nicean and other creeds, does not express the gospel that saves (Romans 1:16): that "Christ died for our sins (1
Corinthians 15:1-4). Mormons affirm the Apostles' Creed, but they aren't biblical Christians. Nor does embracing the Creed make Catholics (or Protestants) Christians. Furthermore, what Catholics mean by Christ dying for their sins is entirely different from an evangelical understanding of this truth, as we shall see in later pages.
Whereas Roman Catholicism was once the official state religion and the practice of all others was prohibited throughout Latin America and most of Europe, that is no longer the case. Therefore Rome uses other strategies. In some countries, such as France, the Catholic Church is pressuring the government to make it illegal to "proselytize"-exactly what the endorsers of this joint pact have agreed upon. In other places the Catholic Church is demanding that evangelicals sign an agreement similar to the one just signed here in the United States. A recent news report declared:
Stunned by the staggering growth of evangelical "sects" in Brazil, leaders of the Roman Catholic Church have threatened to launch a "holy war" against Protestants unless they stop leading people from the Catholic fold.... At the 31st
National Conference of the Bishops of Brazil ... Bishop Sinesio Bohn [called]
evangelicals a serious threat to the Vatican's influence in his country.
"We will declare a holy war; don't doubt it," he announced. "The Catholic Church has a ponderous structure, but when we move, we'll smash anyone beneath us." ... According to Bohn, an all-out holy war can't be avoided unless the
13 largest Protestant churches and denominations sign a treaty ... [that] would require Protestants to stop all evangelism efforts in Brazil. In exchange, he said, Catholics would agree to stop all persecution directed toward Protestants.2
The bishop admits that persecution of Protestants is still official policy. The extent of that persecution throughout history (which we will document) would greatly surprise both Catholics and Protestants. It is important to note that the concern at the bishops' conference was not the truth of the gospel or the salvation of souls, but maintaining the influence of the Vatican and keeping people in the Catholic Church.
Note too that the very treaty which Bishop Bohn demands under threat in Brazil has been granted in the United States by Colson, Packer, Bright, Robertson, et al! That Bohn's threats influenced American evangelical leaders is evident from Colson's statement in an interview that he and the other signatories to the document had become "distressed by the clashes arising from the growth of evangelical Protestantism in traditionally Catholic Latin America.... "3
While evangelicals sign a truce, Rome is stepping up its evangelization of Protestants into the Catholic Church. Rome's "Evangelization 2000" has six evangelism training conferences scheduled just for 1994 across America involving such groups as "Paulist Evangelization Training Institutes" (in Washington D.C. during June 26-30 and July 24-28) and "The Association of Coordinators of Catholic Schools of Evangelization" (during August 3-6, also in Washington). These are serious training sessions for leaders in what they specify as "Catholic evangelism." Charles Colson was a featured speaker at the "John Paul II and the New
Evangelization: Implementing the Vision" conference in Ypsilanti, Michigan, held during May
11-14. He shared the podium with Catholic leaders such as Fr. Tom Forrest, who heads
"Evangelization 2000" out of the Vatican.4
The evangelical leaders who signed the joint declaration apparently imagined a spiritual partnership with Catholics to win the world to Christ. "Evangelism" for evangelicals means leading people to Christ. For Catholics, however, it means bringing people into the Roman Catholic Church-something which the joint agreement neglected to state. Consider the following explanation of "Catholic evangelism" by Fr. Tom Forrest to a group of Catholic charismatics:
Our job is to make people as richly and as fully Christian as we can make them by bringing them into the Catholic Church. So evangelization is never fully successful, it's only partial, until the convert is made a member of Christ's body by being led into the [Catholic] Church.
Now listen again to the words of [Pope] Paul VI. Now this is a document every one of you should have in your homes ... called "On Evangelization in the Modern World." This is what the Pope says: "The commitment of someone newly evangelized cannot remain abstract ('Oh, I'm a Christian,' now that's too abstract)
... it must be given concrete and visible form through entry ... into the [Catholic] Church our visible sacrament of salvation."
I like saying those words; I'm going to say them again: "Our visible sacrament of salvation!" That's what the Church is, and if that is what the Church is, we have to be evangelizing into the Church! ...
No, you don't just invite someone to become a Christian, you invite them to become Catholics ... Why would this be so important? First of all, there are seven sacraments, and the Catholic Church has all seven.... On our altars we have the body of Christ; we drink the blood of Christ. Jesus is alive on our altars, as offering.... We become one with Christ in the Eucharist....
As Catholics we have Mary, and that Mom of ours, Queen of Paradise, is praying for us till she sees us in glory.
As Catholics we have the papacy, a history of popes from Peter to John Paul II
... we have the rock upon which Christ did build His Church.
As Catholics-now I love this one-we have purgatory. Thank God! I'm one of those people who would never get to the Beatific Vision without it. It's the only way to go....
So as Catholics ... our job is to use this remaining decade evangelizing everyone we can into the Catholic Church, into the body of Christ and into the third millennium of Catholic history.5
Yet in spite of such clear explanations of Roman Catholic "evangelism," evangelicals are participating with Catholics in joint evangelistic efforts. For the Catholic, salvation does not come through personally receiving Christ as Savior but is a lengthy process that begins with baptism and thereafter depends upon one's continued relationship to the Church. Salvation comes through participation in the sacraments, penance, good works, suffering for one's sins and the sins of others here and/or in purgatory, indulgences to reduce time in purgatory, and almost endless masses and Rosaries said on one's behalf even after one's death. Catholic "evangelism" is by works, the very antithesis of "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).
Nevertheless, many Catholics, when they hear the true biblical gospel of God's grace, are receiving Christ as personal Savior. Such Catholic Christians eventually struggle with the conflict between Roman Catholicism and what they now realize the Bible teaches-a conflict so marked that the vast majority find it impossible to remain in the Catholic Church. Many Protestants are equally in doubt over the question of what their relationship to Catholics ought to be.
Confusion now surrounds the issues which were involved at the Reformation. The purpose of this book is to present vital, factual information which throws essential light upon the whole question of Catholic/Protestant relationships. The vast majority of both Catholics and Protestants are ignorant of the pertinent facts. It is our hope and prayer that the following pages will help to clarify the issues and dispel the confusion.
------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------
He carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------
The most astounding prophecies in the Bible are found in its last book, known as "The Revelation" or "The Apocalypse" and recorded by the apostle John about A.D. 95. He claimed to have received from the resurrected Christ Himself this series of visions of God's final judgment upon mankind which would close human history. This, the Bible's last and most awesome panoramic view into the future, embodies revelations of climactic events-some already fulfilled, most still future, but all both incredible and terrifying.
Of all the glimpses of "things which must shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1) which John reveals, none is as intriguing and staggering as the vision recorded by John in chapter 17. There we see a fearsome, scarlet-colored beast with seven heads and ten horns. This is not the first time it has appeared to biblical prophets. From the description, it is obviously the same terrifying creature whose description has already been recorded three times. John himself had seen it twice. Daniel saw it as well, 600 years earlier. But in this last glimpse, suddenly something has changed.
In its previous appearances in Scripture the beast has always been the total focus of attention, and invariably presented alone. Now, however, it appears with a rider on its back. That anyone would dare, much less be able, to mount such an incredible beast seems beyond imagination. Yet there she sits, quite at ease and obviously in control, astride a world-devouring creature defying description. She? Yes, she. A woman rides the beast!
For 1900 years the beast itself has been a major focus of attention for students of prophecy. Its identity, the frightening role it will play in the last days, and its ultimate end have been debated through the centuries. In the last 200 years, however, many evangelical Christians have held to a fairly clear consensus: The beast represents both the revived Roman Empire (Satan's worldwide counterfeit of God's kingdom), and the satanically empowered Antichrist who will rule it. Whether that interpretation is correct or not will become apparent in the following pages.
The woman is a far more enigmatic figure. The leaders of the Reformation were certain that she represented the Roman Catholic Church in general and the pope in particular. That belief, however, has been rejected lately by most Protestants as provocative and demeaning to a body of fellow Christians with whom evangelicals desire to work together in the task of winning most of the world for Christ before the year 2000. In fact, the subject of the woman is generally avoided today as too divisive to discuss.
Still, the woman, so vividly portrayed by John, cannot be dismissed so easily. There she is. Two of the final chapters in the Bible are devoted to her. What will we do with her? It would be dishonest to ignore such an important prophetic figure. The entire Bible is God's Word. We have no more right to close our eyes to Revelation 17 and 18 than to John 3:16.
Unquestionably, the woman is the central figure in these two important chapters, a major player in the drama of the last days. John gives far more attention to her than to the beast she rides. And the fact that she rides the beast-a beast of such importance that it literally holds the central position in Bible prophecy-demands our special attention. It could not be clearer that the secret of this woman's identity and the role she will play is a major key to understanding biblical prophecies concerning the reign of Antichrist and events leading up to Christ's second coming.
In the following pages we will show that the woman's identity is established meticulously and beyond any reasonable doubt by John himself. We will see that the vision of the woman is one of the most remarkable and significant prophecies in Scripture. The insights John was given by the Holy Spirit concerning this woman staggered him. These insights are no less breathtaking in our day.
Much of John's vision has already been fulfilled in history and can therefore be verified beyond question. Based upon the insights John provides, our identification of the woman will be determined carefully and unequivocally. Although many readers may denounce our conclusions, no one will be able to refute them.
The truth about the woman astride the beast is one of the most stunning prophecies in Scripture. We say specifically "in Scripture" because significant prophecies which have been on record for centuries and were later fulfilled are unique to the Bible. These are not cheap guesses by psychics but involve major world events of sweeping importance and irrefutable historic record.
The vision of the woman riding the beast, as we shall see, provides insights into occurrences which have shaped world history in the past and which will profoundly determine human destiny in the future. She sits, in fact, not only astride the beast but upon the culmination of centuries of related Bible prophecy.
