Our reader writes: "In the Epistle of John we read of antichrist who denies that Jesus is come in the flesh. But the papacy clearly teaches the virgin birth. For a long time I was puzzled by this, as the pope has been regarded as the antichrist. But I came to the conclusion that in words they say that Jesus is come in the flesh, but in works they deny him. In the sacrifice of the mass they claim to bring Christ down from heaven in the flesh under the elements of bread and wine. In so doing they also deny the sufficiency of the cross. What is your opinion of the matter?"
Most of our readers are aware that the Protestant Reformers all regarded the Pope as Antichrist, and that this teaching is reflected in the Westminster Confession of Faith which states: "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" (xxxv,6). Were this Confession and the Reformers right or wrong?
In our view they were correct. There is, we believe, no clearer representative today of the antichristian power and kingdom than the Pope. He, more than any other, fits the Bible's description of the Antichrist. Note the following:
(1) He fits the description given in II Thess. 2:3-4. He is the leader of the greatest falling away in history. He claims for himself the worship that is due to God alone, and claims to be the Vicar of Christ, thus setting himself in God's place.
(2) He fits the description of Antichrist given in Matthew 24:15. In claiming for himself and for the mass the worship that is due to God he becomes the abomination, the idol, that makes the worship and church of God desolate. None more so.
(3) As our reader points out, he even fits the description given in I John 2:18, 22 and 4:1-3. He denies not only the whole purpose and work of Christ in His coming in the flesh, but blatantly and blasphemously denies that Jesus is the Christ (2:22) by his claim to be the head of the church and one who can forgive sins.
(4) He fits the description of Revelation 13. Whenever he opens his mouth, he speaks blasphemies (witness his recent attempts to exalt Mary as co-mediatrix with Christ). He makes and has made through the ages, war with God's saints, persecuting and killing them. And, as we have noticed in other passages, he claims for himself the worship of God.
Nor is this unimportant. We must see this lest we give any credence to the efforts of the ecumenical movement to establish "dialogue' with Rome, to compromise or even to seek unity with her.
Nevertheless, the Pope is not the only Antichrist! As John tells us (I Jn. 2:18) there are always many antichrists. The cults and their founders and leaders, many leaders of the charismatic movement, the liberals, and all who deny the truth, are to one degree or another representatives of Antichrist. They show themselves to be "against Christ" when they contradict the doctrines of the Trinity, of the deity of Christ, of blood atonement, and when they claim for themselves power and position in the church that belongs only to Christ.
We must not, then, be so taken up with the idea that the Pope is Antichrist that we do not notice the evil work and influence of all these other antichrists, who do the same things and have the same destructive influence in the church.
- Volume: 8
- Issue: 10
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address13823 Clear Lake Rd.
State or ProvinceWA