Who and What is the Antichrist?


In my first article on the Antichrist I presented an overview of the antichrists and two of the beasts of Revelation. In my second article I covered the "spirit of antichrist", which permeates the world and can use any individual, even Christians if they are not living in obedience to God's commandments. In this article the focus is on who and what the Antichrist is using Scripture to guide the way. This was not an easy task as there are dozens of titles believed to represent the Antichrist in the Old Testament spanning many books and chapters, and many interpretations of prophecy connected to them. In the New Testament there are only a dozen names, but enough for the need to also study many chapters and verses to try and find conformity between the Old and New Testament and their prophecies and admonishments on the Antichrist.

A few of the titles for the Antichrist from the Old Testament are:

  1. Adversary; Psalms 74:8-10; Amos 3:11
  2. Assyrian; Isaiah 10:5, 12
  3. Chief Prince; Ezekiel 38:2
  4. Evil Man; Psalms 140:1
  5. Head over many Countries Psalms 110:6
  6. Head of the Northern Army Joel 2:20
  7. King of Princes; Hosea 8:10
  8. King of Babylon; Isaiah 14:11-20
  9. Little Horn; Daniel 7:8-11, 21-26; 8:9-12, 23-25
  10. Man of the earth; Psalms 10:18
  11. Prince That Shall Come; Daniel 9:26
  12. Prince of Tyre; Ezekiel 28:2-10
  13. Vile Person; Daniel 11:21
  14. Wicked, Wicked One; Psalms 9:17; 10:2, 4; Isaiah 11:4; Jeremiah 30:14, 23
  15. Willful King; Daniel 11:36

Some New Testament names for the Antichrist:

  1. Beast; Revelation 11:7, 13
  2. Lawless One; 2 Thessalonians 2:8
  3. Antichrist; 1 John 2:18, 22
  4. Angel of the Bottomless Pit; Revelation 9:11
  5. Man of Sin; 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  6. Father of the Lie; John 8:44; 2 Thessalonians 2:11
  7. Son of Perdition; 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  8. Prince of Darkness; 2 Thessalonians 2:3

For almost two thousand years many individuals have pondered the meaning of Scripture on this satanic man and his kingdom that is to come at the End Times. Some believe the Antichrist will come as a Messiah to the Jews, whereby they will raise him up as the true Christ and put down Jesus as the impostor. Some believe that the Antichrist will arise as a Muslim Jesus (the False Prophet) and will unite the whole Islamic world, reviving the Ottoman Empire. They will conquer Israel and establish the headquarters of the Caliphate in Jerusalem before the return of Jesus. Some believe the Antichrist will be Judas Iscariot reincarnated. And still many believe it is the Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church.

To cover all the possible theories without writing a book is not possible, and still to bring clarity on any one theory, requires referencing many Bible verses; and then remembering which heads and horns go on what beast and the Biblical meaning for all the descriptions while attempting to keep uniformity. Yet the purpose of discussing the Antichrist is not to predict where and when this Antichrist will arise, but to help us understand what lies at the heart of the Scriptures. As explained in this Old Testament article, there has been a theme running throughout the Bible, which is composed of sixty-six books written by many authors over a span of fifteen hundred years. The Bible teaches what brought about the fall of man and how God had a plan from the beginning to restore His people and His Kingdom. God sent His Son to redeem fallen man. Then after a span of time the Son, Jesus Christ, will return again after societies will have degenerated through the escalation of evil from Satan having infiltrated the earth. The Antichrist is a counterfeit "Christ". The course then is laid out. We must be one with God's Laws and remain true to His commandments no matter what changes any religious or political leader promotes and we must truly accept Christ in our hearts.

What Is the Antichrist
Every man is an antichrist who denies the Person, or any of the offices of Christ; and in denying the Son, he also denies the Father. (1John 2:22) St. John writes in three separate verses about the spirit of antichrist and those who act as antichrist. Only in one verse does John allude to Antichrist as an individual: "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time" (1 John 2:18). John was saying that it was the last hour of the apostolic age. He was the last apostle alive. He is also saying "be watchful and wary" for many will come with false doctrines that are against Christ that many will believe in and worship or put aside the true Christ and His teachings. In this respect, where one entity represents the Antichrist, I will capitalize the "A". For those of the many "antichrists" I will use the small letter "a" throughout this article.

