When discussing end-times scenarios, and in particular the subject of rigorous persecution, often overlooked is the role that religious “Christians” are being shaped today to play against the true body of Christ. The concept of a coming war between Christians could seem beyond credulity if it were not for what the inspired texts of scripture themselves convey. Jesus predicted a time when “whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:2), and in Matthew 24, He told His disciples:
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all [groups of people] for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. (Matthew 24:9–12) Elsewhere in the Bible it describes this coming era of Great Tribulation as when the Antichrist will have power “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Rev. 13:7; see also Dan. 7:21).
Immediately following those verses, there is description of a second beast with “two horns like a lamb” who speaks “like a dragon” (Rev. 13:11). Most evangelical scholars identify this second “beast” as the leader of the end-times religious institution who will be under Satan’s control. The phrase “like a lamb” indicates he will pretend to represent the Lamb of God and the Christian church, while the expression “speaks like a dragon” identifies the devilish source of his authority and power. This final, global, super-church leader will be a murderer not unlike the Antichrist, and will cause “that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Rev. 13:15).
Thus, the book of Revelation outlines how the political figure of Antichrist derives ultranational dominance from the world’s religious faithful through the influence of an ecclesiastical leader (also called the False Prophet) who will not hesitate to swim in the blood of the genuine saints of God.
As the world races toward its momentous end-times encounter between good and evil (known in the Bible as Armageddon), a deepening antagonism is developing worldwide against conservative Christians. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center report, this hostility now includes the United States, which elevated from the lowest category of government restrictions on Christian expressions as of mid-2009 to an advanced category in only the last three years. This trend may point to one of the most overlooked aspects of Bible prophecy a war that ultimately pits born-again believers against religious Christians.