Doctrines of Antichrist

By COGwriter

The term "Antichrist" is used a lot in prophetic circles. While most of the time the emphasis is on who this individual may be and what he may do, little emphasis seems to be placed on what are the teachings of Antichrist.

Since the Antichrist will deceive many, his teachings must be such that most people are, or will become, comfortable with them. And since the Antichrist gains many followers, it would make sense that most people who profess some form of Christianity may already be comfortable with some of those teachings now.

Although by definition the term antichrist would include anything or any teaching that is anti-Christ, might there be at a few specific specific doctrines of 'antichrist'? What does the word anti-Christ signify?

This article is intended to discuss various teachings of antichrist, Catholic private prophecies, one possibly-related "lying wonder", and discuss who the final Antichrist appears to be. There is also a video you may wish to watch: What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?

This article is intended to point out that the Bible warns of both a Beast and a "false prophet" and will explain which one of them is the one commonly referred to as Antichrist as many seem to be confused on this point.

Only Four Verses in the Bible Mention Antichrist

The terms 'antichrist' and 'antichrists' are only used in the Bible five times (four and one respectively) and are found in four verses of the Bible, all written by the Apostle John. Those verses are II John 7, I John 2:18, I John 2:22, and I John 4:3. And since all of them discuss some aspect of theology, it is clear that the final Antichrist is mainly a religious figure.

Let's examine all the "antichrist" verses, starting with II John:

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist (II John 7).

This scripture says that antichrist is a deceiver who does 'not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.'

This may have several applications.

Jesus is to live His life in us (as taught in Galatians 2:20), and did come in the flesh.

Jesus correctly kept the Saturday Sabbath, the biblical Passover, and all of the ten commandments (see also the article What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments?). Supporters of Antichrist will not, nor did the Pharisees of old (please see the article Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it?).

Remember that Jesus said:

I have kept my Father's commandments (John 15:10).

Thus, this biblical explanation supports the view that a doctrine of antichrist is to deceive people that they do not have to live and keep the commandments as Jesus did.

But it also may refer to the final Antichrist who will likely deny that Jesus will (within a few years of his reign with the Beast) return (though this does not seem to be the primary meaning).

John also wrote,

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world (I John 4:1-3).

This scripture states that the 'spirit of Antichrist' is not confessing that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and that apparently some of antichrist's teachings began when John was still alive. These verses also tie in the idea that false prophets have the spirit of Antichrist.  Thus it would seem that the final Antichrist would be a false prophet (like the one mentioned in secriptures such as Revelation 16:13). Again these are religious leaders that John identifies with Antichrist.

Now was John trying to say that 'spirit of Antichrist' is not acknowledging that there was a person named Jesus?

This seems highly unlikely as even most atheists acknowledge there was one referred to as Jesus Christ who lived in the flesh.

Might this spirit of Antichrist have something to do with a teaching that denies that a member of the Godhead actually emptied Himself of His divinity to become human? Even though that is what happened according to Philippians 2:6-7? (This is discussed in more depth in the article Jesus is God, But Was Made Man).

In addition, John also wrote,

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son (I John 2:18-22).

This scripture says that antichrists appear to have been believers yet they deny the Father and the Son. These verses are talking about religious, not political, leaders.

How can people appear to be believers, yet deny the Father and the Son? And which so-called believers have not continued with John's teachings as practices? This will be answered below.

Other Verses Discuss False Leaders

Before we go further, let's look at a few other biblical verses for more insight.

Peter wrote,

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, (I Peter 3:18)

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed (II Peter 2:1-2).

Thus Peter refers to those who appear to have been believers, but somehow deny the Lord.

Similarly Jude wrote,

For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4).

These are those who somehow act like believers, but are both ungodly and deny the "Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."

Basically, antichrists are those who deny that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity (Philippians 2:7), could really die (Psalm 22:9), and actually was human like the rest of us while on Earth (cf. Hebrews 4:15).

What Does the Expression Anti-Christ Literally Mean?

In English, the word Anti-Christ clearly means one who is opposed or against Christ. And that is consistent with the meaning in the Greek.

But the Greek allows for another definition that seems to be applicable.

The Greek term translated as anti, such as in antichrist in 1 John 2:18, is Strong's word 473.

NT:473 άντί

anti (an-tee'); a primary particle; opposite, i.e. instead or because of (rarely in addition to):

(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The Greek word for Christ, Strong's word 5547, Christos, means Christ or Messiah.

So, the term Antichrist can mean Opposite of Christ or Instead of Christ.

The term often used of Roman pontiffs as the "vicar of Christ." Vicar comes from a Latin term:

vicar (n.)
early 14c., from Anglo-French vicare, Old French vicaire "deputy, second in command," also in the ecclesiastical sense (12c.), from Latin vicarius "a substitute, deputy, proxy," noun use of adjective vicarius "substituted, delegated," from vicis "change, interchange, succession; a place, position" (see vicarious). The original notion is of "earthly representative of God or Christ;" but also used in sense of "person acting as parish priest in place of a real parson" (early 14c.). (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=vicar viewed 0421/14)

So "Vicar of Christ" means In Substitute of Christ or Instead of Christ. This is consistent with the meaning of the term anti-Christ. This expression seems to have originated around the 5th century with reference to Pope Gelasius.

A Popular Doctrine That Antichrist Will Temporarily Support

What doctrine is popular amongst those that profess Christianity yet teaches:

1) that Jesus is only the physical representation of the Father, thus denying the actual Lord?
2) the Godhead is a closed triangle, hence we cannot truly become one with Jesus and His Father?
3) that Jesus did not truly empty Himself of his divinity as He was supposedly "fully God" while on the earth?
4) that God never really died since He was in heaven (allegedly only His representation appeared to have died, and even then it went to preach to demons for those three days and three nights)?
5) the Father and Son could not have different wills, thus it denies the Father and the Son?

Is it not a version of the Greco-Roman trinity as adopted by the Council of Constantinople called for by the Emperor Theodosius in 381 A.D.?

If Jesus was not truly human while on earth (and this is discussed in the article Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning), does not standard trinitarianism actually deny Jesus' humanity?

If the Greco-Roman trinity is possibly a doctrine of antichrist, where did it originate?

Let us read what Hislop discovered over one hundred years ago,

In the unity of that Only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons, and to symbolize the doctrine of the Trinity, they employed, as the discoveries of Laynard prove, the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does today...The Papacy has in some of its churches, as for instance, in the monastery of the so-called Trinitarians of Madrid, an image of the Triune God, with three heads and one body. The Babylonians had something of the same. Mr. Laynard, in his last work, has given a specimen of such a triune divinity, worshiped in ancient Assyria...In India, the supreme divinity, in like manner, in one of the most ancient cave-temples, is represented with three heads and one body, under the name of " Eko Deva Trimurtti," " One God, three forms." In Japan, the Buddhists worship their great divinity, Buddha, with three heads, in the very same form, under the name of " San Pao Fuh." All these have existed since ancient times. While overlaid with idolatry, the recognition of the Trinity was universal in all the ancient nations of the world (Two Babylons, pp.17-18).

Furthermore, even trinitarian scholars understand that the current version of the trinity is a doctrine that was not originally taught by the Christian Church (see the article Did the Early Church Teach a Trinity?). The first modern trinitarian version was originally introduced into the mainstream church by a famous Gnostic heretic named Valentinus in the mid-2nd Century. (Perhaps I should mention that we in the real Church of God do believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--the true Church never believed in trinitarian formula that was adopted in 381 or the type that the Gnostic heretic Valentinus introduced.)

Here is what it is recorded that a one-time Catholic bishop named Marcellus of Ancyra wrote on the nature of God around the middle of the fourth century,

Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God...These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him 'On the Three Natures'.  For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato. (Source: Logan A. Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), 'On the Holy Church': Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9.  Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p.95 ).

Valentinus may have written, 'On the Three Natures', after he wrote this in the heretical 'Gospel of Truth'. Valentinus wrote:

The Father uncovers his bosom, which is the Holy Spirit, revealing his secret. His secret is his Son! (Valentinus.  Gospel of Truth.  Verse 17.  English translation by Patterson Brown).

Hence it appears that the Gnostic heretic named Valentinus was probably the first to introduce some version of the Greco-Roman trinity amongst those who professed Christ.

Notice something else he also taught according to Clement of Alexandria:

They blaspheme against the will of God and the mystery of creation in speaking evil of birth. This is the ground upon which Docetism is held by Cassian and by Marcion also, and on which even Valentine indeed teaches that Christ's body was "psychic." (Clement’s Stromata, Book III, in English, Chapter XVII, Verse 102. The Library of Christian Classics: Volume II, Alexandrian Christianity: Selected Translations of Clement and Origine with Introduction and Notes by John Ernest Leonard Oulton, D.D., Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Dublin; Chancellor of St. Patrick’s and Henry Chadwick, B.D., Fellow and Dean of Queens’ College Cambridge, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1954. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/clement-stromata-book3-english.html viewed 04/03/12)

Notice that Valentinus, Marcion, and others denied that Jesus came in the flesh. According to scripture, that is a doctrine of antichrist (2 John 7).

