Defining The Name Antichirst
THE name "antichrist"
is found in only three chapters of the Bible, and in every instance it
was emphatically stated that he was already in the world. We read:
"Ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now arc there many
antichrists .... Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the
Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." 1
John 2:18, 22. "This is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have
heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the
world." 1 John 4:3. "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." 2 John 7. How can anyone, in the light
of these plain texts, say that the antichrist here spoken of is not yet
come, when the very texts declare that he is here already?
These texts also reveal the fact
that the apostle did not believe antichrist to be only one individual,
but rather an anti-christian tendency in the church an organization
dominated by "the spirit of antichrist," having a man at its
head, so that when he died another would take his place, and the
antichristian system would continue. Thus there would be "many
antichrists," as the apostle says, but only one system; and this
system had already made such progress before the apostle died, that it
was about to capture the church. Its leader would not accept the Apostle
John, one leader "forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out
of the church." 3 John 9, 10. This accounts for the warnings in
John's epistles against these "many antichrists." I John 2:18.
The Apostle Paul, during his last
journey among the churches, gathered "the elders," or bishops,
and warned them against the coming apostasy of the church, which was to
be brought about by its leaders. He says: "For I know this, that
after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing
the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse
things, to draw away disciples after them.' Acts 20:29, 30. Later the
apostle reminded the believers, that the day of Christ's return was not
then at hand: "For that day shall not come, except there come a
falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of
perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called
God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of
God [the church, 1 Corinthians 3:10, 16], showing himself that he is
God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these
things? . . . For the mystery of iniquity doth already work." 2
These prophecies point out
clearly that the "elders" (later called bishops) would
"draw away" the people from the truth of the Bible, to follow
men, and that this "falling away," which had
"already" begun in Paul's day, would develop, until a
"man" would exalt himself to take the place of Christ in the
church. Every thoughtful student of prophecy can see that this points
unmistakably to the Papacy, and it accords exactly with the significance
of the name "antichrist."
Dr. James Strong says that
"antichrist" comes from two Greek words, antee and khristos,
and gives the following definition of antee;
"Opposite, i.e. instead or
because of, . . . for, in the room of. Often used in composition to
denote . . . substitution"–Exhaustive Concordance, Greek
Dictionary, entries Nos. 500, 473. Thomas Sheldon Green says:
"Anti, prep, over against;
hence, in correspondence to; in place of . . "–Greek-English
Lexicon, p. 14. Boston:1896.
The meaning, therefore, of
"antichrist," as it is used in the New Testament, is a rival
to Christ, or one who attempts to take the place of Christ as His
"vicar." This significance of the prefix "anti" is
also seen in the word "anti-pope." (For further information on
this point see "The Papacy Is Antichrist," by J. A. Wylie, pp.
2-18. Edinburgh:George M'Gibbon.) We shall now see that this is exactly
the position which Catholics claim for the pope, that he holds the place
of Christ on earth Rev. T. L. Kinkead says:
"Our Holy Father the Pope,
the Bishop of Rome, is the vicar of Christ on earth and the visible
head of the Church." "'Vicar'–that is, one who holds
another's place and acts in his name"–"Explanation of the
Baltimore Catechism," p. 130. Benziger Brothers. (Sanctioned by
Cardinal Gibbons, five arch- bishops, nineteen bishops, and other
Rev. William Humphrey, S. J.,
"A vicar is put in the place
of him whom he represents. He is invested with his power, he is
furnished with his authority. · . . He personates his principal ....
The master, by his appointment of a vicar, binds himself to ratify his
vicar's acts, and to recognize them as his own"–"The Vicar
of Christ," p. 4. New York:Benziger Brothers, 1892.
Thomas Morell, D. D., and Prof.
John Carey, LL.D., says: "
Vicarius, a, urn. adj. That is in
stead, or place of another; that supplies another's room; a deputy
.... One who performs the office, or duty, of another; a deputy, a
substitute."–An Abridgement of Ainsworth's Latin Dictionary,
Designed for the Use of Schools, p. 604. London:1826.