In the Bible the word "antichrist" is only mentioned in in the First and Second Epistle of John, as you can see from the list above. Yet it is believed that they all reference the same Antichrist. The meaning of Antichrist as used in the Bible is someone who is "against or opposing Christ" or "enemy of Christ" or is some type of "counterfeit Christ" rivaling Christ. There are already many antichrists that have come. So many people have believed that the Antichrist was the "evil man" or the "wicked one" of their time, such as Napoleon, Nero Caesar, Muhammad, Hitler, one of the prior Popes or even one of the U.S. presidents. These are the antichrists if they denied the Father and the Son, or they replaced God's laws with their own, but they are not the Antichrist.

The Bible reveals that in the last days two beasts would arise in power and work together to deceive and destroy mankind. They are mentioned in my previous article on Antichrists, as the two beasts of Revelation 13. They are called the "beast" and the "false prophet". As supported in other places of the Bible, the beast represents the nations/kingdoms and kings. Some theologians believe the Antichrist is presented in this first beast, while others believe the second beast of the false prophet better represents the Antichrist. Both views appear to have legitimate support. The important thing to understand is that both beasts support each other and whichever one actually represents the Antichrist, they both are also supported by the dragon and they both are antichrists. Some even believe that the dragon, beast and false prophet represent a counterfeit unholy trinity, with the Dragon a false Father, the Beast/Antichrist a false Son and the False Prophet as the false Holy Spirit. In order to accept this viewpoint one would also have to accept that the False Prophet is not the Antichrist, but the first beast is.

Saint Paul uses the terms, "man of sin" (sometimes translated as "lawless one") and "son of perdition" for the Antichrist. The Man of Sin opposes God and exalts himself against all that is genuinely sacred. He feigns religiosity, but his true character reveals that he is evil.

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way: only he who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the workings of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-9).

Paul calls him these names because he is drawing on the doctrine from the Old Testament Book of Daniel and Daniel's "Little Horn". St. Paul believed Daniel to foretell the coming of the Kingdom of God in the days of the kings of the Roman empire. He alludes to the Roman Empire as ‘he’ because if he would have said ‘until the Roman Empire is taken out of the way’, it would have invited persecution against the Church, from the Romans who would not tolerate a claim that they will be destroyed, yet it must happen before the Second Coming. Some have interpreted the "temple of God" as the restoration of the Jewish Temple, thereby giving credence to the Jewish Messiah as the Antichrist. Yet Paul is most likely using this term metaphorically to the Christian Church. It is a favorite metaphor of Paul to compare believers in particular (1 Cor. 6:19), or the Church in general (1 Cor. 3:16), to the temple of God. This great Antichrist will set himself up in God’s temple and counterfeit the ministry of Jesus through a great rebellion, an apostasy where upon there will be a great falling away from the faith.

St. Paul is also saying that the “mystery of iniquity,” characteristic of the Man of Sin, was “already at work” in the first century. In view of this, the Man of Sin cannot be some persecuting enemy that faded into oblivion centuries ago, but endure, in some form or another, until the end of time, i.e., until the Second Coming of Christ. This clearly eliminates any one person who arises later. Thomas Newton (1704-1782) a Biblical scholar and author commented:

“As this evil began in the apostles’ days, and was to continue in the world till the second coming of Christ in power and great glory: it necessarily follows, that it was to be carried on not by one man, but by a succession of men in several ages” (Thomas Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, p. 453).

"The falling away" is translated from the Greek apostasia, meaning "an abandonment of what one has professed." There are two main forms of apostasy in the New Testament: (1) a falling away from key and true doctrines of the Bible into heretical teachings that proclaim to be “the real” Christian doctrine, and (2) a complete renunciation of the Christian faith, which results in a full abandonment of Christ.  Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Christ, in John 17:12, is considered a "man of sin" and a betrayer of Christ and his pure doctrine.