Even Tertullian partially recognized that when he wrote:

Marcion...alleges Christ to be a phantom. Except, indeed, that this opinion of his will be sure to have others to maintain it in his precocious and somewhat abortive Marcionites, whom the Apostle John designated as antichrists, when they denied that Christ was come in the flesh; not that they did this with the view of establishing the right of the other god (for on this point also they had been branded by the same apostle), but because they had started with assuming the incredibility of an incarnate God. (Tertullian. Against Marcion, Book III, Chapter 8. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight)

The current Greco-Roman trinity also denies that Jesus really came in the flesh. And while the final Antichrist will turn away of aspects of Greco-Roman teachings (cf. Revelation 13) and help betray Rome (Revelation 17), he will for a while promote doctrines such as the Greco-Roman trinity.

When Was "the Trinity" Adopted?

There was debate for some time in the Greco-Roman Churches about the nature of God. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, even into the fourth century, Semi-Arianism was the position held by the "conservative majority" of believers in Asia Minor (Asia Minor probably the largest concentration of professing Christians on the earth at that time).

The Greco-Roman trinity was finally adopted at the Council of Constantinople in 381 (called by the Roman Emperor Theodosius) by those who were essentially Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox--though many in the Roman and Orthodox Churches believed in versions of it prior to this. But even in 381 it was not exactly the same trinity teaching as now understood.

In spite of this, however, the Greco-Roman trinity is considered to be so important that The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion (The Blessed Trinity, 1912).

Yet in the early third century, for example, the bishop of Rome (Zephyrinus) would not make a decision about the trinity as being the nature of God. How central to the Christian religion could a doctrine, not fully embraced until a later date, actually be? Also, the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople in the mid-4th century BOTH approved non-trinitarian views of the Godhead (see Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning).

Similarly, notice this contradictory statement from a Protestant theologian:

The doctrine of the Trinity is fundamental for the Christian faith, even though the doctrine was not clearly formulated and generally accepted by an ecumenical council until the fourth century...

The Council of Chalcedon, the decisions of which were reaffirmed at the Trullanum of 680-681, gave us the formulation of Christological doctrine we now call orthodox. Why did it take over two centuries for debate to cease on a topic, only to leave us with what was already said in 451?...

Is it possible to say that Chalcedon politics created theology? There can be no doubt that political factors played a role, and a very important one...The formula for laying the trinitarian and Christological controversies to rest was spelled out at Chalcedon in 451, although it took more than two centuries to accomplish this goal (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 127,192-193,194).

Anything that was truly "fundamental for the Christian faith" must have been clear and accepted by the true church from the first century. This fact alone demonstrates the fallacy of the Greco-Roman trinity.

Even Roman Catholics admit,

In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180 (The Blessed Trinity, 1912).

And it needs to be pointed out here that Theophilus DID NOT teach the Greco-Roman trinity--although he used a term for "threeness"--he most certainly did not teach that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were three separate persons of a divine trinity as the Greco-Romans do (for documentation, please see the article Theophilus of Antioch).

In the late 20th century, a bishop of the Orthodox Church also confirmed the Greco-Roman trinity's late acceptance:

...the councils defined once and for all the Church's teaching upon the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith -- the Trinity and the Incarnation. All Christians agree in regarding these things as 'mysteries' which lie beyond human understanding and language...the first two, held in the fourth century...formulated the doctrine of the Trinity...The work of Nicea was taken up by the second Ecumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 381. This council expanded and adapted the Nicene Creed, developing in particular that teaching upon the Holy Spirit, whom it affirmed to be God even as the Father and the Son are God...It was the supreme achievement of St. Athanasius of Alexandria to draw out the full implications of the key word in the Nicene Creed: homoousios, one in essence or substance, consubstantial. Complementary to his work was that of the three Cappadocian Fathers, Saints...(died 394). While Athanasius emphasized the unity of God -- Father and Son are one in essence (ousia) - the Cappadocians stressed God's threeness: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons (hypostasis) (Ware T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, London, 1997, pp. 20-23).

If this doctrine were originally part of the true Christian Church, it would seem that this would be a charge laid against true Christians (such as Stephen, Peter, and Paul in the Book of Acts)--but it never was. And of course, as even most Roman Catholics admit, the term trinity is not mentioned in the Bible.

If this doctrine were originally part of the Christian Church, it would seem that Paul would have mentioned three members of the Godhead in his letters to the churches--yet he never does. Paul mentions the Father and Jesus in every introduction of every book he wrote (Rom 1:7;I Cor 1:3;II Cor 1:2;Gal 1:3;Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2;Col 1:2;I The 1:1;II Thes 1:2;I Tim 1:2;II Tim 1:2;Ti 1:1;Phi 1:3;Heb 1:1-2;), but he never mentions the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit was a co-equal member of the trinity, could this possibly be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29, see also What is the Unpardonable Sin?)?

Just like Paul, Jesus specifically mentions two,

It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me" (John 8:17-18).

Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done (Luke 22:42).

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world might believe You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are One (John 17:20-22).

More information can on this subject can be found in the Binitarian View article.

When Did Rome First Become Associated with Antichrist?

The idea of Rome having association with being Antichrist is a fairly ancient one.

According to Roman Catholic scholars the Apostle John's references to Babylon in the Book of Revelation (circa 95 A.D.) are references to Rome. Notice what the commentary in the Rheims' New Testament, the Catholic accepted translation of the Latin Vulgate into English, states:

The author of the Commentaries upon the Apocalypse set forth in St. Ambrose name, writeth thus: This...sometime signifieth Rome, specially which at that time when the Apostle wrote this, did persecute the Church of God. But otherwise it signifieth the whole city of the Devil, that is, the universal corps of the reprobate. Tertullian also taketh it for Rome, thus, Babylon (saith he) in St. John is a figure of the city of Rome, being so great, so proud of the Empire, and the destroyer of the saints. Which is plainly spoken of that city, when it was heathen, the head of the terrene dominion of the world, the persecutor of the Apostles and their successors, the seat of Nero, Domitian, and the like, Christ's special enemies, the sink of idolatry, and false worship of the Pagan gods (Annotations on Chapter 17 of the Apocalypse. The Original And True Rheims New Testament Of Anno Domini 1582. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2004, copyright assigned to VSC Corp. Page 583).

Polycarp, the disciple of the Apostle John, is believed to have been the first who may have specifically identified the Roman Empire with the number 666 (please see the article SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666). And Polycarp even once went to Rome in the second century to warn the Roman Bishop Anicetus not to observe Passover on a Sunday as well as to object to the one who first tried to teach that the Christian Godhead existed as three hypostases (Valentinus). Early writings are clear that Polycarp was part of "the Church of God" ( see the first line of Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians or the first line in the Martyrdom of Polycarp) and that he held Church of God doctrines (please see the article Polycarp of Smyrna).

Polycarp wrote the following about "antichrist":

"For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist;" and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the stake, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. (Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians, 7:1)

In the late second century, Irenaeus, who claimed to have met Polycarp, wrote:

Then also Lateinos (LATEINOS) has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule: I will not, however, make any boast over this (Irenaeus. Against Heresies. Book V, Chapter 30, Verse 3).

It should thus be clear that the idea of tying the Latin kingdom of Rome with 666 and the last worldly kingdom prophesied by Daniel has been around for ages.

Now, in the third century, the Catholic Bishop Hippolytus believed that Antichrist would descend from the tribe of Dan (the scriptural references enclosed in [] were added by an editor):

14. Thus did the Scriptures preach before-time of this lion and lion's cub. And in like manner also we find it written regarding Antichrist. For Moses speaks thus: "Dan is a lion's cub, and he shall leap from Bashan." [Deuteronomy 33:22] But that no one may err by supposing that this is said of the Saviour, let him attend carefully to the matter. "Dan," he says, "is a lion's cub; "and in naming the tribe of Dan, he declared clearly the tribe from which Antichrist is destined to spring. For as Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan. And that the case stands thus, we see also from the words of Jacob: "Let Dan be a serpent, lying upon the ground, biting the horse's heel." [Genesis 49:17] What, then, is meant by the serpent but Antichrist, that deceiver who is mentioned in Genesis, [Genesis 3:1] who deceived Eve and supplanted Adam (πτερνιAdam's heel)? But since it is necessary to prove this assertion by sufficient testimony, we shall not shrink from the task.

49. By the beast, then, coming up out of the earth, he means the kingdom of Antichrist...the empire of Rome was established, he too will rule and govern, sanctioning everything by it, and taking greater glory to himself...For he will act with vigour again, and prove strong by reason of the laws established by him; and he will cause all those who will not worship the image of the beast to be put to death.

(Hippolytus on Christ and Antichrist, verse 14 and part of verse 49. Translated by J.H. MacMahon. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0516.htm>

While I am not convinced that the final Antichrist must be from the tribe of Dan, the fact that he will have certain power over something resembling the old Roman empire is consistent with biblical prophecy.

After Emperor Constantine issued his Edict Against Heretics in 331 A.D., it began to become clearer to those associated with the true Church that perhaps a church proclaiming Christianity and tied into the Roman Empire should be identified with antichrist.

Notice what the Catholic Cardinal Newman wrote about it in the 19th century:

Now, one of the first questions which it is natural to ask on entering upon the subject is, whereas the Pope is said to be Antichrist, sometimes from the fourth, sometimes from the seventh century, when was he first detected and denounced, and by whom?

