Wednesday, September 11, 2013


 
 
The Circle Maker Fable: Introducing Witchcraft to the Church
By:  DeAnne Loper

“Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men that turn from the truth.” 
Titus 1:14
 
“…that thou might charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables…For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 
1 Timothy 1:3 4, 2 Timothy 4:3-4 
 
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the
power and  coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."  
2 Peter 1:16 

 


The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington D. C. is a book based on the legend of Honi the Circle Maker.  The story – or fable – comes from the Talmud.  The Talmud is an extensive collection of Jewish legends, fables, and man-made laws.  It is commonly referred to as the Oral Tradition and is considered by many in Judaism to be as divinely inspired as the Old Testament.  A passage in Erubin 21b of the Talmud says, “My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah (Old Testament).” 1   In the book of Aboth 1:1 of the Talmud it states that this Oral Law was handed down by God to Moses who handed it “down to Joshua, Joshua to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, the Prophets to the men of the Great Synod and the Men of the Great Synod to the Rabbis…” ­2  Truly this brings a greater understanding of Jesus’ words to the Pharisees when He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition…making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down.  And many such things you do (Mark 7:9, 13).” 
 
I first discovered Batterson’s book while searching the internet for a quote from The Book of Legends.  When The Circle Maker came up next to The Book of Legends I was immediately alarmed by its blatant target toward Christians to incorporate the use of the circle – an ancient pagan practice – into their prayers.  The Book of Legends is a compilation of stories from the Talmud and Midrash and on page 21 of The Circle Maker Batterson tells readers that it is one of his favorite books.  What Batterson and so many other pastors of late who are referencing these extra biblical sources with more and more frequency (including the Zohar or Kabbalah) are not telling Christians about is the occult origin and antichrist writings contained in these "sacred" Jewish texts.  For example, the Talmud states that Jesus suffered four methods of execution and is now in hell boiling in hot excrement (Sanhedrin 90a, Gitim 56b).  It also says of Mary, the mother of our Lord, “She who was the descendant of princes and governors, played the harlot with carpenters (Sanhedrin 106b).” 
 
In addition, the Babylonian Talmud is the legal basis for the Noahide Laws, a universal moral code of ethics for “righteous” Gentiles. “While Jews are commanded to observe hundreds of laws, non-Jews are expected to follow seven that are presumed to date from the time of Noah. Judaism regards any non-Jew who keeps these laws a righteous person who is guaranteed a place in the world to come.” 3
Included in these seven laws is the prohibition of idolatry (worship of Jesus Christ) and the penalty for breaking any one of the Noahide Laws is death by decapitation.  Sanhedrin 57a of the Talmud states, “One additional element of greater severity is that violation of any one of the seven laws subjects the Noahide to capital punishment by decapitation.”  In 1991 the U.S. Congress, under the presidency of George H.W. Bush, established the Seven Noahide Laws as Public Law 102-14. 4
 
 
THE USE OF THE CIRCLE IN WITCHCRAFT      
 
      
 
There is nowhere in the Bible that teaches the ritual use of a circle – or any other symbol – to gain power, protection or possessions from God; even so, Batterson tells his readers on page 13 that the circle Honi "drew in the sand became a sacred symbol."  Contrast this with the fact that it is widely known in the occult and New Age movement that the circle has been used for centuries in magic and witchcraft to cast spells and to control and ward off evil spirits:
 
The Circle – “The circle has many different meanings.  One relates to eternity.  More often the circle is used for protection from evil without and to contain power within.”
Circle within a Circle – “used for protection from unruly forces.”
Magic Circle – “The Medieval Grimoires (demons) showed how to draw a magic circle, a necessary step in evoking demons, summoning up the dead, and other magical practices...used primarily in black magic ceremonies.”(Exposing & Confronting Satan & Assoc., Wendell Amstutz, Lifespan Publ., 1992)
 
“In modern Paganism, one of the facets common to many traditions is the use of a circle as a sacred space.  While other religions rely on the use of a building such as a church or temple to hold worship, Wiccans and Pagans can cast a circle pretty much any place they choose…A ceremonial circle is a place in which positive energy and power are kept in, and negative energy kept out. The size of your circle will depend on how many people need to be inside it, and what the circle’s purpose is.”  
 
