The Papacy is not the Antichrist
By Septimus Sears [edited]
The Pope of Rome is not the Antichrist.
It has been thought by many that the Pope of Rome, or the system which he heads, is the Antichrist. That Popery is an anti-Christian system, and the Pope of Rome an awful Antichrist, there can be no doubt; but I am convinced the Pope of Rome is not the Antichrist of 1 John 2.:18; the Man of Sin, that Wicked, of 2 Thessalonians 2. 3-10; the little horn of Daniel 7; nor the beast of Revelation 13. For the following reasons:
First reason: Territory.
The ten kingdoms of the Roman earth—comprehending all the territory of ancient Rome from the Euphrates in the east, to Britain in the west; all the northern coast of Africa, from Egypt to the straits of Gibraltar, inclusive, in the south, to all that strip of territory from Belgium to the Black Sea in the north—have never agreed to own the Pope or Popery as supreme. This territory is at present ruled over by no one secular head, and is ecclesiastically divided between the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek Church, the Armenian and Syrian Churches, Islam, and Protestantism. Even as an ecclesiastical system, Popery has not reigned continuously to the coming of Christ over the western part of the Roman world, and never for an hour over the eastern and western together, which Antichrist will do. See Daniel 7; 2 Thessalonians 2; and Revelation 13.
Second reason: The Greek connection.
The beast of Revelation 13 was like a leopard. The leopard is the beast chosen to represent Greece (Daniel 7:6). Popery has been always Latin, not Greek, in its source, character, and territory. Popery has been successfully opposed and kept under by Islam and the Greek Church half the eastern half of the territory of ancient Rome, where the Antichrist will rise and reign.
Third reason: The false prophet. In Revelation 13:11, we read of another beast rising, and acting the prophet to the first beast, or the Antichrist. He directs that the first beast should be worshipped; and, in proof of his divinity, he causes fire to come down from heaven, and does other great wonders in the sight of men, and is so successful in his Satanic mission, that he causeth them that dwell in the earth [i.e. the prophetic earth] to worship the first beast. Will any one show us such a prophet of the Pope, and let us see his miracles, and witness his success all over the Roman earth?
Fourth reason: The mark of the beast necessary for business. We are distinctly told that this false prophet of the beast causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Is it true that no man may trade, even in popish countries, excepting Roman Catholics? No. Much less is it true, through all the Roman earth, in these days of wonderfully liberated commerce, that none but Roman Catholics can buy or sell.
Fifth reason: The image of the beast. An image of the beast is made by his false prophet, which is caused to speak and to command that whosoever would not give it divine worship, should neither buy nor sell, but should be put to death. Can any one point us to such a speaking image to the Pope or Popery?
Sixth reason: God’s elect. All shall worship the beast excepting those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. It is not to be proved that no Roman Catholic name was ever in the book of life, and that all, throughout the territory of Rome who refused to worship the Pope, or submit to Popery, are God’s elect.
Seventh reason: Successful persecution. It is not true, with all the horrid persecutions of that infernal system, Popery, that from its rise to the coming of Christ, it has made war upon, worn out, and prevailed against, the saints of God. But all this will be true of the Antichrist; for in Daniel 7, it is written, The same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. . . . And he shall wear out the saints of the most High . . . and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. Notice, the saints are given into his hands the whole time and times and dividing of time—the three years and a half that he is allowed to continue. It is obviously true that the saints throughout all the Roman earth are not given into the hands of the Pope to be worn out and prevailed against the whole time of the continuation of that corrupt system; therefore the Pope is not the little horn of Daniel 7; for they will be so given into the hands of the little horn, who is called in Revelation 13, the beast, of whom it is said, It was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. Where is the man or system now in existence to whom it would not be simply ridiculous to apply this prophecy?
Eighth reason: Pope not recognized as Antichrist will be. If the Antichrist be now reigning over the whole Roman earth, the greater part of his subjects must be quite in the dark about it, and must be very rebellious; which is just contrary to the predictions of Scripture about them: for the ten kings shall agree and give their kingdom unto the beast, and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations, and all the world will wonder after him, and say, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? When the man of sin does appear, he will be revealed. The saints will find no difficulty to fix upon him. He is not so revealed now, or I should not need to write these remarks against the mistaken views of many of the people of God.
Ninth reason: Pope does not exalt himself as Antichrist will. Abominable as are the pretensions of the Pope, he does not exalt himself above all that is called God; so that as God he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. The Pope’s calling himself Christ’s vicar, shows he does not set himself above Christ, but pretends to be His servant. The Antichrist will sit in the temple of God. Is St Peter’s the temple of God ? Or is that synagogue of Satan, the Roman Catholic Church, the temple of God?
Tenth reason: Damnation of Antichrist’s adherents. All the adherents of the Antichrist will be eternally lost. If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name (Revelation 14:9-11). Will any one dare to say that God has not saved many, such as Luther, Melanchthon, and various other Reformers, who had given their adherence to Popery?
Eleventh reason: An individual. The Antichrist must be an individual who continues through the whole time of his blasphemous and persecuting rule; and no individual has lived for the more than 1,200 years of Popish blasphemy and error. That the Antichrist is an individual, is clear from Daniel 11. 36-45; for language is there used that it is impossible to apply to a system: besides, we are told in Revelation 19:20, that the beast was cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone and in the 10th verse of the 20th chapter, that he is to be tormented day and night for ever and ever. How can a system be cast alive into a lake, and be tormented day and night for ever?
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