One World Religion?
After Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948, and especially when Israel recaptured their Holy City Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967, we’ve witnessed a remarkable revival in the interest of Biblical prophecy, not experienced since the first century AD. We’ve seen an explosion of sermons, articles, CDs, DVDs, movies, documentaries, and books on the second coming of Jesus Christ including a vast array of material on the subject of his antithesis, the Antichrist. The Rapture, the Great Tribulation, Israel’s restoration, the mark of the beast, the Gog/Magog assault against Israel, the Millennial Reign of Messiah, and all matters pertaining to end-times events have been talked about more in the past 50 years than in the preceding 1900 years.
I agree ardently with those who say that we are living in the final generation that will experience the glorious return of our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus … what I prefer to label as the Omega Generation. Although I concur with some 90% of the prophetic puzzle that has been skillfully assembled by several modern-day students of Bible prophecy, there are a few pieces that have not been fitted accurately. Such as: whether we can know the identity of Antichrist—based on the premise of whether he’s a contemporary man born in this final generation or the more Biblically correct explanation that he is a man who will suddenly appear on the scene from the Abyss, having been there for nearly 2000 years.
For detailed documented answers to these and other questions, please read my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? Or, refer to Eye of Prophecy articles under the category of Antichrist. And for a more exact and comprehensive explanation of the imminent snatching away of believers in Christ, please refer to the five-article series about the Rapture, published in July and August of 2013.
In this amazing resurgence of Biblical prophecy enthusiasm, there are two significant topics that seem to surface frequently: (1) One World Government; and, (2) One World Religion. The greater majority of prophecy scholars have endorsed the theory that these two global entities will be established by the Antichrist and the False Prophet, respectively. But is that really what Scripture is telling us? If not, then what is the importance of a corrected understanding of just what will take place during the Great Tribulation? What exactly will the Antichrist and the False Prophet do or attempt to accomplish during their brief time of tyranny on the earth?
One World Government
This subject has already been addressed in the Eye of Prophecy article under the same title, published 2-28-15. Detailed evidence from Scripture was presented to (I believe) convincingly demonstrate that there will NOT be a One-World Government established by the Beast of Revelation. I think it would be beneficial for you to read or review that post as it dovetails with today’s article. Here are some italicized excerpts from that post, beginning with the underlying misconception that even the most well intending Bible students sometimes get caught up in: The need or tendency to detect some sort of extraordinary global conspiracy in which nearly every person on earth will voluntarily or involuntarily submit to a universal government and religion.
*Note: The following excerpts are italicized for purpose of this article. The words in bold print were actually italicized in the article (One World Government) being quoted.
Question: Other than promoting a sensational conspiracy theory that so many people love to contemplate and investigate; from where, then, does the notion of an end time’s prophetic one-world political and/or religious system originate? Why has this idea been so predominate among even the best of prophecy scholars for several decades? To include the assumption that this global organization will be a Revived Roman Empire; or the fairly recent presumption of a Muslim (Imam) Antichrist and Islamic Caliphate ruling the world.
Answer: Almost exclusively from an inference based on the wording found in Revelation Chapter 13. But when we closely examine some critical verses in this chapter, we’ll see that the language describing those who give their allegiance to the beast (Antichrist) to the point of worship is actually, in form and substance, a counterfeit replica of the current Kingdom of Heaven—the true church comprised of people all over the world who have believed and received Messiah Jesus. That, in reality, the perceived global authority of the beast (Antichrist) is politically, militarily and economically limited to a ten-nation coalition, not a centralized universal government. In actuality, the beast largely exerts his influence on and through his followers from all races and ethnic groups who are sealed with the visible mark of the Beast much like the Holy Spirit invisibly seals all those in the family of God … born again believers.
When we grasp the significance of what is being said in these verses, we will better understand that the “kingdom” of Antichrist will be a federation of ten countries, NOT a duplication of the once mighty Roman Empire. Although (as documented with an abundance of Scriptural and historical evidence in my book, Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles) it will be headed by a Revived Roman Emperor!