St. Paul in 1 Timothy, is writing Timothy instructing him on the organization of the church and Timothy's own leadership within the body.

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth" (1 Timothy 4).

Here the apostasy is departing from the faith by changing doctrines. Newton says: “The seeds of popery were sown in the apostle’s time” (Newton p. 457). Idolatry had invaded the church (1 Cor. 10:14), even in the worship of angels (Col. 2:18). Gospel truth was sacrificed for the sake of money. "who think that godliness is a means to financial gain" (1 Tim. 6:5). St. Paul was warning Timothy to stay away from such men who looked to the ministry as a source of financial gain.

Simony became widespread in the Catholic Church in the 9th and 10th centuries. It was especially notable in those areas where church officials were appointed by secular leaders. Simony is the sin of attempting to buy or sell an office of the Church or a sacrament. The name is taken from Simon Magus (Acts 8:18), who endeavored to buy from the Apostles the power of conferring the gifts of the Holy Spirit. After the 16th century, simony gradually disappeared in its most flagrant forms after Gregory VII worked vigorously to stamp out the practice. More on Gregory shortly.

Paul also speaks about the outwardly pleasing behavior of apostates where he says, "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). In other words, apostates will not necessarily appear bad on the outside or speak dramatic words of heresy at the outset of their teaching. Rather than denying truth outright, apostates will twist it to fit their own agenda. We know that the worst forms of wickedness appear in perversions of the truth.

Jude was a leader in the early church. He taught, "For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Here he is affirming with Paul that these individuals are hard to recognize, but their intent is ungodly.

The Bible goes into greater detail through the Book of Daniel and Revelation as to this Antichrist, who is not Satan, but a tool of Satan. Beginning in Revelation 12:3 that is a red dragon described which is another name for Satan. It has ten horns and seven heads.

"Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child" (Rev 12:3).

This is not the first place, or the last, that we read of some creature that has many heads and horns. The first is in the Old Testament where four beasts are described in a vision received by the prophet Daniel, and then again in a vision of a beast received by the prophet John and recorded in Revelation. First a look at Daniel's beasts.

The Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a fascinating chapter in the life of a holy man. Daniel is a Jewish exile from Israel. He lived in the remarkable times of the downfall of the kingdoms of both Judah and Babylon. Daniel lived there throughout the Jews’ seventy-year captivity (1:21; 9:2), eventually he served as a high official in both the Babylonian government and that of its successor, the Medo-Persian Empire.

In Daniel 2, Daniel is summoned before King Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest king of ancient Babylon and when he has this certain dream he not only wants it interpreted but he wants his magicians and astrologers to tell him first what his dream was because he forgot it. None of them can, and the king declares they are going to be executed. Through the agency of his God, Daniel not only tells the king what his dream was but the meaning of it. The dream was of a great statue with a head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of mingled iron and clay. A great stone, not cut by human hands, fell on the feet of the statue and destroyed it, and the rock became a mountain that filled the whole world. Daniel said it concerned four successive kingdoms, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar, which will be replaced by the everlasting kingdom of the God of heaven. Nebuchadnezzar affirms that Daniel's god is "the God of gods and Lord of kings and revealer of mysteries." He then makes him chief of all the wise men and ruler over the province of Babylon.

Daniel was predicting the future. At the time of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2, several great empires had already fallen, including Egypt and Assyria. This dream image represented the entire future from Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian Empire (the "head of gold") until "the latter days" when Jesus Christ will return to set up the Kingdom of God. The other kingdoms representing the other metals that followed after Daniel's time were: Medo-Persia (silver breast and the two arms are the two empires of the Medes and Persians), the brass thighs were Greece (the King of the North and the King of the South), and finally the iron legs as Rome, which was represented by the Western Empire ruling from Rome and the Eastern Empire ruling from Constantinople (Turkey).

