Written By Thomas Perez. August 18, 2017 at 7:10PM. Copyright 2017.
In Part 1 we discussed the overall historical interpretations as preceived by both, Jews and Christians, pertaining to the term “abomination of desolations,” and as to who or what it was/is. In Part 2 it was discussed that there were 5 notable possibilities pertaining to the identity of the Antichrist. The 1st possibility was the name “Jesus Christ” as being the Antichrist, the man of sin (as in becoming the sin) and the lawless one (as in abolishing the law). In this article we will look at possibilities 2 and 3.
The following, as in Part 2 is a process called Greek Isopsephy and Hebrew gematra.
This possibility is the oldest in all of Christendom. It is revealed that when the name “Nero Caesar” is counted in Greek (Nron Qsr) and transliterated in Hebrew as נרון קסר it adds up to 3 six’s (666), as seen here…
In Latin, it is spelled as Nro Qsr. The Latin drops the ( and thus transliterates the name Nro as נרו קסר, which totals 616, as seen here…
The recently discovered papyrus 115 in 2005 gives the number 616.
The papyrus is the oldest fragment of the Revelation 13:18 citation thus far, at 1700 years old. Other sources use the number also; such as the Ephraemi Rescriptus (5th Greek Bible) and the Latin version of Tyconius (4th Cent). However, Irenaeus (2nd Cent) knew about the 616 reading, but did not adopt it (Haer. v.30,3), citing scribal errors. Moreover, Irenaeus who proposed in his Against Heresies that it might be the name of the fourth kingdom in Daniel 7:7 – “Then also 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 (the Roman Empire) are they who at present bear rule: I will not, however, make any boast over this coincidence.”
Other early church fathers rejected this number also, with Jerome retaining the number 666 in the 3rd – 4th Cent. Even the great Greek and Hebrew scholar Erasmus (who remained neutral during the Protestant Reformation) retained the number 666; confirming all that came before him and during the Reformation.
Either number (616 and 666) points to Nero, but 616 does not point to the peculiar name “Jesus” or his symbol – you would need 666 to do that as discussed in Part 2. Similar to the Christian claim that the two decree dates given by Artaxerxes to the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, refers to a prelude of sorts – a countdown to Messiahs appearance – thus pointing to “Jesus” regardless. But in the wake of typological and on going parallel interpretations, as discussed in Part 1, and though the Nero possibility is the oldest; it certainly doesn’t stop there.
The Roman Catholic Church:
Title of Pope – Vicar of Christ – In the official Latin language of Catholicism is written as follows…
This possibility is the second oldest. It started to rear it’s head in the hearts of many early church father’s. Please note: the term “Catholic” means universal. I am not against the term. But it simply amazes me how they began to intermingle a universal theme and term to mean “them” as in the Roman way. Maintaining that salvation outside of the Roman universal church is impossible, and that anyone, or any other assembly, outside of their universal boundaries, teachings and traditions are anathemized and deemed as heretics.
The term “universal” is a notable and inclusive term. Religions in the East recognize it as a fundamental inalienable truth for all. Moreover, it is not just seen as dogma to them, but as a way of life – a part of their philosophies. However cultural classes and caste systems often defeat this fundamental virtue in the East. In my opinion, the West (Mid-East from the far East) had an opportunity to fix this, but didn’t. They became mired in apologetics against those they began to view as outside the faith, namely their faith. According to the following citations, though probably of sincere heart, early church father’s began to utilize the “inclusive” to mean only inclusive when in complete agreement of the faith of the Bishops (authorities) in the ever increasing growing Roman church state.
Here are some pretty bold authoritative citations of exclusiveness…
“Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” (Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans, c. A.D. 110).
“It is within the power of all, in every church, who may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the Tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were instituted bishops in the churches by the apostles, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times; those who neither taught nor knew anything these [heretics] rave about.” (Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, c. A.D. 189).
“…We put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vanity, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings, by indicating that Tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every church agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, because the apostolic Tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.” (Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, c. A.D. 189).
“The heretics Marcion, Valentinian “…at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherius, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled.” (Tertullian of Carthage, Prescription Against Heretics, c. A.D. 200).
“The apostles, then in like manner founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the Tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are everyday deriving from them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is only on this account that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, the offspring of apostolic churches. Everything must necessarily revert to its original for its classification.” (Tertullian of Carthage, Prescription Against Heretics, c. A.D. 200).
“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven…’ On him he builds the Church, and commands him to feed the sheep, and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, by which it is made clear that there is one Church and one chair…If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he think that he holds the faith? If he deserts the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he be confident that he is in the Church?” (Cyprian of Carthage, Unity of the Catholic Church, c. A.D. 251).
“…Peter, on whom the Church was to be built, speaks there, teaching and showing in the name of the Church, that although a rebellious and arrogant multitude of those who will not hear and obey may depart, yet the Church does not depart from Christ; and they are the Church who are a people united to the priest, and the flock that adheres to its pastor. You ought to know that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop; and if anyone be not with the bishop, then he is not in the Church…” (Cyprian of Carthage, Letter 68, c. A.D. 254).
“Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the sure foundation of his doctrine was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was, by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter, the first fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom the Father first revealed the Son; whom the Christ blessed with good reason; the called, and elect.” (Letter of Clement to James, c. A.D. 290).
“And if you are sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord’s house is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the church is, but where the Catholic Church is. For this is the peculiar name of this holy Church, the mother of us all, the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God.” (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, c. A.D. 350).
“Jesus said: Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness that I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the firstborn in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures.” (Ephraim the Syrian, Homilies, c. A.D. 353).
“You cannot then deny that you do know that upon Peter first in the city of Rome was bestowed the episcopal cathedra, on which sat Peter, the head of all the apostles (for which reason he was called Cephas), that, in this one cathedra, unity should be preserved by all.” (Optatus of Milevis, Schism of the Donatists, c. A.D. 367).
“As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is, with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the Church is built! This is the only house where the Paschal Lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the Ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails.” (Jerome of Bethlehem, Letter 15, c. A.D. 376).
“Far be it from me to censure the successors of the apostles, who with holy words consecrate the body of Christ, and who make us Christians.” (Jerome of Bethlehem, Letter 14, c. A.D. 376).
“We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is catholic and which is called Catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her, not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else but Catholic. For they will not be understood unless they distinguish her by this name that the whole world employs in her regard.” (Augustine of Hippo, The True Religion, c. A.D. 390).
