Let me start out by stating that I am coming from a premillennial, and pretribulation rapturist point of view. Some may think that I am saying the Tribulation will occur before the rapture. This is not the case. I believe, however, that our enemy would like to make us believe the Tribulation is occurring when indeed it is not.
Some, at the time, were concerned that Hitler, or Nero, was the Antichrist, though they were not. Satan has been working on this strategy for some time and has some tricks up his sleeve. I am trying to warn people about what I believe some of those tricks are, and I don’t have an exhaustive list. Hence the need for vigilance and discernment.
Most protestant Christians, if they think about the End Times at all, would probably think of Rome, or the Roman Catholic church, as being the Harlot of Revelation 17 and 18. There are many similarities between Rome and the entity identified as Babylon the Harlot.
We could point out to the fact that she is described as “sitting upon many waters” (Rev 17:1) and it is indeed true that Rome has representatives on every continent on earth. It is equally true that almost all secular governments on this planet send representatives to Rome, and many have embassies in the Vatican. The Vatican does indeed wield much political clout, so the phrase “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication” (Rev. 17:2) would seem to apply.
We could go throughout the chapter and most of the descriptions given do indeed apply to Rome. Verse 4 speaks of her as being decked out in purple and scarlet and having great wealth. She is described as being drunk with the martyrs for Jesus, and it is certain that the Roman Catholic church has been responsible for the deaths of millions of Christians. Rome is certainly a Harlot for she mixes biblical doctrines with paganism, and has done so for millennia.
I would contend, however, that these two chapters of Revelation actually describe two cities, not one, and neither of them is Rome! Please don’t get me wrong. I believe with all my heart, that the Roman Catholic Church is very closely involved with the first city mentioned in Revelation 17, but the city itself is not Rome.
Just as the Roman empire at one time moved its capital to Constantinople, it is equally possible for them to move it to any city they desire. If the Roman empire were a world empire they could choose any city in the world.
Satan is much more clever than most give him credit for. Since the writing of the New Testament he has been working on a plan to deceive the world. He, or one of his representatives, has been to every Christian Church service for the last two thousand, or so, years. He knows what Christians have been saying about Eschatology, and in fact may be responsible for much of it himself! This small fact is the key to understanding what is going on with Rome. How can he convince Christians to join in his rebellion against God?
Just as Nero, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, Hitler, Napoleon and others were counterfeit antichrists, Satan is working to produce another. Satan is going to produce a decoy antichrist, and false prophet, that the world can really believe in. I think that the predictions of the Christian scholars will appear to come true in one man from Europe, maybe even from Rome, or at least Italy.
For years I have noticed that many scholars focus on the European Union as being the centre of the biblical End Times events. Most seem to think that the ten nations of Daniel 7:24, and Revelation 17:12, are limited to ten nations of the European Union. As a youth I also believed this idea, but later as I studied it became apparent that the ten nations mentioned represent the entire world. Europe can only be one of these ten nations.
When I learned that the Club of Rome had published a study in 1974 entitled “Mankind at the Turning Point: the Second Report to the Club of Rome”, it began to dawn on me that the ten toes of these passages are actually ten regions, or super-nations spoken of by the authors of this study. On page 38, figure 4-1 of this report there is a map that shows the world divided into ten regions.
So what is the purpose behind the idea that the events of Revelation are centred on, and limited to, Europe and the Middle East? I think that someone is working on an elaborate ruse to trick the world into thinking that the Antichrist has been defeated and we, the people of earth, can usher in the kingdom of God on earth!
What else can we say about these ten kings, or rulers? We are told in Revelation 17:12 & 13 that these kings have no power as yet, and they have one mind, and give their power to the Beast. That they have no power as yet, should indicate to us that their nations did not exist at the time the bible was written. These are nations that are created in the last days, not old European nations. The fact that they have one mind should also indicate to us that each one of these rulers will look an awful lot like the Antichrist himself. In fact I think that each of these rulers would like to personally take the reigns of world power.
It should not surprise us, then, that the Antichrist would actually destroy three of these kings. What will he tell the world about his defeat of these three rulers? How can he avoid suspicion himself? I think the answer is rather simple: He may point to one, or perhaps all three, and say “That man is/was the Antichrist!” Should this scenario come about during, or around, the Gog and Magog conflict, we have a scenario where the world might actually believe Armageddon has already occurred. If Armageddon is over the next thing on the agenda is the millennial reign of Christ!
This brings new light to Paul’s words in I Thessalonians 5:3 “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
So how can Satan complete this illusion? How can he make the world believe the Tribulation is over, when in reality it hasn’t yet begun? By replicating, as near as possible, the major events of the Book of Revelation! I believe Jesus actually referred to this time, but since it isn’t the Tribulation proper, He didn’t refer to it as the Tribulation but as “wars and rumours of wars” and “nation shall rise against nation”.