On this point Dr. Todd supplies us with much information, from which it appears that the belief that the Pope was Antichrist was the conclusion gradually formed and matured out of the belief that the Church of Rome was Babylon, by three heretical bodies, between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries, in consequence of their being submitted to persecution for their opinions:

"In the middle of the eleventh century, numerous emigrants from Thrace and the East had established themselves in the north of Italy, and especially in the neighbourhood of Milan; and some, despising a fixed habitation, or unable to obtain one, itinerated throughout various parts of France and Germany. The doctrines of these sects exhibit various shades of extravagance and error, and appear to have had a close affinity with the Oriental Manichees or Paulicians, from whom they are historically descended...they despised all external religion, ridiculed the office and powers of the priesthood, the efficacy of the Sacraments, and especially the use of baptism."—Pp. 28-30.

These were the Albigenses, the first of the three independent families of heresy above mentioned...It would appear from these that the Albigenses founded their opposition to the Church on a Manichæan principle, viz., that, as there was an evil deity, and he the author of the visible world, so was he author also of the visible Church, which in consequence was "the devil's basilica and synagogue of Satan," and, in the language of the Apocalypse, "the mother of fornications." (Newman JH. The Protestant Idea of Antichrist. [British Critic, Oct. 1840]. Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman. Copyright © 2004 by The National Institute for Newman Studies. http://www.newmanreader.org/works/essays/volume2/antichrist1.html viewed 12/03/07).

What the Cardinal seems to be teaching is that beginning in the fourth-seventh century one or two groups apparently began to feel that the Pontifex Maximus was an antichrist and that one who calls himself Pontifex Maximus may be the final antichrist. The Roman bishops did not refer to themselves by the pagan title of Pontifex Maximus (literally meaning the "greatest bridge-builder" between mortals and the gods) until the late 4th century--hence that it probably why they began to be referred to as "anti-Christ" or at least his representative back then.

It is of interest to note that groups that traced their descent from the Paulicians were clearly teaching a version of the papal antichrist doctrine in the eleventh and later centuries. Some affiliated with the Paulicians and Albigenses were in the Church of God (see articles The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present; 2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.; 3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church; 4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition).--hence an understanding of the papal antichrist view has long been a Church of God view.

Although the Bible teaches that there are many antichrists, but that one will later be the Antichrist. And essentially all the antichrists preach a message different from John--hence we in the Churches of God recognize that to a degree, all false religious teachers claiming Christianity are antichrists--we do not limit this to Roman or Orthodox Catholic leaders (we also include Protestant leaders).

This seems to be consistent with what one group told Bernard the Inquisitor, in the early 14th century, who reported:

...they claim that there is a double Antichrist, one spiritual or mystical and the other the real, greater Antichrist...(Bernard Gui: Inquisitor's Manual, Chapter 5. Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. http://phi.kenyon.edu/Projects/Margin/inquisit.htm 04/09/07).

As far as a spiritual or mystic antichrist and a later one, that is consistent with what the Apostle John taught in 1 John 2:18. The "spiritual antichrists" would be perhaps all false Christian leaders (this is not at all limited to Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders, it includes even some who claim to be in the Church of God), while the "real Antichrist" is the final MAJOR false prophetic leader.

The False Prophet: The Final Antichrist

The Bible does teach more about the end of days and the false prophet, the final antichrist.

Notice what Paul wrote about the condition of the world in the last days:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

In other words, many will often prefer sin to living the way of love that God teaches. The false prophet of Revelation is the final Antichrist. More information on that is shown below on the identity of Which Beast is the Antichrist?

The Antichrist Will Support the Ten-Horned Beast

The final Antichrist will not really be alone as he will work to promote the ten-horned beast.

Notice the that demons will accompany the dragon, beast, and the false prophet (the final Antichrist):

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle (Revelation 16:13-14).

Even though Jesus advocated peace (John 14:27) some of the world's religions seem to worship a warring god. The religion that the final Antichrist will support will be similar to some of the world's religions (as the religion of the future king of the North will include the worship of a god of fortresses, and that the dragon, beast, and false prophet will want to battle), but will have some unique parts (see Daniel 11:36-39) that I intend to discuss more in a later update of this article.

In the last days, although God's people are persecuted, they continue to keep the commandments of God:

And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).

And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:11-12).

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Revelation 13:11-15).

Notice that the Bible teaches that the dragon (who is also called Satan, see Revelation 12:9), the beast (a demon-influenced leader who works with the final Antichrist), and the two-horned beast (the false prophet, who is the final Antichrist--please also see the article Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666) are against the saints--and the saints are those who actually keep the commandments of God. The two beasts are warriors, apparently acknowledge a god of fortresses or war (see Daniel 11:38), and will fight those that refuse obey God's commands (Revelation 13:11-15).

The New Testament shows two types of religious leaders condemned for lawlessness. One group was condemned "who turned the grace of God into lewdness" (Jude 4). That view is similar to the view that Christians do not have to keep the law of God as shown in the ten commandments (even though the early Christian leaders did--please see the article The Ten Commandments and the Early Church) -- a view that the Apostle Paul opposed:

Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Romans 6:1-2).

Another group, personified by the Pharisees, was condemned for being part of a religion that claimed to keep the law, but really did not--specifically they were condemned for preferring tradition over the the ten commandments the way God intended (Matthew 15:3-6).

Even though the Pharisees of old claimed to keep the law of God, they were actually condemned by Christ for lawlessness:

Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:28).

It needs to be understood that it is the same Greek term for lawlessness, anomia, is used in Matthew 23:28, 2 Thessalonians 2:7, and I John 3:4. Hence the Pharisees were condemned for the same practices that the man of sin, the final Antichrist, has.

Just like Jesus condemned the Pharisees for lawlessness (Matthew 23:28) and for preferring tradition to the God's law (Matthew 15:3-6), the religion of the final Antichrist will also be lawless in the sense that it places more value on human traditions that on many parts of God's law.

Perhaps it should also be mentioned here that although the Pharisees claimed to keep the commandments, Jesus clearly taught that they reasoned around them through their traditions (Matthew 15:3-6, see also the article Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it?)--this is the same approach of most of the antichrists throughout history and will apparently be the approach of the final Antichrist.

Financial Incentives Will Be Associated with the Antichrist

Notice that financial pressures will be something that the Antichrist is associated with:

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

The "He" above is the two-horned beast (Revelation 13:11), also known as the False Prophet (Revelation 16:13), and Antichrist (1 John 4:1-3).

The Antichrist will promote the Beast and the Beast's Babylonian system. And many will prosper because of it (the 'He' is the Beast):

24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.

25 "Through his cunning
He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;
And he shall exalt himself in his heart.
He shall destroy many in their prosperity. (Daniel 8:24-25)

36 "Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done...39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. (Daniel 11:36, 39),

The king above is the King of the North (see Daniel 11:40). And notice that he will prosper and divide up lands for gain. The dividing up of the land will help cause others to prosper. His deceit and schemes will cause many to prosper.

The Bible also says that the merchants of the world will have gotten wealthy from the system that the Antichrist will promote:

2 Babylon the great...has become a dwelling place of demons...a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3...and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury. (Revelation 18:2a,b,d, 3c)

So, there are several biblical prophecies that tie the power that the Antichrist supports with a type of deceitful prosperity. Did you notice the connection to a cage of birds above? Well, then notice then also the following:

27 As a cage is full of birds,
So their houses are full of deceit.
Therefore they have become great and grown rich.
28 They have grown fat, they are sleek;
Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked;
They do not plead the cause,
The cause of the fatherless;
Yet they prosper,
And the right of the needy they do not defend.
29 Shall I not punish them for these things?' says the Lord.
'Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?'

30 "An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end? (Jeremiah 5:27-31)

So, the supporters of the Beast and Antichrist/False Prophet will prosper for a time, then God will punish.

Furthermore, notice two Catholic writings/prophecies about the final Antichrist:

Saint Ephrem (died 375): Antichrist will use worldly goods as bait. He will entice many Christians with money and goods to apostatize...The devil will help him find all the hidden treasures of the world, even those at the bottom of the ocean. With those treasures he will attain greater success for the reign of Satan than at any other time in past centuries (Connor, pp.73.74).

Saint Mechtilda (died 1299): Antichrist will, through base and false strategem, and with presents of gold and gems, attain influence over the worldly princes. They will look up to him as their Lord and God (Culleton, The Reign of Antichrist, pp. 133-134).

Saint Jerome (died 420): Antichrist…will gain support with many gifts and money. He will sell himself to the devil…(Connor E. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, p. 74).

The Bible, by the way, does mention that the King of the North will end up with a lot of gold, silver, and precious stones (Daniel 11:38,43) and that a seven-hilled/mountain-based power will have “gold and precious stones and pearls” (Revelation 17:4).

But is it possible that before the Beast rises up that the Antichrist will use material items for bait?

Might the Antichrist use some of the wealth of the Vatican to support certain European nations/leaders? I expect this as it seems to be likely and consistent with the following scriptures:

1…”Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”…9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits…18:3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” (Revelation 17:1-2,9; 18:3)

Nor do I believe it will limit its support to Europe. The Church of Rome has a lot of worldly wealth--it is a version of that church that is being discussed above in Revelation.