When the force of this similarity
between the antichrist of prophecy and the pope of Rome dawned upon the
mind of Cardinal Newman, he declared:
"The gibe, 'If the Pope is
not Antichrist, he has had bad luck to be so like him,' is really
another argument in favour of the claims of the Pope; since Antichrist
simulates Christ, and the Pope is an image of Christ, Antichrist must
have some similarity to the Pope, if the latter be the true Vicar of
Christ"–Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 561, art.
Thus it is claimed that the pope
is the vicar of Christ on earth. But Christ left an altogether different
Vicar, or Representative, in His place; namely, the Holy Spirit. (John
14:15-18; 16:7.) Of this Representative Christ says: "He shall
teach you all things." "He will guide you into all
truth." John 14:26; 16:13. (Compare I John 2:20, 27.) The Holy
Spirit, being the author of the Bible (2 Peter 1:21), certainly should
be the proper interpreter of it.
To this the Roman church
"Nor can it be said that
being a divinely inspired book, its prime Author, the Holy Spirit,
will guide the reader to the right meaning. "The Church which
made the Bible, likewise interprets the Bible"–"Things
Catholics Are Asked About," Martin J. Scott, S. J., Litt. D., pp.
119, 120. N. Y.:Kenedy, 1927.
Pope Leo XIII says:
"But the supreme teacher in
the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires,
together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission
and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to
God Himself."–"The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo
XIII," p. 193. New York:Benziger Bros., 1903.
He further says:
"We hold upon this earth the
place of God Almighty"–Id., p. 304.
We have now seen from authentic
Catholic sources, that the pope arrogates to himself the "place of
God Almighty," the office of Christ on earth, and the prerogative
of the Holy Spirit, as sole teacher of the faithful, and the interpreter
of the Holy Scriptures. What more is needed to fulfill the prediction of
2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, and the prophecies of the Antichrist?
All Agreed On Antichrist
Up to the close of the
Reformation God's people were generally agreed that the Papacy was the
Antichrist foretold in prophecy. The Waldenses taught it. (See page
122.) About 1384 A. D. John Wycliffe wrote a book against the papal
system entitled: "Of Antecrist and His Meynee." In fact, the
English Reformers,–Tyndale, Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley,–all agreed
in pointing to the Papacy as the Antichrist. John Huss of Bohemia, in
his "De Anatomia Antichristi," did the same. Turning to
Germany we find Dr. Martin Luther strong in his convictions on this
subject. He says:
"The Pope is . . . the true
Antichrist, of whom it is written, that he sitteth in the temple of
God, among the people where Christ is worshiped .... "But Papists
want to divert this passage from themselves, and they say that Christ
and Paul speak about the temple at Jerusalem, and that Antichrist
shall sit there and rule; that will not do .... It cannot be
understood otherwise than of the new spiritual temple, which he says
"There shall the Pope sit
and be honored, not above God, but above all that is called God ....
So also we see it before our eyes, that many princes and the world
regard his law higher and more than the commandments of God ....
Cannot this rightly be termed exalting and honoring Antichrist above
God? "–"Luther's Church Postil," "Gospels,"
25th Sunday after Trinity, par. 24, 25, Part 2, pp. 734, 735.
Luther further declares:
"Therefore, let whosoever
will doubt, God's word and the proper divine worship convinces me
sufficiently that the Pope is the' Antichrist, and the ecclesiastical
orders are his disciples, which deceive the whole world"–Id.,
Part 1, p. 379. "I hope that the last day is at the door. Things
could not become worse than the Roman see makes it. It suppresses the
commandments of God, it exalts its own commandments above God's. If
this is not Antichrist, then some one else must tell what it
is"–"Luther's Reformatory Works," p. 280.
Copenhagen:1883. "The Pope is the real Antichrist"–Id., p.
