Is Asia Warming Up to Pope Francis?

Are we now one more baby step closer to a worldwide religion?

Pope Francis at Vargihna, BrazilPhoto by Tânia Rêgo/ABr, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil license

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

Rev 13:11-13

Prophecy shows that at the time of the end, there will really be ecumenism for a time.  However, it will be a destructive and false religion that will aid the Beast power of Revelation to wage war and commit atrocities.

There is a False Prophet that aids the Beast, more popularly called The Antichrist, whose main mission is to direct all of the world to worship the Beast/Antichrist figure.

It might be one thing to gather all of Europe together under one ecumenical umbrella.  Lately, the playing footsie with American Pentecostals/Charismatics has endeared the current pope to a segment of even the US religious.  However, the Middle East and Asia will be harder nuts to crack.

In fact, it is an interesting thing that both at the beginning and end of the Millennium, a huge army comes against Jerusalem.  They are apparently led by Gog and Magog, which traditionally means to the northeast of Israel, the area occupied by Russia and China.  Why them?  Could it be that Eastern religions and philosophies have historically been so different than that of the West that they will be the first and most zealous of the deceived?

Even the idea of all of Asia coming together under one religion sort of boggles the mind in the first place.  India, the nation with the second largest population in the world, is really made up of several tribes and clans that were artificially brought together under British rule.  As a result, “Hinduism” really isn’t a religion at all but an entire family of religions covering literally thousands of gods and goddesses.  China, the most populous nation, has had in its past  Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism as its three major religions.  However, these often are incorporated into more local animistic beliefs in many towns.

Yet, prophecy indicates that for at least 3-1/2 years, there really will be a one world religion that will vigorously persecute any other.

I have speculated that Pope Francis could be “the pope” who helps bring it all together.  It may be that that speculation is wrong, however.  He is talking a bit more openly and uncharacteristically about his age and health problems, and he has even hinted that he might retire one day.

Still, he has brought a worldwide fascination that rivals even that of Pope John Paul II!  On the same day, CNN posted two articles about Asia and the pope.  First, it posted “K-Pop stars gear up for Pope Francis’ visit with papal tributes“.  It turns out that about 10% of South Korea is Catholic!  In fact, many Korean pop singers, Catholic and Protestant, seem to be very outspoken about their beliefs, which is quite a contrast to the current situation in the West!

On his way there, the pope’s airplane had to request permission to fly over China.  In “The future of Christianity in China: Sino-theology and the pope“, we can read:

Detentions, the kidnapping of bishops, tearing down churches — these are the actions against Christians China has been guilty of.

Even the pope has not been welcome in Chinese airspace in the last few decades.

So when Pope Francis was given permission to fly over China on Thursday on his way to South Korea, many saw it as a sign of hope for religious freedom — especially Catholicism — in China.

So, this was quite an event!

Of course, this is hardly anything like a warming up to the pope.  As the article also points out, roughly half of the Chinese hoping to travel to South Korea to actually see the pope have been barred from doing so.

Still, thousands of protesters have shown up as China dismantles crucifixes and even churches as part of its “building code” campaign.  Unofficial estimates, since official ones are very difficult to come by, are that religion in general is on the upswing in spite of China officially being an atheistic country.  It could one day threaten to strain the country to the breaking point along religious lines.

This may well not be “the pope” who will unite across cultural and religious fronts, but it is looking more and more like he will add to the foundation put down by Pope John Paul II in strengthening the Catholic Church and her influence worldwide.

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