The Final War Over Worship

The Final War Over Worship

Date: 03/26/2016 
Does prophecy say anything about Christianity and the United States of America?
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(Jean Ross) Good evening, friends. Welcome again to this series called, "The Last Day of Prophecy." Very warm welcome to those of you here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thank you for joining us for this final presentation in some very important prophetic themes that we've been looking at over the past six, and this is our final, our seventh, program. I'd also like to welcome our friends joining us across the country and around the world. You're all part of this international Bible study where we're looking at some very important prophetic themes. Tonight, the sermon is entitled, "The Final War Over Worship." So we're going to be getting into some prophecies in the Book of Revelation and kind of explaining how that fits in our world and things that are happening even in the news that we hear about from time to time. We have a theme song that we have been singing throughout the series. Do you know the words by now? You should, at least the tune, I'm sure. It's called, "Jesus Will Come on Time," and Charles Haugabrooks is going to lead us for our final singing of the song. Let's stand as we sing together.

(Charles Haugabrooks) All right, folks, we have showers outside but they can't match the showers of blessing inside, making us ready for Jesus to come on time, right? Sing!

♪ ♪ Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, He will come on time!

♪ ♪ Doubters may talk and scoffers mock

♪ ♪ Babbling without rhyme or reason

♪ ♪ His promises are true and He will remember you

♪ ♪ Oh, the clock of prophecy will chime

♪ ♪ Up Jacob's ladder we will climb

♪ ♪ In brilliant glory so sublime

♪ ♪ Our God will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, Jesus will come on time!

Beautiful. Now.

♪ ♪ Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, He will come on time!

♪ ♪ Now, He's never wrong and it won't be long

♪ ♪ 'Til we ascend in joy and glory

♪ ♪ So be sober, watch, and pray

♪ ♪ He may be on His way

♪ ♪ Oh, the clock of prophecy will chime

♪ ♪ Up Jacob's ladder we will climb

♪ ♪ In brilliant glory so sublime

♪ ♪ Our God will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, Jesus will come on time!

♪ ♪ Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ Jesus will come on time!

Very nice.

(Jean Ross) Amen. Thank you, Charles. Our opening prayer this evening will be brought to us by Haskell Williams from the Carolina Conference.

(Haskell Williams) Let's bow our heads. Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that You have given to us Your Word, Your sure Word, that contains for us directions as we live in earth's final hours. We ask that You bless us as we gather here to learn more of Your Word and that You bless Pastor Doug Batchelor as he shares it with us. May Your Holy Spirit attend us, in Jesus' name, amen.

Amen. Thank you. I'd like to-- Please be seated. I'd like to invite Pastor Doug Batchelor come join me here. And we want to greet those who have sent in some pictures from different places across the country. Good evening, Pastor Doug.

Evening, Pastor Ross.

All right.

How are you doing?

We've got somebody who sent in a picture from, it looks like, where is that? Inverness, Florida. I'm not quite sure where that is. You might know where that is in Florida.

We're just so glad that they're joining us. Why don't you wave to them right now? Tell 'em hello, okay. They're going to wave back at you because they're in Florida. They're watching live. And then we've got Wilmington, North Carolina. Is that North America? Just checking. And we've got a third one here.

Dayton, Tennessee, that's right. There's a nice group meeting so, with that, we have many people that are watching and participating in the program. Now, at this point, we usually say, "Send in your picture." But you don't have to worry about sending in your picture because this is the final night in this program.

Well, they can still post them to us online. We'd just like to see for a little photo album. You can go to The Last Day of Prophecy site and upload a picture of your group and share it with others.

Now, if you'd like to help offset some of the expenses-- as you can imagine, putting a series on like this takes a lot of work, both from the 3ABN crew and the Amazing Facts crew. If you'd like to help with a gift towards either of the ministries, contact information is on the screen. It's 3abn.tv or amazingfacts.org.

Amen, and we do appreciate your help so we can do more seminars like this in the future. Thank you, Pastor Ross, and thank you, friends, for coming. Want to welcome those who are here in Charlotte. We've just had a delightful time with the Amazing Facts and 3ABN crew and our family, meeting so many neat people. I want to welcome those who are watching. It's exciting to hear about people who are literally all over the planet that are tuning in to this program.

Now, tonight we have a serious subject. It's titled, "A War Over Worship." I think that we would all agree that there's something that resembles a war happening in different parts of the world right now. And we're calling it a war against terrorism. I think even Pope Francis was quoted this last year as saying, "It looks like World War III is going to happen in piecemeal all over the planet." And even this week, another terrorist incident. Just a few facts you might be interested in. Largest religion in the world, when you combine Protestants and Catholics, is Christianity. Approximately 2.17 billion Christians in the world, out of pushing 8 billion people. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. Virtually every other major religion is either flat as far as growth or declining. Buddhism is declining. Hinduism is showing flat growth. Judaism, a number of other religions, the two religions that are still showing growth: Christianity and Islam. Islam is growing faster.