“For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back until we reach Peter himself, to whom, as a figure of the whole Church, the Lord said: ‘Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!’ The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus…” (Augustine of Hippo, Letter 53, c. A.D. 400).
“Among these apostles, Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” (Augustine of Hippo, Sermons 295, c. A.D. 411).
“…Whether I or anyone else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways: first, by the authority of the divine law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church. But here someone perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation?
For this reason – because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters…Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various error, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation. Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense Catholic, which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally.” (Vincent of Lerins, Notebooks 2, c. A.D. 434).
“Our Lord Jesus Christ…established the worship belonging to the divine Christian religion…But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery.” (Leo the Great, Letter 10, c. A.D. 445).
There are many such citations, directly and indirectly, pertaining to the authority of this system, but I have mentioned just a few. As we can see, her authority became more bolder after Emperor Constantine’s so-called 312AD vision of, “Chi Rho” – “In this Sign Conquer” – the possible symbol of “Antichrist” spoken of in Part 2. If we were to follow this path of interpretation, we can easily make the connection between the possibility of that peculiar name, “Jesus Christ” as the 1st Beast, truly incorporating all of the Hellenized world powers, and the Roman Catholic Church as the 2nd Beast of Revelation, pointing the way to the 1st Beast.
We will notice after reading the description of the 1st Beast (Rev 13:1-10), that it has all the characteristics of Daniel’s 4 beasts described in Dan 7 – the lion, bear and leopard. But the forth beast (in Daniel) had no description whatsoever, except that it was “dreadful and terrible with iron teeth.” The same is seen in Revelation 13:1-10. But this time it’s one beast with all the characteristics of Daniels first three beasts, except for the 4th beast. The 4th beast is missing. Moreover, John mentions and notices its characteristics in a backward manner. Since it is revealed in Daniel 7 that the 4 beasts are Babylon – the lion, Medo-Persia – the bear, Greece – the leopard and Rome – as the “dreadful and terrible” one; in the order as fulfilled in secular history, then the same must be true for John’s vision.
In his vision, John sees a beast rising out of the sea (seas are representative of Gentile nations – the nations of the world). And since he mentions it’s characteristics in a backward manner; a leopard, bear, and lion; in contrast to Daniel’s order of secular history; a lion, bear and leopard, it would indicate the Hellenization of the world is seen in this leopard beast. For indeed all of Western culture is based upon the Hellenization of the world by the Greeks – it is still spreading today in the form of Republican Democracies, discoveries of lands, and even various imperialisms, colonies and occupations. Even Christianity is Hellenized – but that’s for another discussion.
It is also interesting to note that John’s beast has 7 heads and 10 horns, while Daniel’s 4th beast only had 10 horns. There’s is no mention of 7 heads. We will also notice that the 4th beast in Daniel is slain, destroyed and given to the fire. But it’s destruction is due to the “little horn” that spoke great things (Dan 7:11). The little horn is not destroyed in Vs. 11. Many Bible teachers claim that since the 4th beast is destroyed, then naturally it’s little horn is also destroyed too. But this goes against the manner in which the passage is written; “because of the voice of the horn” the 4th beast is destroyed. Moreover, the other beasts had their dominions taken away. But their lives were prolonged for a season and a time (Dan 7:12). That is why they reappear precisely again in Revelation 13:1-10. The lives (influences) of Greece, Persia and Babylon are alive through, and in, this Hellenization of the world. Moreover, how can the little horn, which many identify as the Antichrist, be destroyed before the destruction of the other 3 beasts that came before it/him? It can’t.
But what of it’s 10 horns? Horns are always representative of kings. Since Daniel is a historical prophetic book, and considering that the horns are upon the head of the 4th beast (Rome); then we must look at it from a historical perspective. Preterists often interpret Daniel’s horns as being various Emperors of Rome, and leave it at that. It would seem as the most logical approach when looked upon in Scripture through the lens of historical binaculars, but their conclusions do not stand the test of scrutiny. They question, citing; “if Revelation would occur thousands of years after it was written, why does John say the 6th king is the one who “is” which would mean his present day?” For the explanation of these horns, according to Preterists, and my answer in opposition to their conclusions and understandings, please see the article; Preterism: Questions and Answers (question number 105) https://theultimatereconciliationist.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/part-1-preterism-questions-and-answers/
Moreover, to limit John’s vision with Daniels 4th beast is to miss the overall prophetic utterance of the other 3 beasts that came before Rome. It also dismisses the fact that they (the influences of Hellenization) continue to exist today. Just go to any college or read any Western philosophical book.
Now, what of the 7 heads, and it’s death wound on one of the heads in Revelation 13:1-10? If horns are representative of kings, then heads are representative of a duration of kingdoms. The interpretatation of the heads are not given to John until chapter 17. However, the horns are not interpreted for John, only it’s activities.
We learn in Revelation chapter 12:3 that the dragon had them, the leopard Beast had them 13:1, and the Scarlet colored Beast of Babylon had them 17:3. They all had 7 heads. Seven, is a symbol of completion, and ten, is a symbol for world power. The seven heads and ten horns seem to represent world power as a whole: or the concentration and personification of world power continuing as one entity through the whole period of History, manifesting itself under various forms and to various degrees in various ages, with many and diverse modifications. Previous to the rise of our modern era, 7 world powers have towered above, and very largely dominated, the course of history. Egypt was a world power for about 400 years (1600-1200BC). Then Assyria, for about 300 years (900-600BC). Then Babylon for 70 years (606-536BC). Persia for 200 years (536-330BC). Greece, about 200 years (330-146BC). Rome about 600 years (200BC-400AD). Then Papal Rome (Roman Catholicism) ruled 1260 years (538-1798AD).
At the time the book of Revelation was written, 5 of the world powers (not Caesars’ as we have seen) had fallen. Though, as we have also demonstrated, the Seventy Sevens which are so intertwined with Daniel and John’s apocalyptic visions, the typolologies and parallelism between Antiochus IV, the percular name “Jesus Christ,” Nero and the Vatican; with reference to the last 3 mentioned, share the same number: 666. The sixth world power was evidently Rome. But another was “yet to come” – Rev 17:10: evidently Rome was wounded, and brought to life again by the Beast of Rev 13:11-12. Rome fell in 476AD, but in the name of “Christ,” and by the aid of the church, Rome came to life again. Papal Rome ruled the world on a vaster extent, and for a longer period of time, and with a more despotic hand than pagan Rome had done, or any other world power before it. How long did Papal Rome rule? She reigned for “42 months” (Rev 13:5). The 42 months came after the wound was healed. On the year day interpretation, 42 months is 1,260 years. A 1,260 years of Papal duration as a world power (6th-18th cent). Papal supremacy of the Middle Ages ended in the year 1798, exactly 1,260 years after Justinian’s decree established the Papacy as the supreme Roman Christian power in 538AD, replacing Empirical Rome. The Emperors bestowed upon the Pope the title of Caesar; “Pontifus Maximus.” That is why the Pope is called “Supreme Pontiff.”