Restating the premise based on correlation of all Biblical passages relating to the subject: The Antichrist will not rule and reign over every person, or city, or state, or nation of the earth. There will not be a one-world government. Not even close. He will command a ten-nation coalition; albeit, one that will vainly seek control of the entire world. He will, however, exercise god-like influence over billions of people on the earth, who will willingly (some unwillingly due to threat of death) follow him; in the same vein (a false, counterfeit anti-Christ parallel) that millions love and follow Jesus Christ.
*Note: In the One World Government post, I explain that the often used phrase, every nation, tribe, language, and people does not mean all peoples from every nation on earth. Rather, it signifies a cross-section of peoples all over the globe. There will be many individuals and entire groups of people and national governments that will oppose Antichrist and the False Prophet.
Continuing with the excerpts, the following example (one of many) is provided:
Let’s look at another verse that uses this same descriptive phrase: “And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water” (Revelation 14:6-7, italics for emphasis).
But we reach the same logical result with the same reasonable conclusion: The unmistakable meaning in this passage and others that reference all or every people, language, tribe, or nation is that Scripture is referring to a cross-section of people from virtually every nation on earth. This is true of Jesus’s ransom price of his very blood in which some, but certainly not all, will be redeemed. It’s also true of Antichrist Nero’s granted authority to rule. Whereas, he will have a substantial following of individuals all over the globe because of his miraculous reappearance from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8) and will be given power to rule over ten nations and their leaders, it certainly doesn’t mean global dominance.
Back to today’s article.
So What about a One World Religion?
As indicated, the plurality of Bible students who specialize in end-times prophecy endorse the concept of a one-world religion alongside of a one-world government. They derive this conclusion almost exclusively from the same chapter (Revelation 13) in which they attempt to show that the Antichrist will establish a global government; with the False Prophet setting up and enforcing a world-wide religion. But they differ concerning whether one of the world’s existing religions will dominate the earth’s population, or if this world religion will take another form and evolve into a whole new belief system under the control of the False Prophet.
(*Note: You might also consider reading the informative two-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled, The False Prophet, published 5-24 & 5-31-14. Followed by the three-part series of, The Two Witnesses, posted 6-7, 6-14, & 6-21-14).
Several places in Revelation we see the phrase, “all the people who belong to this world.” This terminology definitively describes those left behind after the Rapture of believers in Christ. It’s equally clear that millions will (most I believe soon after the Rapture) turn to Christ and accept him as the true Messiah who alone can save them spiritually. We refer to this group of people as Tribulations Saints (see Revelation 6: 9-11 & Revelation 7:9-17).
Yet the people who belong to this world will persistently deny that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah; instead giving their body, soul, and spirit to the Antichrist because they will believe the lie that he (Nero) is God and/or their messiah. Among these people will be all those who are basically non-religious … those who don’t believe in the God of heaven; or for all practical purposes, live as though God doesn’t exist. But billions left behind will, in fact, belong to one of the world’s predominant religions … Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, or Islam.
All of these mega-religions and several smaller cults have one common denominator that true Christianity does not have or need: Whether a religion believes in some form of salvation or eternal destiny or not, they all believe that human effort and/or human self-worth is necessary to appease their version of God (or gods). Or to attain a mystical, highly elevated god-like status of human existence.
Conversely, the God of the Bible tells us over and over: The surest way to end up in hell and then the lake of fire alongside of Antichrist, the False Prophet, Satan, and billions of other human beings is to try to earn salvation by keeping the requirements and rituals of religion; attempt to please God through self-effort; and somehow get to heaven by (just) enough good works to outweigh the bad. Nor will making one’s self a god through occult New Age mantra cut it with God.
True Biblical Christianity says that God did all the work. All we need do is believe what Christ did for us … what we could not possibly do for ourselves and certainly not for God.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Some say the New Age movement will be this one-world religion during the Great Tribulation. Whereas, the occult will be a sinister force to be reckoned with, it, too, will not globally dominate the post-Rapture society by means of a universal institutional hierarchy or center of power or sphere of influence. Any more than the pervasive, but nonetheless partial, influence that the underworld had on Germany’s Third Reich. The fact remains that Germans were enthralled and captivated by one man, Adolph Hitler, to the point of unapologetic adoration and devotion. For the most part, the populace of Germany set aside whatever religious differences they had in favor of following a man who would lead them to a glorious thousand-year dominion in Europe … and ultimately the whole world.