Historians that look at what's happening today realize this is not a political problem, it's a religious problem. And some have wondered, does prophecy say anything about Islam? Does prophecy say anything about Christianity and America? And this lesson is going to be talking about that and the answer is "Yes." So let's get right into some of these prophecies here in Revelation. And first one is Revelation chapter 13, verse 15. There's a verse there I want you to notice. Speaking of the beast's power that you find in Revelation 13, it says, "He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast would be killed."

Now just from that verse right there you can tell that there is going to be some conflict connected with religion. It's a war connected with worship. Goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden with Cain and Abel and you've seen it play out several times in history. Let's go into the first question and it's going to set us up for, I think, what you'll find to be a very interesting study. "How long," does it say there in Revelation chapter 13, "would this beast power rule before it receives a deadly wound?" Before it's wounded. If you look in Revelation 13, verse 5, it says, "He's given authority to continue for 42 months." Now, that number, keep in mind in the Jewish calendar, they had a lunar calendar. It wasn't the Roman calendar. They figured 30 days to the month, 360 days to the year, and then they compensate by adding another month every few years so that it would even out with the seasons. That number, 42 months, comes to 3-1/2 years or 1260 days, which, by the way, is exactly half of 7. Three and a half years is half of seven years.

We've talked about in our first presentation how many times the number seven enters in. And the number seven is God's number. Three and a half would be cutting it in half. You realize there was 7 years, Daniel chapter 9 talks about 7 years that Christ would speak to his people, 3-1/2 years in person. He's cut off in the midst of the last week, causing the sacrifice to cease, then 3-1/2 years through those that heard him, the apostles. And then the Supreme Court of the Jewish nation plugged their ears and stoned Stephen. You've got 3-1/2 years of famine during the time of Elijah. Now, don't miss this story. If you know your Bibles, a lot of the 2 Book of Kings, 1 Kings, deals with Elijah. A king named Ahab was ruling. He married a pagan queen named Jezebel and the combination of Ahab and Jezebel persecuted the prophets of God. For 3-1/2 years there was a famine. Elijah fled into the wilderness. God miraculously fed him. When you get to Revelation, it talks about the woman, chapter 12, fleeing into the wilderness where she is miraculously fed by God.

You know, there's another three and a half that you find in the Book of Esther. The Bible says in the 3rd year of the reign of Ahasuerus, he has a feast that lasts 180 days. What's half of 360? One eighty. Three and a half years and then there's a change in queens. You go from a pagan queen to a Jewish queen. You'll find that number several times. The ministry of Jesus, 3-1/2 years. And it's often associated with persecution. Three and a half years, Jesus is crucified. Three and a half years after that, Stephen is stoned, the first martyr. And so when it talks about 3-1/2 years there in Revelation, it is a time of darkness and persecution.

All right, question two, "When did the time period for the beast's rule begin?" And you find the answer for that in history because you can look at history and it's after Bible times were written. "The legalized--the legally recognized supremacy of the Pope "began in 538 AD when there went into effect a decree of Emperor Justinian, making the Bishop of Rome," better known as the Pope, "head over the churches and the definer of doctrines and the corrector of heretics." And you can also read there, "Vigilius ascended the papal chair, 538 AD, under the military protection of Belisarius." Now, what was going on is Justinian, the Roman Emperor, he moved the capital of Rome to Constantinople. He made the Pope in Rome the leader of the church and he gave him a military and called him the corrector of heretics so that he could now use civil power to enforce the religion.

Did Jesus ever say that, you know, you're supposed to use civil power to make people believe? That's a very important point. I'll say more about that a little later. This was a turning point. That happened in 538 where the Christianity suddenly became a power that began to persecute where it used to be a power motivated by love. Jesus said, "Follow Me," someone didn't want to follow Him, they turned, and they walked away. And so I think that you all understand that was a change. God--Jesus doesn't want us to use force to make people obey. You can also read here in Abbot's "Roman History," "The transfer of the emperor's residence to Constantinople "was a sad blow to the prestige of Rome, "and at the same time one might have predicted her speedy decline," the decline of the city of Rome.

But what happened is "the development of the church, "and the growing authority of the Bishop of Rome, "or the Pope, gave her a new lease on life. It made her again the capital," this time not the political or the military capital, but the religious capital, "of the world." There was a transference that took place during that time. Reading on a little more, "To the succession of the Caesars "came the succession of the Pontiffs in Rome. "When Constantine left Rome, he gave his seat to the Pontiff."

Now, that's interesting quote from history because you can actually read in the Bible in Revelation 13, it says that "the beast power receives its seat from the dragon." The Roman power ruled by the Caesars left town and said, "We're gonna vacate our throne here "but you can have our throne. We're moving to another town." And instead of Rome being the power that ruled the world with civil power, military power, now it was ruling through religious power. You've all heard about the holy Roman Empire.

Any of you ever play chess? You know, right next to the king and queen, on the outside, is what piece? The bishops. That was developed during a time in history where all the monarchs throughout the divided Roman Empire had church representatives as advisors because the church was considered a great military power-- or a great civil power as well as a religious influence. It says, "The beast receives its power, seat, and authority from Rome." And that's what happened. Instead of Rome being ruled by the Caesars, now it's ruled by religious power.

