[From "The Pope = The Man of Sin (Part 1)"]
In a previous post called, “The Roman Catholic Antichrist,” I shared a quote from the Scottish National Covenant. It includes a list of the Roman Catholic heretical teachings and abominable practices. I wanted to take some to explain a difficult topic. By “difficult”, I mean difficult to accept because of so many views on the end times. We have to admit that this is now a rare view in the church. Through a series of posts I will share reasons why the reformers held to the view that the office of Pope is the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2) , the antichrist (1 John 2) , and the beast of Revelation (Revelation 13).
The Westminster Confession
This view of the man of sin is confessional. The Westminster divines felt that it was so important that they included it in their confession of faith. They did not include every single doctrinal belief in the confession but they chose not to excluded this one. It is also included in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Here is what it says in the Westminster Confession, chapter 25:
“VI. 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.”
They also provided these scripture proofs for their position:
The push-back on combining the man of sin and the antichrist happens because of the description of each one. The antichrist seems to be one who is against Christ, whereas the man of sin seems to not be against Christ because he claims to be him. Is it against Christ if someone claims to be God when they are not? Of course it is! The description of the man of sin, who claims to be God, would then fit the description of the antichrist. Also, the word “anti” in the original language does not always mean “against” but it can also mean “instead of” or “in place of.” If this is true, then the antichrist is someone who takes the place of Christ. The word “anti” is used this way in many places found in scripture.
The Universal View Among the Reformers
The view that the antichrist, man of sin, and the beast is the office of papacy was also universal among the reformers. This does not mean that this was the only view because it wasn’t. This was a held by the majority of the reformed church. Here is another list from Francis Nigel Lee of theologians who believed that the beast of Revelation is the papacy.
The reason why this topic is important is because of the attack against the true church of Christ by an apostate church. The Pope wants to stop the work of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must be ready to share that gospel with anyone who embraces Roman Catholicism. We truly love our neighbor and warning them about the Pope would be a great act of love. I will address these questions and more, in this series: