This book candidly unfolds Revelation 13, 17, and 18, which describe who the apocalyptic antichrist is! In the very heart of John's end-time prophetic narrative comes stunning imagery of the final three phases of this powerful being and his church. They are the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecies of the "little horn," "vile person," and "king of the north!" With unreserved clarity, John is told that this religious power would be centered in the city of the seven hills with stunning geopolitical ties to the leaders of the world.
The clues of when it begins are amazing. It is inaugurated at a time when a woman and a beast-a church and a state-have merged. There is no other conclusion that can be drawn than that this is when the Roman Catholic Church was awarded the Vatican City State in 1929. The papal leaders from that point on, with its final forty-two months of history, are given in vivid detail.
In arresting detail, God discloses the horrifying suppressive power this church will soon wield and the world's gullible worship of its falsehoods. This amazing document mines the very depths of truths God has revealed, as never before, for us today.
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When "the" Church Rides the Beast
The Antichrist-Centered Mystery!
By Franklin S. Fowler Jr.
Christian Heritage FoundationCopyright © 2015 Franklin S. Fowler, Jr.
All rights reserved.
When Babylon Comes to its End
The Bible is full of predicted "ends"! Some bring the deepest sadness; others, great happiness. The very first one came as a warning when the world was perfect, without sin or any sadness. Adam and Eve were told that eating of the Tree of Knowledge would lead to death (Genesis 2:17), an "end" they had never experienced. Adam sinned, and the record says he "lived ... and he died" (Genesis 5:5). That first couple was given a promise that they could be restored to their original favor. There would be a Savior, and He would bring an end to sin and death. When Jesus arrived He announced, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10b). When He comes again He will bring that gift.
The very last prophecy of the Bible is: "Surely I come quickly. Amen" (Revelation 22:20). That will be the end of all adverse experiences from sin. He is the only hope of eternal life, which will be endless! Another "end" is forecast beyond the time of that parousia: "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death [a final end]. ... And I saw a new heaven and a new earth [a beautiful beginning]: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away [the end]" (Revelation 20:14, 21:1a,b).
That terminus is the end of the line for sin and sinners. It is the point in time when the universe experiences closure of all wrong and rebellion.
Biblical cessations are usually the wrap-up of something allied to Satan. This takes on two forms: (1) God brings an end to a sinful event, experience or rebellion; (2) God terminates some freedom as punishment for a sinful act. As powerful as the devil is, God is always in control. He has the last word. At the "finish line" Satan loses.
Satan's Agents are Shattered
One of his dramatic failures comes during the seventh Vial, or Plague. This is where our story begins, right where there is a major end!
"And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath" (Revelation 16:19a).
"Babylon" is Satan's ally in the last conflagration. The antichrist, referred to by many symbols, is its earthly leader.
"and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath." (vs 19b)
God has great patience, but the time comes when He will act. The cue is when it says, "God remembered." Divine justice is often intimately linked with the expression of divine remembrance. The total destruction of Babylon is described in that Plague. Its end is complete.
Babylon was introduced to students of John's apocalypse in the second "flying in the midst of heaven" angel (Revelation 14:8). There it is identified as (1) "that great city" and (2) as "fallen." "Fallen" (epesen) is written in "prophecy perfect" language. That means it is presented as though it already happened but is actually still in the future as an event.
John's prophecy is a second application to that "city." "And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground" (Isaiah 21:9) – that was the first prophecy.
Literal Babylon fell to the Persian king, Cyrus, in 539 B.C. Belshazzar's apostasy against God and that city's military fall became a prophetic metaphor for the moral fall of apostate Christianity at the end of time. As God's people then came out of literal Babylon and journeyed to Canaan, so the cry goes up at the end to "come out of Babylon," "be not partakers of her sins." Prepare for the journey to the heavenly Canaan (cf. Jeremiah 51:9).
