First, I want to say I’m not trying to be controversial. For the record, I grew up Catholic. I spent almost two decades in that church. I’ve spent the last three in Protestant churches, of various denominations and non-denominations, the kind my mother calls “no-name brands.” I’ve seen enough to know that not one of them is perfect or problem-free.
Not one of them has got doctrine all right. Some have a lot wrong. I admire the way the Catholic church has stood up against moral wrongs, sometimes way ahead of their Protestant brothers and sisters. I admire the many expressions of faith in the Protestant denominations. I believe that in the coming Tribulation those denominational differences will be burned away through the intense suffering of that time, and that the believers who go through those days will be the best example of the unity that Jesus prayed His followers would have.
When I wrote One Will Be Taken, I wanted to show the reality of Christian faith does not depend on denomination. It’s not about how or where you were baptized, or praying a salvation prayer. It is about faith in Jesus Christ and his payment for sin at Calvary. I have friends and family on both sides of the aisle who I know truly know and love Jesus Christ.
When you look at the first few chapters of Revelation, there is a correlation between the seven churches there, and the historical path of the Christian church. I believe we are in the last age of the Laodicean church. Laodicea means “people ruling,” and that is certainly an accurate label for characterizing the church of our time.
In writing about the rapture of the church and the events leading up to the Tribulation, I thought about what would be the best vehicle for the False Prophet to rise to power. Here’s how one of my characters describe it:
“So, what do you think of all that is going on in our world now, my friend?” He asked Rafa. Never had he met a man who had such a wide grasp of Scripture. Rafa had studied to be a rabbi before coming to know Yeshua. He had whole passages of the Old and New Testament committed to memory. He was a well-respected teacher in their community and until the attacks last year, had travelled all over the world-teaching.
“Well, things do seem to be lining up for war, don’t they, Joseph?” Rafa answered. “What do you think of Billings Mason?”
Joseph shook his head and made a sour face.”Rafa, you and I both know where his power comes from! Isn’t he packaged well, too? Now he’s gone and become a Catholic priest, have you heard? Why on earth would he do that?”
Rafa snorted. “I’m sure nothing on earth gave him that idea! Think about it, Joseph. There is already talk of making him a bishop because of the miracles he’s doing. Once Islam is discredited, and it will be, and once the real Church, those who truly believe in Jesus Christ are taken up before the Great Tribulation, every society on earth will be in shambles.”
“How do you mean?”
“Once all that happens, there will be no institution for mankind to rely upon. Islam will have lost its power. All true believers in Jesus Christ will be gone. All of the smaller denominations will have folks left, of course, but they are too small and insignificant. Losing large numbers of members will make them ineffectual. Only the Catholic church will be left, a world-wide organization. It’s so large; losing its believers will not cripple it. All its true believers will be gone, leaving unsaved men to steward its vast treasures. Whoever the Antichrist is, Joseph, he’s going to need a lot of money.”
In One Will Be Taken, the False Prophet uses the disappearance of the world’s Christians to gain the powerful title of Pope Peter II, and siphons off the wealth of that institution in order to fund the rise to power of his master. In the sequel, One Will Be Left, Billings Mason deconstructs the structure of the Catholic church and leads the world into one religion that appeals to the masses, a universal religion which has the appearance of goodness and godliness, as he prepares the world for its savior.
As the storyline progresses, the new believers in Jesus unite and prepare for the coming Tribulation. Like the early Church, they experience great suffering, but also great miracles. I hope you join them in their journey!