The next phase of American government is yet in our future, but it will surely come. As the Roman strength caved in from its own wickedness, and was dissolved by its own inner factions, so will America undergo collapse and disintegration. But out of the ruins of Rome arose something more wicked and controlling than pagan Rome ever knew. It was the final step in Satan’s overthrow of the world. There arose a power to hold the people more firmly bound than any dictatorship. It was a religious power that bound their consciences.
Austere post-apostolic Christianity, full of hearts unwatered by God’s grace and parched, developed into a mixture of New Testament Sanhedrin and Egyptian asceticism and superstitions, and was the full fruition of the prophecy of Daniel 11. “The king shall do according to his will: and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation by accomplished; for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his father nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all...He shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain.” Dan 11:36-45.
This abomination of desolation was yet in the future for Paul, for he spoke of the same system of iniquity, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God,” that the day of Christ’s coming “shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thess 2:4,3. This was accomplished in the 1260 years of the reign of the Roman Papacy, from the establishment of the Papacy by Emperor Justinian in 538 to its fall in 1798 by Napolean. Yet there is an indication that it will re-occur. For in Daniel 11, in “the time of the end,” the secular forces of the world push back this medieval religious power described in verses 36 through 39, but only temporarily. For that religious power comes again with increased force the second time and the secular power, which is finally over-powered and vanquished by powerful religion, never returns. The earth is cleansed of the incestuous paganism once and for all. And a religion of self-centeredness reigns uncontested. Dan.11:40-45.
At one time the catholic CITY OF GOD ruled the earth. Through its superstition, and its mingled worldliness, Europe was wrapped in darkness. The people were held by the irons of ignorance. A champion was unable to rise up and topple the government, because everyone believed that God was behind it all, and no one wanted to fight against God. For over a millennium, the “holy” CITY OF GOD enjoyed an uncontested reign on earth. The people were left in a spiritual squalor without a conscience to help remove them. There was no real need for character improvement; it was assumed they were all reasonably holy since they were part of the “Holy” Roman Empire. The wicked people were assumed to be Moslems and Jews and Arian heretics. But the Papacy was destroyed by the Protestant Reformation, “the king of the south” of Dan 11:40, and by its separation of church and state.
We shall soon see another papacy set up on the earth. This time it will also have a Protestant flavor to it. As Rome influenced the state to enforce her dogmas, so will Protestantism follow the same method for success of her doctrines. She has been playing with this method for a long time now. The Protestant Papacy is already becoming strong with a small group of people and the innocent beast with lamb’s horns of Revelation 13 is already whispering like a dragon. We have already heard the call of alarm with the Moral Majority, Religious Right, Christian Coalition, Promise Keepers, the Million-Man Marches, and the recent religious attacks against the U.S. Supreme Court. Their cry is the same—“God is upset with our nation, and a righteous grass-roots movement must force the government to enact laws to aid our cause of righteousness.”
They will succeed. The nightclubs and Go-Go’s will change their order of business or close their doors. Churches will be full. Football cheerleaders will dress more modestly. Pornography will go underground. Dissenters will be fined; the most vocal will be quietly removed. Legislators will all subscribe to a second millennium of holiness or lose their political pull. Lucifer will appear and bless the ecclesiastical and enthusiastic ones and punish those who oppose the “godly” regime.
Worldwide atheism is the darkest it has been since the fall of man. A personal knowledge of God is harder to arrive at now than ever before. The destitution of capricious America has taken global proportions. The warfare of spiritual forces to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary is underway. Angels from the realm of glory battle to push back the encroaching darkness on those who desire a right standing before God. Humans are not stirring up their hearts to cooperate with the heavenly agencies. They are in a spiritual stupor. Many of God’s people act as if nothing too terrible is happening in their church, that the state of spirituality is as good as can be expected. When the Protestant papacy arises these will see no need, nor have the courage, to resist it. They will quickly succumb, lest they lose their homes and bank accounts, government entitlements and retirements. Some may try to heed the cry, Come out of her My people; but their untried faith will be only an illusion. Lack of preparation for the crisis and difficult circumstances will reveal that they can’t live without their goodly Babylonish luxuries and wedges of gold, their reputations and social standing, as they sadly return to the darkness and are forever lost. Are we ready for the latter rain and the time of trouble? How much calumny can we take? How long can we live without our conveniences? air-conditioning? hot water? pre-packaged food and grocery stores? Do we feel at home in the wild? Do we love our veggies, in the wild?
