Coming World Crises --Part 3

Coming World Crises
Part 3

James Gunn

These are the notes of lectures given to the Men’s Bible Class which meets bimonthly during the winter at Central Gospel Hall, 25 Charles St. E., Toronto, Canada.

“Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” As a light shining in a dark place, during these lectures prophecy illuminated areas which to the human mind seem quite obscure:

The Future of the Ecumenical Movement.
The Return and the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Future of the Nations.
Europe in Prophecy.
Who is Anti-Christ?
Russia Invades Israel!
Will the Church Go Through the Tribulation?
The Millennial Reign of Christ.
Climax of the Ages.

(Continued from last number)

The future of the professing Church: At the rapture of the Church, the salt of the earth and the illuminaries in this darkness will be removed. This, of course, does not mean that religious activities will cease; 2 Thessalonians chapter two provides ample evidence that there will be a continuance of religion, even although this may revert to idolatry. It should be remembered that the Lord Jesus came through the Hebrew race (Rom. 9:5), and that so also will the anti-Christ. The Bible, the Word of Truth, was produced mostly by the Hebrews, and so also will be the lie (2 Thess. 2:11). There will be much religion in Jerusalem, the Jewish centre (2 Thess. 2:4); there also will be much religion at Rome, the centre of the Western Nations (Rev. 17).

In the Book of the Revelation two women are mentioned. Throughout the New Testament the Church usually is considered in the feminine. The true Church was won by Christ in His love and to secure her for Himself, He gave His life (Eph. 5:25). She is viewed as a chaste virgin espoused to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). In her glory she appears as a Bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2); every feature is characterized by purity and beauty.

The false church is likewise pictured as a woman, a fallen woman. In Revelation 17 this false church is described as proud, wealthy, corrupt, defiled, murderous and abominable. That chapter deals with her future activities, her judgment and end.

In ancient Babylon there was a real ecumenical movement, but God ended that movement by the confusion of tongues. Eventually, according to the Prophetic Word, there will be a more extensive ecumenical movement. In Revelation 17 the false church, the woman, and the beast upon which she is seated, the civil powers, are one. The woman is seen to be in the saddle on the beast’s back, but while he carries and supports her she has him under her control. Here is ecumenical Christendom. All denominational distinctions have disappeared and only one great ecclesiastical system remains, and that system headed up by the Papacy.

The characteristics of the future ecumenical movement:

    1. It belongs to and functions upon the earth (Rev. 17:1 and 5). She sits upon many waters, a symbol of the troubled nations. The true Church is heavenly in her origin and destiny.

    2. She is the mother, therefore the parent source, of all spiritual harlotry and abomination (V. 5). The bride of Christ in contrast is a chaste virgin (2 Cor. 11:2).

    3. Spiritual Babylon seeks world supremacy; she sits upon the waters (V. 1). This suggests her international sphere of operations. She also is pictured as sitting upon the beast (V. 3), and this suggests her confederate influence; she rules over the individual kings of the earth (V. 18). Here we see her national power. How contrary all this is to the position of the true Church of Christ! “As the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands” (Eph. 5:24).

    4. This anti-church of the future is idolatrous. The word “abomination” used here of apostate Christendom (17:4-5) is the word used frequently in the Old Testament to indicate God’s abhorance of idolatry and immorality of all kinds. “And there were sodomites in the land, and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 14:24). “But he (Ahaz) walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abomination of the heathen, … he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places and on the hills, and under every green tree” (2 Kings 16:3-4). Maryolatry is but one aspect of this great wickedness.

    5. The Roman church was, and again will be, intolerant of all who refuse to bow before her. She is drunk with the blood of the martyrs (Rev. 17:6).

The description of Babylon, the harlot in Revelation 18-19, corresponds to the Roman Catholc Church geographically, religiously and materialistically.

Indubitably, the ecumenical aspirations of the present day church leaders will be successful in the unification of all Christendom.

The end of the false ecumenical church: The destruction of Babylon, the great ecumenical monstrosity, is recorded twice in the Book of the Revelation; the first time, in chapter 17; the second time, in chapter 18. A comparison of these two records shows that chapter 17 gives the fall of Babylon from the divine perspective. In chapter 17 she is destroyed by the Western Nations represented by the beast (Vs. 8-15). God puts into their hearts a revulsion toward the religious system which has dominated them, and which they had supported.

In chapter 18 these same nations lament the fall of Babylon and bemoan their loss. The kings of the earth lament her destruction (Rev. 18:9-10) for she had been a diplomatic aid to them. The men of commerce mourn her end (Rev. 18:11-13) for the world markets are affected. Finally, those engaged in transportation and shipping join in the general languishing (Rev. 18:17-19).

From a comparison of these two records, it becomes clear that eventually the nations which have profited most through the ecumenical apostate church, against their own wishes destroy her; they carry out the divine intention in spite of their own wills. Just as men had to end the first great ecumenical effort at Babel for God influenced their minds, even so that great ecumenical religious system, the pride of man, will be destroyed by man because God will influence his mind to execute that which is loathsome to God.