“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
This entry opens with the well-known quote from Christ to the “lukewarm” Christian church of Laodicea.[i] Christ warns of a time whereby the professing church will position Him outside its door as an ordinary stranger rather than its extraordinary Savior. This precarious end time’s placement outside church confines causes Christ to long from His exterior location for either a soothing “cold” drink, be it a hot day, and / or a “hot” meal should a cold night be in store—both equally satisfying. Conversely, He receives a lukewarm reception, which neither quenches His thirst nor satiates His appetite. As this final twenty-first century commences, do we see Christianity simmering down to this undesired temperature? Will a “lukewarm” Christian condition push Christ outside its door, making room for a pagan spiritual revival?
Three themes are developed in this opening paragraph that will characterize the content of this chapter. First is the possibility that this is likely the final century on this present earth’s timeline. Second is the genuine concern that Christianity is faltering toward apostasy in these last days. Lastly is the likelihood that a “lukewarm” Christian religion invites the revival of paganism also commonly referred to these days as “neo-paganism.” Loosely defined, paganism the practice of false polytheistic and/or pantheistic religious practices by humanities heathen populations, and neo-paganism is the contemporary practice of paganism, such as Wicca.
Part 1–The Final Century
The Bible, in addition to several other religious books, identifies an expiration date on this present earth’s timeline. Like the Bible, these other books tend to profess that divine judgment is forthcoming and that a new era filled with a brighter future will ensue in the aftermath. Could this be the final century? Are all the prophetic signs falling into place encouraging end-time, apocalyptic thinking?
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, listed in the order of their religious origin, advocate that world judgment is coming on the nearby horizon and that this reckoning will commence and conclude at the end of time. These three predominant world religions believe in the monotheistic worship of a God, which separates them from Hinduism, Buddhism, and other alternative New Age religions that generally encourage the worship of self as a god among other gods.
Christian eschatologists like me are becoming increasingly convinced that humanity has been thrust beyond the point of no return into the last days. The prophetic signs reinforcing our views are abundantly clear. Scholars today are hard pressed to locate even a single prophecy—out of the myriad of Bible prophecies remaining to be fulfilled—that couldn’t occur in the very near future. A few examples are listed below.
A climactic, concluding Arab-Israeli war. Psalm 83 foretells of an Arab confederacy comprised of Palestinians, Syrians, Saudis, Egyptians, Lebanese, Jordanians, and likely their terrorist bedfellows, the Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and more. In my book, Isralestine the Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East,[ii] I write extensively about this prophecy and its nearby fulfillment. This prophecy could easily be fulfilled in the next one to two decades.
An invasion of Israel. Ezekiel 38 and 39 tell of the last-days Russian-Iranian-led nuclear equipped consortium of nine populations that comes to invade the Jewish State of Israel. Today, Russia and Iran have become the best of national friends. Russia has helped Iran develop nuclear technologies and Iran has expressed a desire to “wipe Israel off the map”![iii] This prophecy will likely occur in the aftermath of the Psalm 83 event, according to my assessments, and it could also easily occur in the early decades of this twenty-first century.
The mark of the Beast. Revelation 13 issues the infamous “666” prophecy, often referred to as the “mark of the Beast” (Antichrist). This prophecy declares that no one will be able to buy or sell unless he or she receives a mark upon the right hand or forehead. Many eschatologists believe that the apostle John, approximately 2,000 years ago, attempted to describe a type of advanced computer technology that exists today. This prophecy, which seems to predict humanity’s ability to conduct cashless commerce, was impossible at the time it was written, but is a definite possibility today. A one-world order coupled with a one-world banking system could evolve out of the current world economic crisis and such a system could effortlessly segue into the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Two witnesses. Revelation 11 informs us that a day will come when two evangelical witnesses will be killed by the Antichrist in Jerusalem for their Christian testimony. We are told that they will lie dead in the streets on full visual display for a period of three-and-a-half days. The prophecy declares that the entire world will see their dead bodies lay waste in the street. In the nineteenth century, atheists would argue that this prophecy could never happen and that, therefore, the Bible must be errant. However, in this century—with satellite television technologies—the whole world will be able to witness this prophetic spectacle. To international astonishment, these two witnesses will rise from the dead and ascend into heaven outside the range of television viewing.
