Will The Antichrist Be A Pope?
From The Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
The idea that the Antichrist will come from the Church of Rome and probably be a Pope is widely held among Protestants. This writer has received some very negative feedback from a number of visitors to this site because of his position that the Beasts will come from Islam. A companion page to this one questions whether the Antichrist will come from the New Age Movement. Just as in that page, this writer admits, as always, that he could be wrong. But he believes that looking to the Church of Rome to be the source of the Antichrist is just as much an illusion and deception as looking to the New Age Movement. And here are some reasons why:
"Antichrist" is the wrong word. The Book of Revelation, which is viewed in this site as the final word, literally and figuratively, on Second Coming Prophecy, does not contain the word "Antichrist". Nor does this word occur in any other passage of Second Coming Prophecy. The word only occurs in the I and II Epistles of John, were it clearly refers to a type of person or spirit. In fact, I John 2:18 can be understood as a refutation of the idea that the "Antichrist" is a particular person. Some errors never die.
What the Book of Revelation prophesies is two Beasts; one a king and one a false prophet. There is reason to believe that a Pope may turn out to be the False Prophet, but it does not seem logical that a Pope would be the king. The king appears to be a military dictator. How could this be true of a Pope?
Again, the idea of the "Antichrist" is that of a false Christ. Contrary to popular opinion among Christians, there is nothing in the Book of Revelation to indicate that the king is a false Christ. This idea is associated with the idea that the "Antichrist" is a "nice guy". This would probably be true if he was a Pope. But there is nothing in the Book of Revelation to suggest that the king is a "nice guy". In fact, the description of him in Revelation 13:2-8, and other references in Revelation, suggest that he is anything but.
One of the main attributes of the king is that he appears to be militarily invincible. How this could be true of the Church of Rome is hard to imagine if one looks at the true status of the Church right now. The present Pope is quite a media personality and political activist, but he has no military power. It has been a long time since the last army took the field in the name of the Church. Although the Vatican is a sovereign state, it has no real military. We are led to believe that the Pope will somehow control the military forces of Western Europe. Although it can't be said that this is impossible, it must be remembered that at least two major European powers, Great Britain and Germany, are not predominantly Catholic. Would they support a Pope militarily? This writer doubts it. The same goes for Greece and the nations of Eastern Europe. The Pope may be powerful in some European countries, but Islam controls a much greater area, and far more people.
The Muslim nations of the Middle East have been spending many of their petro dollars for military hardware. If they all acted in unity, they could put an enormous military force in the field right now. And on top of that, they would control a substantial part of Europe's oil supply. A modern army can't operate without fuel. In short, a united Muslim empire could render Europe helpless right now, if the United States were out of the way. Part of the message of this ministry is that the U.S. will be out of the way when the Beasts rise to power. The asteroid collision will do that. See "A Mountain Burning With Fire".
Also, controlling the world in the way the Beasts will do means having economic control almost to begin with. The Church has no real economic control, even in the countries it dominates socially and politically. Islam, by contrast, controls enormous wealth, again, via petro dollars. There were headlines some years ago about the Church having 8 billion dollars (thousand million to the British) in wealth. That may be a lot for a Church, but it's nothing in terms of international commerce. This writer works for a company that maintains a corporate nest egg of stocks and bonds ten times as big. (That's right - just one company, with ten times more wealth!) And it's not particularly big as major corporations go. Muslims control far more wealth than that. They could control the world economically right now, again, if the United States and Japan weren't around. After the asteroid or comet strikes, they won't be. All the nations on the Pacific Rim will be devastated.
"Mystery Babylon" is drunk with the blood of the Saints. Although the Church of Rome has been responsible for the martyrdom of some true Christians, the number of deaths of Christians precipitated by the Catholic Church is a small fraction of what has been done by the Muslims. Whole Christian populations have been annihilated or forced to convert to Islam at sword point by Muslims. Christians have been criticized for "spreading the Gospel by the sword". To what extent Christians have done this, it has been mainly a trick learned from the Muslims. Using war to spread Islam has been the standard modus operandi of Islam since the very beginning. Only Communism, and only within this century, rivals Islam in the amount of Christian blood it has spilled. Most contemporary Christians are blissfully ignorant of the threat - and then some - that Islam that has been to Christianity since its beginning in the early 7th Century.
The only truth there could be to the theory that the Pope is the Antichrist is that the False Prophet may be a Pope. But this could be true and the king could still be a Muslim, and Mystery Babylon could still be a revived Babylonian Empire dominated by Islam. The Church of Rome has been subtly surrendering to Islam ever since the end of the Crusades. For example, there is a Muslim mosque in Rome, but there is no Roman Catholic Church in Mecca. In fact, if a Roman Catholic attempted to enter Mecca, he would be killed. This contrast is not without significance. Islam is presently growing faster than Christianity generally. This writer knows of Christians who were arrested and imprisoned by Muslims not long ago for doing street evangelism - in England! Right now, Catholicism worldwide is actually on the decline. In the United States, at least, the Catholic Church has reported a problem with a shortage of new candidates for the priesthood. Both evangelical Christianity and Islam are making inroads into the Catholic population, as is atheism.
Still, we could see a Pope arising as the False Prophet. This is in fact suggested by the fact that the first beast rises from the sea but the second beast rises from the land. If this in fact happens, and the Pope is supporting a Muslim military dictator, as might happen, he will really be betraying the Church in the process. But it could very well happen. A leading Catholic Bishop who is considered a potential papal candidate recently went on record denying that Jesus is the only way to God.
Special Update: April 2, 2000: In the past week, on an official visit to the Holy Land, the Pope kissed a Koran. Some Christians see this as evidence of the Pope being the "Antichrist". Actually, considering the fact that Muslims are presently persecuting Christians, including Catholics, in many parts of the world, the Pope's act was a betrayal of the Church and a further surrender to Catholicism. His act further supports the idea that the First Beast will come from Islam, and the possibility that the False Prophet will be a Pope.
The one overtly satanic aspect of the Church of Rome right now is the cult of "Mary". It is going to be interesting to see how this spiritual phenomenon will interact with the Beasts. It is this writer's prediction that "Mary" will either support the Beasts or just vanish (that is, the visions and miracles will just stop happening) when the true Beasts rise to power. "Mary" worshippers will have to start worshipping the Beast when he rises to power - or else!
Special Note: Since this page was first posted to the Web, this writer has learned, though with a shortage of details, that Muslims to some extent also venerate the Virgin Mary. This suggests a possible doctrinal basis for an effective merger of Catholicism and Islam.
Therefore, this writer concludes that the first beast, commonly but erroneously called "the Antichrist", will in fact be a Muslim, although there is reason to believe that the False Prophet may be a Pope.
Contact Author, William D. Brehm