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Who is the Antichrist (Part Two)


 

Shocking Facts about a Misunderstood Prophecy, and now the real truth…

Defining the Name Antichrist

THE name “antichrist” is found in only two books of the Bible, and in every instance it was emphatically stated that he was already in the world. We read:

“Ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists. … Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.” 1 John 2:18, 22. “This is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John 4:3. “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” 2 John 7. How can anyone, in the light of these plain texts, say that the antichrist here spoken of is not yet come, when the very texts declare that he is here already?

These texts also reveal the fact that the apostle did not believe antichrist to be only one individual, but rather an antichristian tendency in the church: an organization dominated by “the spirit of antichrist,” having a man at its head, so that when he died another would take his place, and the antichristian system would continue. Thus there would be “many antichrists,” as the apostle says, but only one system; and this system had already made such progress before the apostle died, that it was about to capture the church. Its leader would not accept the Apostle John, one leader “forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” 3 John 9, 10. This accounts for the warnings in John’s epistles against these “many antichrists.” 1 John 2:18.

The Apostle Paul, during his last journey among the churches, gathered “the elders,” or bishops, and warned them against the coming apostasy of the church, which was to be brought about by its leaders. He says: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:29, 30. Later the apostle reminded the believers, that the day of Christ’s return was not then at hand: “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 worshiped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God [the church, 1 Corinthians 3:10, 16], showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? … For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7

These prophecies point out clearly that the “elders” (later called bishops) would “draw away” the people from the truth of the Bible, to follow men, and that this “falling away,” which had “already” begun in Paul’s day, would develop, until a “man” would exalt himself to take the place of Christ in the church. Every thoughtful student of prophecy can see that this points unmistakably to the Papacy, and it accords exactly with the significance of the name “antichrist.”

Dr. James Strong says that “antichrist” comes from two Greek words, antee and khristos, and gives the following definition of antee: “Opposite, i.e. instead or because of … for, in the room of. Often used in composition to denote … substitution.” - Exhaustive Concordance, Greek Dictionary, entries Nos. 500, 473.Thomas Sheldon Green says: “Anti, prep, over against; hence, in correspondence to; in place of …” - Greek-English Lexicon, p. 14. Boston: 1896. The meaning, therefore, of “antichrist,” as it is used in the New Testament, is a rival to Christ, or one who attempts to take the place of Christ as His “vicar.” This significance of the prefix “anti” is also seen in the word “anti-pope.” (For further information on this point see “The Papacy Is Antichrist,” by J. A. Wylie, pp. 2-18. Edinburgh: George M’Gibbon.) We shall now see that this is exactly the position which Catholics claim for the pope, that he holds the place of Christ on earth. Rev. T. L. Kinkead says:

“Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the vicar of Christ on earth and the visible head of the Church.”

“‘Vicar’ - that is, one who holds another’s place and acts in his name” - “Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism,” p. 130. Benziger Brothers. (Sanctioned by Cardinal Gibbons, five archbishops, nineteen bishops, and other dignitaries.)

Rev. William Humphrey, S. J., says:

“A vicar is put in the place of him whom he represents. He is invested with his power, he is furnished with his authority. … He personates his principal. … The master, by his appointment of a vicar, binds himself to ratify his vicar’s acts, and to recognize them as his own.” - “The Vicar of Christ,” p. 4. New York: Benziger Brothers, 1892.

Thomas Morell, D. D., and Prof. John Carey, LL.D. , says:

“Vicarius, a, um. adj. That is in stead, or place of another; that supplies another’s room; a deputy. … One who performs the office, or duty, of another; a deputy, a substitute.” - An Abridgement of Ainsworth’s Latin Dictionary, Designed for the Use of Schools, p. 604. London: 1826.

When the force of this similarity between the antichrist of prophecy and the pope of Rome dawned upon the mind of Cardinal Newman, he declared:

“The gibe, ‘If the Pope is not Antichrist, he has had bad luck to be so like him,’ is really another argument in favour of the claims of the Pope; since Antichrist simulates Christ, and the Pope is an image of Christ, Antichrist must have some similarity to the Pope, if the latter be the true Vicar of Christ.” - Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. I, p. 561, art. “Antichrist.”