The feet were part iron and part clay. Iron is a symbol of a ruling power in the Bible.  After the fall of the Roman empire it branched out into ten kingdoms some believe represented the ten toes of the feet, and from where the future end times kingdoms/political entities, or nations, will come from. Just as iron is strong and clay is fragile they will be part strength and partly fragile. They will voluntarily submit to the supreme power of a world dictator/false prophet/Antichrist. These kings or governments at the end of the age will be part of a great and final revival of what many believe could be the Roman Empire. The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus in the time of those future kings, the Kingdom of God will be set up that will never be destroyed.

Decades later Daniel has what he calls a dream and vision where he sees four beasts, which is recorded In Daniel 7. These four beasts parallel the four kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar's dream and image.

"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire" (Daniel 7:1-9).

The four beasts represent the four empires Daniel saw in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, although in that dream they are pictured as various metals in a statue. The gold represents the Babylonian empire, which was still strong when Daniel was given this vision about 550 BC. The future empire of Medo-Persia was the bear that replaced the Neo-Babylonian Empire when Babylon fell in 539 BC. The next empire to rise, was the Greek or Hellenistic Empire of Alexander the Great. The four heads probably refer to the four generals who succeeded Alexander the Great and divided up the empire. When Daniel asked to understand what this terrible fourth beast was it was revealed to him:

"The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time" (Daniel 7:23-25).

The four beasts we know are kingdoms because he is told "the fourth kingdom" is the fourth beast. This fourth kingdom shall encompass the whole earth. This fourth and final beast that Daniel sees is the most dreadful. This beast is so unique, it is not comparable with any creature in the animal kingdom. It has “bronze claws” (verse 19) and “large iron teeth” with which it annihilates its prey, signifying crushing and breaking apart nations and even Christianity. It is the same kingdom described by Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as having legs of iron and toes of iron and clay. It is the Roman Empire that would fall apart in 476 AD, but it did not encompass the whole earth at that time. It will reform near the second coming of Christ with ten parts under Kings (the horns on the beast), as we will see.

Daniel sees that the terrible beast has ten horns. The “ten horns” represent some kind of federation. A horn in the Bible is often a symbol of strength and authority. (Psalm 89:24). Some suggest that the beast’s ten horns are but a figurative representation of the political descendants of the old Roman Empire, as Daniel is told the beast’s ten horns are ten kings who will arise from that kingdom.

As he ponders the meaning of the horns, a little horn begins to grow from the midst of the ten. This little horn is quite unusual. As it emerges, three of the original horns are plucked out by the roots. The little, boastful horn with a human mouth and eyes represents a specific king or kingdom; at his rise to power, three of the original kings will fall. This evil king pictured as the little horn “will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people”.This little horn is a world leader, a small kingdom at first, and especially noted for his blasphemies and the scope of his power. Because this little horn is ruling at the time Judgment Day comes, it is identified as the Antichrist, the “ruler who will come” who sets up the abomination in Daniel 9:27. Before the Little Horn can spring up though the Fourth Monarchy it must have so totally changed its appearance as to have passed into ten simultaneous kingdoms.

Since this beast of Daniel represents the Roman Empire, this is an indication that these ten kings/kingdoms, nations, or powers of the End-time Antichrist Empire will likely come from the remains of the ancient Roman Empire. Many of the nations of modern Europe were part of the Roman Empire. By 476 AD Rome had lost it's power after being overrun by barbarian tribes. There were ten tribes that held Roman territories and formed their own kingdoms: the Franks, Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Sueves, Anglo-Saxons, Heruli, Lombards, and Burgundians. These tribes and their kingdoms became the ten nations of Europe: 1. Italy and Germany; 2. France; 3. Spain; 4. England with Ireland; 5. Scotland; 6. Hungary; 7. Poland with Lithuania; 8. Denmark, with Sweden and Norway, Sweden being since divided; 9. Portugal; 10. The Grecian empire seized by the Ottomans.  This ten nation link has led many to believe that the Antichrist would come from Europe. Today we see Europe becoming more and more a united entity through the European Union, whereby the stage is set for the possible rise of this ten-nation union and the False Prophet.

