This article is taken from my, yet to be titled, upcoming book. It will be book #4 in the end times Bible prophecy series. This series includes The NOW Prophecies (#1), The NEXT Prophecies (#2) and The LAST Prophecies (#3). All three books also come with teaching DVDs of the same names.
Could the False Prophet be a Pope?
“If the Pope isn’t the False Prophet, he’s sure trying hard for the job!” (anonymous)
A quite popular view held by some Bible prophecy teachers, is that the False Prophet will be “A” Pope. Note that I wrote “A” Pope and not THIS Pope. The present Pope is Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio). He chose the name Francis to honor the famous historical figure named St. Francis of Assisi (1181- 1226 AD). At some point in the not so distant future we will be calling Pope Francis (1936-? AD), another historical figure.
I make this point because Pope Francis is already 83 years old and the dash (-) between (1936-?) and the question mark, which represents the unknown date of his death, will be his legacy. The fact that he’s currently way up in years makes it unlikely that he will even be alive when the False Prophet arrives on the scene. The False Prophet emerges in Bible prophecy at the midpoint of the seven-year Tribulation Period and at the end of those seven years he is cast into the Lake of Fire as per Revelation 19:20.
In the quickest possible scenario, if the seven-year clock started ticking today, April 3, 2020, Pope Francis, if he were the False Prophet, would be ninety years old when he would be cast into the Lake of Fire. Yes, it’s possible, but No, it’s not probable, and another big NO for NOT likely that the Tribulation will start on April 3, 2020.
The Tribulation Period could still be several days, months, years or decades off in the future. We can’t date set when this period starts because it follows the Rapture of the Church and we don’t know the day nor hour that this event happens. Therefore, some Pope that succeeds Francis becomes a better candidate to be the False Prophet, that is, if a Pope even becomes this sinister prophetic character.
Presently, there are many conservative Roman Catholics who do not like Pope Francis because he is a universalist who is opposing historical Roman Catholicism today with his pronouncements, such as, there is no hell and atheists go to heaven. I point this out because this characteristic about Pope Frances has caused some to consider him the perfect candidate for becoming the False Prophet.
However, this characteristic is also the reason why it is highly likely, that when Pope Francis dies, his successor will be unlike him, but will be more in line with the traditional teachings of Roman Catholicism. The conservative Roman Catholic cardinals, bishops and priests will probably not want another repeat performance from their next Pope.
Most who think that a Pope is a candidate for becoming the False Prophet also believe that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is the Harlot World Religion of Mystery Babylon. This conclusion seems obvious, because what other dominant role would a Pope play during the Tribulation Period, if not leading the global religion of the Harlot?
It is true that Pope Paul 11, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have been busy setting up the Roman Catholic Church to be the future Harlot of Revelation 17, but does this mean that a future Pope has to be the false prophet in Revelation 13?
For reasons pointed out in this article, I don’t believe that a Pope is likely to become the False Prophet, especially if the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) turns out to be ecclesiastical Babylon of Revelation 17.
The Three Reasons People Believe a Pope Will Be the False Prophet
The three primary reasons that many people believe a future Pope is the False Prophet are identified below. At the close of this article, I provide my arguments against each of these reasons.
• Reason #1 – The False Prophet must be a key religious figure and the Pope rises to the top of that list.
• Reason #2 – The Pope and the Antichrist will already have established a church and state alliance. Rev. 17:3 says the Harlot sits on the Beast and Rev. 17:7 says that the Beast carries the Harlot to her heights.
• Reason #3 – The Pope can convince hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics around the world to join him in worshipping the Antichrist.
Some Basic Premises that Present Problems for a Pope Being the False Prophet
A primary reason that a Pope won’t likely transition from leading the Harlot world religion to leading the religion of the Antichrist is because, the Harlot’s religion will be desolated just prior to, or about the same time that the False Prophet aligns with the Antichrist. Thus, the acting Pope at that future time will likely be killed, imprisoned or exiled.
Moreover, the religion of the Antichrist will be in opposition to that of the RCC, which is why he has the Ten Kings desolate this religion in Rev. 17:16-17 at the midpoint of the Tribulation Period. This beckons the question, why would a Pope promote an alternative religion, meaning that of the Antichrist, especially after the RCC suffered such a great loss at the hands of the Ten Kings?
Unpacking the Key Problems with a Pope Being the False Prophet
Before I address the three reasons above, let’s unpack these key premises and problems further. Some believe that the Pope, as the leader of the Harlot world religion, and the False Prophet will be on the world scene at the same time. As such, this is one reason that they draw the conclusion that the Pope is the False Prophet.
First of all, this connection is not specifically made in the Scriptures. Second, if these two key religious figures are together at the same time, their co-existence appears to be very brief, which poses another potential problem with the Pope being the False Prophet. Here’s why:
1. The Roman Catholic Church as the Harlot world religion thrives during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period.
2. By the midpoint of the Tribulation Period, the Harlot religion has over-extended her usefulness and becomes problematic for the future plans of the Antichrist and the Ten Kings. In fact, these eleven key political leaders hate the Harlot religion and seek to strip her from power.
“And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.” (Rev. 17:16-17)
3. The Rev. 17:16 desolation of the Harlot, which will impose a huge burden upon the presiding Pope at that time, happens at the midpoint of the Tribulation Period.
4. The end of the Harlot era, which is detailed in Revelation 17, then segues into the beginning of the Antichrist’s reign. The new period that is allotted to the “kingdom of the beast,” is detailed in large part in Revelation 13. Thus we turn our attention from Rev. 17 to focus on Rev. 13.
I explain the correct chronological order of these related events in the article called, “The Two End Times Judgments of Babylon.” This article explains how Rev. 17 (Ecclesiastical Babylon) sets the stage for Rev. 13 (Kingdom of the Beast) and then how Rev. 13 segues into Rev. 18 (Commercial Babylon).