But in 1798, Napoleon’s army took the Pope captive and put him into exile. The murder of a Frenchman in Rome in 1798 gave the French the excuse they wanted to occupy the Eternal City. It was really believed that the era of Papal power had come to an end forever. However, the prophecy says, “And his deadly wound was healed and all the world wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3). But in 1929, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and Cardinal Pietro Gasparri signed an accord/concordat whereby the Pope had to pledge his own political party’s support to Mussolini in exchange for the return of his papal seat and power. As a result, the Vatican became a nation (country) on February 11, 1929. It is also interesting to note that the Vatican didn’t recognize Israel (the people of the book) as a nation until December 30, 1993. It literally took them 45 years to recognize the state of Israel. This alone speaks volumes of the beast system.
It is also written that the beast started “Speaking blasphemies;” (Rev 13:6) exactly fits the crime of popes to infallibility to forgive sin and to hold the place of God on Earth. “War on the Saints” (Rev 13:7) historians estimate that, in the Middle Ages and early Reformation era, more than 50 million martyrs (Christian Protestants, Jews, Gypsies and those accused of witchcraft and sorcery) perished. The term “war in the saints” is probably not just in reference to those that called themselves Christians – separated from Rome, but probably also to those who were unjustly put to death – the innocent in general.
Unlike Daniel, where he was graciously given, not all, but most of the interpretations, but was told to seal the book until the end times because it was not permitted for him to know everything, John sees a 2nd beast in 13:11-18 – an additional beast, one not seen by Daniel – for Daniel only saw 4. Therefore, this 2nd beast can be considered the 5th beast for both; Daniel and John. It appears not from the sea, but from the Earth. The rising out of the Earth is indication that it already existed. He rises, has two horns like a lamb, but is not the Lamb of G-d, and he spoke like a dragon. He has all the powers of the 1st beast. He causes all to worship the 1st Beast, whose wound was healed 13:3, 12. He does great wonders and deceives all by the means of miracles in the presence of the 1st beast. He tells people that dwell on the Earth to make an image (symbol) to the 1st beast – Chi Stigma Rho –
We know that the 1st Beast is a combination of Daniels 1st 3 beasts in Dan 7, and therefore as such, it is a confederation of Hellenized nations. That much is obvious. But one of it’s heads is wounded by a sword and is healed – Vs. 3, 12, 14. This is the wound of Dan 7:11. But when healed he/it is to continue for 42 months (Rev 13:5). This is Daniel’s “time and times, and a dividing of time” (Dan 7:25). That is why this Beast has only 3 characteristics. The 4th beast of Daniel is missing, and has now become the 1st Beast of John’s vision. It was missing due to it’s deadly wound. The word for sword in Rev 13:14 in Strong’s Greek Concordance in # 3162 is war, judicial punishment; it’s root word from 3164 means controversy, striving, fighting.” The Greek word for “wound” in 4127 is calamity, plague, stripe. It also comes from 4141, 4111 – to mould, to shape, to fabricate – form.”
Isaiah 53 – “By his strips” we are healed?”
But when did this take place, and how? If we were to apply an historical approach to this question, this is what we get. The 4th beast of Daniel was founded in 753BC. The Empire was divided into two parts in 395AD, becoming the West and East. The West fell in 476AD and the East (Constantinople) in 1453. But out of the ruins of the Westen Empire arose the Papacy (Papal Roman Catholicism). Here is a small historical outline with it’s main source of reference pertaining to various Pope’s that came and went, starting with the division of the Empire, Imperial recognition of Popes, and fall of the West, and so on…
1. Division of the Roman Empire: As mentioned before, the empire was divided into two parts in 395AD – the West and the East. During this time Pope Siricius (385-398) was Bishop of Rome. He was influential in the West, but it was difficult for the Roman Bishop to get the East to recognize his authority, since they had their own Bishop. After Siricius, there was Anastasius 398-402.
2. Imperial Recognition of the Pope’s Claims: Just before formal recognition there was; Pope Innocent 402-417 – called himself sole ruler of the church of God, and claimed the right to settle the more important matters of controversy in the whole church. Then came Zosimus 417-418, Bontiface 418-422, Coelestine 422-432 and Sixtus III (432-440). The Western Empire was now rapidly dissolving admid the storms of the Barbarian Migration; and in the stress and anxiety of the times, Augustine wrote his monumental work “The City of God” in which he invisioned a universal Christian Empire. This book had vast influence in molding opinion favorable to a universal church hierarchy under one head. This promoted Rome’s claim for lordship. Thus the church was changing its nature, making itself over into the image of the Roman Empire. Then came Pope Leo I (440-461). Called by some historians as the first Pope. Not St. Peter. Leo claimed that he was, by divine appointment, primate of all Bishops and in 445 he obtained, from Emperor valentinian III, Imperial recognition for his claim. In 452 he persuaded Attila the Hun to spare the city of Rome. In 455 he persuaded Genseric the Vandal to have mercy upon the city. This greatly enhanced his reputation. He proclaimed himself lord of the whole church, advocated exclusive Universal Papacy; said that resistance to his authority was a sure way to Hell. Advocated the death penalty for heresy. However, the ecumenical council of Chalcedon (451AD) composed of assembled bishops from all over the world, in spite of the Emperor’s act, and Leo’s claim, gave the patriarch of Constantinople equal prerogatives with the Bishop of Rome. After him came Hilarus 461-468, who continued the policy of his predecessor, Leo I.
3. Fall of Rome – Rise of the Papacy 538AD, and the Medieval Period 476-1400’s: Simplicius 468-483 was Pope. When the Western Empire came to an end in 476, it got the Pope free from civil Authority. The various new small kingdoms of The Barbarians, into which the West was now broken, furnished the Pope’s opportunity for advantageous alliances, and gradually the Pope became the most powerful commanding figure in the West. Then came; Felix III 483-492, Gelasius 492-496, Anastasius II 496-498, Symmachus 498-514, Hormisdas 514-523, John I 523-525, Felix IV 526-530, Boniface II 530-532, John II, 532-535, Agapetus I 535-536, Silverius 536-540 – during his tenure the Papacy replaced Empirical for good. Then came Vigilius 540-554, Pelagius I 555-560, John III, 560-573, Benedict I 574-578, and Pelagius II 578-590.
