Is the Pope the Antichrist?
The end-time Antichrist is a political figure who will claim to be God and wage war against the followers of Jesus. He will be defeated by Jesus at the Second Coming.
Doesn’t Deny the Christ
The Bible says that there are many antichrists. However, there is one main Antichrist who comes in the end times. However, the main feature of all antichrists is that they deny that Jesus is the Christ.
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 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 it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:18-23)
However, according to official Catholic doctine, Jesus is both Christ, Son of God, and God incarnate. Therefore, any pope who maintains orthodoxy on these facts cannot be the Antichrist.
Not a Political or Military Figure
According to Daniel and Revelation, the Antichrist is a political and military figure who is devoid of traditional religions devotion. Daniel is clear that the Antichrist won’t follow the religion of his ancestors.
36 “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. 37 He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price. (Daniel 11:36-39)
In place of traditional religious devotion, the Antichrist will elevate himself as God and honor the “god of fortresses” instead. The “god of fortresses” is a metaphor for military strength. According to Dr. John Walvoord, former President of Dallas Theological Seminary, the Antichrist
“...will worship only the power to make war and gain victory…”
On the contrary, the Pope believes in one God, who has become incarnate in Jesus. Nor does the Pope honor military might over God. He is not a military figure, nor does he spend a lot of time promoting militarization.
Doesn’t Fit the Antichrist’s Rise to Power
Daniel also makes clear that the Antichrist will fight many battles as a military leader (Daniel 11:40-45; cf. Revelation 13:4). This doesn’t describe the Pope very well, since he doesn’t have an army. Furthermore, Daniel 7 describes the Antichrist as a “king” who rises to power among a group of 10 kings, all of which are part of the end-times Roman Empire predicted in the Bible. During this rise to power, the Antichrist puts down 3 of the 10 original kings.
23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,
there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time. (Daniel 7:23-25)
This also doesn’t describe the Pope, since he is not a political figure who can’t really qualify as a “king” of anything, except perhaps the Vatican. In addition, he did not rise to power among a group of ten kings in the revived Roman Empire. Nor did he put down 3 of those previous ten kings.
This is in contrast to top Antichrist candidate, Javier Solana, who did rise to power among a group of ten kings in Europe. Furthermore, he did humble 3 of those original ten kings. Therefore, Javier Solana is a better candidate for Antichrist than any Pope.
The False Prophet is the Religious Figure
Furthermore, Revelation 13 describes the Antichrist and his assistant, the False Prophet. The False Prophet enforces the worship of the Antichrist. Among this diabolical duo, it is the beast from the earth (False Prophet) who is the religious figure, not the beast from the sea (Antichrist). The Antichrist has political and military authority, whereas the False Prophet has religious and economic authority.
Revelation 13 describes the Antichrist’s political authority, saying:
And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, (Revelation 13:7b)
It also describes his military might:
And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Revelation 13:4)
But of the False Prophet, it says:
It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. (Revelation 13:12-14)
It also describes the False Prophet’s economic power through the mark of the beast:
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Revelation 13:16-17)
The Pope is a better candidate for the False Prophet than Antichrist. Nevertheless, due to the current Pope’s religious beliefs, I don’t personally think that the Pope is either one.
Unable to Protect Israel
Finally, the Antichrist will confirm a 7-year covenant with Israel, and many others.
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” (Daniel 9:27)
As we have discussed elsewhere, this will include a promise of military protection for Israel, in addition to a diplomatic conquest. The Pope is in no position to offer military protection to Israel.
In conclusion, there are several reasons the Pope cannot be the Antichrist.
- The Pope does not deny the divinity of Jesus
- The Pope has a traditional religion
- The Pope does not encourage militarization
- The Pope doesn’t fit the prophecies about the Antichrist’s rise to power
- The Pope is a religious figure, not a political figure
- The Pope is not in a position to provide military protection to Israel