Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters….” (Revelation 17:1)
You have seen it—the coexist bumper stickers—that feature symbols of a number of major world religions spelling out the message: “coexist.” I sympathize somewhat with the intent—if we mean that we should not hate others and grant them freedom of religion—that is not bad. God gives us freedom to choose—to even choose to be wrong. True faith cannot be coerced. I would warn my readers, however, that although you are free to choose your faith, you are not free to choose the consequences. Belief in Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to heaven—all other roads lead to hell.
The message of the coexist movement is actually more sinister. Most who brandish it on their bumper sticker mean that all religions are equally valid—that all roads lead to deity—however you perceive that deity to be. Come together in one world religion and global governance will be the increasing demand. Revelation 17 tells us that day is coming—and far from being the utopia many imagine—it will be a coexist catastrophe.
The reason is that in the depraved heart of man, in a world under the curse, everything becomes twisted and bent toward evil. The one world government becomes tyranny and not freedom. The one world religion promotes intolerance in the name of tolerance. As observed in this text, when an unholy marriage of church and state takes place, government will give religion a ride as long as it serves its purpose, and then will turn on the religious system and devour it. That is the catastrophe of the coexist movement—it is a fantasy that ends in the worst fanaticism.
Following the rapture of the church—which I am looking for any day now—the Bride of Christ will be caught up to be with her Bridegroom. The remarkable thing is that the next Sunday there will still be churches open for business. Those left behind follow the doctrine of the apostates and not the Apostles. Quickly, as the Beast—the Antichrist—consolidates his power, the world religious system of the Harlot—Mystery Babylon—converts the world to the worship of the Beast (v.1-5).
There will be those who resist, however—and their lot will be that of those dissenters through the ages—who have sought to worship the true God and gave allegiance to Christ exclusively—and that is persecution and martyrdom (v.6).
Babylon is the wicked womb that has birthed all false religion—and she has spawned many perverse children. You recall the tower built in Babel—a great idol temple that sought to elevate man to the heavens in order to supplant God. In the last days, a final attempt is made to restore it. Rome—the city of seven hills (v.7-9)—will be the headquarters. Did you know that pagan Rome with her persecution of Christians was nothing compared to the torment and death unleashed by the church of Rome that supplanted the heathen empire? A marriage of an apostate church and pagan religion promoted by a decaying empire looking to preserve its power was the result—a counterfeit church. Its final manifestation will be the counterfeit church of the coexist religion. Once religion serves its purpose, the world’s leaders will chew her up and spit her out (v.10-18). I don’t want to belong to that church!