I don’t believe that Jesus’ use of the phrase “wars and rumours of wars” actually meant “business as usual”. I think He meant specific prophesied wars, found in the prophetic passages of the bible. Please note that Jesus, in Revelation 16:15, immediately before the final battle, Armageddon, is still saying “I come as a thief”. This is amongst all the judgments that God has already brought upon the earth by this time. This phrase, in this context, can’t mean “I come without warning”. Don’t forget that thieves do more than one thing, usually they come to take something from you. In this case He is coming to take sovereignty from the kingdoms of earth. He is also coming to take life and liberty from His enemies! Even the rapture of the Church is along the same lines: He is coming to steal away the greatest treasure this earth has, the true Church of Jesus Christ!
I think this time period, which we are about to enter, will see a European leader who is just like the ideas our prophecy scholars have envisioned about the Antichrist. He will likely be from Italy, maybe even Rome, handsome, charismatic, Catholic and gay. He will have a power centre of ten nations from Europe, or perhaps the EU will shrink to ten nations. He will have an economic agenda that will actually work, for a time, and may even introduce some sort of biochip identity plan. The pope will support this man and many Christians will view the pope as the false prophet.
This man will arise some time around the Psalm 83 war and may actually be involved in brokering a peace treaty between Israel and the Arabs, which will allow Israel to rebuild the Temple. This peace treaty will be one more nail in the coffin of this man. (As an aside, I believe this very same treaty will be the one the real Antichrist will affirm some years later.)
As the Gog and Magog conflict gets underway the European leader may actually try to head off the conflict. As a reward for his efforts someone, perhaps Russia, or maybe Iran, will drop a nuclear device on his home base, Rome, destroying both him and the pope!
Christians around the world will look at Revelation 17 & 18 and declare the fulfilment of this prophecy! The Gog and Magog war will actually feature direct action from God Himself, for we are told in Ezekiel 38 & 39 that He will defeat these enemies with an earthquake, and fire and brimstone from the sky, and shall cause the enemy armies to turn on each other.
The situation will be so bad that it will be hard for people to imagine anything worse. To make matters worse, there are prophecy scholars and rabbis today who are saying that the Gog and Magog conflict is the same as Armageddon. Interestingly there are some Jews who call Rome “Edom”, the nation named after Jacob’s brother Esau, and historically one of the worst enemies of the Jewish people.
The dust kicked up from both this and the earlier Psalm 83 conflict will make the moon appear red, the sun will be dimmed, and crops will fail worldwide. The scholars will look up and declare that this is Armageddon, for the bible does indeed say that these phenomena will occur during the Day of the Lord.
Unfortunately for them, the Bible also says this will occur BEFORE the day of the Lord: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, BEFORE the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” (Joel 2:31) This phenomenon is mentioned three times in the book of Joel, and I believe this is because it will actually occur three times, once during the war of Psalm 83, again during the Gog and Magog war, and finally during Armageddon itself.
It is my belief that both the Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38 & 39 wars are likely to occur before the rapture of the Church. These two conflicts appear to be sequential, with a period of some years occurring between them, with at least enough time for Israel to become prosperous and living in a state of peace. The nations of the Psalm 83 conflict are not involved in the later war, and appear to have made some sort of peace with Israel. They will not have been totally annihilated, for most of them are listed in Jeremiah 25:18-27 as being involved in the final war with Israel, Armageddon.
The Gog and Magog conflict must occur before the Tribulation itself, for Israel will burn the weapons of that war for seven years. It is certain that they will cease burning those weapons when they flee to the wilderness for the second half of the Tribulation period. They will not be carrying large amounts of fuel for they will be fleeing for their lives! Jesus’ warning to them was that they should not go back into their home to grab anything (Matt. 24:17), just flee!
So, what is my point? The war of Gog and Magog is a “Pseudo-Armageddon”, Rome is a “Pseudo-Harlot”, the European leader will be a “Pseudo-Antichrist”, and the world will be looking for peace at the end of that conflict. With God Himself coming to the aid of Israel, and Islam defeated, the final remnants of that nation will return to the God of their fathers, and to the land. This return will be in name only, for their spiritual restoration will still be some time in the future. This will be the time the trumpet of Isaiah 27:13 will be blown, and I think this trumpet is the same as that mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:52.
This trumpet is likely the same one that brings the final remnants of Israel back to the land, and signals the rapture of the Church. It does “dual duty”. In order for this idea to be true the Gog and Magog war must precede the Tribulation, unless this trumpet coincides with the Psalm 83 war, but I think this is unlikely. I think the final return of Israel will occur after the Gog and Magog war because they see the hand of God directly involved in protecting Israel.