Some would argue that the little horn represents one of the pagan Roman rulers. A great variety of biblical scholars, however, have contended that Daniel’s little horn and Paul’s “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) appear to represent the same evil force. This was the general view of the “church fathers” (see Newton, 462), and such has been maintained in modern times. Since the “man of sin” is obviously a part of “the falling away” from the primitive faith, could not the opposing force be a religious one?

The First and Second Beasts of Revelation 13
The next beast that is similar to Daniels is in Revelation 13: St. John describes the first beast:

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him (Rev. 13:1-4)? 

To reiterate, this beast has seven heads with the names of blasphemy, ten horns and upon the horns ten crowns, similar to the Dragon/Satan and the little horn of Daniel 7. This beast is a continuation of Satan's (the dragon's) evil throughout the nations and kingdoms. Thus this beast includes the people and cultures of the three previous empires, and is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire itself. The Dragon has seven crowns upon his seven heads, whereas the Beast has ten diadems, or crowns, upon its ten horns. In Revelation chapter 17, we are told what these heads and horns are. The ten horns represent ten kings, as in Daniel 7. The seven heads represent seven world empires (only seven left after the Little Horn destroys three of them). Crowns represent kingship or an award. The sea represents people of a Gentile system who are outside of, or opposed to, Christendom with their pagan beliefs.

The wounded head that is healed most likely is referring to the re-establishment of the beast kingdom or Roman Empire rather than the resurrection of a man who was dead, because this "false lamb" is mimicking Jesus' death and resurrection. Thus it is believed the "deadly wound" refers to the fall of the Roman Empire in A.D. 476, but the empire has been "healed". The wounding the head may be the abolishing of pagan idolatry as Catholicism replaced it, and thereby the Roman Catholic Church or its papal dynasty is the revival from the deadly wound. By the time Christ returns, the empire will have experienced ten revivals, represented by the ten horns of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 and the ten horns of the beast in Revelation 13, but three will be "plucked out by the roots" and be no more, leaving seven kingdoms during the End Times.

The final beast is the second beast of Revelation 13:11-14:

“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And this beast exercised all the authority of the first beast and caused the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed”.

That is to say, he takes on the image of (or imitates) Jesus Christ (the Lamb of God), but is empowered by Satan. Historically, a counterfeit version of Christianity fulfills the types we read of in these prophecies.

The Antichrist is said to come out of the earth as opposed to coming from the sea, which is said to be many “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Rev. 17:15),  whereas the False Prophet comes out of the empire after it arises.  The second beast is the False Prophet whose task it is to point people to the Antichrist, the First Beast. They work together, both empowered by Satan, the Dragon. Satan causes his False Prophet to appear like a meek and gentle lamb when in reality he has the heart of a destroyer. The False Prophet will also have the power to perform great miracles.

While many associate the False Prophet with the Antichrist, Revelation 13 makes it clear the False Prophet deals directly with the spiritual side and helps on the world's worship of the First Beast's political system. The False Prophet's emphasis is with religion. The False Prophet thus will be the religious leader who will point people toward the Antichrist. This is similar to the way in which the prophet Daniel saw the beast with ten horns arising first (the empire) and its leader arising afterwards as the “little horn” among the ten. The False Prophet will be like many false prophets of our own day—dispensing what people want to hear instead of the truth they need to hear. It is the First Beast who will lead the armies of the earth to make war against Christ (Revelation 19:19).

Since both the Beast and False Prophet will be enemies of Christ—demanding to be worshipped while persecuting the saints in partnership—they can both be referred to as antichrists. In the end, they will receive the same punishment right after Christ returns, as they were "cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Revelation 19:20).

It is challenging to interpret the ten horns, the three horns, and the little horn that plucked up three horns by its roots. There is no want of interpretations for this imagery. Some scholars say it is a person, while Cambridge Bible says it is an empire. The fact this little horn has a “eyes like a man” and a “mouth speaking great things” augurs well that this is some kind of super-leader and head of state with imperial aspirations who morphs out of the Roman Empire and will become hostile to Christianity, and hence the belief in the idea of the Roman Catholic Church and its papacy as the Antichrist.

