The Coming World Church

Eschatological study by Pastor Wesley Darby



INTRO: A revolutionary struggle has been taking place in Christendom in recent years. Sparked by Pope John & supported by many Protestant groups the movement to unite all churches into one universal church has made remarkable progress.


A. "Ecumenical" is the word used to describe this movement.

  1. Greek root means "the inhabited earth".
  2. Translated "all the world" in Matt. 24:14, Lk. 2:1, Acts 11:28.
  3. It is applied to one large religious body whose influence embraces the entire inhabited earth.


A. Dream born at the World Conference on Missionary Cooperation at Edinburgh in 1910.

  1. Continued at Universal Christian Counsel on Life and Work in Stockholm in 1925.
  2. Promoted at the World Conference on Faith & Order in Lusanne in 1927. 
  3. This desire led to formation of World Council of Churches at Amsterdam on August 23, 1948.
  4. Took a giant step in Ecumenical Council called by Pope John XXIII in January, 1959.

B. For more than fifty years the idea of an organic union between church groups has been gradually brought to prominence.

  1. The newest religious fad is dialogue.
  2. Denominations are no longer pulling apart, they are coming together.


A. The goal is a united church on the grounds of John 17:22.

  1. The sinful separation of God's people was lamented & exposed in the early church - I. Cor.1:11-13.

B. Does the Ecumenical Movement seek the unity the Scripture teaches?  Emphatically no.

  1. Ecumenical Movement seeks a unity that is organizational.
  2. The unity of believers taught in N.T. is a spiritual unity, Eph. 1:22-23, Eph. 4:4-6.
  3. This is God's Ecumenical Church.

C. Jn. 17:22 as a basis for a world church is a gross misuse of Scripture.

  1. Christ was praying only for the select company who already had eternal life - Vs. 2-3.
  2. Because they received & believed God's message - Vs. 8.
  3. They are hated by the world - Vs. 14.
  4. They definitely are not of the world - Vs. 16
  5. He prayed for those who had believed - Vs. 20-21.

D, The unity the Lord speaks about is a spiritual relationship created by the Holy Spirit - Jn. 3:5, 7.

  1. It is wrong to bring about an organic union between saved and unsaved persons - II Cor. 6:14-18.
  2. There can never be organic union apart from doctrinal agreement & a true experiential knowledge of Christ.

E, At the first Ecumenical Council in the city of Jerusalem the purposes of God were made clear through James.

  1. Acts 15:13,14 - after what?  God has taken out a people for His name.
  2. After that Christ will return & establish His Kingdom of peace on the earth.
    1. The church will never bring in God's kingdom.
    2. Kingdom cannot come until the King comes.
  3. The main mission of the church is the preaching of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.



INTRO:  Dr. Carl F.H. Henry - "After a half-century of consolidation it breaths its own life, boasts a central committee of 100, a hierarchy with an enlarging bureaucracy, and a world headquarters in Geneva."  The N.T. anticipates and describes just such a church.  God's Word describes this religious monster of the end-time.


A. Rev. 13 introduces two beasts which appear on the scene.

  1. First rises out of the sea - 13:1.
  2. Second comes up out of the earth - 13:11.
  3. The first is the Antichrist who receives his power and authority from the dragon - 13:2

B. Note three vital elements here.

  1. This chapter has to do with worship - 13:4,8,12,15.
  2. The prophecies in this chapter will not reach their final fulfillment until after Christ has taken His own church to heaven.
    1. This is a post-rapture scene, description of worship in the earth after every saved person has been raptured.
  3. The devil is the person who is worshipped - 13:4, 12:9.

C. This religious system is ecumenical (earth-wide) - 13:3, 13.8.

  1. Whole inhabited earth is brought under one superchurch which has at its head a man who is controlled by Satan.
  2. When Ecumenical Movement reaches its highest peak it will be the only church on earth recognized by world governments.
  3. None of its members will be saved - 13:8.
    1. Truly saved ones will be in heaven - 13:6.

D. The head of the world superchurch is described by God through the pen of Paul - II Thes. 2:3,4,9.

  1. Amazing that the world's largest church is to be controlled by Satan.


A. It was his religion that made him the wicked deceiver that he is - Isa. 14:12.

  1. The height of wickedness that any creature should think that he can dethrone his creator & enthrone himself.

B. Why did Satan attempt to dethrone God?  Matt. 4:9, Luke 4:7.

  1. One thing the devil wanted was worship - still does.
  2. The great contest today is over the worship of man.
  3. God wants the worship of man & the devil seeks to be worshipped by man.

C. Ecumenical Movement is the devil's superchurch through which he is achieving his goal.

  1. II Cor. 11:13-15 - precisely what the Lord predicted in Matt. 13:24,25, 36-43.

D. Today we see this strange mixture in the modern Ecumenical Movement.

  1. There are saved men in the World Council of Churches.
  2. Imagine the world's superchurch immediately after the rapture, not having one saved person in it.
  3. That is God's description of the modern Ecumenical Movement, the coming World Church.