It may be interesting to note that Pope Francis, on March 16, 2013 (within days of becoming pontiff), declared, “Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor” (see Pope Francis: Do his comments about the poor show that he intend to fulfill biblical and Catholic prophecies about the final Antichrist?). Is it possible that he is suggesting that since his church hold enormous wealth in bank accounts, land, art, and jewels, that perhaps he intends to distribute some of this wealth (see Pope Francis claims he wants his church to be poor and help the poor)?

What if Pope Francis sells off some of the vast treasures (such as jewels and land) of the Vatican and/or give significant amounts of money/land away to the poor?  If he does that, this will likely greatly enhance the pedophile-damaged image of the Church of Rome for the media and many others around the world. This will enhance the appeal of the religion that Rome will promote.

If Pope Francis does not end up doing this, he, at minimum, has made various statements that the final Antichrist (which may not be him as that is not certain yet), will point to as justification for wealth distribution.

Pope Francis has encouraged world leaders, such as the Secretary General of the United Nations (see United Nations: Humankind's Last Hope or New World Order?) and the President of the Unites States (see Prophecies of Barack Obama?) to make both wealth distribution as well as ecumenical statments.

The Bible, by the way, does mention that the King of the North will end up with a lot of gold, silver, and precious stones (Daniel 11:38,43) and that a seven-hilled/mountain-based power will have “gold and precious stones and pearls” (Revelation 17:4).  Catholic writers have identified that seven-hilled power as Rome.

But is it possible that before the Beast rises up that the Antichrist will use material items for bait?  The more Pope Francis proposes wealth distribution, the closer the time may come when the Vatican takes concrete action and does just that.

The Bible clear warns about this Babylonian arrangement (Zechariah 2:7) and teaches that the only true unity will come after that system is destroyed (Revelation 18) and Jesus returns (Revelation 19; Zechariah 2:8-12). But as the UN and the Vatican do not seem to understand those scriptures, they are working towards something that the Bible warns against.

Which Beast is the Antichrist?

Although there is much confusion in the world on this matter, the Bible shows which beast is a military leader and which beast is the false religious leader. Part of this confusion began in the second century because of misunderstandings of the heretic Irenaeus (Irenaeus: The Most Dangerous Heretic?). But his misunderstandings have permeated the Catholic and Protestant faiths despite being inconsistent with scripture.

From a biblical perspective, first notice that a comparison of the following two verses in Revelation shows that the two-horned beast and the false prophet are the same being:

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed (Revelation 13:11-12).

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Revelation 19:20).

Anyway, the above shows that there are two beasts, the second of which is called the false prophet who worked signs in the presence of the first beast (the ten-horned beast) and who is later the same one cast alive into the lake of fire with the first beast. And a false prophet is clearly mainly a religious leader. A lamb has two horns and Jesus is called the "lamb of God" in the Bible (John 1:29.36), and since the false prophet will attempt to be in place of Christ, this is probably why the Bible depicts him as a beast with two-horns.

The Bible shows that the first beast (the ten-horned beast Revelation 13:1-10; compare with Daniel 7:2-7) is a military, not religious leader (even though he practices a false religion) as he and his associates make war:

...they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"...It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 13:4,7).

The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them (Revelation 17:12-14).

And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled (Revelation 17:16-17).

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army (Revelation 19:19).

Because the second beast (the two-horned beast, who is the false prophet) is primarily a religious leader (even though he has political influence), it is he who is the final Antichrist as the all the specific warnings mentioning "antichrist" in the Bible are discussing religious leaders.

It may be helpful to point out that the idea that the final Antichrist was considered to be a religious, as opposed to political/military leader was the position from early writers such as Irenaeus. Irenaeus, who claimed to have met Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John (and the Apostle John taught that "antichrists" were religious leaders), wrote the following in the second century (the Apostle John, who penned the Book of Revelation, lived until the end of the first century):

But there is another among these heretics, Marcus by name, who boasts himself as having improved upon his master. He is a perfect adept in magical impostures, and by this means drawing away a great number of men, and not a few women, he has induced them to join themselves to him, as to one who is possessed of the greatest knowledge and perfection, and who has received the highest power from the invisible and ineffable regions above. Thus it appears as if he really were the precursor of Antichrist...(Irenaeus. Treatise Against Heresies/Adversus Haereses, Book 1, Chapter XIII, Verse I).

The above is one of the earliest post-New Testament writings in existence to mention the term "Antichrist".

Now this particular Marcus was a religious heretic with mystic practices (Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist?). Irenaeus correctly indicates, that he seems to have similarities to the one who would be the final Antichrist. And on this point Irenaeus is correct (he seems to get confused in some of his later writings on this).

It may also be of interest to note that some commentators also recognize that it is the second beast, the beast of the earth, that is the false prophet and the final Antichrist. Notice the following:

Revelation 13:11 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.

Another beast - "the false prophet" (Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10)

Out of the earth...the second beast (Antichrist) brings back the first beast's paganism, recommending it by a spiritual form and earthly culture. Matthew 24:11,24, "Many false prophets shall rise:" ushering in "the false prophet." This Antichrist has both the mouth of blasphemy (Revelation 13:5) of the little horn of the third kingdom (Daniel 8:11-12,23-25; 11:36), and also "the eyes of man" of the little horn of the fourth kingdom (Daniel 7:8). "The eyes of man" symbolize intellectual culture and spiritual pretensions, characteristic of "the false prophet" (Revelation 13:13-15; 16:14). The first beast is political; the second spiritual, the power of ideas (the favourite term in the French school): humanity substituted for the Son of man, Antichrist for Christ. Lawless democracy [ anomia ] (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8), ever since the 1789 revolution, has been preparing the way for the lawless one. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

While one cannot base doctrine on commentators, sometimes they can connect certain scripturers properly.

Those Who Do Not Properly Observe Passover are Supportive of Antichrists

The use of tradition to not keep the ten commandments is not the only practice of Antichrist. One that most probably have never thought about is the keeping of the Passover.

Jesus, of course, always kept the Passover (Luke 2:27; 22:13-15). Jesus kept the Passover on the night before He died:

My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples (Matthew 26:18).

John claimed to faithfully teach what Jesus taught:

This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true (John 21:24).

Regarding antichrists, recall that John taught,

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us...Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning…These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you (1 John 2:18-19,24,26).

So what may have been the first specific departure from the practices of John that we have a historical record of (involving John's name)?

The changing of the date of Passover! And John warned to not be deceived by those who would not abide in the original practices.

Several decades after the Apostle John's death, his disciple Polycarp went to Rome to and objected to the Roman practice of changing Passover from an observance on the 14th of Nisan, to a Sunday observance (see Fragments of Irenaeus).

But Roman Bishop Anicetus refused to accept the warning and switch back to the biblical date.

Instead, a few decades later, the Roman Bishop Victor attempted to disassociate with all who kept the biblical date of Passover. When told that Bishop Victor wanted people to follow Rome's lead Polycrates of Ephesus wrote and told him:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are...John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus...All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ' We ought to obey God rather than man' (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice that Polycrates claimed that he followed both the Bible and the teachings of the Apostle John in this area.

Later, at the Council of Nicea of 325 A.D., Constantine declared:

The commemoration of the most sacred paschal feast being then debated, it was unanimously decided, that it would be well that it should be everywhere celebrated upon the same day...It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival...By rejecting their custom, we establish and hand down to succeeding ages one which is more reasonable...Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries (Theodoret of Cyrus. Ecclesiastical History (Book I), Chapter IX. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

It should be noted that the Apostle Paul credited the Jews for preserving the scriptures (Romans 3:1-2), hence anti-semitic declarations to the contrary notwithstanding, Christians must have certain things in common with the Jews.

Since Constantine's declarations did not stop everyone from properly observing Passover, a later Roman Emperor decreed the death penalty:

Edicts of Theodosius against the heretics, A.D. 380-394...Theodosius...decreed that...by the death of the offender; and the same capital punishment was inflicted on the Audians, or Quartodecimans, who should dare to perpetrate the atrocious crime of celebrating on an improper day the festival (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume III, Chapter XXVII. ca. 1776-1788).

Is killing those that followed the example of Jesus and John to observe the Passover on the 14th instead of Sunday a sign of a true Christian leader or a sign of supporting antichrist?

As Rome extended its reach, it learned that those in the Celtic areas still observed the Biblical passover. Notice the following report:

Pope Vitalin...supported efforts of the king of Northumbria, following the Synod of Whitby (664), to establish in England the Roman, as opposed to the Celtic, date for Easter (that is the Sunday after the Jewish Passover, rather than the Passover itself) and other Roman practices as well (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p. 109).

Notice that the above account (written by a Catholic priest and scholar) acknowledges that Rome changed Passover in Britain from the biblical date (which apparently the Celts observed into the 7th century) to the Roman Sunday date.

Yet notice this statement from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

793 Christ unites us with his Passover: all his members must strive to resemble him (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 228).

Thus, all who have accepted the Roman change from Passover on the 14th of Nisan to Easter Sunday are clearly not following the teachings and practices of Jesus, John (or the Bible), or even what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches.

Pretty much all the doctrines that this article shows are doctrines of antichrist, including the acceptance of Easter Sunday instead of the biblical Passover, were accepted by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and their followers (the following two articles contain information regarding Martin Luther: The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong and Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?).