Babylon's fall, in this apocalyptic urgent warning to the world, informs us that its doom is imminent. It gives everyone a final chance to heed that ominous cry: "Flee the precincts of that influence. Judgment against Babylon is coming." Just as the Babylonian king was judged because of his defiance of God, so will the latter-day Babylon be punished for the same reason. This judgment predicted in the third angel's message of Revelation 14 is the same as when the "cup of the wine of God's wrath had come" (16:19c). That will be the beginning of its end.
"And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the [nations fell" (vs 19a)
The "splitting" of Babylon into three parts, in that seventh Vial, heralds that judgmental end. But why three parts?
That great city represents not only Rome, but in the next chapter we will see that it is associated with all of apostate Christianity.
There, the harlot church is actually named "Babylon the great."
As Satan takes unprecedented measures to deceive the world at the end, one of his insidious advances conveys solidarity with three powers (some call it a "false trinity"). "Babylon" characterizes the apostate unity of those powers.
John was given stunning imagery of those three allied forces.
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet" (Revelation 16:13).
These three figures are all mentioned in Revelation 13, though the beast from the land of 13:11-17 is here designated the false prophet. John will be told that Babylon is the "habitation of demons and prison of every unclean spirit" (Revelation 18:2). "Unclean" suggests that they have a deceptive nature.
The papacy (sea beast), apostate Protestantism and spiritualism are all at variance with God's will. At the end they deceive the world.
One of the Exodus plagues was frogs (Exodus 8:1-15) – one of the Egyptian gods. God instructed Israel that frogs were unclean (Leviticus 11:9-12, 4147). Symbolically, they capture their prey with their tongues. Their croaking is meaningless; they are slimy, thus hard to catch.
The spirits "like frogs" are hard to pin down – being camouflaged by deceit and falsehood.
Expositor White noted that these frogs are spirits and spiritualism.
"Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden: 'Ye shall not surely die.' 'In the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.' Genesis 3:4, 5. Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time. Says the prophet: 'I saw three unclean spirits like frogs; ... they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.' Revelation 16:13, 14. Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. The people are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God."
These demonic agencies will work signs – many through spiritualism – which ties directly to the wonder working of the false prophet and Satan (Revelation 13:13-14).
Three powers – Satan, beast, false prophet – make up Babylon. Yet from Revelation 13 the sea beast is the visible, functioning "head" of those three because, there, the earth beast or false prophet causes all on earth to worship that beast (13:12). And the dragon gives it power (Revelation 13:4) over "all kindreds, and tongues, and nations" (Revelation 13:7). In chapter 17, because the harlot is called "Babylon," it speaks for and personifies Satan, the beast and the false prophet.
Stunning! No wonder God reaches a point where He "remembers" those apostate, blasphemous powers and destroys them.
When it says that the cities of the nations fell, a difficult state of the world begins as Babylon weakens. Revelation 18:8-18 describes some of their amazing reactions.
How do we know those powers are deceptive and blasphemous?
"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Revelation 16:14).
Those agencies for evil go out to the world by their words and representatives, called "spirits of devils." Out of Christ's mouth (Revelation 1:16, 19:15) went a sharp sword, representing truth (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12). Out of the mouths of the false trinity comes a deceptive influence over the world. In the New Testament false religious leaders lead people astray (Mark 13:22, II Thessalonians 2:9-10, II Peter 2:1-2). The influence and power of this work reaches to the "kings of the earth." "The 'kings of the whole world' are often identified with the ten kings in Revelation 17:12-14 and 1617."6 World leaders will rally to Rome, the leader of Babylon.
Then those "spirits" rally the world to battle God's people. This is depicted in numerous prophecies.
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. ... And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. ... These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 11:7, 12:17, 17:14; cf. Joel 3:2, Zechariah 14:2).
Fall of Babylon
God directs the last act over Babylon and its agencies when that great city is divided into three parts. The cities of the nations go down with her. That great Babylon crossed a line and God began the fierceness of his wrath. "For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act" (Isaiah 28:21).