INTRO:  The Ecumenical Church is displaying its power and influence with remarkable progression.


A. It is symbolized by a woman called "the great whore" - V.1.

  1. This is one of four women in Revelation, all of whom symbolize religious worship of a kind.
    1. Rev. 2:20 - Jezebel, represents pagan idolatry.
    2. Rev. 12:1 - woman, clothed with the sun is Israel.
    3. Rev. 19:7 - the Lamb's wife is Christ's true church.
    4. Rev. 17:1 - the whore is the World Church in the time of the end.

B. The domain of this superchurch is suggested first by the word "great" - 17:1.

  1. Refers to power, position, prominence, tremendous system reaching gigantic proportions.
  2. 17:1b is interpreted in 17:15 - represents a world organization with influence in every land.
  3. Authority penetrating to the remotest part of the earth.
  4. This is the last great religious system in the earth embracing every known false religion

C. 17:2 - the power & persuasiveness of the whore are so compelling as to make her irresistible to the world's political powers.

  1. Some sort of union with religion is necessary if they are to hold the allegiance of their people.

D. The absoluteness of her domain is seen in 17:3b.

  1. This is the same beast as 13:1 - the Antichrist
    1. The ten horns are ten kings - 13:12, comprising the federation which becomes the final end-time power.
  2. The whore rides the beast showing her control over the organization of nations.
  3. Even though they hate her, 17:16 they accept her because of her power and influence.
  4. Illustration of this in October 1965, Pope Paul VI speaks to the United Nations.
  5. There is very little right in present world.

E. This is an unholy alliance - 17:2.

  1. The Ecumenical Movement is prostituting religion in order to achieve power.
  2. That is why God calls her the whore or harlot.
  3. A whore, in the normal use of the term, is a woman who misuses the function of sex.
  4. The Ecumenical Movement is producing illegitimate offspring - 17:5.

F. Her dominion is characterized also by her wealth - 17:4.

  1. Vast wealth in shrines, altars, "sacred" places, church buildings, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, convents, seminaries, large investments in banking, oil, liquor industries, etc.
  2. Religion is big business.
    1. One day, not too distant future the sum total of religious wealth will be in the common treasury of the World Church.
    2. Little wonder the kings of the earth are flirting with the harlot.
    3. Hundreds of millions of members representing numerical strength & billions of dollars of wealth.



INTRO:  The Scriptures present a picturesque description of the future of the World Church.  It is not at all a promising one.  In spite of her strength and influence she is doomed.


A.The INSTRUMENT in her destruction is the beast and the ten kings who have come to world power - Rev. 17:16.

  1. For the first 3-1/2 years of Tribulation, world powers submit to the control of Ecumenical Church.
  2. This is done to achieve their ultimate goal of world power - 17:12-13.
  3. Her influence is irresistible, they bow to her power, prostitution, her possessions & her prestige.
  4. Then they will loathe her with disgust.

B. The INSPIRATION to destroy her comes ultimately from God Himself - 17:17.

  1. God is upon His throne & He is the Almighty Sovereign over His universe, directing the course of events.
  2. Psa. 76:10, Eph. 1:1 - don't rule out God.
  3. These united nations, believing that absolute power is in their hands, refuse longer to submit to the woman's control.
  4. Having used her to gain power they no longer need her.

C. The INTERFERENCE of God in the affairs of the World Church is most assuredly justified as are all His acts.

  1. The Biblical description of this religious monster demands that she be divinely judged.
  2. It is a great deception that everything religious is right
  3. There are more than 400 different religions in U.S. ranging from "God is Dead" to LSD.
  4. The day of diving reckoning will come - 17:17.

D. The INTENSITY of her destruction is described in Vs. 16.

  1. The united political power will make her desolate - 18:19.
  2. At height of her career she boasted - 18:7.
  3. Her day of sorrow will surely come, when state and federal aid will be withdrawn, including political, financial and military aid.
  4. Note further - 17:16 - contrast this with 17:4.
  5. Day will come when she will appear before the eyes of all with her true character - 3:17.
  6. Before it is too late He tenderly appeals - 3:18.
  7. The appeal goes unheeded - 17:16b - the political powers devour her abundance of wealth & influence, utterly destroying sacred buildings, idols, shrines, altars, temples reduced to rubble - 17:1, 18:2. 19:2.

E. The IMPERATIVE of her destruction is clear - 18:4.

  1. This command to separation is a Biblical one which is applicable at all times.
  2. It is a divinely given imperative.
  3. Babylon will appear to compromise a little here & a little there, but in her basic beliefs & goals she will never change.