Thus it is claimed that the pope is the vicar of Christ on earth. But Christ left an altogether different Vicar, or Representative, in His place; namely, the Holy Spirit. (John 14:15-18; 16:7.) Of this Representative Christ says: “He shall teach you all things.” “He will guide you into all truth!’ John 14:26; 16:13. (Compare 1 John 2:20, 27.) The Holy Spirit, being the author of the Bible (2 Peter 1:21), certainly should be the proper interpreter of it. To this the Roman church answers:

“Nor can it be said that being a divinely inspired book, its prime Author, the Holy Spirit, will guide the reader to the right meaning.

“The Church which made the Bible, likewise interprets the Bible.” - “Things Catholics Are Asked About,” Martin J. Scott, S. J., Litt. D., pp. 119, 120. N. Y.: Kenedy, 1927.

Pope Leo XIII says: “But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.” - “The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII,” p. 193. New York: Benziger Bros., 1903. He further says:

“We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” - Id., p. 304.

We have now seen from authentic Catholic sources, that the pope arrogates to himself the “place of God Almighty,” the office of Christ on earth, and the prerogative of the Holy Spirit, as sole teacher of the faithful, and the interpreter of the Holy Scriptures. What more is needed to fulfil the prediction of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, and the prophecies of the Antichrist?

All Agreed On Who is the Antichrist

Up to the close of the Reformation God’s people were generally agreed that the Papacy was the Antichrist foretold in prophecy. The Waldenses taught it. (See page 122) About 1384 A.D. John Wycliffe wrote a book against the papal system entitled: “Of Antecrist and His Meynee.” In fact, the English Reformers, - Tyndale, Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, - all agreed in pointing to the Papacy as the Antichrist. John Huss of Bohemia, in his “De Anatomia Antichristi,” did the same. Turning to Germany we find Dr. Martin Luther strong in his convictions on this subject. He says: “The Pope is … the true Antichrist, of whom it is written, that he sitteth in the temple of God, among the people where Christ is worshiped…

“But Papists want to divert this passage from themselves, and they say that Christ and Paul speak about the temple at Jerusalem, and that Antichrist shall sit there and rule; that will not do. … It cannot be understood otherwise than of the new spiritual temple, which he says we are.

“There shall the Pope sit and he honoured, not above God, but above all that is called God. … So also we see it before our eyes, that many princes and the world regard his law higher and more than the commandments of God. … Cannot this rightly be termed exalting and honouring Antichrist above God?” - Luther’s Church Postil,” “Gospels,” 25th Sunday after Trinity, par. 24, 25, Part 2, pp. 734, 735. Stavanger, Norway: 1862.

Luther further declares:

“Therefore, let whosoever will doubt, God’s word and the proper divine worship convinces me sufficiently that the Pope is the Antichrist, and the ecclesiastical orders are his disciples, which deceive the whole world.” - Id., Part 1, p. 379.

“I hope that the last day is at the door. Things could not become worse than the Roman see makes it. It suppresses the commandments of God, it exalts its own commandments above God’s. If this is not Antichrist, then some one else must tell what it is.” - “Luther’s Reformatory Works,” p. 280. Copenhagen: 1883.

“The Pope is the real Antichrist.” - Id., p. 278.

Dr. Charles H. H. Wright, in speaking of the Bible prophecy of “antichrist,” says: “In all ages of the Church, from the days of Gregory the Great down to the present, men have pointed to the Papacy as the fulfilment of the prophecy. That interpretation is set forth in the Homilies of the Church of England and by all the Reformed Churches. The interpretation, however, has been ignored or rejected by critics, for reasons which need not be specified. It can, however, stand all the tests of criticism.” - “Daniel and His Prophecies,” p. 168. London: 1906. (See also Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. I, p. 561, art. “Antichrist.”)

Additional Quotes to this chapter (All agreed on Who is the Antichrist)

When the Bible hit the printing press, almost all the early Church fathers began to understand Bible Prophecy and in particular the one of the Antichrist. True Protestantism teaches salvation by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8) and the supremacy of the Bible above the visible church, (2 Timothy 3:16) above traditions, pastors, priests, popes and kings. It also teaches the priesthood of all believers (2 Peter 2:9, 10) and that all people everywhere can be saved by coming directly to our loving heavenly Father through His only Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). 1 Timothy 2:5 states, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

The Protestant Reformation in the 1500’s literally changed the course of history. It helped move Europe out of the Dark Ages and led to the rise of true religious freedom. Its original principles eventually found expression in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America which teaches that when it comes to religion, the governments of earth have no right to control the conscience. What did the major Protestant Reformers teach about the Antichrist? Here are some more comments presented by some of the most influential Christian leaders who have ever lived and what they believed about “the little horn” (Daniel 7:8), “the beast” (Revelation 13:1), and “the man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and about Antichrist.