4. The First Real Pope: Gregory the First I: 590-604. A good, pure and just man. Appeared at a time of political anarchy and great public distress throughout Europe. Italy, after the fall of Rome, had become a Gothic Kingdom, later a Byzantium Providence under control of the Eastern Emperor; was being pillaged by the Lombards. Gregory’s influence over the various Kings had a stabilizing effect. He established for himself complete control over the churches of Italy, Spain, Gaul and England; whose conversion to Christianity was the great event of Gregory’s times. He labored for the purification of the church, disposed of neglectful or unworthy Bishops and opposed, with great zeal, the practice of simony; which is the sale of office. He exerted great influence in the East, although he did not claim jurisdiction over the Eastern Church. The patriarch of Constantinople called himself “Universal Bishop.” This greatly irritated Gregory who rejected the title as vicious and Haughty and refused to allow it to be applied to himself. Untiring in his efforts for Justice in helping the oppressed. He also had unbounded charities for the poor. After him came; Sabinianus 604-606, Bontiface III 607, Bontiface IV 608-614, Deusdedit 615-618, Bontiface V 619-625, Honorius I 625-638, Severinus 640, John IV 640-642, Theodore I 642-649, Martin I 649-653, Eugenius I 654-657, Vitalianus 657-672, Adeodatus 672-676, Donus I 676-678, Agatho 678-682. Leo II 682-683, Benedict II 684-685, John V 685-686, Cono 686-687, Theodorus 687, Sergius I 687-701, John VI 701-705, John VII 705-707, Sisinnius 708, Constantine 708-715, Gregory II 715-731, and Gregory III 731-741.
5. The Pope Becomes an Earthly King – The Beginning of the Papal States and Temporal Power/Dominon: Zacharias 741-752. Influential in making Pepin, father of Charlemagne, king of the Frank’s. A Germantc people occupying Western Germany and Northern France. Then came Stephen II 752-757. At his request, Pepin led his army to Italy and conquered the Lomards, and gave them their lands, including Italy back to the Pope. This lead to the Papal States and Temporal Dominion – later confirmed by Charlemagne in 744, which lasted 1,100 years. Then came Paul I 757-767, Stephen III 768-772, and Adrian I 772-795.
6. Papal Power Greatly Promoted By Charlemagne: Leo III 795-816. In return for Charlemagne’s recognition (744) of the Pope’s temporal power over the Papal States, conferred on Charlemagne (800) the title of Roman Emperor, thus combining the Roman and Frank Realms into the Holy Roman Empire, commenced. Charlemagne’s kingdom was vast, including what is modern Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Belgium and parts of Spain and Italy. He reigned for 46 years. He helped the Pope and the Pope helped him. He was one of the greatest influences in bringing the Papacy to a position of world power. After his death, by the treaty of Verdun 843, his empire was divided into what became the foundation of modern Germany, France and Italy. Henceforth, for centuries there was ceaseless struggles between Popes, German and French Kings for Supremacy.
7. The Holy Roman Empire: Thus established by Charlemagne and Leo III was, in a sense, the re-establishment of the Western Roman Empire with German kings on the throne using the title of “Caesar” which was conferred by the Popes, purporting to be a continuation of the old Roman Empire under the joint control of Popes and German Emperors. The Emperors having control in temporal matters, and the Pope’s in spiritual matters. The Holy Roman Empire, a name rather than an accomplished fact, lived a thousand years and was brought to an end by the by Napoleon (1806). It served a purpose in blending the Roman and German civilizations, out of which the life of the modern world arose. Then came; Stephan IV, 816-817, Pascal I 817-824, Eugene II 824-827, Valentine 827, Gregory 827-844, Sergius II 844-847, Leo IV 847-855, and Benedict III 855-858.
8. Pursuit Pseudo Isidorian Decretals Help the Papacy: Nicolas I 858-867 was Pope when the book appeared about 857, containing documents that purported to be letters and decrees of Bishops and councils of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, all tending to exalt the power of the Pope. They were deliberate forgeries and corruptions of ancient historical documents. But their spurious character was not discovered till some centuries later. It claimed the papacy was complete and unchangeable from the beginning. The object was to ante-date, by five centuries, the Pope’s temporal power. It is considered the most colossal literary fraud in history, strengthing the papacy more than any other one document, and forms, too a large extent, the basis of Roman canon law.
9. The Great Cleavage of Christendom – The Great Schism: Although the West and East had their own Bishops, the Western Roman Pope’s incessant claim of authority over the Eastern Bishop in Constantinople, became intolable and unbearable. And although the Empire had been divided since 395, and although there have been a long and bitter struggle between the Popes of Rome and the patriarch of Constantinople for supremacy, the church had remained one. All ecumenical councils had been attended by representatives of both; the East and the West. But in 869 this came to an end, and both went their separate ways. Moreover, the brutal treatment of Constantinople by the armies of Pope Innocent III, during the Crusades in Brita to East Alder more and the creation of the dogma of papal infallibility in 1870 further deepen the separation.
10. The Darkest Period of the Papacy: Adrian II 867-872, John VIII 872-882, Marinus 882-884, Adrian III 884-885, Stephen V 885-891, Formosus 891-896, Bontiface VI, 896, Stephen VI 896-897, Romanus 897, Theodore II 898, John IV 898-900, Benedict IV 900-903, Leo V 901, and Christopher 903-904 – all ruled through bribery, corruption, immorality and bloodshed.
11. The Rule of Harlots: So named in history, due to the fact that Pope Sergius III 904-911, is said to have had a mistress, Marozia. She, her mother Theodora, and her sister filled the Papal chair with bastard sons and turned the Papal palace into a den of robbers. Then came Anastasius III 911-913, Lando 913-914, John X 914-928; who were brought in to satisfy the 3 women. John X was smothered to death by Marozia, who then influenced the succession of Leo VI 928-929, Stephen VII 929-931, and her own illegitimate son, John XI 931-936, to the Papal throne. Another of her sons appointed the four following popes; Leo VII, 936-939, Stephan VIII 939-942, Martin III 942-946, and Agapetus II 946-955. Then came John XII 955-963 – a grandson of marozia, guilty of almost every crime, violated virgins, and widows, high and low, lived with his father’s mistress, made the Papal palace a brothel, was killed while in the act of adultery by the woman’s enraged husband.
