The idea of the Papacy being the Antichrist is not just a modern day concept, there have been men from as far back as the 14 century who through studying the scriptures have come to the same conclusion. The following are some quotes from some of the reformers, many of whom never met each other, who all came to the same conclusion:
JOHN WYCLIF (1324-1384)[Completed the 1st English translation of the Bible]
“Why is it necessary in unbelief to look for another Antichrist? Hence in the seventh chapter of Daniel Antichrist is forcefully described by a horn arising in the time of the 4th kingdom…. because by reckoning the pagans and our Christians by name, a lesser [greater?] struggle for the temporals is not recorded in any preceding time.
… and the horn has arisen from the ten horns, having eyes and a mouth speaking great things against the Lofty One, and wearing out the saints of the Most High, and thinking that he is able to change times and laws.” (Daniel 7:8, 25 quoted)… “For so our clergy foresee the lord pope, as it is said of the eighth blaspheming little head.”
Translated from Wyclif’s, De Veritate Sacrae Scripturea, vol. 3 pp. 262, 263
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546) [Founder of the Lutheran Church]
“nothing else than the kingdom of Babylon and of very Antichrist….For who is the man of sin and the son of perdition, but he who by his teaching and his ordinances increases the sin and perdition of souls in the church as if he were God?
All these conditions have now for many ages been fulfilled by the papal tyranny.”
Martin Luther, First Principles, pp.196-197.
WILLIAM TYNDALE(1484-1536) [1sttranslator of the Bible from the Greek]
“The pope’s forbidding matrimony, and to eat meats created of God for man’s use, which is devilish doctrine by Paul’s prophecy,… are token good enough that he is the right antichrist, and his doctrine sprung of the devil.”
Tyndale, An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue, in Works, vol. 3, p. 171.
HULDREICH ZWINGLI (1484-1531)[Great Swiss reformer quoted on Dec. 28, 1524]
“I know that in it works the might and power of the Devil, that is, of the Antichrist… the Papacy has to be abolished…
But by no other means can it be more thoroughly routed than by the word of God (2 Thessalonians 2),because as soon as the world receives this in the right way, it will turn away from the Pope without compulsion.”
Principle Works of Zwingli, Vol. 7, p.135.
PHILIPP MELANCHTHON (1497-1560)[Associate of Martin Luther]
“Since it is certain that the pontiffs and the monks have forbidden marriage, it is most manifest,and true without any doubt, that the Roman Pontiff, with his whole order and kingdom, is very Antichrist.
Likewise in 2 Thess. II, Paul clearly says that the man of sin will rule the church exalting himself above the worship of God, etc.”
Translated from Melanchthon,Disputations, No. 56, “De Matrimonio”, in Opera (Corpus Reformatorum), vol. 12 col. 535135.
JOHN KNOX (1505-1572) [Scottish reformer]
He preached that Romish traditions and ceremonies should be abolished along with “that tyranny which the Pope himself has for so many ages exercised over the church” and that he should be acknowledged as “the son of perdition, of whom Paul speaks.”
In a public challenge he declared: “As for your Roman Church, as it is now corrupted… I no more doubt but that it is the synagogue of Satan, and the head therof, called the Pope, to be the man of sin of whom apostle speaketh.”
Knox, The Zurich Letters, p.199
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564) [Founder of the Presbyterian Church]
“I deny him to be the vicar of Christ, who, in furiously persecuting the gospel, demonstrates by hisconduct that he is Antichrist – I deny him to be the head of the church.”
“Some persons think us too severe and censorious when we call the Roman pontiff Antichrist.
But those whoa re of this opinion do not consider that they bring the same charge of presumption against Paul himself, after who we speak and whose language we adopt…(Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 2) are not capable of any other interpretation than that which applies them to the Papacy.”
Tracts, Vol. 1, pp. 219,220. John Calvin, Institutes.
KING JAMES (1566-1625) [Authorised the King James Version of the Bible]
“The faithful praiseth God for t hePopes destruction, and their deliverance,” and for “the plagues which are to light on him and his followers.”
“The Pope by his Pardons makes merchandise of the soules of men: Heaven and the Saints reioyce at his destruction, albeit the earth and the worldlings lament for the same.”
James 1, Paraphrase, in Works, pp. 47,57
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791) [Founder of the Methodist Church]
“He is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure.
And he is, too, properly styled the Son of Perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes,both of his opposers and followers… He is it…that exaltheth himself above al that is called God, or that is worshipped…claiming the highest power, and highest honor… claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone.”
Albert Close, Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms, London: Thynne and Co., 1917, p. 110.