John Wesley (1703-1791) (Methodist): Speaking of the Papacy, John Wesley wrote, “He is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled the Son of Perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers… He it is…that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped…claiming the highest power, and highest honour…claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone.” Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms, by John Wesley, pg. 110.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) (Lutheran):“Luther … proved, by the revelations of Daniel and St. John, by the epistles of St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. Jude, that the reign of Antichrist, predicted and described in the Bible, was the Papacy … And all the people did say, Amen! A holy terror seized their souls. It was Antichrist whom they beheld seated on the pontifical throne. This new idea, which derived greater strength from the prophetic descriptions launched forth by Luther into the midst of his contemporaries, inflicted the most terrible blow on Rome.” Taken from J. H. Merle D’aubigne’sHistory of the Reformation of the Sixteen Century, book vi, chapter xii, p. 215.

Based on prophetic studies, Martin Luther finally declared, “We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist.” (Aug. 18, 1520). Taken from The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, by LeRoy Froom. Vol. 2., pg. 121.

John Wycliffe: “When the western church was divided for about 40 years between two rival popes, one in Rome and the other in Avigon, France, each pope called the other pope antichrist - and John Wycliffe is reputed to have regarded them as both being right: “two halves of Antichrist, making up the perfect Man of Sin between them.” - Ibid

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) (Anglican):“Whereof it followeth Rome to be the seat of antichrist, and the pope to be very antichrist himself. I could prove the same by many other scriptures, old writers, and strong reasons.” (Referring to prophecies in Revelation and Daniel.) Works by Cranmer, Vol. 1, pp. 6-7.

John Calvin (1509-1564) (Presbyterian): “Some persons think us too severe and censorious when we call the Roman pontiff Antichrist. But those who are of this opinion do not consider that they bring the same charge of presumption against Paul himself, after whom we speak and whose language we adopt… I shall briefly show that (Paul’s words in II Thess. 2) are not capable of any other interpretation than that which applies them to the Papacy.” Taken from Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin.

John Knox (1505-1572) (Scotch Presbyterian): John Knox sought to counteract “that tyranny which the pope himself has for so many ages exercised over the church.” As with Luther, he finally concluded that the Papacy was “the very antichrist, and son of perdition, of whom Paul speaks.” The Zurich Letters, by John Knox, pg. 199.

Roger Williams (1603-1683) (First Baptist Pastor in America): Pastor Williams spoke of the Pope as “the pretended Vicar of Christ on earth, who sits as God over the Temple of God, exalting himself not only above all that is called God, but over the souls and consciences of all his vassals, yea over the Spirit of Christ, over the Holy Spirit, yea, and God himself…speaking against the God of heaven, thinking to change times and laws; but he is the son of perdition (II Thess. 2).” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, by Froom, Vol. 3, pg. 52.

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647):“There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition that exalteth himself in the church against Christ and all that is called God.” Taken from Philip Schaff’s, The Creeds of Christendom, With a History and Critical Notes, III, p. 658, 659, ch. 25, sec. 6.

Cotton Mather (1663-1728) (Congregational Theologian): “The oracles of God foretold the rising of an Antichrist in the Christian Church: and in the Pope of Rome, all the characteristics of that Antichrist are so marvellously answered that if any who read the Scriptures do not see it, there is a marvellous blindness upon them.” Taken from The Fall of Babylonby Cotton Mather in Froom’s book, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 3, pg. 113.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:“Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer; in the seventeenth century, Bunyan, the translators of the King James Bible and the men who published the Westminster and Baptist confessions of Faith; Sir Isaac Newton, Wesley, Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards; and more recently Spurgeon, Bishop J.C. Ryle and Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones; these men among countless others, all saw the office of the Papacy as the antichrist.” Taken from All Roads Lead to Rome, by Michael de Semlyen. Dorchestor House Publications, p. 205. 1991.

Jesuits Undermine the Truth

The Rev. Joseph Tanner, B. A., says:

“So great hold did the conviction that the Papacy was the Antichrist gain upon the minds of men, that Rome at last saw she must bestir herself, and try, by putting forth other systems of interpretation, to counteract the identification of the Papacy with the Antichrist.

