When All the World Wonders

Scripture: Revelation 17:1-18
Date: 07/25/2009 
'And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.' ... what does this mean? Pastor Doug examines Revelation chapter 17 ...
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Note: This is an unedited, verbatim transcript of the live broadcast.

Today’s message you may find to be a little out of the ordinary for a church service, but some things have been happening in the world lately that have profound prophetic significance. As pastor, every now and then I feel like it’s important to keep us up to date with what is happening. We’re not saved by understanding prophecy. Even the devil understands some prophecy. But seeing the signs of the times will often arrest our attention and help us to get our priorities right spiritually. And so I just want you to understand that we are nearing the end and these are very portentous times that we’re living in right now. The message this morning titled When the World Wonders. And it’s really a follow up of something I did several months back; actually it’s been last year when Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States. And some other things have been happening recently and I thought it would be important to address these things so that you may also be able to share with others that are inquiring, “What in the world is going on?”

Turn with me in your Bibles to begin with. I’d like to set the stage with a prophecy. Revelation 17:1-6. During our study this morning I’ll be looking at verses in that chapter all the way through the end, but begin with verses 1-6. “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, and I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.” So we’re going to find out who is this woman that is sitting on a beast. “’With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’ So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet colored beast that was full of names of blasphemy, (or titles of blasphemy) having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written.”

[You] Need to pay attention when it says in the Bible something written on the forehead because the mark of the beast is in the hand or the forehead and the seal of God is in the forehead and this woman has something in her forehead. “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and the Abominations of the Earth.” Now I’ve seen some tattoos before where people have a pretty big statement, but that’s quite a paragraph in one tattoo on the forehead. Verse 6, “I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered with great amazement.”

Now we’re going to talk about who is this woman on the beast? You’ll notice there that when John sees this in vision he wonders with great admiration. That word wonder there in Greek; I actually called Pastor Contes, a Greek pastor, last night and he said it’s pronounced favmasso[?] and the Greek word means to wonder, to admire, to marvel. You’ll find this word referred to in Revelation 13 when it says, “All the world wondered, favmasso[?], after the beast.” And again you’ll find this in other places in Revelation: 12, where it talks about the wondering of the beast. You’ll find in Revelation 12, in Revelation 13, two times in 13. But in Revelation 12 and in Revelation 13 you find a beast with seven heads and ten horns.

Every now and then you’re driving down the road you might see a sign that shows a picture of a deer and that means it’s a deer crossing. You don’t know, it may not be the deer on the sign that you actually see cross. There’s lots of different deer that could cross. But if you see a sign in the Bible of an animal with seven heads and ten horns it’s the same animal. You don’t see those very often going around the meadow, do you? So Revelation 12, 13, 17 same animal. When this animal first appears, this creature with seven heads and ten horns, we need to know who it is. When you see it first here in Revelation 12 for instance, there it’s trying to devour a woman and it’s the kingdom of Rome that was trying to destroy the church in its infancy. Roman soldiers that killed all the babies there in Bethlehem, trying to destroy Christ. It was the power of Rome that crucified Him. And then it says, “This manchild is caught up to the throne of God.” The devil is ultimately the dragon. He’s working through the kingdom of Rome to try to destroy Christ there.

Then in Revelation 13 again you’ve got a beast with seven heads and ten horns. This time it talks about it having the features that you find among the composite beasts of Daniel 7. And it’s got the mouth of a lion and the claws of a bear. And again, seven heads, ten horns. Now all the kingdom of Rome here has gone through a change. It’s not Rome anymore ruled by Caesars. Now it’s Rome being ruled by religion. When you get to Revelation 17 it becomes very clear, you have a woman sitting on a beast. Now who knows in the Bible, what does a woman represent in prophecy? It’s a symbol for a church. You can see where it says in Jeremiah, “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a delicate and comely woman.” Zion was His church, His people. Ephesians 5, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church.” And if you read in II John it says, “the elect lady.” He speaks of one church writing to another church. Always referred to in the feminine. And so here is a woman sitting on this beast.

