…Christianity has been deceived and misled by one man, the POPE!
Curiously, I was one of the proponents of this view in my teen-age: I have yielded to the authorities of Bible scholars, people gifted to interpret biblical prophesies and Christian numerologists and no one could tell me otherwise. I was so convinced the white cloaked septuagenarian High Priest(s) who headed the church in Rome and Catholic Church worldwide is the devils representative on earth, and was doing all in his power – and he has a lot – to undermine the authority of Christ and to mislead the world Christians.
From a non-Catholic background, not a Pentecostal either; I grew up very suspicious of the catholic liturgy which was very different from my ECWA upbringing, but nothing prepared me to anticipate the revelation of the Pope as Anti-Christ. Before then, I held that the antichrist was like Count Dracula, dark and sinister: red eyes, fangs, porcelain white and nocturnal; wears black ropes with high collars, and tortures people to accept the number 666.
I spend the evening of the day I finished reading Edward Hendrie’s “Antichrist: The Beast Revealed”, staring at the starry sky, watching them blinking, and coming to terms with how Christianity has been deceived and misled by one man, the POPE! There was also the realized conviction that we are acting against God’s intention and Christ Salvation, and would definitely go to hell out of ignorance. By the following day, I held these to be true:
That the papacy is the seat of Satan, and the Pope, as his servant is the foretold Antichrist! Catholicism is Satanic, and Christendom is living a deception. I was sure that only Adventist will make heaven, because they know the truth and dared to say it, albeit unpopular. With wealth of reference points from the book, and the interpreted prophesies accounted in the books of Daniel and Revelation; very proud of my privileged knowledge, I embarked on a passionate apologetic crusade of redemption, spreading my ignorance with passion.
Shortly after, Pope John Paul II passed away. Wasn’t that supposed to be the end of the Antichrist! No! But how can I reconcile the challenge, was the Antichrist the person (reigning Pope) or the office (Papacy) or the association (Catholic Church). I realize I was not well informed and was dwelling on one sided account.
I decided to immerse myself in the scripture, the books of Daniel and Revelation being my favourites – till date. I also read complimentary literatures and several conspiracy theories to better understand the Antichrist. I was exposed to more alternate claims, several other interpretations, and theories – all having conclusions different from the one I held on to, even those that concluded that the Pope was indeed the antichrist had different premises. I began to comprehend my naivety on the matter; I realized I was stupid all along.
I was not drawn to the historical dimension of the allegation, and realized thus:
During the medieval age and the Reformation period(when schism that would ultimately break the Western church into Catholics and Protestants was fermenting); the church, the papacy and the Popes were very corrupt, spiritually, morally and otherwise. They engaged in ungodly practices unworthy of Christ. Their conducts sparked up the reformation and Protestant movements.
The Protestant leaders began to label the Papacy as the seat of Satan, and the Pope as Antichrist! Not specifying if they meant an individual or the office. There have been at least 266 Popes to date! They cited statutes, bulls, ceremonies, practices and claims promulgated and sanctioned by the church that are contrary to biblical standards, and accused the Pope and Papacy of anti-God and anti-Christ activities.
The Antichrist is not exclusive to Christianity, He/It had been referred to in Islam, Judaism, and the Baha'i faiths. In Christianity, the identity of the Antichrist is riddled in codes and wrapped in mysteries and left for the enlightened to unravel. And the enlightened had – and are still unraveling; there exists several theories on the Antichrist. Some powerful non-religious and non-clergy men too had been alleged as being the Antichrist:
Mikhail Gorbachev the former leader of the defunct USSR, was accorded the title, by virtue of his being the leader of an Atheistic nation and Communism which opposed any belief in God, there was also the reference to the birthmark on his forehead mark of the beast.
There was the US president, Ronald Wilson Reagan who was also label as AntiChrist, because his names accounted for 666, mark of the beast! Adolf Hitler, who persecuted "chosen" Jews, was accorded same title. More recently, President Barrack Obama was also alleged to be the Antichrist. The most recent pope alleged to be the Antichrist was Pope John Paul II. Popes Benedict XVI and Francis I were not so extremely alleged to be.
On my part, it is misleading to believe the Papacy is the throne of the anti-Christ; for whatever was attributed to the Papacy, Catholicism and the Pope to guarantee such label, no Christian denomination can claim exception! The Church and the Clergies are more corrupt today as was in the Reformation era. Only few have upright spiritual and moral standings.
So folks, anyone who misrepresented the gospel of Christ and His plan for Salvation, and secretly or openly opposed Christ is the Antichrist, be it mortal or spirit. Christ is LOVE and UNITY, wherever discord prevails instead of peace, where hatred and antagonism takes the place of Love and fellowship, the Antichrist reigns instead of Christ. A proper understanding of Jesus Christ, his ministry and teaching will give any believer a better grasp of the Antichrist, for his personality, character, stance and association is in sharp contrast and opposition to that of Christ.
Written by Mbuyazi Emmanuel
Mbuyazi Emmanuel, Historian, creative writer. Loves reading, watching movies and research. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, FACEBOOK: Mbuyazi Emmanuel; Follow FB Page: Grandad’s Lenses, and grandadlenses.wordpress.com