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by Shaun Willcock
The Present Pope, Like Every Pope Before Him,
Yes! That man, dressed in white, who looks so serene, who calls himself the
"Holy Father", who addresses vast crowds from a balcony in the Vatican, whose
followers number over a billion of the world's inhabitants — that man is the
Antichrist! Of him the beloved apostle, John, wrote in the first century,
saying, "ye have heard that antichrist shall come" (1 Jn.2:18). And come he did
— precisely as prophesied in the Word of God.
The prophesied Antichrist was not Hitler. He was not Mussolini, or Lenin, or
Stalin, those monsters of iniquity who appeared on the stage of history for a
few brief years, and then went the way of all the earth. He is not some
Communist dictator, or Muslim fanatic, alive right now. The Antichrist is the
pope of Rome. He is every pope of Rome. The present pope is the Antichrist, the
previous pope was the Antichrist, and the pope to come will be the Antichrist.
Antichrist is alive today, and Antichrist was alive a hundred years ago, and a
thousand years ago. Christians in the Dark Ages came up against Antichrist, and
Christians today face him still. Hear the Word of God!
Jesus said, "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall
deceive many" (Matt.24:5). Not just one man at the end of time, but many men, a
succession of men, all claiming to come in the name of Christ, and each one of
them claiming to be Christ. A succession of men, down through the centuries, one
after another, each one spewing forth the same blasphemy. The Antichrist is the
pope who is alive at any given moment.
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist
shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the
last time" (1 Jn.2:18). The last times began in the first century, as both John
in this verse, and others, make clear (Acts 2:16,17; Heb.1:2; 1 Pet.1:20; Jude
18). There were already, in that first century, many lesser Antichrists; but as
John wrote, another was coming, the Antichrist, greater than them all.
But when was he to come?
The Bible gives the answer. At the time when John wrote, "the spirit of the
Antichrist" was already in the world, but not the Antichrist himself: "and this
is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and
even now already is it in the world" (1 Jn.4:3). Paul wrote along similar lines:
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will
let, until he be taken out of the way" (2 Thess.2:7). At that early time, the
groundwork was being laid for the great and evil religious system that would
continue developing as the years went by, finally coming to fruition a few
centuries later; the "mystery religions" of ancient Babylon were present, and
they were active, and there was a spirit at work, the spirit of Antichrist,
guiding these currents along a path that would culminate in the great satanic
masterpiece, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations
of the Earth" (Rev.17:5). And what was that? Nothing less than the Papacy, the
religion of the popes, the Roman Catholic system.
Centuries earlier, the prophet Daniel had declared when the Papacy would arise,
and where: "I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them
another little horn" (Dan.7:8). The interpretation of this vision was also
given: "And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise:
and another shall rise after them" (Dan.7:24). The ten kings (or kingdoms) were
the barbarian nations that overran the Roman Empire; and the little horn that
came up among them, rising after them, was the Papacy, the kingdom of the popes.
So it was prophesied, and so, precisely, was the prophecy fulfilled. And Paul
prophesied of the very same thing, when he wrote: "And now ye know what
withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity
doth already work: only he who now letteth [restrains; hinders; obstructs] will
let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be
revealed..." (2 Thess.2:6-8).
When he wrote these words, something, and someone, was restraining the full
manifestation of that Wicked; that something was the Roman Empire, and that
someone was the Roman emperor. But in the fifth century, this restraint was
removed, and then that Wicked was revealed. And who was "that Wicked?" The very
same as the Antichrist of John's prophecy! How do we know? By a comparison. John
wrote of the Antichrist who was to come; Daniel wrote of the little horn arising
after the fall of the Empire; and Paul wrote of the Man of Sin and Son of
Perdition (2 Thess.2:3), who would be revealed once the Empire had been taken
out of the way.
What, then, do the Scriptures reveal? They reveal that the spirit of Antichrist
was at work in the first century already, preparing the way for the coming of
the Antichrist. There were many lesser Antichrists, but one was coming who would
be the Antichrist. And in fulfilment of the prophecies of Daniel, Paul, and
John, he arose on the stage of history a few centuries later, in Europe, being
revealed in all his wickedness once the Roman Empire had fallen.
History, fulfilling divine prophecy, leaves us in absolutely no doubt as to
Antichrist's identity. It was the Roman Papacy. Just as Christ is the Head of
the true Church, so Antichrist is the head of the false "church". That false
"church" is the Roman Catholic institution, perfectly described for us in
Rev.17; and the only head of that false "church" is the pope of Rome.