Now the church is called the bride of Christ. You find her in Revelation 12, clothed with light. But Revelation 17, it’s describing a harlot. Is that a faithful or an unfaithful church? So here you have a church that ostensibly was the bride of Christ, but has become unfaithful. So it has some of the trappings of Christianity, but is no longer faithful to the teachings of the Bible. I believe, as most Protestants used to believe anyway, that that woman in Revelation 17, situated there in Rome, represents the great apostasy of what happened to Christianity when it commingled with the paganism in Rome. You had some Christian teachings mingled with the pagan teachings of the Romans. You ended up with the Roman Catholic Church. Again, I’m not trying to be derogatory. It’s free world. There are many religions. People are free to believe whatever they want and I don’t want it any other. I’m thankful for that freedom. But I want people to believe the truth. I want to have that freedom to share the truth from the Bible. Bible prophecy has always said that. Of course, the world was ruled by Rome. At least the civilized world there around the Mediterranean. And you have those great empires that are identified in Daniel, Rome being the last military or civil one. And then Rome fell and in its place, as Rome was falling the church was rising, that was ruling over the 10 crowns there of Europe. And it talks about these seven heads.

So what is symbolized by those seven hills? Let me just read that for you. Revelation 17:9, the seven heads, what do they represent? The angel tells us so we don’t have to guess. “Here is the mind that has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.” Now if you look [in an] encyclopedia, you can even look at Wikipedia online it will say Rome, the capitol city of Italy has historically been known as the city of seven hills. It really is nestled among seven hills. You can go to Google Earth if you want to see the seven hills. And even Google Earth you can go 3-D and you can turn and get an angle view and see the topography of the seven hills around Rome. It hasn’t changed in thousands of years. Around the world, when you type in “seven hills” the first page on Google: 22 million possible hits. First page: Rome, city of seven hills. So it was always known that way through history. So here is a woman, a church, sitting among seven hills. We don’t need to guess.

And then it goes on a little further. If you want to know, who is the woman? Revelation 17:18, this is the last verse in chapter 17. I want you to know this because it’s going to be very important to establish this in the beginning. “And the woman that you saw is that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth.” Now I want to ask you, when John had his vision where was he? He was on the isle of Patmos, Revelation 1. Why was he there? He was a prisoner. Who imprisoned him? Rome. Rome was ruling the world. And so it says this woman among seven hills is that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth. We don’t need to guess who this woman is. It gives us more details there in the verses that we just read. For one thing, you read in verse 4, “the woman is arrayed in purple and scarlet color.” The principle colors for the hierarchy of the Roman leadership are purple and scarlet. The cardinals wear scarlet robes at their official functions and the archbishops wear purple robes. [references a photo] The pope and the cardinals and the archbishops, these are the colors of the church. And you can see this in a number of the publications.

[It] Gives a few more indicators. It says, “gold, precious stones and pearls,” speaking of the woman. Now when you look at the woman in Revelation 12, what is she wearing? “Sun, moon, stars.” Light that God made; God’s light. The word of God is a lamp, a light. She’s clothed [in] the light of truth. But the clothing of this one is talking about earthly riches, earthly adornment and flamboyancy. It says that she’s also adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls. Now that picture actually goes with another subject.

Did Jesus walk around like that when He was on earth? So the pope who is to be the Vicar of Christ on earth, you’d think, as His representative, would want to be a little more humble in his attire. And while I don’t agree with all the things in the Buddhist religion, I do kind of respect the Dali Lama that as he goes from place to place he’s pretty simply clad. You’ll see him, he’ll be at a White House function and he’s got his orange robe that he wears and that’s it. Very simple clothing, very modest. Well, I don’t know how modest it always is, but it’s pretty simple. He must get cold, actually. It looks like it’s pretty light.