Are we simply sensationalizing John's vision? Why should anyone today be concerned with its interpretation? The question of validity can be settled quite easily. Most prophecies in the Bible have already been fulfilled. It is therefore a rather simple and straightforward matter to examine that record. For the sake of any doubters and to strengthen the faith of those who already believe, we must take a brief excursion into the amazing world of biblical prophecy. We will prove that past prophecies have been impeccably accurate, and that their fulfillment could not be explained by chance. That evidence will assure us that we are not wasting our time by examining prophecies concerning the future. And the woman on the beast does indeed have much to tell us about the future.
That goal accomplished, we will turn our attention to Revelation 17 and 18 and address the question of the identity and future role of the woman riding the beast, confident that the vision will be fulfilled exactly as John reveals it.
Much of the information we will present will not make pleasant reading. Disturbing, stretching the reader's credulity, denied by many, it will nevertheless be the fully documented truth. Moreover, it is a truth which every person on planet Earth, and especially all who consider themselves to be Christians-and most of all, Roman Catholics-need desperately to understand.
Our sympathy is particularly with sincere Roman Catholics who have such confidence in their Church that they have accepted what the hierarchy has told them without studying history to learn the full truth. It is our hope and prayer that the historic facts we present will be thoroughly checked against the record so that many devout followers of Rome will be able to face the evidence.
------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------
Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is none else ... declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.
--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------
Biblical prophecy is the key to understanding both the past and the future. While to skeptics that may seem a preposterous claim, it is easily proved. Because most prophecy recorded in Scripture has already been fulfilled, it is therefore a simple matter to determine whether or not the prophecies in the Bible are reliable.
Two major themes of prophecy run consistently throughout all of Scripture: 1) Israel; and 2) the Messiah who comes to Israel and through Israel to the world as the Savior of all mankind. Around these two central themes almost all other prophecies revolve and find their meaning, whether it be the rapture of the church, Antichrist, his coming world government and religion, the battle of Armageddon, Christ's second coming, or any other prophesied occurrence. The Bible is absolutely unique in presenting these prophecies, which it records in specific detail, beginning more than 3000 years ago.
About 30 percent of the Bible is devoted to prophecy. That fact validates the importance of what has become a neglected subject. In marked contrast, prophecy is completely absent from the Koran, the Hindu Vedas, the Baghavad Gita, the Ramayana, the sayings of Buddha or Confucius, the Book of Mormon, or any other writings of the world's religions. This fact alone provides an undeniable stamp of divine approval upon the Judeo-Christian faith, which all other faiths lack. Biblical prophecy's unblemished record of fulfillment is sufficient to authenticate the Bible, in distinction to all other writings, as the one and only inerrant Word of God.
There are many important reasons for Bible prophecy. First of all, prophecy fulfilled provides irrefutable proof for the existence of the very God who inspired the prophets. By foretelling major events of world history centuries and even thousands of years before they happen, the God of the Bible proves that He is the only true God, the Creator of the universe and mankind, the Lord of history-and that the Bible is His infallible Word given to communicate His purposes and way of salvation to all who will believe. Here is a proof so simple that a child can understand it, yet so profound that the greatest genius cannot refute it.
Prophecy thus plays a vital role in revealing God's purpose for mankind. It also provides foolproof identification of God's true Messiah, or Christ, and unmasks Satan's impostor, the Antichrist, so that no one who heeds God's Word need be deceived by him.
Just as prophecy is unique to the Bible, so it is unique to Christ. No prophecies foretold the coming of Buddha, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Confucius, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, the currently popular Hindu gurus who have invaded the West, or any other religious leader, all of
whom lack the credentials which distinguish Jesus Christ. Yet there are more than 300 Old Testament prophecies which identify Israel's Messiah. Centuries before His coming, the Hebrew prophets set forth numerous and specific criteria which had to be met by the Messiah. The fulfillment of these prophecies in minute detail in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth demonstrates indisputably that He is the promised One, the true and only Savior.
Inasmuch as these two major themes of Bible prophecy, Israel and the Messiah, have been dealt with in some of my other books, principally in How Close Are We?, we will only summarize them briefly here. In Isaiah 43:10 the God of Israel declares that the Jews are His witnesses to the world that He is God. Such is the case in spite of the fact that 30 percent of today's Israelis claim to be atheists and most Jews worldwide would never think of telling the world that God exists. Yet they are the witnesses, both to themselves and to the world, of His existence because of the astonishing fulfillment in history of precisely what God said would happen to these special people.
Though much that the prophets foretold concerning Israel is yet future, nine major prophecies involving specific and historically verifiable details have already been fulfilled precisely as foretold centuries beforehand. 1) God promised a land of clearly defined boundaries (Genesis
15:18-21) to Abraham (Genesis 12:1; 13:15; 15:7; etc.). He renewed that promise to Abraham's son Isaac (Genesis 26:3-5), to his grandson Jacob (Genesis 28:13), and to their descendants after them forever (Leviticus 25:46; Joshua 14:9; etc.). 2) It is a historical fact that God brought these "chosen people" (Exodus 7:7,8; Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2; etc.) into the "Promised Land," an amazing story of miracles in itself. 3) When the Jewish people entered the Promised Land, God warned them that if they practiced the idolatry and immorality of the land's previous inhabitants, whom He had destroyed for their evil (Deuteronomy 9:4), He would cast them out as well (Deuteronomy 28:63; 1 Kings 9:7; 2 Chronicles 7:20; etc.). That this happened is, again, an indisputable fact of history.
So far the story is hardly remarkable. Other peoples have believed that a certain geographic area was their "Promised Land" and after entering it have later been driven out by enemies. The next six prophecies, however, and their fulfillment, are absolutely unique to the Jews. The occurrence of these events precisely as prophesied could not possibly have happened by chance.
4) God declared that His people would be scattered "among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other" (Deuteronomy 28:64; cf. 1 Kings 9:7; Nehemiah 1:8; Amos 9:9; Zechariah 7:14; etc.). And so it happened. "The wandering Jew" is found everywhere.
The precision with which prophecies fit the Jews alone becomes increasingly remarkable as fulfillment follows fulfillment, until the case for God's existence through His dealings with His chosen people is irrefutable. 5) God warned that wherever they wandered the Jews would be "an astonishment, a proverb, a byword ... a curse and a reproach" (Deuteronomy 28:37; 2 Chronicles
7:20; Jeremiah 29:18; 44:8; etc.). Amazingly, this has been true of the Jews all down through history, as even the present generation knows full well. The maligning, the slurs and jokes, the naked hatred known as anti-Semitism, not only among Muslims but even among those who call themselves Christians, is a unique and persistent fact of history peculiar to the Jewish people. Even today, in spite of the haunting memory of Hitler's holocaust which once shocked and shamed the world, and in defiance of logic and conscience, anti-Semitism is still alive and is once again increasing worldwide.
Furthermore, the prophets declared that these scattered peoples would not only be slandered, denigrated, and discriminated against, but 6) they would be persecuted and killed as no other peoples on the face of the earth. History stands as eloquent witness to the fact that this is precisely what has happened to the Jews century after century wherever they were found. The historical record of no other ethnic or national group of people contains anything that even approaches the nightmare of terror, humiliation, and destruction which the Jews have endured down through history at the hands of the peoples among whom they have found themselves.
Shamefully, many who claimed to be Christians and thus followers of Christ, who was Himself a Jew, were in the forefront of Jewish persecution and slaughter. Having gained full citizenship in the pagan Roman Empire in A.D. 212 under the Edict of Caracalla, the Jews became second-class citizens and the object of increasing persecution after the emperor, Constantine, supposedly became a Christian. Thereafter, it was those who called themselves Christians who were far more cruel to the Jews than pagans had ever been.
The Roman Catholic popes were the first to develop anti-Semitism to a science. Hitler, who remained a Catholic to the end, would claim that he was only following the example of both Catholics and Lutherans in finishing what the Church had begun. Anti-Semitism was a part of his Catholicism from which Martin Luther was never freed. He advocated burning down Jews' homes and giving them the choice between conversion and having their tongues torn out.1 When Rome's Jews were released from their ghetto by the Italian army in 1870, their freedom at last ended about 1500 years of unimaginable humiliation and degradation at the hands of those who claimed to be the vicars of Christ.
No pope hated Jews more than Paul IV (1555-59), whose cruelties defy the bounds of human reason. Catholic historian Peter de Rosa confesses that a whole "succession of popes reinforced the ancient prejudices against Jews, treating them as lepers unworthy of the protection of the law. Pius VII [ 1800-23] was followed by Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX [1846-78]- all good pupils of Paul IV."2 Historian Will Durant reminds us that Hitler had good precedent for his sanctions against the Jews:
The [Roman Catholic] Council of Vienne (1311) forbade all intercourse between Christians and Jews. The Council of Zamora (1313) ruled that they must be kept in strict subjection and servitude. The Council of Basel (1431-33) renewed canonical decrees forbidding Christians to associate with Jews ... and instructed secular authorities [as the church had herself long enforced in Rome and the papal states] to confine the Jews in separate quarters [ghettos], compel them to wear a distinguishing badge [it had previously been a yellow hat], and ensure their attendance at sermons aimed to convert them.3
God declared that in spite of such persecution and the periodic wholesale slaughter of Jews, 7) He would not let His chosen people be destroyed, but would preserve them as an identifiable
ethnic, national group (Jeremiah 30:11; 31:35-37; etc.). The Jews had every reason to intermarry, to change their names and hide their identity by any possible means in order to escape persecution. Why preserve their bloodline when they had no land of their own, when most of them didn't take the Bible literally, and when racial identification imposed only the cruelest disadvantages?
To refrain from intermarrying made no sense. Absorption by those among whom they found themselves would have seemed inevitable, so that little trace of the Jews as a distinct people should have remained today. After all, these despised exiles have been scattered to every corner of the world for 2500 years since the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. Could "tradition" be that strong without real faith in God?
Against all odds, the Jews remained an identifiable people after all those centuries. That fact is an astonishing phenomenon without parallel in history and absolutely unique to the Jews. For most of the Jews living in Europe, Church law made it impossible to intermarry without converting to Roman Catholicism. Here again the Roman Catholic Church played an infamous role. For centuries it was a capital offense under the popes for a Jew to marry a Christian, preventing intermarriage even for those who desired it.