Now, a common objection is usually raised at this point: "How," it is asked,
"can the Papacy be the Antichrist, when the Scripture says that Antichrist
denies the Father and the Son; denies that Jesus is the Christ; confesses not
that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh? The popes do not do this! They
acknowledge these things!" In actual fact, the very verses which are pointed to
by such objectors provide yet further evidence that every pope of Rome is the
Here are the verses: 1 Jn.2:22 says, "Who is a liar but he that denieth that
Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." 1
Jn.4:3 says, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in
the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist". And 2 Jn.7
says, "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus
Christ is come in the flesh.
This is a deceiver and an Antichrist." Those who attempt to use these verses to
deny that the pope of Rome is the Antichrist do not understand the meaning of
the word. They assume that one who is anti-Christ is one who is openly against
Christ; one who openly opposes Him. He must (they argue) be an atheist, a
Communist, a Muslim, or a Jew; he cannot be one who professes to love Him, to
follow Him, to serve Him, and who calls himself a Christian.
But this is where they are terribly deceived! The Bible shows us clearly that
the Antichrist, far from being an atheist, is very religious; and not just
religious, but he professes to be a Christian! And none of the verses quoted
above contradict this. In fact, they confirm it!
Firstly, the word, "Antichrist", itself. What does it mean? The Greek, "anti",
means "instead of". It is often used to designate a substitute. It is used in 1
Tim.2:6 of Christ, who became a ransom, a substitute.
In 2 Thess.2:4, the Antichrist is described a "antikeimenos"(translated as "opposeth"), which means
one setting himself in opposition, and particularly as a rival foundation, in
the place of, or against, another foundation. Now, 1 Cor.3:11 says that Jesus
Christ alone is the foundation. Very significantly, the words are, "For other
foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ"; and the
Greek word for "laid" is "keimenon". Thus, the Antichrist usurps the place of
Christ, the only true foundation!
So, "Antichrist" means a substitute "Christ", an imitation of Christ — one who
claims to take the place of Christ! And this is precisely what the pope of Rome
does! He even terms himself "the Vicar of Christ"; and the word, "vicar", means
one who takes the place of another; a substitute. Just as the vice-president is
the one who takes the president's place in his absence, so the Roman pontiff
claims to be the Vicar of Christ, the "vice-Christ", the one who takes the place
of Christ on earth! Thus, the "Vicar of Christ" is the Anti-Christ; for the
Greek "anti" has the same meaning as the Latin "vicar".
Secondly, the pope of Rome most certainly denies that Jesus is the Christ;
denies the Father and the Son; confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the
flesh! How so?
The word, "deny", as used in these Scriptures, does not automatically imply
atheism. Yes, a man may deny the Lord by denying His existence; but he may also
deny Him, by apostacy — a departure from the truth! This is very plain from such
Scriptures as Matt.10:33, Tit.1:16, and 2 Tim.3:5. Does the pope of Rome
deny that Jesus is the Christ? Does he deny the Father and the Son?
Yes; in the following ways: He denies the Lord, firstly, in works. "They profess
that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and
disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate" (Tit.1:16). With their lips the
popes profess to know God; but by their evil works they deny Him. A man can
profess to be a Christian all he likes, but if his conduct is not godly, the
profession of his mouth is worthless (Matt.15:8). If any man is truly in Christ,
he is a new creature, and his works will not be the works of darkness. The works
of the Papacy are the works of darkness — the works of the spirit of Antichrist.
They have a mere form of godliness, but deny the power of true godliness (2
The pope of Rome denies the Lord, secondly, by his damnable heresies. "But there
were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers
among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord
that bought them..." (2 Pet.2:1). None can deny that the pope of Rome is a false
teacher, who disseminates damnable heresies; and he denies the Lord by these —
such evil doctrines as that salvation is by works, and that Mary and so-called
"saints" are necessary to salvation, and that Christ must be eaten physically in
the blasphemous mass, and that regeneration is by baptism, to name just a very
And does the pope of Rome confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh?
No, he does not. Oh, he may do it with his lips, saying, "I confess that Jesus
Christ is come in the flesh"; but this is not the meaning of the words. And yes,
he may confess such doctrines as the true divinity and humanity of Christ; but
the words are not limited to these doctrines. To confess that Jesus Christ is
come in the flesh, is to confess all the truth about Christ, as revealed in His
Word: that He alone is the way to the Father; that there is salvation in no
other; that He alone is the Head of the Church; that to eat His flesh and drink
His blood, is to partake of Him spiritually, by faith, and not physically; that
His sacrifice was perfect and complete and never to be repeated; etc., etc. All
these great truths, the popes deny.