The Roman mind dominated the world through military might and ruled by their laws. The ruling elites of Europe turned almost instinctively to the Roman models as they began to acquire lands and subjects beyond Europe. These Roman models came largely from the Republican period of Roman history which saw the formation and outgrowth of Roman imperialism. That imperialistic instinct is still with us today.

The Roman Catholic Church
That the “little horn” is the papacy has some compelling arguments. The Roman church was the most powerful force in Europe—a little horn that became more vigorous and powerful than its fellows. When Hildebrand, surnamed Gregory the Seventh, became pope the papacy started a trend where Satan had evaded through pride and it was hard to eradicate it in the papacy since. By the time Cardinal Hildebrand became pope (1073), he was affirming that the Roman pontiff should not only be the universal head of the church, but also the ruler of the world. Roman Catholics consider Hildebrand one of the greatest Church reformers. He believed that Church was founded by God and entrusted with the task of embracing all mankind in a single society in which divine will is the only law; that, in her capacity as a divine institution, she is supreme over all human structures, especially the secular state; and that the pope, in his role as head of the Church, is the vice-regent of God on earth, so that disobedience to him implies disobedience to God: or, in other words, a defection from Christianity.

Priests then in those days had wives openly and lawfully, with no law forbidding to the contrary. He forbade all clergy who were married to say mass or serve the altar in any way, and all laymen were forbidden to be present when such a married priest should officiate, saying, "we forbid them to enter a church until they repent and mend their ways. But if any remain with their wives, no one shall dare hear them [when they officiate in the church], because their benediction is turned into a curse, and their prayer into a sin. For the Lord says through the prophet, “I will curse your blessings”. Whoever shall refuse to obey this most salutary command shall be guilty of the sin of idolatry. For Samuel says: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” [1 Sam. 15:23]. Whoever therefore asserts that he is a Christian but refuses to obey the apostolic see, is guilty of paganism."

An extraordinary document among his papers, called the Dictatus papae, or aphorisms of the Pope, reflect the radical direction of his thinking: The statements include assertions that the pope is the supreme authority over all Christians; that the pope can depose kings or emperors; that the pope cannot be judged by anyone except God; that the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity; that of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet; that the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter.

The Pope grants himself the ability to do almost whatever he wants in matters involving the church and even matters not involving the church. Gregory had a history of being arrogant and dominating. He would defend his personal opinions despite any evidence to the contrary quite vehemently. (Dollarhide, Samuel, "“In the Name of Almighty God” Gregory VII and the Investiture Controversy" 2010.)

The Inquisition
The Inquisition was a powerful office set up within the Catholic Church to root out and punish heresy throughout Europe and the Americas. The medieval Inquisition began in 1184 when Pope Lucius III sent a list of heresies to Europe’s bishops and commanded them to take an active role in determining whether those accused of heresy were, in fact, guilty. The Inquisition is infamous for the severity of its tortures and its persecution. Depending on the time and place of the Inquisition, the targets were heretics, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, rationalists and sometimes people who held superstitious beliefs. Jews were sometimes the focus of the first Inquisition, as they primarily were in Spain, then the more urgent targets were Christian heretics in the south of France and northern Italy.

The Spanish Inquisition began in the year AD1233 and lasted almost seven hundred years. This is almost three hundred years before the Protestant Reformation.  Pope Gregory IX instituted the papal inquisition in 1231 for the apprehension and trial of heretics. The Spanish Inquisition, authorized by Pope Sixtus IV in 1478 was run by the Spanish monarchy. The Pope went on to appoint a number of inquisitors for the Spanish Kingdoms including the infamous Torquemada who brutally tortured his victims for confessions. While only 5,000 deaths from burning at the stake were recorded, almost 50,000 trials were conducted and many were strangled to death after being tortured.