“Accordingly, towards the close of the century of the Reformation, two of her most learned doctors set themselves to the task, each endeavouring by different means to accomplish the same end; namely, that of diverting men’s minds from perceiving the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Antichrist in the papal system. The Jesuit Alcasar devoted himself to bring into prominence the Preterist method of interpretation, … that the prophecies of Antichrist were fulfilled before the Popes ever ruled at Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy. On the other hand the Jesuit Ribera tried to set aside the application of these prophecies to the papal power by bringing out the Futurist system, which asserts that these prophecies refer properly not to the career of the Papacy, but to that of some future supernatural individual, who is yet to appear, and to continue in power for three and a half years. Thus, as Alford says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580, may be regarded as the Founder of the Futurist system in modern times.

“It is a matter for deep regret that those who hold and advocate the Futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are thus really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist. It has been well said that ‘Futurism tends to obliterate the brand put by the Holy Spirit upon popery.’ More especially is this to be deplored at a time when the papal Antichrist seems to make an expiring effort to regain his former hold on men’s minds. Now once again, as at the Reformation, it is especially necessary that his true character should be recognized, by all who would be faithful to ‘the testimony of Jesus.” - “Daniel and the Revelation,” pp. 16, 17. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1898.

To undermine the work of the Reformers, these Jesuits, Alcasar and Ribera, gathered a mass of material from the writings of the Church Fathers concerning Antichrist. This gave their works the appearance of scientific research, which appealed to many Protestant leaders. (An example of this can be seen in Encyclopaedia Biblica, art. “Antichrist.”) But statements from the Church Fathers which speak of the coming of Antichrist as an event then in the future, could be no proof for Ribera’s “futurist” theory, for the reign of the papal Antichrist was then still in the future. The 1260 years of papal persecution, called the Dark Ages, had not yet begun when these Fathers wrote. The theories of Ribera and Alcasar were diametrically opposed to each other, and yet both were taught as Catholic truths, taken from the Church Fathers. From this we see how untrustworthy are these sources. Dr. Adam Clarke is evidently right when he says of the Fathers: “We may safely state, that there is not a truth in the most orthodox creed, that cannot be proven by their authority; nor a heresy that has disgraced the Romish Church that may not challenge them as its abetters. In points of doctrine, their authority is, with me, nothing. The Word of God alone contains my creed.” - Commentary on Proverbs 8.

Bible Prophecy Of Antichrist Is Plain

The prophecies of the Bible regarding Antichrist are so plain that even Roman Catholics cannot evade them all. The seventh chapter of Daniel foretells the rise of four world empires, which the Douay Bible explains to be “the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires.” The Roman Empire was broken up into ten smaller kingdoms between the years 351 and 476 A.D. And among them there should grow up another power, symbolised by a “little horn.” Of this the Douay Bible says: “Another little horn. This is commonly understood of Antichrist.” Daniel 7:7-8. The Papacy is the only power that came up just at that time, and which fits all the specifications of the symbol.

We have seen on page 195 how clearly the Papacy is pointed out in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7. This prophecy states that the apostolic church would be gradually “falling away” until a “man” would exalt himself to take the place of God in the church. This “mystery of iniquity” was already at work in Paul’s day, but something was holding it back. (Vs. 6-7) As long as the Roman Empire was heathen, and persecuted the Christians, there was no incentive to join the church for worldly gain; but during the time of Constantine the church became popular, and the worldly ambitious struggled for the highest ecclesiastical offices, because of the great honour and emolument connected with them; and when finally the Roman State was abolished, the bishop of Rome seated himself upon the throne of the Caesars. It was therefore heathen Rome that had to “be taken out of the way,” before the papal Antichrist could come into power. Speaking of this point the Catholic Encyclopaedia says: “The impediment is the Roman Empire; the main event impeded is the ‘man of sin.” - Vol. I, p. 560, art. “Antichrist.”

The Douay Bible says: “The Roman Empire. … was first to be destroyed, before the coming of Antichrist.” - Note on 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Two Points Made Clear

There were two arguments used against the position taken by the Reformers which have puzzled many:

(1) It was claimed that the Apostle John used two distinctions: “an Antichrist” to designate the false teachers of his day, and “the Antichrist,” referring to some superhuman monster of Jewish extraction that would appear just before Christ’s second coming. But on this point Dr. C. H. H. Wright truthfully remarks: “St. John, the only New Testament writer who employs the term, makes no distinction whatever between ‘an Antichrist’ and ‘the Antichrist.’ That distinction was in the main an invention of the learned Jesuit interpreters.” - “Daniel and His Prophecies,” p. 165. London: 1906.