These prophetic examples are just a few among a litany of others that suggest biblically that these are the last days, and that this is likely the final century. Extra-biblical sources suggest similar apocalyptic scenarios are about to occur, such as the growing number of those who believe the end of the world will occur in the year 2012 with the conclusion of the Mayan calendar. Additionally, many Muslims, like Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are predicting the nearby coming of the Mahdi, the Islamic Messiah who is foretold to arrive at the end of time.
Furthermore, as the world entered its first threshold decade of this century, it was greeted by turbulent events sequenced in fairly rapid succession, evidencing the disturbing possibility that this is the concluding century. Listed below are a few examples:
- The Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that toppled the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
- The Asian tsunami of December 26, 2004, which was generated by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake in the Indian Ocean killing an estimated 225,000 people in eleven countries. This was the deadliest natural disaster in recorded history.
- Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which ranks as the costliest hurricane in American history.
- The financial crisis of 2007-2009 that caused the collapse of numerous major banking and financial institutions worldwide.
Stockpile upon the list above the American invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001; Operation Iraqi Freedom, which commenced in March of 2003; the sub-prime lending crisis of 2005; the thirty-four-day conflict in July 2006 between Israel and the Hezbollah; the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008; the twenty-two-day “Operation Cast Lead” campaign of the Israeli Defense Forces into Gaza in December 2008; and the burgeoning worldwide UFO phenomena, and we have further cause to consider this century being the time of the end.
Interestingly, Jesus Christ predicted approximately two thousand years ago in Matthew 24:7-8 that world wars would come and be followed by cataclysmic events like regional wars, pandemic pestilences, earthquakes, and famines in various places. He called it a time of travail, and likened it to a woman having birth pangs. His birthing illustration envisions catastrophic events occurring with greater frequency and intensity as the end of time nears, similar to the way a woman’s contractions increase as her child begins departure from the womb.
Eschatologists tend to agree that “nation” already rose “against nation” in World Wars 1 and 2, fulfilling the first part of this prophecy. It is also commonly understood that “kingdom” coming “against kingdom” refers to regionalized conflicts[iv] and those also have been and are still occurring in the aftermath of the world wars. Lastly, significant earthquakes spontaneously shaking assorted world locations have become an increasingly regular phenomenon. Jesus implies that these events would characterize creation in convulsion as it nears the time of the end.
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Part 2–Christian Survival
If this is the final century, then what role will Christianity play within it? Will it survive and thrive in these final few decades, serving as a vibrant venue by which humanity can come to Christ, or is it destined for a less fertile future? According to prophecy, there appears to be both a yes and no answer. Yes, it survives and thrives through a sincere, Bible-believing base that will be “hot” on fire for the Lord. Purportedly, this Christian contingency continues to preach the Good News fervently from Jerusalem unto the uttermost parts of the world! However, against the backdrop of this evangelistic component emerges an increasingly lackadaisical, “lukewarm” element that spirals deeply downward into apostasy.[v]
These two groups seem to coexist up until the point of the Rapture, after which only the latter group remains. For the purposes of this chapter, these two groups will be called Philadelphia and Laodicea in association with two of the seven churches described in the book of Revelation. Philadelphia, which means “brotherly love,” represents—again, for the purposes of this chapter—true, born-again Christian believers who overcome the last-days tendency toward lukewarm-ness that will characterize the Laodicean faction of the Christian church.
For readers not familiar with the powerful Rapture event, it is described in the passages that follow, which tell of a time when Jesus Christ returns in a nanosecond to retrieve His true, born-again believers miraculously in the air, and to receive them into the heavenly abode:
Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).
There are conflicting opinions as to the timing of this event. Some suggest this event is imminent, which means it will occur at any moment and likely before the Tribulation period; others teach that it will occur either at the end or mid-point of the Tribulation period.[vi]
Regardless of the reader’s perspective, the event will likely occur in this final century, and in the aftermath the “lukewarm” Laodicean apostates will likely be those left behind. Furthermore, the occurrence of this event should severely impact the way the world thinks and operates in the minimal time remaining in this final century.
