Who is the Antichrist? There are those who think it was a ruler in the past, while others place its appearance in the distant future in Israel. The prophecies in Daniel leave us with a number of characteristics with which we can clearly identify this power. There is no need to guess or speculate, as there is only one that fits the description.
The dreams in Daniel 2, 7 and 8 are running parallel and speak about the same sequence of events. In the dreams the succession of kingdoms was foretold, long before it happened. But these prophecies do not only concern historical events, they are ever relevant for us today. Even Jesus instructed us to study the prophecies of Daniel in the last days (Matthew 24:15).
The Antichrist characteristics
The dreams of Daniel did not only describe the same succession of kingdoms, but also the same fourth kingdom – out of which one the little horn would come (see here). This little horn power is referred to in the Bible under many different names; the beast (Revelation 13:1); the man of sin and the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3); the Antichrist (1 John 4:3); the mystery of iniquity
(2 Thessalonians 2:7). In these dreams, Daniel gives us a clear description of this Antichrist power. In order to identify the Antichrist based on the Bible, Daniel tells us it needs to meet the characteristics below.
1. Would come out of the fourth beast, Rome (Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:24)
2. Would continue to be Roman (Daniel 2:33, Daniel 7:7)
3. Would come up amongst the ten horns, but come into power after the ten horns have been established (Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:24)
4. Would uproot three of the ten horns (Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:24)
5. Would be different than those before (Daniel 7:7, Daniel 7:19, Daniel 7:23)
6. Would have an individual as spokesperson (Daniel 7:8)
7. Would speak great words against God (Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 8:10-12, Daniel 8:25)
8. Would think to change times and laws (Daniel 7:25)
9. Would be given the saints in his hand for time, times and the dividing of time (Daniel 7:25)
10. Would make war with the saints (Daniel 7:21, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 8:10, Daniel 8:24)
11. Would cast the truth to the ground (Daniel 8:12)
12. Would rule until the kingdom of God (Daniel 7:21-22)
The fulfillment of the characteristics
There is only one power that fits all these characteristics: the Roman Catholic Church. Let’s immediately get something clear; it is not talking about the individuals in the church! There are Catholics in that church that love God with all their heart and do their best with the knowledge that they have. It is talking about the system; church (religion) and state (politics) combined. It can be painful to hear for a variety of reasons, but did you know that the reformers too identified the Roman Catholic Church as the Antichrist? It is not a new interpretation, but it is an almost forgotten one. Let’s have a closer look for ourselves and see in detail how every Biblical characteristic is fulfilled by the Papacy.
1. Would come out of the fourth beast, Rome
(Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:24)
Historians agree that the Roman Catholic Church emerged out of the ruins of the pagan Roman Empire.
2. Would continue to be Roman
(Daniel 2:33, Daniel 7:7)
The name of the church is the ‘Roman Catholic Church’. The architecture in the Vatican is Roman. The official language is Latin, the language of ancient Rome. In official documents Roman numerals are used. Vatican City is located in the geographical location of ancient Rome. The name ‘Supreme Pontiff’ used for the Pope, was used for pagan Roman emperors.
3. Would come up amongst the ten horns, but come into power after the ten horns have been established
(Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:24)
Between 351-476 AD the Roman empire was split into ten barbarian kingdoms of which seven have developed into the countries of modern Western Europe (Visigoths-Spain, Anglo Saxons-England, Franks-France, Alemani-Germany, Burgundians-Switzerland, Lombards-Italy, Suevi-Portugal). The Roman Catholic Church came up out of Western-Europe and became an independent power in the year 538 AD. The Vatican today is still an independent state.
4. Would uproot three of the ten horns
(Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:24)
Between 476-538 AD the Papacy eliminated three of the Barbarian tribes (the Heruli, Vandals and the Ostrogoths) as they did not accept the Roman Church’ teachings, but the teachings of Arius.
5. Would be different than those before
(Daniel 7:7, Daniel 7:19, Daniel 7:23)
All the previous kingdoms were merely political powers. The Papacy appeared as a religious power that later gained political power too.
6. Would have an individual as spokesperson
The pope is the head of the church. Though the individual changes when one dies or retires, the position and the role are always the same.
7. Would speak great words against God
(Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 8:10-11, Daniel 8:25)
The Roman Catholic Church has made many blasphemous statements over the years, claiming to have the same rights as God. We will only mention a few of those blasphemous claims of the Church of which you can find the original quotes here.