Then it tells us something else about this woman. It says that she's got a golden cup in her hand. One of the principal things in the religion of the Catholic Church, which is part of the reason that the Protestants protested and separated, was dealing with the mass that the priests and Pope have the power, through their ritual, to convert the grape juice (theirs is actually fermented—don’t miss that point either). It says in Revelation 17 that the nations are made drunk with the wine. You can’t get drunk with the wine that’s used in the Protestant cups. The Protestant cups use unfermented grape juice because it represents the blood of Christ, unfermented. The bread is to be unleavened. But in the Catholic Church the cup is central to the religion. This golden cup that the priests drink from and they say they have the power to convert that grape juice into the blood of Christ. Man having the power, basically, to make God’s body with the bread and God’s blood; they say it really is changed. And the Protestants say, “No, it’s just a symbol.” When Christ had the first Passover dinner and He instituted the Lord’s Supper, and He said to them, “Here, take this bread, it’s my body. Take this juice, it’s my blood,” was it really His blood and His body or did they understand it was a symbol? Because He was sitting right there with His body and His blood still in His veins. Had to be a symbol. And so this was a big controversy that split the Christian church. We said man cannot create God through his rituals and incantations. That comes from paganism. So that cup and that wine in the cup also represents all the teachings the nations have been made drunk with.

I’ve covered some of this before, but I realize there are people who are listening on tape or here visiting today or maybe watching a DVD haven’t seen this. This is a quick, short summary of some of the prominent differences between the teachings of general Christians, Protestant Christians, and the Roman Catholic Church. Some of the Orthodox churches also believe these things. The Bible has to be our foundation. The Bible teaches we are not to bow down to statues. It’s one of the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:4-5. But in the Catholic Church, if you’ve ever been to Rome or if you’ve ever been to Mexico, you can see that they promote and believe that it’s ok to bow down to and pray before statues. The Bible calls that idolatry. It’s forbidden, Old Testament and New Testament. The Bible teaches that all have sinned except Jesus, Romans 3:10-12, Hebrews 4:15. I realize some of this is review. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Mary was sinless. The Bible says that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, I Timothy 2:5. The Roman Catholic Church says Mary is a co-mediator with Christ. And they pray to Mary as well as the other saints. The Bible teaches that Christ offered His life once on the cross for all, Hebrews 7:27-28, Hebrews 10:10. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the priest sacrifices Christ every week, or as frequently as they celebrated the mass. The Bible teaches that all Christians are saints and priests, Ephesians 1:1, I Peter 1:2, 9. The Catholic Church teaches that the priests are a special caste within the Christian hierarchy. The Bible teaches that all Christians can know that they have eternal life, I John 5:13. The Roman Catholic Church says that Christians cannot and should not know that they have eternal life. The Bible teaches that we should call no religious leader father, Matthew 23:9. Jesus said, “Call no man your father.” It’s ok to call your daddy your father, but it’s talking about spiritual leader. But in the Roman Catholic Church, matter of fact the pope, the supreme papa, that means father. And of course the priests are called father. They promote and teach this. The Bible says we are not to pray in vain repetition. Jesus said that in Matthew 6:7. The Roman Catholic Church says that we can say the Lord’s Prayer or Hail Mary or other prayers over and over again and we gain some virtue or merit by doing this. The Bible says we’re to confess our sins to God for God and God only can forgive sin, Isaiah 43:25, Luke 5:24. The Roman Catholic Church says you must confess your sins to the priest for forgiveness. And I could go on. The teachings of purgatory, limbo, prayers for the dead, prayers to the saints are nowhere taught in scripture. They’re relics of paganism, but they are wholeheartedly embraced by this largest of professed Christian churches. About 900 million to a billion professed Catholics around the world. So this is very important. There’s a lot more I could read you on some of these things, but those are just some general ones to say there are real differences.

Especially in the last days, when we see our culture and the morals in our culture crumbling around us I applaud some of the positions that are taken by our Catholic brothers and sisters. I am so thankful they’re speaking out against things like abortion, same-sex marriage, the importance of the family and the sanctity of marriage, some of these traditional things. I am really thankful that they’re our allies in these areas, but you’ve got to be careful that when you ally with somebody too firmly there are things you can’t ally on. You’ve got to recognize what those differences are. There’ll be an appeal in the last days that we sweep aside our differences and unite on the points we have in common, but there are some things we can’t sweep aside because it’s Biblical truth. Now you’ve got to know that you cannot compromise on principles because you’re going to hear that as a battle cry of unity in the last days. And while we can love everybody, and there are some things that we can agree on and say, “We have these things in common. That’s encouraging, but I’m not going to sacrifice what I do believe for the sake of unity.” And that’s going to be something you’re going to hear encouraged as we near the last days. You might be wondering where I’m going. Stay with me.

