ORIGIN OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
By David J. Riggs
There is no specific exact date for the beginning of the Catholic Church. However, the Papacy (and that which grew out of it) has already fulfilled the prophecy in 2 Thess. 2:3-12. We quote the prophecy in full:
“Let no one deceive you in any way, for the day of the Lord will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and is exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits in the temple of God and gives himself out as if he were God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I used to tell you these things? And now you know what restrains him, that he may be revealed in his proper time. For the mystery of iniquity is already at work; provided only that he who is at present restraining it, does still restrain, until he is gotten out of the way. And then the wicked one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of his mouth and will destroy with the brightness of his coming. And his coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all wicked deception to those who are perishing. For they have not received the love of truth that they might be saved. Therefore God sends them a misleading influence that they may believe falsehood, that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have preferred wickedness.”
The Papacy, and the error proceeding from it, fulfills the above prophecy because it agrees in all the following points:
*]It has one official man as it head, and the arrogance of its claims are centered in him.
*]That man came with and out of an apostasy, the very kind the apostles describe elsewhere (1 Tim. 4:1-3; Acts 20:28-31; 2 Pet. 2:1-3).
*]He exalts himself against all that is called God; i.e., he is addressed by terms (Pope, Supreme Pontiff, Holy Father, etc.) which belong only to God.
*]He sits in the temple of God, i.e., his sphere of dominion is in the church.
*]His appearance was hindered by some force in Paul’s time (2 Thess. 2:6-7); i.e., when the bishops of Rome began to assert power, they were in conflict with the Roman civil government which dominated and persecuted; however, when the Roman empire collapsed, the Roman church became powerful.
*]The mystery of iniquity was already working in Paul’s day (2 Thess. 2:7) and would continue until the Lord’s coming (2 Thess. 2:8).
*]The Lord shall destroy him with the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2:8). Only by a continual succession of these men of sin could be this possible.
*]The apostasy would produce fraudulent miracles, signs and wonders; i.e., supposed cures brought about by relics and shrines.
*]The whole system is perfected through people’s lack of love for truth (2 Thess. 2:10); i.e., Catholics do not love and respect the holy Scriptures as the only authority in religion, but rely on the Pope along with the Scriptures.
[/list]The above clearly reveals the origin of the Catholic Church. It had its beginning in Paul’s day (2 Thess. 2:7) and will continue until the Lords returns (2 Thess. 2:8). The Catholic Church is not the one church revealed in the Bible, but is the great “falling away” predicted in it. May the Lord help us to turn from all the false teachings of the great apostasy and become simple New Testament Christians, lovers of truth, followers of Christ, and members of His one true church.