So how long does a day represent in biblical time? When you're calculating biblical prophecies, does it mean a day is a day? So when it talks about this 3-1/2 years, 42 months, 1260 days, you realize that is a time prophecy given more different ways. You not only find it in Daniel chapter 13, Daniel chapter--I'm sorry, Revelation 13, Revelation 12, Daniel chapter 7. This is a time period found several times in the Bible. So what does a day equal in prophecy? There are several verses share with that. If you look, for instance, in the book of Numbers chapter 14, verse 34, you can read there, "According to the number of the days "in which you spied out the land, 40 days, for each day, you shall bear your guilt 1 year, namely 40 years."

Perhaps you'll remember, when the spies first went, 12 spies, to look at the Promised Land, they came back and they gave a discouraging report. God said, "Well, because you did not have faith, for every day you spied the land, you're going to wander in the wilderness a year. A day for a year." And then you can also hear that in Ezekiel 4:6, that "I have appointed you-- or I have laid upon you a day for each year." Jesus used this principle. Luke chapter 13. Someone came to Jesus and they said, you know, Herod is going to arrest you, just like he killed John the Baptist. Jesus said, "Go tell that fox that I teach and do cures "and cast out devils today and tomorrow and the 3rd day I will be perfected." Well, this is early in Jesus' ministry. He did not teach 3 more days, he taught 3 more years. That was a prophecy Christ made and it was exactly fulfilled that way, 3 more years. Jesus used a day for a year.

So with that principle in mind, how long is 1260 days in biblical prophecy? One thousand two hundred and sixty years. We gave you the starting point for when the beast really turned into a beast and began to persecute and use civil and military power, 538 AD. It's a very easily well-established date in history. If you go 1260 years, you come to where? 1798. Wonder what's going on then? What happens to the beast after 42 months? You can read in Revelation 13, it says, "I saw one of his heads as it was wounded to death; "and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." It at least receives a deadly wound. Its power is interrupted. Instead of it having such a great control and influence and being an--it wasn't just a religious power, it was a civil power, over all of Europe and even parts beyond. It started to reach into South America at that point too and Central America. It would be wounded. It would lose some of that power.

What does history tell us happened? In 1790, have anyone ever heard of Napoleon Bonaparte? He was sweeping across Europe. It was not a religious movement. It was a very secular movement. "He sent his general, Berthier, into Rome and, "through his entrance in Rome, "he abolished the papal government and established a secular one." They received a deadly wound. The Bible says in Revelation 13:10, "He that leads into captivity will go into captivity: and he that kills with the sword will be killed with the sword." And the tables were sort of turned. Instead of the Inquisition and them having so much power to torture and force people to convert and there's a persecution against the Protestants, the Pope was carried off into Valence, France, to a fortressed city and he died in prison there. And for over 130 years, they lost their civil power.

But it said it would be temporary. Said the deadly wound would be healed and all the world would wonder. You look in history and in 1929 there was a fellow named Benito Mussolini. Anyone remember? You know, I'm getting old. Some of you remember World War II. Not too many left anymore. Mussolini, he made a deal with the Pope. He said, "Look, I need you to endorse me politically. If you agree to endorse me politically so that my station will grow, we will again give you your independence as a country for the Vatican. We will make you once again a civil power as well as religious so that you can send your ambassadors around the world." And so they signed the Lateran Pact. And they again began to exercise their power and it says--well, I forgot to read what was on the screen. "The Roman question tonight was a thing of the past and the Vatican was at peace with Italy," it says, "in affixing autographs to the memorable document healing the wound." Even using the very same wording.

And as you look at what's going on in the world today, would you say that they've returned to not just European but international prominence as a power? Just this week, I saw in the paper that they did a poll and they came to the conclusion that the Pope is the most popular world figure by now. He's got the highest rating. If he ran for President of the US, he'd probably get elected, even though he wasn't born here. "The Papacy has gained worldwide influence, prestige, and prominence." There's some very interesting things have happened in the religious arena and even within the Catholic church in the last couple of years.

You know, I thought it was amazing that the very same day that Pope Benedict announced that he was resigning, lightning struck the Vatican and a photographer got the picture. This is actually a photograph. I don't know if there's any significance to that. But I thought it was coincidental, if nothing else. First time in 500 years that a living somewhat healthy pope who still had his wits about him retired. And it almost looked like something had been orchestrated. There was something else going on behind the scene. Of course, the Vatican had lost a lot of influence. It was rocked by several scandals. There was an unsolved mystery, a murder in the Vatican, financial questions, and so for the first time then, they also chose a pope from a different part of the planet. Used to be they were always Italian. John Paul II was the first Polish pope. And now they got one from the Americas, who spoke Spanish as well as Latin and Italian.