"A magic circle is a circle or sphere of space marked out by practitioners of many branches of ritual magic, either to contain energy and form a sacred space, or as a form of magical protection, or both. It may be marked physically, drawn in salt or chalk, for example, or merely visualized.  Its spiritual significance is similar to that of mandala and yantra in some Eastern religions."  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_circle)
 
Considering the seriousness of Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees in Mark chapter 7 why would a Christian pastor who claims to know and love the Talmud introduce such fables to their congregations?  Regardless of how many happy anecdotes or feel-good stories there are in The Circle Maker, there is enough spiritual error and occultism in Batterson's book for discerning Christians to avoid it at all costs.  In addition to being a Christian bestseller, The Circle Maker also holds the prestigious title of “New York Times Bestseller” and, despite the warnings in Scripture, is gaining a foothold in many churches with its new method to answered prayer; an evident fulfillment of Paul’s warning in 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 of a great end-time falling away and departure from the faith.  More than ever the Church, by the “fervent and effectual” prayer of faith in Jesus’ name, must seek God for discernment according to the unchanging Word of God in these times of great apostasy. 
 
FOOTNOTES
2) Israel, Our Duty…Our Dilemma; Ted Pike, Big Sky Press, 1984, p. 17; Ref. The  Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 337.
 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mystery Babylon and the Great City


"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH...And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel?  I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns...And here is the mind which hath wisdom.  The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth...And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth."
Revelation 17:5, 7, 9, 18

In the 17th chapter of Revelation we read of a woman dressed in purple and scarlet, carrying a golden cup with which she deceives the nations.  She is seated on a scarlet colored beast and together they politically control the kingdoms of this world.  That is until, in verse 16, the beast, along with the kings of the earth, turns on the woman to make her desolate and to burn her with fire.  Most Bible scholars agree that the beast represents the Antichrist, "that man of sin...the son of perdition" who will be worshiped by all who do not receive his mark (Revelation 13:8, 15-17, 2 Thessalonians 2:3).  But who is the woman?  Her name is certainly more descriptive than that of the beast, and yet she remains hidden to many. 

"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (Rev. 17:5)."

Throughout time numerous possibilities have been given as to the identity of the woman which the Bible calls "the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth."  Her title implies that all false systems of religion, regardless of their current expression, can trace their roots back to this global system of sorcery which deceives all nations, as typified in the golden cup from which all nations have drunk (Rev. 18:3, 23).  Bearing in mind that the harlot is also a city, as revealed to John in Revelation 17:18, some believe she is the Vatican, headquartered in Rome.  Others say she is the literal rebuilt city of Babylon in modern-day Iraq, expressed in religious Islam.  Still others have promoted extensively through best-selling books that New York City is the bearer of the golden cup and is ripe for the judgment of God because of her international influence.  Although Mystery Babylon encompasses all of these, it remains that there is a "Mother" or head over all these systems. 

With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the recent appointment of Pope Francis in March of this year has also come an explosive media promotion of "the Malachy Prophecy" and with this a renewed emphasis on Rome as the harlot of Revelation 17:5.  The prophecy lists a succession of 112 popes dating from the 10th Century with a brief description of each, including "Petrus Romanus" or "Peter the Roman" who would be the final pope, according to St. Malachy who was an Archbishop in the Roman Catholic Church at the time the prophecy was received.  The prophecy reads as follows:  "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock among many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people (source: http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/final-pope-already-running-vatican).  This is an obvious reference to the events of the tribulation period just prior to the second coming of Christ with prominence given to Rome as the city on seven mountains in Revelation 17:9. 

