The moment when the Antichrist proclaims himself to be god, the whole world will be astonished. We are told they will follow that beast and believe, especially when he recovers from a seemingly fatal head wound, though in a disfigured way- (Revelation 13:3; Zechariah 11:17). However it is not so astonishing. It is the logical conclusion to falling away from God. He simply allows people to follow their own desires to their natural end: total evil.
As the run-up to that moment proceeds apace, we see plenty of apostasy in the world already. Any and all religions, philosophies, and modes of higher thought are venerated, while the only true way, following Jesus, is denigrated. The global climate change conference held in Cancun Mexico this week opened with a prayer to the Mayan moon goddess Ixchel.
In January, a terrible earthquake occurred in Haiti. Though many were killed, it awakened a spiritual revival and many repented and came to Jesus. However, almost a year on, the Haitians have endured aftermath of the earthquake, a devastating cholera plague, riots, violence, water shortage and famine. We read, "Fear overtaking some Haitians in spiritual realm. "Throughout the eleven months from the January earthquake to the November elections, millions of lives have been lost in Haiti. Homes have collapsed, children have been orphaned, church leaders have fallen ill. No one can blame those who have managed to survive the extensive trauma for being at least a bit nervous. The suffocating fear that now chokes the country, though, has led to some troubling spiritual outcomes. For one thing, many believers have been too scared even to go to church. "[Fear] sets the stage for the other false religions to flare up, as they've been recently hearing more of the voodoo drums at night."
In other apostasy news, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and noted atheist Christopher Hitchens debated religion this week.
"Mr Blair, a Catholic convert, said faith was a force for good and it was "futile" to attempt to drive it out. But Mr Hitchens, who is terminally ill with cancer, argued religion forced people into doing terrible things. In a vote after the debate, the audience voted two-to-one in Mr Hitchens' favour. A 23-country poll paid for by the debate's Canadian organisers suggests the world is evenly split on the issue."
Evenly split...how sad! Note this news story from 2007 "After 30 years as a closet Catholic, Blair finally puts faith on the front burner
It is stated in the article, "His spiritual awakening goes back at least 30 years, to his time as an undergraduate at Oxford, but due to political considerations Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism has been a long time coming." In Matthew 8 a disciple of Jesus said he would like to follow Him but wanted to bury his father first. The disciple's father was not laying dead on a slab somewhere but what the disciple was saying was that he wanted to wait until his father died and then he would follow Jesus. Jesus said "Let the dead bury their own dead." (Mt 8:21-22). In another case, the rich young man didn't want to sell all he had to follow Jesus though he seemed zealous enough in the beginning of the conversation. (Mt 19:22) The hitch came when it became obvious he would have to give up wealth and disappointed, he turned away. Jesus demands that we be ready to give up our earthly possessions, money, and way of life to follow Him, or they will not inherit eternal life. For thirty years Blair stated a faith but was not willing to give all to Jesus to enact that faith. He wanted his political career and all that came with it, fame, wealth, attention. Blair lost the debate 2-to-1 because you cannot defend that which you do not know.
Speaking of Catholicism (and apostasy), Pope Benedict reveals his mystical side
From Ministry Values.com - "Pope Benedict XVI held a general audience this week in which he revealed a side of himself which is very real but, unfortunately, quite unknown to many who receive their information about the Pope from the secular press: he revealed his mystical side. The mystical side of the Pope came out this Wednesday when Benedict admirably spoke of Julian of Norwich, a medieval English mystic and visionary, as well as when he gave an enthusiastic shout out (on the same day) to Croatian pilgrims from the village of Medjugorje, where six modern visionaries have reported experiencing the supernatural phenomenon of Marian apparitions since they were children in 1981. Pope Benedict spoke of Julian of Norwich—who is considered one of the greatest English mystics in history and the first woman to write a book in the English language—with great affection, citing her work “Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love.” Julian, who lived between the years 1342-1416, was an anchoress in the town of Norwich who experienced mystical visions of Jesus Christ when she was 30. Her visions resulted in revelations that were recorded as theology in her book on Divine Love."
An anchoress is a type of hermit living in a cell attached to the church, engaged in contemplative prayer. They are walled-in, never to come out. They are fed by the Church and are expected to produce evidence of their wisdom either verbally by dispensing advice to comers who knock on a small grate which she slides back, or written form through books. Julian's book, "Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love" (circa 1393) is believed to be the first book written by a woman in the English language. She had her visions on what she believed to be her deathbed, but recovered, and wrote them down, finalizing her theology 16 years later.
One falsity that Julian taught was this: she believed that sin was necessary in life because it brings one to self-knowledge, which leads to acceptance of the role of God in one’s life. Julian taught that humans sin because they are ignorant or naive, not because they are evil.. Secondly, Julian saw no wrath in God. She believed wrath only existed in humans, but that God forgives us for this...Lastly, Julian’s theology was controversial in regard to her belief in God as mother. So you can see the issue with one of the leaders of the (perceived) Christian world, the Pope, admiring this anchoress and her false theology!
She was the first notable person noted as Universalist, believing that there is one universal truth: God is love, and ONLY love. She, and most Universalists believe that when Jesus spoke of God's judgment upon the wicked, he did so with words that implied a limited, corrective punishment. This is not true. His wrath is real and He will not let the guilty go unpunished. The smoke of the torment of the lost goes up forever. (Nahum 1:2-6; Rev 19:2-3). Julian was troubled by the question of what would befall those who had never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The answer she received was that whatever God does is done in love, and therefore "that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."
Beloved, most importantly in these end times, mystical visions and experiences are NEVER theology. That is why we in the West are having the issue today of a diluted theology from the Charismatics who promote the Word of Life gospel, prosperity Gospel, and all the other perversions of the true Gospel. If the canon of scripture is not closed at John the Revelator's warning in Rev 22:18, then you can and you will accept anything as theology, and build a faith upon t something will turn out to be sand and fog. We are told that satan comes as a minister of righteousness, and that in the Tribulation even the elect can be deceived because some supernatural workings will be so convincing and so powerful. NOT EVERYTHING SUPERNATURAL IS FROM GOD! Beware falsity.
I do not believe Islam is the major threat to Christianity, the "god is love" idea is the major threat and I beleive will be the prevalent religion in the tribulation. Not Islam. In Islam, no one is assured of attaining heaven (except through jihad). It is a works-based religion, which includes worshiping Allah and prayer, among other of the 5 pillars. You work and you pray and you obey but a Muslim will never know if they 'made it' until they face Muhammad, and even then he is said to be capricious. He may deny you entry. The only surety of attaining heaven is to die in jihad, a martyr's death, killing non-Muslims.
As far as the Tribulation religion goes, to which would you rather succumb, a religious structure as embodied by Iran's President Ahmadinejad in which you are never sure you will get to heaven, unless you blow up apostates? Or one in which is embodied in Pope Benedict, where "that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well", no repentance required?
The only way to stay true to Jesus and not fall away is to continually read His word. Study what He said to us, and you will be well.