(2) The second objection was that while “the Antichrist” would deny the incarnation, for he would deny that “Christ is come in the flesh.” (2 John 7), the pope does not deny this, therefore he cannot be the Antichrist. This argument has seemed so logical and conclusive that Protestants, to a large extent, have given up the Protestant doctrine that the Papacy is Antichrist, and have ceased to protest.

This argument, however, is based on a misunderstanding, caused by overlooking one word in the text. Antichrist was not to deny that Christ had come in flesh, but was to deny that He had “come in the flesh,” in “the same” kind of flesh, as the human race He came to save. (See 1 John 4:3; 2 John 7, and Hebrews 2:14, 17) On this vital difference hinges the real “truth of the gospel.” Did Christ come all the way down to make contact with the fallen race, or only part way, so that we must have saints, popes, and priests intercede for us with a Christ who is removed too far from fallen humanity and its needs to make direct contact with the individual sinner? Right here lies the great divide that parts Protestantism from Roman Catholicism. In order to understand this point clearly, let us briefly consider the gospel of Christ.

The Gospel of Christ Vs. The Gospel Of Rome

Through sin man has separated himself from God, and his fallen nature is opposed to the divine will; therefore he cannot by his own effort live a godly life, nor can he change his own heart. (Isaiah 59:1; Romans 8:7; Jeremiah 13:23; John 15:5) Only through Christ, our Mediator, can man be rescued from sin, and again be brought into connection with the source of purity and power.

But in order to become such a connecting link Christ had to partake both of the divinity of God and of the humanity of man, so that He with His divine arm could encircle God, and with His human arm embrace man, thus connecting both in His own person. In this union of the human with the divine lies the “mystery” of the gospel, the secret of power to lift man from his degradation. “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” 1 Timothy 3:16. The “mystery,” or secret of power to live a godly life in human flesh, was manifest in the life of Jesus Christ while on earth. (And “Christ in you” is the secret of power to conquer sin. Colossians 1:27.)

But mark! It was fallen man that was to be rescued from sin. And to make contact with him Christ had to condescend to take our nature upon Himself (not some higher kind of flesh). “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same. … Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.” Hebrews 2:14, 17. This text is so worded that it cannot be misunderstood. Christ “took part of the same” flesh and blood as ours; He came in “the” flesh. To deny this is the mark of Antichrist. (1 John 4:3; 2 John 7.) To bridge the gulf that sin has made, Christ must be one with the Father in divinity, and one with man in humanity, and thus connect again earth with heaven.

God revealed this truth to the Patriarch Jacob that lonely night at Bethel. When he feared that his sins had cut him off from heaven, God showed him that mystic Ladder, connecting earth with heaven, which Christ explained to be “the Son of man.” (Genesis 28:12; John 1:51.) Modernism has tried to cut off the upper part of this ladder by denying Christ’s divinity; while the Roman Catholic Church cuts off the lower rounds by teaching that the Virgin Mary was born without sin, and that therefore Christ did not take upon Himself our kind of flesh and blood, but holy flesh, so far above us that He does not make contact with our humanity. For this reason the poor sinner cannot come to Him directly, they say, but must come through Mary, saints, popes, and priests, who will mediate for him. This has opened the floodgate for all the idolatry of the Catholic Church. Here is this “dogma” presented in authentic Catholic works:

`We define that the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first moment of her conception … was preserved free from every taint of original sin.’

“Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin. “Faith of Our Fathers,” Cardinal Gibbons, pp. 203, 204. Baltimore: 1885.

The Sainted Doctor Alphonsus de Liguori says: “The merits of Jesus, shall be dispensed through the hands and by the intercession of Mary. “Glories of Mary,” p. 180, New Revised Edition. New York: P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 1888.

“God has chosen to bestow no grace upon us but by the hands of Mary.” - Id., p. 180.

“Whoever asks and wishes to obtain graces without the intercession of Mary, attempts to fly without wings.’ - Id., p. 189.

“Mary is all the hope of our salvation.” - Id., p. 195.

“Thou art the only advocate of sinners.” - Id., p. 129.