It will be time for God to respond. If God were not to punish evil and rebellion, the great divine theme of a moral universe would have to be discarded. God's wrath is described in numerous ways in inspiration (Jeremiah 25:15, 26-29, 33; Isaiah 34:24; Joel 3:9, 11-13). It comes at the time of the seventh Vial, which is associated with the sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-17) and His second coming. So – Babylon comes to its end. The work of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet ceases, and the Vial vision ends.
It is in this setting that chapters 17–19 begin. They represent an "interlude" in the flow of apocalyptic truth being given to John. Those chapters fill in amazing details of messages already given, like this fall of Babylon. The "details" are "must haves" to grasp the meaning of key visions.
We're in for a surprise. It seems as though the work of the Vial angels is now done. But it isn't. John is going to get a personal visit from one of them. Let's listen in!CHAPTER 2
Reporting from Heaven Once Again
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:" (Revelation 17:1).
Visiting Vial Angel
The angels assigned to pour out those terrible Vial woes just completed their busy assignment (Revelation 16). Devastation to earth's inhabitants has been momentous. Most important, the triumvirate of Babylon has been decimated (16:19). Those triune apostate powers so long bent on muffling the voice of God included Satan. His crowning acts of spirit manifestations and appearing as an angel of light have now been thwarted. He's impotent and powerless. That's why the seventh Vial heralds a decisive change in redemptive history. It comes when a voice out of the temple in heaven is declaring, "It is done" (16:17; cf. 11:19)!
Angels are assigned curious tasks when working with human beings. The most mysterious tasks were assigned (right at the end) to a select few. Those majestic beings appointed to work with Christ must have expressed awe and honor at their sacred mission. One of the Vial angels is now given a unique instructive task.
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me" (vs 1)
John must have been excited, though he doesn't admit it. He has seen stunning heavenly activity. There were the 144,000 on a sea of glass. They sang in one of heaven's great choirs. Just recently a living creature gave the seven angels their destructive Vials; a general voice from the temple (likely God the Father speaking) ordered those angels to begin their fearful mission; and then he saw those terrible woes come upon the earth. What could this Vial angel now be coming to John to talk about?
Before we listen in, a visit to God's prophecy center will be extremely helpful. He chose to give John these sacred prophecies in a variety of ways. That array permits us to better grasp their intent and significance.
Revelation is divided into different message packets:
1. Visions/auditions of earthly events
2. Visions/auditions of events in heaven
3. Commentary inserts – comments to add information, often "out of the clear blue" – "Oh, by the way" thoughts
4. Interludes – vision/audition messages that review what was just given but fill in important details
5. Orientation statements as to time and/or place
This vial angel is about to begin an interlude of special details that go way back into chapter 12! Those intervening chapters were filled with astonishing prophetic facts. But God wants us to know even more information. This special bulletin continues on through chapter 19, verse 10. It is clearly extremely important, or such a special mission would not be occurring!
Attention on Harlotry
"Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore" (vs 1)
In the second angel's message (Revelation 14:8), Babylon is fallen. In the third, there is a warning of receiving God's wrath if anyone identifies with the mark of the beast – the insignia of Babylon's kingdom. In the seventh Vial the fall of Babylon is said to have happened because of the cup of the wine of anger of God's wrath (16:17). The Vial angel is going to fill us in on what led to unleashing His wrath. It is an amplification of "why" the seventh Vial or Bowl occurred. You will be stunned to know that Babylon is a harlot. Another Vial angel will later come to John and tell him about another "lady," the bride of the Lamb (21:9)! This book is filled with amazing paradoxes. God's bride was first introduced in 12:1 as a pure woman with a crown of victory. The most amazing is how Satan tries incessantly to mimic things God does.
This Vial angel is now speaking: "Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters" (17:1).
Those are the same words He will use in 21:9 about the "bride"! We are to know about those two "women": a harlot (with many husbands) and a bride (with one – Jesus). They are also called two cities: Babylon and the New Jerusalem. Lest we become mired in information overload, the angel is going to explain everything to make it all clear.
What are John, you and I, going to be shown? The "judgment of the great whore" (17:1).