Rome renewed its own Inquisition in 1542 when Pope Paul III created the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition to combat Protestant heresy.  During the rule of Pope Paul IV (1555–59) and Pope Pius V (1566–72), the latter having been a grand inquisitor himself, the inquisitions became as bad as the Spanish Inquisition. It was Paul IV who declared at the start of his short reign that he felt that matters of doctrine were far more important than all other matters facing the papacy, and he personally oversaw much of the persecution himself. Bible-believing, Evangelical Protestants were often on the receiving end of the Inquisition, tortured and killed for their beliefs. This included thousands of Waldensian Christians tortured and murdered in the most brutal ways and the Lollards of England, the field workers of the Reformation, who were mercilessly persecuted. The English Reformer, William Tyndale, was burned at the stake in Belgium for the crime of having translated the Bible into the English language. At the Council of Valencia the Bible was placed on The Index of Forbidden Books, in 1229.

Protestants were burned at the stake as "heretics" in Spain, Italy, France, England and Scotland. Yet the Dutch Protestants suffered even worse persecutions at the hands of the Catholic Inquisition. Under King Phillip II of Spain, more than 18,000 Protestants were executed in the Netherlands. In 1568 the Inquisition condemned all three million inhabitants of the Netherlands to death as "heretics".

During the infamous massacre of St. Bartholomew’s day (beginning August 24, 1572) somewhere between ten to twenty thousand Protestants were killed in and near Paris. A Catholic historian admits: “On 8 September a procession of thanksgiving took place in Rome, and the pope, in a prayer after mass, thanked God for having ‘granted the Catholic people a glorious triumph over a perfidious race’” (Goyau, Georges. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13., 1913, pg 337).

In 1808, Napoleon conquered Spain and ordered the Inquisition there to be abolished. Part of the agreement with France was to dismantle the Inquisition. Thus the Inquisition wound down and the last person to be executed was in 1826. While it would take a book to write all the horrendous deeds carried out by these "vice-regents" of God, here are a few deeds that connect them to the Antichrist prophecy.

  • The Little Horn (same as the Antichrist First Beast) of Daniel was said to speak “great things” which were “against the Most High.” Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life" yet this pope saw otherwise.
    • Pope Pius IX said, “I alone… am the successor of the apostles, the vicar of Jesus Christ. I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (Source: History of the Christian Church, by Henry Charles Sheldon, p. 59.)
  • The Little Horn plucked out three horns/kingdoms.
    • The emperors of Western Europe were largely Catholic and supported the papacy. Three Arian kingdoms, however, did not. So the Catholic emperors decided they must be subdued or destroyed. The three kingdoms Vandals, Heruli, and Ostrogoths were eliminated by the year 538 AD. 
  • Daniel's Little Horn shall intend to change times (calendar) and law.
    • At the Council of Laodicea in 363 A.D. the Church changed the last day of the week to Sunday, instead of Saturday as God had ordained in the Bible.
    • In the Catechism, they removed God’s 2nd Commandment, which forbids idol worship.
  • "He sits as God in the temple of God" (2 The. 2:4).
    • Pope Pius V blasphemed,  “The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in Heaven and earth.” (Pope Pius V, quoted in Barclay, Cities Petrus Bertanous Chapter XXVII: 218.)
    • Pope Leo XIII declared, “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” (Pope Leo XIII Encyclical Letter, June 20, 1894)
  • Sits in the place of Christ (Antichrist).
    • Pope Pius IX said, “It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved;” (Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, 1647)

In conclusion, there is no entity in history that so fits the description of the little horn of Daniel 7 as that of the papal dynasty of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Great Whore
In Revelation 17 the same first beast out of the sea is referred to, but now in connection with the Great Whore (harlot) who sits on the beast.

And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and upon her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." (Revelation 17:9,10)

A woman is used to symbolize Mystery Babylon. She is clearly depicted as being separate from the Beast—the empire with ten final kings giving their power and authority to this beast. It is very well accepted by scholars and theologians that Babylon represents the kingdom of Rome, the Roman Empire. Although the Empire has collapsed, as we knew it, it continues today through both the Roman Catholic Church.