The Bible declares that God determined to keep His chosen people separated to Himself (Exodus 33:16; Leviticus 20:26; etc.) because 8) He would bring them back into their land in the last days (Jeremiah 30:10; 31:8-12; Ezekiel 36:24,35-38; etc.) prior to the Messiah's second coming. That prophecy and promise, so long awaited, was fulfilled in the rebirth of Israel in her Promised Land. It happened at last in 1948, nearly 1900 years after the final Diaspora at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by the Roman armies of Titus. This restoration of a nation after 25 centuries is utterly astonishing, a phenomenon without parallel in the history of any other peoples and inexplicable by any natural means, much less by chance.
Even more remarkable, 9) God declared that in the last days before the Messiah's second coming, Jerusalem would become "a cup of trembling ... a burdensome stone for all people" (Zechariah 12:2,3). At the time Zechariah uttered this prophecy 2500 years ago, Jerusalem lay in ruins and was surrounded by wilderness. And so it remained century after century. Zechariah's prophecy seemed to be utter madness even after Israel's rebirth in 1948. Yet today, exactly as foretold, a world of nearly 6 billion people has its eyes upon Jerusalem, fearful that the next world war, if it breaks out, will be fought over that tiny city. What an incredible fulfillment of prophecy!
Israel occupies about one-sixth of 1 percent of the land area which the Arabs possess. The Arabs have the oil, the wealth, and the worldwide influence which such seemingly inexhaustible resources command. Not only is Israel's postage-stamp piece of land scarcely discernible on a world map, but it lacks all the essentials to make it the center of worldwide concern. In defiance of all reason, however, it is the focus of world attention, precisely as prophesied.
Jerusalem is a small city of neither commercial importance nor strategic location. Yet the eyes of the world are upon it as upon no other city. Jerusalem is indeed a "burdensome stone" around the necks of all nations of the world, the most vexing and volatile problem the United Nations faces today. There is no ordinary explanation for this. What the Hebrew prophets declared thousands of years ago and what seemed utterly fantastic in their time is being fulfilled in our
day. This is only part of the evidence, as we shall see, that the prophesied "last days" are upon us and that our generation will likely see the remainder of Bible prophecy fulfilled.
The prophecies outlined above (to say nothing of scores of others) have been a matter of public record on the pages of Scripture and available for careful examination for centuries. That they have been fulfilled in specific detail cannot be the result of mere chance but is in fact more than sufficient proof for the existence of the God who inspired the Bible and of that Book's authenticity and inerrancy. In view of such clear and overwhelming evidence, one can only charitably assume that no agnostic or atheist has bothered to read the biblical prophecies and check them personally against history and current events.
There are additional prophecies concerning Israel and Jerusalem which pertain to the last days and still await future fulfillment. We may be certain, on the basis of the prophecies which have already come true, that these too will surely be realized, and in the not-too-distant future. The most appalling time of utter destruction both for Jews and for the entire population of the world lies yet ahead. It is called "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7).
With astonishing accuracy, the Bible does not single out Damascus, Cairo, London, or Paris as the center of action in the last days, but two other specific cities: Jerusalem and Rome. They are diverse, have been enemies since the days of the Caesars, and remarkably are still rivals today for spiritual supremacy. Catholic Rome claims to be the "Eternal City" and the "Holy City," titles which the Bible has given to Jerusalem. Rome also claims to be the "New Jerusalem," putting her in direct conflict with God's promises concerning the true City of David.
There have been 2000 years of tension and antagonism between Rome and Jerusalem. For nearly 46 years after Israel's rebirth in 1948 the Vatican refused to acknowledge her right to exist. That animosity has not been erased by the recent overtures which the Vatican has found it expedient to make toward Israel. Rome wants to influence the future of Jerusalem, which she still insists must be an international city over which Israel will have no more say than any other nation.
With awesome precision, the Bible identifies Jerusalem and Rome as the focal points of prophesied last-days events. Both will come in for their share of God's judgment. It requires little more than casual attention to the daily news to recognize the accuracy of that forecast. Here too, in what the Bible says about Rome and Vatican City, we have additional evidence that this book is God's Word-evidence that we will be examining in detail.
------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------
Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth ... being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.
-Peter in his first sermon
Paul... [for] three sabbath days reasoned with them [the Jews in their synagogue] out of the [Old Testament] Scriptures ... that Christ must needs have suffered and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ [the Messiah].
-Paul in a typical sermon
--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------
The prophecies concerning the second major theme of the Bible, the coming of the Messiah, are even more numerous and detailed than those pertaining to Israel. These prophecies have also been dealt with at some length in my previous books, so we will only summarize a few of them briefly here. Even the most anti-Christian critics who deny categorically that Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior of the world admit that many specific messianic prophecies were fulfilled in His life and crucifixion. In the attempt to explain away the significance of that fact some bizarre theories have been invented.
Typical of such attempts was a book and movie (neither very successful) some years back entitled The Passover Plot. Its thesis was that Jesus, knowing some of the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, conspired with Judas to fulfill them in order to make it appear that He was the promised Messiah.
Obviously it would have been ludicrous for Jesus to get Himself crucified in order to convince a small band of uneducated, inept followers that He was the Christ. In fact, neither His disciples nor any other Jew, including even John the Baptist, could believe (though the prophecies were clear, as Christ explained often) that the Messiah was to be crucified. His death rather seemed proof that he was not the Messiah, so fulfilling the prophecies concerning His crucifixion to the letter, as He did, would not have been the way to gather a following. In fact, Christ's death in fulfillment of Scripture was in order to pay the penalty for our sins.
The prophecies concerning His death (Psalm 22:16; Isaiah 53:5,8-10,12; Zechariah 12:10; etc.) were avoided by the Jews as impenetrable mysteries because they seemed totally at odds with other prophecies declaring plainly that the Messiah would ascend David's throne and rule over a magnificent kingdom. How could the Messiah establish a kingdom and a peace that would never end (Isaiah 9:7) and yet be rejected and crucified by His own people? It seemed impossible for both to be true, so the Jewish interpreters simply ignored what didn't seem to make sense to them.
That the Jews were able to crucify Jesus was the final triumphant proof to the rabbis, and it served as the disappointing but undeniable evidence to the Jewish masses and His most devoted disciples that Jesus of Nazareth couldn't possibly have been the Messiah. The prophesied messianic kingdom had not been established, nor had He brought peace to Israel by delivering
her from her enemies, so at best He could only have been a well-meaning impostor, and at worst a deliberate fraud. Such remains the argument of most Jews today.
There was, however, one way to reconcile the apparent contradiction: The Messiah had to come twice, the first time to die for man's sins, the second time to reign on the Davidic throne. But even when Jesus explained that fact ahead of time, no one could understand it. It would take His resurrection to open blind eyes.
Yes, there were a few prophecies which Jesus of Nazareth could have conspired with Judas or others to fulfill. Most prophecies, however, were beyond the control of any mere man. For example, being born in Bethlehem and of the seed of David were major requirements for the Messiah. The timing of the Messiah's birth, too, as foretold was obviously beyond the influence of any ordinary mortal. His birth had to occur before the scepter departed from Judah (Genesis
49:10), while the temple was standing (Malachi 3:1), while the genealogical records were available to prove His lineage (2 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 89; etc.), and shortly before the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed (Daniel 9:26).
There was a narrow window of time during which the Messiah had to come-and He did. As the apostle Paul, a former rabbi, so eloquently put it, "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman [i.e. virgin born]. .." (Galatians 4:4). It is too late for the Messiah to make His first appearance now. There can only be a second coming, as the Bible declares. Yet the Jews still await the first appearing of the one whom they will imagine is their Messiah but who will in fact be the Antichrist.
The scepter departed from Judah about A.D. 7, when the rabbis lost the right to exact the death penalty. This right was crucial to the practice of their religion because death was the penalty for certain religious offenses. When Pilate told the rabbis he wanted nothing to do with Jesus and for them to judge Him themselves, they replied, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death" (John 18:31). The Messiah had to be born before that power was lost, and He had to be put to death afterward, for He was not to die by stoning, the Jews' manner of execution, but by Roman crucifixion. Amazingly, His crucifixion was prophesied centuries before that means of execution was even known: "They pierced my hands and my feet" (Psalm 22:16).
Obviously, too, the Messiah had to be born while the genealogical records still existed, or there could be no proof that He was of the seed of David. Those records were lost with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70, an event which both Daniel (in 9:26) and Christ prophesied (Matthew 24:2). Since then it has been too late for the Messiah to come, though the majority of Jews still await His first advent. Christians, on the other hand, expect the second coming, which also was foretold by the Hebrew prophets.
Had Jesus conspired to fulfill the prophecies, He would have had to bribe Pilate to condemn the two thieves to be crucified with Him in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9. He also would have had to know what soldiers would be on duty that day in order to bribe them ahead of time to divide His clothes among them and gamble for His robe (Psalm 22:18), to give Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall (Psalm 69:21), and to pierce His side with a spear (Zechariah 12:10) instead of
breaking His legs as was the custom, but which could not be done to the Messiah (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20).
Were the rabbis also part of the plot? Was that why they paid Judas exactly 30 pieces of silver to betray Him as prophesied by Zechariah (11:12), then used the money to buy a "potter's field" for burying strangers when Judas threw it down at their feet in the temple, again as foretold (Zechariah 11:13)? Is that why they crucified Him precisely when the Passover lambs were being slain all over Israel, in fulfillment of Exodus 12:6? The "Passover plot" scenario becomes increasingly ridiculous the more one examines it.
Where did Jesus get the money to pay off the multitude that lined the road into Jerusalem and hailed Him as the Messiah when He rode in on a donkey-the last beast one would expect a triumphant king to choose-precisely as foretold in Zechariah 9:9? It was Nisan 10 (April 6), A.D. 32, the very day the prophets had declared that this amazing event would occur-483 years to the day (69 weeks of years as Daniel 9:25 foretold it) after Nehemiah, in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus (A.D. 465-425) had received (on Nisan 1, 445 B.C.) authority to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1)! The fulfillment by Jesus of these and many other messianic prophecies in minute detail cannot be explained away.