5. The False Prophet comes onto the scene at the start of the kingdom of the beast in Rev. 13. The beast’s kingdom begins at the midpoint of the Tribulation Period. The False Prophet’s authority and power with the beast is during the second 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period.
6. The Harlot religion reigns in the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period, but the False Prophet’s tenure is restricted to the second 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period.
Perhaps the Pope waves goodbye to the Roman Catholic Church and takes on a new role as the False Prophet. This would mean that the Pope is on the scene as a leading global religious figure throughout the entire Tribulation Period. In the first 3 ½ years he’s the Pope of the Harlot religion in Rev. 17, but in the second 3 ½ years he shifts hats to become the False Prophet of the Antichrist’ religion in Rev. 13. If this is the case, then below is what could be said about the Pope:
a. He appears to agree with the Antichrist and the Ten Kings that they are justified to “hate the harlot.”
b. He is now promoting a different religion,
c. He, by his act of betrayal, is implying that for over 2000 years the RCC was teaching falsely,
d. He is abandoning the longstanding notion that the RCC is the one true religion, and that hating it and desolating it was the correct thing to do,
e. He is betraying the Catholic faithful in favor of the religion of the Antichrist.
Some might suggest that the Pope isn’t betraying the Catholic faithful, but will be persuading them to worship the Antichrist. However, if that’s the case, then why not integrate, rather than desolate, the entire religion.
The Problems with the Three Primary Reasons of a Pope Being the False Prophet
Below are my concerns with the three primary reasons that lead people to believe that a Pope will be the False Prophet.
• Reason #1 – The False Prophet must be a key religious figure and the Pope rises to the top of that list.
This reason was posted first because it understandably sits atop the list of reasons why people identify the Pope as the False Prophet. The role of the False Prophet requires him to be either the supreme, most popular or highest-ranking religious figure in the world at the time he comes onto the scene.
In my book, from which this article is taken, I easily argue away the possibilities that a chief Rabbi or a supreme leading Muslim Imam will be likely candidates for the office of the False Prophet. However, removing the Pope from consideration is much more difficult.
If we eliminate the Pope, chief Rabbi and the supreme Imam, then we are left with some mysterious individual from an unknown origin, and with an unidentified religious affiliation. So who might this undiscovered person of interest be? This is the $50 million dollar question that appears will only be known by the people living through the Tribulation Period.
Moreover, Rev. 17:16-17 points out that the Ten Kings, and by close association the Antichrist, all hate the harlot. This implies that they hate every aspect of this global religion, which includes its teachings, its clergy and its Pope. Thus, rather than rising to the top of the religious leader list, the Pope, should he survive the desolation, will likely drop to the bottom of the list.
With all of this said, the questions still arise as to who the False Prophet is and where does he come from? At least with the Antichrist we can determine where he originates from. As per Daniel 9:26, we discover that he comes from the people who destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, which alludes to the Second Jewish Temple. Thus, the ancestors of the Antichrist are from the Roman Empire that accomplished these two monumental feats in 70 A.D.
But who are the ancestors of the False Prophet? If only we could determine that, we might have more clues to work with. The point is, we don’t have any such clues! Therefore, to juxtapose the Pope and the False Prophet side by side is, at best, a fragile patchwork of guesswork.
• Reason #2 – The Pope and the Antichrist will already have established a church and state alliance. Rev. 17:3 says the Harlot sits on the Beast and Rev. 17:7 says that the Beast carries the Harlot to her heights. Thus, they already know how to work well together as a team, so why upset the apple cart? Why let a small thing, like the desolation of the Pope’s entire global religion, become a stumbling block to their future progress together?
Even though a Pope and the Antichrist are a team in the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation, there could develop a lack of trust issue after the desolation of the Harlot religion. The Pope may turn the other cheek and forgive the Antichrist for humiliating him and obliterating his religion, but would that win over the favor and full trust of the Antichrist? Or, would the Antichrist always wonder in the back of his mind; “if the Pope can be convinced to betray his religion, how could he not also be persuaded to betray the Antichrist’s religion?”
• Reason #3 – The Pope can convince hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics around the world to follow in his traitorous footsteps and abandon their church and worship the Antichrist.
For over 2000 years the Roman Catholic Church and all of their Popes have taught the worship of Jesus Christ. The RCC acknowledges His crucifixion on earth and His ascension into heaven. In the Catholic Mass they actually celebrate the body and blood presence of Jesus Christ within the bread and wine elements of the Eucharist. They even take their devotion beyond the limits to venerate and adore Mary, the mother of Jesus. They believe that many of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, which have appeared throughout various times within the Church Age, are actual divine visitations of the Blessed Mother herself………….
So, how likely is it that in “Reason #3,” a Pope can convince hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics worldwide, that they should do an abrupt about-face and abandon their worship of Jesus Christ and devotion to the Virgin Mary? Is it realistic to believe that a Pope can convince these untold millions to worship a man as god and take his mark or be killed if they don’t? It would seem that many Roman Catholics would be extremely angry after seeing their religion fall brutally by the wayside, and that no matter how hard a Pope tried to change their mind, they would never worship this totalitarian dictator.
Even though many Christians believe that Roman Catholics are already deceived into worshiping a communion wafer as Jesus Christ, is it really reasonable to believe that the Pope and his cardinals, bishops and priests will be able to give good biblical reasons why their faithful must now worship the coming world leader as god and not Jesus Christ?
Personally, I think that the Roman Catholic Church is the Harlot world religion and that the Pope probably goes down with the RCC at the midpoint of the Tribulation Period and doesn’t bounce back up to be the False Prophet in the second 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation. .