One other identifying characteristic in Revelation 17. It said that she’s full of names or titles of blasphemy. Blasphemy is when a man puts himself in the place of God. In the official teachings of the Catholic Church the pope holds the place of God on earth. For instance, Pope Leo XIII, “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” We’ve got another one from Pope Pious XI. In 1922 he said, “You know that I am the Holy Father, the representative of God on the earth, the Vicar of Christ, which means I am God on the earth.” This is part of their official teaching. And part of their teaching also is that the pope cannot err. And they’ve never retracted that. Now that’s what you call blasphemy. And so you just look at Jesus, born in a barn, walking the dusty roads, saying, “The son of Man has no where to lay His head.” And then you see the pope living in a virtual palace, surrounded by gold and attendants; virtually like a king. And it makes you wonder, is he the representative of Christ on the earth? But what did the devil want? Did the devil want the humility of Christ or did he want the kingship and the royalty? And so what you have is a counterfeit for Christ, or an anti-Christ. It’s completely diametrically opposed to what the teachings and example of Jesus is. Jesus was not borne around on a litter [?] wearing royal robes and jewels and gold, with thousands attending Him. He said, “I came to serve.”

Now the man himself may be a very nice man. I’ve never met him. I’d like to meet him. I won’t kiss his ring, but I’d like to meet him. Did you know that the Vatican is an independent country? Just a couple of amazing facts you might find interesting. It’s the world’s smallest country. [In] 1929, under the terms of the Lateran Treaty, Vatican City was established as in independent state with 109 acres within Rome. Less than 1,000 people live in this small country governed by the pope, who has absolute executive, judicial and political powers. Vatican City has it’s own currency. [discusses money he’s holding] They’ve got their own military; the Swiss Guard is their military and their security force. They’ve got their own postal system, railroad station, telephone service. Even though it’s such a small territory, just 109 acres, 177 sovereign countries around the world have formal, official relations with the Vatican. That’s why it shouldn’t surprise us that the Bible talks about this in last day prophecy.

You may be interested to know, something happened January 1, the beginning of this year. The pope since the Lateran Treaty was signed in 1929, he now said that the Vatican country is no longer going to be subject to Italian law. Up to this time they said, “We’ll just go along with whatever the civil laws are that Italy votes. We’ll take them on into the Vatican.” But now Italy’s become very liberal, like a lot of countries in Europe, and they’re voting in things like, or they’re exploring same-sex marriage and on-demand divorce and abortion. And the Vatican finally said, “Look, we are no longer automatically going to embrace Italian law. We are going to have our own law. If there are Italian laws that we can accept that’s fine, but we’re going to look at them all one by one.” So there is some positioning that is happening right now prophetically that you need to be aware of based on last day prophecy.

And then, you may have heard me refer to it earlier this year; Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the Holy Land. Which was very interesting. It was called Operation White Robe by the Israelis because they had to deploy about 80,000 security personnel to take care of the security. Talk about going into a very volatile region with all that has been happening there in the Middle East right now; that is the confluence of the religion of Judaism and Catholicism and the Russian Orthodox and the Greek Orthodox and the Protestants and the Muslims. And the principal message of his visit, the headlines, if they could all be summarized would be “The Pope Calls for Peace.” As he went from place to place, what he did is he followed in the footsteps of Jesus. He went to all of the places around the Holy Land where Christ did significant things and he gave short homilies and performed masses at those places, mirroring Christ as much as he could and the ministry of Christ. And then he would talk about peace, peace, peace.