“All those who are saved, are saved solely by means of this divine mother; … the salvation of all depends upon preaching Mary” - Id., pp. 19, 20.

“We ask many things of God and do not obtain them; we ask them from Mary and obtain them.” - Id., p. 150. Much more could be cited.

A Protestant may ask if the merits of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross are not sufficient, so that we can receive grace directly from Him. To this the Catholic Church answers:

“The merits and virtue of the sacrifice of the cross are infinite; but that virtue and these merits must be applied, and this can only be done by certain means.” - “Doctrinal Catechism,” S. Keenan, p. 129. New York: Kenedy and Sons, 1846.

“The priest has the power of the keys, or the power of delivering sinners from hell, of making them worthy of paradise and of changing them from the slaves of Satan into the children of God. And God himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of His priests. … ‘The Sovereign Master of the universe only follows the servant by confirming in heaven all that the latter decides upon earth.” - “Dignity and Duties of the Priest,” St. Alphonsus de Liguori, pp. 27, 28. New York: Benziger Brothers, 1888.

We now have before us the only means of salvation in the Roman Catholic gospel, as presented by men of unquestionable authority among them. This throws light on the reason why the Catholic priest has such a hold on his people. They dare not oppose him, because he represents their only means of contact with heaven. Cut off from the church, they feel they are lost; for they do not know of a Christ who has come all the way down to the lost sinner’s side, to whom they can come personally and receive forgiveness through grace alone. The divine ladder has been cut off, and Mary, saints, and priests have been substituted. But the Bible knows of only “one Mediator,” Jesus Christ. (1 Timothy 2:5; Psalm 49:7, 8)

But we have not yet gone to the depth of this substitute mystery.” Let us now take the next step. Having removed the living Christ from contact with the sinner, they had to substitute something else to satisfy the longing of the human heart for the indwelling presence of Christ. And that substitute is the “Sacrifice of the Mass.” The Roman church teaches that the priest in the mass changes the little wafer into the real Christ, which they then fall down and worship, after which they eat Him, believing that they become partakers of Christ and receive the forgiveness of sin. Thus they have substituted a man-made Christ for a living Christ. Liguori says:

“If the person of the Redeemer had not yet been in the world, the priest, by pronouncing the words of consecration, would produce this great person of a Man-God. ‘O wonderful dignity of the priests,’ cries out St. Augustine; ‘in their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Son of God becomes incarnate.’ Hence priests are called the parents of Jesus Christ. …

“Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his Creator. ‘He that created me without me is Himself created by me!’” - “Dignity and Duty of the Priest,” pp. 32,33.

“In obedience to the words of his priests - Hoc est Corpus Meum - God himself descends on the altar. … he comes wherever they call him, and as often as they call him, and places himself in their hands. … They may, if they wish, shut him up in the tabernacle; … they may, if they choose, eat his flesh, and give him for the food of others.’ - Id., pp. 26, 27.

Then priest and people worship the Christ thus created:

“Elevating a particle of the Blessed Sacrament, and turning towards the people, he [the priest] says: ‘Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.’

“And then says three times: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed. …

“This pure and holy Sacrament. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.” - “The Key of Heaven,” Right Rev. J. Milner, D. A, approved by Cardinal Gibbons, pp. 126, 127. Baltimore: J. Murphy and Co., 1898.

In the following quotation the Catholic Church explains why she believes, this worship of the wafer (host) is not idolatry:

“Now turn for a moment to the Catholic altar. The holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered up. The bell has given the signal that the most solemn and awful moment of consecration is at hand. As yet there is only bread in the hand of the priest, and wine in the chalice before him. To worship these lifeless elements would be the grossest idolatry. But suddenly, amid the silence of the breathless multitude, the priest utters the divine life-giving words of consecration; and that which was bread and wine, is bread and wine no longer, but the true Body and Blood of our Lord Himself. It is that same Body that was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that died for us upon the cross, that was raised again to life, and that even now sits at the right hand of God the Father. …

“Now in this mystery the power of the creation appears as much as in the mystery of the incarnation.” - “The Holy Mass: The Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead.” M. Muller, pp. 174, 175. New York: 1876.

