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2.8. Relation to the Pope

Following Augustine’s lead the Reformers took the Scriptures pertaining to the antichrist and the mark of the beast as an allegory of either the Pope, Islam (Constantinople had fallen to the Turks in A.D. 1412), or both. The Waldenses held the Pope to be the antichrist. Wycliffe also was of this opinion as was Tyndale. Luther regarded the Pope and the Turks both as antichrist, . . . Calvin took the Antichrist’s desecration of the Temple to be an allegory of the Church and the Pope to be the desecrator, . . . Arminius also held “that the Roman pontiff, who calls himself the head and spouse, though under Christ, is Antichrist.”1

1 Hal Harless, “666: The Beast and His Mark in Revelation 13,” in The Conservative Theological Journal, vol. 7 no. 22 (Fort Worth, TX: Tyndale Theological Seminary, December 2003), 347.

2 Rev. 13:11-17+, as coming out of the earth, and having two horns like unto a lamb, and speaking as a dragon, and exercising all the authority of the first beast in his sight, is referred to the papacy. The false prophet receives a similar application. So Luther, Vitringa, Bengel, Auberlen, Hengstenberg, Ebrard, and many English divines.”—Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997, 1916), 1.xii.101. Some commentators interpret the reference to the false prophet “coming up out of the earth [or land]” (Rev. Rev. 13:11+) as a possible reference to his Jewish origin. If the last Pope were to be the false prophet, then a Jewish Pope is always a possibility.

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