Which reminds me also of a verse in the Bible that said, Jeremiah 6:14, “They say, ‘Peace, peace, but there is no peace.” And again, II Thessalonians 2:4, “When they say, ‘Peace, peace,’ sudden destruction will come upon them.” But then, as one of the final things, the first pope in history (several popes have been to the Holy Land) Pope Benedict went to the place of the temple. Not only prayed at the Wailing Wall, but he went up on the platform where the Holy Place is. He went into the Dome of the Rock that was built, this Muslim mosque, right on the site of where the Jewish temple used to be. And that’s what reminded me of II Thessalonians 2:4 where it said, “This wicked one who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Now ultimately that is speaking of the pope’s position where he claims that he is the supreme earthly representative of Christ over the church of God, because you are the temple of God. And he sits in a position saying, “I am over the temple of God on earth, the church of God.” “What, don’t you know, you are the temple of God?” And so anyone who sits saying, “I am in charge of the temple of God on earth,” is sitting in the temple of God showing himself that he is God. Based on their own definitions they are exhibit A of that verse.

And then as soon as the Pope got done with his Holy Land visit he went home to see the release of a new blockbuster film called Angels and Demons that talks about the intrigue about blowing up the Vatican. I’ve not seen it, but I heard it in the headlines. I thought that was very interesting. That other blockbuster that Dan Brown wrote called The DaVinci Code, all dealt about the intrigue of the Catholic Church. I also thought it was interesting that the devil often sends a counterfeit before the true. Amazing Facts just finished a project we worked on for three years called Cosmic Conflict that is the true story of angels and demons. It really tells about where the angels and demons came from. And then, of course, Hollywood has their counterfeit that jumps out of the gate ahead of you.

Now all of that is really prepatory to what’s happened recently. Everything I’ve said so far is just a little background because I know we may have some people that don’t have that background. Then on July 7th something very important happened, Karen’s birthday. It was Karen’s birthday, but that wasn’t what I was going to say. All the world was wondering at Michael Jackson’s funeral. Did you know that it was broadcast all around the world? Because it was a lineup of just who’s who in Hollywood. And it was quite a spectacle. I just saw what the news reported on it. I didn’t see the actual service, but they were broadcasting it in Russia, in Africa, in Australia, in China, all over the world. They were broadcasting this and all the world was wondering in amazement. And while that was happening, the same day, the Pope released a very important letter; it’s called an encyclical. It’s actually his third encyclical. Pope Benedict XVI, by the way, he used to be the primary theologian for years in the church.

The encyclical that is titled Love in Truth is dealing with the economy. He waited deliberately to release this during the time of the G8 Summit when the economic powerful leaders of the world were gathered, of all places, in Italy to talk about the world’s economic crisis right now. He releases a letter to them to talk about the economy. Matter of fact, the headlines from US Today, this is how they read. Just so you won’t think I’m making things up, listen [to] what the headlines said. “Pope calls for a God-centered global economy.” Now if you’re a Bible Christian and you know anything about prophecy and what I’ve been talking about my whole time as a minister and evangelist that ought to give you goose bumps. This isn’t something where we put our spin on it. This is what the newspapers around the world were saying.

It says in the last days that those that don’t receive the mark of the beast cannot buy or sell, meaning there’s going to be some kind of universal economic control on transactions. This is USA Today’s comment on it. This is from Kathy Lynn Grossman, 7/7/2009, “Pope Benedict XVI today called for the reforming of the United Nations in establishing a ‘true world authority with real teeth,’” don’t miss that, “’to manage the global economy with God-centered ethics.’” That’s an exact quote. Now this is what a Jewish writer for the USA Today got out of the letter. And I couldn’t agree more that those are the things that you should underline, underscore and highlight that are very significant. He mentions the United Nations should be given more power. Well that shouldn’t surprise you. He’s on pretty good terms with the United Nations. After all, they’ve invited all the popes to address them and to speak to them and he’s invited to all their countries. What other religious leader would be invited to speak to; have they ever invited Billy Graham? I don’t expect an invitation in my mailbox to talk to the United Nations. But the Pope was technically the lead pastor of a church. He’s invited to speak. Why? Incredible influence and power. His billion people aren’t in the Vatican. He’s got less than a thousand there. His billion people are scattered around the globe. They also control a great part of the world’s wealth. So there is a lot of influence there because ultimately people do fear eternity.