Remember, these are their claims (we give Scripture for a few that you might not know why they are blasphemous): the pope and the priest can forgive sins (Mark 2:7 says only God can forgive sins); Pope is to be called Holy Father (Matthew 23:9 says to call no one father except God in heaven); the Pope allows people to bow before him and kiss his ring (Acts 10:25-26, Revelation 19:10, Revelation 22:8-9, tell us not to); Mary is said to be a mediatrix (1 Timothy 2:5 says we have one mediator, Jesus); the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra (never errs or is wrong on questions of faith or morality); all names in Scripture applied to Jesus can be applied to the Pope; for salvation every creature needs to subject to the Pope; priest can be called the creator of his Creator; Pope is higher than angels and can excommunicate them; bishops and priests are not only called Angels, but even God; the Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ here on earth; the Pope is the father and teacher of all Christians; the Church is above the Bible; the Church changed the Biblical day of worship; the Pope is the supreme judge of heaven and earth, being judged by no one, as God himself on earth.
8. Would think to change times and laws
The Catholic Church has publicly changed the ten commandments. They have changed the law by taking away the second commandment (no images and idols) and have split the tenth one in to two. They have shortened the fourth commandment from 94 words to eight words. They have thought to change times as by Papal decree the day of worship was changed from Saturday as Sabbath to Sunday, changing the fourth commandment.
9. Would be given the saints in his hand for time, times and the dividing of time
Virtually all Bible scholars agree on that a time is one year, times is two years and dividing of time half a year, making a total of three and a half years. We find parallel texts where the same event is described with also other times presented: 42 months and 1260 days (Revelation 12:14, Revelation 12:6, Revelation 13:5). Time for a bit of math. The calendar that the Jews used was based on thirty days in a month (5 months = 150 days; 1 month = 30 days, Genesis 7:11, Genesis 7:24, Genesis 8:4). How many months is a year? Twelve. So how many months is three and a half years? 42 months (3×12 + 1/2×12). One month is thirty days, so 42 months is 1260 days. These times are all saying the same amount of time, but in different ways (3½ years = 42 months = 1260 days). When talking about prophetic times, one day represents a year (Ezekiel 4:6, Numbers 14:34), meaning we are talking about a time period of 1260 years. The supremacy of the Pope legally began in February 538 AD when Emperor Justinian made the Pope the head of all churches. In February 1798 Napoleon invaded Rome and took the Pope captive. This marks the end of the political rule and therefore the rule of the little horn, a rule of exactly 1260 years.
10. Would make war with the saints
(Daniel 7:21, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 8:10, Daniel 8:24)
Millions of people, who did not bow to the supremacy of Rome, were killed during the time that we know as the dark ages. Just to mention one example; in 1200 AD, the Pope ordered the king of France to eliminate the Albigenses, because they did not accept the papal teachings and regarded the Bible as ultimate word of God.
11. Would cast the truth to the ground
During the dark ages, it was forbidden to own and read a Bible. Those who owned Bibles were risking being burned at the stakes, especially those translating them. Using this time of Biblical darkness, the church introduced numerous false doctrines (a lot of those are even still taught in many Protestant churches today- see here)
12. Would rule until kingdom of God
Three of the ten horns were eliminated in 538 AD, thus the Antichrist power needed to arise before that time. At the same time, the prophecy tells us it would be destroyed by the establishing of God’s eternal kingdom -still a future event. As it covers a lot more time than a lifetime, it cannot be an individual, but it needs to be a power that came forth out of Rome and has been around since.
The call to respond
We can confidently identify the Roman Catholic Church -remember, not the individuals, but the system- as the Antichrist. Jesus warns us to not be deceived (Matthew 24:4). However, we are seeing a trend where Christians have forgotten about the identity of the Antichrist and in their ignorance are falling for its deceptions. Now that we know who the identity of this power, we can more clearly recognize the deceptions that are used to attack God’s people, publicly or secretly. The Bible tells us that the Antichrist had received a deadly wound (during the French revolution when its political power was taken away), but the wound will heal, and the power will reign once more (Revelation 13:3). Knowing that, enables us to make much more sense of the current events in the world, both in the Christian as well as the secular world. We see the deadly wound heal in front of our very eyes. They are mainly taking over the religious world by uniting, not only the Protestants to the Catholic Church, but even all religions with the Pope as head (see here). They gain power in the secular world through climate change, poverty and family, where the Pope is the moral leader (see here). Our appeal to you is of great importance, our appeal to you is to be like the reformers; to stand up for truth and warn the world. A lot of our brothers and sisters are caught in the web of its deceptions (especially regarding end-time prophecies), and don´t even know it. Let’s warn our friends now, so that they will not receive the mark of the beast, but the seal of God instead.