Since this breaking news that Pope Francis may be the "final pope" Christian ministries have been all abuzz with what seems to be the latest break in end-time prophecy.  As in the past, so it is today that with every major world event the Church makes an adjustment to her stance on prophetic interpretation.  And while elements within the Roman Catholic Church contain some of the most visible expressions of mysticism on the earth today, Jesus warns us that the deception leading up to His second coming will be so well hidden that the very elect, if possible, will be deceived (Matthew 24:24).  This is because Revelation's Mystery Babylon, by its very nature, is a secret, hidden, occult system that holds world dominion over all other systems.  In other words, if a world religion such as Catholicism or Islam is being so widely promoted by the media as fulfilling biblical prophecy, we can be confident it is not!

So who or what is Mystery Babylon?  To find the answer we do not need to look to the latest news reports, but in the timeless truth of God's Word.  Daniel 10:21 says, "But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth."  Proverbs 25:2 tells us that, though God may conceal a thing in His Word, we have the honor to search it out.  It is God's will for His people to understand prophetic events based on Revelation 1:1-3:  "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."  Knowing that we have a more sure word of prophecy and that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, let's turn our attention to the Scriptures and allow the Bible to interpret itself. 

The Scriptures Refer to Mystery Babylon as the Great City
  • Rev. 17:18 - And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
  • Rev. 14:8 - And another angel followed, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
  • Rev. 18:16 - And saying, Alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
The Great City is Unique Among the Cities of the Nations
  • Rev. 18:18 - And (they) cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
  • Rev. 18:10 - Alas, alas that great city Babylon.  That mighty city!  For in one hour is thy judgment come. 
  • Rev. 16:19 - 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 11:8 Gives Us the Identity of the Great City
  • Rev. 11:8 - And their dead bodies (the two witnesses) shall lie in the street of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified (Jerusalem). 
Jesus was crucified in the city of Jerusalem, the Great City 
  • Matt. 20:17-19 - And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
 Mystery Babylon is Drunk with the Blood of the Prophets and Martyrs of Jesus Christ 
  • Rev. 17:6 - And I saw the woman drunken 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. 
  • Rev. 18:24 - And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
  • Rev. 18:20 - Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.   
  • Luke 13:33 - ...for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
 Jesus Identifies the Harlot, Having the Blood of the Righteous Prophets Upon Her Hands  
  • Matt. 23:37-39 - O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee.  How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (Jerusalem is now seen in the eyes of God as desolate; as Sodom and Egypt!).  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord (they will see Him whom their fathers pierced at Christ's second coming).  
  • Matt. 23:34-35 - (Jesus speaking to the Pharisees) Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
  • Luke 11:49-52 - (Jesus speaking to the Pharisees) Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation.
Mystery Babylon Will be Burned With Fire in Judgment 
  • Rev. 17:16 - And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.  
  • Rev. 18:17-19 - For in one hour so great riches is come to nought...And (they) cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
  • Ezek. 16:41 - And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more.
Old Testament Scriptures Identify the Harlot 
  • Isaiah 1:21 - How is the faithful city become a harlot!  It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.  (Compare with Jesus' words to the Pharisees, "You are of your father the devil...He was a murderer from the beginning...because there is no truth in him."  John 8:44) 
  • Ezek. 16:35 - Wherefore, O harlot, hear the Word of the Lord. 
  • Ezek. 16:15 - But you trusted in your own beauty, and played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it.  (See verses 16 & 28)
  • Deuteronomy 31:16 - And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.
  • Deuteronomy 31:29 - (Moses speaking to the elders before his death)  For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you.  And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands."

Is Rome Mystery Babylon, the Great City Spoken of in the Book of Revelation?

While many prophecy ministries today point to Rome as the harlot, the above Scriptures undeniably identify Jerusalem as Mystery Babylon and the great city of the book of Revelation.  Only Jerusalem, not Rome or any other city, has held the sole privilege of being betrothed to God in the Abrahamic Covenant of faith, fulfilled in Christ Jesus the Messiah.  Also undeniable is the fact that only Jerusalem has been the focal point of God's special dealings with the nation of Israel and will remain the focus in the days preceding the return of Jesus.  Unfortunately, this same great city - most notably the religious leadership - rejected their long prophesied Messiah, preferring a political figure that would lead them to greatness and "restore the kingdom."  Isaiah 9:16 says, "For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed."   