Dr. Charles H. H. Wright, in
speaking of the Bible prophecy of "antichrist," says:
"In all ages of the Church,
from the days of Gregory the Great down to the present, men have
pointed to the Papacy as the fulfillment of the prophecy. That
interpretation is set forth in the Homilies of the Church of England
and by all the Reformed Churches. The interpretation, however, has
been ignored or rejected by critics, for reasons which need not be
specified. It can, however, stand all the tests of criticism."–
"Daniel and His Prophecies," p. 168. London:1906. (See also
Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 561, art. "Antichrist.")
Jesuits Undermine The Truth
The Rev. Joseph Tanner, B. A.,
"So great hold did the
conviction that the Papacy was the Antichrist gain upon the minds of
men, that Rome at last saw she must bestir herself, and try, by
putting forth other systems of interpretation, to counteract the
identification of the Papacy with the Antichrist.
"Accordingly, towards the
close of the century of the Reformation, two of her most learned
doctors set themselves to the task, each endeavouring by different
means to accomplish the same end; namely, that of diverting men's
minds from perceiving the fulfilment of the prophecies of the
Antichrist in the papal system. The Jesuit Alcasar devoted himself to
bring into prominence the Preterist method of interpretation, . . .
that the prophecies of Antichrist were fulfilled before the Popes ever
ruled at Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy. On the
other hand the Jesuit Ribera tried to set aside the application of
these prophecies to the papal power by bringing out the Futurist
system, which asserts that these prophecies refer properly not to the
career of the Papacy, but to that of some future supernatural
individual, who is yet to appear, and to continue in power for three
and a half years. Thus, as Alford says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A. D.
1580, may be regarded as the Founder of the Futurist system in modern
"It is a matter for deep
regret that those who hold and advocate the Futurist system at the
present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are thus
really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the
Papacy from detection as the Antichrist. It has been well said that
'Futurism tends to obliterate the brand put by the Holy Spirit upon
popery.' More especially is this to be deplored at a time when the
papal Antichrist seems to make an expiring effort to regain his former
hold on men's minds. Now once again, as at the Reformation, it is
especially necessary that his true character should be recognized, by
all who would be faithful to 'the testimony of Jesus.'"
–"Daniel and the Revelation," pp. 16, 17. London:Hodder
and Stoughton, 1898.
To undermine the work of the
Reformers, these Jesuits, Alcasar and Ribera, gathered a mass of
material from the writings of the Church Fathers concerning Antichrist.
This gave their works the appearance of scientific research, which
appealed to many Protestant leaders. (An example of this can be seen in
Encyclopaedia Biblica, art. "Antichrist.") But statements from
the Church Fathers which speak of the coming of Antichrist as an event
then in the future, could be no proof for Ribera's "futurist"
theory, for the reign of the papal Antichrist was then still in the
future. The 1260 years of papal persecution, called the Dark Ages, had
not yet begun when these Fathers wrote. The theories of Ribera and
Alcasar were diametrically opposed to each other, and yet both were
taught as Catholic truths, taken from the Church Fathers. From this we
see how untrustworthy are these sources. Dr. Adam Clarke is evidently
right when he says of the Fathers:
"We may safely state, that
there is not a truth in the most orthodox creed, that cannot be proven
by their authority; nor a heresy that has disgraced the Romish Church
that may not challenge them as its abetters. In points of doctrine,
their authority is, with me, nothing. The Word of God alone contains
my creed"–Commentary on Proverbs 8.
Bible Prophecy Of Antichrist
The prophecies of the Bible
regarding Antichrist are so plain that even Roman Catholics cannot evade
them all. The seventh chapter of Daniel foretells the rise of four world
empires, which the Douay Bible explains to be "the Chaldean,
Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires." The Roman Empire was broken
up into ten smaller kingdoms between the years 351 and 476 A. D. And
among them there should grow up another power, symbolized by a
"little horn." Of this the Douay Bible says: "Another
little horn. This is commonly understood of Antichrist." Daniel
7:7, 8. The Papacy is the only power that came up just at that time, and
which fits all the specifications of the symbol.