One of the several ways scholars confidently predict the condition of the Christian church in its final stage of development is through the prophetic interpretation of the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Many eschatologists teach that these letters were partially intended to chronologically order the seven stages of church development throughout its earthly existence.[vii] In essence, these letters include an intrinsic prophetic value intended to offer more than just contemporary instruction to the specific seven churches existing at the time of issuance. Fortunately, today’s experts have the opportune advantage of looking back upon church history, which enables them to accurately make this association.
Below is an outline of the chronological development of the Christian church in accordance with the blueprints of the seven letters in Revelation.[viii] This outline reveals that we are living in the final days of church development, the “days of Laodicea.”
Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) (AD 30-100)
The first stage of Christianity was primarily an apostolic period. Christians operated in compliance with Matthew 28:18-20. It was a time of reconciliation whereby the disciples successfully preached the Good News gospel of Jesus Christ outwardly from Jerusalem into the surrounding Gentile populations of the world. This was Christianity in its infancy, and as a religion, it was rapidly spreading throughout the broader Middle East region and into the greater Roman Empire.
Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) (AD 100-313)
This segment of church history was characterized by a period of persecution. Rome was conducting wide-scale Christian executions in an attempt to prevent the growth and spread of the religion. Martyrdom was the unfortunate predicament forced upon the church by the Roman Empire during the Smyrna era. However, to Rome’s chagrin, the persecutions actually bolstered the growth of Christianity. Christians dying for their faith caught the attention of multitudes that in turn fixated their focus upon Christ as their Savior.
Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17) (AD 313-600)
The period of Pergamos, meaning “mixed marriage” in Greek, is associated with the paganization of the church. As the Roman Empire began its decline, it embraced Christianity as its state religion. This served two primary purposes. First, it began to fill deepening political rifts developing in the deteriorating Roman government; and secondly, it facilitated the survival of faltering pagan religious practices by cleverly integrating and incubating them into Christianity. Also, the martyrdom period of Smyrna that experienced Christianity flourishing became problematic for Rome. Each martyr’s death brought new and renewed strength among fellow Christians. Thus Rome adopted the attitude, “If you can’t beat them [kill all the Christians], join them.” Throughout time, this Roman attitude eventually led many Christians to reciprocate and romanticize Romanism, and to believe that “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”[ix]
During the Pergamos period, Christianity essentially was asked to compromise itself—and in so doing, create an end to the persecutions occurring during the Smyrna stage. By marrying up with Roman paganism, Christianity was insured its survival. Shortly thereafter, ancient Roman religious practices began to permeate and adulterate the church. Christian traditions such as Christmas trees and Yule logs can likely be traced to this Pergamos period of church history.
Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) (AD 600-Tribulation)
This church is commonly thought to represent the Roman Catholic Church, which evolved out of the Pergamos period. Thyatira tends to be a works-based rather than a faith-based church. In so doing, it emphasizes the religious rather than relational importance between God and humanity. Revelation 2:22 declares that an apostate element within Thyatira will exist in the end times and be cast into the “sickbed” of the Great Tribulation period.
Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) (AD 1517-Tribulation)
This period is best described as the Protestant Reformation; however, it lacked true transformation. Salvation through faith rather than works was reintroduced within Christianity; however, the Reformation continued to be more about religion than about a personal relationship with God.
Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) (AD 1648-Rapture)
Powerful, worldwide missionary movements beginning in the mid 1600s characterize the period of Philadelphia. In accordance with Matthew 28:18-20, this church answered the call to the “Ministry of Reconciliation.” The Philadelphian period concludes with the Rapture. (More will be said about this church later in this chapter.)
Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) (AD 1900-Tribulation)
This church began in the twentieth century and will continue on into the seven-year Tribulation period. This last-days church is guilty of preaching a social rather than a scriptural gospel. (More on this church later in this chapter.)
Many eschatologists believe that the world hourglass has made its final turn, and that the church alas has entered into the “days of Laodicea.” However, they also believe that up until the Rapture, the Philadelphian component still will preside in the Christian equation. As such, it is important to interpret through the prophetic lens the key passages contained in the pertinent sixth and seventh letters to the seven churches that validate this scholarly viewpoint.