First Jesuit pope. And do you understand why the Jesuits were formed? Founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534, their supreme purpose was in the organization of the Jesuits-- and I realize there's a lot of good things that are happening with education among the Jesuits and, you know, a lot of that has maybe simmered down as far as the public is concerned, but the reason they were formed is because they were to fight against the Protestant Reformation. That was the purpose that they were organized. They were especially established in 1540 with a purpose to overthrow the faith of the Protestants. And it was basically a secret army. I don't know if you're aware that when the United States was formed, people were terrified of anybody from the Catholic church coming. They were--Catholics were actually persecuted in North America because the Protestants that fled here for religious freedom were afraid that they were going to bring the persecution of Europe to our country. But of course, none of you are old enough to remember that but if you know your history, you'll remember that.

So question five, "Is the beast a government or a religious power?" Well, this one ends up being both. First of all, you know that it's using force so it must have some civil power but it's definitely involved in worship for it says, "He causes as many as would not," not what? "Not worship--" Is that civil or religious? "The image of the beast would be killed." Now, these words that we're looking at right now come almost directly out of the story in Daniel chapter 3 where King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon tells everybody they need to either fall down and worship the golden image that he set up or be killed. They're going to go to the fiery furnace. And of course, there are three brave Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and they say, "Even if we lose our jobs, even if we lose our lives, "we are not going to break that commandment that says, "'You shall not make unto you any graven image of anything, "'the likeness in the heaven above or the earth beneath or the water under the earth and bow down and serve them.'" And they said, "We can't do that." "Oh, but you'll lose your job, you'll lose your life." They said, "It's a commandment of God." And the commandments were so important.

What if that idol had started speaking? That's what's interesting about what's happening in Revelation. Stay with me. So it has to do with a law regarding worship. It's obvious also, it's a civil power and I think I mentioned to you last night, it came out pretty clearly, in 2014 the Pope plays a major role in resolving the 50-year US/Cuba standoff. And just before we began this meeting here, our president, for the first time in, I think, what, over 50 years, a US president went and began dialog and reached across the Caribbean there with Cuba, what is still, outwardly, a communist country. It's very interesting. This was facilitated by the Pope. You're going to find out a little later that that's not the only time it's happened.

"What power will support the beast in the end time?" Here's where it gets interesting, friends. Revelation 13. When you talk about the mark of the beast or the beast in Revelation 13, you realize that's a misnomer. The way you should say it is the beasts of Revelation 13 because there's more than one. If you look in Revelation 13:11, it says, "I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth." Now the first beast comes up out of the sea. This beast comes up out of the earth. "And he has two horns like a lamb."

Question, is a lamb a good thing or a bad thing in Revelation? What did John the Baptist say about Jesus? "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." Lamb's good. Two horns like a lamb and he spoke like a dragon.

Question: Is the dragon a good thing or a bad thing in Revelation? Bad thing. So it starts out sounding good, like a lamb, ends up like a dragon. Now, what is this second beast in Revelation? I believe it represents North America. More specifically, the United States. You notice when that time period that we looked at, it reached from 538-- who remembers that number? It--1260 years from 538 comes to? 1798. We already told you what was happening in Europe. What was happening over here, 1798? The United States declared its independence in when? 1776. It voted the Constitution in 1787, it adopted the Bill of Rights in 1791, and was finally recognized by the other major empires and countries as a separate world power in 1798.

The reason it says the second beast rose up out of the earth is because compared to the teeming multitudes in Europe this was a vast wilderness. There were still millions of people here but it was comparatively very sparsely populated. And with the massive immigrations that came from England and Spain and the Netherlands to the New World-- and Portugal-- things changed very quickly. And because of some of the diseases they brought, they nearly wiped out-- in some cases, they did wipe out entire tribes. And there was a great change that took place.

Now, it used to be that the beachhead for Christianity, believe it or not, was once in Rome. Where did Paul go to preach? Rome. There's a book in the Bible, what's it called? Romans. Rome at one time was a good place. Christians were faithful there. Peter died there. The church was devoted, dedicated. But once it became accepted, they started becoming lukewarm and it drifted from there. And it slowly, over the ages, it moved up into the Alps. You had the Waldenses and the Albigenses and later the Hussites. And moved into France and there was revival there. And then Germany with Luther and the Reformation. It went across the English Channel and you had John Wesley and George Whitfield. And then they went across the Atlantic. Wesley and Whitfield were evangelists, actually, in North America. And the pilgrims came to this country, seeking religious freedom from the persecution in Europe. And you almost see the gospel going around the world, kind of like the sun.