THE SEVEN HILLS OF JERUSALEM

In contrast to the many Scriptures quoted above, most commentaries cite just one Scripture, Revelation 17:9, as their basis for identifying Rome as the city on seven hills.  "And here is the mind which hath wisdom.  The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth."  An interesting but little known fact is that the city of Jerusalem also sits on seven hills or mountains, as the following article by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D. points out:

But strange as it may seem, the City of Jerusalem as it existed in the time of Christ Jesus was also reckoned to be the "City of Seven Hills." This fact was well recognized in Jewish circles. In the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, an 8th century midrashic narrative (section 10), the writer mentioned without commentary (showing that the understanding was well known and required no defense) that “Jerusalem is situated on seven hills” (recorded in The Book of Legends, edited by Bialik and Ravnitzky, p. 371, paragraph 111). And, so it was. Those "seven hills" are easy to identify.
If one starts with the Mount of Olives just to the east of the main City of Jerusalem (but still reckoned to be located within the environs of Jerusalem), there are three summits to that Mount of Olives:

1.      The northern summit (hill) is called Scopus [Hill One],
2.      The middle summit (hill) was called Nob [Hill Two],
3.      The highest point of Olivet itself, and the southern summit (hill) was called in the Holy Scriptures the "Mount of Corruption" or "Mount of Offence" [Hill Three] (II Kings 23:13).
4.      On the middle ridge between the Kedron and the Tyropoeon Valleys there was (formerly) in the south "Mount Zion" [Hill Four] (the original "Mount Zion" and not the later southwest hill that was later called by that name),
5.      The "Ophel Mount" [Hill Five],
6.      To the north of that the "Rock" around which "Fort Antonia" was built [Hill Six],
7.      And finally, there was the southwest hill itself [Hill Seven] that finally became known in the time of Simon the Hasmonean as the new "Mount Zion."

This makes "Seven Hills" in all.  The truth is, however, when one looks at the subject of the Book of Revelation carefully, there is only one of those "Cities of Seven Hills" that could possibly be the subject of the End-Time revelation. That is the City of Jerusalem. The "Mystery Babylon" of the Book of Revelation is none other than Jerusalem!  (Source: http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p000201.htm)

The following geographical description is taken from a website featuring Israeli tourist information, providing further evidence that Jerusalem is surrounded by seven hills:

The Jerusalem Hills are known not only for their historic importance but for their beauty as well.  As their name indicates, the Jerusalem hills are a hilly region in the Judean mountains, with Jerusalem nestling in the middle.  Seven long extensions of these hills stretch toward to the coastal plain in the west and the Jordan Valley in the east. (Source: http://www.goisrael.com) 

A STRONG DELUSION

Has the fact that Jerusalem sits on seven hills been purposely concealed and if so, why?  In a world where conspiracy theories abound, one conspiracy stands above all others (Jeremiah 11:9, Ezekiel 22:25).  Yet it is not a theory, but a well-devised plot headed by "the prince and god of this world," Satan, who will convince the Jewish people that his Antichrist is their long awaited Messiah.  2 Thessalonians chapter 2 describes these coming events in which a man of lawlessness will proclaim himself as God.  This "profane prince of Israel" will appear to fulfill all prophetic requirements.  He will also claim to be descended from the lineage of David, for who but one of their own will be able to gain the full trust of the Jewish people, especially the allegiance of the religious and political leadership?  The following quote from an article on the Messianic idea in Judaism gives insight as to the type of person this world leader will be:

The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as "mashiach ben David" (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel.  He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being. (http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm)

Like today, it is these same charismatic qualities that the Jewish leadership looked for in a Messiah at the time of Christ's first coming.  Pastor John S. Torell also makes this point in his book, The Kabbalah: The Mother of all Harlots, in which he quotes David Novak, Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia, in a 1989 article printed in the magazine, MOMENT, entitled "Jews Who Choose Jesus."  Describing what today's Jewish leadership believes concerning their coming Messiah, the article reads, "The messianic claims made by Jesus' followers in his name are rejected because Jesus did not fulfill two essential messianic criteria: (1) he did not restore the national sovereignty of the Jewish people in the land of Israel and gather in all the exiles; and (2) he did not bring about God's universal kingdom of justice and peace on earth."  (The Kabbalah, John S. Torell, p. 42)  These are sobering statements in light of the Bible's warning in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them...and they shall not escape."  