Philadelphia–The Sixth Letter
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth. I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 3:7-13, emphasis added).
Definite contrasts are observable between the sixth and seventh letters. This letter to the church of Philadelphia evidences that it is a beloved contingent within Christianity that has an open missionary door to the international community. Furthermore, it is a believing population that will escape “the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world.” It is commonly taught that this “hour of temptation” refers to the final, seven-year Tribulation period that concludes this present earth’s timeline. Thus, this group will be removed sometime prior to the Tribulation period. Its departure will likely be the result of the Rapture event previously referenced.
As listed prior in the chronological outline of church history, this group still effectively espouses the gospel today throughout the nations of the world. Whereas the church of Philadelphia is loved and will escape the hour of trial, the church of Laodicea does not seem to share the similar blessings or the same fate. The seventh church letter below to Laodicea reveals a church component in need of repentance that disconnects from Christ, causing him to vomit it out of His mouth.
Laodicea—The Seventh Letter
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 3:14-22, emphasis added).
As we can decipher from these telling passages, this last-days church component is deceived into thinking it is something that it is not. Laodicea believes that it is a prosperous church having need of nothing; conversely, Christ considers it “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Furthermore, Christ encourages this church to abandon its prevailing problematic practices and purchase gold from Him that is refined through the fire. By the reference to gold refined through fire, Christ says that Laodicea is an impure and undisciplined church in severe need of repentance—a point further emphasized in the statement “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.”
This last-days group appears to dethrone Christ as Savior, minimize the value of the inerrant word of God, and enthrone itself instead. This makes the resurrected Jesus Christ ill, provoking Him to step outside of its confines in order to “spue” or “vomit” this element of the church out of His mouth, after which He makes His way back to knock upon its door for one last salvation altar call to humanity. Christ located outside of the church is a severe positional change, as noted in Revelation 1:12-20, which describes the Savior as clearly located in the midst of the Christian church at its point of inception.
This illness illustration infers that, unlike the church of Philadelphia, the preponderance of the church of Laodicea will not escape the Tribulation period. Thus, this represents a relatively large contingent within end-times Christianity that is not truly born again, which according to John 3:3-7 is a prerequisite condition of true belief and eternal salvation. This last-days church seemingly reshapes traditional Christendom into some new form of Christi-vanity that dethrones Christ, annuls the word of God, and essentially eradicates the Christian requirement of being born again. In so doing, it subjects itself to the daily dangerous ebbs and flows of emotional spiritualism.
By way of sound reminder, the prescription for eternal salvation is contained in the following passages and elsewhere in the Bible:
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:8-13, emphasis added).
Mega “emergent church” congregations portray further evidence that we have entered into the final period of Laodicea. Many of today’s prominent preachers refuse to deliver sermons purposed to take sinners to the foot of the cross where Jesus died for their sins. Furthermore, God’s greatest twentieth-century miracle, the reinstatement of the Jewish State of Israel, hardly gets an honorable mention from church pulpits any more.
In these turbulent, terror-filled times, the world ponders legitimate evangelical and eschatological questions about the significance of the sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection of Christ and the biblical relevance of modern-day Israel. Unfortunately, the Laodicean church component provides warm and fuzzy, feel-good-about-you teachings that fail to adequately address either of these sincere secular concerns. Instead, the Laodicean component favors a social gospel and agenda in an attempt to win humanity over. This is becoming epidemic and reveals that Christianity today often feels the need to take pew-filling matters into its own carnal hands rather than modeling the Acts 2:46-47 church-building format.
Christianity is rapidly succumbing to the belief that it best grows through self-subscribed means whereby carnal methods of sustaining its congregational health and wealth are acceptable. It has indoctrinated the view that its survival is proportionate to its ability to successfully serve humanity’s emotional rather than scriptural needs. This turnabout of church thinking segues well into Part 3 of this chapter, which is paganism, Christianity’s recently revived competitor.
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5, emphasis added).