A New Age type of occultism will only be one of many evils that will inundate Post-Rapture society. “And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:21).
Satan and his entire kingdom defines what is occult and vice versa. But it’s not a matter of establishing a religious-like system that Satan and his two cohorts will pursue. Rather, it’s unadulterated allegiance to and worship of Satan and the Antichrist, themselves, regardless of any belief system a person might otherwise maintain. It’s elevation of Satan and his man of sin to a status equal to and even greater than the true and living God and his Messiah.
Which is why it’s extremely important to understand WHY the Antichrist and False Prophet have such great authority and HOW they use this power over a large portion (but certainly not all) of the world during the Great Tribulation. When we comprehend why a cross-section of people from many nations and ethnic groups give their complete allegiance to and place their fateful destiny in the hands of these two megalomaniacs, we’ll then see that neither a one-world government nor a global religion will materialize. In fact, neither of these are even necessary for Satan to (try to) accomplish his devilish agenda.
Before we again (in addition to the prior article One World Government) look at some key verses concerning today’s subject, it’s beneficial to begin by repeating the Premise: There is no Biblical support of a One-World Religion, any more or less than a Global Government.
There is no evidence in the book of Revelation or any other book of the Bible to conclude that one of the current world religions will exclusively dominate the relatively short seven-year period of the Great Tribulation or that a new universal religion will emerge.
However, there is Biblical support to show that the Antichrist and the False Prophet will use, misuse, and abuse three religions to accomplish their satanic objectives. The following passage graphically depicts Lucifer’s insidious, but unattainable, goal from the beginning: “…I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Satan’s twisted objective is to usurp God’s celestial position as Creator of all things and the Lord’s divine right to rule over all nations of the earth, indeed the entire universe. Just like God has given the nations to his Son, Jesus Christ, to rule and reign that will in actuality soon take place; so will Satan (by permission from God) bestow whatever power and authority he has to Antichrist Nero and to the False Prophet.
Let’s examine the three religions that Satan and his two cronies will pretentiously recognize and cunningly use in order to achieve their wicked goal … to be like the Most High God. Indeed, to take the place of God.
As thoroughly documented in the Eye of Prophecy series entitled, The Woman and the Beast, Part I – VI (published 10-12-13 thru 11-16-13), I fully subscribe to this correlation of the Woman (the great city) to Rome and, more specifically, to the Vatican. Although this Holy Roman Empire (the Vatican) will initially align with and support the Antichrist Beast, Revelation 17 clearly confirms that the Beast, the False Prophet, and their ten-nation coalition will turn on the woman and utterly destroy her.
Thus, the problem with posturing a one-world religion and that the Roman Catholic Church will be that global religious system is that the Antichrist will destroy the infrastructure of the Catholic Church, including Vatican City and quite likely the Pope and many cardinals, bishops, and priests sometime during the Great Tribulation … most likely at or just after the half-way point. “The scarlet beast and his ten horns all hate the prostitute. They will strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her remains with fire” (Revelation 17:16).
What would be Satan’s reason and, therefore, the purpose of the Antichrist and False Prophet to consolidate a universal (Catholic) religion, only to cut off its head in a few short years? Once again, nowhere in Revelation (or any part of Scripture) do we find evidence of the whole world converting to one specific religious system.
To be sure: at the outset the Pope and the Roman Catholic hierarchy will align with and assist the Antichrist and False Prophet in their (mutual) global scheme; as the Holy See currently (and will do so during the Tribulation) exerts a great deal of religious, cultural, and political clout the world over.
“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).
You probably recognize this famous verse as the sole source for Biblical understanding that the Tribulation period will last seven years. But for purpose of today’s article, we need to focus on the fact that the ruler (Antichrist Nero) will also defer (in the beginning) to the Jews and Judaism by incredibly negotiating a seven-year treaty with them that will include rebuilding the holy Jewish Temple and reinstituting the sacred sacrificial system. Only to turn on the Jews 3 ½ years later by putting an end to this deceptive treaty. There’s absolutely no indication that Nero will attempt to make Judaism the world’s religion. Rather, in principle, he does the same thing here that he will do with the Catholic Church. In this case to solicit Israeli cooperation to establish an unheard of peace agreement between Jews and their Muslim rivals. Absent this (short-lived) treaty there would be no other way for Israel to rebuild its Temple in today’s world without all-out war declared and waged by the Muslims nations against Israel.
