Already my study has convinced me that the Pope is NOT the Antichrist, but there are a few more descriptions of the beast that we should look at, just for the sake of completeness.
The words of the beast:
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
The beast speaks blasphemy. John 10:33 says that claiming to be God is blasphemy. Luke 5:21 says that claiming to forgive sins is blasphemy. (You can always say, "I forgive you" to someone who offends you, but Luke 5:21 is talking about sin in a broader sense.)
The Pope-is-Antichrist teachers show quotes from Catholic sources that apparently show that they believe and teach the Pope is equal to God, and that the priests actually forgive sins. Here is a short list of quotes that they commonly use.
The problem here is that these original resources are very difficult to track down and check. I cannot tell for certain one way or the other regarding the claimed quotes, but I can look at the Catholic Church's official doctrine.
About whether the Pope is equal with God, the Catholic Encyclopedia says,
"Whatsoever thou shalt bind . . . Whatsoever thou shalt loose" [Matt. 16:19]; nothing is withheld. Further, Peter's authority is subordinated to no earthly superior. The sentences which he gives are to be forthwith ratified in heaven. They do not need the antecedent approval of any other tribunal. He is independent of all save the Master [Jesus] who appointed him. The words as to the power of binding and loosing are, therefore, elucidatory of the promise of the keys which immediately precedes. They explain in what sense Peter is governor and head of Christ's kingdom, the Church, by promising him legislative and judicial authority in the fullest sense.About forgiveness of sins, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says,
The official church position is that the Pope is God's appointed head of the church on earth, not that the Pope is God Himself. Also, the official church position is that while only God forgives sins, He gives authority to priests to forgive sins in His name--not that the priests themselves forgive sins by their own authority.1441 Only God forgives sins. [Mk 2:7] Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, "The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and exercises this divine power: "Your sins are forgiven." [Mk 2:5,10; Lk 7:48] Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name. [Jn 20:21-23]1442 Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the "ministry of reconciliation." [2 Cor 5:18] The apostle is sent out "on behalf of Christ" with "God making his appeal" through him and pleading: "Be reconciled to God." [2 Cor 5:20]
I've seen already how unreliable the WMSCOG and other Pope-is-Antichrist teachers have been in their handling of other resources. IF they had shown integrity with their other research, I would be more inclined to give them the benefit of doubt on this one. But it's highly likely that the quotes they use have also been taken out of context and aren't what they appear.
The claims that the Pope and the Catholic Church speak blasphemy are, at best, inconclusive.
Changing the laws and times:
This is in Daniel, not Revelation
...[He] shall intend to change times and law....
To the WMSCOG, this includes the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath, Passover/Easter, Christmas, etc., which they say were laws and times changed by the Catholic Church.
I address the Sabbath, Passover/Easter, and Christmas elsewhere on my blog. In short, these are not "laws" that the church says you must keep to be saved. The Catholic Church does not condemn anyone to hell for not observing Christmas, for example. Neither do any other Protestant churches I know.
Regarding the 10 Commandments, the Roman Catholic Church is accused of omitting the second commandment, severely shortening the fourth commandment, and splitting the tenth commandment into two.
The 10 Commandments first appear in Exodus 20. It's interesting that although the phrase "10 Commandments" is used a few times in the Bible, it's not in Exodus 20 (except by the translator's notes). Did you realize in Exodus 20:1-17, God says:
"You shall (or shall not)..." 12 times,
"Remember..." once, and
That's a total of 14 commands in what we call the 10 Commandments. We combine some to make a total of 10. Interesting, isn't it?
Yes, the Catholic Church does number the commandments differently from most other churches. You can see that in a chart here. BUT they did not change the commandments, they just combined them differently.
The Catholic Church did not "omit" the second commandment. They combined it with the first commandment. The words are still there, just grouped differently. Read it here in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you read Ex. 20:3 and Ex. 20:4-5, you can see that those commands are very similar--do not worship anything or anyone but God. It is easy to combine them.
The Catholic Church's purpose for showing the division between their 9th and 10th commandments (about coveting) is stated here in the Catechism. They wanted the people to know that both carnal (lustful) desires and material coveting are sins. Most other churches combine the statements about coveting into a single 10th commandment, but it's easy to see why they may also be split.
As for the commandment about the Sabbath. The Pope-is-Antichrist teaching claims that the Catholic Church shortened it from "94 words to eight." (source) A reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church shows that to be inaccurate. It is much longer than 8 words, but I'll let you do the counting if it's that important to you. You can read it here, and here are more details.
I disagree with the WMSCOG. I do not believe the Catholic Church fulfills this prophecy.
I'm almost done with my study of the beast of Revelation. Next time, the number of the beast.
Click here to go on to Part 8.