In John 5:43 Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees of His time, prophesied about this future usurper when He said, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive."  Jesus was rejected because He did not set up a military and political system of world dominion in this age, but in stark opposition to the expectations of the people, chose to do the will of His Father in heaven by laying down His life on the cross as a sacrifice for sin, providing reconciliation to God for all who would believe.

The concept of a coming New Age did not originate with an occult revival in the 1800s or with fringe spiritual groups in the 1980s but is a Jewish belief that is thousands of years old, revolving around the prophesied Messiah.  In Hebrew texts it is referred to as Tikkun, meaning, the restoration of all things.  Even the disciples in Acts 1:6 asked Jesus, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"  Yet, when confronted by Pilate with the question, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence (John 18:36)."

Jesus specifically warned in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 that the deception of the last days will be so great that the very elect, if possible, will be deceived.  According to Paul in Colossians 3:11-12, the elect are all those in Christ "where there is neither Greek nor Jew...but Christ is all, and in all."  Those who have heard and believed the Gospel by faith - both Jew and Gentile - are the elect of God.  In light of our Lord's repeated warnings, I pose several questions.  What would such a deception look like in order to deceive believers?  To Christians, the appearance of the Antichrist would have to look very much like the second coming of Christ.  Understandably, there are those within the Church who would argue that it is not possible for a Christian to be deceived at this level but if that were true then why do the Scriptures continuously tell us to beware of false prophets and false apostles (Revelation 2:2, Acts 20:29, Philippians 3:2, 2 Corinthians 11:13, 2 Peter 2:1)?  Furthermore, is this consensual focus among top prophecy scholars on Rome being the harlot - particularly over the past 150 years - a strategic diversion being set in place, yet to be played out by the powers that be?  I believe it is and scriptural evidence also seems to indicate this. 

If all of this sounds a bit far-fetched, then consider the following prediction demonically channeled by psychic and New Age spokesperson, Ruth Montgomery, in her 1999 book, The World to Come, which deals with a coming global shift resulting in world chaos and the approaching New Millennium, in which the Christ will usher in an age of universal peace and enlightenment.  Montgomery, now deceased, received the content of her book from a group of deceiving spirits which she referred to as "The Guides."  In a chapter titled, The Antichrist, The Guides informed her that the coming Antichrist will be a false Messiah who will appear as a savior in a time of great upheaval and chaos.  Not to worry though, because he will be destroyed, said The Guides, after which the Christ will reign throughout the coming golden age, in which there will be peace on Earth and everyone will live together in love and unity.  Montgomery is careful to stress that this coming Christ is not the Jesus of the Bible, but a perfected soul who will receive the Christ spirit.  Most chilling are the final words of The Guides who tell Montgomery that a "selective process" will be put in place as a safeguard against those who oppose the new order and that all evil persons (meaning true Christians!) will be prohibited from living in the world to come (p. 152).

I reference Montgomery's predictions to show that there is a satanic agenda to usher in, not only a counterfeit Messiah, but also a counterfeit Antichrist; a cunningly engineered distraction which will result in keeping the identity of the true Antichrist concealed from the masses.  This deception by design would certainly fit the Bible's description of strong delusion if this false Christ is worshipped as the prophesied Messiah of the Jews, which is in keeping with the entire context of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.  As Christians it is essential that we understand our adversary, Satan, is described in Scripture as more subtle than any other created being.  More than anything else, he is a counterfeiter of God's Word and God's plan, desiring to be worshipped as God. 