Once we look at how the Antichrist also uses the Muslim religion in his evil endeavors, we will see that not just one of the world’s three most prominent religions has been tapped and trapped by the terrible trio of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet, but all three of them. I do not include Christianity (meaning true born-again believers in Christ) in this group as a religion. First, because it is NOT a religion. Second, because born-again believers won’t even be around when these terrible Tribulation events begin to unfold. Thank you, Lord!
Let’s turn again to the book of Daniel to demonstrate that Antichrist will also invoke and use Islam. In the same context and meaning of the word, i.e. being used or taken advantage of in a similar fashion of recognizing the Vatican (Rome) and Jerusalem (Israel) as the ecclesiastical centers of Catholicism and Judaism, respectively. But with the god of Islam, Antichrist will do something different. In contrast to his venomous blaspheming of the God of the Bible, Antichrist will display (feign) esteem for the god of Islam, Allah.
“The king (Antichrist) will do as he pleases, exalting himself and claiming to be greater than every god, even blaspheming the God of gods. He will succeed, but only until the time of wrath is completed … He will have no respect for the gods of his ancestors, or for the god loved by women, or for any other god, for he will boast that he is greater than them all. Instead of these, he will worship the god of fortresses—a god his ancestors never knew…. Claiming this foreign god’s help, he will attack the strongest fortresses…” (Daniel 11:36-39).
In these verses, we will also get an up close and personal view of Antichrist Nero’s real persona, agenda, and motives that includes disdain for religion, for all gods—particularly for the true and living God, himself. However, he will pragmatically (temporarily) enlist the backing of a god that his (Nero’s) Roman ancestors never knew, one that didn’t even exist when Nero was emperor of Rome. As explained in Out of the Abyss, I firmly believe this god is none other than Islam’s god, Allah, that can best be described as a god of fortresses and war … as explicitly depicted in the Koran and as exhibited in Islamic Jihad which is in full stride again in this century (see ISIS and all the other Muslim terrorists groups and terrorist nations like Iran). Although it would be another article for another time, I also believe that the Arab Confederation—comprised of several Arab nations—will be one of the ten kings (kingdoms) that yield their allegiance and power to the beast (Revelation Chapter 17 & Daniel Chapter 7).
Because the first part of this passage obviously indicates that the Antichrist deplores all other gods, and, thereby, loathes religion of any kind, we can easily infer that his “worship” of Allah is a feigned and pretentious means of getting many Muslim nations to buy into his diabolical scheme of being recognized and worshipped himself—as the only real god on earth (and in heaven). Likewise, we again see no evidence at all that he attempts to make this “foreign god” (foreign to him and his Roman ancestors) or the religion of this god supreme over the earth.
No one-world religion here either.
The One Thing That Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet Will Require and Pursue (it isn’t a world government or world religion).
The idea and tactics of Satan’s real underlying agenda throughout the ages will be exponentially foisted on a world in chaos soon after the Rapture. Moreover, he will come perilously close to accomplishing this warped, wicked, and woeful objective.
Before we look at more passages, we need to once again comprehend that there are no Scriptural references that state or imply a one-world religion or government. Part of this understanding is to fully realize that whenever the words, all the people or the whole world or something similar is used, it is not referring to every person or to all peoples of an entire nation on earth. This is fully explained in the prior article, One-World Government. Instead, these phrases refer and are limited to what the Beast or the False Prophet attempt to do. Such as, “He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead” (Revelation 13:16). A requirement doesn’t mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that the requirement was totally achieved.
Instead of a one world government or religion, here is what will actually transpire during the Great Tribulation:
“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon (Satan) for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4).
Also, “And all the people who belong to this world worshipped the beast…” (Verse 8).
And, “He (the False Prophet) was then permitted to give life to this statue (of the beast, who is Nero) so that it could speak. Then the statue if the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die” (Verse 15).
The italicized words in each of these verses tells us all we need to know about Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet, in terms of their supreme objective: That Satan and his man of sin would be worshipped instead of God and his Messiah.
