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Throughout most of human history, it was the political leader who was the religious leader of the nation - and of the nations that it invaded and ruled (imperialism has more frequently been based on religion than politics e.g. The Crusades of the Middle Ages, or George W. Bush's claim that God told him to invade Iraq). The papacy is the most obvious present-day example; the Vatican is a sovereign state in which the pope is both head of state and head of his religion. There are many other examples however e.g. the Queen or King of England is also the head of the Church of England - a situation which was the result of an English king declaring independence from the Church of Rome centuries ago. But the Church of Rome itself was not created by the papacy; it was created by the political leader of the Roman empire, in which the bishop of Rome was merely the Caesar's obedient local bishop, one bishop of many that existed in cities throughout the empire (see The Little Big Horn).
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him ... These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone"
Bible Prophecy plainly describes how a great political leader, of the final revival of the Roman empire (see Imperial Rome, One Last Time), will rise to great power, by means of Satan who will back the king, rather than just the king's religious assistant, in an apparent blasphemous mockery of how Christ the King is the Head of His Church. Although he too will be very powerful, the pope at that time will merely be the leader's "prophet." What is Christ going to do to those two evil frauds when He comes?
"19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army [see War With The Lamb]. 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Revelation 19:19-20 KJV)
The ultimate "antichrist" will be a political/military leader.
"13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations" (Revelation 13:4-7 KJV)
Fact Finder: What does "antichrist" actually mean?