We have seen on page 195 how
clearly the Papacy is pointed out in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7. This
prophecy states that the apostolic church would be gradually
"failing away" until a "man" would exalt himself to
take the place of God in the church. This "mystery of
iniquity" was already at work in Paul's day, but something was
holding it back. (Vs. 6, 7.) As long as the Roman Empire was heathen,
and persecuted the Christians, there was no incentive to join the church
for worldly gain; but during the time of Constantine the church became
popular, and the worldly ambitious struggled for the highest
ecclesiastical offices, because of the great honor and emolument
connected with them; and when finally the Roman State was abolished, the
bishop of Rome seated himself upon the throne of the Caesars. It was
therefore heathen Rome that had to "be taken out of the way,"
before the papal Antichrist could come into power. Speaking of this
point the Catholic Encyclopedia says:
"The impediment is the Roman
Empire; the main event impeded is the 'man of sin.' "–Vol. I,
p. 560, art. "Antichrist."
The Douay Bible says:
"The Roman Empire, . . . was
first to be destroyed, before the coming of Antichrist"–Note on
2 Thessalonians 2:3.
Two Points Made Clear
There were two arguments used
against the position taken by the Reformers which have puzzled many:
(1) It was claimed that the
Apostle John used two distinctions, "an Antichrist" to
designate the false teachers of his day, and "the Antichrist,"
referring to some superhuman monster of Jewish extraction that would
appear just before Christ's second coming. But on this point Dr. C. H.
H. Wright truthfully remarks: "St. John, the only New Testament
writer who employs the term, makes no distinction whatever between 'an
Anti-christ' and 'the Antichrist.' That distinction was in the main an
invention of the learned Jesuit interpreters."–"Daniel and
His Prophecies," p. 165. London:1906.
(2) The second objection was that
while "the Antichrist" would deny the incarnation, for he
would deny that "Christ is come in the flesh" (2 John 7), the
pope does not deny this, therefore he cannot be the Antichrist. This
argument has seemed so logical and conclusive that Protestants, to a
large extent, have given up the Protestant doctrine that the Papacy is
Antichrist, and have ceased to protest.
This argument, however, is based
on a misunderstanding, caused by overlooking one word in the text.
Antichrist was not to deny that Christ had come in flesh, but was to
deny that He had "come in the flesh," in "the same"
kind of flesh, as the human race He came to save. (See 1 John 4:3; 2
John 7, and Hebrews 2:14, 17.) On this vital difference hinges the real
"truth of the gospel." Did Christ come all the way down to
make contact with the fallen race, or only part way, so that we must
have saints, popes, and priests intercede for us with a Christ who is
removed too far from fallen humanity and its needs to make direct
contact with the individual sinner?
Right here lies the great divide
that parts Protestantism from Roman Catholicism. In order to understand
this point clearly, let us briefly consider the gospel of Christ.
The Gospel Of Christ Versus
The Gospel Of Rome
Through sin man has separated
himself from God, and his fallen nature is opposed to the divine will;
therefore he cannot by his own effort live a godly life, nor can he
change his own heart. (Isaiah 59:1; Romans 8:7; Jeremiah 13:23; John
15:5.) Only through Christ, our Mediator, can man be rescued from sin,
and again be brought into connection with the source of purity and
But in order to become such a
connecting link Christ had to partake both of the divinity of God and of
the humanity of man, so that He with His divine arm could encircle God,
and with His human arm embrace man, thus connecting both in His own
person. In this union of the human with the divine lies the
"mystery" of the gospel, the secret of power to lift man from
his degradation. "Great is the mystery of godliness, God was
manifest in the flesh." 1 Timothy 3:16. The "mystery," or
secret of power to live a godly life in human flesh, was manifest in the
life of Jesus Christ while on earth. (And "Christ in you" is
the secret of power to conquer sin. Colossians 1:27.)