So he called for this God-centered economy with ethics. Now who do you suppose is going to supply the ethics to govern this? You know, as the world is sort of in a moral freefall right now, the pendulum eventually is going to reach the end of its swing and it’s going to swing back the other way and people are going to suddenly become very religious. We’re going to maybe see natural disasters; the economy could get worse. I think that something’s going to happen—I don’t know what it is—I could speculate, but something could trigger global fear and a return to religion, not because of love for God and the truth, but because of fear. And people are going to be looking around for some spiritual leader. Who is going to be the most prominent spiritual leader to help guide the United Nations in what God wants us to do? By the way, even the Dali Lama goes to Rome to visit with the Pope. The Pope has not yet been to Tibet to visit with the Dali Lama. They go to see him where he is. So I think you need to think about that.

It mentions there in his Third Encyclical that this world authority needs to be given power. That means power to compel. And he uses the words “real teeth.” That’s a quote from the Pope. “It needs to have real teeth.” Now when I read that, if you know your Bible, you go to Daniel 7:7, speaking of the same beast power it says, “I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong and it had huge iron teeth.” Those iron teeth, they can crush just about anything. The only time I’ve ever really seen iron teeth is I think an old James Bond movie. I don’t go to movies, but I still remember that one. Then I saw on Discover Channel that they tried to reproduce the jaw strength of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and they made this big jaw, put iron teeth in it, tried to measure it’s crushing power. That’s the only thing that comes in my mind, but one thing that you get when you get iron teeth, that’s telling you enforcement. And in the word enforcement you’ve got force. It means that this political power, that is going to control the world’s economy. By the way, even though the different places in the world have different currencies, we really already have a one-world economy. Anywhere I go in the world, I’ve been all over the world, I hand them my MasterCard and they take it. So that means you’ve got a global economy. They take it; they run it through their computer and it taps in within fractions of seconds to the servers here in North America and decide whether or not I’ve got the money. We really do have a global economy right now. And I go and I take my credit card in Paris and I can put it in a machine, I can have it convert my American credit card into Euros. We really are a global currency [economy]. They’re just trying to simplify things now and get it down to one form of currency. Things are getting set up that way right now. And all the world is wondering.

Isn’t it interesting that immediately after he signs this encyclical, releases it during the G8 Summit in Italy, that right after that he has his first meeting with the President of the United States? If you wanted to have a global economy and if you’re wanting to change these things and have this kind of influence in the United Nations, which is in the United States, you’d better meet with the president of the United States. And of course he’s met, the pope has typically met with all of the former presidents. We have an ambassador to the Vatican with formal relations. You know what the Pope’s gift was to President Obama? A signed white leather-bound copy of his encyclical on the economy. I don’t know what you’re waiting for to think, “Boy, this sounds an awful lot like we’ve said for a hundred years could happen someday.” But we’ve been so softened up through repetition. And things that happen slowly, pretty soon you don’t realize it’s happening. You say, “Is this it? Is this what it feels like?” Yeah, this is it. But the devil has got [us so]? numb with the entertainment and the things of the world that everybody’s marveling after Michael Jackson, idolizing him in his death, that they’re missing what’s happening spiritually and politically in the world, the important things that are going on.

One more thing I just thought I ought to throw in; well, I’ve got a couple more things I’ll throw in. About the same time this was happening here in America they were talking about the next Supreme Court justice. I’ve got a little chart on the screen. I know you can’t see the small print. Let me tell you what it says. But you can see the colors, can’t you? The green represents the Supreme Court members, and their religions are identified here. Green is Protestant. And if you go back 22 years, 8 out of 9 Supreme Court justices were Protestant. Just in the last 22 years there has been an incredible change so that now, assuming that Sotomayor is going to be confirmed, and that looks pretty likely, you will now have the majority of the Supreme Court, 67% of the high court seats will be Roman Catholic. There is one Protestant left and Catholics make up 23% of the people in North America. Most North Americans are Protestant. Most of the Supreme Court now is Roman Catholic. And I believe in freedom of religion. I think that’s wonderful. I just think that that ought to just make you put your flag up because as objective as the justices are supposed to be, we all know they’re not perfectly objective. That’s why between a democratic and a republican president they fight over the philosophy of the judges they install because they are different. Isn’t that right? Don’t we all accept that they do judge differently? So it does make a difference what their worldview is and what their philosophy is. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think so. I’d be happy if they’d all go by the Constitution, but they don’t. They interpret it based on their biases. I think that’s something that ought to get your attention. You’re seeing little by little, it said in prophecy that the United States would make an image to the beast. I thought that’s an interesting picture there. You’ve got the Vatican and there you’ve got the capital. Is it my imagination or do they look like they’re kind of clones of each other?