12. Depths of Papal Degradation: Then came; Leo VIII 963 965, John XIII 965 972, Benedict VI 972-974, Donus II 974. Benedict VII 975-983, and John XIV 983-984. Bontiface VI 984-985 – murdered Pope John XIV and maintained himself on a blood stain Paper throne and by a lavish distribution of stolen money. Then came John XV 985-996, Gregory V 996-999, Sylvester II 999-1003 John XVII 1003, John XVIII 1003-1008, Sergius IV 1009-1012, Benedict VIII 1012-1024 – all bought the office of Pope with open bribery. This was called “Simony,” that is the purchase, or sale, of church office with money. Then came John XIX 1024-1033 – bought the Papacy. He passed all the necessary clerical degrees in one day. Then came Benedict IX 1033-1045 – was made Pope as a boy at the age of 12 through a money bargain with the powerful families that ruled Rome. He committed wickedness, murders and adultery in broad daylight. Robbed pilgrims on the graves of Martyrs. A hideous criminal. The people threw him out of Rome. Some call him the worst of all Popes. Then came Gregory VI 1045-1046 – bought the Papacy. During this time, there was also three revial Popes; Benedict IX, Gregory VI and Sylvester III. Rome was swarmed with hired assassins, virtues of pilgrims was violated. Then came Clement II 1046-1047 – was appointed by Emperor Henry the third of Germany because no Roman clergyman could be found who was free of the pollution of simoney and fornication. Damascus II 1048 – Loud protests against Papal infamy and a cry for reform found an answer in Hildebrand.
13. The Golden Age of Papal Power: Hildebrand associated himself with the Reform Party and led the Papacy into its golden age from 1049-1294. He controlled five successive Papal administrations, immediately preceding his own: Leo the IX 1049-1050, Victor I 1055-1057, Stephen IX 1057-1058, Nicholas II 1059-1061 and Alexander II 1061-1073. His main objective was against the prevailing sin of the clergy, which were immorality and simony. The church owned a large share of all property, and had rish incomes. Practically all Bishops and priests had paid for their office; for it gave them a chance to live in luxury. Kings habitually sold church offices to the highest bidder, regardless of fitness or character. This brought Gregory VIII into bitter contest with Henry the 6, Emperor of Germany. The Emperor disposed of Gregory. In turn Gregory excommunicated and disposed of Henry. And from then on, wars followed for years. Gregory, in the end, was driven from Rome and died in exhile. Then came Victor III 1086-1087, Urban II 1088-1099 – they continued to war with the German Emperor. Became leader in the Crusade Movement, which added to the Papacy’s leadership. Pascal II 1099-1118 – continue the war with the German Emperor. Gelasius II 1118-1119, Calixtus II 1119-1124, Honorious II 1124-1130, Innocent II 1130-1143 – maintained his office by Armed Forces against Anti-Pope Anacletus II who have been chosen by certain powerful families in Rome. Then came Celestion II 1143-11:40, Lucius II 1144-1145, Eugene III 1145-1153, Anastasius IV 1153-1154, Adrian IV 1154-1159 – was the only English Pope. Gave Ireland to the king of England and authorized them to take possession. The authorization was renewed by the next Pope Alexander III and carried out in 1170, Alexander III 1159-1181 – in conflict with four Anti-Popes. Renewed the war with the German Emperor for supremacy. Many campaigns and pitched battles between the Paper armies and German armies, with terrible slaughter. Alexander was finally driven from Rome by the people and died in exile. Then came Lucius III 1181-1185, Urban III 1185-1187, Gregory VIII 1187, Clement III 1187-1191 and Celestine II 1191-1198.
14. Summit of Papal Power: Pope Innocent III 1198-1216 – most powerful of all the Pope’s. Claimed to be the Vicar of Christ, the Victor of God, Supreme Sovereign over the church and the world. Claimed the right to dispose of kings and princes, and that all things on earth, in heaven and in hell are subject to the Vicar of Christ. He brought the church into supreme control of the state. The kings of Germany, France, England and practically all the monarchs of Europe obeyed his will. He even brought the Byzantine Empire under his control. Never in history has any one man asserted more power. He ordered two Crusades. He created the doctrine of transubstantiation, confirmed auricular confession, declared that Peter’s successor “can never in any way depart from the Catholic faith – Papal infallibility.” Condemned the Magna Charta, forbade the reading of the Bible in English, ordered the extermination of heretics, instituted the Inquisition. Ordered the massacre of the albigensians. More blood was shed under his direction and that of his immediate susccessors, then any other period of Roman Catholicism, except in the Papacy’s effort to crush the Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries. One would have thought that Emperor Nero came back to life again.
15. Papal Power Maintained by the Inquisition: the Inquisition, now called the “Holy Office,” was instituted by Pope Innocent III 1198-1216 and perfected under Pope Gregory IX 1227-1241. But the Inquisition itself began in 1184 and officially came to an end in 1834. The purpose of the Inquisition was to combat the spread of heresy. The heresy of the Reformers, but these Reformers were sainted, holy people of God, who cherished the Scriptures rather than the authority of the Pope. Seven hundred years of total dungeons, house arrests, secret courts, trials, brutalities, tortures, and death sentences. Many Godly Christian sainted Pre-Reformers and Reformational Reformers were put to death for many reasons, such as; praying in a language other than the church approved language of Latin. Translating the Bible into another language, besides Latin, interpreting the Bible outside of church doctrine or tradition. Denying certain Catholic doctrines, printing books, tracts or posters that thought contrary to the church, and even burning Bibles that was translated by the Reformers in English, German or any other language.
16. Continued War With the German Emperor: Honorius III 1216-1227, Gregory IX 1227-1241, Innocent IV 1241-1254 – gave Papal sanction to the use of torture in extracting confessions from suspected Heretics. They also continued to make war with the German Emperor under these three Popes. and Frederick II of Germany led his Empire in its last great struggle with the papacy. After repeated wars, the Papacy emerged victorious. Then came Alexander IV 1254-1261, Urban IV 1261-1264, Clement IV 1265-1268, Gregory X 1271-1276, Innocent V 1276, John’s XXI 1276-1277, Nicholas III 1277-1280, Martin IV 1281-1285, Hondorius IV 1285-1287, Nicholas IV 1288-1292 and Celestine V 1294.