When we discuss paganism, a safe starting location is in the Garden of Eden about six thousand years ago. In the above Genesis 3 account, we find that Satan encourages humanity to achieve its own godhead condition. He tells Eve that she can be like God. Furthermore, he accuses God of being a liar: God had told Eve that should she be disobedient, she would die; but Satan declared she “surely” would not “die.” This episode lays the foundational groundwork for recognizing a fundamental difference between the monotheistic worship of God the claimant creator of the universe and the polytheistic worship of self as a god among a host of other gods.
Ultimately, God was right and Adam and Eve both died, and so has all of humanity since (barring the biblical exceptions of Enoch and Elijah, who were translated from earth into heaven without experiencing death). Therefore, Satan turns out to be the liar, which Christ poignantly clarifies in John 8:42-44.
In keeping with his lying persona, Satan had to continue along the same deceitful path and create concepts like karma, reincarnation, and Christ consciousness in order to cover up his original lie in the Garden of Eden. Certainly humans die, but cleverly this most cunning serpent Satan had a logical explanation for the death phenomena. Eastern religions like Hinduism echo another ancient spiritual lie: that people reincarnate rather than cease to exist upon dying.
The cover-up lie probably sounded something like this: “You will not surely die, you shall reincarnate and come back again in another life.” The truth according to Hebrews 9:27 is that man is appointed to die only once, not multiple times, as the theory of reincarnation espouses. Furthermore, the Hebrews passage declares that upon death, man subsequently experiences judgment. To counteract this truth, the devil injected the “karmic clause” into his reincarnation fantasy.
As the web of lies became more deceptively complex, one lie building upon another, the ensuing cover-up likely went something like this: “You will not surely die and subsequently face God in final judgment; you will temporarily cross over and be evaluated by your good or bad previous life’s deeds, at which point you will return to live and do better the next time.” This is how karmic law correlates with reincarnation according to Hinduism and several other offshoot New Age religions.
The goal of these polytheistic pagan religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, or their New Age counterparts is obtaining a utopian state of consciousness through a multitude of good works compiled through a series of reincarnated lives. Buddhism’s nirvana, Hinduism’s bliss, or the New Ager’s Christ consciousness is the end game of these spiritual sojourners. The prevalent teaching inherent in these assorted religions is the age-old garden lie that “you will be like God.”
According to most of these religions, Jesus Christ obtained this utopian state of consciousness, and therefore so can you. This theology that nirvana, bliss, or Christ consciousness, which has become the modernized term for the godhead condition, is available to anyone and everyone plays well into Satan’s end game. We are told in Isaiah 14:13-14 that Satan himself seeks to someday exalt his throne above all the stars (angels in biblical typology) of God and be like the most high, alluding to God. Furthermore, we are informed in Daniel 11:36 that Satan’s seed, the Antichrist, will ultimately attempt to magnify himself above every god.
It is obvious that Satan is the primary source of inspiration for paganism and that the old “you will be like God” garden lie is resurfacing again in a New Age format. A quick query on the Internet searching for “New Age religions” coupled with “Christ consciousness” yields pages of evidence that the predominant New Age belief is that humanity can strive to obtain the utopian mental state of godhead.
Humanity’s quest for spiritual satisfaction is summed up by Jesus’ statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
The monotheistic religion of Christianity clearly teaches that there is a distinct difference between sinful humanity and its righteous Creator. According to the Bible, Adam and Eve and their offspring of humanity were created to worship God, not to become God. Jesus Christ declares that only through His personage, not His consciousness, can one even come to the heavenly Father, let alone worship Him. Thus there are foundational differences between Christianity and paganism.
Part and parcel of the revival of paganism are the concerns that numerous end-times Bible prophecies allude to a strong, deluding deception that overtakes humanity, causing it to believe in what Scripture calls “the lie.”[x] According to 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11, powerful signs and lying wonders serve to convince mankind to believe in this deceptive lie. Since Satan is a liar, these lying wonders should have his fingerprints all over them. Some writers and researchers, including Tom Horn, I.D.E. Thomas, Patrick Heron, L.A. Marzulli, Terry James, David Flynn, and a host of others have connected the UFO phenomena to this coming great deception.
The coming Rapture and the harlot prophecy of Revelation 17 further complicate all of the above. The Rapture will be a powerful, world-changing event removing millions of born-again evangelical Christians from the earth. In the aftermath, the world will demand prompt and logical answers about what will have happened. This should open the door for the pagan perspective to be powerfully delivered. Many New Age channelers are already suggesting that the earth is about to be purged of the Christians by the gods and/or the aliens.