Furthermore, if Jesus had successfully "plotted" to get Himself crucified on the precise date and time that was prophesied-in spite of the determination of the rabbis to the contrary (Matthew
26:5; Mark 14:2)-Jesus still had to rise from the dead. No "Passover plot," no matter how many conspirators were involved, could accomplish that! A fake "resurrection" wouldn't be sufficient basis for His followers to launch Christianity. Only if He really died and came back to life would they have the motivation and courage to proclaim His gospel in the face of persecution and martyrdom.
Roman soldiers didn't sleep on duty. Had they done so while the disciples had stolen the body, they would have been on crosses the next day, and so would the disciples for their crime in breaking the Roman seal on the tomb. And if the disciples had stolen the body and somehow managed to keep it a secret, why would they die for a lie? They were such cowards that none of them had been willing to die for what they had once believed to be the truth. Yet they almost all went to their deaths as martyrs, declaring to the very end that they were eyewitnesses of the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead. None of them tried to save his life in exchange for revealing where the body had been hidden. There is simply no way to explain the undeniably empty tomb except by resurrection.
Neither Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, nor any of the world's other religions makes any pretense that its founder is still alive. For Christianity, however, the resurrection is the very heart of its gospel. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then the whole thing is a fraud. Nor did Jesus tell His disciples to go to far-off Siberia or South Africa to preach His resurrection where no one could challenge that claim. He told them to begin in Jerusalem, where, had He not risen from the dead, a short walk to the grave just outside the city wall could have proven that He was still dead. How the rabbis and Roman rulers would have loved to discredit Christianity before it could gather momentum! The surest way would have been to put the dead body of Jesus on display, but they could not. The closely guarded grave was suddenly empty!
The proofs for the resurrection are numerous and irrefutable, but having dealt with them elsewhere we will mention only one-a proof often overlooked. That Christ had indeed risen from the dead is the only explanation for the fact that Saul of Tarsus, the chief enemy of Christianity, became its chief apostle. A popular young rabbi, Saul was on his way to great honors for his leadership role in pursuing this aberrant sect with arrest, imprisonment, and martyrdom. Then suddenly he became one of the despised and persecuted Christians himself, and for this he was repeatedly arrested, beaten, and imprisoned. On one occasion he was even stoned and left for dead. Finally he was beheaded. This stunning turnabout made no sense ... unless.
Why voluntarily trade popularity for suffering and eventual martyrdom? Paul explained that he had met the resurrected Christ, and that the One who had died for the sins of the world was alive and had revealed Himself to him. That testimony, however, was not sufficient in itself to prove that Christ was indeed alive. Something more was needed.
No one could doubt Paul's sincerity. That was demonstrated by his willingness to suffer and even die for Christ. A sincere belief, however, that Christ was alive was not sufficient proof. It was possible that Paul had hallucinated and simply imagined that Christ had appeared to him and spoken to him and was indeed alive.
The Roman governors Felix and Festus, as well as King Agrippa, heard Paul's account of this supernatural encounter and were convinced that he was sincere but deluded (Acts 2426). That explanation, however, did not fit the facts. Paul's sudden intimacy with Christ's teachings provided proof of the resurrection that could not be explained away by any means.
Paul, who had not known Christ before He was crucified, was suddenly the chief authority on what Christ had privately taught His inner circle of disciples. He had to have met Him! The apostles, who had been personally instructed by Christ for several years, had to acknowledge that their onetime enemy, Paul, without consulting any of them, knew all that Christ had taught them, and indeed had even deeper insights than they. When Paul rebuked Peter for going astray, the latter submitted to the correction (Galatians 2:11-14).
"I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you" (1 Corinthians 11:23) was how Paul began his explanation to the Corinthian church of what happened at the Last Supper and what Christ had taught His disciples on that occasion. Yet Paul had not been present, nor had he consulted any of those who had been there. "I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia" (Galatians 1:16,17) was Paul's sworn testimony. That he was suddenly the chief apostle and authority on what Christ had taught could be explained in no other way than that he had been instructed by the resurrected Christ, exactly as he claimed.
Without consulting any of those who had been Christ's disciples during His earthly ministry, Paul had become the chief authority on Christian doctrine, as all the church had to acknowledge. He wrote most of the New Testament epistles. "I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not of man. For I neither received it of man neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11,12) was Paul's solemn testimony. There is no other explanation than that Christ had indeed been resurrected and had personally instructed Paul.
The fulfillment of the prophecies mentioned above as well as scores of others in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ prove beyond any possible doubt that He is the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the world. No one can examine the facts and remain an honest doubter. Those who refuse to believe in the face of such overwhelming evidence are without excuse.
We have taken these few pages to establish the validity of biblical prophecy for a purpose. Having seen that what the Bible prophesied concerning past events was fulfilled with 100 percent accuracy, we have valid reason for believing that what it tells us concerning the future will likewise be fulfilled.
With confidence, then, we can now consider the insight into the future given to us in Revelation 17 and 18 and address the important question of the identity of the woman riding the beast. First of all, our attention must be directed to the beast itself.
------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------
Four great beasts came up from the sea.... The first was like a lion ... a second like a bear... and, lo another, like a leopard... and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible ... it had ten horns... and the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings....
--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------
John's vision in Revelation 17 of the woman riding the beast is not the first time that this ominous creature has been seen. It is in fact the culmination of a series of visions which began
600 years earlier. The first vision was the dream King Nebuchadnezzar had in which he saw an
image with "head ... of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay" (Daniel 2:32,33).
The interpretation given to Daniel by God revealed that the image with its four parts of different metals depicted four world empires: Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman. The Babylonian empire existed at the time. That it was succeeded by the other three and in that order is a matter of history.
Why are only four empires seen? What of the many others which history records and which have occupied territories at least as great as any of these four? The Bible ignores them all. Why? Time has passed them by. They will not rise again. Only Rome will be revived, its "deadly wound" healed (Revelation 13:3).
For centuries the seat of world power was Egypt. There were great dynasties in China. There was Genghis Khan's far-ranging empire, and the vast Mayan and Aztec kingdoms of Central and South America. At one time the Arabs controlled most of North Africa, the Middle East, and much of Europe. None of these empires, however, will rise again. Only Rome will recover its greatness. As she controlled the ancient world, so will she be the headquarters for the new world order, the dream of the United Nations.
The United States has been the dominant industrial and military world force for the last 50 years. That dominance, however, is waning and is doomed. The prophecies are clear: The Roman Empire will be revived, with Antichrist's seat in Western Europe and the world religion's headquarters in Rome, as we shall see. So the Bible has said for the past 1900 years in the New Testament and for centuries more in the Old. The United States is not mentioned.
The two legs in the image foretold the division of the fourth empire, the Roman, into East and
West, and so it occurred. In A.D. 330 Constantine established Constantinople (today's Istanbul)
as his new imperial capital, leaving the Bishop of Rome in charge in the West and setting the stage for the later political and religious division of the empire. The final break came religiously in 1054 when the Orthodox Church in the East broke off from the Roman Catholic Church in the West and Pope Leo IX excommunicated Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople. That division between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy remains to this day and is at the root of the current bloodshed in the Croatia-Sarajevo-Bosnia-Herzegovina region of Yugoslavia, as we shall document.
Politically the Roman Empire was several times revived in the West-for example, in A.D. 800 under Charlemagne. The Eastern and Western kingdoms, however, were never united again. The full Roman Empire passed away altogether as a political entity, but religiously it grew larger, to extend around the entire world. Today the Roman Catholic Church has some 980 million members worldwide. Eastern Orthodoxy has something less than half as many. The breach between it and Roman Catholicism will be healed under Antichrist.
Protestants of various denominations comprise the remainder of what has become known as Christendom, a total of about 1.7 billion persons, nearly 30 percent of the world's population today. According to Revelation 13:8, "All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the beast, or Antichrist]...." This indicates that not only Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy will be united, but that Protestants will join together with them, along with all of the world's religions, including even the Muslims, to form one new world religion. It will involve emperor worship, as in the days of the Caesars, with the death penalty for those who refuse to comply (Revelation
This revival of Rome's religion will undoubtedly be a blend of Christianity and paganism, as occurred under Constantine and continued thereafter. That perverted and paganized form of Christianity eventually became known as Roman Catholicism. Claiming to be infallible and unchangeable (semper eadem, "always the same"), the Roman Catholic Church stands poised today to become the vehicle for the final ecumenical union of all religions.
The ten toes on King Nebuchadnezzar's image represented ten future kings, concerning whom Daniel 2:44 declares in the most straightforward and unmistakable language: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed...." Inasmuch as ten kings have never ruled the Roman Empire, that simple statement tells us that it must be revived under ten heads, to be ruled of course by Antichrist.
That one verse of Scripture told Christ's disciples (and John the Baptist and the rabbis as well) that it was not the time for Christ to take His father David's throne. The reason was obvious: Ten kings were not ruling the Roman Empire at that time. Failure to understand this prophecy caused those in Christ's day to become disillusioned when He didn't immediately set up His earthly kingdom. Here again we see the importance of an accurate understanding of prophecy.