But mark ! It was fallen man that
was to be rescued from sin. And to make contact with him Christ had to
condescend to take our nature upon Himself (not some higher kind of
flesh). "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and
blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same .... Wherefore in
all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren."
Hebrews 2:14, 17. This text is so worded that it cannot be
misunderstood. Christ "took part of the same" flesh and blood
as ours; He came in "the" flesh. To deny this is the mark of
AntiChrist. (1 John 4:3; 2 John 7.) To bridge the gulf that sin has
made, Christ must be one with the Father in divinity, and one with man
in humanity, and thus connect again earth with heaven.
God revealed this truth to the
Patriarch Jacob that lonely night at Bethel. When he feared that his
sins had cut him off from heaven, God showed him that mystic Ladder,
connecting earth with heaven, which Christ explained to be "the Son
of man." (Genesis 28:12; John 1:51.) Modernism has tried to cut off
the upper part of this ladder by denying Christ's divinity; while the
Roman Catholic Church cuts off the lower rounds by teaching that the
Virgin Mary was born without sin, and that therefore Christ did not take
upon Himself our kind of flesh and blood, but holy flesh, so far above
us that He does not make contact with our humanity. For this reason the
poor sinner cannot come to Him directly, they say, but must come through
Mary, saints, popes, and priests, who will mediate for him. This has
opened the floodgate for all the idolatry of the Catholic Church. Here
is this "dogma" presented in authentic Catholic works:
"'We define that the Blessed
Virgin Mary in the first moment of her conception . . . was preserved
free from every taint of original sin.' "Unlike the rest of the
children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to
sin."–"Faith of Our Fathers," Cardinal Gibbons, pp.
203, 204. Baltimore:1885.
The Sainted Doctor Alphonsus de
"The merits of Jesus, shall
be dispensed through the hands and by the intercession of
Mary."–"Glories of Mary," p. 180, New Revised
Edition. New York:P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 1888.
"God has chosen to bestow no
grace upon us but by the hands of Mary"–Id., p. 180.
"Whoever asks and wishes to
obtain graces without the intercession of Mary, attempts to fly
without wings."–Id., p. 189.
"Mary is all the hope of our
salvation"–Id., p. 195.
"Thou art the only advocate
of sinners."–Id., p. 129.
"All those who are saved,
are saved solely by means of this divine mother; . . . the salvation
of all depends upon preaching Mary"–Id., pp. 19, 20.
"We ask many things of God
and do not obtain them; we ask them from Mary and obtain
them"–Id., p. 150. Much more could be cited.
A Protestant may ask if the
merits of Christ's sacrifice on the cross are not sufficient, so that we
can receive grace directly from Him. To this the Catholic Church
merits and virtue of the sacrifice of the cross are infinite; but that
virtue and these merits must be applied, and this can only be done by
certain means"–"Doctrinal Catechism," S. Keenan, p.
129. New York:Kenedy and Sons, 1846.
"The priest has the power of
the keys, or the power of delivering sinners from hell, of making them
worthy of paradise, and of changing them from the slaves of Satan into
the children of God. And God himself is obliged to abide by the
judgment of His priests .... 'The Sovereign Master of the universe
only follows the servant by confirming in heaven all that the latter
decides upon earth"–Dignity and Duties of the Priest," St.
Alphonsus de Liguori, pp. 27, 28. New York:Benziger Brothers, 1888.
We now have before us the only
means of salvation in the Roman Catholic gospel, as presented by men of
unquestionable authority among them. This throws light on the reason why
the Catholic priest has such a hold on his people. They dare not oppose
him, because he represents their only means of contact with heaven. Cut
off from the church, they feel they are lost; for they do not know of a
Christ who has come all the way down to the lest sinner's side, to whom
they can come personally and receive forgiveness through grace alone.
