John, in the book of Revelation, used numerous symbols, figures, and types to illustrate both the things of his day, and future events. At times, he used symbols to identify the nations of his day. He was exiled on Patmos, and was in no position to identify Rome in an unfavorable way. At times he used symbols of his day to identify specific things, and then explained their future roles in the last days. One of these symbols was a woman in chapters 17 and 18. He identified her as existing in his day, and then proceeded to project her future role in the events of the last days. She was identified as a specific city in John's writings in Revelation 17:18, where John states: "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." There was only one city in his day that could possibly fit this description, the great city of Rome. In Revelation 17:7, John pictures this woman riding on a beast with 7 heads and 10 horns. The beast is emblematic of the Antichrist and his Empire of the last days. The 10 horns are 10 Islamic nations, who were once part of the old Roman Empire, which, at its greatest extent, stretched eastward across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, northern Sudan, Egypt, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Iran. Rome is now putting its foot in the stirrups to initially mount the beast with the 10 horns. The pope, during his recent visit to Syria, fellowshipped with its top cleric, Sheik Ahmad Kuftaro. They walked together in the ancient Umayyah Mosque in Damascus. This was the first time in history that a pope of Rome had entered a Muslim mosque. The pope was personally welcomed by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad at the Damascus airport. In Assad's speech, he accused Israel of violating justice, occupying Arab land, and attacking Christian and Muslim holy sites. In the pope's address, he stated: "It is time to return to the principles of international legality; the banning of acquisition of territory by force." Although he did not mention Israel by name, this appeared to be a reference to her. I expect closer political, religious, and economic ties to develop between Rome and the Islamic nations. However, in the final analysis, Rome will regret her end times linkage with Islam. After the beast has used the woman to favorably influence the western world to his cause, having no other use for her, he will allow his 10 horns to burn her numerous churches to the ground across all of Islam. In Revelation 17:16, we are advised that the 10 horns, who represent 10 Islamic kings, "shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire." Most believe it is impossible for any sort of religious approval for Islam to be pursued by the Catholic church. However, when one compares the teachings of Catholics, Muslims, and Jews, one discovers that the Catholic and Islamic faiths, in some areas, are much closer than their connections with the Jewish faith. Catholics use the Bible. Muslims use the Koran. Jews use the Old Testament. The comparisons between the Islamic and Catholic beliefs, concerning Christ and Mary are as follows: (1) They both believe Christ was born of a virgin named Mary. But the Jews do not. (2) They both believe Christ's birth was announced to Mary by an Angel. The Jews do not. (3) They both believe Christ was a messenger sent by God. The Jews do not. (4) They both believe that John the Baptist was a messenger sent to announce Jesus as a messenger from God. The Jews do not. (5) They both view the apostles of Jesus as spreading the truth. The Jews do not. The major difference is one of supreme importance. The Catholics believe Jesus is the Son of God. The Muslims, in their Koran, clearly state that Allah, their one God, has decreed he will not have a son. When John Paul II became the first pope to enter an Islamic mosque, while calling for brotherhood between Christians and Muslims, he unknowingly began to prepare the ride of the woman on the beast. By the time Israel is driven into the Negev wilderness, the woman will support the actions of the beast in recovering Arab lands.