And hence all who observe false doctrines are apparently condemned by John as following antichrists. (It may be of interest to note that John also condemned the first one associated with Christianity who attempted to implement Christmas. Please see the article What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?).

Roman Catholic Prophecy and the Bible: Might the Final Antichrist be an Antipope?

Roman Catholics recognize that there are two beasts in the Bible and that one of them is the false prophet:

" And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. " ] He is speaking of the great and false prophet who is to do signs, and portents, and falsehoods before him in the presence of men (Victorinus--a Catholic Saint. Commentary on the Apocalypse. c. 290).

The Two Beasts (13:1-18)...

"And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and it had two horns..."...The beast and the false prophet (the beast of the earth) are seized...(Cited in Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, p. 103,108).

The portions quoted above are consistent with the Bible and Church of God teachings and the Bible.

Notice the following unusual comment from Roman Catholic Cardinal Newman:

Antichrist must have some similarity to the Pope... (Cited in Mass A.J. Antichrist. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

It appears likely that, too a degree, the Antichrist will be a demon-possessed (or at least demon-influenced) pope.

This would make the Antichrist an antipope according to Catholic understanding--and while the Antichrist being an antipope is not a majority opinion within Catholicism, it has been a position that some Catholics have suggested throughout the ages.

Notice the following admission from the Roman Catholic Cardinal Newman:

The defenders of the Papal-Antichrist theory...cite St. Bernard as identifying the Beast of the Apocalypse with the Pope, though St. Bernard speaks in the passage of the Antipope; they appeal to the Abbot Joachim as believing that Antichrist will be elevated to the Apostolic See, while the Abbot really believes that Antichrist will overthrow the Pope and usurp his See (Cited in Mass A.J. Antichrist. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Notice what an Orthodox scholar observed:

Dr. H. Otto Tzima (20th century): The antipope - the Episcopal of the Beast, alias the false prophet (Tzima Otto, H. The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. The Verenika Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, p. 138).

Furthermore, notice the following from a 20th century Catholic scholar:

Priest S. Berry (20th Century): Then the earth whence comes the second beast is a symbol of the Gentile nations in revolt against the Church. The two horns denote a twofold authority -- spiritual and temporal....the prophet will probably set himself up in Rome as a sort of anti-pope...(From Interpretation of the Apocalypse, quoted in Culleton R. Gerald. The Reign of Antichrist, Reprint TAN Books, Rockford, IL, 1974, 199-200).

Thus, similar to the genuine Church of God the Church of Rome seems to teach that the two horns represent the spiritual and secular authority of the false prophet. A pope certainly would be able to fulfill that. Notice what the late COG evangelist John Ogwyn wrote:

In prophecy, horns are used to represent rulership or authority, and this creature is pictured with two horns. Revelation 13:12 reveals that this second beast insists that all give their allegiance and loyalty to the Holy Roman Empire, the beast whose deadly wound was healed (v. 12). This second beast is described as performing great miracles, which will deceive humanity (vv. 13–14). In Matthew 24:24, Christ prophesied of “false Christs” who will deceive all but the very elect.

Historically, was there an institution claiming to represent Christ (“like a lamb,” v. 11) and holding sway over the populace by means of various “miracles” (v. 14)—an institution which taught the devil’s false message that God’s law was “done away” and which insisted that its adherents give their loyalty to the Holy Roman Empire? Throughout the medieval period, the Church of Rome did exactly this!

Why the two horns? The Church of Rome is both an ecclesiastical and a civil government. The pope is both a religious leader and a civil head of state. Bible prophecy shows that the church-state union of the Middle Ages was a forerunner of end-time events whose scale will be far grander (Ogwyn J. The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality? Booklet).

It is also interesting to note that the Roman Catholic Church does believe that there are references in John's writings to Rome, and that they are negative. Specifically, John warned about Babylon, which they acknowledge is a reference to Rome, throughout the Book of Revelation, called the Book of the Apocalypse in Roman Catholic writings.

Here is some of what John the Apostle wrote (Catholic Rheims translation):

4. And the woman was clothed round about with purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold, and precious stone, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abominations and filthiness of her fornication.
5. And in her forehead a name written, "Mystery": Babylon the great, mother of the fornications and the abominations of the earth.
6. And I saw the woman drunken of the blood of the Saints, and of the blood of the martyrs of JESUS. And I marveled when I had seen her, with great admiration.
7. And the Angel said to me, Why doest thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns.
8. The beast which thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall come up out of the bottomless depth, and go into destruction: and the inhabitants on the earth (whose names are not written in the book of life from the making of the world) shall marvel, seeing the beast that was, and is not.
9. And here is understanding, that hath wisdom. The seven heads: are seven hills, upon which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings (Apocalypse 17:4-9).

Of course, Rome is the most famous city of seven hills in the entire earth. And John is writing that this woman has some influence over worldly kings.

Catholic scholars (Victorinus is considered to be a "Church Father" by Roman Catholics) teach:

Nor must we look for order in the Apocalypse; but we must follow the meaning of those things which are prophesied. Therefore in the trumpets and phials is signified either the desolation of the plagues that are sent upon the earth, or the madness of Antichrist himself, or the cutting off of the peoples, or the diversity of the plagues, or the hope in the kingdom of the saints, or the ruin of states, or the great overthrow of Babylon, that is, the Roman state (Victorinus. Commentary on the Apocalypse, Chapter 7, Verse 8. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

The author of the Commentaries upon the Apocalypse set forth in St. Ambrose name, writeth thus: This...sometime signifieth Rome, specially which at that time when the Apostle wrote this, did persecute the Church of God. But otherwise it signifieth the whole city of the Devil, that is, the universal corps of the reprobate. Tertullian also taketh it for Rome, thus, Babylon (saith he) in St. John is a figure of the city of Rome, being so great, so proud of the Empire, and the destroyer of the saints. Which is plainly spoken of that city, when it was heathen, the head of the terrene dominion of the world, the persecutor of the Apostles and their successors, the seat of Nero, Domitian, and the like, Christ's special enemies, the sink of idolatry, and false worship of the Pagan gods (Annotations on Chapter 17 of the Apocalypse. The Original And True Rheims New Testament Of Anno Domini 1582. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2004, copyright assigned to VSC Corp. Page 583).

Some Roman Catholics suggest that by mentioning Babylon, that John is only referring to the Roman state or those that are reprobate However, it appears clear that even the Catholics admit that John is referring to a reprobate church (he used the analogy of a woman) as Babylon. A reprobate church would seem to be one that incorporates non-biblical practices (such as certain traditions) as superior to biblical ones.

But irrespective of these passages, John (the last living original apostle) never writes anything positive about Rome or the church there.

Will There Be an Ecumenical Pope Who Will Be the Antichrist?

While many Protestants, others, and even various Catholics have believed that the final Antichrist will be a pope, certain Catholic writings support the idea that a final (or nearly final) pope will be ecumenical, be an antipope, and be the "false prophet" and/or the final Antichrist.

Furthermore, it appears that many Catholic prophecies suggests that it is an antipope that supports a new religious order:

Oba Prophecy. "It will come when the Church authorities issue directives to support a new cult, when priests are forbidden to celebrate in any other, when the highest positions in the Church are given to perjurers and hypocrites, when only the renegades are admitted to occupy those positions (Dupont Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 115).

Anna-Katarina Emmerick (19th century). "I saw again a new and odd-looking Church which they were trying to build. There was nothing holy about it...(Dupont, p. 116).

Yves Dupont (writer interpreting A. Emmerick), "They wanted to make a new Church, a Church of human manufacture, but God had other designs...An anti-pope shall be set up in Rome" (Dupont, p. 116).

The Prophecy of Premol (5th century) "...And I see the King of Rome and his Cross and his tiara, shaking the dust off of his shoes, and hastening his flight to other shores. Thy Church, O Lord, is torn apart by her own children. One camp is faithful to the fleeing Pontiff, the other is subject to the new government of Rome which has broken the tiara. But Almighty God will, in His mercy, put an end to this confusion and a new age will begin. Then, said the Spirit, this is the beginning of the End of Time."

Comment: From this prophecy, it is clear that the true Church will be faithful to the Pope in exile; whereas the new Pope in Rome will be, in fact, an anti-pope...a large number of Catholics will be misled into accepting the leadership of the anti-pope. (Dupont, pp. 72-73). {Note the comment is from Dupont personally}.

Jeanne le Royer (d. 1978) I see that when the Second Coming of Christ approaches a bad priest will do much harm to the Church (Culligan, E. The Last World War and the End of Time. The book was blessed by Pope Paul VI, 1966. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 128).

Yves Dupont {reader and collector of Catholic prophecies} "prophecies are quite explicit about the election of an anti-pope...Many prophecies predict an anti-pope and a schism" (Dupont, pp. 34,60-61).

Catholic priest and  writer R. Gerald Culleton: “A schism of short duration is destined to break out…An antipope, of German origin, is to be set up, and finally Rome itself will be destroyed” (Culleton, R. Gerald.  The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin.  Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941.  Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 42).

Frederick William Faber (died 1863)...Antichrist...Many believe in a demonical incarnation--this will not be so--but he will be utterly possessed...His doctrine as apparent contradiction of no religion, yet a new religion...He has an attending pontiff, so separating regal and prophetic office (Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, p. 87).