With this in mind, is the city of Rome, the seat of Catholicism, being systematically set up to appear - especially to Christians - as the Book of Revelation's Mystery Babylon, the mother of all harlots?  The Malachy prophecy specifically tells us that Rome is the seven-hilled city which will be destroyed and this doctrine is being mass-marketed to the Church as true end-time prophecy and the fulfillment of Revelation 17:9.  Will this hinted-at destruction of Rome be by the hand of God, or will the worshippers of Lucifer, "the Synagogue of Satan," implement their own end-time plan, causing many to believe they are witnessing the judgment of the harlot according to Revelation 17:1?

It is dangerous, to say the least, to put our trust in these man-made scripts.  Meanwhile, the Bible gives us a completely different picture of God's final judgment, clearly pointing to Jerusalem as the great city, the final world empire "which reigneth over the kings of the earth."  This final global empire will rule from Jerusalem.  The Antichrist system will be political but its underlying power will be spiritual.  It will be a perfect counterfeit of end-time events, deceiving all nations and all cultures and those who refuse to come under its authority will do so at the cost of their own lives (Revelation 13:11-15).  Once again, I quote Ernest L. Martin's biblically based study on this subject:

The last world kingdom will be headquartered in Jerusalem, not in Rome, Babylon on the Euphrates or in Byzantium, or anywhere else. The Antichrist will come to Jerusalem. He will look in all appearances as though he is none other than Christ Jesus himself…This is the "great lie" the world will believe that the apostle Paul spoke about in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. The world will think that Satan is none other than Christ. However, I have been telling readers for over thirty years that the first person who claims to be the returned Christ to earth (even if great miracles are associated with him) IS the false Christ, called in other parts of the Holy Scriptures by the title of Antichrist. The false Christ will come to Jerusalem (the "City of Seven Hills") in order to rule the world, NOT to Rome in Italy!  The false Christ will come to a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and his image will be placed in the Holy of Holies. He will point out that this is lawful to do in the Mosaic legislation (Exodus 25:18-22; 26:31; 36:8). 
(http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p000201.htm)



THE VOICE OF THE BRIDEGROOM

As stated at the beginning of this article, there is currently a renewed emphasis by Christian media sources on Rome as the great city of Revelation 17:18, with speculation of Pope Francis possibly being the false prophet or even the Antichrist.  The Malachy prophecy is only one of many so-called prophecies that are leading people in this direction.  While there may be many prophetic voices crying for our attention, there is only one Voice of the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ and His eternal Word.  Which voice will we listen to?

Revelation 19:10 says, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."  The testimony of Jesus' life, including past and future prophetic events, can all be found in the Word of God.  At the birth of Christ angels announced the good news to shepherds in the field.  His coming was proclaimed by a star in the heavens and by wise men from the east.  His ministry, death and resurrection were all foretold by the prophets.  His voice, the voice of the Bridegroom, was heard in the city of Jerusalem, calling first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel as foretold by Jeremiah the prophet (Matthew 10:6, 15:24):
  • Jeremiah 33:10-11 - Thus saith the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place...even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast, the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.
  • Jeremiah 7:34 - Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate. 
  • Jeremiah 16:9 - For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.
  • Jeremiah 25:10 - Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
Incredibly the Bible, which interprets itself, confirms the words of Jeremiah the prophet in Revelation 18:21-23 where we read of the final judgment of Mystery Babylon which the angel began to reveal to John in Revelation 17:1.
  • Revelation 18:21-23 - And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.  And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee;  and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 
The parallel details in these verses are inexplicable (the sound of a millstone and the light of a candle being heard no more at all in the great city that will be judged by God) unless we understand their divine inspiration by the spirit of prophecy, the Holy Spirit, according to Revelation 19:10.  Why will the great city Babylon be found no more at all?  The answer can be found in the Scriptures. 

