The claim that the pope is the Antichrist has been part of anti-Catholic rhetoric since the Reformation, when it was needed to justify the Protestant Reformers’ desire to leave the Catholic Church.
To make the prophecies of the Antichrist fit the pope, some even claimed that "the temple of God" in which the Antichrist pretends to be God (2 Thess. 2:4) is the Vatican.
Although the Fathers of the Church speculated on the Antichrist in various ways, they would never have agreed.
They showed the temple to be the Jewish temple, rebuilt by Antichrist in Jerusalem.
Rather than the bishop of Rome, the early Fathers identified the Antichrist as a government official—a king coming to power in the ruins of the Roman Empire. He would probably be Jewish, possibly from the tribe of Dan. And most importantly, rather than claiming like the pope to be the vicar or emissary of Jesus Christ, he would claim that Jesus was not the Christ but thathe was instead.
He would then seduce many of the Jewish people by attempting to fulfill the political.aspirations they held for the Messiah.
The quotes by the Fathers in this tract illustrate both the different ideas they had about the Antichrist and how different their conception was from the anti-papal idea that arose in later centuries.
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