A common teaching about the harlot of Revelation 17 says the harlot represents a one-world religious system that emerges onto the international scene overlapping into the lifetime of the Antichrist. This system either ecumenically embraces and/or simply converts all religions into one universalistic format. With all true born-again Christians likely being previously raptured, this suggests that a pagan free-for-all will manifest about the time the world is deluded into believing “the lie” previously discussed.
This century appears to be the final one, and it will be filled with powerful, prophetic, world-changing events. The Rapture will likely occur, removing millions of Christians—and in the aftermath, a pagan revival could easily overtake humanity. Remaining world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, New Ageism, and “lukewarm” Christianity will be invited to ecumenically embrace a similar spiritual vision. About that time, the dreaded Antichrist will emerge upon the world scene.
Signs and lying wonders will accompany his beastly rise to power; ultimately, mankind will be overtaken by some great deceptive “lie.” Powerful Middle East wars will be occurring prior to this or simultaneously, and humanity will be swept into the eye of the last-days storm.
Currently, the world appears to be going through a preparatory period for the above events. Christians should be watchful of the prophetic signs, and utilize them to witness to a world that is about to be overwhelmed by pagan deception. God issued prophecy for this important purpose. By accurately foretelling the future, God has authenticated His sovereignty and equipped humanity with invaluable information. Twenty-first century Christians should be on the alert for the return of Christ in the Rapture, the rise of paganism on the horizon, and every opportunity to preach the Good News gospel to anyone who will listen in these days.
Time is of the essence and is running out. These are the last days, and the harvest field is increasingly bountiful. Christians can be certain that souls are searching for spiritual answers in these troubling times, and that Satan is lifting up pagan systems with deceitful theologies to satiate their growing appetites.
Mankind tends to prefer the possibility that its individuals can obtain godhead over the reality that it is a collection of sinners in need of a Savior. Thus, Christianity has to know thoroughly, and deliver powerfully, the Good News of Christ. These are the days of Laodicea, and the tendency to simmer the gospel message down to a lukewarm temperature must be resisted. The world is filled with itching ears seeking pleasing, socially spun, spiritual answers; however, Christians must rise to the occasion and take sinners back to the cross of crucifixion where they can repent and receive forgiveness through the shed blood of Christ.
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[i] Revelation 3:14-22. Some commentators, as do I, teach that this seventh and last letter to the seven churches has multiple meanings. One of these meanings is a warning that the Christian church will fall apostate, “lukewarm” in its final stage of organizational development.
[ii] Iralestine was released in 2008 by Highway, a division of Anomalos Publishing, and is available at author’s website: http://www.prophecydepot.com.
[iii] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on October 26, 2005, at the World Without Zionism conference that Israel must be “wiped off the map.”
[iv] The understanding of “kingdom against kingdom” as referring to regional conflicts rather than world wars is established in Isaiah 19:2 and elsewhere.
[v] Revelation 3:15-16 describes the church of Laodicea in a “lukewarm” condition.
[vi] Daniel 9:24-27 predicted a period of seventy weeks of years, with the seventieth week being a time when Antichrist reigns. Other passages identify this as a period of tribulation—i.e., Matthew 24: 9,15,21 and Revelation 2:22, 7:14. Thus, many eschatologists call this the “Tribulation period” and furthermore suggest that many of the judgments described in the book of Revelation occur in this final, seven-year period.
[vii] For further study into the prophetic interpretation of the seven letters to the seven churches of the book of Revelation, refer to the Revelation commentaries of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel Ministries (http://www.ariel.org) or Chuck Missler of Koinonia House Ministries (http://www.khouse.org.).
[viii] The date associations for the purposes of this chapter were quoted from http://www.midnightcry.net/PDF/Seven%20Letters%20to%20Seven%20Churches.pdf on 2/28/09.
[ix] These are not necessarily clichés of that period, but serve this author’s purpose to convey his ideas and understanding of the Pergamos period.
[x] 2 Thessalonians 2:8-13
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