In Revelation 17, the Bible reveals that during the Tribulation there will be a false religion that will dominate the world stage leading countless numbers astray. In Revelation, John records that this false religion was revealed to him in a vision as a prostitute or harlot riding a scarlet-colored beast. Like John when he saw the vision of the “Great Prostitute” in the wilderness, biblical scholars today marvel at her. There have been several theories throughout the centuries as to her identity, but one of the most common suggestions that the Roman Catholic Church will be revived and become the religion of the Antichrist during the end times. Also known as, the “Mystery Babylon the Great”. There are three basic reasons why I believe that Islam not the Roman Catholic Church is the best candidate for the Antichrist’s religion.
The first reason is that the Bible clearly presents the Antichrist’s theology. John writes that the Antichrist will be one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah and who denies His divinity (1 John 2:22). Now, I understand that the Roman Catholic Church has some strange obviously man-made doctrines (Mariology, the pope, purgatory, confession, etc.), but you will never hear the Roman Catholic Church deny the trinity. At the beginning and end of every Catholic prayer, Catholics make the sign of the cross to remind them of the doctrine of the trinity.
The Catholic Church as always taught, stood for, and even in some cases, died for the doctrines of the trinity, the deity of Christ, and that through His shed blood on the cross, Jesus is the Savior of the world. There is a better chance of Donald Trump declaring that Joe Biden was rightfully and fairly elected as president of the United States than the Vatican denying the deity of Christ or salvation through His sacrifice on the cross… Every Sunday at Mass Catholic priests declare, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” There is a crucifix placed high in a place of prominence in every Catholic church to remind people about the sacrifice of Jesus that saves them from their sins. Such a religion despite its other strange man-made traditions, hardly fits John’s description of an “Antichrist” who denies that Jesus is the Savior and the Son of God.
Islam on the other hand, believes everything the Bible teaches about Jesus (virgin birth, miracles, healings, second coming, etc.) except that Islam denies the doctrine that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins. That is as John wrote in his epistle, the very definition of the doctrine of the Antichrist. If someone were forced to choose which religion, Catholicism or Islam, rejected Jesus as the Savior and His divinity, the choice would without question be Islam.
The second reason I think it is unlikely that Catholicism is the false religion of the last days is because the Bible describes a confederacy of Middle Eastern nations during the end times. If you look that end times prophecies, the nations that the Bible says will make up the Antichrist’s kingdom, none of them are European/Western nations. All of them are from the Middle East or North Africa (Daniel 11:41-43, Micah 5:5, Ezekiel 38-39). They are all Muslim countries. Sometimes people forget the Tribulation and the end times in general, is very Israel focused. In fact, the Tribulation is an answer to Daniel’s prayer asking God for forgiveness for Israel’s idolatry and deliverance from Babylonian oppression (Daniel 9). The nations that the Bible describes as key players during the end times are all Arab nations that surround Israel.
Lastly, the third reason I reject the Roman Catholic Church as a candidate for Babylon is because of Islam’s explosive growth. There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, most of them in the Middle East. There are only 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, most of them in North and South America. Catholicism is declining while Islam on the other hand is the fastest growing religion in the world. If we are to believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the “Great Harlot” of Revelation 17, then we have to believe that these 1.2 billion and shrinking Catholics will convert these 1.8 billon Muslims and growing to Catholicism. That doesn’t make any sense.
Catholics are being beheaded (the method of execution in Revelation) by Muslims in the Middle East for not denying the doctrines of the trinity, the deity of Christ, and His crucifixion. Just recently, leaders around the world are concerned that ISIS and its affiliates are taking over Western Africa. The “beast” is rising… Are we to believe that the deception we will face in the last days comes from the church of the people who are being beheaded because of the name of Jesus and not the ones beheading them because of the name of Jesus? Honestly, there is no way to know who the Antichrist is or his religion until he decides to show his demonic face. The idea that the Roman Catholic Church is the Great Harlot in Revelation 17 is intriguing, it’s just not biblical nor does it make any sense.
 Clarence Larkin, The Book of Revelation (Coppell: Pantianos Classics, 2021), 121.
 “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, accessed June 25, 2021, https://www.usccb.org/sites/default/files/flipbooks/catechism/64/.
 “How Is Jesus Perceived In Islam? – Muslim Unity Center,” Muslim Unity Center – Where Faith, Family and Fun Come Together, accessed June 25, 2021, https://www.muslimunitycenter.org/how-is-jesus-perceived-in-islam/.
 “Muslims and Islam: Key Findings in the U.S. and Around the World,” Pew Research Center, last modified December 8, 2020, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/09/muslims-and-islam-key-findings-in-the-u-s-and-around-the-world/.
 Why Muslims Are the World’s Fastest-growing Religious Group,” Pew Research Center, last modified May 30, 2020, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/06/why-muslims-are-the-worlds-fastest-growing-religious-group/.
 “Isis-linked Groups Open Up New Fronts Across Sub-Saharan Africa,” The Guardian, last modified June 25, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/25/isis-linked-groups-open-up-new-fronts-across-sub-saharan-africa.