But those places where the gospel was so strong-- go to Germany today. There are some good Christians there but I'll tell you, friends, most of those churches are closed. I've been there. Go to England today. Go to France. Karen and I were in France, what, a month ago? There's a lot of mosques. But you can go to Notre Dame. We went while we were there. And just tourists. Not a lot happening. Christianity is dying in a lot of that part of the world. It's shifted to the US. And it's actually going now across the ocean. We did a series in China couple of years ago and the gospel is just exploding over there. The dedication, the sacrifice, the persecution, it's like what we once had. It's changing. But those who had it, that take it for granted, Revelation chapter 3 says they become lukewarm. It is so hard to do what we're doing here right now in Charlotte, in France or in England. Or in Germany. Or in Switzerland. I've been there. We've had some good crowds but there is so much atheism over there. But Islam's growing. Do you think it's an accident that the Pope came to America and spent so much time over here? Or that they chose a pope from South America? Because they're losing their ground, they're losing their beachhead in Europe and they're looking to places where they can form allegiances. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Says--now, and I've gotta make something very clear. While I'm saying the second beast of Revelation chapter 13, verse 11, is the United States, please don't interpret that as unpatriotic. I love this country. I have no plans on going anywhere. I have thought about it at times when our Supreme Court makes certain decisions but no plans right now. And I'll let you know that, you know, whenever I travel, we've--we were just in several countries this last year and, you know, I remember when we came back from 6 weeks in Russia-- when the Iron Curtain fell, Karen and I went and we were preaching in Russia. It was wonderful. They were so hungry for the gospel. But when we got to America, we just about got on our knees and kissed the ground in front of Taco Bell. We were so thankful to be home. So, I mean, I'm patriotic. I'm thankful that I'm American. Don't misunderstand. But I'm going to tell you what the prophecies say.

This country that started like a lamb ends up speaking like a dragon. What are those two horns like a lamb? The two things that gave America success and power is that we had a government without a king, we had a church without a pope. Freedom of religion, freedom of government. "He exercises all the power of the first beast before him, "and he forces those who dwell therein "to worship the first beast, who had the wound by the sword but was healed." Well, you know, America became the largest Protestant country in the world a few years ago and, you know, back when the pilgrims came. But that has been changing. And attitudes have been changing and the love for the Word and the truths that we once knew, a lot of folks are-- a lot of Christians, frankly, are biblically illiterate. They just, you know, listen to a couple of televangelists. And I'm one of them so I'm not trying to be critical, but some of them, they're not giving the meat of the Word, it's all milkshakes. And they really don't know what the Christian history is and what people died for in the past. And America would form an alliance with Rome.

I don't know if any of you remember this cover from a "Time Magazine" back in 1982. It was finally revealed how involved the US was with the Catholic church in helping overthrow the former Soviet Union. And it talks about this meeting that Ronald Reagan had with-- and I'm frankly glad that it fell-- that Ronald Reagan had with Pope John Paul II. And they agreed that the US sent tons of communication equipment into Poland to help solidarity with Lech Walesa, overthrow communism in that country and once that happened, the dominoes began to fall and it just collapsed. It was something that was orchestrated and it's all-- it all came out between-- matter of fact, you go to Poland, you'll see a picture. Ronald Reagan-- there's a bronze of it, up on the screen. Ronald Reagan walking with John Paul II because they give them credit for helping overthrow communism in their country and helping them to achieve freedom. This is public knowledge. The US, America, will make an image to the second beast-- or the first beast that had a wound by the sword yet did live. You know, I just can't forget this picture that when Pope John Paul II died, and here you've got several presidents that were there, kneeling. That's very different from the way things used to be. America, philosophically, was in a very different place than the papacy. We're all about religious freedom.

You know, when America was first formed, they actually tried to tell people what day to go to church. That's why we have Sunday laws on our books. There was a pastor who was also a leader named Roger Williams and he said, "You're misunderstanding. "It's not a question of whether we force people to keep the Ten Commandments, but which ones." He said, "The Ten Commandments are written on two tables of stone. The first four are our personal relationship with God, "the last six deal with our relationship with our fellow man." He said, "You cannot have a government "that tells people how to keep the first four. "You must decide how you worship your god, who your god is, when you worship him, what his name is." You don't want anyone else telling you that, do you? But you don't want a government that does not enforce, "You don't steal, you don't lie," doesn't respect parental rights. The last six Commandments are civil. They need to be supported by the government. See the difference? You know why everything costs so much? because everybody covets everybody's stuff and they're suing everybody. And so Roger Williams understood that.

Well, right now, what I'm hearing is people say completely get rid of the Ten Commandments, which is a bad idea, or force everybody to keep all of them, which is telling you who to worship. And if we go back and realize what our founding fathers understood was the best formula, that's why God put them on two different tables. It says, "He causes the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." And this is what's happening. Now, it says he makes an image to the beast and I don't want to sound too superstitious but, you know, it really does strike me as interesting, the architecture. There you've got the Vatican. There you've got the US Capitol. That's interesting. We must have really loved Greco-Roman architecture. And not only that, you know what's directly in front of the Vatican is a big obelisk. What's directly in front of the Capitol Building? The biggest obelisk in the world. "He'll make an image to the beast." Hah, some ways we sort of do already.