Worship is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as; “to regard with great, even extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.” And Webster stipulates that this worship is normally given to someone or something divine. There’s nothing that the Antichrist will want more or would please him more than to be called, Divine.
What is the one and only one thing revealed in the early part of Revelation Chapter 13 that compellingly convinces many in the world to actually worship Satan and his protégé, the Antichrist beast? The answer is that the world, marveled at this miracle. And what is the miracle that will stun the Post-Rapture world? Answer: the fatal wound was healed. Which later in the chapter is unequivocally clarified as the beast who, came back to life. This is accomplished when Nero returns suddenly from the Abyss after dying in the first century. I have covered this extensively in Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles found in the category of Antichrist.
In the very next chapter, we see an astounding event, three times over, that God supernaturally employs to refute the terrible trio’s claim to fame. The Lord actually sends angels, “…carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to the world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God … give glory to him … Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water’” (Revelation 14:6-7).
Then the third angel shouting a loud warning to the earth’s inhabitants, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand must drink the wine of God’s anger…. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb” (Verses 9-10).
Although Satan has deceived people for eons through religion, false gods (including man, himself), and occultism, his ultimate objective is to replace God as the object of mankind’s allegiance and worship. This is what the epic battle between good and evil is all about. Will people acknowledge their Creator, receive the Creator’s remedy for the fallen human race by believing and receiving God’s precious Son as their Savior; thereby, worshipping the true and living triune God alone? Or will people go their own way; deliberately or ignorantly end up choosing the Dark Side … Satan and the man of lawlessness.
That’s what the Tribulation is all about. All gray areas and fence-riding will be removed during the Tribulation. The overriding purpose of the Great Tribulation is for God to get the attention of every unbeliever on the earth. To make them realize the reason they were created, the very purpose for their existence: to know and be with the true and living God. Which is only possible if they have been redeemed by the once and for all greatest sacrifice of all time … the blood and life of Messiah for our sins and the penalty of those sins—eternal separation from God. After the Lord takes his people (Rapture) to spare them from the most terrible time of human history, he will permit man to bring himself and the earth to the precipice of annihilation.
Sadly, many will still refuse to turn to God.
When they see the unbelievable destruction that man will wreak on the earth during the Tribulation; when they witness the massive devastation inflicted by the judgements of God, there will be absolutely no misunderstanding of what is happening. There will be no hesitation or difficulty in grasping the fact that an eternal choice must be made by every person on earth. They will clearly see the hand of God in the supernaturally caused natural disasters. They will indisputably comprehend that Satan and the Antichrist and the False Prophet are enticing them to make an alternate choice. Choose them and you will be ushered into Utopia, a Pax Romana peace that the Roman Empire never quite achieved. Worship the beast, take his implant in your hand or his mark on your forehead, and you realize all your dreams. Or, so they will say.
Unlike now when you can come up with all kinds of reasons not to make a decision between eternal life and death, you will have no other choice but to choose during the Tribulation. God intended it this way. Because it will be God’s final appointed time for men and women to come to their spiritual senses; to finally fathom that it’s time to come to terms with their God and with their eternal destiny.
It’s not about religion. It’s God versus Satan, Christ versus Antichrist. The False Prophet against God’s two mighty Prophets of Revelation Chapter 11. It is everlasting life in heaven (with the Lord) OR everlasting death in hell (separation from God). Forget about religions; they will be a non-issue during the Tribulation. Don’t bother with a one-world government; that will never happen until Messiah Jesus finally puts an end to the man-made carnage perpetrated on the world by Antichrist and his enemies, the kings of the east. There will no waffling back and forth about what you believe, no study of comparative religions to decide which one might better fit your goals and lifestyle. You either worship Satan and the beast or you worship God and Messiah.
Period. End of story.
Things to Ponder
If someone maintains that unequivocal worship of Satan and Antichrist will be equivalent to a (world) religion, then I wouldn’t take issue with that definition. That’s all the False Prophet requires. There’s no complicated set of religious rules or rituals whatsoever. Bow down before Nero or his statue. Take his mark and all will be well with you … for a very short time.
But remember: God loves you (John 3:16).
Also know that God is, “…not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
Hear the powerful but comforting words of Messiah Jesus, God’s only Son and man’s only Savior:
“…Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17)