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Other Articles on the Antichrist
Man of Sin





Can We Identify

The Antichrist?


Man of Sin Becomes the Antichrist


Chapter 4

Three centuries of defection from the teachings of the Apostles had gradually prepared the worldly Church to step into the role of the Antichrist. In A.D. 313 Constantine embraced Christianity and the Church embraced Constantine. Although the next century witnessed an even further development of the Man of Sin, still, a minority of faithful Christians were not in harmony with this aberrant church-state organization. But with the stroke of a pen by the intellectual spokesman of the Church, the Man of Sin was finally transformed into The Antichrist—in the primary, fullest sense of the word—instead of, in place of Christ.

Between A.D. 413-426, Augustine wrote in a 22-volume work, the city of god, that Christians were all wrong in waiting for the second advent before the Kingdom of God is established on earth. Rather, he advanced the idea, the Catholic Church united with imperial Rome was in reality the Kingdom of God now reigning on earth. Augustine proceeded to weave an incredible fabric of prophetic fantasy to prove his new theology.[8] He claimed that Christ at his first advent was the stone that smote the image and would fill the whole earth (Daniel 2):[9]

That stone increased and filled the whole earth: that he showed is His Kingdom, which is the church, with which He has filled the whole face of the earth.

The Millennium, Augustine advocated, was figurative of the period between the first and second advents. From the first coming of Christ to the second time…during this interval, which goes by the name of a thousand years, he [Satan] should not seduce the Church.[10] That Satan was bound for a thousand years in God’s Kingdom, Augustine construed to mean Satan could  only  inflict  selective  harm.  The  devil is prohibited and restrained from seducing those nations which belong to Christ… By the abyss is meant the countless multitudes of the wicked…when prevented from harming believers he takes more complete possession of the ungodly.[11]

Augustine taught two resurrections for his Kingdom, the first resurrection of Revelation 20 is spiritual—from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. The second resurrection is that of the body which occurs at the end of the world, when the thousand years end. Thus he wrote, There are two resurrections,—the one the first and spiritual resurrection, which has its place in this life…the other the second, which does not occur now, but in the end of the world.[12]

The Catholic Church readily embraced Augustine’s theology that the Kingdom of God had begun. Then for centuries nothing could stand in the way of extending this kingdom to the ends of the earth. The Catholic Church, no longer a chaste virgin waiting the return of her espoused Bridegroom to set up his Kingdom (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 22:17), united with the kings of earth to set up her own kingdom. Revelation 17 describes such a union as symbolic fornication.

To this day, the Vatican with its vast network of ambassadors that reach around the world still claims to be the Kingdom of God on earth.

Who Sits as God in the Temple of God
2 Thessalonians 2:8

Before Pagan Rome became Papal Rome, the Pagan Emperor claimed the title of Pontifex Maximus, that is, the Greatest Religious Ruler. As a demigod, in some sense descended from their heathen deities, he was worshipped and his statues adored. Then when Pagan Rome became Papal Rome, the Emperor who still possessed the title of Pontifex Maximus was delighted with Augustine’s teaching that the Papal Roman Empire was the Kingdom of God on earth. But still it was the Catholic civil Emperor and not yet the Papacy that sat as God in the temple of God and declared himself the divine ruler over all Christians.

At that point in history (AD 413), no single one of the eighteen hundred bishops of the empire was yet prepared to demand recognition as the head or pope. But several had their eyes on the prize. The prestige of the bishops of Rome, however, rapidly grew when the seat of the empire was transferred to Constantinople. As the city of Rome fell subject to the invasion of the barbarians from the north, the bishop of Rome was left as the most permanent and time-honored protector. Finally, in A.D. 455, the city of Rome was invaded and plundered by the Vandals, and Leo, the bishop of Rome, improved the opportunity for claiming spiritual power.[13]

Beware! I am the successor of St. Peter, to whom God has given the keys of the kingdom of heaven…I am the living representative of divine power on the earth: I am Caesar, a Christian Caesar…I absolve all subjects from allegiance to kings; I give and take away, by divine right, all thrones and principalities of Christendom.

Succeeding bishops of Rome made the same pompous claims, but it was not until A.D. 533 that the bishop of Rome was so recognized by the Roman Emperor, Justinian I. Excerpts from a letter from Justinian reveals significantly the emperor’s acknowledgment of the Pope John, Patriarch of Rome—as well as what the emperor expected in return:[14]

The victorious Justinian…to John, the most holy archbishop of the fostering city of Rome…we have hastened to make subject to the See of your Holiness, and to unite with it, all the priests of the whole Eastern district…your Holiness…who is the Head of all the holy churches. For in all points…we are eager to add to the honor and authority of your See…now we entreat your Blessedness to pray for us, and to obtain for us the protection of heaven.