What do you read in Revelation? Two beasts, chapter 13, the first beast represents fallen Christendom through the Orthodox Churches or Catholicism. In North American you’ve got fallen Protestantism. Of course they’ve got representation all over the world, but these are the two primary centers of those religious influences of the world. And there’s going to be a unifying of them that will start forcing people to worship in certain ways. Something’s going to trigger that and I just want you to see, friends, things are happening. [This picture] I just couldn’t believe this. When Pope John Paul II passed away and you’ve got three American presidents, former presidents, kneeling there in the Vatican. I’d say at this point that that deadly wound has been healed.

One more thing I wanted to interject. In the Pope’s encyclical he made several references to “empowering the labor unions.” You can read it online for yourself. That’s a quote, “empowering labor unions.” I want to give you another quote from the book Maranatha, page 182. “Trade unions will be formed and those who refuse to join these trade unions will be marked men. These unions are one of the signs of the last days.” Right now they’re lobbying in congress for laws that will prevent people from voting anonymously whether or not they want to be part of a union, because what’s happened in the past is when the union bosses go through these groups they say, “Are you going to vote in favor?” and they’ll say, “My vote is between me and God.” And they can’t tell how people vote because when they know how a person votes they get intimidated, they get penalized by the unions. Now they’re pushing in congress to make people vote publicly whether or not they’re going to vote to join the union. And that means they can be singled out for doing that. That to me I think is un-American. People’s vote ought to be free.

I want to read one more thing from the book Evangelism, page 32. “The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually, but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world and the final movements will be rapid ones.” Final movements will be rapid ones.

I heard an amazing fact a little while ago about a young lady by the name of Karen Watson that was traveling by train, 20 years old, and as she was going to a wedding in Missoula, Montana, going through Albany, Oregon she became more and more distressed physically until pretty soon they realized that she was having some problems. They called ahead paramedics that met the train when it stopped. They took Karen Watson off the train and after writhing and groaning she gave birth to a baby, 5 pounds 12 ounces. She had no idea she was pregnant. She only weighed about a hundred pounds. She had gained a little weight recently. Matter of fact, she’d gained about 10 pounds and evidently 5 pounds 12 ounces of that was baby and she had no idea. Not only was she amazed; the paramedics were amazed. What’s really amazing is she was a pre-med student at UC Davis, wanting to go into family practice. Final movements will be rapid ones. And I wonder if what happened to her is going to be happening to God’s people in the last days, where we should have known. The signs were there. She’d had some checkups and the doctor said, “Well, there’s something wrong. Maybe it’s your thyroid.” She had no idea. Marveled, amazed.

When you’re cutting down a large tree, the old way with an ax. I don’t know if anyone still remembers how to do that. If you’re at the base of a large tree and you’re cutting (I’ve done it before) and you’re chipping away, you make your back cut and then you have a notch and you go in and it’s one chip at a time and you just don’t know exactly what chips going to make the difference. You get pretty soon where you’ve got a narrow band holding this massive tree up in the air. And you’ll take one more piece out and all of a sudden you’ll hear creak. And when you hear creak you don’t want to be at the bottom of the tree, and you’d better shout timber for anyone else that’s around because it then goes kaboom and it builds speed. The final movements are going to be rapid ones. Friends, we’re watching right now around the world chip, chip, chop, chop. And pretty soon you’re going to hear crack and they’ll be a shout of timber, but there’s a whole lot of people sleeping around the tree right now. And they’re just not ready for what’s coming upon the world. It’s going to overtake a lot of people as an overwhelming surprise.