17. Beginning of Papal Decline: Bontiface VIII 1294-1303. In his famous Bull “Unum Sanctum” it said; “we declear, affirm, define and pronounce that it is altogether necessary for salvation that every creature be subject to the Roman pontiff.” Bontiface was so corrupt that Dante, who visited Rome during his pontificate, called the Vatican “a sewer of corruption” and assigned him, along with Nicholas III and Clement V to the lowest parts of Hell. After 200 years of struggle with the German Empire, the Papacy was finally victorious. Bontiface met his match in Philip the Fair, king of France. This is when the Papacy began to crumble.
18. French Control of the Papay: In his day, Philip the Fair, King of France had become the leading monarch of Europe. During his time Pope Benedict XI 1303-1304 was Supreme Pontiff. However a spirit of nationalism and Independence was developing, no doubt in part to the Papacy’s brutal mssssacre of the French Albigensians in the preceding century. Philip the Fair with whom the history of modern France begins, took up the struggle with the Papacy. His conflict started with Pope Boniface VIII over-taxation of the French clergy. the Papacy was bought into complete submission to the state. And after the death of Pope Benedict XI, the Papal Palace was removed from Rome to Avignon on the south border of France, and for 70 years the Papacy was a mere tool of the French Court.
19. Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy: For 70 years (1305-1377) the Papal Palace was at Avignon. During this time Pope Clement V 1305-1314, John XXII 1316-1334, Benedict XII 1334-1342, Clement VI 1342-1352, Innocent VI 1352-1362, Urban V 1362-1370, and Gregory XI 1370-1378 reigned from the throne of the Papal chair. The avarice of the Avignon Popes knew no bounds. Burdensome taxes were imposed. Every church office was sold for money, and many new offices were created to be sold to fill the coffers of Popes and support the luxurious and a immoral court. These Popes were immoral and adulterous, committing all manner of rape, adultery, fornication. They had many concubines as protection for their own families. They sold many church offices for money and created new offices only to be to be sold in order to satisfy their luxury and lust for Papal gains.
20. The Papal Schism: Due to the many Popes that were in Avignon, Popes and Bishops that arose in Rome were claiming that they were the proper succession, but the Popes in Avignon claimed otherwise citing that they were the rightful heirs to the Vatican. Because of this, they had, what historians call the “Papal Schism.” Each one from both sides were claiming to be the Vicar of Christ on Earth, hurdling and anathmas and curses at each other. These Popes included; Urban Iv 1378-1389 – under whom the Papel Palace was re-established at Rome. Then came; Bontiface IX 1389-1404, Innocent VII 1404-1406, Gregory XII 1406-1409, Alexander V 1409-1410, John XXIII 1410-1415 call by some, the most depraved criminal who ever sat on the Papal the. Guilty of almost every crime. He violated virgins, nuns and many married women. He also lived in adultery with his brother’s wife was guilty of sodomy and other nameless vices. Bought the Papal office, sold Cardinalates to Children of wealthy families and openly denied the future life. Martin V 1417-1431 – healed the Papal Schism, but the Schism had been regarded by Europe as a scandal. By it the papers he suffered great loss of prestige. Then came Eugene IV 1431-1447.
21. Renaissance Popes: Nicholas V 1447-1455. Authorized the King of Portugal to war on African people. Took their property and enslaved people. Calixtus III 1455-1458. A good and blameless Pope. Pius II 1458-1464 – was said to have been the father of many illegitimate children and spoke openly of the methods he used to seduce women. Encouraged young men to do so, and even offered to instruct them in methods of self-indulgence. Paul II 1464-1471. Filled his house with concubines. Sixtus IV 1471-1484. Sanctioned the Spanish Inquisition. Decreed that money would deliver souls from Purgatory. Was implicated in the plot to murder Lorenzo de Medici and others who opposed his policies. Used the papacy to enrich himself and his relatives. Innocent VIII 1484-1492 – Had 16 children by various married women. Multiplied church offices and sold them for vast sums of money. Decreed the extermination of the Waldenses, and sent an army against them. Appointed the brutal Thomas of Torquemada, Inquisitor General of Spain, and ordered all rulers to deliver up Heretics to him. Permitted bull fights on St Peter’s Square. Alexander IV 1492-1503 – Brought the Papacy, made many illegitimate children Cardinals. Murdered other Cardinals who stood in his way, with those he appointed. Had a mistress, a sister of a cardinal who became the next Pope; Pius III 1503.
22. Pope’s in Luther’s Day: Julius II 1503-1513, one of the richest Popes ever. He bought the papacy through bridery and corruption also. Involved in endless quarels over the possession of cities and principalities, he maintained and personally led vast armies. Called the Warrior Pope. Issued indulgences for money. Luther visited Rome in his day and was appalled at what he saw. Leo X 1513-1521 was the Pope when Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation. Was made in Archbishop at 8, and at 13 he was appointed to 27 different Church offices which meant vast income before he was 13. Was thought to regard ecclesiastical offices purely as a source of Revenue. Bargained for the Papal chair, sold church honors. He was in endless negotiations with kings and princes jockeying for secular power. He was utterly indifferent to the religious welfare of the church. He maintained the most luxurious and licentious court in Europe. He issued indulgences for stipulation fees and declared the burning of Heretics a divine appointment. Then came Adrian VI 1522-1523. Clement VI 1523-1534. Paul III 1534-1549. Had many illegitimate children. He was a determined enemy of the Protestants. Offered Charles V an army to exterminate them.
23. Enter the Jesuits: Rome’s answer to the Lutheranism secession and protestantism in general. The Inquisition under the leadership of the Jesuits, an order founded by Ignatius Loyola a Spaniard on the principle of absolute and unconditional obedience to the Pope, having for first its object the recovery of territory lost to Protestants and Muslims, and the conquest of the entire Heathen world for the Roman Catholic Church. Their supreme aim – the destruction of heresy, that is thinking anything different from what the Pope said. In France they were responsible for the Saint Bartholomew Massacre. Persecution of the Huguenots, revocation of the Toleration Edict of Nantes, and the French Revolution. In Spain, the Netherlands, South Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Poland and other countries, they led in the massacre of untold mulitudes. Then came Julius III 1550-1555, Marcellus II 1555, Paul IV 1555-1559, Pius IV 1559-1565, Pius 1566-1572, Gregory XIII 1572-1585 – celebrated in Solemn mass, with thanksgiving and joy, the news of Saint Bartholomew’s Massacre. Then came; Sixtus V 1585-1590, Urban VII 1590, Gregory XIV 1590-1591 and Innocent IX 1591.