Blessed Joachim (died 1202): "Towards the end of the world Antichrist will overthrow the Pope and usurp his See" (Connor, p. 76).

Merlin (7th century) "There will come a German Anti-Pope. Italy and Germany will be sorely troubled. A French King will restore the true Pope" (Culleton, p. 132).

St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226) “There will be an uncanonically elected pope who will cause a great Schism, there will be divers thoughts preached which will cause many, even those in the different orders, to doubt, yea even agree with those heretics which will cause My order to divide, then will there be such universal dissentions and persecutions that if these days were not shortened even the elect would be lost” (Culleton, p. 130).

Catholic writer and priest P. Huchedé (19th century): “…the false prophet…will not be a king, nor a general of an army, but a clever apostate, fallen from episcopal dignity.  From being an apostle of the Gospel he will become the first preacher of the false messiah…” (Huchedé, P.  Translated by JBD. History of Antichrist.  Imprimatur Edward Charles Fabre, Bishop of Montreal.  English edition 1884, Reprint 1976.  TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 24).

Priest Herman Kramer This false prophet possibly at the behest of Antichrist usurps the papal supremacy…His assumed spiritual authority and supremacy over the Church would make him resemble the Bishop of Rome…He would be Pontifex Maximus, a title of pagan emperors, having spiritual and temporal authority.  Assuming authority without having it makes him the False Prophet…Though he poses as a lamb, his doctrines betray him (Kramer H.B. L. The Book of Destiny.  Nihil Obstat: J.S. Considine, O.P., Censor Deputatus.  Imprimatur: +Joseph M. Mueller, Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, January 26, 1956.  Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 319).

St. Francis de Paul (1470)... “The time is coming when the Divine Majesty will visit the world with a new religious order of the holy Cross-bearers… This shall be the last religious order in the Church, and will do more good for our holy religion than all other religious institutions.  By force of arms he shall take possession of a great kingdom.  He shall destroy the sect of Mahomet, extirpate all tyrants and heresies.  He will bring the world to a holy mode of life.  There will be one fold and one Shepherd.  He shall reign until the end of time…”(Culleton, pp. 160-162).

Comments from writer D.A. Birch on the above from his book "Francis…speaks in a series of letters to Simeon de Limena, Count of Montalto in great detail of a future Great Monarch who will be a Roman Emperor. Limena was a great patron of St. Francis' order and also a great military protector of the Church...He is described as founding a new religious order. To the reader this may sound like he also become a priest. That is not the case. What happens is that he founds a religious order, part of which contains military men who take religious vows. He will be the head of the military arm of this order. In this sense it will be like the Knights Templar of the Middle Ages" (Birch, DA. Trial, Tribulation & Triumph: Before During and After Antichrist. Queenship Publishing Company, Goleta (CA), 1996, pp. 267-270).

D. Birch (commenting further in his book), "Many of the prophecies speak of the fact that the Great King at first will not be well-liked, especially by the French clergy" (Birch, p. 276).

Laurence Ricci, S.J. (died 1775) "… At a time when the whole world seems doomed, God will intervene. With His aide a valiant duke will arise from the ancient German house which was humiliated by the French monarch. This great ruler will restore stolen Church property. Protestantism will cease and the Turkish empire will end. This duke will be the most powerful monarch on earth. At a gathering of men noted for piety and wisdom he will, with the aid of the Pope, introduce new rules, and ban the spirit of confusion. Everywhere there will be one fold and one shepherd" (Connor, p.37).

Notice that Francis de Paul prophesied that there will be a new essentially Roman Catholic cross-bearing religious order that will do more good for the Roman Catholic Church than all other religious institutions as it will eliminate nearly all opposition. (This is because the King of the North will successfully work with the Pope to make the world nominally Catholic).  However, notice that some of the Catholic clergy will at first oppose this new order (these changes to Catholicism) but that the (probably final) pope will embrace them.

Also notice the following:

Priest P. Huchedé (19th century): Antichrist will further make all men, great and small, rich and poor, freemen and bondmen, bear a sign on their right arm or their forehead. (Apoc. 13:16). What this sign shall be time alone will reveal. Yet there are some {Catholic} commentators of the Holt Writ, who, according to a special revelation pretend to say that it shall be formed out of the Greek letters X and P, interlaced...which resembles the number of Christ. (Cornelius a Lapide in Epis. 2 to Thes.). No one can either buy or sell without this mark, as specified in the Apocalypse (13:17). (Huchedé, P.  Translated by JBD. History of Antichrist.  Imprimatur: Edward Charles Fabre, Bishop of Montreal.  English edition 1884, Reprint 1976.  TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 24).

Hence the idea of someone claiming to be a Roman pope and insisting on some type of cross, yet possibly being the final Antichrist is supported by several Catholic writings. The Antichrist is likely to claim to be Catholic, but will have changed that faith. People need to understand this now, before it is too late! All people everywhere should keep the original faith (for more details on what that was and who changed, please see the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Genuine Church of God?).

Thus, while some Catholic prophecies praise a new religious order, it is clear that others correctly indicate that a new type of Catholicism will not be true to some of its beliefs.  The final Antichrist will betray the Church of Rome since he is with the Beast power until the very end (cf. Revelation 17:16-18; 19:20).

Furthermore, it needs to be understood that the Great Monarch would seem to be the same person as the ten-horned Beast (also known as 666).  Thus, there are Catholic prophecies that support the idea that a Pope/anti-pope will accept changes that a new European military leader will implement. In addition, since most Protestants have no knowledge of Catholic prophecies, they do not grasp the danger of the “ecumenical” plans of some affiliated with the Roman Church.  Because after all is said and done,  the one we in the faithful Church of God would consider to be the ten-horned Beast (also known as 666 and the King of the North), will, according to Catholic prophecy, eliminate Protestantism:

Father Laurence Ricci, S.J. (died 1775): "After the rule of Napoleon a time will come when the people will become poor and the world will be punished in three ways: wars, famines, and pestilences. At a time when the whole world seems doomed, God will intervene. With His aide a valiant duke will arise from the ancient German house which was humiliated by the French monarch. This great ruler will restore stolen Church property. Protestantism will cease and the Turkish empire will end. This duke will be the most powerful monarch on earth. At a gathering of men noted for piety and wisdom he will, with the aid of the Pope, introduce new rules, and ban the spirit of confusion. Everywhere there will be one fold and one shepherd" (Connor, p.37).

St. Francis of Paola (Born in Italy, 15th century). "By the grace of the Almighty, the Great Monarch will annihilate heretics and unbelievers" (Dupont, p.38).

Why?  Because many Catholics have long considered Protestantism, and all non-Greco-Roman Catholicism as false.  Notice what one priest reported:

Pope St. Pius V teaches in his Catechism, the Roman Catechism — also known as the Catechism of the Council of Trent — that all of the Protestant religions are false religions, they’re inspired by the devil; and therefore their fruits are evil…The Protestant religions, as such, are inspired by the devil, as Pope St. Pius V teaches in his catechism (Kramer P. The Imminent Chastisement for Not Fulfilling Our Lady’s Request. An edited transcript of a speech given at the Ambassadors of Jesus and Mary Seminar in Glendale, California, September 24, 2004. THE FATIMA CRUSADER Issue 80, Summer 2005, pp. 32-45 http://www.fatimacrusader.com/cr80/cr80pg32.asp viewed 4/15/08).

Notice what some Catholics have written about certain of their “ecumenical plans”:

D.A. Birch “The Pope calls an Ecumenical Council which will be viewed as the greatest in the history of the Church. The world is spiritually and materially prosperous as never before and many Jews, Mohammedans, heathens and heretics will enter the Church” (Birch, p. 555).

Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser (Born in the 17th century, in Germany) …God will bind Satan for a number of years until the days of the Son of Perdition…there will be an ecumenical council which will be the greatest of all councils.  By the grace of God, by the power of the Great Monarch, and by the authority of the Holy Pontiff, and by the union of the most devout princes, atheism and every heresy will be banished from the earth.  The Council will define the true sense of Holy Scripture, and this will be believed and accepted by everyone (Dupont, p. 40).

Priest Herman Kramer “The thunders may mean the dogmatic declarations of the Church against infidels expressed in an ecumenical council…such as that of…the Infallibility of the Pope…TheSeven Thunders may then be declarations of an ecumenical council clearing up all that was left unfinished by the magisterial office of the Church, before God will permit Satan to exert his supreme efforts to destroy her from without.  The Seven Thunders will strengthen the faithful and loyal clergy”…(Kramer H., pp. 241-242).

Priest Paul Kramer “The errors of Orthodoxy and of Protestantism will be embraced by that false church, it will be an ecumenical church because the Anti-Pope will be recognized by the world — not by the faithful, but by the world — by the secular world and the secular governments. The Anti-Pope will be recognized as the legitimate Pope of the "church," and the legitimate head of the Vatican State. That "church" will be united with all the false religions. They will be united together under the universality of the Masonic umbrella. In that motley ecumenical union will be the established religion of the so-called civilized world. This is how we will get into the time of great persecution such as the world has never seen (Kramer P. The Imminent Chastisement for Not Fulfilling Our Lady’s Request. An edited transcript of a speech given at the Ambassadors of Jesus and Mary Seminar in Glendale, California, September 24, 2004. THE FATIMA CRUSADER Issue 80, Summer 2005, pp. 32-45 http://www.fatimacrusader.com/cr80/cr80pg32.asp viewed 4/06/08).

