Disp-s-ensationalists will disagree with me, because they have been brainwashed into thinking the antichrist (man of sin or son of perdition in 2nd Thessalonians 2 and the one head of the beast in Revelation 13) is some world ruler yet to come who will make some kind of 7 year covenant with Israel and break it halfway through.
Others will no doubt call my statement bigoted and incendiary if not crazy. But John wesley and Adam Clarke believed the Romanist Papacy to be the antichrist. In fact, most Protestants believed that until John Darby came along in the 1830's with his antinomian Plymouth Brethren futurist dispsensational pretrib premillennialism.
The Roman Catholic Church is the beast of Revelation 13. The papacy is the antichrist. A day equals a year in Bible prophecy. The False Prophet is the Moslem religion. Apostate protestant churches make up the whore sitting on the beast in Revelation 17 and 18.
So, whoever is elected the next pope is just another part of the antichrist system. Ever wonder why the Roman church is so involved in pro-life activity? Because of its long history of nuns having abortions! Priests used to have relations with nuns; now it's altar boys.
Many Protestant reformers, including Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, John Thomas, John Knox, and Cotton Mather, identified the Roman Papacy as the Antichrist. The Centuriators of Magdeburg, a group of Lutheran scholars in Magdeburg headed by Matthias Flacius, wrote the 12-volume "Magdeburg Centuries" to discredit the papacy and identify the pope as the Antichrist. The fifth round of talks in the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue notes,
In calling the pope the "antichrist," the early Lutherans stood in a tradition that reached back into the eleventh century. Not only dissidents and heretics but even saints had called the bishop of Rome the "antichrist" when they wished to castigate his abuse of power. The view of Futurism, a product of the Counter-Reformation, was advanced beginning in the 16th century in response to the identification of the Papacy as Antichrist. Francisco Ribera, a Jesuit priest, developed this theory in In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij, his 1585 treatise on the Apocalypse of John. St. Bellarmine codified this view, giving in full the Catholic theory set forth by the Greek and Latin Fathers, of a personal Antichrist to come just before the end of the world and to be accepted by the Jews and enthroned in the temple at Jerusalem — thus endeavoring to dispose of the exposition which saw Antichrist in the pope. Most premillennial dispensationalists now accept Bellarmine's interpretation in modified form. Widespread Protestant identification of the Papacy as the Antichrist persisted in the USA until the early 1900s when the Scofield Reference Bible was published by Cyrus Scofield. This commentary promoted Futurism, causing a decline in the Protestant identification of the Papacy as Antichrist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antichrist http://www.remnantofgod.org/4fathers.htm