Pastor Charles Chiniquy, a former Catholic priest, says:

“No words can give any idea of the pleasure I used to feel when alone, prostrated before the Christ I had made at the morning mass, I poured out my heart at His feet. … I may say with truth, that the happiest hours I ever had, during the long years of darkness into which the Church of Rome had plunged me, were the hours I passed in adoring the Christ whom I had made with my own lips. …

“In fact, the Roman Catholics have no other Saviour to whom they can betake themselves than the one made by the consecration of the wafer. He is the only Saviour who is not angry with them, and who does not require the mediation of virgins and saints to appease His wrath.” - “Fifty Years in the Church of Rome,” chapter 17, pars. 29, 31.

In the thirty-sixth chapter of his book Pastor Chiniquy tells how he was led to question seriously this worship of Rome’s wafer-god, the “host.” In the spring of 1840 … Father Daule [an old, blind priest, was residing with him at Beauport, Quebec.] One morning when the old priest was at the altar, saying his mass, [and had just changed the wafer into the real Christ, and was reaching for it, it was gone. He called to Chiniquy] with a shriek of distress: ‘The Good God has disappeared from the altar. He is lost!’ [Chiniquy, remembering how often rats had tried to get the wafer while he himself had officiated there, knew what had happened, and in his consternation replied:] ‘Some rats have dragged and eaten the Good God!’ [The sorrow of the old priest knew no bounds, but Chiniquy declared.] ‘If I were God Almighty, and a miserable rat would come to eat me, I would surely strike him dead.’” - Id., chapter 86, pars. 7, 18, 24.

But Catholics deny that the Papacy is Antichrist, for, say they, Antichrist is to come in the last days. To this we answer: It is true that both Paul and John speak of the activity of Antichrist at the time of Christ’s second coming, but they also speak of its already having begun in their day. (1 John 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:7) There is a beautiful harmony in this when we look at it in the light of Revelation 13:3, 5, 10 and 17:8, where it is stated that this power will continue forty-two prophetic months, or twelve hundred sixty literal years, after which it is “wounded to death” and lies dormant for a time, till its deadly wound is healed, and all the world will again follow it in wonder and admiration, and finally it will be destroyed at Christ’s second coming. So the Antichrist of the last days is simply the Papacy restored to power. See “Romanism and the Reformation,” by H. Grattan Guinness, F. R. G. S., and “The Papacy,” by Dr. J. A. Wylie.

“The Romanists themselves shame you in their clear sighted comprehension of the issues of this question. Cardinal Manning says, ‘The Catholic Church is either the masterpiece of Satan or the kingdom of the Son of God.’ Cardinal Newman says, ‘A sacerdotal order is historically the essence of the Church of Rome; if not divinely appointed, it is doctrinally the essence of Antichrist.’ In both these statements the issue is clear, and it is the same. Rome herself admits, openly admits that if she is not the very kingdom of Christ, she is that of Antichrist. Rome declares she is one or the other. She herself propounds and urges this solemn alternative. You shrink from it, do you? I accept it. Conscience constrains me. History compels me. The past, the awful past, rises before me. I see THE GREAT APOSTASY, I see the desolation of Christendom, I see the smoking ruins, I see the reign of monsters; I see those vice-gods, that Gregory VII, that Innocent III, that Boniface VIII, that Alexander VI, that Gregory X111, that Pius IX; I see their long succession. I hear their insufferable blasphemies, I see their abominable lives. I see them worshiped by blinded generations, bestowing hollow benedictions, bartering lying indulgences, creating a paganized Christianity. I see their liveried slaves, their shaven priests, their celibate confessors; I see the infamous confessional, the ruined women, the murdered innocents; I hear the lying absolutions, the dying groans. I hear the cries of the victims; I hear the anathemas, the curses, the thunders of the interdicts; I see the racks, the dungeons, the stakes; I see that inhuman Inquisition, those fires of Smithfield, those butcheries of St. Bartholomew, that Spanish Armada, those unspeakable dragonnades, that endless train of wars, that dreadful multitude of massacres. I see it all, and in the name of the ruin it has wrought in the Church and in the world, in the name of the truth it has denied, the temple it has defiled, the God it has blasphemed. The souls it has destroyed; in the name of the millions it has deluded. The millions it has slaughtered, the millions it has damned; with holy confessors, with noble reformers, with innumerable martyrs, with the saints of ages, I denounce it as the masterpiece of Satan, as the body and soul and essence of Antichrist.” - “Romanism and the Reformation,” H. Grattan Guinness, pp. 158,159. London: 1891.

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