THE NEW JERUSALEM

"And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God."  Revelation 21:10

From the Old Testament prophets to the Book of Revelation we read that Babylon, the great city, and all the cities of the nations will be judged with fire on the Day of the Lord at the second coming of Christ (Revelation 16:19):
  • 2 Peter 3:7 - But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
  • Isaiah 13:6, 13 - Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty...Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.
As hard as it may be for some Christians to understand this, Revelation 11:8 tells us that Jerusalem today is as "Sodom and Egypt" in the eyes of God.  
  • Revelation 11:8 - And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 
  • Isaiah 13:19-20 - And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.  It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.
  • Isaiah 1:21 - How is the faithful city become a harlot!
Many are teaching that when Jesus returns He will set up His millennial kingdom in the city of Jerusalem that now is, followed by a thousand years of peace on earth.  This is the strong delusion, for Jesus said in John 18:36, "My kingdom is not of this world."  Jesus will not be revealed at His second coming in the desert or in the secret inner chambers of a rebuilt temple.  His coming will be seen and felt by all.  Like lightning that flashes from the east to the west, the whole earth will tremble and shake when He appears in the clouds (Isaiah 2:21, Matthew 24:27, Luke 21:27, Revelation 1:7).  

The Day of the Lord - the second coming of Christ - will come as a thief in the night, when the world is not expecting His return.  The Apostle Peter tells us exactly what will happen at that time. According to 2 Peter chapter 3, we know that Jesus cannot possibly begin His thousand-year reign on this sinful, fallen planet, for the Bible tells us that the heavens and the earth will be destroyed with fire on that day.
  • 2 Peter 3:7, 10-12 - But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men...But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
It is not until Revelation 21 that we again see the words, the holy city and the great city applied to the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven as a bride adorned for her bridegroom:
  • Revelation 21:2, 10 - And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband...And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
It is not an earthly kingdom in the city of Jerusalem that we look to, but the promise of new heavens, a new earth and the New Jerusalem that is the hope of the Church; a holy city where there is no more sin or corruption, where God himself will dwell and where the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ will be the light of all the nations which are saved: 
  • 2 Peter 3:13 - Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
  • John 14:2-3 - In my Father's house are many mansions...I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
  • Hebrews 11:10, 16 - For he (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God...But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
  • Isaiah 65:17 - For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
  • Isaiah 66:22 - For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 
  • Revelation 21:23-24 - And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CHURCH AND FOR THE NATION OF ISRAEL

The study of prophecy is admittedly vast and sometimes "hard to be understood," as 2 Peter 3:16 tells us.  This same passage also warns us about those who "wrest" or twist the Scriptures unto their own destruction.  Truly there are those with an agenda of their own who are using biblical prophecy and sincere Christians, as well as the Jewish people, to build a global political order that will rule through the satanic power of sorcery.  Revelation 18:23 states, "For by thy sorceries were all the nations deceived."

Through Scripture we have seen that Mystery Babylon is a religious and political system that spans the globe; but it is also a city.  "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18)."  Only one city fits the description and that city is Jerusalem.  Jerusalem, not Rome, is the woman riding the beast of Revelation.  As hard as it may be for Christians to hear these things, some possibly for the first time, truth is vital concerning this subject.  The greatest deception the world has ever seen is coming and the Church must stand firm on the Word of God, just as Peter warns, lest we also are "led away with the error of the wicked (2 Peter 3:17)."

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 9:27-29 and 11:7, 25-27 that Israel has been blinded in part until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, yet by the great mercy of God a remnant shall be saved.  This remnant began with Jesus sending His disciples to the lost sheep of Israel and continues to this day through the preaching of the Gospel, to the Jew first and to the Greek (Matthew 10:6, Romans 1:16). "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"  (Romans 11:33) 


"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities (Revelation 18:4)."

Regarding Mystery Babylon, the question must be asked: Is it possible that political support of the modern state of Israel by unsuspecting Christians is actually assisting in the fulfillment of the prophesied Antichrist who will set up a counterfeit millennial kingdom in the city of Jerusalem?  This is a hard saying.  One thing is for sure, "if any man shall say to you, here is Christ, or there...or he is in the desert or in the secret chambers, BELIEVE IT NOT!"  Matthew 24:23-26