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ANTICHRIST - THE FINAL NAIL IN ANTICHRIST'S COFFIN – PART TWO
We have already identified the Roman Catholic Church as the antichrist from the historical perspective. Now we need to examine the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the humanity of Jesus because this determines whether or not it is consistent with the teaching of Scripture and how it stands up to John's "antichrist test".
The Church was faced with a problem. How could Jesus be born with stained flesh? To solve the problem, they developed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This does not refer to Jesus being born as a sinless baby but to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
How could Mary, the "mother of God' be sinful? So they taught that she was miraculously preserved from sin by having a sinless nature, different from us. And so it follows according to this doctrine, Jesus took His mother's nature, not ours. This is a serious deviation from the clear teaching of Scripture and the main criterion by which the spirit of antichrist is identifiable.
But this also poses a problem. If Mary had a sinless nature, why did she confess the need for a Saviour? In her song, when she met Elizabeth after the angel Gabriel's visit, she said, "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour..." Luke 2:46b, 47 (NIV). This, in itself, nullifies their claim that she was immaculately conceived.
"In 1854, with the Bull Ineffabilis, Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, '...We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful." (www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2bvm23.htm).
Said Cardinal James Gibbons, (1834-1921) an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church: "We affirm that the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, by being born of a virgin, took to Himself, from her maternal womb, a human nature of the same substance as hers. She had been immaculately conceived."
Mariology progressed to the point where Catholics believe that she takes the place of Jesus as the only mediator between man and God, (but the apostle Paul taught: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV)), and becomes responsible for man's salvation, (but, according to the writer to the Hebrews, "Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." Hebrews 5:8 (NIV)).
"Through Mary's manifold intercession she is now our advocate, helper benefactress and mediatrix who can bring us the gifts of eternal salvation and deliver our souls from death." (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, page 252).
Without a doubt, the Reformers had a watertight case for the identity of the fourth beast of Daniel 7:7; 23-25 -- the Roman Catholic Church; and the antichrist -- the Papacy. In their arrogant claim to be the Vicar of Christ, the popes have taken the place of God in His temple, the church, have claimed revelation which contradicts His Word and have caused the deaths of millions both through vicious persecution of the saints and by the false doctrines which have deceived "the faithful" and led them to put their faith in Mary and not in Jesus Christ, who is the only Saviour of sinners and the only way to the Father.
The Apostle Paul had this to say about anyone who preached a gospel different from the one he preached: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned." Galatians 1:8 (NIV).
What does the Bible have to say about the final end of the antichrist? "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness (antichrist - writer's comment) is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
"...And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way.
"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendour of His coming...They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved." 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; 6-8; 10b (NIV).
To conclude this short examination of the Bible's identification of antichrist, this is not intended to throw stones at any individual, but rather to expose the errors of a system than has ensnared millions of people in deception. God's mercy extends to every person who trusts in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life, but He shares His glory with no-one else, regardless of who says otherwise.
However plausible the reasoning may be, it is nothing more than human reason and cannot stand against the indestructible Word of God. God's word calls us to be noble, like the Bereans, who "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11b (NIV).
An interesting observation: The official title of the Pope in Latin is Vicarius Filii Dei. When we add up the numerical value of the Roman numerals, this is what we get: V=5; I=1; C=100; A=0; R=0; I=1; V=5; S=0; Total =112. F=0; I=1; L=50; I=1; I=1; Total = 53. D=500; E=0; I=1; Total = 601. Grand total: 666!
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