America has, without question, become the largest military power in the world. This is a graph that I'm going to put up that just shows you the spending of the US military-- it's 37% of world spending on the military compared to South Korea, India, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China, all combined, do not equal what the US spends on the military. Don't kid yourself, in spite of cutbacks, we still by far have the strongest military in the world. We are a superpower. And the other countries recognize that. And don't under-estimate the influence of the papacy around the world. It was in "National Geographic" just this last year, "Will the Pope change the Vatican?" Things have been changing. I don't know if you realize but because of what's going on in Europe, do you know the papacy's losing influence in Italy. Italy, in spite of the Catholic church's position on birth control, Italy has almost zero population growth. The people that live in Italy are not paying attention to the Pope. He's losing his influence in Europe and locally. Islam is spreading. Secularism is spreading. And he sees how important it is to build alliances with the Christian nations in North and South America. And Pope Francis, bless his heart, he is in overdrive, working to do that right now.

I don't know if any of you saw this very interesting picture. Kenneth Copeland, James Robison, Tony Palmer who passed away, helped facilitate this meeting with Pope Francis there in the Vatican. He sent a video message to the Charismatics in North America. Joel Osteen has been there to meet with the Pope. Rick Warren--I met Rick Warren couple of years ago. Met with the Pope and working together on marriage. Good things, but he's building alliances. You may have seen this picture of him with Bartholomew, the patriarch of the Greek-- or the Orthodox churches. And what happened just a few weeks ago, for the first time in history? He met with the Russian Orthodox, Patriarch Kirill, and I'm just giving you a few pictures. Our media guys were kind enough to throw these in for me at the last minute because I could just go on and on and show you there is a very deliberate effort on the part of the papacy to build connections with the other Christians in the world because they see-- they look ahead, not a year or two, they look ahead centuries. And they see what is happening.

The--Christianity is being threatened by secularism, by some radical Islamic beliefs, and you can see the tension in the headlines every day. You know why you don't see peace yet in the Middle East? I remember ever since I could watch the news, presidents in the United States were trying to broker peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Has there been a year or a week it is not in the news since 1948? Why haven't they figured that out yet? Because it's a religious problem. And these problems that have to do with worship, they go very deep. And I'm not expecting an easy, quick solution to the problem about the tension between at least fundamental or radical Islam and I want to be careful because I've got a number of Islamic Muslim friends that I do believe are peace-loving people that want peace. But we know, just look at the headlines, that that's not how everybody feels. And it's not going to go on like this forever.

Jesus is going to come. That's the only solution. And I'm not telling you things-- these things to trouble you because, you know, I just want to pause right here and remind you. Even if I could tell you the day and hour of Jesus' Coming, that would not save you. And I can't tell you because nobody knows. The purpose of prophecy is redemptive. Jesus said, "When these things begin to come to pass," lift up your heads. He said, "Then you will know, "after these things have happened, then you will know that I was telling the truth." As you're looking back and seeing how Jesus outlined the history of the beast and the second beast and all that's happening, and you say, "Wow, it's all unfolding just like He said. "Why does He want us to know that? "That must mean what He says in the Bible about saving me from sin is true."

See, that's the reason for prophecy. It's not to just tantalize you with the future. I mean, that's what astrologers do. The reason God shows you He knows about prophecy is so you'll trust His Word, that is a supernatural book and what He says about salvation is true and that He has-- if He knows the history of the world, does He have a history for you? He has a plan for your life. And nothing happens by accident with God. He sees everything that's coming. So just keep it in perspective.

Number seven, "According to the prophecy, what drastic change will take place in America?" It says, "He spoke like a dragon." Started out with two horns like a lamb, but ends up speaking like a dragon. Lamb, good; dragon, bad. Are we all together? I love my country. The reason it grew the way it did is God blessed America because they gave freedom to people. It used to say-- I guess it still says it on our currency. Give them time, they're trying to take it off our currency, "In God we trust." It used to say, "One nation under God." Most places still say that. You know, there's people fighting against that? See, I don't think there's any problem with saying that we are a religious people. I don't think there's anything problem with saying that we are a Judeo-Christian culture, we believe the Ten Commandments, we will require that the government supports the last six, people get to choose how they keep the first four, what god it is. But we're getting away from even the morality of the last six, aren't we? We're telling people--well, we're doing the exact opposite of what God tells us we should do. It says, "He speaks like a dragon." We're already seeing that. How does a country speak? A nation speaks through its legislative body.

You know, you just can't get over some of the things you saw happen just a few months ago. This historic trip of Pope Francis to the United States. There was no important place, significant place, that he missed. Went to the White House, spoke to our greatest august body, Congress, the Senators, everybody. Standing ovation. Would they do that for a pastor? Goes to the United Nations. Goes to Philadelphia where our government was founded. Goes to New York City. By the way, do you know where Washington, D-- George Washington was sworn in? Wasn't Washington, D.C. New York City was the first capital of the US. Did you know that? Its financial capital, advertising capital, of the world. It was all very--and went to the 9/11 Memorial. Had a joint religious service at the 9/11 Memorial, showing solidarity with the United States against-- what brought about 9/11? Wasn't it some of this war on worship? Nobody wants to say that but we all know it was religious zealots that did this, that were ready to die for what they believed. Crazy as it was. And so what you're seeing happening is a hand being reached across the Atlantic, both ways, to build some solidarity.