Hence some Catholics are looking to a time that an ecumenical pontiff will appear.  Some (like the first quotations above) are looking forward to that, while many others (like the last quotation above) consider that this will be a sign of an Anti-pope.  Notice that the last quote indicates that some of the “errors of Orthodoxy and of Protestantism will be embraced”, yet this will be a church ruled by some type of a Pope.  That is where all of these “ecumenical discussions” are going to lead to as far as Catholic prophecies are concerned. The current Pope (Benedict XVI) has been working for ecumenical unity and is apparently setting the way for a more ecumenical pontiff to arise (for information, see the news items Pope Benedict XVI to Have “Ecumenical” USA Trip and Pope Trying to Appease the Orthodox and the Lutherans)--even though I do not believe that even he understands that this will ultimately lead to the rising up of an antipope, the final Antichrist.

On a somewhat related note, the Pope who works with and/or precedes the Great Monarch is specifically prophesied to rule over the Eastern Orthodox Church as well—and re-establish Babylon!  Notice the following:

Abbott Joachim (died 1202)…A remarkable Pope will be seated on the pontifical throne, under special protection of the angels. Holy and full of gentleness, he shall undo all wrong, he shall recover the states of the Church, and reunite the exiled temporal powers. As the only Pastor, he shall reunite the Eastern to the Western Church...This holy Pope shall be both pastor and reformer. Through him the East and West shall be in ever lasting concord. The city of Babylon shall then be the head and guide of the world. Rome, weakened in temporal power, shall forever preserve her spiritual dominion, and shall enjoy great peace...At the beginning, in order to bring these happy results, having need of a powerful assistance, this holy Pontiff will ask the cooperation of the generous monarch of France (Great Monarch)… A man of remarkable sanctity will be his successor in the Pontifical chair.  Through him God will work so many prodigies that all men shall revere him (Connor, pp. 31-33).

“Prodigies” means miracles. 

Interestingly, the Roman Catholics do realize that the expression, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!" (Revelation 18:2) is referring to Rome. 

And the Bible says this happens after the Antichrist comes. It needs to be understood that although the above quote is in a book with an Imprimatur (high level Roman Catholic approval), some Roman Catholics have somewhat distanced themselves from some of Abott Joachim's writings (i.e. Birch, pp. 143,235, but other Roman Catholics writings tend to support the Abbott's writings, but I do not recall seeing others that support "Babylon" as the head of the world).

But it is clear that there is confusion amongst Catholic writers. And I believe that those who are warning against an ecumenical antipope who will make changes to their faith and lead the world astray are biblically and historically more correct than those who seem to embrace an ecumenical faith.

Perhaps it might be helpful to note that while the Bible shows that the Beast and the False Prophet perform miracles (Revelation 16:13-14), certain Catholic prophecies indicate that one of the popes also does miracles:

Bl. Anna-Maria Taigi (19th century)…. “After the three days of darkness, St. Peter and St. Paul, having come down from Heaven, will preach in the whole world and designate a new Pope. A great light will flash from their bodies and will settle upon the cardinal who is to become Pope. Christianity, then, will spread throughout the world. He is the Holy Pontiff, chosen by God to withstand the storm. At the end, he will have the gift of miracles, and his name shall be praised over the whole earth (Dupont, p.45).

The following suggest that the Great Monarch may also perform some type of miracles:

Abbe Souffrand (died 1828): "The Great Ruler will perform such great and noble deeds that the infidels will be forced to admit the working of God's Providence. Under this reign the greatest righteousness will be practiced and the earth will bear in overabundance…”(Connor, p. 37)

St. Thomas a'Becket (12th Century)…"A knight shall come from the West. He shall capture Milan, Lombardy, and the three Crowns. He shall then sail to Cyprus and Famagoste and land at Jaffa, and reach Christ's grave where he will fight. Wars and wonders shall befall till the people believe in Christ toward the end of the world" (Birch, p. 255).

The parallels to the ten-horned Beast and the False Prophet are undeniable (cf. Revelation 16:13;19:20).  And because of the wars, economic pressure, and wonders, many will be deceived into accepting the religion of the Beast and the False Prophet (Revelation 13).  Sadly, also including many Protestants. A new ecumenical religion is coming, probably trying to claim that it is Roman Catholic, that many will sadly follow. The Great Monarch that many Catholics seem to look forward to is apparently the coming future King of the North that certain other Catholic writings warn against!

Even though he had some incorrect ideas, notice what one famous Catholic saint and pontiff wrote:

St. Gregory the Great, Pope (d. 604): In those days, near the end ... an army of priest and two-thirds of the Christians will join the Schism (Culleton, R. Gerald. The Reign of Antichrist, p. 122)

Part of the reason that at least two-thirds (as I believe it will be substantially more than that) are likely to follow the changed version of Catholicism is that there is confusion amongst Catholic and other writings.

And part of this is because Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestants simply do not realize that true Christianity was from the beginning, and will be until the end of the Church era, opposed to participation in carnal warfare (Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?). 

Because nearly all who profess Christ do not really understand what happened to the true Church in the second through fourth centuries (and beyond), their foundation is on sand and thus their combined house shall fall greatly (c.f. Matthew 7:26-27).

Some Catholic Misunderstandings of Prophecy

One of the reasons that certain Roman Catholics and others who listen to them will have a difficult time understanding who the final Antichrist is is because the Roman Catholics tend to base their understanding of prophetic matters more on tradition than the Bible.

Although he originally had some of his information correct, the Roman Catholic supporting Irenaeus later misunderstood about Antichrist. Look at some of what he wrote:

And not only by the particulars already mentioned, but also by means of the events which shall occur in the time of Antichrist is it shown that he, being an apostate and a robber, is anxious to be adored as God; and that, although a mere slave, he wishes himself to be proclaimed as a king. For he (Antichrist) being endued with all the power of the devil, shall come, not as a righteous king, nor as a legitimate king, [i.e., one] in subjection to God, but an impious, unjust, and lawless one; as an apostate, iniquitous and murderous; as a robber, concentrating in himself [all] satanic apostasy, and setting aside idols to persuade [men] that he himself is God, raising up himself as the only idol, having in himself the multifarious errors of the other idols (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses, Book V, Chapter 5, Verses 1).

Antichrist will not come setting aside idols.

The Catholic pope they call "Gregory the Great" (died 604) wrote the following:

Gregory, servant of the servants of God, to his most beloved sons the Roman citizens.

It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. What else can I call these but preachers of Antichrist (Gregory I. Registrum Epistolarum, Book XIII, Letter 1).

Perhaps because of this inaccurate claims from Irenaeus and Gregory, the following inaccurate prophecy from Dionysus of Luxembourg (died 1682) claimed to be about Antichrist will probably become accepted in some Roman Catholic circles (parenthetical statements mine):

Antichrist will be an iconoclast. Most in the world will adore him. He will teach that the Christian (Catholic) religion is false, confiscation of Christian (Catholic) property is legal, Saturday is to be observed instead of Sunday, and he will change the ten commandments...He will read people's minds, raise the dead, reward his followers, and punish the rest (Conner Edward. Prophecy for Today, 4th ed. TAN Books, Rockford (IL) 1984, p.85).

The truth is that Antichrist will accept idols (iconoclasts destroy idols), originally embrace a version of Catholicism, originally practice Sunday worship, and accept the Roman Catholic numbering of the ten commandments (see The Ten Commandments and the Early Church) . The Bible does not teach that the Antichrist will read people's minds or raise the dead (although it mentions one who was healed of a deadly wound, Revelation 13:12).

Jesus, on the other hand, will destroy idols, insist on the Saturday Sabbath, and correctly number the ten commandments after His return. He will of course be able to read people's minds, and will raise the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

When Christ comes, it appears that statements at least partially based upon Irenaeus' writings (and those of other traditions/private prophecies) will deceive many. More information can also be found in the article Do Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Againt Jesus?

(An article on some of the Protestant misunderstandings of prophecy can be found in the article Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?).

More Information the Antichrist

Notice the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

The Papal-Antichrist theory was gradually developed by three historical bodies: the Albigenses, the Waldenses, and the Fraticelli, between the eleventh and the sixteenth centuries: are these the expositors from whom the Church of Christ is to receive the true interpretation of the prophecies?" (Maas AJ. Antichrist. In The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Since some of those called the Albigenses, the Waldenses, etc. were part of the true church, they probably did not originate the idea, but simply expounded a version of it more publicly once the Roman bishops began becoming more prominent. (Much moore information on some Waldensian beliefs is in the article Waldensian Treatise on Antichrist.)

There have been conflicts between Rome and those who accept her teachings (which includes, to some degree, nearly all Protestants) and the true Church of God (please see the articles The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 and Europa and the Beast) throughout history. The Albigenses, the Waldenses, and others were apparently associated with the Pergamos Church and into the Thyatira Church.