Have you wondered what final prophecy might look like? These movements that are happening religiously and politically in the world are setting the stage for what we’ve always said would happen. That people mock and said could never happen. But it’s happening. Now knowing this is not going to save anybody. You might feel like now you’re more informed. And that’s good. I want you to be, but you may not be more saved. The only good this is going to do is for one thing it’s going to show you God’s word can be trusted. What God said would happen in the last days. These prophecies, how much more explicit can they be? Look how clearly the beast is identified there in Revelation 17. The purple and the scarlet and the gold and the location and the power. And then you look at your history books and you see it all happening before you. It ought to increase your confidence in God’s word, and then it also ought to increase your confidence Jesus is going to come again. And you’ve got to be ready. And the only way to be ready is to surrender your life and your will to Him, to repent of your sins, to turn away from your sins, to ask Him for His Holy Spirit to fill you and to lead you. That’s the only thing that’s going to save any of us.

So that’s my appeal in closing, is not that you understand prophecy. It’s that you know Jesus is coming soon and that your hope is going to be in Christ. And your trust is going to be in Him and His forgiveness. You need to have a personal relationship with Him. We don’t find our relationship with God through the pastor or the pope. You need to have a personal relationship with your Savior. As we close I’m going to invite you to turn to our closing song, 522, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less than Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness. We are living in the last days, friends. You’ve got to have your foundation on Christ and in His word.


The evangelist in me has a hard time ending a church service without offering an opportunity for an appeal, because we always have some new people. We sometimes have people that have not been in church in a while and need to maybe renew their commitment. And I’d like to just give a general opportunity this morning as we sing verse two in a moment. If the Holy Spirit’s spoken to your heart and you realize, “Christ is coming soon. I’ve become distracted with earthly idols, things that are happening here below instead of looking above, thinking about the temple instead of the eternal.” And the Lord might be trying to get your attention. He’s got a plan for your life in the time that remains, but you need to give all of your heart and soul to Him. If there are some who have some special prayer they’d like to bring before the Lord or maybe you’d like to rededicate yourself and ask for His help to be a consistent Christian, then we’d like to have special prayer for you. Come to the front and we’ll sing as you come.


Now before we sing verse four, it’s talking about Christ’s coming. I want you to look at the words here. “When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found, clad in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” The only way we’re really going to be ready when Jesus comes is to be clad in His righteousness. He offers you that as a gift, but you need to receive that gift and then He will enable you to walk in a newness of life. And maybe the Holy Spirit’s still striving with you. Jesus is coming soon. He’s longsuffering to us, He’s waiting, but He can’t wait forever and He’s going to come. So if He’s speaking to your heart now and you’ve not surrendered all, come to the front. We’ll pray for you.


Let me ask you, friends, before I pray. Did this message make sense? Do you believe it was true? Do you think we’re seeing prophecy fulfilled around us right now in these events? It’s not happening every day, but we are seeing things happen almost every month now. And the Lord, He’s pleading with us, “Get ready, get ready, get ready.” Let’s pray.

Father, Lord, we’re stirred when we see these things and these signs. They stir me. And it causes me to reevaluate my relationship with thee. I trust others feel the same way. O Lord, I want to be ready. I want to be making you and your ministry and your will the priority in my life. We know that the devil’s working overtime to distract us with things that are insignificant and to become preoccupied with earthly idols, marveling after the wrong things, wondering after the wrong things. Help Jesus to be the center of our wonder and amazement. And I pray that we’ll be awed by your glory. Please bless us, Lord, not only to live out this message in our lives, but the things that we’re learning. Help us to share them gracefully in your Spirit. Give us wisdom as we approach our friends and loved ones that don’t see what’s happening. Lord, I pray that you’ll take this message of the gospel and may it go into all the world. In our lives, in every way, because you promised that when that happens then you will come. And we’re looking forward to that, Lord. May we be found in your righteousness in that day. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

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