In another letter to the bishop of Constantinople, the arch rival of Pope John, the Emperor Justinian warned him to acknowledge Pope John of Rome as his supreme Holiness, the Pope of Ancient Rome.[15] The Eastern Roman Emperor not only accepted the Bishop of Rome as Pope or head of the Catholic Church, but also as the authority over the Emperor himself.

However, one problem remained for complete sovereignty of the Church: The Ostrogothic kingdom that ruled Italy challenged the Pope’s authority. Consequently, Justinian dispatched his army to Italy. In A.D. 539 the Ostrogoths were defeated,[16] an event significantly marked in prophecy. The little horn (Papal Rome) that grew out of the fourth beast, dreadful and terrible (Pagan Rome), first needed to displace three horns" (political powers). The third horn—the Ostrogoths— now out of the way, the little horn could then be free to flourish and speak great things (Daniel 7:7-8). Now the Pope of Rome reigned supreme as the Pontifex Maximus—both civil and ecclesiastical ruler—over the entire Papal Roman Empire.

The Holy Roman Empire

The French kings, Pepin and Charlemagne, each in turn brought his army to the protection of Papacy’s dominion. In A.D. 800 Charlemagne formally presented Papacy with the Papal States and the reign of the Holy Roman Empire began.[17] Far from being holy, its history was written in blood. This transfer of power from Pagan Rome to Papal Rome was also a fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation: And the beast which I saw [generally accepted as Antichrist]…the dragon [civil Rome] gave him [Antichrist] his power and his seat and great authority (Revelation 13:2).

The following is a capsulation of this supreme sovereignty of the Papacy:[18]

The pontiff…trod on the necks of Kings, made and unmade sovereigns, disposed of states and kingdoms, and, as the great high-priest and vicegerent of the Almighty on earth, established an authority as lord paramount, and reigned over heads of other sovereigns…

Did Papacy as the Man of Sin fulfill sitting in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4)? A standard Roman Catholic authority will speak for itself:[19]

The Pope is of such dignity and highness that he is not simply a man but, as it were, God, and the vicar [representative] of God…the pope’s excellence and power are not only about heaven, terrestrial and infernal things, but he is also above angels…He is of such great dignity and power that he occupies one and the same tribunal with Christ…The pope is, as it were, God on earth…the Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, declare or interpret the divine law.

As the centuries progressed, the Popes became more and more arrogantly articulate in their presumptuous claims. The pope holds the place of the true God, declared Pope Innocent III (A.D. 1198-1216). The Lateran Council (A.D. 1123) acclaimed the Pope as Prince of the Universe. St. Bernard (A.D. 1090-1153) wrote that none except God is like the Pope, either in heaven or on earth. And Pope Nicholas (A.D. 858-856) boasted, What can you make me but God? Ferrar’s (Roman Catholic) Ecclesiastical Dictionary states, The Pope, is as it were, God on Earth.[20] No wonder the Revelator wrote, And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies… And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven (Revelation 13:5, 6).

Clearly, the Little Horn of Papacy which grew out of the Roman Empire beast fits the description with eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

[8] These following quotes and citations from Augustine's writing are found in the collection, A Select Library Of The Nicene And Post-Nicene Fathers (hereafter abbreviated NPNF). These quotes and citations are also found in the prophetic faith of our fathers by Le Roy Edwin Froom (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1950), Vol. 1, 473-490.

[9] Augustine, Tractate 4 On The Gospel Of John, Sec. 4, NPNF, 1st Series, Vol. 7, 26.

[10] Augustine, The City Of God, Book 20, Ch. 8, NPNF, 1st Series, Vol. 2, 428.

[11] Ibid., 428.

[12] Ibid., 425, 426.

[13] Time Is At Hand (New Brunswick: Bible Students Congregation of New Brunswick, 1977), 295.

[14] Volume of the Civil Law. Codices lib. I tit. i (A.D. 533).

[15] Ibid., 75.

[16] Gibbon, The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Vol. 3, 536 (including footnote), 537.

[17] John M'Clintock and James Strong, Cyclopaedia Of Biblical, Theological, And Ecclesiastical Literature (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1877), Vol. 7, 630, and Vol. 9, 996.

[18] Adolphe Thiers & Edward E. Bowen, The Campaigns Of Napoleon (London: Rivingtons, 1875), 89, 90.

[19] John Ferrar, An Ecclesiastical Dictionary (London: John Mason, 1858).

[20] Ibid., Thomas J. Capel, The Pope: The Vicar Of Christ, The Head Of The Church (New York: Pustet & Co., 1885). Fox's Book Of Martyrs cited by H. Gratton Guinness, The Approaching End Of The Age (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1878), 191-192.