Is the Pope The AntiChrist?

In the Reformation, Luther and Calvin named the Pope the Antichrist. A treatise of Martin Luther written shortly before his death in 1546 was entitled, “Against the Roman Papacy; an Institution of the Devil.” Luther began his tirade, “The Most Hellish Father, Saint Paul III, in his supposed capacity as the bishop of the Roman church…”1 In that treatise he says that the pope is “the head of the accursed church of all the worst scoundrels on earth, a vicar of the devil, an enemy of God, an adversary of Christ, a destroyer of Christ’s churches, a teacher of lies… a brothel-keeper over all brothel-keepers and all vermin, even that which cannot be named; an Antichrist…”2

The Westminster Confession, the Presbyterian creed of the next century, includes an article in which it boldly identifies the pope as Antichrist.

“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 exalteth himself in the church against Christ and all that is called God” (chapter 25, art. 6). “3

The Internet is full of websites that say that the pope is the antichrist.4 However, there have been claims that Roman emperors, kings, presidents, and depots like Hitler and Stalin were antichrists. Today, there are claims that US President Obama or Russian President Putin are the antichrist.

Biblical Basis

There is a biblical basis for considering who the antichrist is.

Let no one deceive you* by any means, because [that Day will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction [or, the one destined to be lost], 2Th 2:3ALT

The word “apostasy” above is apostasia in Greek. It means a falling away from the faith, or a rejection of the faith. This verse says that before the Lord returns “the antichrist” will be revealed. This next verse says that the antichrist comes out from the believers.

Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby 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 how that they all are not of us.1Jo 2:18-19

What is the biblical definition of the antichrist? The next verse tells us that he is someone who denies that Jesus is the Christ;

Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even he that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also.1Jo 2:22-23

In 1 John we are advised to “prove every spirit.” And it says that the way to “prove the spirit” is to evaluate whether they confess Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit which confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already.1Jo 4:1-3

There is a spirit that says the messiah has not been born which is what “is not come in the flesh” means. This spirit says that Jesus is not from God, and is not the savior. This spirit is everywhere today. This is the spirit of the antichrist.

There is a major difference between the spirit of the antichrist which is that spirit that denies Christ and “the antichrist”, the man of perdition, the world leader who will take the world leadership role in the end times.

To me, as much as the papacy has used whores, murdered many in the inquisition, and many other misdeeds including Vatican excesses of luxury that may continue to this day, none of those misdeeds qualify for denying the Son. So, while these deeds may disqualify the popes from leadership positions, it doesn’t qualify them as “the antichrist”. Perhaps there were popes who weren’t believers, who, despite their title, didn’t believe that Jesus was the annointed one from God, and as such, would have been representive of the antichrist. But what I have read of recent popes doesn’t indicate that. So if in Martin Luther’s time, the popes did represent the spirit of antichrist, that doesn’t make them the antichrist.  While the Roman Catholic Church continues to work against the true scriptural message in numerous ways and in that sense is antichristian, the antichrist, the man of perdition is still in the future.

Although the only places in Scripture the name Antichrist is used are I and II John (I John 2:18,22,4:3, II John 7), the Bible is replete with instruction regarding the reality we call Antichrist. The key passages are Daniel 7, 8, 11; Matthew 24; II Thessalonians 2; and Revelation 13, 17 and 18.

While some world leaders may speak against Christ and the spirit of the antichrist has been around since Christ, “the antichrist” is still in the future.

1 Luther’s Works, Fortress Press, Volume 41, pg 263
2 ibid., page 357-358
4 See,, as examples.

last edited 11/19/2021

copyright 2009-2021 Mark W Smith, All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Is the Pope The AntiChrist?”

  1. There has nothing changed since the time of reformation until now dealing with the Roman Catholic Institution. If you were to look in the Canon Laws of the institution and many of the things that are in there it speaks against the teachings and ways of our God. Antichrist is not limited to one person but it is a system that is against God’s ways. That is why in the word of God it is referred to as a spirit because many antichrist have come. Antichrist simply means coming in the guise of Christ a pretender but on the inside he/she really hates the ways of God. Wolves in sheeps clothing to not spare the flock. Of course there is no way to know for sure who is going to be the future antichrist unless God shows you by revelation like he did John but the bible does give us awesome clues to look to where he will come from. It is nothing wrong with being divisive concerning what you believe. The word of God does say come out from among them and be separate. We ought to love the Roman Catholic people because God created them in His image and likeness but hate the satanic system that they are apart of because it isnt of God. I been to the heart of the Roman Catholic institution (Vatican) many times because I was stationed in Italy for years. I also study intensely about the Religion of Roman Catholicism so I am not ignorant concerning the subject especially talking to and hearing and reading many different testamonies of many that was in that system and got out and exposed the things that goes on in the inside of the Vatican and around the world. I can say that different denominations of christianity such as baptist, penecostal, and non-denomination and others that people are apart of I would consider a brother or sister of Jesus Christ because we believe in the inspired word of God without the apocrypha (spelling). But as for a Roman Catholic I cant say that they are my brother or sister because they follow someone else other than the God that has written the holy scriptures. So I would be divisive concerning that But inspite of that we all ought to still love and care for them because God does but I dont tolerate the belief system. I suggest that people study, learn, and remember from history and dont be naive and really understand our scriptures before understanding what is the Roman Catholic system and commenting about it.

  2. Very insightful comment. I agree that the Catholic church has numerous “antichrist” aspects or elements. For example, where is the substantiation for the teaching to pray to Mary because she is an intercessor? I follow the the teaching that we have one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus[1 tim 2:5]. I disagree with the whole concept of “priests”, because with the spirit inside we, the body of believers are a royal priesthood. To teach otherwise is to teach against Christ, and what he accomplished.
    You make a good point in declaring it is what the individual believer in the denomination believes. I have found that there are some Catholics that I would consider my brother and sister because they do believe in Christ as their savior, believe that God has called them, and even called them to stay within the denomination, at least for now, because they have a voice with Catholics they have contact with. There are others who profess Roman Catholicism who are void of Christ. They don’t know Christ, they follow the Roman church and the pope. Those people are not my brother and sister because they don’t know Jesus.
    One of my points in the article is that “the antichrist” is different from the “the spirit of antichrist”. I would go as far as to say that one of the modern popes could be working in the sprit of the antichrist because they aren’t really believers and promote in one form or another that Jesus hasn’t come in the flesh.
    But the point of the article is just that so far we haven’t seen “the anti-christ”, the son of perdition:
    “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”[2 Thes 2:3]
    So I agree in that there have been popes who were antichrists, but I don’t see any pope yet as the antichrist, “the son of perdition” that is the definitive marker for the end times.

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