When we look through the pages of history we find that no religious system fits this description except the Roman Catholic Church with its leader, the Pope. Consider the following evidence:
- The Church rose out of the Roman Empire in 320 AD when the Roman Emperor Constantine became converted to Catholicism and with him, the majority of the Roman world.
- The Church gained support and rose to be a great world power for 1260 years with its Pope ruling like an emperor, during the years 606-1866 AD.1
- The leaders of the Church (the Popes) have taken their seat in what they call the "temple of God" (actually St. Peter's in Rome), and proclaimed themselves to be God on earth. The very title "Pope" comes from the Latin word "papa" which means "father"2, and Jesus warned us to "call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven." (Matthew 23:9). Thus the Popes and priests have taken upon themselves a title which only God deserves.
- The Popes have not only blasphemed God by allowing themselves to be called "Pope", but have also allowed and encouraged such titles as "our Lord God the Pope"3, "the Holy Father"4, and the "Vicar of Christ"5 to be used of themselves. The Roman Catholic Priests are also blasphemers of God in that the very name which they like to be called (''Father'') is specifically forbidden by Jesus Christ to be used of any man on earth because God is our Father (Matthew 23:9). Furthermore, according to a decree from the Council of Trent, priests are to be "called not only angels, but also God"6, which blasphemes the God of heaven all the more!
- The Church has believed and taught for centuries the incarnation of Christ, and that the Son of God had a pre-existence as a spirit. These two doctrines of the Church separate Christ from his body of flesh and their end result is that the Son of God did not come "in the flesh."
- For centuries the Church persecuted, tormented and even killed thousands of the people who would not join. There were times when it tortured and slaughtered anyone found reading the Bible. When men began translating the Bible into the common language of the people, the Church called them heretics and sought to burn or drown them. The pages of history are full of examples of men and women who were persecuted, tortured and even killed by the Church as it made "war on the saints and conquered them."7
- The Church and its leaders remain to be overthrown by Jesus when he returns. Since Jesus has not returned yet, we cannot look to history for the fulfillment of this event. But we know from the Word of God that the false religious system must be destroyed so that Jesus can replace it with his own system and establish the Kingdom of God.
For a more detailed account of how closely the Roman Catholic Church fits the characteristics in Scripture of the great apostate Church, the reader is encouraged to look into some of the many books available on the history of the papal Church.8
1. Robert Fleming, The Rise and Fall of Rome Papal, (London: Houlston & Stoneman. Paternoster Row, 1849), pp. 45-46. (First edition printed in 1701 ) . Grattan Guiness, Light For the Last Days, (London: Morgan & Scott, 1918), pp. 207-208. E.B. Elliott, Horae Apocalypticae, (London: Seeley's, 1851), Vol. IV., pp. 276-280.
2. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, (William Benton, 1971), Vol. II, p. 1765.
3. Canon Law, Extravagans, quoted in F. Walker et all., Watchman! What of the Night?, (Bristol: F. Walker, The Dawn, 1942), p. 51
4. Henry Halley, Bible Handbook, (Chicago, 1956), p. 880.
5. Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholicism, (Philadelphia, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1962), p. 127.
6. Ibid., p. 51.
7. The Rise and Fall of Rome Papal, p. 34. Cardinal Lepicier, The Stability and Progress of Dogma, (1910), p. 202. Bible Handbook, p. 898. Charles Gulston, No Greater Heritage, (London: The Paternoster Press, 1960), p. 210.
8. Robert Fleming, The Rise and Fall of Papal Rome. Henry Halley, Bible Handbook. G.H. Pember, Mystery Babylon the Great, (London: 1941). Leopold Ranke, The History of the Popes, (London: 1853). James Begg, The Whole Evidence Against the Claims of the Roman Church, (London; 1855). Joseph Priestly, A History of the Corruptions of Christianity, (London, 1871). John Bain, The Developments of Roman Catholicism, (London). Albert Close. The Divine Programme of the World's History, (London: The Protestant Truth Society, 1916).