In verse 18 the chapter tells us that this woman is a city. “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” In prophecy, a woman can as well be symbolic of a religion or church. The woman sits on many waters. Verse 15 explains the meaning of the waters. “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Not only is this woman a city, but the city apparently would be the headquarters over a vast international system. Vatican City is a city-state, making it the smallest country in the world, that has political relations with almost every country. The Vatican claims to rule over one billion Roman Catholics worldwide.

Verse 9 reveals the meaning of the heads. “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.” Thus this is a city on seven hills. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined." This prophecy was written long before the Catholic Church existed and long before Rome became her headquarters.

This woman/city/religion is clothed in purple and scarlet. The main colors outside the white garments that the bishops and cardinals use in the Catholic Church is purple and scarlet. The Cardinals wear red, while non-Cardinal Bishops and Archbishops wear purple. Purple is also the color of royalty, and the red could symbolize the blood of the Christian martyrs.

The Biblical meaning of fornication is the act of committing adultery against God by mixing with other Pagan nations and practices (traditions) and going after other gods. In Ezekiel 16:26-32 we are given a description: "Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger...Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied." Those outside the Christian faith cannot commit adultery against God because they are not "married" to Him in the first place. Only Christians can commit adultery against God, because Christ Jesus is the husband (Bridegroom) and the church is His wife (bride). 

“The Catholic Church is the only religious institution that can enter into diplomatic relations and that interests itself in international rights, acting through the Holy See, an international sovereign subject of singular characteristics." (Monsignor Parolin, Holy See Insists That It Has Right to Speak, 2007) In other words, the Pope speaks with the combined authority of head of the church and head of state. The Catholic Church has two facets: first, the religious institution, the Catholic Church itself; second, the political power, the Vatican. All of her political activity is without Biblical support and contrary to what the New Testament teaches is the nature and purpose of the church.

"And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast" (Rev. 17:10-13).

There are many theories as to these seven kings are, but it is thought the eighth king is really of the seven and all seven kings are actually their forms of government, which means that with the last king a new type of government will form out of the seven. This eighth king and new form of government sits on the seven hills of Rome, ruled by the papacy, and will have ten kings (ten horns) but have no kingdoms as yet.

The "beast that was" is also suggested to be the 1260 years the papacy ruled over Europe, from 538 to 1798. During these dark ages the papacy exercised both political and ecclesiastical power, whereby the woman rode the beast. The beast "that was not" was when the papacy lost its political power in 1798 with the capture of Pius VI by the armies of Napoleon, and it lost the last of the Papal States, on September 20th, 1870 when Italian troops seized the city of Rome, leaving the Pope a virtual prisoner in the Vatican. The Catholic Church had lost her political power and sovereignty for a time.

Then "the beast is" in her final phase the Church sits on the beast when papal sovereignty was restored in1929 with the signing of the Lateran Treaty with Benito Mussolini. Even that she has ascended back out of extinction, or "the bottomless pit", and proceeds from there to its destruction.

She is "drunken with the blood of the saints". History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, Vol. 2 says, “That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind will be questioned by no Protestant who has a complete knowledge of history.”  Some historians estimate that over 50 million lives (mostly Christians), were taken by this so-called “holy” Inquisition. There is a link to a document in the References Section that is a compilation of the estimated deaths of various incidents through the Inquisition or wars committed directly or indirectly by the Papacy during the Middle Ages. 

The belief by some is that the beast Antichrist is Roman Catholicism and its system. With this religious system a man is at the head as the recognized leader of a worldwide movement. The False Prophet is professed Christianity, which has fallen and become a harlot, yet, like the false prophets of old, claims to speak for God.

In conclusion, the Antichrist fulfillment of the prophecies given in Daniel and Revelation cannot be known ahead of their manifestation. I have given one theory with a lot of evidence to the Papacy being an antichrist. Of that there is no doubt. Whether there is any reality to the connection to the coming Antichrist is open to debate. We see how in this example, even a church that is supposed to have represented God and Christ has misused their offices in a misguided, or sometimes ignorant, attempt to save souls, or to keep their organization and sacred religion pure. In that they have surely failed. Hopefully, we will all learn from their mistakes—and our participation in them at whatever level.