The divine ladder has been cut off, and Mary, saints, and priests have
been substituted. But the Bible knows of only "one Mediator,"
Jesus Christ. (1 Timothy 2:5; Psalm 49:7, 8.)
But we have not yet gone to the
depth of this substitute "mystery." Let us now take the next
step. Having removed the living Christ from contact with the sinner,
they had to substitute something else to satisfy the longing of the
human heart for the indwelling presence of Christ. And that substitute
is the "Sacrifice of the Mass." The Roman church teaches that
the priest in the mass changes the little wafer into the real Christ,
which they then fail clown and worship, after which they eat Him,
believing that they become partakers of Christ and receive the
forgiveness of sin. Thus they have substituted a man-made Christ for a
living Christ. Liguori says:
"If the person of the
Redeemer had not yet been in the world, the priest, by pronouncing the
words of consecration, would produce this great person of a Man-God.
'O wonderful dignity of the priests,' cries out St. Augustine; 'in
their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Son of God
becomes incarnate.' Hence priests are called the parents of Jesus
Christ .... "Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called
the creator of his Creator .... ' He that created me without me is
Himself created by me !"– "Dignity and Duities of the
Priest," pp. 32,33.
"In obedience to the words
of his priests–Hoc est Corpus Meum-God himself descends on the
altar,.., he comes wherever they call him, and as often as they call
him, and places himself in their hands .... They may, if they wish,
shut him up in the tabernacle; . . . they may, if they choose, eat his
flesh, and give him for the food of others"–Id., pp. 26, 27.
Then priest and people worship
the Christ thus created: "Elevating a particle of the Blessed
Sacrament, and turning towards the people, he [the priest] says: 'Behold
the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sins of the world.'
"And then says three times,
Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only
say the word, and my soul shall be healed .... "This pure and
holy Sacrament. Who livest and reignest forever and ever.
Amen"–"The Key of Heaven," Right Rev. J. Milner, D.
D., approved by Cardinal Gibbons, pp. 126, 127. Baltimore:J. Murphy
and Co., 1898.
In the following quotation the
Catholic Church explains why she believes this worship of the wafer
(host) is not idolatry:
"Now turn for a moment to
the Catholic altar. The holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered
up. The bell has given the signal that the most solemn and awful
moment of consecration is at hand. As yet there is only bread in the
hand of the priest, and wine in the chalice before him. To worship
these lifeless elements would be the grossest idolatry. But suddenly,
amid the silence of the breathless multitude, the priest utters the
divine life-giving words of consecration; and that which was bread and
wine, is bread and wine no longer, but the true Body and Blood of our
Lord Himself. It is that same Body that was born of the Blessed Virgin
Mary, that died for us upon the cross, that was raised again to life,
and that even now sits at the right hand of God the Father ....
"Now in this mystery the
power of the creation appears as much as in the mystery of the
incarnation"–"The Holy Mass: The Sacrifice for the Living
and the Dead." M. Muller, pp. 174, 175. New York:1876.
Pastor Charles Chiniquy, a former
Catholic priest, says:
"No words can give any idea
of the pleasure I used to feel when alone, prostrated before the
Christ I had made at the morning mass, I poured out my heart at His
feet .... I may say with truth, that the happiest hours I ever had,
during the long years of darkness into which the Church of Rome had
plunged me, were the hours I passed in adoring the Christ whom I had
made with my own lips ....
In fact, the Roman Catholics have
no other Saviour to whom they can betake themselves than the one made
by the consecration of the wafer. He is the only Saviour who is not
angry with them, and who does not require the mediation of virgins and
saints to appease His wrath"–"Fifty Years in the Church of
Rome," chapter 17, pars. 29, 31.
In the thirty-sixth chapter of
his book Pastor Chiniquy tells how he was led to question seriously this
worship of Rome's wafer-god, the "host."
