Is the Antichrist the current Pope, or a future Pope?
Throughout history, many people have speculated about the identity of the Antichrist. Some of these speculations have pointed to various Popes of the Roman Catholic Church. Is the current Pope the Antichrist? What about a future Pope?
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A "proof text" for those who believe that a Pope will be the Antichrist is Revelation 17:9, "This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated." The context does refer to the Antichrist, and the "woman" is "Babylon the Great" (verse 5), a picture of an evil world system in the end times. The "seven mountains" are sometimes identified as Rome, home of seven hills. While it is possible that "Babylon" is associated with Rome, the verse does not provide enough detail to identify the Pope as the Antichrist.
Most likely, these "seven mountains" are not a reference to Rome. The following verse, Revelation 17:10, says, "They are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while." Thus, the reference to seven hills is not a geographical location but a symbolic representation of seven kings. These would consist of five fallen kingdoms—Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece—one existing kingdom (in John's day)—Rome—and one future empire—the Antichrist's.
Connecting these verses to a Pope goes beyond what Scripture states and into the realm of speculation. Scripture provides few details regarding the identity of the Antichrist, and it would be wise not to press for correlations that the Bible does not make.
Whoever the Antichrist turns out to be, we know he will deny Jesus Christ as Lord. First John 4:2-3 says, "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already."
Further, the Antichrist will deny both the Father and the Son: "Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22). Second John 1:7 also notes, "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist." The Antichrist will even deny the existence of Jesus coming to earth in the flesh or human form.
Since past and current Catholic Popes affirm that Jesus came in the flesh, it would be difficult to see how he could be the Antichrist.
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