“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
King James Version (KJV)
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God. I shall endeavor in a few words to identify this power. Various explanations have been given, but there is only one power that exhibits all the marks given by Paul. Observe these: (1) The man of sin exalts himself above God. (2) He sits in the temple, that is, in the church, for that is always the sense in which Paul uses the term. He is a church power. (3) He claims powers that only belong to divinity. (4) He shows off signs and lying wonders (2Th 2:9); or, in other words, lays a claim to miraculous powers. Every one of these marks applies to the papacy: (1) Its development was simultaneous with that of the apostasy. (2) Its development was "let" (hindered) until the pagan Roman empire fell, but was rapid after it was "taken out of the way" (2Th 2:7). (3) The papacy has set aside divine laws and has made other spiritual laws to bind men, and has claimed divine prerogatives. A newly-elected Pope is adored and styled "Lord God, the Pope". (4) It is in the temple of God, that is, it arose in the church, and still claims to be the "Holy Catholic Church". (5) The claim of Infallibility is "sitting as God in the temple". (6) The papacy has always claimed miraculous powers, and it is a fact well known that it has often worked off "lying wonders" (2Th 2:9). No fact is better established than that the hierarchy of the church have often deceived by false miracles. Indeed, these have often been detected and explained.