"In the spring of 1840 . . .
Father Daule [an old, blind priest, was residing with him at Beauport,
Quebec.] One morning when the old priest was at the altar, saying his
mass, [and had just changed the wafer into the real Christ, and was
reaching for it, it was gone. lie called to Chiniquy] with a shriek of
distress, 'The Good God has disappeared from the altar. He is lost!' [Chiniquy,
remembering how often rats had tried to get the wafer while he himself
had officiated there, knew what had happened, and in his consternation
replied :]' Some rats have dragged and eaten the Good God!' [The
sorrow of the old priest knew no bounds, but Chiniquy declared:] 'If I
were God Almighty, and a miserable rat would come to eat me, I would
surely strike him dead.' "–Id., chapter 36, pars. 7, 13, 24.
But Catholics deny that the
Papacy is Antichrist, for, say they, Antichrist is to come in the last
days. To this we answer: It is true that both Paul and John speak of the
activity of Antichrist at the time of Christ's second coming, but they
also speak of its already having begun in their day. (1 John 2:18; 2
Thessalonians 2:7.) There is a beautiful harmony in this when we look at
it in the light of Revelation 13:3, 5, 10 and 17:8, where it is stated
that this power will continue forty-two prophetic months, or twelve
hundred sixty literal years, after which it is "wounded to
death" and lies dormant for a time, till its deadly wound is
healed, and all the world will again follow it in wonder and admiration,
and finally it will be destroyed at Christ's second coming. So the
Antichrist of the last days is simply the Papacy restored to power. See
"Romanism and the Reformation," by H. Grattan Guinness, F. R.
G. S., and "The Papacy," by Dr. J. A. Wylie.
"The Romanists themselves
shame you in their clear-sighted comprehension of the issues of this
question. Cardinal Manning says, 'The Catholic Church is either the
masterpiece of Satan or the kingdom of the Son of God.' Cardinal
Newman says, 'A sacerdotal order is historically the essence of the
Church of Rome; if not divinely appointed, it is doctrinally the
essence of antichrist.' In both these statements the issue is clear,
and it is the same.
Rome herself admits, openly
admits, that if she is not the very kingdom of Christ, she is that of
antichrist. Rome declares she is one or the .other. She herself
propounds and urges this solemn alternative. You shrink from it, do
you? I accept it. Conscience constrains me. History compels me. The
past, the awful past, rises before me. I see THE GREAT APOSTASY, I see
the desolation of Christendom, I see the smoking ruins, I see the
reign of monsters; I see those vice-gods, that Gregory VII, that
Innocent III, that Boniface VIII, that Alexander VI, that Gregory
XIII, that Pius IX; I see their long succession, I hear their
insufferable blasphemies, I see their abominable lives; I see them
worshiped by blinded generations, bestowing hollow benedictions,
bartering lying indulgences, creating a paganized Christianity; I see
their liveried slaves, their shaven priests, their celibate
confessors; I see the infamous confessional, the ruined women, the
murdered innocents; I hear the lying absolutions, the dying groans; I
hear the cries of the victims; I hear the anathemas, the curses, the
thunders of the interdicts; I see the racks, the dungeons, the stakes;
I see that inhuman Inquisition, those fires of Smithfield, those
butcheries of St. Bartholomew, that Spanish Armada, those unspeakable
dragonnades, that endless train of wars, that dreadful multitude of
massacres. I see it all, and in the name of the ruin it has wrought in
the Church and in the world, in the name of the truth it has denied,
the temple it has defiled, the God it has blasphemed, the souls it has
destroyed; in the name of the millions it has deluded, the millions it
has slaughtered, the millions it has damned; with holy confessors,
with noble reformers, with innumerable martyrs, with the saints of
ages, I denounce it as the masterpiece of Satan, as the body and soul
and essence of antichrist"–"Romanism and the
Reformation," H. Grattan Guinness, pp. 158, 159. London?:1891.