This term indicates not only those who oppose and stand contrary to, but also those who replace Christ or claim to be a substitute for Christ on earth, as the Greek anti as well as the Latin vicarius denotes [Ever since Innocent III, 1198-1216, the popes have called themselves “The Vicar of Christ”].
Of the Antichrist the Bible gives us several characteristics:
1) Antichrist comes from within the church, for Scripture says he will sit in the temple of God, i.e., the Church (2 Thess. 2:4).
2) He sets himself against the church and its doctrine. His sin is described as apostasy, and he will cause a great falling away from the truth of the Gospel so that many will join him in his apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3, 4).
3) He will rule as the head of the Church contrary to Matthew 20:25, and Colossians 1:18.
4) From his false office in the Church he will exalt himself above the true God and identify himself as God.
5) He will exhibit great power and will be the cause of many “lying wonders” founded upon the works and power of Satan (2 Thess. 2:9).
We reject the speculations that would have any world leader or any of the myriad of religions or philosophies that fight against Christianity as being the Antichrist. Even though many antichrists have gone out into the world as 1 John 4:3 records, Scripture reveals that there will be one who is named the Antichrist, who is called in 2 Th. 2:3,4 the man of sin and the son of perdition. This scripture has been fulfilled in the Roman pope.
We reject however the notion that Roman Catholics cannot be Christians and that the Roman Catholic Church is not a Christian church, since it yet maintains the marks of the Church, having both Word and Sacrament.
We therefore believe, according to the Scriptures: that the office of the pope is the fulfillment of the Antichrist who claims religious supremacy over all (especially Christianity), thus usurping the authority of Christ (cf. Unam Sanctum, Pope Boniface VIII, 1301).