The Antichrist, the Man of Sin, the Whore of Babylon
What does the Bible have to say about the Papacy?
Described in the book of Daniel
Described in the book of 1 John
- Described in the book of Revelation
- Described in the book of 2 Thessalonians
In the book of Daniel:
- In Daniel 7, a little horn (power) comes out from the fourth beast (Rome). This power will start out very small, but will grow into a very dominant despot. The papacy began as just one bishop among several equals.
- The power will differ from previous kingdoms, in that it will unite both political and religious power. After the removal of imperial power to Constantinople, this little horn grew and eventually dominated even earthly kings.
- This little horn will speak with arrogance and pride (Dan. 7:20) – the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks thus of the pope: “”For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ [literally, Anti-christ], and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered” (CCC 881). The pope also claims to be infallible (CCC 891).
- In Daniel 7:25, this little horn persecutes the true church – which is seen in the annihilation and persecution of the Albigenses, the Wycliffites/Lollards, the Hussites, the Huguenots, the English Martyrs, and the Spanish Inquisition.
In the book of 1 John:
- John speaks of one Antichrist, but many deceivers. Points toward a religious system like the papacy and not a single person.
In the book of Revelation:
- The great wealth of the papacy described in Rev. 17:4 – “adorned with gold and jewels and pearls”
- The colors of the papacy, and its pomp described – “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet”
- The lustful persecution of the saints described (Rev. 17:6) – “drunk with the blood of the saints”
- The location of the papacy foretold (Rev. 17:9) – “the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated.” Rome is known as the city on seven hills.
- The catholicity of the false church described (Rev. 17:15) – “The waters that you saw, they are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages.”
- The falsehood and abominable doctrines cause her to be known as a harlot. Like wayward Israel, the papacy will be known for her spiritual adultery.
- The temporal power of the papacy is described (Rev. 17:18) – “And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”
In the book of 2 Thessalonians:
- The pope exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god. Calvin wrote concerning the papacy: “The minds of ancients were so bewitched that they believed that Nero would be Antichrist! However, Paul is not speaking of one individual, but of a kingdom that was to be seized by Satan, for the purpose of setting up a seat of abomination in the midst of God’s Temple. This we see accomplished in Popery.”
- The deception would be accompanied by false signs and wonders. The Romish religion is replete with such miracle and signs. Miraculous Medals, Apparitions of Mary, miracles attributed to the intercession of dead Saints, incorruptible bodies — all to deceive those who do not love the truth.