In his vision, Nebuchadnezzar saw a "stone ... cut out without hands." It "smote the image upon his feet" and smashed it to a powder that was blown away in the wind. "And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:34,35). The interpretation is clear: The true church will not gradually take over the world, but God's kingdom will be established suddenly by a cataclysmic intervention from heaven. Christ will return to destroy Antichrist and his revived Roman Empire, and He will then set up His millennial
kingdom to rule the world from Jerusalem on David's ancient throne as reinstituted by God
That interpretation is confirmed by other Scriptures, notably 2 Thessalonians 2:8, which clearly says that Christ will destroy Antichrist at His "coming": "Then shall that wicked [one] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit [breath] of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming...." Thus the second coming (as distinct from the rapture of Christians) will not occur until Antichrist has been revealed and has established his one-world government. Only then will Christ return, in the midst of Armageddon (with the believers He has previously raptured to heaven-Zechariah 14:5; Jude 14) to rescue Israel from the armies of Antichrist which are about to destroy her, to execute judgment upon the earth, and to establish His messianic kingdom by ruling the world from David's throne in Jerusalem. (See Zechariah
Some time after Nebuchadnezzar had his dream, Daniel was given a vision of his own as the next stage in the unfolding revelation from God concerning Antichrist's coming world kingdom. In it Daniel saw the same four world empires once again, this time depicted as ferocious beasts. The fourth beast, representing the Roman Empire, had ten horns, which signified, like the ten toes on the image, ten kings or regional rulers who would arise in the future (Daniel 7:24).
Daniel's vision included remarkable details concerning the Medo-Persian and Grecian empires, so astonishingly accurate that skeptics have sought desperately but without success to show that the book of Daniel was written after the fact. Otherwise it would have to be admitted that valid prophecies had been made. Of course, the Bible is filled with valid prophecies given centuries before their fulfillment. Unquestionably, the prophecies we mentioned briefly in the previous chapter concerning Israel and the Messiah were all written many centuries before their remarkable fulfillment.
As for Daniel, he clearly foretold the division of Alexander the Great's Grecian empire into four parts (Daniel 8:20-22; 11:4). The next 16 verses give amazing details of the wars of Ptolemy (the Grecian general who took possession of Egypt after Alexander's death) and the wars of his successors against the Seleucids of Syria. That prophecy climaxed with details concerning Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 11:2136), a type or foreshadowing of Antichrist. It is this history, declared in advance, that the critics have desperately tried to prove was written after it already occurred.
That the book of Daniel was in fact written during the Babylonian captivity, long before these events took place, has been thoroughly authenticated. Moreover, Daniel 9:25 specifies the very day the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass and be hailed as the promised One. Even the most skeptical critics must acknowledge that Daniel was written long before that event.
Between the writing of the Old and New Testaments there were four centuries of silence before God spoke again through His prophets. And not until we come to Revelation 12:3 do we see Daniel's fourth beast again, this time without any reference to the other three, which will be seen no more. Furthermore, from this point onward the fourth beast is seen only in its future revived form.
As the prophecy unfolds, Daniel's fourth beast appears to John as "a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads" (Revelation 12:3). This is Satan, for a few verses later we are shown a future "war in heaven: [Archangel] Michael and his angels fought against the dragon.... And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world" (verses 7, 9).
The interpretation is clear: The revived fourth world empire under Antichrist will be so utterly evil that it is seen as Satan himself. What horror lies ahead for this world after Christ has taken His own to His Father's house in the rapture!
The same "fourth beast" is seen again in chapter 13:1 rising "up out of the sea," as all four beasts did in Daniel 7:3. Here again it has the telltale "seven heads and ten horns," but now with "ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." The beast is described in the next verse as "like a leopard ... a bear, and ... a lion. . . ." So although the other three beasts no longer appear, we are not allowed to forget the continuity that exists between the revived Roman Empire and the three world empires which preceded it all the way back to Babylon. Remember, the beasts representing these three previous world empires were described as like a leopard, a lion, and a bear (Daniel 7:4-6).
In Revelation 13, the fourth beast clearly depicts both the revived Roman Empire and Antichrist, whom "all that dwell upon the earth shall worship" (verse 8). In this remarkable vision of the future, the world also "worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast" (verse 4). So Satan is again shown to be the power behind Antichrist and his kingdom: "The dragon [Satan] gave him [Antichrist] his power and his seat and great authority" (verse 2).
During His temptation in the wilderness, Christ was shown by Satan "all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them" (Matthew 4:8). The devil then offered it all to Christ, saying: "All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me" (verse 9). The love of the world and the lust for power ultimately lead to partnership with Satan and his worship. Of course, Christ refused Satan. Tragically, a persecution-weary church would fall for the same offer when it would later be made through Constantine.
Christ did not dispute Satan's claim to ownership of the world: "For that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it" (Luke 4:6). As John reminds us, "The whole world lieth in [the hands of] wickedness [i.e., the wicked one, Satan-see verse 18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8]" (1
John 5:19). It is Satan, permitted by God for His own purposes, who delivers to Antichrist the world which Christ refused.
An image will be made of the beast, and all who do not bow down and worship it, and through it the Antichrist as God, will be slain (Revelation 13:15). Such was the practice in the ancient Roman Empire. We are thus being told that the religion of Rome with its emperor worship will be revived as well. Religion must, in fact, not only be involved in Antichrist's new world government, but it must be preeminent, for Satan, who controls both Antichrist and the revived Roman Empire, is "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4) and desires its worship with a passion. The woman who rides the beast in chapter 17 undoubtedly represents that world religion, as we shall see.
Religion was always the dominant element in ancient world empires, including the four depicted by Nebuchadnezzar's image and Daniel's four beasts. Priests, soothsayers, and sorcerers were the closest advisers to rulers for thousands of years, and in most instances were the real power behind the throne, manipulating sovereigns by their "magic" and devious counsel. Science itself had its roots in occultism, beginning in astrology and alchemy. Materialism, skepticism, and atheism are of fairly recent origins and will be submerged in the tidal wave of renewed interest in "spirituality," which is already gathering momentum exactly as Jesus foretold for the last days (Matthew 24:4,5,11,24).
Atheism is not Satan's major weapon in his campaign to deceive mankind into following him. He himself is not an atheist, for his great ambition, "I will be like the Most High [i.e., God]" (Isaiah 14:14), itself acknowledges God's existence. Satan wants to be worshiped as God, but since he is a nonphysical being without a body of his own he will have to be satisfied in receiving this worship through the man who represents him, the Antichrist.
As "the god of this world," Satan's weapon is false religions and the deceitful promises they present, which turn aside those who believe them from knowing God's truth. The fact that religion will play a dominant role in the revived Roman Empire, as in ancient times, is clearly portrayed by the fact that the woman, who -represents the new world religion, has mounted the beast and is holding the reins.
In the further unfolding of the revelation of the fourth beast, John saw "one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast" (Revelation 13:3). To many interpreters this vision means that the Antichrist himself will be killed and raised to life again. Others believe that an Antichrist figure from the past, such as Hitler or Nero, will come back to life and rule the new world order. On the contrary, neither a past evil ruler nor the future Antichrist will come back from the grave because Satan does not have power to create life. (This does not eliminate the possibility that the world may be deceived into believing that a resurrection has taken place. However, the language in Revelation 13:3 does not encourage that idea.)
That "one of his heads" received a deadly wound would not indicate that the entire beast was dead but rather that he was mortally wounded in one aspect of his being. Although the heads are said to represent kings, it could not be a literal king who was killed and raised to life for the reasons already given. The beast and its heads represent several things at once: kings, kingdoms, Satan, the Antichrist, and the revived Roman Empire. The latter has within it the elements of death and apparent resurrection. The Roman Empire did indeed "die," though not completely, inasmuch as the fragments remained along with the perpetual hope of ultimate resurrection. When that "resurrection" does take place under Antichrist it will be as though an empire-not a person-came back from the dead.
That God intends to establish His own kingdom on earth and that the revived Roman Empire stands in its way and must be destroyed for God's kingdom to appear is clear as well. This was shown at the very beginning of this progressive revelation in the stone smashing the image and filling the earth. It is equally clear that Antichrist is Satan's counterfeit of Christ and that the revived Roman Empire is a counterfeit of the kingdom of God on earth.
The prefix "anti" comes from the Greek language and has two meanings: 1) opposed to, and 2) in the place of or a substitute for.1 Antichrist will embody both of these meanings. He will indeed oppose Christ, but in the most diabolically clever way it could be done: by pretending to be Christ and thus perverting "Christianity" from within. Indeed, Antichrist will "sit in the temple of God showing himself that he is God" (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
If Antichrist pretends to be Christ and is worshiped by the world (Revelation 13:8), then his followers are of course "Christians." Not Communism but Christianity will take over the world,
and not real Christianity but an Antichrist counterfeit thereof. Thus the great apostasy precedes
the revelation of Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Part of the apostasy is the ecumenical movement, which is literally setting the stage for a union between all religions and even influences evangelicals as well. An Antichrist "Christianity" must be created which embraces all religions and which all religions will embrace-precisely what is occurring today with astonishing speed. We have documented this development in other books, such as Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist, and will have much more to say about it later.
The Latin equivalent of the Greek "anti" is "vicarius," from which comes "vicar." Thus "vicar of Christ" literally means Antichrist. Although the Roman Catholic popes have called themselves vicar of Christ for centuries, they were not the first to do so, but inherited that title from Constantine (see below). His future counterpart, the coming world ruler over the revived Roman Empire, will be the Antichrist.
As already noted, in the ancient Roman Empire the Emperor was worshiped as God. As such he was the leader of the pagan priesthood and of the official, state-sponsored pagan religion of the empire. An image was made to the Caesars, before which the citizens were required to bow in worship. Those who refused to acknowledge the emperor as God were killed. And so it will be when the Roman Empire is revived under Antichrist. This fact is clearly presented in the extensive vision Christ gave to John:
And he ... causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast ... saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast ... and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Revelation 13:12-15).
When Emperor Constantine supposedly became a Christian in A.D. 313 (really a clever political maneuver), he gave freedom to Christians as well as official status alongside paganism to the Christian church. Since the church was now a recognized religious body in the empire, Constantine, as emperor, had to be acknowledged as its de facto head. As such, he convened the first ecumenical council, the Council of Nicea, in A.D. 325, set its agenda, gave the opening speech, and presided over it as Charlemagne would over the Council of Chalon 500 years later, Interested not in the truth of the gospel but in unifying the empire, Constantine was the first ecumenist and introduced that error into the persecution-wearied church.