24. What is Called in History; Modern Popes: Clement VIII 1590-1605. Leo XI 1605, Paul V 1605-1621, Gregory XV 1621-1623, Urban VIII 1623-1644 with the aid of the Jesuits, he blotted out Protestants in Bohemia. Innocent X 1644-1655, Alexander 1655-1667, Clement IX 1667-1669, Clement X 1670-1676, Innocent XI 1676-1689, Alexander VIII 1689-1691, Innocent XII 1691-1700, Clement XI 1700-1721 – all declared that Kings reign only with his sanction, issued a Bull against Bible reading. Innocent XIII 1721-1724, Benedict XIII 1724-1730, Clement XII 1730-1740, Benedict XIV 1740-1758, Clement XIII 1758-1769, Clement XIV 1769-1774 – all suppressed the Society of Jesuits in Spain, France and Portugal.
25. The Deadly Wound Inflicted: Pius VI 1775-1799 – Pius VII 1800-1820. Issued a Bull against Bible societies, restored the Jesuits. One so-called infallible Pope restoring for all-time what another so-called infallible Pope just before him had suppressed. Leo XII 1821-1829 – condemned all religious freedom, tolerance, Bible societies and Bible translations, and declared that everyone separated from the Roman Catholic Church, however unblamable in other aspects has no part in eternal life. Pope Pius VIII 1829-1830 – denounced liberty of conscience, Bible societies and Freemasonry. Gregory XVI 1831-1846 – an ardent advocate of Papal infallibility and condemned Bible societies. Pius IX 1846-1878 – lost the Papal States. Decreed Papal infallibility. Proclaimed the right to suppress heresy by force. Condemned separation of church and state. Commanded Catholics to obey the head of the church rather than civil rulers. Denounced liberty of conscience, liberty of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, declared the Immaculate Conception and deity of Mary, condemned Bible societies, declared that protestantism is “No form of the Christian religion” and that “Every dogma of the Roman Catholic church has been dictated by Christ through his viceregents on Earth.”
26. What is Called in History: Present Day Popes: Leo 1878-1903. Claimed that he was appointed to be head of all rulers and that he holds on this Earth the place of Almighty God. Emphasized Papal infallibility, denounced Protestants as enemies of the Christian name. Proclaimed the only method of cooperation is complete submission to the Roman Pontiff. Denounced Americanism and the Massonic Order. Pius X 1903-1914 denounced leaders of the Reformation as “enemies of the cross of Christ.” After him came Benedict XV 1914-1922.
27. Deadly Wound Healed, Revelation 13:3, 12, 14: Pius XI 1920-1939 was Pope when the Italian government under Mussolini gave permission for the Vatican to become a nation in 1929. In 1928, he reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church as the only church of Christ, and that the reunion of Christendom is impossible except by submission to Rome. Then came; Pius XII 1939-1958, John XXIII 1958-1963, Paul VI 1963-1978, John Paul II 1978-2005, Benedict XVI 2005-2013, Frances 2013-Present.
The Papacy is an Italian institution. It arose on the ruins of the Roman Empire in the Name of Christ, occupying the throne of the Caesars, a revival of the image of the Roman Empire, inheriting the spirit thereof, “the ghost of the Roman Empire came to life in the Garb of Christianity.” The Popes mostly had been Italians. The Papacy brought itelf to power through the prestige of Rome, the name of Christ, by shrewd political alliances, by deception and by armed forces. Through their armed forces they’ve caused bloodshed, in which it maintained itself in power. Through a large part of its history, the Papacy, by the sale of ecclesiastical office and in its shameless traffic in indulgences, has received vast venues that enabled it to maintain, for much of the time, the most luxurious court in Europe. Some of the Popes have been good men, some of them unspeakably vile, but most of them have been absorbed in pursuit of secular power. Yet, in spite of the character of the general run of popes, along with their methods, secular and bloody record of the papacy, these “holy fathers” still claim that they are the Vicar of Christ, infallible, and that they hold on Earth the place of almighty God and that obedience to them is necessary to Salvation.
Hildebrand ordered Bohemians not to read the Bible. Innocent III forbade the people from reading the Bible in their own language. Gregory IX forbade the laymen possessing the Bible, and suppressed translations. Translations among the Albigensians and Waldenses were burned, and people burned for having them. Paul IV prohibited the possession of translations without permission of the Inquisition. The Jesuits induced Clement XI to condemn the reading of the Bible by the laity. Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI and Pius IX all condemn Bible societies. In Catholic countries, the Bible is an unknown book. Meaning people are not really encouraged to read it or interpret it without their local priest.
Moreover, this nation (Vatican country) still upholds all previous Canon Law set down in ink and history, including the laws set down in the Jesuit code of by-laws when dealing with heretics. In my opinion, any nation that still upholds these tenets and Pontifical Executive Orders are to be watched with a prudent eye and spirit. They are tyrannical and have no place with men of good conscience, justice and freedom of liberty. We must be careful, especially since that same system seeks to unify us, and all the while continue to maintain in existence their oppressive imperialistic laws. Why don’t they burn them, like they were so quick to do when they burned thousands of Bibles and various other books that went contrary to Papal law or supported religious freedom and an individuals free conscience? Please do not ms-understand me, I’m all for love, peace and unity, but not at the expense of my conscience. And if unified by the efforts of the Roman church, then naturally everyone will look up to the Pope as being the head chief corner-stone and foundation. We will be back were we started from. And if such said unification is threatened, it wouldn’t be too difficult to ursurp the tyrannical Roman by-laws, that still exist, once again, with the help of nations, all in the name of peace; “when they shall speak peace, sudden destruction shall come upon them” (you) I These 5:3.
Parting Words: What Some Reformers Said:
Nicolaus Von Amsdorf (1483-1565)
“He (the antichrist) will be revealed and come to naught before the last day, so that every man shall comprehend and recognize that the pope is the real, true antichrist and not the vicar of Christ…Therefore, those who consider the pope and his bishops as Christian shepherds and bishops are deeply in error, but even more are those who believe the Turk (Islam) is the antichrist. Because the Turk (Islam) rules outside of the church and does not sit in the holy place, nor does he seek to bear the name of Christ, but is an open antagonist of Christ and His church. This does not need to be revealed, but it is clear and evident because he persecutes Christians openly and not as the Pope does, secretly under the form of Godliness.” (Nicolaus Von Amsdorf, Furnemliche und gewisse Zeichen, sig.A2r.,v.).
