Paul’s warning to the church about a coming enemy is a very serious one. I am speaking about 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12. There are a few descriptions in this passage about this man of sin.
- He is “the son of perdition.”
- He “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped.”
- “He sits as God in the temple of God”
- He shows “himself that he is God.”
- He will be destroyed by the breath of the Lord’s mouth.
- He was being restrained at the time the letter was written.
- He will act according to the “working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception…”
There are plenty of other things we could point out but these are the main points. Paul begins by calling the man of sin, “the son of perdition.” This should remind us of Judas. Jesus speaks about him using that title.
John 17:12 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
If this man of sin will follow the example of Judas then he will have to appear to be a believer before he finally commits apostasy. The man of sin cannot be one who is apart from the church. He will be one who comes from the church. He cannot be a professing atheist, pagan, or a worshiper of a false religion. We know this because Paul says that he sits in the temple of God. We are familiar with the temple of the old covenant but this is not the one he is speaking about. It is the church, who is the temple of God. Here are a couple verses that confirm that:
2 Corinthians 6:16 “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
The Roman Catholic Church is called apostate by Protestants because they were not always a false church.
The Universal Authority of the Pope
Pope Gregory I, who was pope from 590-604, was against the use of “universal bishop” for anyone. This was the idea of John IV of Constantinople. Pope Gregory predicted that if anyone took that universal authority over the church, they would be the forerunner of the antichrist. Here are some quotes from Gregory the Great taken from John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book IV, 7:4):
““It is very difficult to bear patiently that one who is our brother and fellow bishop should alone be called bishop, while all others are despised. But in this pride of his, what else is intimated but that the days of Antichrist are already near? For he is imitating him, who, despising the company of angels, attempted to ascend the pinnacle of greatness” (Lib. 4 Ep. 76). He elsewhere says to Eulogius of Alexandria and Anastasius of Antioch: “None of my predecessors ever desired to use this profane term: for if one patriarch is called universal, it is derogatory to the name of patriarch in others. But far be it from any Christian mind to wish to arrogate to itself that which would in any degree, however slight, impair the honour of his brethren” (Lib. 4 Ep. 80). “To consent to that impious term is nothing else than to lose the faith” (Lib. 4 Ep. 83). “What we owe to the preservation of the unity of the faith is one thing, what we owe to the suppression of pride is another. I speak with confidence, for every one that calls himself, or desires to be called, universal priest, is by his pride a forerunner of Antichrist, because he acts proudly in preferring himself to others” (Lib. 7 Ep. 154). Thus, again, in a letter to Anastasius of Antioch, “I said, that he could not have peace with us unless he corrected the presumption of a superstitious and haughty term which the first apostate invented; and (to say nothing of the injury to your honour) if one bishop is called universal, the whole Church goes to ruin when that universal bishop falls” (Lib. 4 Ep. 188).”
In the year 606, Pope Boniface III was the first to take on the title of “universal bishop.” He obtained a decree from Emperor Phocas stating, “the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the Churches.” This is the very thing that the apostle Paul warned about. The Pope sits himself in the place of Christ, our God. Jesus is the head of the church, not the bishop of Rome. Since that time, the succession of Popes have blasphemously identified themselves as the head of the church. This is not rejected by the Roman church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”
This is why the Westminster confession explains, “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…” The scriptures they provided for that statement are these:
Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
Ephesians 1:22 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”
The Popes Claim to be God
Not only have the Popes contradicted scripture by claiming to be the head of the church but they have also fulfilled Paul’s prophecy when they claimed to be God himself. Further explanation is not necessary, only seeing the evidence of them doing so.
Pope Nicholas I (858 – 867):
“I am in all and above all, so that God Himself, and I, the Vicar of God, have both one consistory. And I am able to do almost all that God can do. I then being above all, seem by this reason to be above all gods.”
“The appellation of God had been confirmed by Constantine on the Pope, who being God, cannot be judged by man.”
Pope Innocent III (1198 – 1216): “The Pope holdeth place on Earth, not simply of the man, but of a true god”
Pope Pius IX (1846 – 1878): “It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood.”
“I alone am the successor of the apostles, the vicar of Jesus Christ, I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Pope Leo XIII (1878 – 1903): “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”
Pope St. Pius X (1903 – 1914): “The Pope is not simply the representative of Jesus Christ: On the contrary he is Jesus Christ himself, under the veil of the flesh. Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who is speaking. Hence when anyone speaks of the Pope, it is not necessary to examine, but to obey.”
Pope Pius XI (April 30, 1922): “You know that I am the Holy Father, the representative of God on Earth, the Vicar of Christ, which means that I am god on Earth.”
Pope Pius XII: (1939 – 1958): “They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous errors who believe that they can accept Christ as the head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.”
Pope Pius XII: (1939 – 1958): “O Mary Mother of Mercy and Refuge of Sinners! We beseech thee to look with pitying eyes on poor heretics and schismatics…Call them to the unity of the one fold, granting them the grace to believe every truth of our holy faith and to submit themselves to the Supreme Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, that, thus being united with us by the sweet chains of charity, there may soon be but one fold under one and the same Shepherd…”
Pope John XXIII (1958 – 1963): “The Saviour Himself is the door of the sheepfold: ‘I am the door of the sheep.’ Into this fold of Jesus Christ, no man may enter unless he be led by the Sovereign Pontiff; and only if they be united to him can men be saved, for the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and His personal representative on earth.”
Does this fit the description of the man of sin? It certainly does. You will not find any in history that has done the work of the antichrist, man of sin, and the beast greater than the papacy. We must warn all people about this so they will not be deceived. The apostle Paul says that those are are deceived by the man of sin are those who are “among those who perish, because they did not received the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” God commands all people to repent and trust completely in the true head of the Church, Jesus Christ.