Just a footnote that you may be interested in, if you think I'm dreaming this up. There was a time, if you go back about 50 years ago, every member of the Supreme Court was a Protestant. Systematically, one by one, they have either been replaced by attrition or design and now there are no Protestants on the Supreme Court. There are Catholics, the majority are Catholics. Anthony Scalia, a good judge, he just passed away. The new suggestion that our president is giving is another Catholic-- or no, he's actually Jewish. And the other three are Jewish. No Protestants anymore. And so that perspective is kind of being left off the bench. And "He says to them that dwell on the earth," Revelation 13:4, "they should make an image to the beast, "that had the wound with the sword, and yet did live."

Now, what does that mean? It means that what the beast was doing during that 1260 years of using civil power to force religion is going to happen again. There are going to be religious laws that will go against the law of God and every child of God is going to have to make a decision, "Do you obey God or man? Who is going to be first in your life?" And the decision Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to make and Daniel had to make, whether he was going to go to the lions' den or compromise his faith, every believer's going to have to make.

You know what I think it's going to revolve around? Boy, this is quite a picture. And of course, you have-- just the red carpet was rolled out. Then you've got the Pope and Obama, you've got the US flag in this next slide and the Papal flag, the Vatican flag, flying in front of our obelisk, a little bigger than their obelisk that you got in front of the Vatican. Boy, that just says volumes, doesn't it? If I was the devil, let me tell you what I'd do. Now don't misunderstand, I'm not. But if I was. I hope not. If the idea is to try to get God's people to break the law of God, doesn't the devil want us to sin? The Bible says he's come down with great wrath because his time is short. He wants to get us to sin. And, you know, in Daniel chapter 3, he tried to get them to break the law about idolatry. Doesn't matter which one because if you break one, you're guilty of all, James? In Daniel chapter 6, it was the law, the first commandment. Don't have other gods.

And since it's going to be something that deals with times and laws, the beast power would think to change times and laws. The only commandment that fits into all those categories related to worship, a time, and a law, is the Sabbath. I would say, "You know what? I'm going to tell them, 'Keep all ten commandments. But on that 4th commandment that has the name of God, where it says, "Keep the 7th day holy,"' I don't want you to keep the day of God holy. I want you to keep the day of man holy. And I'm going to give you a new commandment. Instead of worshiping on the 7th day, worship the 1st day.' What difference does 1 day make?" And it is such a subtle small thing that most of the world's going to say, "In the sake of unity, sure, why not? We all need to make little compromises for unity." Would Daniel compromise his conviction? Did Mordecai compromise his convictions? Did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, compromise their convictions? And we mustn't either. God means what he says. And when God says the 7th day, no man has the right to change a "thus saith the Lord," amen? That tells us what's coming.

"These three powers will unite against God's people in the end time." And it says in Revelation 16, verse 13, "I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet." Now, where's a frog's power? No one's ever been scratched by a frog? It's--they catch them with their tongue. "Out of the mouth," means the words. You know, it says in Revelation 14, "There are three angels with messages from God that go to the world." Here you've got almost the counterfeit of that. Three frogs. That was a plague in Egypt. They're unclean animals, eat bugs. And out of--it's talking about demonic voices, untruth coming out of their mouths.

But what do they do? They go forth to the kings of the earth, and that's actually our next question. "Will these diverse powers seek to unite?" Yes, "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and the whole world," because he causes the whole world to worship, "to gather them together to that great day of God Almighty," and later known as the Battle of Armageddon. The Battle of Armageddon is not a war between China and Russia and the US. It tells you in Revelation chapter 12, "The dragon made war with the woman."

The Battle of Armageddon is a religious war. It is a war over worship, friends. It's going to all boil down in the last days, who follows the dragon and who follows Christ. It's going to be the lamb and the dragon. It's going to be either the beast or Jesus. It's going to be the mark of the beast or the seal of God. You see how it's going to play out, friends? And it's going to be very subtle, very clever. And I just was fascinated with some of the pictures. This is just another picture of the Pope at the United Nations. And here's this joint religious service that they had there, I believe at the 9/11 or that might have been the one at Philadelphia or the 9/11 Memorial. "What effective methods will this end-time coalition utilize?" It says, "He does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from," and this is Revelation 13. "Makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men." Miracles. Could the magicians of the Pharaoh counterfeit some of the miracles of Moses? They did.

God came to earth in His Son Jesus. Before the end, the devil says, "That's not fair, I'm going to come too." And I don’t know if he's going to somehow incarnate a person or if he will appear as an angel of light. As Paul says, "The devil can even appear as an angel of light." The devil appeared as an angel from heaven when he tempted Jesus. But Satan is somehow going to work his masterpiece of deception, and there will be signs and wonders and miracles and people around the world are going to think, "This is the only thing that's going to save us in the last days."