While heading the Christian church, Constantine continued to head the pagan priesthood, to officiate at pagan celebrations, and to endow pagan temples even after he began to build Christian churches. As head of the pagan priesthood he was the Pontifex Maximus and needed a
similar title as head of the Christian church. The Christians honored him as "Bishop of Bishops," while Constantine called himself Vicarius Christi, Vicar of Christ. He meant that he was "another Christ" acting in the place of Christ. When translated into Greek, however, as we have seen, Vicarius Christi literally means Antichrist. Constantine was the prototype of the Antichrist prophesied in Scripture and who is yet to come.
In the Middle Ages, the bishops of Rome began to claim that they were the sole representatives of Christ upon earth. Demanding that the entire church worldwide must be subject to their rule, they forbade any other bishops to be called "papa" or pope and took to themselves the three titles of Constantine-Pontifex Maximus, Vicar of Christ, and Bishop of Bishops-which they retain to this day.
As the popes' claims to absolute power over kingdoms, people, and property were realized, great corruption entered the Roman Catholic Church. The Reformers and their creeds were unanimous in identifying each pope as the Antichrist. Scripture, however, does not support that claim. The Antichrist is a unique individual without predecessors or successors. He will be the new "Constantine," the ruler of the revived worldwide Roman Empire.
The final revelation of the fourth beast comes in the vision which God gave John as recorded in Revelation 17. This time, in a staggering new insight, a woman sits astride this horrible creature! That this is the same beast which Daniel saw and which is presented to us in chapters
12 and 13 of Revelation is quite clear, for it has the now-familiar "seven heads and ten horns" (verse 3). One other identifying feature is recorded: The beast is "full of names of blasphemy," an obvious elaboration upon what was seen in chapter 13, "and upon his heads the name of blasphemy."
There is a remarkable change of perspective this last time the beast is seen. The woman riding it rather than the beast itself is now the focus of attention. The description of the beast is brief, only sufficient to let us know that it is the same one we have seen before. No further insights into the nature or meaning of this horrible creature are given. A new figure has taken center stage, and two entire chapters of Revelation, 17 and 18, are devoted to detailed discussion of the woman-far more space than has been given to the beast itself in all its prior appearances.
John has never indicated in any of the three times he has seen the frightening creature that he was shocked or even amazed by it. But now, at last, he expresses great astonishment-not for the beast, however, but for the woman on its back. It is the sight of her that staggers John.
How did this woman mount such a fearsome creature? Why should it allow her to sit on its back, holding the reins and controlling it? Obviously, she will play a key role in the revival of the Roman Empire, the reign of Antichrist, and future world events leading to Christ's second coming.
What will that role be? When will it be revealed? Who is this woman? To answer such questions and more is the purpose of this book.
------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------
Upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT...
Thus, as the moon receives its light from the sun ... so the royal power [state] derives from the Pontifical authority the splendor of its dignity.... The state of the world... will be restored by our diligence and care. .. for the pontifical authority and the royal power... fully suffice for this purpose....
-Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)
--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ----------------------------
Why "mystery"? That Babylon, an ancient city whose ruins have been covered by the desert sands for at least 2300 years, should be mentioned so prominently in prophecies pertaining to the last days does indeed seem an enigma. It is popularly taught that the woman represents ancient Babylon revived. The fact that Iraq's sadistic ruler, Saddam Hussein, began its reconstruction some years ago is therefore seen as contributing to the fulfillment of this vision.
Ancient Babylon, however, even if it again becomes an inhabited and functioning city, could not possibly be the Babylon to which the writing on the woman's forehead refers. Saddam's rebuilt Babylon simply doesn't meet the criteria John sets forth. Those criteria, which we will be examining in detail, establish the woman's identity-and, as we shall see, she is not ancient Babylon.
Saddam imagines himself to be a modern Nebuchadnezzar, perhaps even the reincarnation of that emperor of ancient Babylon. What Saddam admires most about Nebuchadnezzar is that he destroyed Jerusalem and killed or carried away captive Israel's inhabitants into Babylon, leaving the land of Israel desolate. As the new Nebuchadnezzar, he dreams of wreaking the same destruction upon today's Israelis, whom he sees as his chief enemies. Of course, Babylon itself was then conquered by the Medes and Persians. For that depredation Saddam views Iran (the successor of ancient Persia) as his other great enemy and fought an eight-year war against her.
Saddam has proudly imprinted his name on every brick being used in the reconstruction of ancient Babylon. As much hated as feared by his own people, one day Saddam will be deposed, as eventually happens to all tyrants. It would not be surprising if the Iraqis, in order to erase the last vestige of Saddam's loathsome memory, thereafter bulldozed the proud structures he has erected at the site of ancient Babylon. Whether that happens or not, there is no way that this city, rebuilt after lying in ruins for more than 2000 years, could be mistaken for the Babylon which is the major subject of Revelation chapters 17 and 18.
There is, of course, a connection to ancient Babylon. The name on the woman's forehead establishes that fact. What could that name mean in the world of the "last days" just prior to the second coming of Christ? Obviously it must refer to a dominant feature common to all four world empires-a major element of the first empire, Babylon, which is still dominant in the fourth empire, Rome.
A paramount feature common to all was the unity between throne and altar, between prince and priest. "Separation of church and state" was as yet unheard of; in fact, the opposite was true. The pagan priests-astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, soothsayers-were the emperor's close advisers and often the hidden influence controlling the empire. Thus a principle characteristic of this woman, who is both a city and a spiritual entity, will be her adulterous relationships with secular governments.
The unity of church and state persisted from the days of Babylon until beyond the ascendancy of Rome, the fourth world empire in Daniel's vision. As we have seen, Roman emperors, like other ancient rulers, headed the pagan priesthood and were worshiped as gods. Inasmuch as religion was the dominant factor in every empire, we do well to take a closer look at the religion of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was built around the ruins of the Tower of Babel, which was erected shortly after the flood by the descendants of Noah under the leadership of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10; Micah 5:6). Its original purpose was clearly stated by its builders: "Let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4).
The city was a political/civil union of earth's inhabitants at that time. The tower was clearly a religious enterprise, the means of reaching heaven. Babel thus represents the unity of state and church, involving the entire world in the attempt to elevate man to God's level. That this would be accomplished through a tower built by human genius and energy obviously represents man's religion of self-effort. Inasmuch as the entire world was united in this effort, we have the first example of world government and world religion joined as one. As man began in this unity, so he must end in it as well; such is the clear message on the woman's forehead.
The tower was the obsession of the city's inhabitants, the purpose of life that both united and enslaved. Thus religion dominated the partnership of church and state. That such will be the case in the new world order of Antichrist, at least for a time, is clearly depicted by the fact that the woman rides the beast.
Babel's tower stood in stark contrast to the way of salvation which God had consistently declared from Abel onward. The rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden had separated man from God by sin. No reconciliation to God and no entrance into heaven was possible apart from the full payment of sin's penalty. For man, a finite creature, payment of the infinite penalty demanded by God's infinite justice was impossible. One day, in mercy and grace, God Himself would come as a sinless, perfect man to die for the sins of the world in payment of the full penalty demanded by His own justice. He would be "the Lamb of God" (John 1:29,36), the only acceptable sacrifice. In anticipation of the coming Messiah, animals were to be sacrificed as types of that Holy One who would "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:26).
The only interim approach to God that He approved had been stated clearly (Exodus 20:24-
26). Animal sacrifices were to be offered upon an altar of earth. If the ground was too rocky to scrape sufficient earth together, the altar could be made of stones heaped up, but not carved or fashioned in any way by tools. Nor was it to be elevated so that one approached the altar by steps.
No human effort could play any part in man's salvation. It must be a gift from God, unmerited and unearned. Human pride, however, has always resisted God's grace. We see the clear violation of God's Word continuing today in the ornate cathedrals and gilded, elevated altars of both Protestants and Catholics as well as in the rituals and good works which man foolishly imagines will help to make him acceptable to God. It all began with Babel.
The city and tower of Babel set the pattern of the unholy alliance between civil government and a religion of self-effort and ritual which continued for thousands of years and was exemplified both in pagan Rome and in "Christian" Rome following Constantine's "conversion." The "separation of church and state" is a concept of recent origin, largely since the Protestant Reformation, and one which the Roman Catholic Church, as the religious continuation of the Roman Empire, has consistently and even viciously opposed. Dr. Brownson, highly regarded nineteenth-century Catholic journalist, expressed Catholicism's position in the Brownson Quarterly journal:
No civil government, be it a monarchy, an aristocracy, a democracy. .. can be a wise, just, efficient, or durable government, governing for the good of the community, without the Catholic Church; and without the papacy there is and can be no Catholic Church.1
The Vatican has consistently fought every democratic advance from absolute monarchies toward government by the people, beginning with England's Magna Carta (June 15, 1215), "the mother of European Constitutions." That vital document was denounced immediately by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), who "pronounced it null and void and excommunicated the English barons who obtained it"2 and absolved the king of his oath to the barons.3 Encouraged by the pope, King John brought in foreign mercenaries to fight the barons, bringing great destruction upon the country. Subsequent popes did all in their power to help John's successor, Henry III, overturn the Magna Carta, impoverishing the country with papal taxes (salaries to the numerous imported Italian priests were three times the crown's annual revenue). Nevertheless, the barons finally prevailed.
Pope Leo XII reproved Louis XVIII for granting the "liberal" French Constitution, while Pope Gregory XVI denounced the Belgian Constitution of 1832. His outrageous encyclical, Mirari vos, of August 15, 1832 (which was later confirmed by Pope Pius IX in his 1864 Syllabus Errorum), condemned freedom of conscience as "an insane folly" and freedom of the press as "a pestiferous error, which cannot be sufficiently detested."4 He reasserted the right of the Church to use force and like countless popes before him demanded that civil authorities promptly imprison any non-Catholics who dared to preach and practice their faith. One eminent historian of the nineteenth century, commenting upon the Vatican's denunciation of the Bavarian and Austrian constitutions, paraphrased its attitude thus:
Our absolutist system, supported by the Inquisition, the strictest censorship, the suppression of all literature, the privileged exemption of the clergy, and arbitrary power of bishops, cannot endure any other than absolutist governments ...5
The history of Latin America has fully demonstrated the accuracy of that appraisal. In Catholic countries the popes' hatred of freedom and their partnership with oppressive regimes which they often succeeded in manipulating to their own ends is a matter of historical record. Whatever her true motives, history bears full witness to the fact that whenever she has been able to do so, the Roman Catholic Church has suppressed and openly condemned such basic human rights as freedom of the press, speech, religion, and even conscience.
