Amillennialism and Antichrist

Discussion in 'Revelation & Eschatology' started by Reformed 78, Nov 30, 2016.

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  1. Reformed 78

    Reformed 78 Puritan Board Freshman

    Not long ago I changed my eschatological view of the millennium from premillennialism to amillennialism. Concerning the antichrist, I've read some very good arguments for that being fulfilled in the Papacy, it was also, as I'm sure most on here know, believed by the Reformers and Westminster divines. Most Reformed Amillennialists still believe in a future antichrist, which I'm OK with. My question is, does anyone know of any amillennialists Who still believe the Pope of Rome to be the antichrist of scripture?

    I'm guessing the biggest reason why some would not would have to do with 2 Thessalonians 2 and the issue of the restrainer... And that's ok, just wondering if there are any out there who hold to a Papal antichrist and amillennialism??

    Thanks in advance for any with thoughts on the subject!
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    It's possible that there is presently a general-handicap upon the eschatological topic, due to the "millennial question" having an overvalued prominence and weight. Thus, everyone defines his basic position by this question, and makes adjustments from there.

    I don't want to speak for him, but Rev.Winzer I'm sure has defended here on the PB the principle that the papacy is that antichrist as the WCF (invariata) contends. He may or may not like or identify with the label "amillennial," though much of his eschatology is conformable to most amillennialist positions that I know of. I trust he can supply a profitable reading list for your study.

    For my part, I'm not sure there is any contender of the past or present which is more deserving of the preeminent label of antichrist than Rome. But, I'm not willing to confine the label to Rome then or now; or in the future suppose there will never be an institution or character even more reprehensible, one which is not organic to the historic papacy.
  3. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Doesn't the 1647 Confession formally identify Pope as Antichrist, while 1689 Confession less certain?
  4. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    My position could be called Optimistic Amillennial (I hold to an idealist reading of Revelation), and I believe that the Pope is the Antichrist, Man of Sin, etc. described in the New Testament epistles.

    That being said, since I hold to an idealist reading of Revelation, I do not find the Pope specifically mentioned there, though he does embody principles figuratively expressed in that book.

    For what it's worth, I do not find the Pope in the prophesies of Daniel, either.
  5. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    1647 WCF, Chapter 25. Of the Church.

    "There is no other Head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ:[a] nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.
    a. Eph 1:22; Col 1:18. b. Mat 23:8-10; 2 Thes 2:3-4, 8-9; Rev 13:6.

    1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 26: Of the Church

    4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
    (Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-9 )
  6. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    The difference is actually between the 1647 (original) WCF and the 1788 (American) WCF. Here is the difference:

  7. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    My position is fairly similar to Tyler's. I became convinced of the WCF statement from the exegisis of the NT epistles. For the time being, I read Revelation in a more idealist way.

    Recently I read A Brakel's Commentary on Revelation and found that he pressed some of the details too far. The strongest case he made in identifying the papacy in Revelation was his explanation of chapter 13.
  8. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    What distinguishes between "Optimistic Amillennialism" and Postmillennialism?
  9. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    I sort of fit the bill. I have been amil for decades but hub has gone post mil and we talk a lot about it, so I guess I am optimistic amil. (Jonathan, that means the hope of a gigantic harvest of souls, without being convinced of the earthly golden age pre the second coming )

    I spent 20-30 years thinking the antiChrist would surely be Muslim. Riddlebarger leaves room for it to be one single man.

    Now I am back to great respect for the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the men who wrote the confession. Look at this Papal quote:

    “Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is distinctly the same across the world. For centuries, blood has been needlessly shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths. This, however, should be the very concept which unites us as people, as nations, and as a world bound by faith. Together, we can bring about an unprecedented age of peace, all we need to achieve such a state is respect each others beliefs, for we are all children of God regardless of the name we choose to address him by. We can accomplish miraculous things in the world by merging our faiths, and the time for such a movement is now. No longer shall we slaughter our neighbors over differences in reference to their God.”

    He went and kissed the Koran. What more does it take to believe he could possibly turn out to be the last and greatest antichrist of scripture?

    It is too soon to say for sure, but I think you have good grounds to assume the confession is correct.
  10. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Semantics, at least in my case. Some people will have different ways of defining the terms, but my view of the progress of the church before the return of Christ is every bit as optimistic as any postmillennialist, in fact it is more optimistic than most of them, as I don't hold that there will be a general apostasy at the end.

