Part 1 of this series examined the sources the World Mission Society Church of God uses to support their claim against the Papacy. I saw that they continue to have problems (like they did with their claims about the cross):
- misrepresenting information by taking it out of context
- presenting (or inventing?) 'facts' that are not in the referenced resource
- not being specific enough with their source so it can be verified
- selecting some information but neglecting to mention other important information from the same source
Then I examined the Scriptures and history to see how they matched up with the claims of the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching. Scripture and the historical record give plenty of evidence to show that the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching is false, especially when combined with the particular doctrine of the World Mission Society Church of God.
Here is a summary of those claims compared to reality, and in relation to Revelation 13:
Rev. 13:1-2 The beast has 7 heads with 10 horns and 10 crowns.similar to Dan. 7:7-8, 20, 24 The beast had 10 horns, and another little horn came up among them and plucked out 3 of the first horns.
Claim: When the Roman Kingdom fell, it split into 10 kingdoms. Three of those kingdoms did not follow the doctrine of the Catholic Church and were subdued (or destroyed) because of that. The last of them (Ostrogoths) was destroyed in A.D. 538.
Reality: When the Roman Kingdom fell, many kingdoms arose from it, but not the same kingdoms (or the same number) as claimed. The Ostrogoths were still strongly defending themselves after 538 and were not defeated until 553. By then, of the claimed 10 kingdoms, 5 kingdoms (not 3) had been subdued, and 1 of the kingdoms still had not entered Roman territory. Also, adherence to Catholic doctrine was not a factor in whether or not a kingdom was conquered.
Read Part 3 for detailed information.
Rev. 13:3-4 The beast suffered a fatal wound that was healed.Claim: The papacy suffered a "deadly wound" in 1798 when the Pope was captured by Napoleon's general. The wound has been healing since then.
Reality: There are many occasions in the history of the Catholic Church that could be considered "deadly wounds" that have healed. The verse implies only one fatal wound, not a series of struggles. There is no reason to pick the particular wound of 1798 over any other.
Read Part 4 for detailed information.
Rev. 13:5 The beast was given authority to rule for 42 monthsClaim: This 42 months is 1260 days, which prophetically mean 1260 years. The rule of the Catholic Church (papacy) began in 538 and continued until the "deadly wound" in 1798--exactly 1260 years as prophesied.
Reality: There are several years that could be considered the beginning of the rule of the Catholic Church, but 538 is not one of them. Significant historical markers of the Catholic Church do not fit into a prophecy of 1260 years. Also, events that were supposed to be happening during these 1260 years would contradict other World Mission Society Church of God doctrine.
Read Part 5 and Part 6 for detailed information.
Rev. 13:6 / Dan. 7:25 The beast speaks blasphemy and tries to change the times and law.Claim: The Pope is made equal with God, and Catholic priests are said to forgive sin. Both of those are examples of blasphemy. The Catholic Church has changed the sacred calendar (substituting Sunday for Saturday Sabbath, Easter for Passover, instituting Christmas) and has tried to change God's law (omitting and changing some of the 10 Commandments).
Reality: Official Catholic doctrine does not support the charge of blasphemy. Calendar issues are dealt with in other posts on this blog. The 10 Commandments are actually composed of 14 command statements. The Catholic Church still holds to all 10 Commandments, but they have combined them differently.
Read Part 7 for detailed information.
Rev. 13:18 The number of the beast is 666.Claim: The Pope's mitre is inscribed with the title "Vicarius Filii Dei." When you add up the values of the Roman numerals in this title, the total equals 666.
Reality: There are many people whose names can add up to 666, depending on the method of computation. Since the Catholic Church doesn't match the description of the beast as claimed, it doesn't matter whether or not Vicarius Filii Dei is an official title of the Pope or what number it forms.
Read Part 8 for detailed information.
Conclusion: The 1260 years in the prophecy more likely refers to a future, literal 3 1/2 year time period. Could a Pope of the Catholic Church fulfill the prophecies of the beast in the future? Possibly, but so could many other world leaders. We can only speculate when thinking about the future. The theory of the Catholic Church already fulfilling the prophecies of the Antichrist fails.
A Personal Note
To tell you the truth, when I started researching for this series I didn't know what I would find. I am not Catholic. I wasn't very motivated to clear the Pope (and Roman Catholic Church) from these accusations of being the Antichrist, the beast whose number is 666. I had heard the claim before, had even read the specific reasons, and thought it was a bit intriguing, but that's as far as I got. I didn't think it really mattered to me.
The main reason I decided to research the claims was because some of you readers wrote and asked me (thank you for that!). Now that I've done the research, I'm glad I did--not just because of the facts I've found, but also because I've learned something very important:
When you are confronted with a sensational claim such as this, don't just accept someone else's "research" about it--do your own!
I can't believe this accusation has persisted despite history proving it false! It's kind of like the claims that Elvis is still alive or that the moon landings were all a hoax or that the Holocaust was a myth. They are false, yet the rumors won't quit! It's infuriating! If you can help spread the truth about the Pope not being the Antichrist, please do. Whatever your personal opinions are of the Catholic Church, they should not be falsely accused in this way.