The Antichrist also is involved in the following passages, apparently as the "little" or "other horn":

8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words. (Daniel 7:8)

It may be of interest to note that apparently the Catholic saint Jerome considered that the Antichrist was the little horn as well. Notice what he wrote:

This refers to Antichrist, that is, to the little horn which uttered the lofty words, for his kingdom is to be permanently destroyed. (Jerome. Commentary on Daniel, Chapter 7. Translated by Gleason L. Archer. (1958). http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/jerome_daniel_02_text.htm viewed 07/30/11)

So, the idea of the little horn being the final Antichrist is not limited to the real Church of God as it has been believed for many centuries (note: Halley's Bible Handbook, a Protestant document, also is supportive of that position).

The Final Antichrist is the Two-Horned Beast

Let's quote some of the verses in the Bible related to "another beast":

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived (Revelation 13:11-14).

The above clearly shows that this false prophet will deceive most of the world into accepting a false religion that worships "the image of the beast."

Notice that the Bible shows that this false prophet (who is the Antichrist) who supported the ten-horned beast power, will be influenced by demonic forces, but that both will be tossed in the lake of fire:

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet (Revelation 16:13, NKJV).

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image (Revelation 19:20, NKJV).

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown (Revelation 20:10, NIV).

Notice clearly that there is a beast (this is the one called 666, see Appendix A below) and a false prophet (the Antichrist) and that although they cooperate for a time, they are not the same individual.

The two-horned beast, also called the false prophet, is the final Antichrist.

Interestingly, there is a warning from an Eastern Orthodox writer that in the end, a lying wonder, claiming to be Mary, the Mother of Jesus, will turn people to follow Antichrist:

...is it any wonder that contemporary "apparitions" of Mary are invariably accompanied by ecumenistic messages promoting the idea that all religions are equally valid...Today, as heterodox Christians become more and more ecumenist and work toward creating a "One World Church," the search has begun for a Mary of universal recognition, one who will appeal not only to those who bear the name Christian, but apprently to Muslims and others as well, just as attempts are likewise being made to identify the "new Christ" with the Muslim concept of their coming Mahdi and with the Messiah still awaited by the Jews. This, of course, will be no Christ at all but the antichrist.

(Jackson P. ORTHODOX LIFE., No. I, 1997., Brotherhood of Saint Job of Pochaev at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. pp. 18-22.  http://fr-d-serfes.org/orthodox/theotokos.htm viewed 05/11/09)

Thus, people need to be concerned if public apparitions of "Mary" start to be accepted as this is likely to be one of the "lying wonders" that the Apostle Paul warned (1 Thessalonians 2:9) would be associated with "the man of sin". For more information on this, please see the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.

What About Pope Francis?

Back in 2009, I wrote the following:

I also want to make it clear that I do not believe that Pope Benedict XVI is the final prophesied Antichrist…(Thiel B. 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect.  Nazarene Books, 2009, p. 198)

But what about Pope Francis? That is a different matter. While his age would seem to be a factor against that, according to the list of the popes prophecies by the 12th century Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, the pope after Benedict XVI was the last one on the list, known as "Petrus Romanus," who essentially is to reign and then is Rome destroyed. There are various Catholic prophecies about an antipope and IF Pope Francis is the last pope as the Malachy lists suggests, then he would be the final Antichrist. He has taken several steps and made several statements suggesting that he is not quite as dedicated to the faith of the Church of Rome than Benedict XVI was. Francis is one to watch.

Those who would like more information on this should consider the information in the following:

Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? Former Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is now Pope Francis. According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? Could a Jesuit be “the black pope”? This is a video.
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist? This video quotes all scriptures that mention the terms Antichrist or antichrists. It also gives examples of the type of deceptions, signs, and results of the time of the final Antichrist. It mentions certain Catholic prophecies and provides some disturbing quotes about Pope Francis. It discusses Antichrist’s role in Armageddon. It quotes Jesus about the coming deception and what Christians should do.
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist?
The Last Pope Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Why might Pope Francis be the last pope? What happens if he is? Biblical and other prophecies help explain what to expect.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roman”? This 186 page book provides information and answers.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of the printed book which is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.

Conclusion on the Antichrist

The Bible teaches that the final Antichrist will be demon-possessed or at least demon-influenced. He is the one referred to as the false prophet or two-horned beast in the Book of Revelation.

History, current world events, and even several Roman Catholic writings suggest that the final Antichrist will most likely be an antipope. He will be somewhat ecumenical. He will advocate various humanly devised traditions above actually keeping the commandments of God. And while other popes (and Protestant leaders for that matter) have done that in the past, the final Antichrist will apparently be quite demonically-influenced and will convert nearly the entire world to a false religion (which apparently will be a new religion that CLAIMS to be a slightly changed version of Catholicism).

The doctrines which are 'Anti Christ' are those, such as the Greco-Roman adopted trinity, which deny Jesus was actually in the flesh, teachings against the biblical Passover, and other teachings that deny that Jesus truly lives His life in us. Those are now held by most religious leaders that are not part of the true Church of God (we in the Church of God do not believe that antichrists throughout history have been limited to Catholic leaders only as Protestant, Orthodox, other, and even some CLAIMED COG leaders seem to embrace the antichrist doctrines that the Apostle John warned about).

Lawlessness is specifically against the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. Lawlessness includes not following His example of keeping the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath, not observing Passover as He did, and a variety of other non-biblical, non-Christian, practices. In the last days, this will get worse and the final Antichrist will be a factor in that. Although there are likely to be many more doctrines of antichrist, these are some of the teachings Christians are warned to avoid.

A new religion, probably appearing under the name Catholic, which embraces many ecumenical changes, will apparently be the religion of the final Antichrist. This will be accompanied by "signs and lying wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9) which may include the blessing of some apparition claiming to be Mary (please see Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

All people need to practice originally Christianity. All need to get back to what Jude wrote was "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) now, so that they will not be swayed by the false leaders and wonders that will be arising up in the end (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16).

(For more on the true early church, please see The History of Early Christianity page.)

More on the antichrist can be found in the article SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 and Waldensian Treatise on Antichrist.

Two historical articles of possible interest may be The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 and Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants. And one of prophetic interest may be Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus?. A video of interest may be What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?

Articles on the Godhead include the following:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah's Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

Back to home page

Thiel B. Ph.D. Doctrines of Antichrist. www .cogwriter.com (c) 2000, 2005, 2006/2007/2008/2009/2011/2012/2013/2014 0508

Appendix A.

While many associate the number 666 with Antichrist, 666 is not actually the number of Antichrist, but the ten-horned beast that Antichrist supports (see Revelation 13).

Here is John's one and only mention in the Bible of the number six hundred sixty six:

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666 (Revelation 13:18).

But who or what is that? (An article of possible interest may be SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666).

The Apostle John's most famous disciple was probably Polycarp of Smyrna.

Polycarp or his associate Papias (Holmes, p. 560) is credited for being Irenaeus' source for items such as that the term 666 may mean Roman man. (Irenaeus himself says he did the calculation based on what those who knew John said). Irenaeus wrote:

Lateinos (Lateinos) has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom" (Irenaeus. Against Heresies. Book V, Chapter XXX, verse 3).

It should be noted that there is no record that either Polycarp or Papias wrote positive things about Rome.

The late John Ogwyn wrote this about the meaning and origins of 666:

Scarcely any prophetic subject has elicited more conjecture and speculation than the "mark of the Beast." In addition to a "mark," Revelation 13 also mentions an "image" of the Beast as well as the mysterious "number of his name"—666...

Since the Roman Empire is the Beast described by John in Revelation 13 and Revelation 17, the "mark" is a brand or mark of the Roman Empire. The "image" of the Beast must be something modeled or patterned after the Roman Empire...

The earliest proposed solution to the meaning of 666 is a tradition attributed to Polycarp, the disciple of the same Apostle John who wrote Revelation. This tradition is preserved in the second century writings of Irenaeus. The number 666 is "…contained in the Greek letters of Lateinos (L=30; A=1; T=300; E,=5; I=10; N=50; O=70; S=200)" (Commentary on the Whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown). Lateinos is a Greek term referring to the Romans. Interestingly, the Greek expression meaning "the Latin kingdom" (h Latine Basileia) also has a numeric value of 666. Greek writers commonly referred to the Roman Empire in this way. The book of Revelation was originally written in Greek, as it was written to Greek-speaking churches in ancient Asia Minor...

The founder of ancient Rome was Romulus, from whose name Rome and Roman are derived. The Latin name Romvlvs is written in Hebrew as Romiith. In the Hebrew language this also adds up to 666 (resh=200, vau=6, mem=40, yod=10, yod=10, tau=400). Thus, in both Greek and Hebrew, the two languages of the Bible, the number 666 is stamped upon the kingdom that derived from Rome (Ogwyn J. The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?).

Hence, the COGs teach that 666 represents a Roman leader/kingdom (scripturally referred to as "the beast"), that is that 666 represents those that follow forms of false Christianity, as influenced by various leaders associated with the various resurrections of the "Roman Empire."

Specifically 666 is the number of the first beast in Revelation 13 as distinguished from the Antichrist, who is the second, the two-horned beast, in the same chapter. And as Revelation 13 shows, the two-horned beast works with, and promotes, the seven-headed (and ten-horned) first beast in that chapter and the ecumenical religion that he gets much of the world to accept (Revelation 13:3-4).

More on the two-horned beast can be found in the article SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.