This falls in line with Jesus’ words: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28. This leaves us with the question: How much of the beginning of these things will the church see? We will not be here for the beginning of the Tribulation itself, but some of these wars are likely to occur shortly before that time.
Babylon the Harlot
So what will happen after the Gog and Magog war? I think this is the time that something very wicked, in the form of a woman made of lead, is moved back to her base in Shinar (Zechariah 5:5-11). Shinar is the plain in Assyria where Babylon is located. I think this will be the remnants of the Roman Catholic church moving back to her place of origin, Babylon, Iraq. I believe this woman is the same woman who rides the Beast.
This will be the location of the Harlot city of Rev. 17. Here, the humbled Catholic Church will join hands with the religions of the world, including the Hindus, Buddhists, protestants, the New Apostolic Reformation, the remnants of Islam, and many independent Christian churches. What of the “seven mountains”? Babylon is on a plain, so the nearest I can tell is that the seven mountains are the “seven mountains of society” that the New Apostolic Reformation keep on talking about. Its just a guess, but I think it is as good as anyone’s.
Notice that Revelation 18 begins with the phrase “And after these things”. Then John goes on to describe a city very nearly the same as in the previous chapter. Another city of seven mountains, that rules the world, and defies God. The problem I see is that if it is the same city we would have the bible saying essentially “Babylon will be destroyed, and after this, Babylon will be destroyed”. Remember though that the Antichrist is an intelligent man. When he orders the destruction of the first city he will have an alternate capital city ready for its role, and I think likely his home town.
In my book “The Spirit of Prophecy” I describe how it is possible that the Antichrist is not from Rome but from Edom. I examined the eye witness account of the destruction of Jerusalem and showed that the Idumeans, or Edomites, actually began the destruction. Furthermore I examined several prophecies regarding the people of Edom and showed that they are all very negative and overwhelmingly timed to coincide with the Great Tribulation period, and Armageddon.
Interestingly, the people of the nation just to the east of Israel comprise the descendants of the biblical tribes of Edom, Moab, and Ammon. The city of Amman, the capital, is named after its founding tribe Ammon, one of the sons of Lot. More importantly, Amman was originally known as the city of seven jabals (Arabic for mountains)! Amman was a Rome wannabe, and is famous for its many Roman ruins!
Of course the passage in question speaks of this city as one that trades with the merchants of the earth through shipping. Amman is not a port, however the passage does not say that this city is a port, only that the merchants sit in their ship afar off and watch her burn. The nearest port to Amman is actually Tel-Aviv/Jaffa, only 60 miles away. It would be very possible for ships to sit outside of the port of Jaffa, and watch the smoke of Amman’s burning, rising from behind the hills of Israel! They could also see the same pillar of smoke from the red sea near Eilat.
To bolster this idea one need only to look at the Old Testament passages that speak of the destruction of this city. The old name of Amman was Rabbah, or Rabbath Ammon. Jeremiah 49:1-6, and Amos 1:13-15 both describe the destruction of this city by fire. To date Amman is one of the oldest continuously-occupied cities in the world, and has never been destroyed by fire. The fulfilment of those prophecies is only a matter of time.
Interestingly, and incredibly relevant, is the fact that the New Testament name of Amman was Philadelphia. The city was given that name by Ptolemy II Philadelphos, the Helenic king of Egypt, in his own honor, and was changed to Amman in the third century AD. I am not certain how the Antichrist will use this fact, but I believe he will likely point to the Philadelphia of Revelation 3:7-13 and claim this is a prophecy for his city. He will likely use God’s promises to that church and apply them to himself and his followers. Is it possible that Amman could actually change its name back to Philadelphia? Stranger things have happened!
I have heard prophecy teachers quote Daniel 11:41 to say that this passage indicates that the nation of the descendants of Esau, Moab, and Ammon is victorious against the Antichrist. Let’s have a look, shall we?
“He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon”
The question we need to ask is “Why doesn’t the Antichrist defeat this nation?” Is it possible that this little nation, even smaller than Israel, is too powerful for the Antichrist to defeat? Of course not. The best explanation for this is that he is their favorite son. He has no reason to defeat this nation because they are on his side from the beginning of his career! He has Edomite blood in him, and this is why the Lord says of Edom:
“Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.” (Malachi 1:4)
No one else suffers this fate. Of all the people who have persecuted Israel over the years, not the Germans, nor the Russians, but only the Edomites have the title of “The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever!” They are not known by that title today. This is a reflection of a coming event.
There is so much more information available on the subjects I’ve outlined here, it would be easy to continue for some time, however I have already done that in my book “The Spirit of Prophecy”.