Men who in any way deny the truth regarding Christ are Antichrists; and the pope
of Rome is the supreme Antichrist, for no one denies the divine truth regarding
Christ as he does. The Antichrist, then, far from being an atheist, a Communist,
a Jew or a Muslim, is one who claims to be the chief of all Christians, the
Vicar of Christ, in fact he reaches the height of blasphemy and claims to be
Christ Himself! Lest any think that it cannot be, consider the following:
Pius IX was described as "the living Christ", and "the Lamb of the Vatican". And
in a speech, he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Pius X
said: "The Pope...is Jesus Christ Himself, hidden under the veil of flesh."
Pius XI, on 30 April 1922, in the Vatican throne room, said: "You know that I am
the Holy Father, the representative of God on the earth, the Vicar of Christ,
which means that I am God on the earth."
The Canon Law in the Gloss on the Extravaganza of John XXII, AD 1316-1334, calls
the Roman pontiff "Our Lord God the Pope." And this was continued in all
editions of the Canon Law up to AD 1612. Martin V was addressed as: "The
most holy and most blessed, who holds the celestial jurisdiction, who is Lord
over all the earth...the anointed...the ruler of the universe, the father of
kings, the Light of the World." During the Vatican Council, 9 January
1870, it was stated: "The Pope is Christ in office, Christ in jurisdiction and
power...we bow down before thy voice, O Pius, as before the voice of Christ, the
God of truth; in clinging to thee, we cling to Christ."
The Roman Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas, said: "There is no difference
between the Pope and Jesus Christ." The cardinal, Manning, said: "He [the
Roman pope] was elevated to be, in his Divine Master's Name, King of kings and
Lord of lords." In July 1993, when John Paul II visited Brazil, the Roman
Catholic crowds sang, "You are the Christ!" And consider this: this Man of
Sin, this Antichrist, usurps Christ's prophetic office, by claiming to be God's
spokesman on earth; he usurps Christ's priestly office, by claiming the power to
forgive sins, and to offer propitiatory sacrifices in the mass; and he usurps
Christ's kingly office, by claiming to be the head of the Church. What is all
this, but claiming to be Christ himself?
What did Jesus say? "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ"
(Matt.24:5). How perfectly the prophecy has been fulfilled! So monstrous
are his claims, so vile his works, that even Papist apologists have been forced
to the inevitable conclusion that the pope, if he is not who he claims to be,
must be the Antichrist! Priest Philip Fletcher, editor of the organ of the
"Guild of Our Lady of Ransom", wrote in 1914: "The Vicar of Christ or
Antichrist....If the Pope of Rome is not the Vicar of Christ, he must be
Antichrist; there is no middle view." And Arnulphius, at the Council of Rheims,
said of the pope: "Verily if he be void of charity...then he is Antichrist."
Throughout the ages Christians believed that the Papacy was the Antichrist. When
the diabolical Jesuit Order came into existence, one of its members, Francisco
Ribera, was commissioned to develop a theory of prophetic interpretation that
would cause Protestants to turn their gaze from Rome and look elsewhere for the
Antichrist. He developed, before the close of the sixteenth century, what came
to be known as the "Futuristic" interpretation of prophecy, claiming that the
Antichrist was not the pope of Rome, but that he would be someone who would
arise in the future.
In time this Popish plot was eminently successful: today, the vast majority of
Protestants do not believe the pope of Rome to be the Antichrist. Instead, they
are expecting him to be some super-politician who has yet to appear. They have
no idea that they are following a theory developed by a Jesuit with the
intention of deliberately misleading them. And most, even if they knew the
truth, would not care one whit anyway, so besotted have today's Protestants
become with that mystical Babylon on the seven-hilled city, and with the man who
heads it. Professing themselves to be Christians, most modern Protestants are as
blinded as any Papist, and have eagerly embraced the Antichrist as a servant of
The Lord Jesus, just before He spoke of those coming in His name and claiming to
be Christ, said, "Take heed that no man deceive you" (Matt.24:4). Christian
reader, take heed that you are not deceived by the teachings of the Jesuit
Ribera. Take heed that you are not deceived by those misguided Protestant
teachers who have followed in his steps, proclaiming the same fanciful and
speculative theories. And take heed that you are not deceived by that Man of Sin
and Son of Perdition himself — by his friendly smile, or his crowd-pleasing
manners, or his pious-sounding words! Be well-acquainted with the blasphemous
doctrines, and blood-stained history, of the system of which he is the head;
study these things in the light of the Word of God; and boldly proclaim the same
truth which the saints of God through the ages have proclaimed:
THE PAPACY IS