Religion’s Clash of the Century
As the Western world looks toward the start of its third millennium in 2001, computed by the corrupt Gregorian calendar, religion is making a dramatic comeback worldwide.
During the period of the peak of British and U.S. economic and military dominance of the world in the 19th century on into the first half of this 20th century, the most aggressive expansion of religion came in the form of the great “Christian” missionary efforts of the Catholic and Protestant churches. Pagan religions were inhibited in their growth and influence wherever Britain and America reached out to assert their economic, political and military dominance. The Catholic and Protestant missionaries rode in on the coattails of the British Empire’s expansion, particularly to establish institutions of learning based on their religious philosophies.
From the mid-20th century, with the demise of the British Empire and the increasingly perceived unwillingness of the U.S. to use its massive firepower to actually win a war, local and national brands of religion began to reassert themselves. The result: heightened ethno-religious conflict.
Meanwhile, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics sought to squelch any religion other than the communist ideology within the whole of Eastern Europe, clear across to Siberia in the north and the Turkish-Iranian border to the south. This situation obtained in Eastern Europe until a Polish pope came on the scene in 1978. Using his powerful charisma, this most political of all popes commenced an aggressive campaign, in consortium with the cia and the Reagan administration in the U.S., to crack the Soviet system. The pope’s war cry to Eastern Europe was, “Return to your roots.” He obviously meant their Holy Roman Empire’s Catholic roots. The rest is history.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the nations of Eastern and southeastern Europe fell out of the Soviet fold in quick succession. The stultifyingly atheistic union speedily collapsed. The pope wasted no time in working dynamically to revive Catholicism in the Eastern European nations, with the result that Roman Catholicism enjoyed a dramatic resurgence. Meanwhile, Eastern and Russian Orthodox religions witnessed their own renaissance, prompting the pope to reach out in an effort to mend the fences which had divided Eastern religions from the “Christian” religion for 1500 years.
In the meantime, Islam had made dramatic strides in sweeping across the crescent of Arabic and Turkish nations in a great rolling revival following the Suez debacle in 1953 and the arrival of Nasser on the scene in 1954. The next major event which shook the Islamic world into embracing radical new forms of Islam was the Iranian revolution of 1979. These, combined with the effects of diminishing British influence, the weakening of U.S. foreign policy and the incursions of Russia into the various cabals influencing Arabic politics have since fostered a prime breeding ground for a new, aggressive brand of Islam, whose chief enemy became the U.S. Yasser Arafat’s cries for “Jihad, jihad” against Israel have also helped to stoke the fires of Islam for support of the Palestinian cause, resulting in the increasing popularity of aggressive Islamic terrorist enterprises. These tend to feed off Arab youth, inspiring them with “heroic” suicidal acts, blowing themselves to bits in the process of delivering a car or truck bomb. Over the past 25 years, commercial jet aircraft, U.S. military barracks and, most recently, U.S. embassies have been their targets. Yet, despite its mushrooming growth, the Islamic movement has remained disparate and fractious, without cohesive pan-Islamic leadership.
Nevertheless, the various brands of Mohommaden religion reach increasingly into Europe to cause consternation within that continent’s dominant powers, the Germany/Vatican-dominated EU and Russia. The Catholic Church has recently voiced concern over Islam’s incursions northward clear into Rome, the site of the Vatican state. “A bishop at a Vatican synod yesterday launched a broadside against Islam, bluntly accusing Muslims of plotting to dominate Europe and de-Christianize the continent…. ‘How can one not see in all this a clear program of expansion and re-conquest?’” (National Post, Oct. 14).
Suddenly, at the turn of another century, the world witnesses the scene set for a most dramatic fulfillment of end-time prophecy involving competing religions.
The Vatican is on the verge of launching its greatest crusade for Catholicism in over 700 years: the jubilee year. Eastward, Russia, deeply concerned about the northward push of Islam through the region of the Caucasus, is mounting increasingly aggressive military campaigns to stem the flow. By the 1980s it was estimated that 50 million Soviet citizens were of Muslim ancestry.
And, having developed rapidly over the past 45 years from a non-entity into a powerful force to be reckoned with, the Islamic hordes of the king of the south are now readily identifiable on the world scene. Trumpet Editor in Chief Gerald Flurry has pointed to Iran, old Persia, as probably being the actual end-time king of the south, with the surrounding crescent of Islamic states from central Africa clear on up to the Caucasus mountains in support.
Over the century the situation has developed. Now, the evidence of the impending fulfillment of Daniel 11:40-45—the clash of the “king of the north” and the “king of the south”—is there for all to see. Truly, the future of global politics will be inspired by and driven by religion, preparing the way for that time, just ahead, when Catholicism, Islam and Communism, the three greatest religions of the world, crash together in that great final conflict on the plain of Megiddo in Israel.