Prior to the revolution led by Benito Juarez in 1861, Roman Catholicism had dominated the lives of the Mexican people and controlled the government for 350 years. It was the state religion and no other was allowed. As one author has stated after an exhaustive investigation of the records:
The oppression by Spain and the oppression by the Church of Rome were so intermeshed as to be indistinguishable by the people. The [Roman Catholic] hierarchy supported the Spanish regime and excommunicated, through its New World Inquisition, anyone resisting the power of the state.... The government in turn enforced Church laws and, as the "secular arm," functioned as disciplinarian and even as executioner for the Church.6
After Napoleon III's French army defeated Juarez and installed Maximilian as Emperor of Mexico, the latter saw that there could be no return to the old totalitarian ways. Pope Pius IX was outraged and wrote indignantly to Maximilian demanding that "the Catholic religion must, above all things, continue to be the glory and the mainstay of the Mexican nation, to the exclusion of every other dissenting worship," that "instruction, whether public or private, should be directed and watched over by the [Roman Catholic] ecclesiastical authority," and that the Church must not be "subject to the arbitrary rule of the civil government."7
The poverty and instability that has plagued Latin America resulted from the union between church and state and the power over government which Rome, having enjoyed in Europe for centuries, brought to the new world in the name of Christ. The Roman clergy were like little gods lording it over the natives, who became their servants. The revolutions in Latin American countries have been in large measure created by the contrast between the poverty of the people and the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church and the evil dictatorships it supported. Liberation Theology was spawned in Latin America by radical Catholic priests and nuns whose aroused consciences could no longer justify the oppression of the masses by both Church and state.
Scores of other examples could be given but must be deferred until later. The point is that the roots of the unholy alliance between church and state, with the church in dominance, go back to Babel. Nimrod founded the first world empire; church and state were one. Such is the ideal empire which Roman Catholicism has always striven with all its might to establish and maintain whenever possible. As The Catholic World stated at the time of Vatican I:
While the state has some rights, she has them only in virtue and by permission of the superior authority ... [of] the Church ....8
The antipathy of Roman Catholicism to basic human freedoms later created unholy alliances with the totalitarian governments of Hitler and Mussolini, who were praised by the pope and other Church leaders as men chosen by God. Catholics were forbidden to oppose Mussolini and were urged to support him. The Church virtually put the Fascist dictator in office (as it would Hitler a few years later). In exchange, Mussolini (in the 1929 Concordat with the Vatican) made Roman Catholicism once again the official state religion, and any criticism of it was made a penal offense. The Church was granted other favors, including a vast sum in cash and bonds.
Satan's promise to Eve that she could become one of the gods became the foundation of pagan religion worldwide. To achieve that goal man would have to assert himself and labor mightily. Thus was born the religion of self-effort. In fact, works instead of grace has always been and still is religion, of which Roman Catholicism is a prime example. The rising Tower of Babel seemed to give credence to the grandiose delusion that man could reach heaven by his own efforts. Nimrod was very likely the first emperor to be deified, and thus was a forerunner of Antichrist.
Babel (and the city of Babylon later constructed around her ruins) was the cradle of the belief in a "higher destiny" for all mankind. Later that dream would be limited to special races, such as the Aryans, a claim which Hitler's Nazism would pursue to the destruction of 6 million Jews. Echoing the serpent's lie, Hitler would say, "Man is becoming God.... We need free men who feel and know that God is in themselves." The Jews, however, were not men at all in Hitler's estimation, but Untermenschen (subhumans), whom he determined to exterminate for the good of the Aryan race.
Hitler's theory of the "purity of blood," which he sought to maintain through extermination of the Jews (unopposed by the Vatican), had its roots in ancient occultism involving a mythical Nordic Garden of Eden in the far North known as Hyperborea. There an Aryan race of god-men had allegedly been spawned by gods visiting earth. Nietzsche, whose writings heavily influenced Hitler, began his key work, Anti-Christ, with the sentence, "Let us see ourselves for what we are. We are Hyperboreans [gods] all." It was the lie of the serpent from the Garden of Eden once again.
Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Peter Viereck finds the roots of the Nazi dream of a master race of god-men ruling the world not only in Hegel and Nietzsche but in Wagner and a host of romantic writers who all echoed the serpent's lie to Eve. The following excerpt is from the 1940 conclusion of Viereck's remarkable book Meta-Politics: The Roots of the Nazi Mind-an ending which the original publisher refused to include as being too extreme, but which hindsight now reveals was amazingly accurate:
Mein Kampf was a best-seller long before the German people, voting uncoerced in the free Reichstag election of September 1930, increased the Nazi seats from
12 to 107 and made them the biggest party in Germany. By then, Hitler had said in Mein Kampf (to pick a typical threat at random): "If at the start [of World War I] we had held under poison twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew
subverters of our people ... then the sacrifice of a million Germans at the front would not have been in vain.... The timely elimination of 12,000 bums...."
The German enigma is: just what kind of behavior could those millions of pro- Hitler voters, from 1930 on, expect of the monster-mentality that composes such "held under" threats? ... his book is no classified secret document ... millions of Germans own it ... a few must have browsed in it. These few must have included some of the cheering public and also some influential dignitaries with access to press, radio, and other means of warning the public....
Some day the same Germans, now cheering Hitler's strut into Paris, will say. .. "We did not know what went on...” and when that day of know-nothing comes, there will be laughter in hell.9
Surely Mein Kampf must also have been known to many of the 30 million Roman Catholics in Germany as well as to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church both there and in Rome. Yet the Church hierarchy praised Hitler, sometimes in the most extravagant terms. Pope Pius XI told Vice-Chancellor Fritz von Papen, himself a leading Catholic, "how pleased he was that the German Government now had at its head a man uncompromisingly opposed to Communism...."10 No word of reproof against the evil that Hitler had loosed upon Germany.
Bishop Berning published a book stressing the link between Catholicism and patriotism and sent a copy to Hitler "as a token of my devotion." Monsignor Hartz praised Hitler for having saved Germany from "the poison of Liberalism ... [and] the pest of Communism." Catholic publicist Franz Taeschner praised "the Fuehrer, gifted with genius" and declared that he had "been sent by providence in order to achieve the fulfillment of Catholic social ideas."11 I
Most German Catholics were in a state of euphoria after the 1933 concordat between Hitler and the Vatican was signed. Catholic young men were ordered "to raise their right arm in salute, and to display the swastika flag.... The Catholic Youth organization, Neudeutsche Jugend... called for the full and close cooperation between the totalitarian state and the totalitarian Church." The German bishops together pledged their solidarity with National Socialism. Addressing a gathering of Catholic youth in the Cathedral of Trier, Bishop Bornewasser declared, "With raised heads and firm step we have entered the new Reich and we are prepared to serve it with all the might of our body and soul."12
Bishop Vogt of Aachen in a congratulatory telegram promised Hitler that "diocese and Bishop will gladly participate in the building of the new Reich." Cardinal Faulhaber, in a handwritten note to Hitler, expressed the wish "coming from the bottom of our heart: May God preserve the Reich Chancellor for our people." A picture appeared in a German-American paper showing Vicar General Steinmann leading Catholic youth organizations in a parade past Hitler and returning the Fuehrer's raised arm salute. Replying to the criticism from outraged American Catholics, Steinmann declared that "German Catholics did indeed regard the government of Adolph Hitler as the God-given authority ' and that someday the world would "gratefully acknowledge that Germany ... erected a bulwark against Bolshevism...."13 What of Mein Kampf and the evil of Nazism?
University of Massachusetts Associate Professor of Government Guenter Lewy fled his native Germany as a boy of fifteen in 1939. He returned in 1960 to spend years researching official files. Lewy writes in The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany:
Pius XI in 1933 called the Chancellor of the German Reich [Hitler] the first statesman who, together with the Pope, had clearly recognized the Bolshevik danger... . Bishop Landersdorfer praised "the harmonious collaboration of Church and State [though the Nazis had already imprisoned many priests and nuns for
On March 29 , 45,453,691 Germans, or 99 per cent of those entitled to vote, went to the polls. Of these, 44,461,278, or 98.8 per cent of those voting, voiced their approval of Hitler's leadership. [The Catholic vote approving Hitler was virtually unanimous.]
A joint pastoral letter [from all the German bishops] was read from the pulpits
... January 3, 1937 [stating that] "the German bishops consider it their duty to support the head of the German Reich by all those means which the Church has at its disposal.... We must mobilize all the spiritual and moral forces of the Church in order to strengthen confidence in the Fuehrer."14
By this time no one could have been ignorant of Hitler's ruthlessness and of his real goals. Yet Catholic leaders (like most Protestant clergy) in Germany continued to heap praise upon their fellow Catholic. Two books on Reich and Kirche, published with ecclesiastical permission, called "deepening the understanding [of] the great work of German renewal to which the Fuehrer has summoned us" the "biggest spiritual task of contemporary German Catholicism." Karl Adam, world-renowned Catholic theologian, argued that National Socialism and Catholicism, far from being in conflict, "belonged together as nature and grace" and that in Adolf Hitler Germany had found at last "a true people's chancellor." 15
A minority of brave men (both Catholics and Protestants) opposed Hitler, some openly, others in secret plots. A few voices were raised in public protest. One belonged to a priest, a Fr. Muckermann, who dared to express his amazement and consternation that
...despite the inhuman brutalities perpetrated in the concentration camps ... despite the personal insults against individual princes of the Church, against the Holy Father and the entire Church ... the bishops find words of appreciation for what (next to Bolshevism) is their worst enemy.... 15
The enigma of Germany remains the enigma of Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba, Haiti, Yugoslavia, South Africa, and the entire world of our day. On the other hand, it is not an enigma at all if one accepts the testimony of Scripture. We find the answer in Babel-a tower which has never ceased to be under construction. Only the location and outward form change from time to time, but the perverted ambition, impossible dream that it is, remains steadfast.
