The Antichrist

“I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.” – Martin Luther

Woman holding rosary with crucifix.

Early in the Protestants Reformation the reformers professed to know the identity of the antichrist. Yet the overt identity of Revelation’s antichrist is not nearly as important it’s personal application. It is easy to point our finger at Rome and label her self-reliance and coercion of religious conscience as Revelation’s evil mark. Yet this outward manifestation of the antichrist is simply a corporate manifestation of a deeper problem: the natural inclination of the human heart to exalt itself above God and to attempt to find salvation outside of His grace.

The warning against this outer power, therefore, is not the essence of the three angels’ messages. The danger “out there” is not nearly as critical as the danger that lies in our own hearts.

“We discover that “the man of sin (the papacy) . . . who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), is simply an institutional or corporate manifestation of the inclination that resides in all human hearts to play God and to usurp His role in our dealings with our fellow human beings with attitudes of superiority and tactics of pressure, dominance, and control.” – Ty Gibson, The Romanism Within

I don’t have to be a church cleric enthroned in Europe to qualify as the antichrist. Rome has taken a lot of heat. For centuries we have pointed fingers at her, but when you point a finger, you have three fingers pointing back at yourself. Are we safe just because we realize the danger from the Catholic church?

No. We’re not safe at all. The papacy is just an organization built on the concept that man can save himself. This means that anywhere you have self-dependence you have the beast. This applies to every man and religion in the world. Revelation says, “Come out of her my people,” and if we don’t apply this personally we are missing the point. The church is you and I, and each of us who continues to attempt to be good without a relationship with Jesus is making an image to the beast, even without submitting to the will of any beast power. Goodness isn’t possible outside of a friendship with Christ.

The Romanism without is indeed a threat in our world. Yet darker and deeper than their blackest threat looms the danger of the Romanism within. Beware the antichrist, for we have been looking for her in the wrong place. She is within us!