    Frankly, I don't like defining my eschatological position according to my view of Revelation 20. Warfield, who held basically the same views as I do, preferred the term Eschatological Universalism :lol:. Obviously, that could be badly misunderstood. I usually just term myself a triumphalist regarding the progress of the church, and an idealist regarding the interpretation of Revelation.
  11. Reformed 78

    Reformed 78 Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeah, I used to hold the viewpoint of an Islamic Antichrist myself. I have a good friend who is a historic premillennialist, he wrote a pretty popular book entitled "Islamic Antichrist".

    But, at the same time that I began to turn away from historic premillennialism and embrace amillennialism I also began to doubt the Islamic Antichrist paradigm (though I still believe Islam is definitely an antichrist religion).

    With all the great teaching that I've heard on the subject on top of the growing conviction on the importance of being confessional, I think it's safe to stick with the testimony of the Reformers and the Westminster Divines along with a great multitude of the faithful throughout Church History and maintain the Pope of Rome is the antichrist of scripture...
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
  12. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I would read "The Interpretation of Prophecy" by Patrick Fairbairn on the "Antichristian Apostasy" regarding this. You have to also realise that as well as Antichrist and antichrists - those who would set up false Christs in the Visible Church and the false Christs they set up - there are other eschatalogical characters in the Bible e.g. the Beast ( i.e.the First Beast/ Beast from the Sea) Beastliness in civil government has been frequently expressed against Christians since the time of Nero and the Roman Empire in a series of historical figures and regimes, and is still today. In fact although the Beast received a major blow with the conversion of the Roman Empire, it recovered and unsanctified civil government went on, sometimes more unChristian and opposed to Christianity at some times than others.

    Do Christians in North Korea or Pakistan care whether they are under a "final antichrist" or not? Did Christians under Stalin or Mao? In Christian experience, if there is a "final antichrist" is he going to be materially worse than some of these men?

    Sent from my C6903 using Tapatalk
  13. Reformed 78

    Reformed 78 Puritan Board Freshman

    Great sermon on the subject!

    Also a good word from Horatius Bonar (a historic premillennialist)

    "Pagan Rome might be but the branch, Papal Rome the blossom, and the last Antichrist the fruit; but does this disprove their true personal identity? Does it not much rather confirm and display it? The last apostasy will in all likelihood manifest more of the infidel or the atheist than Popery has done; but still it is an “apostasy,” a “falling away.” It originates in, springs out of, and is in some way connected with, the professing Church of Christ, just as the fruit is connected with the branch, though but by a slender stalk. Its name, ANTICHRIST, shows that it professes to be Christ, which it could not do were it openly and utterly infidel. It is an apostasy which has taken ages to ripen, and which, though perhaps shooting up suddenly into unexpected strength, does not rise from some separate root of its own, but is the matured offspring of previous apostasies, their consummation and unfolding, towards which every one of them has been pointing, and which every one of them contained in the bud from the beginning. But though I believe all this, I do not the less surely believe that Popery is the present Antichrist, out of which, how suddenly I know not, the coming Antichrist is to spring. Popery is the apostasy of the day, and, as such, ought to be dealt with by the Church of Christ. There are many symptoms about it of a change of form and aspect; but whatever aspect it assumes, it is still the representative of the serpent’s seed, the personification of the Wicked one in our day, the enemy of the saints. It is right, indeed, that we should fully understand what God has revealed concerning the darker and more hateful form which it is to assume; but it is wrong to overlook its present aspect, as if that which was to come concerned us more immediately than that which is in the midst of us. This would truly be as absurd and perilous as for an army to stand idly on the field, and allow itself to be cut to pieces by a near enemy, because it sees in the rear a more terrible assailant pressing on. I do not mean that the present ought to shut out or supplant the future. But certainly the future ought not to supercede the present, nor blind us to our immediate danger and pressing duty. Some writers on prophecy seem so engrossed with a future Antichrist as to forget, nay, to deny the present. They are so occupied with the picture which they have drawn of the Man of Sin, as yet to be revealed, that they refuse to see any resemblance at all to him in the Church of Rome. They palliate the atrocities, and apologize for the doctrines of Popery, in order to be able to deny the likeness. They labor to conceal or blot out those features expressive of a common paternity which have been so often pointed out. They spare no effort to persuade men, not only that Popery is not the Man of Sin, but that it has nothing in common with him. They exaggerate the future, they soften and palliate the present, they try to obliterate some of the worst features of Popery, in order to remove everything by means of which it might be identified with the Man of Sin."

    I think 2 Thessalonians 2 is referring to one single individual who will be occupying the office of the Pope right before Christ returns and in his apostasy will be destroyed, him and the institution he represents...
  14. Reformed 78

    Reformed 78 Puritan Board Freshman

  15. Reformed 78

    Reformed 78 Puritan Board Freshman

    I will definitely read Patrick Fairbairn, THANKS!
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