And there's going to be a coalition of supposed Christians that will gather together and say, "We all need to come back to God and worship God." And it's going to sound wonderful. And they're going to say many things we agree with. That's what makes a counterfeit so dangerous, it's similar to the true. And they're going to say, "We all need to go to church." Folks will say, "Amen." Every Sunday we need to be there. And they're going to make laws that are going to persecute those that stand up for the commandments of God. Not just the fourth commandment, probably other commandments as well. Idolatry may be involved. It says an image to the beast, doesn't it? And people are going to say, "For the sake of unity, we all need to make little sacrifices of our convictions." And there'll be great persecution against those who stand for God. At one point, they won't be allowed to buy or sell. And we all know how easy will it be today in an almost cashless society to enforce that. You'll go to swipe your card or to use your PIN number and it's going to say, "Malfunction." Won't work. "You weren't at the Universal Church last week and you cannot buy or sell."

But economic sanctions are more than just what might happen at the supermarket. Does the UN and the United States now enforce economic sanctions, telling countries if you don't cooperate, you cannot buy or sell? It's already happening. It's an international economy now. You can look at the waves. America sneezes and the whole world gets ripples, financially. Everyone, everything's interconnected now. It shouldn't surprise us what Revelation tells us is going to happen. He'll do great signs and wonders and "he'll deceive them that dwell upon the earth by the means of those miracles that he has power to do." "What's the only thing that is going to prevent God's end-time people from being deceived?" It's our last question tonight. "To the law and to the testimony: if they do not speak according to this word, it's because there's no light in them." It says in Acts chapter 17, verse 11, speaking of the people in Berea, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and they searched the Scriptures to see whether those things were so."

You know, friends, as we conclude this presentation, I wonder if I could ask our ushers again to just hand out a card. And those of you who are in your groups that are watching, we'd like to encourage you to do something about this. And right now if you could-- some of you were here today. You've already done this. If you did not, if you'd hold up your hands for the usher. We would just like to pray for you and encourage you. You know, if you hear these things and you don't make a decision, it's so important to say, "I want to make a decision about that." And just hold up your hands if you did not receive one of these cards. And fill out the questions here very simply, "I choose to put God's commandments before manmade laws." If that's your desire, mark that. "I choose to keep the 7th-day Sabbath and to worship the Creator." It's in the Bible, friends. Don't we want to follow God? Are you interested in being part of God's people? God is bringing people together from all over, based on the Bible. How many churches are there going to be when Jesus comes back? Two, true and false. Mark of the beast, seal of God. He's going to bring people back together for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. See a hand, take them a card. "I am praying about this decision," you want us to pray for you, "but I still have some questions."

Friends, Jesus is coming soon and He wants us to be ready, amen? How many of you want to be ready? Like to encourage those who are with your groups. Some may be watching on television. You can simply go to The Last Day of Prophecy website and you can watch the presentations maybe you've missed and prepare for what's coming upon the world as we speak. These are very interesting times. The Bible tells us a time of trouble is coming such as there never has been. But I'm not afraid. You know why? Because I know Jesus has a plan for my life and if Christ is with you, do you need to be afraid of the fiery furnace? If Christ is with you, do you need to be afraid of the lion's den? If Jesus is with you, do you need to be afraid of the time of trouble? He will go through it all with you, friends. But you must invite Him to be in your heart. Have you done that yet? Can we do it together now? Let's bow our heads.

O loving Lord, we've covered a lot tonight. Most of all, I pray, Jesus, that You've come through, that we realize You love us and You've shown us these things because You want us to be ready for what's coming. Bless every person. I pray that You'll give us Your Holy Spirit, Lord, that's the inner seal. And help us to take a stand for Your Word. We pray that You'll write your Father's name in our foreheads and help us be ready, Lord. We know that we're living in the final hours. Not only do we want to be ready. We know there are so many people that don't know, Lord. Give us Your Spirit that we can be Your witnesses and tell others that You're coming again. I know that there are different struggles represented here, Lord. Be with these people and I pray You'll bless them in their lives and in their hearts, in their bodies. Some are struggling with the decision to surrender all to Jesus. I pray You'll give them victory and courage to do that right now. And pour out Your Spirit. Use these programs to stir us up to study Your Word. We thank You and we pray this in Jesus' name, amen.

Now, friends, I want to remind you there's a lot more information on the subject about the last day of prophecy. It's a Sabbath truth. Go to sabbathtruth.com. It'll be there on your website, sabbathtruth.com. How many of you think we ought to stand together before we close our program and let's sing that song, "Jesus Will Come on Time." You believe it? I'm going to bring Charles out here, amen.

(Charles) Okay, let's go.

♪ ♪ Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, He will come on time!

Doubters.

♪ ♪ Doubters may talk and scoffers mock

♪ ♪ Babbling without rhyme or reason

♪ ♪ His promises are true, He will remember you

♪ ♪ And the clock of prophecy will chime

♪ ♪ Up Jacob's ladder we will climb

♪ ♪ In brilliant glory so sublime

♪ ♪ Our God will come on time

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