How long can we stand to read God’s Word? How much communion with heaven do we love? Are we a product of God’s love? Has service to others become paramount in our lives? Have we learned how to give up and place all our burdens and faults in God’s hands, to wait upon Him, and patiently allow Him to make the changes in us? Have we discovered that Salvation by Faith works or is it still only a good theory to us? The message of Salvation by Faith is God’s last agency to prepare us for that tumultuous days before He comes.
Only those whose hearts respond to the love of Jesus are the salt of the earth. No one else fits the billet. If we had that love, and have lost it; if we have replaced it with a high-strung or liturgical religious substitute, there is plenty of salt reserves still for us. But we must throw out the old. If our salt is stale and repulsive to us and to every one around us, then let’s get rid of it and go back to Christ and get some new. Isn’t that the offer from the mouth of our Saviour? We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus for our shortcomings and mistakes. This is the very foundation of a life in Christ. If we aren’t willing to do this we have nothing to do with Him. If there is anything worth struggling for during Jacob’s troubles, it is this. Life’s greatest paradox is that it is the feelings of our unworthiness that make us so wonderfully valuable in God’s estimation. The unworthiness in the heart of Jesus compelled our Father to exclaim, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” But who will believe our report?
The Reformation is a parallel to the final phase of government for God’s people, a Theocracy. It took hundreds of martyrs before the battle turned toward the forces of truth. The Reformers were pilgrims and strangers in the earth. They had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom the world was not worthy;) they wandered in deserts and in mountains and in dens and caves of the earth.
Finally the change came. The Protestants in their young organization were still hedged in with danger of being brutally wiped out but God was their protection. This new government had a constitution—Sola Scriptura. And their congress was a priesthood of believers. Their blood paid for the operation of self-government. Their Leader was a still small voice, unheard by the world. Yet they moved the world.
The last form of government to be set up on the earth is only for a very small remnant, and is borne out of tribulation. It will be one where sin cannot abide without being violently swept away, one whose only antidote for darkness is the admission of light. Before the throne comes the cross, and before redemption must come a baptism by fire. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit brings the ability to withstand the final struggle surrounding the cause of obedience to God’s Law. The good tidings of the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people dries up the wide human river supplying spiritual Babylon and prepares the way for the kings of the east. (Rev. 16:12). These good tidings out of the east brings consternation into the heart of Satan of the reality of Jesus’ return and the big battle to retain control of humanity. (Dan. 11:44;Matt. 24:27).
At that time Michael stands up and there is a great time of trouble with which no previous times of trouble have ever compared. It has not entered into the mind of any man the trouble that convulses this world when the four winds are let loose and there are no more barriers between humanity and Satan’s rage. Billions on earth will exist with not an iota of conviction from the Holy Spirit. Simultaneously, there is an unbelievable demonstration of self-sacrificing love by the people who are called and chosen by Christ, and faithful. This is a people who can speak for Jesus and live godly lives because the Lamb is kept ever before their minds. Through this demonstration God brings up a fire within Satan, and lets him begin the destruction of humanity disloyal to God (Ez 28:18) to reveal the character of a government completely opposed to heaven. It will be like winding up a toy and letting it go. “Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.” “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”(Dan. 11:44; 12:10).
“At that time shall thy people be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, and some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Dan. 12:1-3.
At midnight, when the night is densest and all God’s stars have come out, then through the troubled heavens is seen the small dark cloud about the size of a man’s hand. Our redemption draws near. The controversy is almost over. The marathon is coming to its end. Its only through God’s grace that we hold out through the convulsions of nature and the elements melting with fervent heat. But the plague doesn’t come near us, not a hair of our head is singed, and the smell of fire does not pass upon us. We are found worthy of translation. In the presence of the great King all our selfishness is purged, never to feel its tug again. His purity, His majesty, His strength fill our thoughts. “His head...His locks...His eyes... His cheeks...His lips...His hands... His mouth...Yea, He is altogether lovely.” He is all we will ever see. We will never part from Him again. The separation from Jesus is ended, no glass to any more look through dimly. “And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” Rev. 22:4. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know, that when we see Him, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1Jn. 3:2. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.” Rev. 3:12. “And the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” Dan. 7:27. “The stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth...And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Dan. 2:35,44. “And I saw a new heaven and new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea; I John saw the holy city new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband...And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful...and there shall be no more curse but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.” Rev. 21, 22. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.