The end result-the judgment of God that will come upon mankind-is foretold clearly in biblical prophecy. Make no mistake: We are hastening to that day. In the meantime, the woman who rides the beast, whose name is MYSTERY, BABYLON, has a key role to play. As a result she will taste God's judgment before the rest of the world knows its full and awesome power as well.
In his important analysis in 1940, Viereck warned that Nazism was a religion that had infected Germany's youth. It was pagan worship of nature, yet its claim to be "Christian" deceived millions (as is happening in the United States today by the same means). That perversion surfaced in the twisted thinking of Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, who admired Christ "as one of a long line of Aryan heroes, ranging from Wotan and Siegfried to Wagner and Hitler."116 The "shell game switch" was echoed by Dr. Ley, head of the Nazi Labor Front: "Our faith ... is National Socialism...!”17 Hans Kerrl, Nazi Minister of Church Affairs, furthered the lie that was embraced by the majority of both Catholics and Protestants: "True Christianity is represented by the Party ... the Fuehrer is the herald of a new revelation…”18
New? Vierech called Nazism a "new paganism." Actually, only the veneer was new, but underneath it was still Babel. John's vision of the woman on the beast makes that fact abundantly clear.
God confounded the language of Babel's builders into numerous tongues so they couldn't understand one another and thus were scattered. But the proud religion of self-effort leading to deification of a master race persisted, evidenced by the ruins of similar towers, called ziggurats, found throughout that area of the world. None of the towers, however, attained great height with that day's primitive technology. Heaven was still beyond man's reach. So the ziggurats became occultic altars of every perversion. On their pinnacles astrology began, with the worship of heavenly bodies believed to have mystical power to control the destinies of men.
Far from dying out, Babel's religion of self-effort was institutionalized in Babylon and throughout its vast empire. This is paganism, the perennial world religion that persists to this day. It lives on not only among primitive peoples who worship nature spirits, but flourishes among university professors who attribute similar intelligence to nature's "forces."
Paganism has been characterized worldwide throughout the centuries by mysterious rituals celebrated around ornately carved and decorated altars atop structures such as the pyramids that one finds from Egypt to Central and South America. Though warned of God through His prophets against this evil, Israel also succumbed to pagan seduction. This corruption of the truth He had taught them eventually brought God's judgment upon His chosen people.
The Old Testament has many references to "high places" that were constructed in Israel. Violating the prohibition against "going up by steps" to God's altar, they became the centers of Jewish idolatry (Leviticus 26:30; Numbers 22:41; etc.). At times of repentance and revival these "high places," with their idols, were destroyed by godly kings and priests, but Israel never rid itself of this evil. Both Orthodox and Catholics and even some Protestants have embraced the same corruption by their stately structures, elevated and gilded altars, and ornate vestments and intricate liturgies, which presumably please God and help open the doors to heaven.
The bricks and mortar which were involved remind us that Babel was not only a religious and political enterprise but that it engaged the most advanced technology/science of its day. Today's science still represents an attempt to elevate man to godhood by conquering space, the atom, disease, and eventually death.
At Babel, God scattered mankind and confounded their language so they could not communicate their evil designs to one another. On Mars Hill in Athens Paul declared that God separated races and nations so they could concentrate upon seeking Him (Acts 17:26,27). The consensus of opinion today is that we need just the opposite: The solution to mankind's ills will come about through unscrambling the languages and uniting all nations in scientific enterprises which will ultimately turn planet Earth into a paradise once again.
Such was the declaration of a recent Lockheed Corporation ad in Scientific American featuring an illustration of the ancient Tower of Babel. Touting Lockheed's technological accomplishments, the ad boasted that its scientific advancements were "undoing the Babel effect" by bringing mankind together and making it possible for all to speak one language. In other words, Lockheed was countering God, the One responsible for what it called "the Babel effect."
The Tower of Babel fills the official poster for the 12-nation United Europe (whose new currency depicts a woman riding a beast). Circling above the unfinished tower are 12 stars. Unlike those on the American flag, however, these are upside down, thus forming the pentagram of classic occultism. The pentagram, with its two "horns" pointing upward and its "beard" downward, is also known as the Goat of Mendes, or Baphomet, a symbol of Satan.
International Business Machines has also used an artist's depiction of the Tower of Babel in some of its ads, with modern high-rise buildings protruding from the half-finished structure. Why this nostalgic return to what most people today dismiss as a myth? There seems to be an innate sympathy with Babel, a recognition that modern man is carrying on where Babel left off and is pursuing the same ambition of achieving immortality by human effort.
God scattered the builders of Babel, but today's determination is the opposite: to unite all nations into one new world order. God confounded the languages, but today's technology is aimed at breaking down every language barrier. Soon there will be phones on the market which will allow English spoken into the receiver in Los Angeles to come out the other end in Tokyo as Japanese.
Dare we suggest that something is wrong? Why not encourage and enjoy what intellect and talent can accomplish? Even God acknowledged the limitless bounds of human capabilities when He said, "Whatever they imagine they will be able to perform."
God, however, had already declared that "the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21). Thus human ingenuity, as God foresaw, would create ever-increasing evil until the very survival of mankind would hang in the balance. Surely today's threats to survival have all come from scientific genius. Honesty would also force us to admit that the rise of urbanization, even in ancient times, has contributed to the escalating tide of evil that threatens to engulf our world today.
John's vision indicates that Babel/Babylon will be very much alive in the last days. Emblazoned across the forehead of the woman riding the beast are the words "MYSTERY, BABYLON." That she represents revived paganism is clear.
Most interesting of all, however, is the fact that she embodies paganized Christianity. The woman represents a worldwide religious system which is based in Rome and claims to be
Christian but which has its roots in Babel and Babylon. That conclusion will become unassailable as we examine further the vision John received.
------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------
The woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth....
Here is the mind which hath wisdom: The sever heads are seven mountains [or hills] on which the woman sitteth.
--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ----------------------------
A woman rides the beast, and that woman is a city built on seven hills that reigns over the kings of the earth! Was ever in all of history such a statement made? John immediately equates the readers' acceptance of this revelation with "wisdom." We dare not pass over such a disclosure casually. It merits our careful and prayerful attention.
Here is no mystical or allegorical language but an unambiguous statement in plain words: "The woman ... is that great city." There is no justification for seeking some other hidden meaning. Yet books have been written and sermons preached insisting that "Mystery Babylon" is the United States. That is clearly not the case, for the United States is a country, not a city. One might justifiably refer to the United States as Sodom, considering the honor now given to homosexuals, but it is definitely not the Babylon that John sees in this vision. The woman is a city.
Furthermore, she is a city built on seven hills. That specification eliminates ancient Babylon. Only one city has for more than 2000 years been known as the city on seven hills. That city is Rome. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined."1
There are, of course, other cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, that were also built on seven hills. Therefore, John provides at least seven more characteristics to limit the identification to Rome alone. We will examine each one in detail in subsequent chapters. However, as a preview of where we are going, we will list them now and discuss each one briefly. As we shall see, there is only one city on the earth which, in both historical and contemporary perspectives, passes every test John gives, including its identification as Mystery Babylon. That city is Rome, and more specifically, Vatican City.
Even Catholic apologist Karl Keating admits that Rome has long been known as Babylon. Keating claims that Peter's statement "The church here in Babylon ... sends you her greeting" (from 1 Peter 5:13) proves that Peter was writing from Rome. He explains further:
Babylon is a code word for Rome. It is used that way six times in the last book of the Bible [four of the six are in chapters 17 and 18] and in extrabiblical works
such as Sibylling Oracles (5, 159f.), the Apocalypse of Baruch (ii, 1), and 4
Eusebius Pamphilius, writing about 303, noted that "it is said that Peter's first epistle ... was composed at Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon."2
As for "Mystery," that name imprinted on the woman's forehead is the perfect designation for Vatican City. Mystery is at the very heart of Roman Catholicism, from the words "Mysterium fide" pronounced at the alleged transformation of the bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ to the enigmatic apparitions of Mary around the world. Every sacrament, from baptism to extreme unction, manifests the mysterious power which the faithful must believe the priests wield, but for which there is no visible evidence. Rome's new Catechism explains that liturgy "aims to initiate souls into the mystery of Christ (It is 'mystagogy.')" and that all of the Church's liturgy is "mystery."3
The first thing we are told about the woman is that she is a "whore" (Revelation 17:1), that earthly kings "have committed fornication" with her (verse 2), and that "all the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (verse 3). Why would a city be called a whore and be accused of having committed fornication with kings? Such an indictment would never be made of London or Moscow or Paris-or any other ordinary city. It wouldn't make sense.
Fornication and adultery are used in the Bible in both the physical and the spiritual sense. Of Jerusalem God said, "How is the faithful city become a harlot!" (Isaiah 1:21). Israel, whom God had set apart from all other peoples to be holy for His purposes, had entered into unholy, adulterous alliances with the idol-worshiping nations about her. She had "committed adultery with stones and with stocks [idols]" (Jeremiah 3:9); "and with their idols have they committed adultery" (Ezekiel 23:37). The entire chapter of Ezekiel 16 explains Israel's spiritual adultery in detail, both with heathen nations and with their false gods, as do many other passages.
There is no way that a city could engage in literal, fleshly fornication. Thus we can only conclude that John, like the prophets in the Old Testament, is using the term in its spiritual sense. The city, therefore, must claim a spiritual relationship with God. Otherwise such an allegation would be meaningless.
Though it is built on seven hills, there would be no reason to accuse Rio de Janeiro of spiritual fornication. It makes no claim of having a special relationship with God. And though Jerusalem has that relationship, it cannot be the