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
“nothing else than the kingdom of Babylon and of very Antichrist. For who is the man of sin and the son of perdition, but he who by his teaching and his ordinances increases the sin and perdition of souls in the church; while he yet sits in the church as if he were God? All these conditions have now for many ages been fulfilled by the papal tyranny.” (Martin Luther, First Principles, pp. 196-197).
“The sixth and last reason for our separation from the pope and his followers be this; By many writings of our church, by the Divinely inspired Word, by prophecies concerning the future and by the special characteristics of the Papacy, it has been profusely and thoroughly proved that the pope with his prelates and clergy is the real true great antichrist, that his kingdom is the real Babylon, a never ceasing fountain and a mother of all abominable idolatry.” (Flacius, Etliche Hochwichtige Ursachen und Grunde, warum das siche alle Christen von dem Antichrist…absondern sollen).
Georg Nigrinus (1530-1602)
“The Jesuits claim to be sorely offended and have taken my declarations as an insult and blasphemy in branding the Papacy as the antichrist of which Daniel, Paul, Peter, John and even Christ prophesied. But this is as true as it is that Jesus is the Messiah, and I am prepared to show it even by their own definition of the word ‘antichrist’.” (Translated from “Nigrinus, Antichrists Grundliche Offenbarung” fol. 6v.).
“This Jesuit further contends that the Papacy cannot be antichrist because the Papacy has lasted for centuries, but that the antichrist is supposed to reign only for 3 1/2 years…But no one doubts today that Daniel spoke of YEAR-DAYS, not literal days…The prophetic time-periods of forty-two months, 1260 days, 1, 2, 1/2 times are prophetic, and according to Ezekiel 4, a day must be taken for a year.” (Translated from “Nigrinus, Antichrists Grundliche Offenbarung” fols.28v. 29r.).
John Calvin (1509-1564)
“Though it be admitted that Rome was once the mother of all Churches, yet from the time when it began to be the seat of Antichrist it has ceased to be what it was before. Some persons think us too severe and censorious when we call the Roman Pontiff Antichrist. But those who are of this opinion do not consider that they bring the same charge of presumption against Paul himself, after whom we speak and whose language we adopt…I shall briefly show that (Paul’s words in II Thess. 2) are not capable of any other interpretation than that which applies them to the Papacy.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol.3, p.149).
John Knox (1505-1572)
Yea, to speak it in plain words; lest that we submit ourselves to Satan, thinking that we submit ourselves to Jesus Christ, for, as for your Roman kirk, as it is now corrupted, and the authority thereof, whereon stands the hope of your victory, I no more doubt but that it is the synagogue of Satan, and the head thereof, called the pope, to be that man of sin, of whom the apostle speaks.” (John Knox, The History of the Reformation of Religion in Scotland, p.65).
Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556)
“Whereof it followeth Rome to be the seat of Antichrist, and the pope to be very antichrist himself. I could prove the same by many other scriptures, old writers, and strong reasons.” (Works by Cranmer, vol.1, pp.6-7).
Rogerer Williams (1603-1683)
Pastor Williams spoke of the Pope as “the pretended Vicar of Christ on earth, who sits as God over the Temple of God, exalting himself not only above all that is called God, but over the souls and consciences of all his vassals, yea over the Spirit of Christ, over the Holy Spirit, yea, and God himself…speaking against the God of heaven, thinking to change times and laws; but he is the son of perdition.” (The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers by Froom, Vol. 3, pg. 52).
The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)
“The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ.” (1689 Baptist Confession of Faith).
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)
“There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalts himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.” (1646 Westminster Confession of Faith).
John Wesley (1703-1791)
“… In many respects, the Pope has an indisputable claim to those titles. He is, in an emphatical sense, the man of sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled, the son of perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers, destroyed innumerable souls, and will himself perish everlastingly. He it is that opposeth himself to the emperor, once his rightful sovereign; and that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped – Commanding angels, and putting kings under his feet, both of whom are called gods in scripture; claiming the highest power, the highest honour; suffering himself, not once only, to be styled God or vice-God. Indeed no less is implied in his ordinary title, “Most Holy Lord,” or, “Most Holy Father.” So that he sitteth – Enthroned. In the temple of God – Mentioned Rev. xi, 1. Declaring himself that he is God – Claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone.” (John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon The New Testament, p.216).
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
“It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. If there were to be issued a hue and cry for Antichrist, we should certainly take up this church on suspicion, and it would certainly not be let loose again, for it so exactly answers the description.”
“Popery is contrary to Christ’s Gospel, and is the Antichrist, and we ought to pray against it. It should be the daily prayer of every believer that Antichrist might be hurled like a millstone into the flood and for Christ, because it wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread into the place of the Saviour, and a few drops of water into the place of the Holy Ghost, and puts a mere fallible man like ourselves up as the vicar of Christ on earth; if we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors: we shall love their souls though we loath and detest their dogmas, and so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened, because we turn our faces towards Christ when we pray.” (Michael de Semlyen, All Roads Lead to Rome).
Rev. J.A.Wylie (1808-1890)
“The same line of proof which establishes that Christ is the promised Messiah, conversely applied, establishes that the Roman system is the predicted Apostacy. In the life of Christ we behold the converse of what the Antichrist must be; and in the prophecy of the Antichrist we are shown the converse of what Christ must be, and was. And when we place the Papacy between the two, and compare it with each, we find, on the one hand, that it is the perfect converse of Christ as seen in his life; and on the other, that it is the perfect image of the Antichrist, as shown in the prophecy of him. We conclude, therefore, that if Jesus of Nazareth be the Christ, the Roman Papacy is the Antichrist.”(J.A.Wylie, Preface to “The Papacy is the Antichrist, A Demonstration”).
Ellen G. White (1827-1915)
“This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of “the man of sin” foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan’s power – a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will.”
“To secure worldly gains and honors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan – the bishop of Rome…Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to “think to change times and laws. (Daniel 7:25)” (E.G.White, The Great Controversy, pp.49-51).
And Many More…
Many Reformers believed that the Pope was the leader of the Antichrist church, and as such, believed him to be the Antichrist, including; William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, Philipp Melanchthon, Huldreich Zwingli, the translators of the King James Bible, and so forth.
Next: Possibilities Number’s 4 and 5.
To Be Continued In My Final Article: Part 4.