Reblog from Reformed Covenanter:
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
Papists vainly pretend that the pope is the successor of Peter. Granted, the pope is the successor of an apostle. As Thomas Manton points out, however, he derives his succession from the son of perdition, Judas Iscariot:
[2.] The son of perdition, wherein he is likened to Judas: John xvii. 12, ‘None of them is lost but the son of perdition.’ Him he resembleth in covetousness, treachery, and final destruction. The term may be explained either passively, or actively:—(1.) Passively, as one condemned to everlasting destruction; as the ‘son of death,’ is one condemned to die: 2 Sam. xii. 5, ‘He shall be a son of death;’ we translate it, ‘He shall surely die.’ So ‘children of wrath,’ Eph. ii. 3; so here, ‘son of perdition.’
(2.) Actively, bringing destruction upon himself and others; one that shall destroy others, and so he is called ‘Abaddon,’ and ‘Apollyon,’ Rev. ix. 11, and is opposite to Christ, who is ‘the author of salvation.’ Heb. v. 9, but Antichrist of destruction. And let us see the parallel between him and Judas; for the person is a type, as well as the name hath a significancy. Antichrist then is like Judas—in profession, a disciple of Christ; in office, a governor of the church; but in practice, a traitor. As they said of the blind man, John ix. 9, ‘Some said, This is he; others, He is very like him.’ The Pope boasteth that his seat is apostolical, his chair is Peter’s chair, and that he is the successor of the apostle. Grant it, but there is an error of the person—not of Peter, but of Judas. Let us see the parallel:—
(1.) Judas was not a stranger, but a pretended friend and apostle: Acts i. 17, ‘He was numbered with us, and obtained part of this ministry.’ Turks [Muslims] and infidels are enemies to Christ, but Antichrist seeketh to undermine him, under a pretence of friendship; ἀντίχριστος is one in show for, and in effect against Christ, and the beast in the Revelation is said to ‘push with the horns of the lamb.’ Rev. xiii. 11. If he were a professed enemy, what mystery were there in it? But mystery was written upon the woman’s forehead, Rev. xvii. 5; and here, ver. 7, ‘The mystery of iniquity.’ It is wisdom to discern the false prophet, Rev. xiii. 18, but there needeth no great wisdom to discover an open and professed adversary.
(2.) He sold Christ for a small matter. Omnia Romae venalia: pardons, indulgences, freedom from purgatory, all to be bought with money; and it is a small matter, considering the things put to sale, the pardon of sins, the souls of men redeemed with Christ’s precious blood. The antichristian state maketh a market of religion; truth is made to yield to interest and profit.
(3.) Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss, under a pretence of honouring him: Luke xxii. 48, ‘Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’ Antichrist is a true adversary of Christ, though he pretend to adore him; as those that murdered the present prophets would by all means beautify the tombs of the prophets deceased, and bear a respect to their memories, Mat. xxiii. 30. He pretendeth to be his servant, yea, a servant of servants, but is really his enemy. The apostle telleth us of some that were ‘enemies to the cross of Christ,’ Phil. iii. 18. Who to appearance such friends to the cross as the rabble of nominal Christians? but they are opposers of his spiritual kingdom, the virtue and power of the cross. You have crucifixes every where, painted, carved, gilded; they are ready to worship the cross with a holy worship; they set it in their temples, altars, wear it in their bosoms, and wherever they meet it show it reverence, adorn it with gold, silver, and precious stones. Their popes and prelates have it carried before them; and are not these friends of the cross? No; they live a worldly, sensual life, and all their religion tendeth there unto; therefore enemies of the cross of Christ, because they mind earthly things. This is right antichrist-like, to betray Christ under a colour of adoration.
(4.) Judas was a guide to them that came to take Christ; and one main work of Antichrist is to be a ringleader in persecuting for religion. Christ is in heaven, death hath no more power over him; his natural body is above abuse, but his mystical body still suffereth: Acts ix. 6, ‘Why persecutest thou me?’ Antichrist is the head of the persecuting state, others are his emissaries and agents, to take Christ in his members. It is a politic religion, that must be carried on with worldly artifices, with power and cruelty.
5.) Lastly, The covetousness of Judas is set forth. He was a thief, one that carried the bag, John xii. 6. England, to its bitter cost, knoweth the polling exactions of the Papacy; all its dealings with us were to fill the bag out of this puteus inexhaustus. Now all these things should open our eyes; we may behold the man of sin, the son of perdition; one egg is not more like to another than Judas and Antichrist.
Thomas Manton, Eighteen Sermons on the Second Chapter of the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, containing the description, rise, growth, and fall of Antichrist, with divers cautions and arguments to establish Christians against the Apostasy of the Church of Rome (1679) in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. (22 vols, London, 1871), iii, 32-33.