We won't be told until verse 5 that this harlot is Babylon. But we will know much about her beforehand. "Harlot" is pornes (Gr.) and matches the attributes of Babylon in 14:8, where she's guilty of fornication (porneias). It suddenly tells us that she is active in spiritual adultery. She is involved with illicit religious practices. In prophecy, prostitution, adultery or fornication is the same as idolatry or religious apostasy! (Isaiah 23:15-17; Jeremiah 2:20-31, 12:27; Hosea 2:5).
It is most amazing that we already were told centuries ago that Nineveh (Nahum 3:1, 4), Tyre (Isaiah 23:14-17) and Babylon (Jeremiah 23:17) were adulterous cities.
Even before we get the harlot's facts, we know she is the epitome of spiritual idolatry. Because of God's wrath we know she is an abomination to Him. She represents a false religion.
She Can't Get Away with Evil
The angel said that that false religion will face future judgment. Repeatedly (vss 2, 5, 15-16; 18:9; 19:2), words are used for her proselytizing religious corruption. Her existence is a travesty to the worship of the true God. We are now going to witness what occurred leading up to Babylon's demise (developing in the sixth Vial and final judgments in the seventh).
Excerpted from When "the" Church Rides the Beast by Franklin S. Fowler Jr.. Copyright © 2015 Franklin S. Fowler, Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Christian Heritage Foundation.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 — When Babylon Comes to its End, 1,
Chapter 2 — Reporting from Heaven Once Again, 5,
Chapter 3 — The Harlot's Evil Influences the World, 9,
Chapter 4 — Into the Desert and What Did He See?, 13,
Chapter 5 — Allurements of the Harlot, 19,
Chapter 6 — Named after Her Character, 23,
Chapter 7 — Giddy with Murder, 29,
Chapter 8 — Fulfillment of a 2000-Year Old Papal Prophecy!, 33,
Chapter 9 — "Headings" of the Beast, 43,
Chapter 10 — "Satan" and the Last Earthly Kingdom, 53,
Chapter 11 — World's Strangest Coalition, 63,
Chapter 12 — A Battle They're Going to Lose!, 69,
Chapter 13 — Its Power Base – The World, 73,
Chapter 14 — The God Factor!, 79,
Chapter 15 — Rome's Fearful Future, 83,
Chapter 16 — Final Power of the Papacy, 85,
Chapter 17 — Earth's Last Battle, 89,
Chapter 18 — Satan's Ally Is Ready, 93,
Chapter 19 — Daniel and John Focus on Satan, 97,
Chapter 20 — The "Head" – That's How We Know!, 99,
Chapter 21 — Mesmerized by a Religious Power, 103,
Chapter 22 — The Predestined Time Period, 109,
Chapter 23 — Out of His Terrible Mouth, 111,
Chapter 24 — Warring Against God's Loyalists, 115,
Chapter 25 — Worship Beast vs Worship God, 117,
Chapter 26 — A Judicial Manifesto, 121,
Chapter 27 — The Beast Like Satan, 123,
Chapter 28 — World is Forced into Blasphemous Worship, 131,
Chapter 29 — Deceptive Wonders, 135,
Chapter 30 — The Power of an Image, 139,
Chapter 31 — The "Mark of the Beast" Marks the Beast, 145,
Chapter 32 — Economic Sanctions Unless Marked, 149,
Chapter 33 — That Mystical Number – 666, 151,
Chapter 34 — Preparation for Earth's Final Warning, 155,
Chapter 35 — The Devil's Prison House, 159,
Chapter 36 — Guilt Everywhere, 161,
Chapter 37 — God's Emergency Call, 163,
Chapter 38 — Basics of Divine Justice, 167,
Chapter 39 — The Mistress of the World, 169,
Chapter 40 — The Circle is Complete, 173,
Appendix II —Pope Sylvester I (314-335 A.D.) Decrees the Transfer of Sabbath Rest to Sunday, 179,
Appendix III —Abomination Associated with Desolation, 181,
Appendix IV —Catholic References Regarding "Motherhood" and the Church, 193,